Pastor Blake’s Report on the L.I.F.E. of Grace in 2012
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
With each New Year comes a new word from the Lord. 2012’s word of L.I.F.E. will stick with us because it is, according to the Bible, what Christ came to do, and what He would have us share with those He brings our way. He poured out His L.I.F.E. both for us and to us so that we will Love Intentionally For Eternity those whom He directs our paths to.
And it certainly was a year of Loving Intentionally For Eternity! From the moment it started it seemed like we were given so many opportunities to Love Intentionally For Eternity sake. One thing after another appeared on the calendar docket. From Swahili on Sunday evenings that saw us gather to pray; to Spirit filled bible studies throughout the week that were marked with a hearts’ cry for God to manifest Himself in our Love Intended For Eternity to the people He brought our way.
It seemed like there was a never ending flow of Fundraisers for Grace Mission to Kenya 2012, Jerusalem Children’s Ministry and for PureLoveNow both before the five week mission trip and after that stretched us all to Love Intentionally For Eternity.
Kenya 2012 started out as a pastor to pastor encouragement mission that grew to include medical camps at some of the churches we visited and a small building project too! Each step we were forced to our knees to ask God in Jesus’ name for wisdom and direction on how best to love folks intentionally for eternity was at stake! The costs were high yet our Lord did exceedingly abundantly above all we asked or even hoped for. When the tally was in He had drawn to Himself more than 10,000 souls saved, and hundreds of lives touched by His L.I.F.E. with medicine and food and clothing and shelter!
Grace Church, you did amazingly in all this! People from all over the globe (more than 500,000 of them this year alone, if the internet counters are right) have come to know that Grace in the Heart of Penticton is where disciples meet and love one another! Our African brothers and sisters continually praise God because of your L.I.F.E. poured out to them in the Name of Christ.
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. …I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:7-11).
But it was never to the masses that we set out in Jesus’ name, it was always to one or two people whom Christ placed in our path. Like Doreen, a young nurse who was depressed and felt hopeless, sure that God didn’t know she existed, never mind her address! Every month since pouring out L.I.F.E. to her, I receive another prayer of thanksgiving from her praising God for Grace.
Yet the requests and the visible needs were overwhelming for me at times coming from so many directions at once. At times I retreated to my prayer closet and ignored everyone hoping to hear from God just what to do. To say I forgot just how big a God we serve would be an understatement! My faith was tested and His L.I.F.E. caused me to hold on to Jesus, at times in tears, continuing to trust in His leading and following Him to places I’ve never been before. Oh, how He loves you and me.
Along with Doreen, our pastor to pastor mission saw Pastors Isaac, Tim, Edwin, Soikin, Wanyonyi, and especially Dr. Bramwel praising God for Grace because you cared enough to share your L.I.F.E. with them and they in turn were inspired to go and do likewise. And every time I hear from Jimmy, DJ, Dennis, Apollo, and George, and others of the PureLoveNow men and women it is with profound gratitude to God and to Grace because of the L.I.F.E. they have experienced.
But less we think that Grace has become an African Mission I would also point out that you’ve been just as busy in the heart of Penticton. Pastor Peter credits Grace with having made a difference to the L.I.F.E. that he was able to show the street people whose lives desperately needed L.I.F.E.! Both The Penticton Christian School, and our youth praise God for Pastor Scott & JoAnne because of their L.I.F.E. poured out so that Christ will make a difference to the next generation and truly for all eternity. And let’s not forget the many men and woman who have found a little office at the front of the church a great place of refuge and a hot seat for God’s L.I.F.E. to be poured out through Pastor Gail. And where would Gleaners be without the L.I.F.E. you have shown them?
But wait, if I am going to praise on what God has done through Grace, let me not forget Sadie (who will be missed on our leadership team) who mends L.I.F.E. week in and week out! And how about Walter & Irene who selflessly meet and pour out L.I.F.E. to listening, sometimes lonely, ears in care homes throughout the city. We were given much L.I.F.E. by all our musicians including the D-Team and Y-Team and many special ones along the way. It was a huge blessing to see Oceans and Lights pour out their young L.I.F.E. at Gyro Park this past summer. But don’t stop looking for L.I.F.E. with just these folks. Look at the list at the back of the reports and you’ll find that without exception L.I.F.E. is found in and flowing through all these people who show Christ’s L.I.F.E. to neighbors, friends, relatives, people around the world and yes, even you who are reading this! (Thanks Ann!)
“Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else”
(2 Corinthians 9:13)
The year was also a time when we said farewell to some L.I.F.E. givers here at Grace whose L.I.F.E. lesson we’ll miss. Hilda Bendig, having made it 100 years, will be missed as will Ted Walter, Frank Evans, and Don Coull. They have finished pouring out L.I.F.E. on this side of eternity.
May God Bless you with T.I.M.E. so that you may continue with L.I.F.E.