2017 “BE THE LIGHT”

 

 

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God has been so faithful to all of us who call the Grace Place our home. Some of you know the story of how the enemy tried to destroy this work in the early 2000’s. Many people were disappointed by their pastoral leader that was here at that time, some lost faith, most scattered across the cities. What you may not know is what God was doing to change the story of Grace and to create in the hearts of His people a “Place of Grace”.

 

In late 2005 God was stirring my heart with a fresh vision. I was serving on staff at Canyon Ridge Christian Center in Las Vegas. In the fall of 2006 at our staff retreat I had an encounter with God that led me to believe we should prepare to move out of Las Vegas. At this same time God was speaking to Michele and stirring her heart as well.

 

We had no cell phone coverage at our retreat location so I had no idea what Michele was experiencing but I could not wait to tell her what God had done in my heart. When I saw her I told her “I have something incredible to tell you, God has been speaking to me about our future” She said, “First let me tell you what happened to me while you were at retreat” As I listened to her the words she heard from the God were identical to what I had heard from God. I was certain now that God was moving us out of Las Vegas but neither of us had any idea where.

 

At the same moment all this was happening in our hearts in Las Vegas, God was at work here as well revealing hidden things and putting in place leaders who would help with the transition at Grace Christian Center.

 

As Michele and I began to pray for clarity we sought the council of men and women of God who had provided leadership in our lives. We took time to pull out a map and to pray over areas of the country that we believed were opportunities. After a few week’s we had narrowed our prayer focus to 3 cities. Two were in Texas: Dallas and Austin. As we continued to pray we felt directed to take an exploration trip to Austin.

 

What is interesting about this first trip is that it seemed like a complete disaster. We got lost leaving the airport it took forever to find our hotel (this was before smart phones and GPS). Once we got to our hotel in Austin they rejected our reservation. It’s a long story but suffice to say there was no room in Austin, Texas for the Kirkpatrick’s. We drove north on 35 having no idea where we were. We were half looking for a place to eat and half looking for a hotel. We wound up in Round Rock, Texas. God had directed us right where he wanted us. That Round Rock Hotel we stayed in is just 2 miles from the Grace Place. We both knew this would be our new home. For three days we explored the city and searched for a home.

 

I moved part of the family here in the summer of 2006. We still had no idea what God had in store and we knew nothing about Grace Christian Center. I went back to Las Vegas with Mikah to allow her to finish school and to get our home sold. In February of 2007 Mikah and me joined the rest of the family in Round Rock.  Over the next three years God worked both in our hearts and preparing Grace Christian Center. In 2010 we interviewed with the leadership at Grace Christian Center and around December of 2010 I became the new Pastor.

 

There are many more details in this long story but I wanted to tell this much of it so I could revisit with you what God has been doing over the past six years:

 

2011: The Year of transition. Anytime there are new leaders there will be transition over 2011 some of the people who were here in the beginning left to find a new church home but several others found us for the first time and made our church their home.

 

2012: The Year of Repair. We addressed several needed projects. Our budget was very tight so we depended a great deal on volunteers. There was one 911 issue that needed immediate attention. During sever rain storms our building would flood. Several things were done to address this and in early 2013 we finally solved all the issues with water.

 

2013: The Year of Concordia. Concordia High School had out grown their previous location. They had put land under contract not far from us but needed a place to locate until they could finish paying for the land and build their campus. It was a great opportunity for us and a great help for a church that was making a restart. Our campus has been a huge blessing for them as well. Our partnership with Concordia has been a real blessing and the funds provided have helped us make needed building improvements.

 

2014: The Year of Leadership Development. I started our MiT (Ministers in Training) program to develop our leaders. We also held leadership trainings. It was a year to recruit and train. Looking back, I can see how important it was to prepare good leaders for what God had in store for us over the next two years. We never stop developing leaders at the Grace Place but 2014 was the start of a concerted effort to develop strong leaders.

 

2015: The Year of Vision. We had used the name Grace Place since mid 2014 but in 2015 we branded it in every way across the campus on social media and in the hearts of our people. We knew from the beginning that God was calling us to reach out and connect with our surrounding community to preach a message of Hope to rescue those in need. We embraced the fact that the Grace Place was not a street address but a location in our heart where Jesus was Lord. That meant wherever we went we took the Grace Place.

 

2016: The Year of Ownership. Our battle cry was “I Am Grace Place”. We were taking ownership officially of the vision God had given to us to: “GATHER, GROW, AND GO”. We could see the day ahead when Concordia would leave for their new campus and we wanted to be in a place where we would take care of our own financial needs as a campus and make an impact for Jesus in our community.

 

2017: The year to “BE THE LIGHT”.

 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16 NIV)

 

In a dark world a light can show the way. The “Light” of the world lives in us. It is time to “let it shine”. Every time we serve others, help those in need, show unconditional love we let the light of Jesus shine in our world. This is our year to “Be the Light” for our community. I believe it will be a year of growth as we lead the people around us out of darkness and into the LIGHT. It is fitting that this New Year begins on a Sunday on the Lord’s Day. Our opening series is titled “Clean Slate”. Let’s get started learning how we can “BE the Light”.

 

 

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Alan Kirkpatrick/Pastor

Grace Place Church

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