Community Updates

Preparing for Worship: Giving Thanks in the Presence of All

Grace Office
June 2, 2022

                                                                                                                   Quartet scene from Titanic

                                                              "Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?" from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

“The prophetic word always comes at the times when hope is drained, because God will not allow hope to die in this world. There is a proper hubris in this story that the church should remember. It is the hubris of a mission filled with hope and guided by faith that announces our life within the life of God.  It is a hubris that dares to speak at the site of despair and chaos, saying God lives and so too will we live.”

“Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible; Acts” by Willie James Jennings

       Note: Sunday worship at 10:15 AM
                 In-person worship and live stream
Dear Grace Family,

When I started my interview process at Grace in 2017, Pastor John and the hiring committee had set up a number of one-on-one interviews and hiring committee conversations concerning Grace kids and youth ministry. One of my last interviews was more of a town hall conversation with any members of Grace who wanted to ask me questions after preaching before the congregation.

I recall being asked a number of questions about raising Christian children in a progressive city, and specifically helping children and teens to navigate local scholastic contexts that seem anti-Christian.  As I began to answer questions along these lines, I remember feeling the anxiety of the parents in the room.  It is an anxiety I empathize with as I raise my own children to be Christ-followers in a cultural milieu that feels so antagonistic to reality and reign of Jesus.

However, I do remember cutting short these series of questions with admittedly an air of incredulousness and hubris.  My push-back to these very legitimate concerns was not that they aren’t worth talking about or requiring wisdom—but they presuppose that the world, our city, our neighborhoods and schools are under the sway of darkness and depravity.  It as if we are more like the quartet playing on the Titanic resigned to a dark fate, than Captain America confidently engaging the enemy!

Almost five years later I still feel these questions reverberate in my heart: Isn’t Christ Lord of all?

Or better yet as Psalm 118:6 says,

            The Lord is on my side, whom shall I fear?  What can man do to me?

I remember feeling foolish saying this to the group in 2017, and I have felt a good and godly hubris every Sunday I’ve had the privilege to preach this message to you, Beloved.  Yes, we need wisdom, yes the world can be a dark place, and yes we must raise our children in holiness and righteousness; but we must not do these things out of anxiety, but with a Gospel confidence in Jesus before the sight of our friends and neighbors.  

We are not living in Satan’s world, but in Christ’s!

In Acts 27, Paul demonstrates this godly hubris when all those with him had given up hope, (v. 20); and when the power of the Roman Empire was about to take his life and the lives of those shipwrecked off the coast of Crete, (v. 42). In the midst of oppression, hopelessness, and godlessness--Paul confidently rebukes, exhorts, and shares a meal on the deck of a sinking ship!  Incredible!

For my last message to you all, I just want to encourage you with the same message I came with in 2017.  This is God’s world, we live in Christ’s victory; and we eat and fellowship in a hopeless world assured of not only our salvation, but also of all those under our prayerful care (vs 22-24).

I look forward to worshipping with you all in person or remotely this Sunday!

This Sunday: Acts 27: 13-26, 31-38, 42-44
                     "Giving Thanks in the Presence of All”
Here is the Order of Worship.

Blessings to you,