Today is the one year anniversary of the launch of our Breakthrough campaign at the GCR Church, officially the halfway point of our two-year plan to jump start our congregation’s vision of “Being Changed by God to Love Like Jesus.” On October 30 last year, we asked our church to give $4-million dollars to fund our commitment to transformation and mission.
Since that day, we have begun local missions partnerships with five organizations in Midland that are doing life-changing Gospel work. As a result, we are paying the salary of the first-ever full-time counselor at Family Promise. We are funding the salary of a 2nd staff person at Young Lives. We have purchased a box truck for food deliveries for Mission Agape and a new vehicle for Opportunity Tribe to transport students. In addition, we have completely renovated two courtyard spaces at Emerson Elementary, we eat lunch and read with students there several times a week, and we fist bump those kids the first Monday morning of every month. In total, we have poured well over one thousand volunteer hours into these five partners.
It was appropriate that last night we moved our annual Harvest Party to Family Promise, an organization in Midland that provides housing and resources to families transitioning out of homelessness. The weather forced us inside where we were a little more crowded than we had hoped. But we painted faces and played games and ate hotdogs and passed out tons of candy to 15 deserving families and had a blast doing it.
This is part of the vision. Intentional, incarnational, relational ministry. Instead of spending nine seconds with two thousand people in our church parking lot, what would happen if we spent two hours with about 70 people where they live? We’re finding out. It’s very different. It’s a little messy. It’s slightly unpredictable. But the stories are gloriously funny and the experience is wonderfully life-giving. I spent 45-minutes at a table last night talking with a foster parent while holding her four-week-old baby boy, learning about Five Nights at Freddy’s from two little guys who were way too into all of it, and joking about how I stepped in it when I asked a boy who taught him how to ride a bike and it turned out to be his dad’s ex-girlfriend. In front of his current wife. I wasn’t the only one having these conversations. I wasn’t the only one learning about and leaning into the realities of our community with these friendly and gracious neighbors. It was transformational. And missional. And beautiful. Praise our Lord.
These local missions partnerships are a critical part of our vision. But Breakthrough is also about foreign missions and spiritual disciplines and re-organizing our Bible classes and small groups.
In the past year, we have sent 34 of our members on mission trips, hosted 72 of our members at Christian Practices retreats, and placed 165 of our members into twelve new small groups organized around the formation zones of our church vision. We have remodeled our worship center, improved the seating and lighting and sound, and constructed a brand new baptistry and stage that accommodate most of the church family participating in baptisms up close on Sundays.
On top of all that, the Lord has blessed us with a total of 80 new members of the GCR Church since October 30 last year: 53 adults and 27 kids! And in the four Sundays since we’ve been back in our worship center, we have witnessed and participated in six baptisms together!
And we’re not done yet. On October 30 last year, by God’s amazing grace, our church contributed almost $6.2-million dollars in cash and pledges! That’s $2.2-million over our goal! Nearly $4.4-million of that has already come in, and we’re only at the halfway mark! So we have established a team of 15 women and men to discern what the Lord wants to do with all that extra money.
We praise God for what he is doing in us and through us at GCR. It’s an exciting time around here right now. By God’s grace this church is changing. There’s been a fairly significant turnover and it’s not done yet. New faces, new families, new energy, new hope for what our Lord is doing. We are still very much in transition as a congregation. And we are beside ourselves with anticipation over what he’s going to do next.
My policy is that if you can’t say something bad about the Cowboys, don’t say anything at all.
The incredible fact is that the Rangers and Diamondbacks are tied at one game each in the World Series. The hard truth is that Texas has led in every inning in this series but three. That’s right. Of the 20 innings played thus far, if you count Garcia’s 11th inning game-winning homer in Game One, Texas has led in only three innings. They have not led since the second inning of Game One. Not only that, over the past ten weeks, the Rangers haven’t just lost one game and then won the next. When they lose, they lose three or four in a row. Texas hasn’t sandwiched a single loss between wins since late August. It feels like the Rangers have to score seven or eight runs to win tonight. And they can’t do it all on Seager and Adolis home runs.
What’s going to spark this team to get it turned around? Semien and Lowe need to heat up their bats and Mad Max needs to go six innings tonight. But there also needs to be a rally point. Some big play. Some massive unforgettable catch or double steal or hustle play or three-run homer to light a fire under this group and radically shift the momentum.
Semien might be too tired. Evan Carter is too young. Seager and Garcia are too expected. It’s going to be Leody or Garver or Josh Jung. I’m thinking out loud at this point, but I’m going with Jung to do something really important in Game Three to get this thing headed in the Rangers’ direction. I’m calling out the rookie. He’s got to shine tonight.
Let’s Go Rangers!
Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!