by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).”

When I am generous with my time, my treasure and my talent, my focus becomes “other” centered. It opens the eyes of my heart and I find myself looking for Jesus around every corner, under every rock, in the eyes of the face in front of me. Perhaps I’ll find him there, perhaps I won’t.

But in the graveled mixture of life’s pebbles and rocks and the boulders that I can’t move, The Everlasting encourages me to breathe in, breathe out. To live with open hands and an open heart trusting that:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies, You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23, NLT).”

And then this quote from Dr. Jon Morrissette in reference to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:

“Just as faith is never about what we say, so love is never about what we say. The substance of faith, the substance of love, the substance of mercy, is generosity! Love is tangible. It’s the bandages, the oil and wine, the donkey, the inn, the caregiving, the two silver coins, the instructions to the innkeeper, and the extra expense. Words are cheap. Generosity is costly.”

Generosity acts, it risks, it involves itself, it gives of itself, and it follows through. The good Samaritan was good because he was generous—financially, personally, and sacrificially generous. This is what Jesus commended—not love in the abstract, but the Samaritan’s hard-core, tangible, costly acts of generosity.

by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

Fall baptisms happened this weekend at Granger Community Church as we closed out the Game Plan series with 165 people taking their next step and going under the water. It was an incredible time of celebrating the work God continues to do in His people.

Here is an excerpt from my sermon:

“This life of following Jesus is a discovery of God’s holy standard, striving towards making it our own and coming to the realization that we cannot do it by our own efforts. ‘Taking up our cross daily’ is a constant reminder of the nature of Jesus’ atonement. Our belief is that the sacrifice of Jesus is the basis of our repentance and the motivation to be more like Him. As we become more like Him we have a change in mind which causes a change in behavior, and this results in a life of grace and service. But the daily taking up of our cross, this struggle against the challenges and temptations of personal sins can seem overwhelming 15baptism1at times and so, it is good for us to remember the gospel.

“Feeling proud? Remember the gospel: Jesus substituted Himself for you personally and died painfully in your place.

“Feeling discouraged? Remember the gospel: Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law by permanently removing the cause of God’s wrath (expiation) and making you favorable to Him (propitiation).

“Feeling self-righteous? Remember the gospel: Only Jesus could redeem you by paying the judicial penalty of your sin and liberating you from its penalty.

“Feeling afflicted? Remember the gospel: Jesus cancelled your ‘certificate of debt’ and took away the force of your accuser.”

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by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

If there is anything that has surprised me about the people of Granger Community Church, it’s this. When I look around at who is serving in various volunteer capacities—changing diapers in the nursery or greeting guests or showing people to their seats or cleaning restrooms between services—I see a lot of people who don’t look like they belong.

Hold on, let me explain.

If you step back and consider how we “do church,” or maybe it’s easier to consider what we don’t do:

  • We don’t have hymnals.
  • We don’t offer adult Sunday school.
  • We don’t care if you bring coffee into the auditorium. (We call it an auditorium instead of a sanctuary.)
  • We don’t care what you wear or how many tattoos you have or what color your hair is.

There you go, you get the idea. So who are these people who don’t look like they belong? Is it the guy with the tats? Or the dreadlocks? I suppose it could be but no, that’s not who I’m thinking of.

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To learn more about the way we do things at Granger, and get practical tips for creating excellent first impressions, healthy groups and a vibrant kids’ ministry, come to workshops on October 13 & 14. Register by September 14 and grab early bird discounted pricing for everyone on your team.

by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

It’s Monday morning, one of my favorite times of the week. The office is quiet and I’m reflecting on the weekend that was. I have a couple of comment cards on my desk that were filled out by those in attendance. People use these for a variety of purposes. Sometimes it’s, “Hey, I have a new email address.” Other times it’s, “Please pray for this situation”. We get feedback on what did or didn’t work in a service through this method of communication. When someone goes to the trouble of completing both the front and the back side of a comment card, I pay close attention.

This morning I’m paying attention.

Members of our guest services team are often the unsung heroes of Granger Community Church. They show up, greet people, smile, engage and encourage with no real fanfare. The important and critical role they play is not lost on us as leaders, but our encouragement and cheerleading pales in comparison to a real, live attendee giving real time feedback. One of our comment cards this weekend provided this encouraging and powerful word.

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