Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Such Grace!!!

So I haven't talked a lot about our church, mainly because we attend a rather large church, and we have taken a lot of slack about it at times. It is a personal choice for us and really has nothing to do with the size and everything to do with God.

You see Dick and I both went to smaller churches, in fact like really small country type churches when we were younger. But we met a couple who went to James River and kept telling us how much they liked it, but we like so many others said something like, "it's too big". At the time it had between 2,000-2,500 people, but we really felt like we needed to check it out, and as soon as we walked into the sanctuary we knew, God was there and in a BIG way. His Spirit was resting there.

Well that was back about 1996, a couple of years before D and I got married. We so much enjoyed the church and learned so much there. Well after we married we moved to a small community and started attending and serving in a small church that we also loved and felt like God led us to for that season in our lives. We met lasting friends and church family there. But after being there about 3 years God was talking to us about going back to JRA. We had moved back closer to the church so I couldn't use that as an excuse, we were right in between the two churches at this point. Well, D and I started talking about it, and about a year later (yes I know, a year?!!) we decided that it was time. I was very sad to leave that small intimate church, but I knew that God had much bigger things in store for us if I'd just get out of the boat of my comfortableness ~~ ya know what I mean?

Well I did and we did and we started back to JRA and that has been 5 years ago now. When we started back it was a new location and a much bigger church, in fact on Easter Sunday this year. we broke a record for attendance, over 15,100 people. God is so Good!!! And no this is not in LA or Houston or some huge city, it is in Ozark, MO. Remarkable!!! It is a campus now, complete with fitness center, cafe, bookstore and college. How great is that? God is doing such a work in our church. And in the fall there will be a Satellite church (one church in two locations is our motto =) and it is going to be within about 10-15 mins of our house (right now church is about 30-35 minutes away). I'm so excited about this and praying God will give us many opportunities to serve and to build relationships at this new location. Because honestly we have found it a little difficult to fit in to such a large congregation. But we know that this is where God has planted us right now. And we want to be in the center of His will, ALWAYS!!

Well, so why all this talk about our church? Well I love our church so much and our Pastor's John and Debbie Lindell. He is flat out the best preacher I have ever heard.ever. He really makes me think and challenges me, like every single time I hear the man. He is so gifted.

Well Sunday he preached out of Luke 24 (yes still in Luke), and he brought out something I had not considered before. In verse 33 it reads: "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." As in Simon Peter. And then in I Corinthians 15:5: "and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." So what is this pertaining to and why is it important?

This is after Jesus' resurrection. He appeared to Simon Peter and that is all that we know of that encounter. What was so amazing about this to me was what our Pastor brought out. He said, "By the grace of God, the interchange between Simon Peter and Jesus is not detailed." And then he goes on to say that he sometimes thinks about how cool it would've been to be in the Bible, but at the same time, if you were written about in the Bible your low lites were highlighted. He said that it was such an act of grace on the part of Father God not to put that interchange in there. Can you imagine how Peter must have felt seeing Jesus for the first time after he had betrayed Him? Yes that was a huge act of grace on the part of our Abba.

I believe that was a private moment of reconciliation for Peter. And Peter was never the same. It is a completely different Peter we see after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Just read the Acts of the Apostles and I and II Peter. He led an extraordinary sold out life to the Lord and died a martyrs death. He was hung upside down because he would not be crucified the same way Jesus was, but also just prior to his Crucifixion he had to watch his wife be murdered as well. And as she was being crucified he said to her, "Remember the Lord, Remember the Lord" This just makes me cry on the inside. My heart physically hearts when I think of it. He could have said so many things to her in that moment, but he said the one thing that could truly give her peace, "Remember the Lord." Yes Peter was an extraordinary servant of the Lord.

I want to be extraordinary for my Lord. I am being given a huge opportunity through trial to make a difference for the Kingdom, but it is a very difficult trial, so I am listening intently to the still small voice of my Savior.

Remember that God loves you today and that we serve a Risen Savior!!!!!!

Have a Blessed Tuesday,


  1. WOW! I love when little things say so much in the Bible! And I LOVE Peter... I've read before - look at how Judas reacted to betraying Jesus - he committed suicide. Peter accept Jesus love & forgiveness & Mercy & look at who he became!!!!

    And good luck with the satellite church! Maybe that's a great opportunity to really get to "Be" part of the congregation! Get some good relationships!

    We of course are in a little country church & I cant imagine having those deep friendships - but God works in so many ways! Big or small, God is there - right!!! Its where you are being fed!

  2. How exciting that you are going to have a "satellite" location of your church very near to you! How awesome that you will be able to be even MORE involved.

    I know that you and Dick will be a huge blessing to all that you come in contact with!

    And....I'd say you are already pretty extraordinary!!!!!

    Your Southern Belle,
    MiMi (-;

  3. I just love Peter. I love the whole bible!

    Thanks for sharing with us. You are such a delightful friend!

    Missouri isn't too far from me in NE Louisiana.


  4. You are very extraordinary in my book, but I know what you mean. This is awesome. We attend a fairly large church too, not quite as large as yours, and sometimes I find it hard to connect, but I've found that being in a small group has made the difference. My best to you in this exciting move of God!

  5. I love thinking about what that encounter must've been like. Peter no longer denied Christ and went to his death for the cause of Christ. I love that!!

    So glad you're getting a satellite church. I would love to have a Family Life Center with a little coffee shop or something at our church. Fun!!