September 29, 2003
Dear Family of Friends,
We are now underway with our fall spiritual growth emphasis we are calling “50 Days of Love.” Jesus told us there is no greater commandment than to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to likewise love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Most of us have a theoretical understanding of love, but not a very practical understanding. That is the emphasis of the 50 Days of Love. It is my prayer that during the next several weeks we as a church family will grasp what it means to demonstrate our love for each other, show our love to the community in which God has placed us, and reflect God’s love to a lost and dying world.
As part of the 50 Days of Love we have developed several tools to help in the journey:
- Eight-part Sermon Series–each week between now and Nov. 23 we will study verse-by-verse 1 Corinthians 13…the famous “love chapter” in the New Testament.
- ABF/Small Group Curriculum–to expand on the topics of each week’s sermon, each ABF and Small Group will use coordinated curriculum that helps flesh out the core concepts and apply them to your life.
- Daily Devotional Series–a team of writers has worked hard to develop individual daily devotions for the entire 50 days of the spiritual journey. These will help you carry the theme of each week with you and to reflect and meditate as the Holy Spirit leads.
- Fall Ministry Fair–on November 16 we will hold our second annual Fall Ministry Fair. Our theme this year is “All Hands on Deck!” Finding a place of service within the local church is a clear expression of love, and we will help you find your place within the great ship of Grace Church! It takes a lot of people to float a boat as big as Grace Church. Everyone needs to get an oar in the water so to speak. Don’t miss this exciting event.
- Four Expressions of Love–in an effort to put the practical into our teaching series, we are encouraging each person to participate in the four expressions of love during the 50 days. These include: (1) Operation Christmas Child; (2) Share What You Wear (Nov. 20-22); (3) Each One Reach One (sharing Jesus with one person before the end of 2003); (4) Project Blessing (early December). There will be much more information on each of these outreach projects during the 50 days.• Celebration Sunday–we will conclude the 50 Days of Love journey with a giant celebration on Sunday, Nov. 23.
In addition to the 50 Days of Love, this fall also marks our church’s 20th anniversary. In celebration, we have invited back Pastor David Nelms the weekend of Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. We will kick-off the weekend on Friday night, Oct. 31 with Jamey Ragle. If Jamey was the only special guest of the weekend it would still be a huge blessing! Then on Saturday, Nov. 1, starting at 4 p.m., we will have a family festival with games for the kids, lots of food, and fun. At 6:30 p.m. we will move into the Worship Center for a time of worship, celebration, testimony and to hear a challenge from Pastor Nelms. On Sunday, Nov. 2, Pastor Nelms will preach during both morning services and we will give our annual Harvest Offering.
The Lord has blessed us in so many ways this year, and this is our opportunity to give back to the Lord and say “Thank you!” for providing so abundantly for 20 years. I want to ask you to dig down good and deep for the Harvest Offering. We have our sails set for growth and outreach so we need to harvest a copious offering to reap a bountiful harvest of souls. I am asking you to give the best offering you can possibly give on November 2nd. In the past we have given a double tithe, but let God lead you as you determine how to say thank you Lord for these 20 years. In my case a double tithe is not nearly enough to give in thanksgiving. Please help me bring a worthy offering to the Lord.
My dear family of friends–I know the next two months will be a huge blessing for each one of you. But to experience the blessings…you must be here! Let me encourage you to make the commitment now–write it on your calendar–to be here and to participate in the 50 Days of Love. We are going to talk about “What Matters Most to God.” Love is the subject, so make it a point to not miss a single event. I’ll be looking for you Sunday.