So, So Thankful
The picture above is where we started. We began with eight people in our living room. That eight grew to fifteen and we moved to gathering on Sundays at a church in Costa Mesa. In only four short months we’ve grown to over 30 on a Sunday.
You should see our core group! You should see how they all get their hands dirty - how they set up chairs, take turns watching the kids, arrange and practice music so we can sing together, assemble numerous decorations to make our first Advent memorable, and talk to people in their lives about Jesus and invite them to church.
You should see how they care for one another - how they pray for each other, talk and laugh together long after a Sunday or Community Group ends, how they ask for and receive help with struggles in their lives.
I’m so thankful for all of that. But what I’m most thankful for is “why”. We are doing all of this because of Jesus and what he has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection. It is one thing for us as people to be motivated by right behavior; it is another to be motivated by the gratitude and love that are the fruit of the Gospel. Only God can do that. Men can plant and water, but only God can bring growth (1 Cor 3:6). Please join us in praying that God would continue to bring growth not only in numbers but in the depth of our faith and in the culture of our young church.
Looking Towards 2014
We are praying and working towards seeing that ‘why’ spread all over Orange County. Our hope and prayer is to see God bring Gospel Renewal in Orange County - to see sleepy Christians woken up, cultural Christians saved, and the spiritual but not religious meeting Jesus.
Here are a few things I’m excited about as I look towards 2014.
- Our first baptism in January!
- Integrating a catechism in to the life of the church. We want to help people to develop a rhythm of memorization, articulate great truths of the faith, and relish the heritage we’ve been given.
- Bringing in Paul Tripp to do a marriage conference. We’ll be leading it and partnering with other churches to love and serve people in Orange County. We should have this confirmed in the next week or so.
- Planting more Community Groups in Costa Mesa and, God-willing, Tustin and La Mirada. I’m thankful for the life and vitality we already see in our community.
- Preaching a series on The Cross of Christ through the lens of the Fruit of the Spirit. The hope is for it to help people grow in their faith and life by returning to the cross of Jesus. My people think Jesus’ work on the cross is what gets them ‘in’ to the Kingdom, or in to eternal life; then its time to get to work. I’d like to help people see how their justification and their sanctification have the same focus on the cross. Lutherans would say that a Christian’s life is repentance and faith. To say it another way, the same grace that saves you, sustains you.
Help This Work Happen
We need your help. [Please note I didn’t say, “We may need your help”. We do need your help.]
“Well, how can I help”, you may be asking. Good question!
Commit to praying for Cross of Christ Church in 2014. Put an alarm on your calendar or write it on your wall (like we do), but we would love it if you would pray for us in the midst of this difficult work.
Maybe you live nearby and are passionate about Gospel Renewal in Orange County. Maybe you don’t have a church home right now. Maybe you want to get off the sidelines and on to God’s mission.Email us and we’ll help you get connected.
Invite Others to Join
Maybe you have a friend or family member in the area who is a sleepy Christian who needs to be woken up, a cultural Christian who needs to meet Jesus in saving way, or is spiritual but not religious and needs to meet Jesus. Send them a personal invitation and CC us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll be happy to get them connected.
Our financial needs are as great as our people needs. Please consider being a means of God’s provision for this church. As you consider your year-end donations, please consider this work. As you consider your family’s or church’s budget next year, please consider giving towards this missionary work in Orange County.
Grateful and ready because of Him,
In case you missed them:
• Training Camp sign up deadline is today.
• My favorite music, books, food and memories from 2013.