Apr 282011

I feel like I am still recovering from Easter Sunday!  What a weekend!  On Saturday we had the Walnut Grove packed with Egg Hunters!  We could not have possibly gotten another car parked in Walnut Grove park!  The best part is that we had several people come and celebrate Easter with us after being invited at the Egg Hunt!

Sunday morning was incredible!  We worshiped and celebrated the Resurrected Jesus & we saw several people make decisions regarding their relationship with God. We had our highest ever attendance at a Church at a Grove gathering! (625) It was a great day!

Here is what we focused on for Easter Sunday morning:

Genesis 1-3

  • We see God’s Grace in Creation. Genesis 1:31
  • We see God’s Grace in the Curse. Genesis 3:15 “The First Gospel”
  • We see God’s Grace in His Covering.  Genesis 3:7 & Genesis 3:21

We attempt to cover our sin and shame in our own strength (fig leaves) but God, in His GRACE, covered our sin and shame through the shed blood of the animal.  This was a foreshadowing of the “once for all” sacrifice Jesus would make to cover our sin.

Here is what is going on in the life of The Grove this weekend and how you can be a part:

  • I would love for you to make personal contact with any person that you invited and brought to our Easter celebration this past Sunday!  Invite them back for this next Sunday & part 2 of our GRACE series.  Offer to bring them, have them meet you out front, whatever it takes to get them back.  You are the most important connection in them coming back!
  • Remember we will be back to ONE GATHERING this Sunday at 10am!
  • Be aware of our Community Group opportunities for the summer that we will be announcing soon!
  • Rest in the GRACE of God this week!
  • Friday night is the JOY Prom hosted by Summit Baptist Church.  This is a great Prom Experience for special needs students and young adults.
  • Friday night is the Butts and Ribs fundraiser for Pat and Joy Hardin!
  • Friday night is RELAY FOR LIFE in Monroe!  Church at the Grove will have a booth and we will be “Kissing Cancer goodbye”!
  • Don’t miss out on the opportunities to connect with us as we partner with God to make an observable difference in our local and global community!

Keep Praying, Keep investing, Keep inviting!

 Posted by at 11:09 am
Apr 192011

I heard a story recently of a family that tragically had a little girl die at a young age.  They made arrangements to have the little girl buried in the cemetery on the property of the church they had been attending.  Months after the girl had been buried one of the members of the little church discovered that the little girl was not a member of the church.  Some of the leaders in the church had her body exhumed and forced the family to have her buried somewhere else simply because she was not a member of the church!

This explains why this church has remained small and had little “gospel” impact on the community around it! I simply can’t believe that people would resort to such a thing over whether or not that little girl was a “member” of the church.

I believe strongly that this explains in part why the church in our American culture is in decline and losing influence in the community.  This is why we work so hard to stay focused on what our mission is at CATGrove!  It is also why we need to plant more churches!

It was such a powerful Sunday of worship this past week and it was a blessing to have Matt Papa share in the sermon:

Here is what we focused on for this week:

Colossians 4:5–6 (ESV)
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

  • Live Loud
  • Focus on the mission in the midst of the madness
  • Talk to people about what matters most.

CATGroves Values that impact outsiders:

  • Persuasive Compassion
  • Missional Responsibility

Let’s stay focused on reaching people with the gospel for God’s Glory!

Take advantage of Easter and invite your friends, family and neighbors to Church at the Grove this Sunday!  Remember we have two services this Sunday only at 9:30am and 11am!

Keep praying, Keep investing, keep inviting!

 Posted by at 10:39 am
Apr 152011

One of the hardest things to measure in the life of a church is spiritual growth!  You can measure attendance, you can count baptisms, you can track offering amounts, but when it comes to measuring what is going on inside a person’s heart it is often difficult to calculate.

This is why this past Sunday at CATGrove was so awesome! Hearing from Pat and Joy Hardin share the tangible work of God and the fruit of their ministry in Romania is so encouraging because it allows us a very real and practical way to celebrate what God is doing through the Hardins and through CATGrove!

Here is what Pat challenged us with this past Sunday from Romans 1:16:

  • We must walk unashamed! Matthew 10:32; 1 Peter 3:15
  • We have to walk in power. 1 Cor. 1:18; 1 Cor. 1:24
  • We must walk out our salvation. Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 5:9
  • We must walk in faith. Mark 1:15; Hebrews 11:6

In light of this, who are you investing in and planning to invite to Easter Sunday on April 24? One of the ways we measure our effectiveness as a church to accomplish our mission, “We exist to develop people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples”, is to leverage Easter to invite as many of our friends and family as possible!

Who are you praying for?  Who are planning to bring with you?

Don’t forget, we will have 2 Easter services!  9:30am and 11am!

I can’t wait to see you Sunday morning!

 Posted by at 8:44 am
Apr 052011

What an incredible encounter with God Sunday morning!  This Sunday’s gathering of CATGrove was particularly moving for me personally since I was able to take a Sunday off and enjoy our encounter with God from a different perspective.  I know that I will insist that those who missed our gathering today to go online and listen to the message.  What a great word on God’s Sovereignty in suffering and the hope we have in Jesus.

We are challenged to pursue an accurate view of God & an accurate view of ourselves.  An accurate view reveals true reality.

Paul addressed some issues related to God’s character in Acts 17:24-31 & we learn that He is our creator, supplier and He is righteous!  We are subject to Him and we are not in control.

You can see in the lives of Joseph, Job and Jesus how God accomplishes His divine plan through suffering, evil and He will fulfill His hidden & ultimate will.

We can have hope and be comforted that God is in control despite the circumstances.

A great verse to memorize and meditate on this week is Isaiah 55:9

On Sunday our worship team led us into God’s presence in a real way!  We sang a favorite & powerful hymn:  “It is Well With My Soul”

Horatio Spafford was a lawyer of some prominence in Chicago. He and his wife Anna had one son and four daughters, and were good friends of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey for many years. Mr. Spafford’s children had come to Christ through the influence of Ira Sankey’s music and efforts with the children of Chicago. Shortly before the Great Chicago Fire of October 8th, 1871, the Spafford’s son died and the family went into deep mourning. After the fire ravaged the city, Mr. Spafford found himself financially ruined. He had invested heavily in downtown Chicago real estate, which was now gone. He and his wife turned to the people of the city, helping to minister to those who were homeless and in desperate need.

After two years of ministering to the people of Chicago, Mr. Spafford thought his family needed a vacation. D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in England holding evangelical meetings and bringing countless thousands to Christ. Mr. Spafford decided to take his family to England, where they could vacation and also be a help to his friends Moody and Sankey.

Mr. Spafford booked passage for his family on the ship SS Ville de Havre, but at the last minute was unable to go with his family due to business. He promised to follow them within a few weeks and they would all be reunited in England.

As the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, it collided with the English ship Lochearn, and iron sailing vessel. On November 22, 1873, the SS Ville de Havre sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost, including the four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was rescued from a floating piece of debris. When she arrived in Wales 10 days later she cabled a message to her husband, “Saved Alone…”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next ship heading to England. As the ship crossed the area where the SS Ville de Havre sank, taking his precious daughters to the ocean’s depths, Mr. Spafford felt the Holy Spirit fill him with a comforting peace. Leaving the ship’s railing he went into his cabin where he penned the Hymn that has soothed so many souls who have been brokenhearted…

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

By Horatio Spafford (1828 – 1888)


 Posted by at 10:51 am