Grace Notes for March 18
Dear Grace Family,
We use the word “grace” a lot, especially when thinking about how we should treat each other, or how God behaves with us. When it comes to God, we know it’s a gift – something completely unmerited and unearned. It’s not realistic to think we’re capable of that same behavior, or that those around us are – although that should certainly be what we strive for.
I think that, sometimes, we expect others to show grace as we believe it looks. The problem is, grace may not be the same for me as it is for you. And it may not be the same for you as it is for others. Our perspective of “grace” is always colored by our own experiences in life.
Webster defines grace as a noun: “simple elegance or refinement of movement,” or as a verb: to “do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.” Neither is really what we generally mean when we’re looking for a little “grace” in our lives from our brothers and sisters. I think what we’re really asking for is more of a break. In the case or God, of course, it is always unmerited favor. He is forever constant, so that grace is never colored or seasoned by His history with us. But God is God, and we are not.
Without a doubt we are called to be gracious. Colossians 4:6 says “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” And Luke 6:36 calls us to “Be merciful, even as our Father is merciful.”
So though we can’t always give grace, as God has given it to us (it’s just not within our human capability), we can give each other a break (show mercy). We can be careful with the things we do and say to one another, being mindful of each other’s feelings, history, and hurts. We can encourage one another and show elegance in how we deal with one another – both when delivering a hard message, and when having a hard message delivered to us.
What we can do is forgive one another -- over and over and over – just like God has forgiven us. That means giving someone pardon, exoneration, indulgency, clemency, mercy. We are capable of that! We may not understand why someone does something, but we can move past it, and love them anyway. And if we’re smart, we might even want to examine the reality of our response and ask ourselves if we’ve colored our feelings with past history or unrealistic expectations. Just because we feel something strongly doesn’t mean it’s healthy or right.
If we are going to have a strong and functional family, we are going to have to understand that we’re all going to be hurt from time to time. It’s just the human condition to have misunderstandings and disagreements. If we can’t show complete and unmerited grace, let’s move to show forgiveness, mercy and indulgence with each other’s humanness.
I’m not talking about just “forgiving” with our words, or saying we’ve moved past something when we haven’t even confronted it. Holding on to hurt can only cause a sore to grow over on the surface, but fester underneath. Before long, that infection is going to surface and cause a rift that can’t be easily cured. But when we do confront our brothers and sisters, let’s remember that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. And bigger than both of those, is our heart and our heads.
Let’s take the time to pray through our responses to one another… to make sure our words are gracious, even when the salt they are seasoned with can burn. God will give us the words to say if we allow Him to speak through us. And just as we were forgiven, He will grow forgiveness in our hearts for others. It’s hard to be mad at someone you’re asking God to help you understand and forgive.
Be blessed, my Grace family!
The week at Grace:
- TUESDAY’S, 6:30 – 8:00 pm: Men & Women’s Bible Study
- THURSDAY’S, 5:30 – 6:30: Worship Team practice. If you are interested in participating on the Worship team, please talk to Bobbie.
- THURSDAY’S, 6:30 – 8 pm, Youth of the Nation weekly worship service and bible study.
- THURSDAY’S 6:30 – 8 pm, Grace Gospel Choir practice – everyone is welcome!
- We are updating the Church Directory… please check with Pastor Bobbie to ensure you are in the directory and that your record is correct.
- Look for the Time-Talent-Treasure cards on the back table: What is your special gifting? Will you share it with your Grace family? We need your help to keep our house running smooth. Please grab a card and let us know where you might feel God’s prompting to step into a church ministry.
- We are still fund-raising for our Church Van. Can you help? Please consider a monthly pledge, or a one-time donation. Mark your offering envelope “Church Van” so we know to designate the funds appropriately.
- We need additional Audio-Visual help for services. Please see Coral if you are interested in training on Song Show Plus.
- We are looking for additional Children’s Church teachers. Please see Toni or Bobbie if you feel God leading you in this direction. Our youth are our most valuable resource. When planning an event, please contact Bobbie with the date so she can make sure there isn’t any conflict with other church activities
Welcome to our new Senior Pastor, Eric Domen, his wife, Raquel, and their sweet family. We feel especially blessed to have this amazing man leading our congregation. It is going to be a great season of renewal and revival and we are looking forward to a mighty move of God!
We are also pleased to announce the addition of Pastor Bobbie Frye to our ministry staff. She has been named Administrative Pastor of Grace. She will be helping us in getting organized and active in Merced and beyond! Welcome, Bobbie!