Category: Monthly Newsletter

How you can get Involved in the Preparation of our New Space

Dear Grace Life, 

The last month has been good for my soul. Not because we signed the lease to our own space, but because we have seen God’s faithful leading in our church made visible to us. Let me explain.

Last year, we believed the Holy Spirit was leading us to study the book of Exodus in our LifeGroups. I know this study was impactful for many of you and if you didn’t get to participate, check out the resources here

The evening before I saw our new space, we studied Exodus 33 in LifeGroup. Moses tells God, “Show me your ways. If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Ex. 33:14-16). I found myself praying that exact prayer as we walked through the new space and for a few more days. If God wasn’t going with us, I didn’t want to go. And now it is clear He is leading us into an exciting new chapter for our church. He was directing us to study Exodus for this exact time in the history of our church.

However, this next chapter is not the end. The Lord is leading us to continue making disciples. Our mission does not change even though our space does. We have not reached the end goal. Let’s continue going where God has called us to go.

I want to invite you to participate in this next chapter of our church and to be a part of the work of creating a space to continue making disciples. Here’s three ways you can get involved:

 

PRAY

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. Exodus 33:14–15

Like Moses, we pray for the Lord to continue going before us. Not just into a new building, but into corners of our community that need to hear the gospel. Pray that we will see a gospel awakening in Clay County.

SPECIFIC PRAYER: Pray that we will celebrate with baptisms on our Grand Opening Sunday.

 

GIVE

Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:4-5

Like the people of Israel, we should contribute to the new space and do so with a generous heart. No gift is too small (and no gift is too big!); and giving generously allows us to turn this space into a beautiful display of the gospel.

SPECIFIC CONTRIBUTION GOAL: We have a goal to raise $10,000 as a church. It is right for us to contribute as much as we can and trust that the Lord will faithfully provide the remainder through financial partnerships. We would like to raise these funds by the end of June. You can give to the Future Grace Fund in person, online, or through the app. We are already 30% of the way there!

 

SERVE

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. Exodus 35:30–33

Like Bezalel, God has given each of us unique gifts to serve the church. We will have opportunities to prepare for the new space in the coming weeks. If you would like to paint, clean, or help us demo/remodel, please let us know by going here and selecting “other”. Tell us how you can serve in the comment section.

SPECIFIC SERVICE PROJECT: Leading up to Grand Opening Sunday, we will be prayer walking and passing out info about our church to the two closest neighborhoods. Participate in these events and pray for Gospel conversations!

While we transition from being portable into a permanent location, I ask that you be patient with us during the weeks leading up to Grand Opening Sunday. When we have a confirmed opening date, we will let you know! Until then, let’s continue to gather together on Sunday mornings at the Shrine club, let’s continue staying in prayer and in the Scriptures, and let’s continue to fight for unity as we make disciples for God’s glory.

 

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

 

We Belong Together: Biblical Membership at Grace Life Church

Let me take you to a moment in my living room, almost a year ago. It’s Wednesday afternoon. The furniture has been pushed to the side, replaced with lights, cables, microphones, and a video camera. Intentional design has gone into the backdrop, replacing pictures with less distracting artwork. Julie gets the camera shot perfect. We do an audio check. All good. She presses play and heads to her corner of the house where she and the kids try not to be heard on the video. I look at the camera, I take a breath, and begin my sermon. I’m a few minutes in and the air conditioner kicks on, and my mic is now picking up the air from the vent right above it. I stop and turn off the A/C, jotting down a note to turn it off next week before I start recording my sermon. I take a breath and begin my sermon again. For close to 12 weeks, I would record the sermon on Wednesday, edit it on Thursday, upload it to YouTube on Friday, and then watch it “live” on Sunday mornings. I learned a lot about my preaching on those online only Sundays. Some time after the cat knocked over the camera in the middle of recording my sermon and before the sermon I preached where I forgot to press the record button on the audio software, I remember wrapping up a sermon and saying to Julie, “This is not what church was intended to be”. Church is intended to be in the presence of other redeemed brothers and sisters in Christ, worshiping the risen Savior through singing, the preaching of God’s Word, and prayer. Church is a gathering of people, not a place or an experience. Church is about the body of Christ, not our preferences. I could keep going but the point has been made. We need to continue pushing towards a Biblical understanding of the church. Ephesians 2:19-22 states,
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
If there is anything we have learned over the last year I hope it is this: we need the church! Not just the Sunday morning gathering, but the weekly interaction with other believers. The Christian life was not designed to be lived in isolation, but in community with other children of God. We belong together. If you are not a member already, I want to invite you to become a member of Grace Life Church. Grace Life Church Membership is birthed out of our love for the local church body and her individual members whom we hope will experience the fullness of grace and joy found in Jesus Christ. A church member is someone who is formally recognized as a Christian and a part of Christ’s universal body. Jonathan Leeman writes in his book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus: “Church membership is a formal relationship between a Church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.” Church Membership is not about status. You don’t get extra benefits and it doesn’t earn you more control. Membership recognizes God’s saving grace in your life and your desire to grow in His Word through intentional discipleship in the context of a local church. It’s a commitment to the entire body of Christ that you will be a contributor and not a consumer. Membership is recognizing the Biblical responsibilities given to a congregation and taking those matters seriously. Church Membership is committing to the local church for the glory of God, knowing that the local church is committed to your sanctification. There are two qualifications for being a church member in the New Testament: Salvation and Baptism (Acts 2:41). There is freedom to pursue ways to determine if someone has been redeemed. It is the responsibility of the Elders to protect the people of the church and to make sure wolves do not sneak in and destroy (1 Peter 5:2-12). The first step in becoming a member of Grace Life is to attend The Intro this Sunday, March 7th. The Intro will tell you more about the Vision, Mission, and Values of our Grace Life Church. You can register here, or in the app. My prayer as we move into the next few months is that we will be a church transformed by the Gospel of Jesus, committed more intentionally to the people of our church and to the advancement of the Gospel, and that we will not forsake the assembly of the believers (Hebrews 10:25). By His Grace, Pastor Matt

Happy Birthday Grace Life!

