Welcome to Grace Summit!
Sunday Services at 9:30 and 11:00 am
Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
Mark 1:32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. 35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
We all have busy schedules – but none of us had more to do than Jesus. He had a habit of creating time in His busy schedule to be alone with God. He considered it a priority – and he slipped away to spend time with God. The entire city gathered at the house – and it followed a day of preaching – lasting late into the night – and somehow he managed to make time to spend time with God.
We all have packed schedules. Jesus had a very packed LIFE. Yet He made time with God. And we can too. This doesn’t mean you have to get up before dawn, while it is still dark – but there are ways for each of us to do this.
Mark 1: 36 Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
So Jesus gets up really early – and gets away into the wilderness – and Simon and the disciples wake up and Jesus is not there. So they get up and FIND him immediately. This tells me that Jesus had a favorite place to meet with God – he created TIME and a SPACE to meet with God. I think, for us to experience His presence, we need to create TIME and SPACE for God.
38 He *said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
We need favorite places – we need to create time for God – and space for God. And you need to have your favorite spaces where you get alone with God. All kinds of spaces – not just one. You probably have myriads of spaces you can go. Some will be normal spaces you inhabit – it might be your car – but designate it as a God-space.
This week – as you go through your day – ask – what can I designate as a God-space? Come up with two or 3 of them – and come up with 2 or 3 God-times. It may only be a God-time for a brief moment – but come up with those.
I think that will radically change your outlook and the way you go about your day – that simple thing will change everything if you do it consistently.
We come to church – we hear good messages, sing good songs, have good fellowship – but what does it do TOMORROW? What you heard, what changes on MONDAY? It has to change tomorrow.
Everyone was looking for Jesus – how would you like that if they were looking for you (in a good way)?! What an opportunity for ministry! But what does He say?
Mark 1:38 Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.”
What time with God did for Jesus - it gave Him clarity. If we want clarity – we won’t get it unless we have consistent time with God. We can do all kinds of church-stuff – but unless we center with God, ask what we are supposed to be doing, we will not have that clarity. Time with God is not just reading your Bible to check it off a list, or getting through your prayer-list – if you are praying and you get through your prayer list and have not heard from God, you have not really prayed! For Jesus – it moves Him – and helps him to understand His mission – and it increases His ministry.
Time with God – to be in His presence – is foundational for ministry.
We can’t just go off and do it on our own – we live in a world where there are lots of doers – doing doing doing – but the doing has to have a foundation of being with God – that has to undergird everything we do – and from that – we can go and do the mission.
We have been talking about experiencing God – and one reason we don’t – is if we are not active in His mission. If we don’t experience it in our daily routine, maybe we are not active in His mission in our daily routine.
God is on mission – from early Genesis – through John 3:16 – God does not just HAVE a mission – it is kinda’ like the Terminator Movie – The terminator is coming to destroy – and the guy tells his wife - That’s who he is, that’s what he does – that’s all he does!
God is ON mission – His heart is on - how can I work today? Who can I reach today – and we all agree – but we don’t have the passion and we neglect and let go.
We don’t go to work thinking I am on mission for God to bring people into the kingdom. You can always be on mission.
I heard – Alan Hirsch: - Missional Communities - “There is a movement to get back to mission – the church does not have a mission – the mission has a church.” The mission precedes the church.
The mission to save the world was there long before the church was. We have been talking in a leadership group – looking at our purpose and mission. For our church – one of the things we recognize – we are a positive, caring, loving community – but sometimes what happens is we are a community without a cause – or have lost sight of the mission. It is easy to get wrapped up in meeting needs – but we can never let the needs take us away from the mission. We must be constantly reminded and refocused on accomplishing the mission.
The mission is to proclaim and perform the gospel to make disciples – and it can be done in your current circumstances. You can fully engage in the mission of God in your current circumstances. The kids don’t have to graduate – you don’t have to get a new job – it can happen right now – right where we are – in our current circumstances –
Hirsch continues… “It is one of my deepest held beliefs that all of Jesus’ people contain the potential for world-transformation in them. Our problem is not that we don’t have the potential, but rather that we have forgotten how to access them because we have been so deeply scripted to think of ourselves through more domesticated, non-missional, manifestations of Christianity. We have been so programmed out of our callings that it is generally hard for us to think and act differently than what we have for hundreds of years and not to persecute people who try to trailblaze alternative ways. But we have now come (at last!) to the point where we can recognize that the decline of Christianity in the West, and now in America, is directly related to the way we have done things to this point. The search for alternatives has just heated up. Aslan is on the move again and it’s time to get unplugged, re-framed, re-scripted, and re-commissioned to being the people Jesus designed us to be. If this was said another way – I would suggest that, We, the Church, are perfectly designed to achieve what we are currently achieving.”
This is kind of like saying – you are getting the grade you deserve – what we are designed to achieve – no more and less
“If Christianity is in decline, at least part of the issue goes to the contemporary way we live out faith in a watching world. But this is not what Jesus intended.”
How do we live out our faith differently?
An interesting statistic – somewhere between 18 and 23 percent of Americans will go to church today.
36-40 percent SAY they go to church. But only 18-23 percent do. If people SAY they go to church – it might be once/month.
The reality of that – maybe 60 percent of people don’t regularly go to a church – and maybe within that – most NEVER go. There are 40-50 percent of Americans who MIGHT go to church. And most churches focus on those. But there are 50 percent of Americans who have no interest in going to a church at all. We could have the most whiz-bang program in the universe – and those people aren’t interested. But you work with some of those people – or live next door to some of them – and that means that we are the ones who have the opportunity to bring Christ’s love to that individual.
