In spite of the snow, we had some really meaningful services Sunday as we wrapped up NEXT.
We looked at the story of Joshua and the people of Israel crossing the Jordan. We focused on the fact that the waters didn’t part until the priests actually stepped into the flowing water – a step of faith! But following that first step, the entire nation experienced the mighty hand of God, and crossed over into the good and promised land.
We took a similar step during our services on Sunday, declaring our intended giving to Grace Chapel for the next two years. Our NEXT
Intentions are steps of faith – trusting that God will provide for our needs, and lead us and our church into a promising new chapter. At the end of the service we took time to prayerfully fill out our cards, and then literally took our first steps as we came forward to present our Intentions and ourselves to the Lord. I found myself profoundly moved as I watched people come forward, and contemplated what God could do with such a generous congregation.
But the most meaningful moment for me personally didn’t come till later that day
. As it happened, Karen and I had turned in our Intention Card weeks earlier, along with the pastoral staff and elders and some ministry leaders. We sensed at the time that the Lord might put something else on our hearts as we made our way through the series. We did have a conversation or two along the way, but even as of Sunday morning we didn’t feel settled about what the Lord was leading us to do.
Later that afternoon, just before the evening service, we prayed and talked again, and before too long arrived at an Intention that truly felt like a “next step” for us – one that required some faith, and expressed our heart’s desire to honor God with our finances and participate wholeheartedly in whatever was next for our lives and our church. Honestly, it was a larger number than either of us had anticipated.
As I drove to the service that night, preparing my mind and heart to preach again, I found myself filled with joy. Happy, actually, is the word that would best describe how I felt. And that happiness increased - as we entered into worship that evening, I felt free. I felt in tune with God’s Spirit. I felt as though we had just opened the door to whatever good things God in store for the days to come.
All through the service that Intention Card was burning a hole in my pocket, and I could hardly wait to get out of my seat and present it to the Lord! I had been praying all week that it would be a holy moment in our service. And it was. I just wasn’t prepared for it to be such a happy one, as well!
I want everyone
to know that joy – that sense of freedom, that readiness to be part of whatever God wants to do next. It happens when we take steps of faith, and grow in the grace of giving.
If you didn’t make it to church on Sunday, you can complete an Intention Card right now using our confidential online form
. Or, you can bring it with you and place it in the offering this Sunday.
If you have not yet arrived at your Intention, I want to encourage you to sit down with the brochure, have a conversation if you need to, and ask the Lord to show you your next step.
If you didn’t receive a brochure in the mail, visit www.grace.org/next
- you’ll find complete information about our NEXT
Generosity Initiative, sermon recordings of the entire teaching series, and the confidential online form to declare your intention. Additional brochures and Intention Cards are also available at the Info Desk at all of our locations
Bryan Wilkerson is Grace Chapel's Senior Pastor. He can be reached at