Dependence Day 2010

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Sunday we celebrated Independence Day here in the United States. This is an exciting and moving holiday, filled with gratitude and passion for the values of our country.freedomwall

It was interesting talking about Independence Day on a Sunday because– as I thought about it– we gather every week in church to proclaim our dependence on God… Our dependence on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross… our dependence on the continuing work of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us each moment of each day.

There is a part of the American experience that can be confusing as we consider God’s word: we cherish independence and yet we live in total dependence.

Last Sunday we talked about freedom— and we looked at what Jesus said about it (you can hear the message by going to the “Messages” section of our website and clicking on the message for July 4, 2010).

One thing I appreciated Sunday was an observation by our worship leader, Tim. He said that the freedom we celebrate as Americans came at a cost– people have given their lives so that we can be free as Americans. That “fight” for freedom continues today… It is an on-going battle. Freedom comes with a cost and must be defended constantly.

But the freedom Jesus brings– the freedom he brought through the cross– is cross-10eternal. The battle is over. The victory is won. It doesn’t need to be defended or fought for anymore– it needs to be accepted and enjoyed.

I think that is pretty cool.

I forgot to include something in my message on Sunday that I wanted to pass on here. It comes from Max Lucado, a great pastor, teacher, preacher, and writer. Here is something that Max wrote about freedom that helps me put Independence Day into perspective:


Freedom is an elusive thing– it’s the carrot on the end of the stick that causes us mules to do the things we do. Jesus spoke of freedom, but he spoke of a different kind of freedom: the type of freedom that comes not through power but through submission. Not through control but through surrender. Not through possessions but through open hands.

God wants to emancipate his people; he wants to set them free. He wants his people to be not slaves but sons. He wants them governed not by law but by love.

We have been liberated from our own guilt and our own legalism. We have the freedom to pray and the freedom to love the God of our heart. And we have been forgiven by the only one who could condemn us. We are truly free!

(from The Inspirational Study Bible, Word Publishing, 1995)

I like that… We are free– maybe it’s time we started living that way.

July 4th News

July 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Wow! This Sunday is the 4th of July… Independence Day in America.

This Sunday we will finish up our series that has been reflecting on the question:

How Is the Church Going?

Personally, I have found this to be a healthy and encouraging process (I hope you have too!). It is always good to think about where you have been and where you are going. But, more importantly, I think it is good to realize and remember that we are following Jesus– and he is the one leading us on this journey together.

Sometimes I can forget that… And maybe I forget it because of… well… my desire for and love of  “independence” and “freedom”.

chains_brokenThe Bible says a lot about freedom and that’s what we’re going to talk about this Sunday. What does “freedom” mean? How does it work? How do we get it and how do we keep it?

To answer these questions, we’re going to hit a few different passages. You may want to read ahead (in fact, I highly recommend it!)… Here’s some scripture to consider:

John 8:31-36; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 5:1

Looking forward to Sunday!


Grace and peace,



Russell House Ministry Opportunity

Right across the street from our church is a HUD housing project for Senior Citizens in the Virginia Beach area. It is called Russell House and they are in need of some loving, caring helping hands.

Russell House has received some government stimulus money and are renovating the 112 (ish) apartments in their facility. This will include re-doing all the kitchens.elderly20ladies

As you might guess, as nice as this is, it is a bit of a challenge to prepare the residents for the renovation. Each kitchen must be emptied for the demolition and then items returned after the renovation. The folks there need some help to make this happen.

If you are interested in joining the team from Grace family Fellowship, let me know (  Here is the basic information… We will be learning how this will work best as we go.

WHEN:The renovation begins the week of July 12th and will continue through February. Volunteers could help during days or evenings. We have a meeting time scheduled for Wednesday July 7th at  10:00am at Russell House to introduce ourselves and our services (how we can help them) to the first group of residents to get “renovated”.

WHAT: Packing up the kitchen for a resident. Boxes will be provided. The items will need to be placed in another space in the resident’s apartment. You may need to work with the resident to keep necessary items available (the construction will be a 2 day process). After the renovation is complete, you will return and “set-up” the new kitchen.

WHAT DO YOU NEED:Basically a heart to love and serve. I do not believe that this will be physically demanding. A big part of what we are doing is walking with someone through a process that could be a bit confusing or disruptive. You will probably need patience.

WHO: You; your friends; your kids. Any one. Any students will need to have an adult supervising– but I think this is a great opportunity for our kids to brighten a senior’s day/week/month/year.

I don’t know how much we can help– but I do know that this is a way we can impact our community in a very tangible way.