Thursday, August 25, 2011

15th Anniversary

In August, 1996 five families met with me to begin the story of what is now Grace Fellowship Church. Sunday, August 21st we celebrated our anniversary...with very little fanfare but alot of thanksgiving to God--best expressed in our congregational muscial affirmation of "Great is Thy faithfulness!"

Here are some things that stand out to me when I reflect upon our journey together...

1. We have had the strength of unity that has allowed us to walk through six different locations, a challenging building program, and a dramtically depressed economic climate in a county where unemployment is near 20%.

2. We have had a sense of purpose built around the unapologetic teaching of the Word of God. Sunday School classes, small group Bible studies, care groups and worship services all provide a venue for learning the truths of God's life-changing Word.

3. We have had a spirit of compassion for the people of our community and have welcomed opportunities to assist those in need. We support the Amador Pregnancy Center, On-A-Mission Thrift Store, the Food Bank, the local rest homes, and have recently installed Angel Food Ministry to assist in getting low cost quality food to needy families. We also provide counseling resources through our local church.

4. We have had a share in outreach to the global community with a heightened sense of our mission mandate to "make disicples of all nations", most recently in Haiti, India, Pakistan, Papau New Guinea, South America and Africa, Thailand, the Ukraine and Serbia.

5. We have had the supply of grace needed from God for every ministry and every opportunity made available to us. We have grown together into a body of believers whose commitment is to be here and abroad, "a church that cares".

"Great is they faithulness! Great is they faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand has provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

credit card and counseling

So I lost my credit card...could not find it. Looked for it, retraced my steps, called my friends, checked business establishments where I had been to see if I had left it. Result: lost credit card.

Some friends of mine getting ready to leave town for a few weeks desperately want me to counsel with a relative who is going through a dfficult time. I go to their house to try to make contact but he is not there. They leave and I promise I will try somehow to locate him while they are gone and to connect. Result: frustration.

How do these two stories relate?

Tuesday I am assuring my wife that I will find the credit card as soon as I can...and standing at the door--at the very same time--is this individual with whom I have committed to making contact--with my credit card in his hand! While trying to visit at this home last week, my credit card fell out, and he, having just found it, brought it to me.


Or, maybe that's just how God works. That's my conclusion. A lost credit card brought us together and I was able to give counsel and, hopefully, encouragement.

Isn't it cool how God works?!? Result: thankfulness.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A day at the doctor's office...

My doctor is a personal friend and I value him in many ways. He is very patient with me because I have a natural dread of doctors and doctor's offices. I have introduced him before as my doctor and he has responded increduously, "I am?" That's because my visits are probably too infreqquent and I am not a very good patient.

Today was my doctor's appointment--time for my annual physical. I was to have gone last October for a checkup but waited until now to get in to see him. I was smotivated by my twin brother's recent recent physical challenges to get the blood work in, and to see the friend.

He greeted me with a smile and shared the results of my lab reports--almost all improved and overall encouraging. I asked him about a minor ache and reported my at home blood pressure--since my office blood pressure spikes at the mere thought of seeing the friend. Go figure.

He suggested a minor change in the plan of treatment and sent me home with a general "Well done." I have been watching my diet and exercsing--something all diabetics should do--and the results were rewarding.

I thought of Matthew's record of Jedsus' words, "The well don't need a is the sick who need a doctor." I am convinced I need a doctor because I am prone to physical problems due to my genetics and general level of stress, notwithstanding my general self-care (though better now).

Jesus, the Great Physician, came for those who were spiritually sick and needy--I know that means me. When I follow His directions from the Word, and when I engage in the exercises of reading, praying and sharing, I can hear His gentle, "Well done". There have been times when His Word has exposed my spiriual ills and failures. Still, He always encourages me, and directs me in ways I can move forward in dealing with the illness of sin all of us have.

A day at the doctor's office turned out good for me this time. I want every day with Jesus to be the same experience. I want to hear Him say, "Well done, Dale..."