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TEN YEARS AGO LAST MONTH, our church went through a sort of test. We were tested on whether we believed in grace or not.
When I was in Bible college, a chapel preacher told the story of becoming a new pastor at a church that had just experienced a split. The situation was raw, and the people were angry and bitter. Tempers flared and everyone had bad things to say about the others.
He said something like, “The WORST part about it was our name: GRACE Baptist Church. We weren’t exactly living up to what we said we were.”
At least he admitted it.
Grace is that unmerited favor that Christ showed you at salvation.
Grace is what we show to others. Whether they’ve hurt us directly or not, we as Christians can choose to show grace… the same way Christ shows it to us with his mercies that are new every morning.
Well, ten years ago last month was a test to see if WE knew how to show grace, and, tonight in the service, I’m so excited about seeing some of the fruit of that grace.
Showing grace to one another can never fully remove the consequences of our past. I suppose, in some ways, we as a church might still reap some negative fruit, but I believe that the blessings have far outweighed any setbacks.
Forgiveness should be on the other side of godly sorrow. Restoration should be on the other side of openness and humility.
As a pastor, I’m still trying to figure out what we’re really “good” at… but I hope it’s being gracious. I believe God can bless that, and I think tonight will show the long-term fruit of grace.
Come tonight and you’ll see what I mean.
-Pastor Ryan Rench