Relationship, not Religion.
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Let me introduce you to my friend, Grace. Most of you know her already. So you know how wonderful she is. She is smart and funny and creative and kind. She loves children and spends a lot of her time helping others. Grace likes to try new things and always smiles at strangers. Best of all, Grace loves Jesus. And Grace loves people.
Grace has been growing for a while now. It’s sometimes hard to believe she’s almost 10. Ten years old! Where does the time go. I remember when she was born: July 1, 2008. I can see it like it was yesterday. She was so little and cute. She spent the next few years growing like children do, a little here, a little there, not so you would notice it from one day to the next. But when you compared her birthday pictures from one year to the next, you could really see the difference.
Grace is strong and beautiful. She’s healthy, happy, and hopeful. She’s always learning new things and taking that next step. I love her. You love her. And she loves you.
But Grace has a problem.
It’s time for her to leave the nest. She’s ready to fly, to take that next big step off the edge into tomorrow. She can’t stay a child forever. And as her Uncle Paul says, “when you become a grown-up, you have to put away childish ways” (1 Cor 13;11). Grace needs to keep growing in order to become who God has created her to be.
Thankfully, Grace has good people to help guide her into the next stage of her life. She has surrounded herself with smart, capable leaders who care about her and want the best for her. And we have a plan. Our plan comes straight from the Lord God, out of the mouth of Jesus, through the Bible, into us. “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19).
Again I say to you. Jesus was trying to teach his followers something important here. And like any good teacher, or parent for that matter, He repeats himself for emphasis. Did you really hear what I just said? Let me say it again to make sure.
If two of you agree. To agree with someone doesn’t just mean to wag your head and say yes. It’s one thing to agree that parachutes work when you’re sitting safely in your living room. It’s another thing entirely to strap one on and jump out of a plane. To agree in prayer is to take that leap. It is wholehearted commitment that involves risk, sacrifice, and effort. We don’t agree in prayer with our lips. We agree in prayer with our lives.
We, Grace’s chosen leaders, are calling on you, counting on you, her friends, her family, to agree with us in prayer.
Our prayer is bold, maybe even audacious. It will certainly leave us knowing God has answered our prayer. Because only God can do this. We can’t. It’s impossible for us. But we know that all things are possible for God. So we are praying that God will bring 50 new families to Grace in 50 weeks. We’re calling it the 50/50 Prayer Campaign. And it’s already started.
The 50/50 Prayer Campaign started in worship on Jan. 21 when everyone present agreed in prayer. We agreed to ask God to bring us a professional youth minister, that God would enable our leaders to step out boldly in Faith beyond our budget, and that God would bring us the money to back up that Faith and pay this youth minister.
God has answered all three of those prayers.
Again, I say to you, God has answered our prayers.
Our vestry decided unanimously to trust God to provide the financial means to support the vision God had given us. For the first time ever, we chose to move beyond our budget. Prayer answered.
We have hired a game-changing, professional youth minister with 20 years of experience to be our Youth Evangelist. His name is Glenn Meschko, he and his family live in Boerne, and he started on Sunday. Prayer Answered.
In two short weeks, Jan. 21 – Feb. 4, without a single request being made, God moved the hearts of His people and brought us an additional $18,000. That’s right. Eighteen thousand dollars. Which is actually two thousand more than we needed. Just to show us how generous He is in response to our agreement in prayer, God gave us more than we even asked for. PRAYER FREAKING ANSWERED, BABY!
Now we are calling you, the family and friends of Grace, to stand in agreement in prayer with us that God would bring 50 new families to Grace in 50 weeks.
To agree means you will pray with us, serve with us, give with us, risk with us, grow with us. To agree means you willingly accept the uncomfortable nature of change that will result from our success. To agree means you will recognize and glorify God for what He is doing — what He alone can do — in and with and through Grace.
Now, if we fail in this, then we will lose staff positions next year. Which means we lose the mission and ministry they would be able to provide. Which means we will lose families, as well as potential families. Which means we will lose opportunities to serve and grow and worship and share our faith. Which means we will not be carrying out our mission.
But if we succeed… If we succeed in this, we will be transformed by the presence and power of God. We will be transformed by engaging God in prayer in a deeply profound way. Grace will be transformed because she will double in size. This will enable us to fund our youth minister position in 2019 and beyond. We will be able to bring on a Women’s Minister, greatly improve our Children’s Ministry, and cover the expenses of using our new building.
So the Lord be with you. Let us pray.