Stone Walls


We’re here in Chicago (Skokie, actually) for our TEAMerica church planters conference.  TEAMerica is the church planting arm of the BGC that emphasizes and commissions church plants and planters.  Lesley and I went through a very demanding week of assessment several years ago to discern our qualifications and ability to plant a church from scratch.  It’s still pretty amazing to me that they took two unknowns, Lesley & I, and saw in us what God saw in us and partnered with us to start The Grove. 

This conference is geared for church planters who face some pretty different dynamics than those guys who lead established churches.  Not only are the dynamics different, but planters as a group tend to be much more entrepreneurial in nature and that leads to its own challenges. 

Anyway, last night, we took a close look at Isaiah 64.  One of the passages from this chapter that struck me is this:

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you;

Sometimes we work so hard trying to do good things, God-honoring things, world-changing things that we forget that in the end it’s still a pile of rags without the blessing and the help of an Almighty God.  And we can get so enamored with our own efforts that we decide not the pursue God and his blessing, as if we don’t need it.  Our hearts can easily become stone walls without God’s grace.  Planters, by their nature are usually pretty self-sufficient, big-thinking, git-r-done kinds of guys.  But in the end we still need Jesus….both in the work, and in our own lives. 


This afternoon, we have a break in the schedule, and Lesley and I will be meeting with Nathan Giffin, founder of Vertical Artisans.  Nathan’s work is pretty incredible.  He has taken an art form of creating stone walls out of concrete to a brand new level.  We have talked with him before about doing a project in our church, but we have never met.  But we will this afternoon, and we will be viewing some of his work and seeing what God can put together to get him to Peoria to work his magic at The Grove.  Click here to see some of Nathan’s beautiful work


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