Monday, November 7, 2011

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

What a weekend!

We had a terrific turnout for our Open House and Dedication Service on Saturday. Many of those who partnered with us in designing and renovating our new facilities joined us to celebrate what God has done in our midst. A number of people from our community came for the Open House tours. To a person, I believe, they were impressed with what God has enabled us to do with an old, run-down grocery store and day care facility.

Sunday’s Grand Opening was fantastic. With 336 folks in attendance, the auditorium was nearly filled to capacity. Great sounds of worship reverberated throughout the room. The response to the message was humbling, with many of our visitors expressing gratitude for our ministry in this community.

God’s goodness and grace was evident throughout the entire weekend. It made every sacrifice of time, energy and finances worth it to see people connect in a real and vibrant way with the God who loves them.

Kim said it on Sunday afternoon, and I’ve thought about it since then: Sunday, November 6 marks the day our church changed forever. I think she’s right. I don’t think we’ll ever be quite the same. She meant it in a good way—that we will move forward and do even greater things for God. For over 5 years, God has been preparing us for this moment, much in the way that a parent prepares a child to enter the world.

But she’s right—we can’t go back. To go “back” would be to surrender, to give up, to fail. To go “back” would be to forfeit the opportunities God has given us—the responsibilities which He has entrusted to us. To go “back” would be to manifest irresponsible faithlessness in the light of His enduring faithfulness.

Of course, we’ll always be the church that is experiencing and expressing the love of God. We’ll do that through Community and Growth and Worship and Impact, just like we always have. We will be a place where people can grow close to one another even as they become more intimate with God. Our commitment to the truth does not waver, and our love for people will not change.

But in a rather significant way, I think this past Sunday marks a milestone in our church life. God has given us the opportunity to join Him in doing marvelous works. And if what I saw from our folks this week is any indication, we’re prepared to do just that.