Today was a special day for several reasons. Of course, it is the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and most of us can remember where we were as well as we remember where we were the day that Kennedy was assassinated, if you are old enough, that is. And we are getting to the time that kids born after the 9/11 attacks are now teenagers – almost impossible to believe!
But there is another reason today is a special day. That’s because 25 years ago, the first service at our church, Grace Church, met in a concrete floored warehouse in Carmel, IN and from those inauspicious roots, we are now a multi-campus church with expansion plans in London, Bloomington, IN, several other state locations and at least four more gateway cities around the world. We are scheduled to open our Fishers, IN location in December of this year and we have just purchased a building in north Indy where we will have a presence in one of the most diverse communities in the area.
In fact, Nora, the area I am referring to, was where I located our company when we first opened it back in 1983. We were there for years until we moved to a more upscale location and now Nora has become a melting pot for the north side of Indy. Although Janet and I both have a heart for all three local locations (our son, Andrew, lives in Fishers), we continue to be drawn to the 146th St. campus, the mother ship, from which these other campuses have sprung.
We have attended Grace for about 18 years, so we weren’t there in the very beginning – the “warehouse” days – but we attended services at Grace right after the church moved to its current location – and have been there ever since. We were part of the group that organized the 10th anniversary of the church and now we have celebrated another benchmark. It has been great to see how God has moved during the last quarter of a century.
Earlier this year, we started a series on the work of the Holy Spirit and as a church, we are praying for revival and that God would move boldly to help us repair the broken places of the world – alienation from God, isolation, brokenness, hatred, social injustice and decay of God’s creation. This has become the mantra of the body of the church and we believe that God is moving in such a way to create a revival in this country and, perhaps, the world.
We want to be on the cutting edge of this initiative and toward that goal, we have been in a deep study of the Holy Spirit and what happens when fully devoted followers of Jesus listen to and obey the leadings of the Spirit. Perhaps the greatest recounting of revival we have is the story in Acts on the day of Pentecost and how, through the work of the Holy Spirit, thousands of people came to know the saving grace of Christ in one day!
The story is quite remarkable and one of the key elements of that event is the fact that all the people were gathered together in one place at one time – in fact, Peter preached his first sermon that day! That seemed like a good idea to us – so the church celebration today took place in downtown Indy – at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, a venue normally used for professional basketball games and concerts! To be sure, it was pretty much filled this morning with people praising God and acknowledging the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Moreover, we celebrated the start of His church two thousand years ago and still going strong.
It will be wonderful to see what God has in store next for us. We are filled with anticipation and wait in expectant hope that the future will be even better than the past for our church. We stand ready to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and want to be a part of whatever God will do in the world. It’s a great time to be a believer!
Our verse for this evening is the one that starts the second chapter of Acts, the beginning of the story of the church. We are told, by the good Dr, Luke, the author of Acts, in Acts, 2:1, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place…” That’s how it started – all together in one place at one time… just like we were today!
My encouragement tonight is that God wants each of us to be a part of revival – fully dedicated to the work of the Holy Spirit and the rest of the Trinity. My prayer is that you will re-dedicate yourself to being a part of the movement of God – just like the 3000 who came to know Him on that day of Pentecost almost 2000 years ago! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…