The Real Problem

I know that many times we go to church, worship God, interact with the family then go home [or to lunch].  
End of the weekend and back to work.
You may not often think about the role of church leadership, the next stages of church life, goals for personal and corporate spiritual growth or other broad stroke type thinking that comes with leading a spiritual family. These are things that we wrestle with all the time!

In recent weeks, there have been a few things that have happened that remind me that the life we live is so much more than just the day to day.   It is a spiritually supercharged life with so much interaction on levels we rarely take the time to acknowledge. 
  • Jesus said that sometimes spiritual looking people are heavily influenced by the “father of lies”, Satan. [John 8:44]
  • Paul reminded us to put on the armor of God each day and to pray always on all occasions for all of the people of God. [Eph. 6:12-20]
  • Peter reminded us that the evil one is stalking us and seeks to devour us like a roaring lion. [1 Peter 5:8]
  • John told us that we are swayed by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life distracts us from the love of God. [1 John 2:16]

Knowing that challenges will find us, I am reminded of the importance of prayer and refocusing our hearts and our trust on the One who can protect us, guide us and give us wisdom to act. 
There is an account in the life of Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23) of a time when the King of Aram, a sworn enemy of Israel, was foiled each time he tried to trap the King of Israel.
It turned out that every time he made a plan, God would reveal it to Elisha, who would warn the king of Israel. 
When the King of Aram finally discovered the cause, here is what happened:

2 Kings 6:14-17 14  Then he [the king of Aram] sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16  "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17  And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 

  • Oh how I wish we could ask God to reveal to us the mighty force of spiritual beings that surround us each and every day to protect us from the evil one.  
  • I so wish we could see the plan that God has for us.  
  • I wish that we could understand the way God works.  

Even though we only get a glimpse, at times, we have to trust God.   We KNOW that NOTHING is a surprise to Him.  
We BELIEVE He is working for His glory and we are a part of making His plan unfold.  

In the same way in which God protected Elisha and his servant, God also protects us.  He is the same God.  He has the same love for us.   He has a plan to use us to accomplish His will. 

Let’s pray.  imgres.jpg
Let’s remember this “battle is not against flesh and blood [each other], but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” - Eph. 6:12
Leading and setting direction may have its challenges but when we get to serve people like the people of Grace Church, who are praying and focused, it is a joy and thrilling adventure! 


A Vision for Building Children’s Ministry – Pt 4 of 4

The Building Team sent DJ Construction off to try some new looks and come back to tell us that it could be done, it was a prudent and effective means of moving forward and it would take more money.

It could be done but not in the current budget.  
  • It also took a while for the team to warm to the idea of removing everything that was currently being used in ministry space.  
  • It took a while to warm to the idea that the section that was only 17 years old would come down, too. 
  • It took a while to warm to the idea that this was a good use of funds and an efficient direction to set up the Osceola Grace Family for the future without a lot of maintenance and improvement projects.
Another meeting happened.  Not around dinner, but at the church and the promise was made.  Another $1 million was committed to this project and suddenly it looked like this new idea could actually work and become a reality. 

The Building team revised the scope of the project and walked it through with everyone on the team. It was approved and presented to the rest of the Elder Board. After a number of questions and great deal of discussion the Elder Board also signed the approval for this new direction. 

That brings us to today.  
The new direction involves two new wings; one to the north and one to the south of the main auditorium.  At the same time the auditorium will be renovated and the interior space divided up into two sections. 
First, a smaller auditorium [100’ x 60’] which will:
  • accommodate 400 chairs
  • incorporate a sports floor for future sports ministry
  • be rotated 90° for the audience to face the west wall and enter from a new east wall which becomes the dividing wall to the new Gathering Area. 
Second, the remainder of the existing space [100’ x 40’] becomes a common Gathering Area which will:
  • be the main entry into the church and office areas
  • be the main access hub to the other areas of ministry to the north, south and renovated auditorium
  • include an indoor play area for young families to enjoy throughout the week
  • include a coffee bar and soft seating for people to gather before or after services.
It seems a little outrageous, however, this direction and new scope of the project allows Osceola Grace to be able to overcome so many of the current challenges while actually giving a face lift or new space to virtually every area of the building.

On Sunday, November 29 during the morning service, Pastor Greg will present much of this history in a concise format while DJ Construction’s Enis Yoder will be there to give a visual 3D fly over and fly through of the plans as they are currently laid out.  This is not the final version but will provide a framework for our subcommittees to work from to develop the actual blueprint and layout. You won’t want to mist November 29! Small scale plans will be distributed that day at the Welcome Center for each person to take and peruse for a while and warm to the idea and propose any questions that may arise.

There will be a follow up Question/Answer time in small groups on Sunday night, December 6th at 6:30PM after the Christmas Tree lighting and caroling event [5:45PM]at the Osceola Town Hall!

God truly has doubly blessed our Osceola Grace church Family!  Praise God for this blessing and pray for unity, wisdom and direction as this family moves forward into the future!


A Vision for Building Children’s Ministry – Pt 3 of 4

The projected cost came in well above the funds that were available for each of the three plans being reviewed by the team.  Even the very generous gift that was give would not cover these costs.

It became apparent that the best possibility was to simply renovate some current areas and forego the idea of a new Children’s Wing.  Instead they would utilize existing space and make some major changes to the flow of people.  The goals remained the same: this project needed to stay in budget, the church still needed a large gathering area that was centrally located and the church needs an improved space for Children’s ministry.  It was looking like the team was facing a scaling back in some form of the whole project.
Some things they ran into in the process:
  • They learned that renovation is much cheaper per square foot than new buildings
  • They learned that to do what they were hoping to do would require a major realignment of roof lines to fix existing leaks and to avoid more in the future.
  • They learned that when they start adjusting roof lines in order to make things look cohesive and not like an afterthought that it gets expensive (even to renovate)
  • They learned that the more they moved toward some solutions to fit our original scope that the renovation costs began to rise per square foot.
  • They also ALL agreed that they did not want to leave the next generation with a bunch of maintenance headaches or without the ability to easily reassign space or expand the building.
  • Even if it could be made to work, it left us with a follow up renovation of the current youth room and cafĂ© and the “soon to be” Michiana Biblical Counseling Center” area because both section on the north and south side of the building had excessive leaks and were developing a mold problem. 
  • In other words, the $1.2 million dollars (of the larger gift) allocated to the new building was not enough and would not solve those other problems.

So.   Someone joked in one of the meetings and said, “It would almost be cheaper and fit better in our budget if we just tore it all down and started from scratch!” 

That was a joke. 
However, as the team looked at a few possibilities regarding this idea, they realized that there may be some merit to this idea.  

So, here is what happened.  At the next meeting with DJ Construction’s leaders, the idea was floated out there like this, “What would it look like if we removed everything except the 100’ x 100’ area that is the current worship space? We could renovate the worship space to include a gathering area while adding a Children’s wing to the south as new construction and offices, youth ministry space and Adult Bible Fellowship classes to the south as new construction.  If we did, it would solve all of these other issues of rooflines, other leaks, inefficient buildings, heating and cooling, etc. Additionally, it would set up the next generation for expansion in almost any direction or a reassigning of the current space as ministry needs change in the future.” 

As that was taking place, God also had been moving in someone’s heart regarding what it might take to accomplish this financially. 

Seriously, stay tuned for the last part!