Grace Notes: Real Grace
Dear Grace Family,
I was thinking this week about the name we have chosen for our church body – Grace Community Church. The reason it came to my mind is because I've been feeling so blessed by our family. This Saturday, we're going to be doing a baptismal service, and three beautiful young women are declaring their faith. New family members!
As I was thinking about the many times we have gathered in crisis and in blessing, I can't help but thank God for each of you. Wondering how to express that thought, I was looking through some of my old letters to you and came across the paragraphs below. They are part of the first Grace Notes I ever wrote. It helps me realize that the blessing is two fold. It's partly about our fellowship with one another, but it is also about the culture we share of going into the world and making disciples.
Last week I talked about changes as the world begins to re-open after the Pandemic. Is there any better time to level set and remind ourselves of our primary mission? That is what Jesus asked of us, and it is also what our family does. So here is a reminder from 2016.
“Grace” (from the Greek New Testament word charis) is God’s unmerited favor. It is the kindness and mercy of God that we can never earn, repay, or be deserving of. It is given freely, although it wasn’t free - it was paid for by the blood of Jesus – a sacrifice that we could never possibly understand with our human minds and hearts. An acronym for Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I’m not sure who first coined the phrase, but it is incredibly true.
And then there is “Community,” which is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common,” or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
I’m so humbled by the thought that what we share in common is God’s love for us. We are a family because we recognize that although we are flawed and lacking, through the blood of Jesus we are strong, capable, and redeemed! And we share a love and concern each other -- and for the world around us.
It made me realize how much I want to open my arms and pull others into our community. I want the whole world to know that this special favor is available to everyone. I want to take a message to the world that no matter what they’ve done or who they are, God is available and yearning for them. And I want them to know that our doors are open to them in whatever condition they arrive. There is a Casting Crowns song that says:
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
would care to know my name,
would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
would choose to light the way
for my ever wandering heart?
Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are…
Let’s take our message, and our love, to the streets this week. Invite someone to come and fellowship with us and join our community -- not because of who we are, but because of who HE is.
Be blessed, my Grace family. God is on the throne!
- We are meeting in person again!! All social distancing protocols will be in place, so please wear your masks, use hand sanitizer as you enter, and sit in family groups. For the health of everyone, if you are not feeling well or have a temperature, we would ask that you stay home and join us on-line. We will continue to live stream on Facebook for those who are not quite ready to attend in person, and for those who are not feeling well.
- Ladies Bible study is continuing on Zoom. You can join us on Tuesday night at 7 pm. For more information, please reach out to Pastor Bobbie.
- Youth of the Nations are having a weekly Zoom meeting on Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 pm.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online here, or mail your checks to 3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 Merced, CA 95340.
Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has a passion for his flock, and for the community of Merced and beyond. His strength and leadership are only surpassed by his generosity and passion to evangelize. 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.