I am up late tonight. Could not sleep. The primary issue is LIFE & DEATH. A sad chapter in our lives took place December 27th 1991. We were at the Hospital with Michele's mom, she was in the final stage of cancer. Her life slipping away moment by moment. I looked at Michele in that room holding her moms hand. Michele was pregnant and about to give birth to a child her mother would never meet. She would have loved Amanda born January 16th 1992 and Zak her younger brother as well.

 

It was strange to experience the sorrow of death and a couple of weeks later the JOY of birth. Amanda carries her Grandmothers middle name "Faye." It was so difficult for Michele to say goodbye to her mother so young. But just weeks later we were holding a precious gift from heaven and our attentions were turned to our responsibility to care for this child, to provide a home of joy and comfort to help her realize her purpose and calling.

 

Maybe you think you know where I am going with this post. Would it surprise you to know that these memories are not what is keeping me awake? They serve as a backdrop for something that is troubling my spirit tonight. It is LIFE & DEATH of a church that has captured my mind.

 

Last Sunday was awesome at the Grace Place. We had a packed house, the Spirit of God was moving during worship and through the service. The altar call was dynamic and you could visibly see God at work in hearts and lives. It occurred to me that our church is like a newborn. You can see life. With life comes such great responsibility. We need to nurture, care for and train up those God is bringing into His Kingdom. Newborns can keep you up at night. Especially for that first year or so. But I am so proud of our leadership and of each person who calls the Grace Place their home. God has brought new life and I rejoice in that.

 

Miles from here there is a work that is struggling. It is on life support. The leadership is weary, the faithful few are frustrated and confused. That work is heavy on my mind tonight. It is hard to stay focused on the joy of a newborn and watch the life slip away from a close family member. I wish that work were closer to us. We could be more helpful and encouraging. I believe it can be revived but it will take an incredible effort, maybe more than the people can give. But my prayers are turned toward that work on this night. Like Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, I cannot say what will happen. Only God knows and everything is so much better in his hands. So tonight my troubled spirit turns to heaven to ask God to care for this church family i love.

 

This story is being played out across America and just blocks from our church. I have such an incredible burden for the local church everywhere. It is not easy to build a successful church in the days we are living. The church is not a building or land it is people who are committed to Jesus and His mission in their community. We cannot let the local church die! Each church that closes its doors puts a community at risk.

 

My life spiritually and even physically to a certain extent is tied to the wonderful local church I grew up in. I have so many wonderful memories of my home church. The people, the time spent praying together and serving in mission. The kids church, youth groups and friendships all impacted my life for the better. I want to be a church that helps build churches in the community that will stand for generations. I think about my granddaughter and wonder what church she and her children will attend.

 

Grace Place family we have a responsibility to be a part of the solution. The healthy are the ones who can help the wounded. Yes, we are young. We have a lot to learn and we need to continue to grow. But will you pray with me that God will show us what we can do now to bring healthy church to the communities around us? I think God wants us to build churches that will last for generations. Pray with me that God will work through each of us to glorify HIS name in our cities. 

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