Vacancy Pastor's Monthly Message for September '17

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Grace,

Many of us have seen the eclipse of the sun recently, either personally or by photo(s) shared on social media or news outlets. It was an amazing natural event, even with only a partial 75% passing of the moon in our North Texas area. In the history of the world, eclipses of the sun have been cause for fear, hysteria, and all kinds of other reactions.

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This brings to mind the darkening of another sort - the darkening of the mind by sin. In unbelievers, this is easy to understand, as they live without the clear light of truth. However, in each believer, we must guard against the self-interested thoughts tending to blot out the light of God. God is still there, but human interests get in the way of His pure light of truth, and the living in, at least, partial darkness begins. The population of Arlington is, in 2016, 392,800. If the national average of Christ-followers is 48% with Texas doing some better at 56% that still leaves us with 44% in darkness in our community; somewhere around 172,832. We followers of Jesus have a lot of opportunities to shine God’s light of truth! Could your imagine if only 1% of that number starting coming to Grace next Sunday how life here would be different?

Grace is a gathering of Christ-followers who desire to ‘bring the hope of Christ to our community’ and this darkness of sin is where we bring that light - the light of Jesus - so that people may see what life is really about. We were created to live with God - in confidence now, and rejoicing forever.

Speaking of lights, Grace is not a flashlight kind of light. Grace is more like a football stadium set of lights. There are many ways we shine in this dark world: Early Education, Piecemakers, Lutheran Student Ministry, Honduras Mission, Bible sticks, Braille Bibles, LifeLight studies, National Night Out, and so many more! Not to mention the Choirs, Praise Team, Confirmation, Youth, partnership with Newman Academy, Bible Studies, Meet ‘n Eat groups, B2, Hankins small group, WOW, 21-30ish, plus Sunday worship, Sunday School, and even more! What a congregation!

All it takes for the darkness to begin to lift from a lost soul is a conversation between you and one of the 172,832. Pray the Spirit makes you willing to shine one of those stadium lights where they could see a great God at work. Invite the person that the Spirit puts on your heart to one of the many ways God uses Grace members. Check the newsletter for ideas and other events coming up in the various ministries here with Serena, Nick or Micah. Or ask them to come and hear my sermon series the first 3 Sundays in September “Why I Choose to Believe the Bible.”

In His service to you (for now),

Rev. Joe Ardy, Vacancy Pastor

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