Little Ebenezer

Little Ebenezer

Posted on August 24, 2016

Leading up to Grace Church's 25th Anniversary, we are counting down the days by posting 25 blog posts in 25 days by 25 authors (well, 24. Dave wrote twice). The post below is one of these posts. Need tickets to the 25th Anniversary celebration at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 11, 2016? Get tickets here: gracechurch.us/25

BY RUTH SCHWARTZ, DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTING

In my office hangs an aerial photograph taken around 1996 of the first building that housed Grace Community Church. What has always amazed me about that photo is the amount of history that’s captured in that split second. The gravel “driveways” placed down the south and east lawns are evidence of the overflow parking that nearly covered every square inch of available space. The cupola atop the office space is boarded up with plywood reminding me that the building was struck with lightening several times – frying components of our little computer network and prompting emergency calls to Rob Conley, our computer “knight in shining armor.” One rather odd thing in the photo is a fire truck backed up to the northwest corner of the building with its hose pumping water into our makeshift baptismal which happened to be a 4’ dinosaur kiddy pool placed in the middle of our auditorium. Then there’s that stack of rocks in the lawn near the north door of the lobby. It was placed there one Sunday at the end of a sermon as a 1 Samuel 7:12 Ebenezer reminder that “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” That’s the one single most important thing to me when I look at that photo. 

The name chosen for the first building campaign was “Touched by Grace.” I, along with several others, was asked to write a short piece about how I had been touched by grace to be used as part of the campaign. Though I didn’t consider myself to be a writer, the thoughts flowed from me because I had truly been touched and changed by grace and by the people of Grace. My husband had left and my world had come crashing down around me and my 2 children. Having been raised in a conservative church I considered myself to be damaged goods and was desperately crying out to God. I couldn’t put on a mask and pretend. Instead of rejecting me, I was hired by Dave Rodriguez and Jim Falk to be the financial secretary of Grace Church. I was loved unconditionally and began to discover the unrelenting grace and love that God had for me. It wasn’t something I deserved and it completely changed the trajectory of my life. Instead of living under a burden of trying to earn God’s love and salvation, it was handed to me on a silver platter.

I’ve often wondered how many people have been “touched by grace” over the 25 years of this church’s existence. And how many more lives continue to be changed as we expand? That’s what really excites me! So that little Ebenezer reminder was very precious to me then and it’s still very precious. Truly thus far the Lord has helped me personally but more important HE will continue to help Grace Church become everything HE has called us to be as HE changes us one life at a time.


Picture taken in the spring of 1997. Everyone had just been line dancing. 

The top picture is from the summer of 1994. 

Comments

Posted by gay Hawke on August 24, 2016 @ 3:54 pm