So I’m perusing the Facebooks this morning and I see a picture of our youth group, Roots. Nothing particularly unusual about the picture. It’s a picture of a couple of great guys, Rocky Hedrick and Connor Phillips leading worship. Next to that you see the students and leaders worshipping. Underneath that, there is some sort of game, I suppose. It looks like Chase Burnett is doing some kind of dance. (I know I said picture singular, but it’s one of those cool Instagram things with multiple pictures together in one. Anyway…)
Something struck me. It hit me how blessed we are by Chris Martin and his team. We are blessed to have great kids. It is a privilege that we have to love and serve them. God has tremendously blessed us. I started tearing up. I feel completely overwhelmed by what God has done and is doing here at The Grove Church. I hope that when you think about what has happened over the last two years that you feel the same way. You don’t have to tear up, I don’t guess. I’m weird like that. I do hope that you take some time though to think about how great it is that over the last two years you have been able to be a part of a church that has been able to love and serve hundreds of people.
As we move into this new season, I can only imagine what God has for us next. How many youth will we be able to love and serve? How many kids? How many students? Families? A bigger room is nice. Lobbies are nice. So are parking lots. But I see the faces, the faces of people who need God, who need fellowship and encouragement. We are going to be able to make room for people who need God. I feel privileged to be a part of that and hope you do too.
Well the Making Room campaign is nice and all, but I’ve really got one thing on my mind. No it’s not the election either. Today is Laylah’s birthday. If you don’t know, and I’m not sure how you couldn’t, we brought her home from the hospital when she was four days old as a foster child and had the privilege to adopt her just about a month ago. Now she is a part of our forever family. Since that’s what’s on my mind today but I’m supposed to talk about Making Room, I’ll tie them together somehow.
It’s pretty common for people to ask either Heidi or me about how unusual/awesome it is that we love her so much. The implication is that because she is adopted, it must be different somehow. We get that, but we don’t feel different. She is ours and we love her with our whole hearts. I don’t even like any expression that starts with, “We love her just like she were…” She’s not like one of our own or anything like that. She IS our daughter in every way. I don’t know that I could have predicted that we would feel this way, but there is no denying that is how all four of us feel about her.
This last year with her has taught me so much about the love of God. If we, as his adopted sons and daughters, are loved by him as much (even more!) as I love her, then I believe that we have totally underestimated his love for us. He loves us with an overwhelming passion. In addition, he wants more and more people to be his children. He wants to adopt more and more of us. He loves the whole world, that’s why he sent his son (John 3:16)
Jesus illustrated this love in the story of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). In that parable, a shepherd has 100 sheep and 99 of them are fine but one is missing. He then leaves the 99 to search for the 1 lost sheep. If that is the model of God’s love for us, then we need to reflect that. We need to sacrifice in order to go and find one person who is lost. This is why we are moving, this is why we are Making Room. The “99” of us are fine, but God’s heart is strong for those who don’t know. He loves the “1.”
God is always searching for the one. He is always reaching. Let us have that same heart.
There is a word that keeps coming to my mind when I think about the Making Room campaign. The word is respond. This decision to make a move and consequently raise money is about us responding to what God has done in and through our church over the last two years. We have seen our church grow in amazing ways. We have seen people come to Christ. God is changing lives. People are taking the love of Christ all over the world.
Every time we have added a service, parked inconveniently, stopped going to the 10am service, we are responding to the growth. We are taking steps to make it easier for new people to come and connect at The Grove Church. Now we need to respond again. We had 855 people at church on Sunday. God is continuing to bless us with more people who want to worship God and follow Jesus at our church, and now we need to respond to that.
That is why we are calling the campaign Making Room. There are more people in NWA that need Jesus and would be able to connect with him at our church if we were only willing to make room for them. So how will we respond? Let’s ask God how he wants us to respond. We as a leadership team believe that God wants us to respond by making this move. Now it is up to each of us individually to ask God how he wants us to respond. We need to pray. We need to listen to what God has to say. Then we need to have the courage to respond.
For more information on the Making Room campaign, go to http://www.thegrovechurch.org/makingroom/