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Becoming for Others What We Desire for Ourselves

You might be in need of a miracle, but do you ever see yourself as a miracle worker? That may sound like a leap too grand to make, but it actually might be the remedy to your own problem.

For what do you pray? “Lord, my marriage is in trouble. I need a miracle!” “Lord, my bank account is in the red. Please, send me a miracle!” “Lord, my child is making bad decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life. All I ask is for your miraculous intervention!”

When we offer those prayers of desperation, we often follow them with a cloud of uncertainty. We sit and wait. We go about our normal routine. We stir and fret. We grow more anxious as the days turn into weeks, and still, no miracle comes.

I don’t pretend to understand the mysteries of God’s divine plan. I can’t explain why He answers some prayers with a resounding “yes” and others with a simple “no” and still others with the silence of “not yet.” But what I do believe is that our needs are often met through our obedience. In fact, our needs become less important when we pursue the presence of God and become for others what we desire for ourselves.

Our longing for a miracle is overshadowed by the joy of becoming a miracle worker for someone else. And at that moment, peace triumphs over chaos, and anxiety is stilled in the waters of God’s grace. Johnnie Moore writes,

Grace is the miracle that each of us can exercise at will in the world around us. We can’t cause seas to part, but we can drop cash-filled envelopes anonymously on the desks of single moms. We can’t turn water into wine, but we can sacrifice a little bit of our income to pay for a well to be drilled in a slum in an impoverished village. We can’t banish suffering, but we can make it more bearable for those navigating through one of life’s difficult decisions (Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches, 180).

The miracle of grace compels us to move from consumers to contributors because grace transforms us from passive recipients to active agents. Our poverty turns to riches when we focus not on ourselves but on the needs of others. We become conduits for the flow of grace, and, in return, God’s grace spills over into the empty places of our own lives.

I remember Howard Hendricks saying that he asked a crotchety old woman one time, “How are you doing today?” And she said, “Oh, not too bad under the circumstances.” And Hendricks said, “Well, what are you doing under there?” If you are under your circumstances you are not rising above to extend the miracle of grace to others. 

Are you in need of a miracle? Then become a miracle worker for someone else. Extend the miracle of grace today, and you just might discover your miracle in return.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

It’s Time to Mobilize the Largest Distribution Network in the World

It’s time to dust off the shine of the lost luster of the Church. In an age of anti-institutionalism, the increased distrust of church leaders, and the negativity towards evangelical Christianity, the Church not only has a black eye (or two); the church walks with a limp.

And so it should.

Without question, we followers of Jesus have not lived up to our calling, and history has cast a long shadow of wars, clergy scandals, and other atrocities committed under the banner of Christianity.

I don’t take those sins lightly, and I am not alone in advocating a call to repentance and humility. We are to serve our Lord Jesus in the way of our Lord Jesus. Christ’s calling is wed to Christ’s character which should be developed in the heart of every penitent believer, myself included.

While this is the case, though, I plead with you not to give up on the Church. And by the “Church,” I’m not only referring to the mystical, organic union of Christ’s followers led by His Spirit. I’m also referring to the institution of the Lord Jesus Christ, that organization of the ekklesia, the “called-out ones” who form the mystical into the practical with real people in real places.

I believe the Church is the only institution that can significantly address the five global giants affecting billions (not millions) of people: spiritual emptiness, a lack of servant leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy (Johnnie Moore, Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches, 189).

The Church is the largest distribution network in the world. According to one author, “There are more churches in the world than all the Walmarts, McDonalds and Starbucks combined. The church was global 200 years before anyone else thought of globalization. We could take you to thousands of villages around the world where the only institution to speak of is the church” (Christian Post, 2011).

If this is true, then why do we not see the Church making more of a global impact? Two reasons. One is a lack of unity. A dividing kingdom will not stand. The second reason is that we have a de-mobilized army. Rick Warren writes,

We have an army of believers sitting in churches waiting to be mobilized. . . . The greatest need of the twenty-first century is to release the pent-up, latent power of the average believer in churches local and around the world. If we could figure out a way to turn an audience into an army, to turn consumers into contributors, to turn spectators into participators; it will change the world. It’s time to stop debating and start doing. It’s time for the church to be known for love, not for legalism; for what we’re for, not for what we’re against. It’s time for the church to be the church (www.thepeaceplan.com).

I couldn’t agree more. So, let’s begin. Start with your church, and I’ll start with mine. Start with you, and I’ll start with me. Together, with the leading of God’s Spirit and empowered for His mission, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ will lead this world in love and peace as we long for “the world without end. Amen. Amen” (Charles Meineke, Glory Be to the Father).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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