Grace Community Church
Dear Grace Family,
Do you wonder sometimes when God is going to show up? I mean, seriously, I say He will all the time… other Pastors, Evangelists, teachers and scholars say it. But, in the midst of your messy life, are you wondering to yourself, ‘Ok, but when?”
Well first of all, let’s level set a bit. Even though we quite frequently use this phrase, God doesn’t have to show up because He never really leaves us. In the pagan cultures talked about in scripture (and mythology), they believed their gods lived far away on some other plain. They weren’t accessible without the proper “incentive” to intervene in human lives, and even then it was really iffy just what they would do.
Now God doesn’t have an address on Hollywood and Vine, but we know He’s with us all the time because that’s what scripture promises. And, as a bonus, He sent the Holy Spirit to be here on earth with us. God is always watching and assessing every move, every intake of breath, every desire and need.
If that leaves you wanting to have a face to face with the Holy Spirit, just look as far as your own heart and spirit. Before leaving for heaven, Jesus told the disciples that He “asked His Father to give us a Helper to be with us always. He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor recognizes Him. But you recognize Him (Jesus says), because He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17).
Before leaving them for the final time, Jesus went on to comfort his grieving friends. In verse 26 He told them “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all the things that I said to you.”
So unlike the idols and gods that pagan cultures are banking on, the real God stays here (in the person of the Holy Spirit), to go through every triumph and tragedy that we experience. And, unlike the false gods, He doesn’t require any material gift to favor us with His strength and blessing.
The Babylonian culture sacrificed its virgins and infants in order to appease a god that was never flesh and bone. In spite of copious amounts of specially raised and slaughtered swine, they never heard from the idols made by man’s hands. The manufactured statues remained silent and without soul, unable to give anything in return for the fervent prayers of the people. Not unlike us, those people were putting their hope in something material rather than the Eternal.
No doubt, our God does demand a sacrifice of sorts – but not one with any monetary value. He would never ask that you choose between Him and your child, or insist on the slaughter of innocents in order to be appeased or bribed into behavior. In fact, He is the only one who made the ultimate sacrifice of His own precious Son.
God is looking for us to give up something, but it’s not material possessions, money, time, or the things we think we desperately can’t live without. Don’t get me wrong – He does want us to freely give Him those things. But what He really longs for is for us to give up our hearts. God desires the sacrifice of us.
Most times, people say “I can’t give up this or that, it’s too hard.” Generally, they’re talking about something that is harming them – drugs, cigarettes, a destructive lifestyle, a dysfunctional relationship, a job. But none of those things are the surrender that God’s looking for. When you simply give yourself to Him, He’ll clean up the rest of the mess.
God doesn’t ask you to surrender so He can manipulate or change who you are. Remember, you were created in His perfect image. He wants you to give up so He can start moving on your behalf. God wants you healthy, happy, and most of all SATISFIED!
If you think you don’t even know how to start, begin here: Romans 8:26 says “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us…”. Don’t know what to say? Don’t know what to even ask for anymore? The Holy Spirit does.
We don’t need to worry about what material ‘things’ we’ll have to give up when we give our hearts and lives over to God. He only wants the good in us, but He will accept the bad too. Because God knows that when we have truly surrendered, He will be able to begin working on the things we crave, all the stuff we think we can’ t live without, but that don’t work for our good. He will begin rebuilding us to a new and wonderful 2.0 version, complete with all the equipment we need – like the armor of God – to get through this crazy life.
Let me warn you, though. Whether you’re a new Christian or a seasoned Believer, when you begin to let it all go and allow God to be in control, amazing things will begin to happen. If you ask for revival, you better make sure you’re ready to be revived! Because that’s what God will do
Be blessed my Grace family. God is on the throne!
Pastor Eric and I know you’ve all heard the announcements by President Trump and our Governor. Rest assured, we are thoughtfully planning a return to our church. There are precautions that we must take, and supplies that must be available. We too are anxious to be worshipping together again. Our Denomination is prayerfully considering, planning, and putting in place the appropriate guidelines. Stay tuned! We’ll be together very soon.
While services are still suspended, please like and follow our Grace Community Church Facebook page to see streamed worship and preaching. And please continue to be faithful in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online at https://www.MercedGrace.com, or mail your checks to 3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 Merced, CA 95340.
Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has been in ministry for more than 15 years, having worked as an assisting Pastor and Youth Pastor at Victory Life Center in Merced prior to coming to Grace. He was recently honored with Ordination through the ICFG, and has made a smooth transition into his position as Senior Pastor. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.
Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.