John 20: 19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
This is a prequel of the Church – we have The Risen Christ in the presence of His disciples – and that is what the Church is - -when God’s people gather in the presence of Jesus.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
Jesus said – where two or more are gathered in My name – there I am in their midst.
Jesus is part of all of this – it is not just God looking down on His church. He is HERE – He is walking in our midst.
Revelations 3: 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Jesus is knocking! Is anyone home?! Or have we locked Him out?! We need to ask ourselves – is He welcome? How do we make Him unwelcome? Maybe it is division? If people are always complaining about one another – maybe Jesus is not welcome in that church! If people are compromising and doing what they shouldn’t do – Jesus is not welcome there. When we get off topic – arguing about things that don’t really matter – Jesus is not welcome there.
I think we try – I think we want Jesus in our lives and church – I don’t question our motives or hearts – but do we allow ourselves
John 20: 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
Peace be with you.
Jesus’ presence is a presence of PEACE. With the disciples – they are scared – Jesus comes right through the locked door – how terrifying that must have been! But Jesus says PEACE. They denied Him – they left Him and were hiding! And instead of bringing guilt and conviction and failure – He says PEACE. We are okay.
And then, it is a peace that breaks down the barriers in relationships. This means truly living in His presence – breaking the divisions in our own hearts – bitterness and anger – and those things that cause us to not want to be around others. It is in the presence of God that dissolves.
When He says PEACE BE WITH YOU – he is calling them to be a people of peace. We live in a violent world. And we, as the people of God – need to be different. He said – blessed are the peace makers. We need to be people of peace in the midst of violence. It is clear in scripture – nothing could be clearer – than to be a people of peace.
Then He goes on – and I will close with these –
As the Father sent me, so I am sending you – Jesus had a mission – He was sent – and we are sent on a mission – I challenge you – this week – you are sent on a mission. As the Father sent Me – so I send You
Some things that have worked for me – one of the biggest hindrances is busyness. Who has time? I like to not focus on what I can’t do – but on what I CAN do. I go to the Nat to exercise. When I lift weights and things, I am counting – I on not able to focus on God. When I run – my mind is blank – so I use it to pray for my family – so I was just asking, like a to-do list for God– and I was boring even myself. So I decided to make my running time time to meet with God. That would be OUR time. Now I had a purpose – and as I was doing that, running at the Nat – It hit me – the amazing thing – God was there and available – the God of the Universe was meeting me at the Nat! If I call President Obama’s people – and asked if the President could come and meet me Saturday at 9:30? it is not going to happen – but I can meet with God. That really encouraged me. But, I don’t have a lot of time to go to the Nat – because I work – so I thought – if I run in the neighborhood – I can get it done in less than an hour – AND I can meet with God! And outdoors it is so much easier to focus on God – and to ask – what do I see Him doing?
You know the Five Love Languages? One is quality time – and part of it is noticing what God is doing – and acknowledging and thanking Him. Noticing His character.
I was running the homestretch – and I could see the shape of the leaves on the trees in the distance! Getting old has its advantages – my farsightedness is correcting my nearsightedness! And it was like hearing this voice – you see that clearly – but what else do you see that is true? God is always good, kind, right, just, beautiful – and again – being out there – and focusing – God is able to speak in new ways because of being out there – making a decision to be out there.
Another time I was out running on a beautiful day – I was thanking God for the grass and sky and flowers – and as I crossed the street, I noticed a smashed cigarette lighter on the ground – I wonder if it works! And a voice in my head – why are you looking at trash?! I had all this beauty that God made and I am focusing on trash? And that is a lesson for life – why am I looking at trash? Thinking negative thoughts or complaining about something – getting stuck on things that don’t really matter, instead of looking for God’s beauty in people.
God encourages me with these things – and He is equipping us for those times –when we come in contact with others – we are to focus on others’ needs. One day at work, one of my coworkers, who is a beautiful, enthusiastic person – and one day – she was not doing that well – so I shared with her the Blue Car story:
One day I was running and this beautiful, rich, vibrant, metallic blue car passed me – and for some reason, color moves me – it makes me happy - and I thought – God – you made this beautiful color that makes my heart smile – just another thrill given by God. And I thanked God – then the car turned the corner– and it looked like a plain black car! I thought – what happened? Happy feelings all gone! I know – scientifically – the angle of the light changed – and it was a boring black. But I thought –when I am going through trials in my life and hard things are in the lives of those I care about - the beauty is still there – even if I don’t see it – God is still being good – even in hard times – the beauty is still there – and real.
My coworker said – that really helped – thank you! I needed to hear that!
It amazes me - God is ready and willing to speak to us – but it takes an investment. Sometimes there is a hindrance…
It reminds me of my car cd story – I love to listen to books on CD in the car – I pushed the button for the CD player – because I love listening to books on CD - and it was silent – so I pushed the button more firmly – silence. OH NO! If I don’t have my CD player! How will I get this fixed? What will I do?! I love to listen to books on CD! Then I noticed the CD on the seat next to me – and I realized – sometimes I don’t hear God speaking – and maybe it is because I am not doing my part – The CD player was working just fine – but there are things that I need to do to make it work.
What Can I do? He is available. He is ready and willing to speak – and He tailors what He has to say to each of us. But it takes a choice.