I wonder when was the last time that you stood in awe of what the Lord has done for you. The Bible refers to God’s working among us in many different ways, one of the best known is referred to as His grace! It is important that we remember that Christ, is really about God’s gift to each of us, the gift of grace.
Thinking of God’s grace reminds me of a field trip I took with a Doctoral Ministry class on church planting. It was a class that I wanted to take in preparation for leading Living Hope. It was time and money very well spent. The several week class included two field trips to meet with two church planters in the Seattle area. It was the first trip that reminded me of grace as we met with the guy planting a work on Capitol Hill in Seattle. The Lord was using this planter and the team to touch lives in the heart of the city. It was his story on how they came up with the name of the church that reminds me of the importance of Grace in each of our lives. He went on to share that when he ran the potential church names by those that were not church people that the Lord confirmed the name of the church. If happened when talking to a guy that was living an alternative life style that responded, “I would pick grace because we all need grace!” If you haven’t figured it out yet, that church would become Grace Church.
I am thankful for Christmas because it was the door that opened for God’s grace in my life. Today, reading Acts 10, I was reminded of Peter’s visit to the God-fearing gentile soldier Cornelius. The Lord was working to help Peter grasp that the Gospel was for all people. Peter would also be instrumental in opening a previously closed door of ministry to the non-Jewish peoples of the world. It was these words of his that reminds us of the blessing of Christmas. “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”” (Acts 10:43 ) It was the coming of God in the flesh that began the work that would provide a payment for our sin.
There are many wonderful aspects of this time of the year. The greatest for me is the birth of the Savior for all those that will simply believe. The angels that announced the Messiah’s birth to the shepherds put it this way, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
I do not know where you are in your life right now. I do want you to know, that no matter where you are, the Lord is there for you. This is the heartbeat of Christmas and the glory of God’s grace to you. It is the heartbeat of our church for our community too. The same process used in our community lead us to these word for the name of our church “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson