Mosaic of Misfits: From Rooted to HopeFirst

This week marks the end of the Fall Rooted class at Grace and boy did we all walk in a wounded bunch. From family crisis to life-threatening health issues, from addiction to those hurt by the church, we were a mosaic of misfits (or at least my group was)!

Last Sunday, Pastor Dan suggested we ask God to shift our lives to be used by God and posed the question:

“What do we need to make room for?

In the case of our Rooted group, we decided to make room in our schedules for the 10-week class. To sacrifice our time for the potential to go deeper with the Lord, for the possibility of connecting with people and finding a church home. God blessed that over those 10 weeks and we now not only feel like family, but can’t wait to continue learning, growing and serving as a group at Grace.

Pastor Dan also told us that shifting is about “laying down what’s good for what’s great.” To this the lyrics of the Jonny Diaz song called “Breathe” came to mind:

“Lay down what’s good and find what’s best…”

As we transition into becoming a home group, we have begun to ask the question of what we will do as a group, as well as individually, to support Grace’s new audacious and huge HopeFirst initiative.

Some initial brainstorms…

We have looked at where help is still needed for the upcoming Discover Events and HopeFirst Day. As we have all been uniquely impacted by addiction, we have a special soft spot for seeing those six houses for recovering addicts become a reality. As parents, we have a desire to see God move in our city through a new building to welcome children to hear about Jesus.

In the meantime, we have discussed having a dinner together as a group where each couple brings one item to contribute in order to assemble bags we can hand out to the homeless we encounter in our community. Warm socks, snacks, chapstick, toothbrushes and the like.

As an individual, I’ve considered having a garage sale with proceeds going to HopeFirst. I also made the decision to wear a family heirloom ring on my left hand ring finger and sell my wedding ring in order to donate towards HopeFirst.

As the holiday season draws near, the mood around Grace Church is less about making a Christmas list of new stuff we want this year and more a time of contemplation of what we can sacrifice so that others can get what they need…of seeing their spiritual and felt needs met.

I challenge anyone reading this to ask themselves the same question. And for the guy thinking about popping the question to his girlfriend, I’ve got just the gorgeous, princess cut solitaire ring for you to buy…and the money you spend could change a person’s life!

Lexi King is a mom of 3 and a deliriously smitten wife. She is passionate about encouraging and connecting women, writing, music, Jesus and queso…not necessarily in that order.

“God saved us for something.”

“God saved us for something.” Those words rang in my head all day Sunday. I kept asking myself…What is holding me back from God’s purpose? Three words that Pastor Dan spoke helped me start this process of identifying God’s purpose for my life. It all starts with genuine worship of the only One worthy of our worship. Pastor Dan said John 4:24 says what it looks like to worship God fully, in both spirit and truth. If we are to worship God in that way we have to understand that worship is “a response to who God is and what He does.” How can I do that? Three words jumped out at me in Sunday’s message.

God, What is it You want out of my life? Romans 12:1 is a good place to start to understand that I am to present my body as “a living sacrifice.” That’s a big deal.

Is my life being saturated with thoughts about God? The best way to do that is to regularly dive into God’s word. God’s word is living and is God’s primary answer to everything! If you are praying regularly and not hearing from God, maybe He wants to speak to you through His word. When I realized that, it changed how I read Scripture and how God speaks to me. I encourage you to try it.

Am I living a life of sacrifice Pastor Dan says: Sacrifice is giving up something I love for something I love MORE. So what do I really love? I love football: college, pro, high school, whatever. God has repeatedly called me to do things on my normal football Sundays at the church to help me let go of something I love (football) for something I love more (God and His church). That’s why you see me on most Sundays serving: because God has asked me to start sacrificing for Him. You may think that giving up football is not a sacrifice but it is to me! I lived for football and would spend hours every day watching games or reading about teams!

If I can really get these 3 core principles of genuine worship down how amazing would my become? The cost of following Jesus is NOTHING compared to the cost of not following Jesus. Our lives become infinitely greater when we enter into a relationship with Him.

God created us to live an amazing life with Him: a life on purpose. I’m ready. Ready to get out the audience and into the army. Thanks Pastor Dan for a great message!

13497766_10100149304574735_7871103180094266523_oStephen loves working with Grace students, and in his spare time is a dietitian. He’s married to Elise, and they are expecting their first baby next year!