He began it in you. He will continue it without you.

Philippians 1.6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (ESV)

Recently I have been processing how this verse applies to my life. Almost a decade ago God planted a vision in my heart that eventually became Grace Point Church. It is a vision that was birthed in my heart alone, and yet it is a vision I was disqualified to lead because of my own sinful choices. I forfeited the right to continue a vision God planted in my heart.

A couple of thoughts to ponder:

- Did God know I would disqualify myself before He planted that vision in my heart?
- Is a God-planted vision discontinued when the leader disqualifies him/herself?
- Is God capable of raising up other people to continue a vision He planted in someone else's heart?

Here's a reality I have been processing lately: God is continuing a good work without me that He began with me

Grace Point Church started in one person's heart. Nothing can change that reality. But Grace Point has continued and been sustained through the hearts and lives of thousands who have become apart of that original vision. That's how God's work continues.

Important thought: God's good work is always about Him and not about us. God's work is not limited to our human abilities or choices. God's work is always bigger than any individual. It is always about Jesus and not about us.

HE began a good work that HE will complete (with or without you or me).

When God planted the vision of Grace Point Church in my heart, He began a work that focused primarily on a few simple things. These identifying marks emerged after years of praying, thinking, reading, processing, and developing. Yet these same traits mark countless visions generated by God because the church is about Him and not about us. Here are some of the primary values God birthed in my heart that continue to define God's church.

Life Transformation through the Gospel
Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can change hearts and lives. Cool set designs and marketing are beneficial to the presentation of the gospel but only the story of Jesus truly transforms hearts. Christ-centered worship reflects those stories of life transformation.

God planted a vision in my heart years ago of helping restore the shalom (wholeness) of a community through unconditional, no agenda serving.  We are called to serve as He served.

Missional Living
Every Jesus follower is called to be a missionary in their context - to engage their culture with the unchanging gospel of Jesus. That call never changes.

Strategic Stewardship
God calls every Jesus follower to invest their time, treasures, and talents to advance God's kingdom.

Authentic Community
God calls Jesus followers to live in raw and real relationship with each other.

These values reflect a God-given vision. The truth of the matter is that every church in every culture is called to reflect these values at some level. The lingo may change. The wording may alter. The verbiage may fluctuate. The manner in which a church fulfills these values may shift. But at the end of the day, God's vision for the church is constant because it is His church and not ours.

The church is comprised of Jesus followers and following Jesus is primarily about taking steps on the spiritual journey toward being authentic and passionate disciples of Jesus (loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind & loving others). His work in us.

I am thankful God allowed me to be the key initiator of a work He began - a work that He and He alone will continue - a good work that transcends any one human. God will bring to completion what He started because each and every church is first and foremost His work.  Leadership changes. Language varies. Values adjust. People sin. But at the end of the day, God-given visions are sustained because the church is His church and not ours.

God began a good work in me. That work will always reflect His initial work in my life. Yet He will continue that particular work without me. And guess what? That's okay because His work is always about Him. And guess what? His work IN ME continues as well and He will complete IN ME what He began.

Regardless of my own personal struggles and choices, I have always known the work God started in my heart was about Him and not me.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion.

What is it in your life that God started and someone else may complete it? Embrace it. Own it. And know that God may complete it with or without you. 

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