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Ending the Year in Worship or Idolatry?

December 18, 2009

The end of a year brings about a time of reflection. We reflect for newsletters, sermons, cards, and resolutions. But most of all, we should reflect for Jesus. As I have reflected on the clear evidence of God’s grace in my life and our church, I’ve been both encouraged and discouraged.

I’m encouraged by a growing church, a repenting church, a missional church. I’m encouraged by strengthened and renewed marriages, deep community, new leaders, and sincere love. By…

  • A culture of repentance and faith in Jesus
  • Elderly Loved, Abused Cared for, Broken Counseled, Homeless fed
  • Baptisms and Conversions
  • Church Growth doubled from 70 to 150
  • 130 in Sunday attendance
  • 125 people in City Groups
  • 45 people in Fight Clubs
  • 8 Church planters coached
  • 60 African Pastors trained
  • 11,000 sermon downloads
  • ACL Worship EP: ONE
  • Fight Clubs: Gospel-centered Discipleship (10,000 free downloads; 700 sold)
  • Music for the City launched

Wow. What a remarkable pouring out of grace in our church. But when I compare my experience of grace with other’s experience of grace, I begin to get discouraged. There are other pastors, planters, and churches with more influence, more depth, and more mission. And the minute I do this is the minute I move from worship to idolatry, from worshiping God to worshiping influence or reputation. Because of this idolatrous tendency, I was blessed by the following words from a mentor, Jeff Vanderstelt:

  • “Don’t be concerned about position or power, the world longs for these things. We don’t need them because we are already seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
  • “And don’t let what is so great about Acts 29 Austin City Life ever be any of us – it is Jesus and the way he is loving his church through each of you.”

May we end the year in worship, not idolatry, in enjoying God’s grace not coveting other’s grace. May we not be concerned about position, power, esteem, or influence but rather rest in the abundantly sufficient grace of God in Christ, who accepts us in an incorruptible love, a Christ who is our everlasting righteousness!

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