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Christmas Party: Leaders, Apology, & Evidences of Grace

December 7, 2009

Last night we had the ACL Leaders Christmas Party, where we celebrated God’s grace towards our church this year through 35 of our leaders. Around 5:30 leaders and kids piled through our front door. For the next hour or so we had a great time of enjoying one another, eating good food, and trying out the Cupcake Bar! All this in the warmth of our home, cozied by the prayers, love, and decor of my wife.

Apology to my Wife

Just before transitioning into our time of reflection, I cut my wife off in order to make a public announcement and spoke unkindly to her. There was sin in my heart. My agenda was more important than hers. I was insensitive and unloving. Fortunately, she didn’t make much of it and graciously received my apology after everyone had left hours later. I learned, yet again, how desperately I need the gospel for my own forgiveness and transformation as a disciple who leads.

Evidences of God’s Grace

We took the next hour to collectively share evidences of God’s grace in our church and ministries. We described evidences of God’s grace as something we can point to and say, “Only God could do that.” As the evidences poured out, I was struck by the diversity of graces in our lives that people were grateful for. Here are a few that were mentioned:

  • Relationships, friends, and “that word we all talk about” is really lived here—Community.
  • Changed lives, growth in holiness
  • Non-Christians in our community, who consistently rub up against the gospel in community
  • Remarkable level of creative talent and generosity of those talents
  • The transformation of the Austin Safeplace teen therapy room
  • Our Kids Life director, Sam Gibson
  • Renewed marriages
  • Deeper understanding of the Gospel

Encouraging One Another

It was powerful, worshipful, joyful, encouraging. Thank you God. This time was followed by personal encouragement for every leader. The Staff took time to express our gratitude not only for the service of each leader, but for who they are as people. A few tears were shed. We don’t do this enough. Tell people how much we appreciate them and why. Encouragement, specific and genuine, is so hard to come by because we are too busy, too selfish, or too concerned about bloating an ego. Silliness. Paul’s letters are filled with specific, genuine encouragements to individuals. The writer of Hebrews tells us to encourage one another daily. Last night, was a sweet time of encouraging one another and rejoicing in God’s grace.

White Elephants

All of this was followed by a White Elephant Gift Exchange, which got us all chuckling, especially the leopard snuggy and the Osteen, Your Best Life Now book!

Thank you leaders of Austin City Life, for leading well and in God’s grace. Our church wouldn’t be the same without you.

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