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Our Journey to E91: August 2

I am now "official." Yesterday was my first day on the job, and the staff gave me a warm welcome and tour. I think it will take a number of weeks before I can completely find my way around, and I've even thought about leaving a trail of bread crumbs to help me out.  We had a powerful prayer time where we all called upon the Lord for HIS guidance as we begin this new season together. And then we went to lunch. We joined several hundred of our "closest friends" at Chick-fil-A to show our support of biblical values, which have been challenged through the recent uproar centering around a chicken restaurant. Only in America. Tolerance seems to apply in our country for every group except Christians. I was astounded when the Chicago and Boston mayors both said that Chick-fil-A is no longer welcome in their cities. Really? Other business owners can express their views in support of gay marriage, and yet Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, isn't allowed the freedom to express his support of "the biblical definition of the family unit"? Here's the deal. If you disagree with Dan Cathy, don't eat at Chick-fil-A. I don't agree with the Hooters establishment, so I choose not to eat there. What saddens me is the continued moral slide in our country, but what saddens me even more is the statistical fact that there is very little difference between Christians and non-Christians concerning moral issues and actions. 

Now, before you start thinking that this is just another fundamentalist Christian tirade, let me be clear. My issue is not as much with our country as it is with the church. 1 Peter 4:17 tells us that judgment begins with God's household. For anyone listening (or reading), I call us back to the humility and servanthood of Jesus Christ. We don't take the moral high ground with arrogant hearts and pointing fingers at all the "bad people out there." We get on our knees for prayer and to wash the feet of others. Jesus calls us to love our enemies and to pray for them. Call me an idealist, but I believe that if we do these things and not just talk about them, more people will see the love and truth of Jesus Christ and be drawn to Him. 

Lunch at Chick-fil-A with several hundred of our "closest friends" was a good start, but let's take it a step further. If that many people will show up at a fast-food restaurant, how many would show up for a demonstration of Christ's love by serving in our community? Better yet, how about if we all chose to serve those around us everywhere we went? It's the little things that make a difference. Smile. Say "Thank you." Offer to help someone who is struggling, and pray for them. Oh, and don't forget: Love each other, even when you don't like each other. And enjoy another chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A.  Maybe I'll see you there!

Our Journey to E91: July 30

Two days and counting. I feel like one of those horses standing in its gate waiting for the gun to go off and the gate to open. Laura, the kids and I went to the Horse Park in Lexington a couple of years ago and watched some of the races (with our money kept safely in our wallets). The horses were beautiful, and they literally were "chomping at the bit" for the gate to open and the race to begin. I'm not going to call myself a race horse (maybe a farm mule?), but I am eager to get started on this journey of serving, preaching, teaching, and leading alongside a wonderful staff and eldership.  

After making it through my first congregational meeting :) I'm all the more excited about running this race with you. The writer of Hebrews encourages us with these words, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

I am grateful beyond words for the "great cloud of witnesses" that surrounds each of us in the race we run. That brings encouragement and hope as we run with perseverance. And, of course, we run with our eyes fixed on Jesus. This coming Sunday we're having a special prayer time in the Fireside Room at 8:15 a.m. and you're welcome to join us. After we pray, Laura wants us to sing, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" as a reminder that this new season at E91 is not about Rick Grover, but it's about all of us laboring together with joy for the glory of Jesus Christ. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Just as John Samples so beautifully reminded us this past Sunday, we are to be about the business of bringing glory to Jesus Christ! I encourage you to invite others to join you this coming Sunday as we begin this new season of bringing glory to Christ through the ministry of E91!

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