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Reach Up Reach Out
 

Looking Back Over 11 Years

by Chuck Swindoll, senior pastor

As I sit here today, reflecting over these 11 years, I need a GPS.

This may seem strange, since many of us use GPS to arrive where we are going, not to help us remember where we’ve been. But in this case, the past 11 years are best described as a journey where GPS has played a major role. Let me explain.

The "G" represents GRACE. It was a mutual desire for grace that first drew us together back in mid-October 1998. All of us longed for a place of grace. We wanted every message preached to have grace at its core. Grace in the Gospel. Grace in worship. Grace in relationships. Grace in understanding. Grace in our DNA.

Why? Because we were weary of churches that lacked it. We weren’t ready for more legalism, more guilt-giving, heavy-handed demands, or strong-armed manipulations masked in pious words. We have always been a body of people who love the freedom that grace provides. For 11 years, GRACE has held us together.

The "P" represents PRAISE. Our praise has been directed upward ever since our inception. We have never been a church that centers our praise on people, but always on our God. All of our praise goes to our Heavenly Father through Christ our Lord and Savior. Our prayers have been punctuated with praise to Him who, alone, is worthy. Answers to our prayers have always been met with praise. We have given Him praise for everything He has provided: land, buildings, leadership, growth, joy, and harmony. Our hearts are filled with praise. Our music rings with praise. Even times of testing and waiting on our knees have caused us to praise our God. For eleven years, PRAISE has been our theme.

The "S" represents SURPRISE. Our incredible beginning was a surprise. Our finding this magnificent piece of real estate in the nerve center of this fast growing city was a surprise. Our ability to set up church in a great big gymnasium and then sit on white plastic chairs until our bottoms got numb through long sermons and loud rainstorms on the roof—without one fist fight breaking out—is a remarkable surprise. The sacrificial giving of so many so that we could reach out to more folks through this larger and lovely new sanctuary was an immense surprise. And on top of all that, we’ve almost completed our new, two-story Children’s Building without adding a dime’s more debt in the midst of one of the most financially challenging times in recent American  history. Now THAT, my friends, qualifies as a major surprise!

So here we are today, only 11 years old. Why, we’re not even in our teenage years as a church . . . but stop and look at what the Lord has done (and, trust me, He has only begun).
 
His GRACE is still sufficient.
Our PRAISE to Him is still going forth.
And the SURPRISE factor is still our watchword.

The ol' GPS is still working well at Stonebriar Community Church.