Some of the Church Journey team arrived very early and found the ushers and greeters ready and on station, prepared for the 10am service. This was a good opportunity to get a first class 25 cent tour of this formidable facility. The exterior of the building was neat as a pin and meticulously kept, suggesting a similar experience could be had on the inside. Formally a CHP medical office, this 28,000 square foot building in a prime location has been expertly engineered and converted into a house to serve the body of Christ with thoroughness and excellence. It had everything and everything was done correctly. Spatial relationships between rooms and easy access showed expert and thoughtful planning.
Although it was the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Sunday service was still very well attended. The congregation was an eclectic mixture of people. This diversity demonstrated not only a sampling of the neighborhood, but the abiding love of Christ that draws, embraces and sustains such UNITY.
Pastor Jay opened his message entitled “Igniting Your Passion for God” with a prayer for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and for a fresh impartation of love for God’s word. Passion is inside of us and is not dependant on people around us or special meetings. The opposite of passion is apathy. Apathy is defined as void of feeling and enthusiasm; paralysis of the soul.
He talked about a number of things that steal our passion including:
* not grasping the reality of hell and the importance of the Great Commission
* not knowing your place in the Body of Christ |
* no goals, vision or direction
* consumed by the cares of this world (Mark 4:13-20)
* failures of the past * hanging out with the wrong people ( 1 Corinthians 15:33)
Pastor Jay concluded with a final point stating that Hebrews 10:19-25 “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” is a way of igniting your passion for God. He shared that every preacher is not everybody’s “cup of tea”. Pastor Jay had preachers who were able to speak directly into his life who may not be as effective with others. We must find preachers and teachers who are our “cups of tea.”
The church offers a variety of ways to teach and disciple the youth. Their youth ministry outreach is called “Rooted Youth Experience”, held Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30 and is for 7-12th graders. Here they are taught life principles that prepare them for challenges they face. They hear the Word of God and have fellowship in “the warehouse” where there are pool tables, ping pong, air hockey, basketball and more. The “52 Club” funds the youth ministry with church members committing to contribute $1 per week to go towards snacks, seasonal trips and retreats. The church also has a men’s group, a women’s group and a Bible Study on Thursday evenings that runs concurrent with their “Rooted Youth Group”. They also offer “Abounding Grace School of the Bible” with the purpose of training people for various levels of ministry.
In 1992, Abounding Grace began in a mobile home with only 6 members. Since that time, they have grown spiritually and in numbers. In December 2002, the church moved to its present location and this year they celebrate 25 years as a congregation. Their passion for God is evident as they continue with great fervor, holding true to the mission and vision God gave them so many years ago.
After the service, our team had some coffee in their lobby while we waited to meet with Pastor Jay and his wife Pam. Pastor Jay needed time to speak with the people first, and it was nice to see him standing by the door and shaking hands with each one as they left. A real Pastor!
If you’re looking for a good cup of strong tea to wash down the meat and potatoes of solid teaching, Abounding Grace Church might be the perfect home for you.
Church Website – http://www.aboundinggracecc.org
By Donna Hansen Munafo
(Contributing writer Michael Frati)