February 7th is a big day. And not because there happens to be a Big Game. February 7th is a big day because it’s our church’s birthday. Six years ago this coming Sunday, we officially launched the Sunday morning gatherings of Grace Life Church. It is truly remarkable to look back and see how faithful God has been to us since the beginning.

When Julie and I finally said “yes” to God’s call to plant a church, we spent weeks wrestling with the name of this new church. We wrote names down, said them aloud, said them to others but none of the names described what we believed God wanted our church to be.

That changed one morning after I read Titus 2:11-15 in my morning devotions. Here’s what Paul says to Titus,

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. 

I remember reading the passage and saying, “This! This is what God wants this new church to be! He is calling us to show God’s grace to every life and teach them how to live out that grace.”

And there in that passage of Scripture was the name of our church: Grace Life Church.

This is who we are and who we will continue to be. We will be a church committed to sharing the grace of God through Jesus Christ to every life. We will make disciples. The gospel connects us together, grows us, and calls for us to be an influence in the community around us. We cannot forget who we are in Jesus Christ and what He has called us to do.

Soon after we decided on the name, I wrote down a list describing who I believe God wanted us to be. And eight years later, I still believe this list is who He wants us to be.

  1. We are a church who ultimately desires to bring all glory to God.
  2. We are a church that focuses on the gospel and seeing the gospel change lives.
  3. We are a church that wants to see believers in Christ grow in their faith.
  4. We are a church that makes disciples that make disciples and plants churches that plant churches.
  5. We are a church that loves and shows grace to broken people.
  6. We are a church that thrives in community with each other as we grow together.
  7. We are a church that serves in the church, community, and globally.
  8. We are a church that makes much of Jesus and less of us.

By God’s grace, for the last six years, we have been living out our mission to make Jesus-centered disciples and by His grace, we will continue to live out our mission to make disciples for the years to come. And we will do it for the glory of God.

Happy Birthday Grace Life!

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

New Year, Same God

It is the first day of the year 2021, a day we have eagerly anticipated. A typical New Year brings the possibility of new adventures, new enjoyments, and new excitements. This New Year brings those possibilities and it brings relief. Relief that 2020 is over and a New Year is upon us.  Who knows what we will see and experience this year; only the Lord knows!

One thing we do know about the 364 days ahead of us is the gift of God’s mercy. The Prophet Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3 that the mercies of God are new every morning. New mercies every morning. Look at what Jeremiah says:

“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” – Lamentations 3:19–26

Jeremiah is heartbroken over the sins of the people of Israel. He weeps and cries out to the LORD to see his affliction and his turmoil. Yet even in the pain, he remembers the character of God. He remembers God’s covenant faithfulness to His people. He remembers the Lord’s extravagant mercy.

Theologian Wayne Grudem defines “mercy” as “God’s goodness towards those in misery and distress”. God’s mercy is an act of His goodness towards us not an act towards our goodness. We are undeserving of His mercy and that is what makes His mercy so extravagant. The Lord gives His mercy out of His love for us.

When you wake up in the morning, awaiting for you is the gift of new mercies given to us by our Father in heaven. As sure as the sun rises from the east, the mercies of God are lavished upon us. Every new day brings to us a new opportunity to rest in the goodness and grace of God. When your life is in turmoil, remember God’s love and mercy for you. When you have sinned, remember God’s love and mercy for you. When you are feeling anxious, remember God’s love and mercy for you.

The reason God shows this mercy to us each and every day is due to his unending and faithful love He shows His children. He knows we need His mercy and He delights in being merciful to us. This is who God is. The mercy we receive is not based on who we are or what we have done, it is solely based on the character of a Holy God.

One of the more popular mindsets heading into the New Year is “New Year, New You”. The New Year provides an opportunity to lose weight, save money, chase that dream, or to just try something new. Resolutions are made to bring about the new you you want to be. But after a few weeks, those resolutions are stuffed in a drawer until next year. While we seek to change, our God never changes. The Psalmist states,

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you”. – Psalm 102:25–28

The Apostle James writes,

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17

Did you see that? Everything changes, but God remains the same. And our response to God’s immutability, that is, God’s unchangeableness, is to know that we are secure in Him. His promises never change, His character never changes, His Word never changes. God remains the same and when the calendar changes to a new date, God’s mercies will be there waiting anew. Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace. 

This year brings different adventures, different possibilities, or it may bring more of what we have recently dealt with, but the year also brings 365 new days where God will show us new mercies. It’s a new year, but we serve and trust in the same, unchanging, and faithful God. Let’s celebrate Him.

 

Making Jesus-Centered Disciples For God's Glory


Sunday 10am | Lake Asbury Elementary School

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