Grace Notes for December 17, 2017
Dear Grace Family,
Have you ever prayed that God would help you love Him more? As Believers, we struggle with the act of “surrender.” Oh, we get surrendered from time to time, in the passion of great worship, when something amazing and miraculous occurs in our lives, or when we’re truly desperate for a touch; but overall, on a day to day basis, we still tend to keep the reins held tight in our lives, never really understanding what surrender means.
Many of us pray that God will help us to “love Him more.” We equate loving someone, even God, with being able to let go of our own fears, desires, and habits with total abandon. That’s a massive undertaking, since we’re all a complex jumble of the experiences, traumas and joys we’ve had in our lives -- and our own reaction to these events that shape us.
Why do we ask God to help us to love Him more, when the more important thing is to ask Him to help us know Him more? If we ever can fully grasp His unrelenting and uncompromising care for us, we would have so much love in our hearts we couldn’t even contain it.
We are, primarily, emotional beings. We can learn to override that with critical thinking and logic, but at the core what really speaks to us is what we feel. We wouldn’t ask our spouse or friends to help us love them more. We intuitively know that our love is going to be in response to how they treat us, and how faithful they are in their care of us.
Isn’t that ironic? God truly is the only constant in our lives. He is the one who will always be there for us, who will love us no matter what we do or say, and who will never become fickle or restless in His devotion. Yet we think we need an instruction manual to help us love Him more. Shouldn’t that just be a given?
The answer is really knowing God. The test of love in the natural is being able to look past another’s faults, in spite of what we know about them. God has passed that test with us… we know He constantly looks past our faults. He has nothing that we need to overlook. We just need to grasp onto the knowledge of who He really is.
If we really want to love God more, we must learn who He is, and how he feels about us. The best antidote to the struggles in our lives is to fill our mind with His promises. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” We don’t need to keep asking Him to help us love Him more. We need to keep seeking an understanding of His true nature so that we can pull from that knowledge in our darkest times. Loving Him is easy, knowing Him is a life-time’s journey. Thankfully, we have an instruction manual in the Scriptures that tell us just who He is and how He feels about us.
Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 119:90 “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You have established the earth, and it stands fast.” 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself. In other words, His very nature is steadfast. How could we not love Him? We just need to know Him.
Be blessed, my Grace family!
The week at Grace:
- TUESDAY’S, 6:30 – 8:00 pm: Men & Women’s Bible Study – We are taking a quick break until after the holidays. Bible study will resume on January 9th
- 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.
- Next Sunday, December 24th, we will share a very special morning service. Come and worship with us as we present our Christmas vignette: A Baby Changed the World.” Please bring your family and friends for this special time of celebration, worship and ministry. At 9:30 am, we’ll enjoy special treats in the lobby area, then move into the Sanctuary to celebrate the birth of our King.
- Participants for the Christmas program…. There is a full dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 23rd, 2 pm – 5 pm. This includes the Worship team, actors, and all tech support.
- January 2nd, 7 pm, we will be hosting the Rescue Mission graduation ceremony, weather permitting. Please keep this date open, if you can help serve, clean-up, or bring in desserts for the graduates and their families.
- Wednesday, January 10th, 6 pm, is the ladies monthly fellowship & potluck at the Blackmon’s home. We’ve moved the monthly potluck to the second Wednesday of every month, beginning in January. The theme for our next get-together is Baked Potato Bar. Bring your favorite toppings or dessert to share.
- 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 SongShow Plus.
ALL ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE PRINTED AND AVAILABLE ON THE BACK TABLE. THEY ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.MERCEDGRACE.COM!
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!