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Where God Is at Work in Cross of Grace

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This week I'm out of town on a study retreat and next weekend I will be with our partner church Grace Church in Peoria, AZ so it's dawned on me that I won't see you all for two whole Sundays. As I think about missing two Sundays I feel two things: 1) gratefulness for our church, 2) sadness that I won't be with you all this week and weekend. 

But as I step back and look at our church my heart wells up in gratefulness I wanted to share some specific things I'm grateful for in our church right now. These are places where I see God at work, places where amazing things are happening. Jesus loves his church and is building his church and every day, every week, every year is active. Here's where I see him working lately:

  • God Is Shaping Us as We Encounter His Word: I've been amazed at how people have remarked that specific points in the messages or Community Group studies address specific issues in their lives. That's amazing because we could never plan that. That's God's work among us. 
  • God Is Motivating Us to Sacrificial Service: I was simply amazed that we met our fundraising goal for the renovation project––this is God at work in motivating us toward generosity for his cause. I've been even more amazed at all the people stepping in to help with the renovation project work. Just this Sunday two of our young guys were undernearth the stage helping with wiring for hours. Just today a number of longtime members are 
  • God is Bringing New Folks: We never want to be a church that's all about the numbers because more people does not necessarily even mean more health. But more folks attending, joining as members, and joining Community Groups can be one way God is at work––and I truly believe he is. 
  • God Is Growing Us in Diversity: I'm grateful that we don't just have one "type" of person in our church or one "type" of person visiting. We have military folks, longtime El Pasoans, and new folks to the city. We have people from different social and economic backgrounds. In our last new members class we had some really young folks and more seasoned saints. The old adage is that you can fight it, but your church will gravitate toward one "type." I'm grateful that doesn't seem to be true for us!
  • God is Pushing Us to Change & Grow: Four years ago when we launched our replanting project we saw many areas that needed to change and grow. A couple years into that season I preached a message on how we want to pursue Semper Reformanda –– the value that we are always being reformed by the word of God. Two years later I see so much growth, but also see lots that needs to change, grow, and adapt to our current season. But this is God's kindness –– it throws us ever more into dependence on him. 

Over and over in the New Testament when Paul writes to churches he is careful and intentional to draw their eyes to where God is at work among them and to thank God (out loud!) for them. Here's one example:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6 ESV)

I think this is such a helpful practice for us. We get bogged down in day to day life. Often we're more aware of what's broken or needs fixing than what's being sustained, fixed, or is growing. So church let's get good at recognizing and rejoicing in God's work among us. He is at work. So let's recognize, rejoice, and move forward in confidence. 

Grateful for you, 

-Ricky