Indelible Grace Church

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Indelible Grace Church Blog

Reflections on our vision in 2019

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"Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men." – Mark 1:17

As we approach 2019, I want to reflect on the vision of our church that we laid out in the summer of 2018. This was the fruit of many months of discussions with the elders and lay leaders of the church. Remember, IGC only became particularized (electing and installing elders) in March of 2018. The first goal of the Session was to set forth a guiding vision for our church.

The vision of our church is "following Jesus and helping others to follow Jesus." There are two parts to our vision, and the key is that you cannot do one without the other.

First, the Christian life is to follow Jesus. This means to leave behind our old life of sin and idolatry, and to start a new life of love and obedience. This is a radical call that demands our whole life.

Second, the Christian life is helping others to follow Jesus. And here is the key. You cannot follow Jesus without helping others to follow Jesus. These are inseparable pursuits. In other words, Christianity is not a solo endeavor, but can only be done in deep community with others. We do this through evangelism in the world and discipleship in the church. In this way, the whole church is involved in the work of ministry.

What does this look like practically in our church? Many people have asked what new program or what specific ministry will this involve. The answer is that our vision is less about starting new programs, and more about creating a new culture. It’s about everyone leaning into the church and pouring themselves out for others. And it will look different for different people. For some, it means joining an intensive discipleship group. For others, it means serving in Children/Youth Ministry and mentoring young hearts to follow Christ. And for others, it means finding the courage to share Christ with a co-worker.

Here is one practical suggestion to start. In your relationships in the church, be more intentional in your conversations. Ask someone about their walk with God. Take someone out to coffee to talk about spiritual things. Invite a family over for dinner and share prayer requests. Talk to your children about the Christian faith.

This will be a long conversation in our church. We do not expect to arrive at our destination in a few short years. There will be many steps along the journey. At our upcoming January leadership dinner, there will be a discussion about how the vision intersects with community groups. In February or March, there will be a congregational meeting. And all the time, the elders are continuing to meet with ministry leaders to flesh out the vision. And lastly, we invite you to join us this Sunday morning, 10:10am at the library, to pray about the vision for our church in 2019.

Photo caption, from top to bottom: A baptism, Particularization service, Missions conference with MTW, Children's Ministry class, Mercy Ministry event in Oakland, Men's Retreat, Women's Retreat, and Youth Ministry mini-golf.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 January 2019 12:07
 

Good Friday Reflection

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During the Christmas season, we hear the following words:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found…

In the Bible, thorns are more than a nuisance to gardeners and farmers. They represent the curse that the entire world was placed under after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Because we don’t live in an agrarian society, we don’t give much thought to thorns. But anyone who works in agriculture will tell you how difficult thorns make their lives. They injure. They choke out life. They mar beauty. Thorns remind us that this world is cursed with disease and selfishness and sorrow. But we don’t need thorns to remind us of these things. Every moment of pain and sadness in our lives testify to the curse the world is under.

As Jesus made his way to the cross, soldiers placed a crown of thorns on his head. They didn’t know it, but in doing so they placed the very curse of God on the Messiah’s head.

by Pastor Wade

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 21:53
 

Particularization Service

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On March 11, 2018, after nearly 8 years, Indelible Grace Church was a church plant no longer, and having ordained and installed ruling elders, became a fully established and self-governing church. In PCA lingo, this is called "particularization." Jeff Murry, David Yi and Sammy Zheng were ordained and installed as ruling elders. They took solemn vows in the discharge of their duties, and there was the laying on of hands and prayer. The congregation also make solemn vows of obedience and faithfulness, as we became an organized church. And finally, Pastor Michael was installed as pastor. Elders and pastors from neighboring PCA churches participated in the service.

Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2018 12:01
 

Reflection on Gratitude

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Gratitude is one of the central characteristics of the Christian life. The Bible is replete with commands to give thanks: Colossians 3:15, “and be thankful,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances,” Ephesians 5:20, “give thanks always and for everything to God.”

And there is Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. In the story, ten lepers cry out from a distance to Jesus, “master, have mercy on us.” Jesus tells them, “go show yourself to the priests,” and on the way, all of them are cleansed and healed. But only one returns to Jesus, falls at his feet, and gives thanks. Jesus replies, “were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”

We can all sympathize with the nine. They were eager to get on with the business of returning to their lives. They had homes and families waiting for them. They had missed so much of life, they didn’t want to miss another minute. But they forgot to give thanks to the source of all their good things. And most tragically, they missed the Savior Jesus.

We are very much like those nine lepers. So busy and occupied, we don’t pause to reflect in wonder and awe at God’s bountiful goodness. Every breath, every ray of sunshine, every stray moment of happiness is a gift. Let us pause and give thanks to God, most of all for the gift of Jesus.

 

Staff project: memorizing Colossians

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As a spiritual exercise, the staff has challenged itself to memorize Colossians. All of it. Every single verse, word for word. What better way to "hide God's Word in our hearts" (Psalm 119:11) than to have it fully recollected in our memories?

To be perfectly honest, it's been both much harder than we imagined – you literally find yourself muttering Scripture in the shower, in line at the grocery market; it encompasses the whole day – and much more rewarding than we suspected. You begin to notice little details and connections. Suddenly grammar and syntax matters! You pay attention not just to the famous verses, but also to the surrounding context. And you notice even the littlest words and marvel at the meaning behind it. There are so many insights we'd love to share.

Next time, ask one of us – Becky, Christina, Michael, Nate, Tracy and Wade. We're memorizing 5 verses a week and we're currently near the end of Colossians 2. Only 2 more chapters to go!

Last Updated on Monday, 21 August 2017 21:33
 
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