This is from the roof of the home we’re staying at this morning. I’m thankful for God’s good hand upon us. We arrived safely with all our luggage! Reconnecting with the Kosioreks is priceless. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray that we will be a blessing and encouragement to the missionaries here. – Pastor
Circling the Sanctuary in Prayer
“Our business meetings are anything but boring!” is a new advertising slogan for Grace Baptist Church. It’ll appear on the cover of this Sunday’s bulletin. Just kidding. I don’t think it would sell. “Business” is viewed as boring by some. And that slogan would be taken the wrong way by others. Too many have had church-business experiences that could air on the Jerry Springer Show.
Business meetings at Grace are exciting, but not for their entertainment value.
In 2015, people gave their lives to Christ. Many were baptized. Attendance was up. More people served than ever before. More people gave more than ever before. A much longed-for property was acquired. Parking was expanded. And it’s all God. God is moving in and through Grace. That’s what a church business meeting ought to point us to – God. Last night’s annual business meeting was a time of reflection and rejoicing for what the Lord did in the life of Grace in 2015. And it was a time of reorientation around what matters for 2016. Don’t miss these meetings; I’m telling you, they’re exciting!
If you participated in last night’s meeting – THANK YOU. Your dedication to your church honors God and is a bold testimony to a watching world. Just showing up is a huge shot in the arm to your pastors. Grace isn’t carried on our shoulders. It never will be. The Lord builds His church and He wants to use each and every one of us. It takes a church to grow people in God. Thank you for being a committed part of the process every step of the way.
Thank you also for your part in the spirit of love that is evident at Grace and in our business meetings. The growth of Grace is, in part, the fruit of single-mindedness. Our business meetings are not driven by self-serving agendas, dollar signs and numbers. They’re fueled by ministry, vision, and unity, all for the Gospel. Circling the sanctuary to dedicate ourselves to God’s work in 2016 concluded last night’s annual business meeting with Grace as it should be. How will God show up in 2016? I don’t know, but when we follow Him together, it’s bound to be anything but boring.
What a weekend! “Believe in Christmas” was much more than a wonderful Christmas event! It was also a statement about our church families’ belief in the important value of serving. Along with the choir and those who shared testimonies, we had over a 100 people serving for each presentation – from parkers to greeters and nursery workers, angels, shepherds, wise men, Joseph, Mary and a menagerie of animals! A variety of other behind the scene people also contributed to the success of our three presentations. We wish to express a heartfelt “thank you” to all involved!
What made this such a meaningful weekend of ministry was its purpose: to clearly communicate what it means to believe in the Christ of Christmas. Many of you took advantage of the opportunity to invite friends and family to hear the hope of the gospel. Spiritual seeds were planted in many hearts. Moving forward, prayer and future conversations will need to take place in our collective burden to see people who are either struggling in a religion that does not work, or suffering in the fear of a physical illness, or stuck in problems that might seem insurmountable, come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Let’s stay faithful in modeling what it looks like to believe!
Enjoy a few pictures of our weekend compliments of Charissa Tosh.
Notes are down, parts are learned. Timing is familiar, entrances are highlighted and mic levels are set. Last night, our 70 voice choir called it a wrap with their dress rehearsal of our musical presentation, “Believe in Christmas.” We’re ready.
What’s next is up to you, our church family and you’re doing it. We’ve had a hard time keeping invitations to this annual outreach stocked, because you get it. You see this as a viable and purposeful invite for people you’re burdened to see come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Friday night at 7 pm, then Sunday at 10 am and 6 pm; we anticipate a full house. Our desire is not to entertain but to feed souls.
Ways that you can contribute to the events this weekend are things like: arriving a little early, parking on Vine Street and filling up rows in the sanctuary by not leaving empty chairs between you. However, most importantly, we ask you to pray. Pray that the Person and work of Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior will be magnified. Pray that people would discover that He alone is the hope for heaven. Pray that people’s hearts would not just be moved emotionally, but changed eternally!
Yesterday, I was given a special gift from Marlene Burling – a copy of her newly published book: Morning Meditations. What began as a personal exercise to process her grief upon the death of our friend, Autry, and her husband of 51 years took on a life of it’s own and resulted in this wonderful collection of devotional thoughts. Marlene has a gift to keep things simple yet substantive. She has a cultivated eye that captures common and relatable daily occurrences, and points the reader to the eternity contained in those moments.
Marlene is a gift to our church family and I’ll take 10 of her on my team any day! She exudes a special sweetness of life that only Jesus produces when one surrenders their deepest hurts to His sovereign Lordship. You will do well to glean from her reflections and even get a jump on a great gift idea because, Christmas is coming! See Marlene if you’d like to purchase some copies and she’ll be glad to help you out!
“Easy” is my option of choice. I mean, who wants things “hard?” Since June, we have watched the Kosiorek’s begin their ministry adventure in Togo, minus an “easy“ button. From serious physical challenges to housing issues and A-Z cultural adjustments, it’s been hard. Yet, what we don’t hear from them is complaint. What we see is a family prepared and engaged in the bigger task of investing their lives for Christ. All of them.
What has also been hard is finding suitable housing. “This isn’t Kansas anymore, Toto” is true of Togo more than any of us living this side of the Atlantic get. However, God has been good to them in enabling them to acquire a home that will meet their needs to both live and minister. BUT, before that happens it needs some serious renovation. Bottom line? They need $6,000 in order to make it happen. Their recent report detailing the project is posted below.
What is “easy” about this project is how you can financially give to it! In fact, of the three ways they share how you can give, I called the 800 number for Donor Services at ABWE and in minutes made a contribution to help see this need met. It was easy as 1,2,3!
Let’s continue to be a blessing to the Kosiorek’s as they face daily hardships. Let’s make this current need of $6,000 for the renovation a reality they never dreamed could be met so easily! Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to take one of the three means they list in their recent report below to give to this worthy project. It’s easy!
Thank you for your tangible expression of the love of Christ.
Please click on the link below to see how you can give.