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Life in Greencastle - My Hope

When I began writing these letters to you I had an unspoken desire. I wanted to help you see God at work in your life … wherever you were, whatever you were doing. I still have that hope. I hope that these correspondences help remind you that God cares for you, for your life … even for our little city called Greencastle.

I wanted us to see God outside of our church and in our daily lives because I know the tendency is to stop looking around, to stop looking outside of ourselves.

I am afraid to say it, but it is true: many churches can fall into the tendency of making themselves magnets – feeling like their purpose is to pull more and more people into their “field.” And when churches become magnets, trying to draw more and more people to them, it is inevitable that the majority of the attention goes towards all that’s going on within our church.
This can be so dangerous. It is dangerous because it leads to playing the game of attraction.

When churches start operating as magnets, they start comparing themselves to other churches: if we only had a new sanctuary … a bigger youth group … a church bus.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it is important to celebrate our life together … essential even. It is important to invite people to worship with us, to make sure young and old feel welcomed in our space.

But, even more important is learning to see our church as a launching pad, not as a magnet.
And that is why I write these letters. I want to turn the focus outward again … and again. I want you to hear about where I’ve seen God outside of this place. I want you to see where I see God’s glory: Denise and Carli splashing in the water beneath a beautiful blue sky, Doug Miller teaching Jacob Lorimer how to play croquet, old and young throwing bean bags high into the air.

I want you to hear about the parents who thanked God for watching over their little boy and letting that boy go home from the hospital. I want you to hear about the husband who thanked God that his wife had come through surgery … that he could have more time with his beloved.
More importantly, I want you to see Jesus in your midst … in your world, in your work, in your home.

Everybody knows Jesus is supposed to be in church on Sunday, but do we honestly believe he is alive and active in our world?

Because he is, you know? He is at work in your world right now. He’s active in our community.
Our work therefore is to make sure we keep stepping out of the church and into the world to see where Jesus is … who he is listening to … what is breaking his heart … and to go there with him.

That’s my hope. Because the time you spend with friends and family over the next few days – celebrating our independence, watching fireworks – will be places where Jesus walks among you. He’ll be in your midst and inviting you to take delight in whatever is good and true and to help out wherever there is disharmony or injustice.

And when we’ve spent time out in the world, we can come home to church on Sunday. We can come to share stories of where we’ve seen Jesus and prepare to go out into the world and meet him again.




  1. I've left my college town and unfortunately can't attend church at GPC (sounds like GCB). But I can read the blog - what a posting! I've never thought about the "magnet concept," and find it extraordinarily insightful. It's also convicting: I think sometimes I see myself as a magnet, when that certainly was not God's design for me. Thanks for your thoughts, my friend! - Ryan


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