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When All is Said and Done
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7-18-13 update

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When All is Said and Done

    On our news page, you will read about the many improvements we are making to our facilities, materials, and equipment. This is all part of a long range one-time investment approved by our Leadership Team, and we are excited about it all.
     But here is a caution we have to make. When all is said and done, none of these things will bring us revitalization and growth. All they will do is provide an atmosphere where revitalization and growth may more easily take place. Instead, we must note two things.
     (1) Revitalization and Growth will result from our corporate hard work. I call it "grace-infused effort" noting Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:9-11, particularly this phrase: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." It is our responsibility to obey the Great Commission (make disciples of all nations), the Great Commandment (love God with our whole being and our neighbors as ourselves), the New Commandment (truly love each other in the church as Christ has loved us) and the Great Requirement (work for true biblical justice, show tender mercy to others, and always walk humbly with God). And we do all of this, with moment-by-moment faith in His grace to work in and through us. No amount of new "stuff" will do that for us. So it is our mutual commitment and dedication to these things which will be paramount.
     (2) But the greatest work we must do is the work of prayer, because in the end, we plant and we water, but only God brings the increase. We must be fully dependent on Him and crying out to Him to bring that growth in His time and His way. We must pray that He will open the hearts of people we witness to, that He will give us those Christ-like graces which make us winsome witnesses, that He will enable us to demonstrate true biblical love to one another in the Body of Christ, that He will give us a deepening desire to make Him our greatest treasure, that He will grant us boldness and courage and love and wisdom and compassion as we are out among the people in our community, that He will place within us a growing desire for justice and mercy for the oppressed and marginalized, and more...
     (3) Finally, the preaching of the Word of God systematically with application must continue to be the norm. As I often say, I've been to all the church growth seminars (particularly in the 80s and 90s. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt to prove it. And what I have discovered is, it all comes back down to basics - the Word of God and prayer. That more than anything else, will revitalize and grow a church. We obey the Word, we depend on God in prayer, and we anticipate His powerful working among us. It can happen! And I believe it will! 
   
                                                                                              Going Forward Together,
                                                                                              Pastor Ray

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