In the early years of Grace Church there were many things that were foundational, obviously. They are still foundational. Those things don’t change. And as I have said through the years, there are some pastors who pastor different churches in different places.
My Dad was like that. He pastored here and there and hither and yon, pastoring quite a number of churches in different places. I’ve had the privilege of pastoring different churches in the same place. But there are vastly different churches that have occupied the 35 years that I’ve been here. The congregation shifts and moves. I’m the fixed point which is a little bit different than the normal pastoral experience moving from place to place. And if I were to move from place to place, through the years I would feel like I needed to go back and lay the foundations that were basic and important and God blessed in other places. And because I’ve stayed in the same place, I’ve tended not to do that but being reminded again that the congregation has changed so frequently through these years, particularly in the rapidly changing population of Southern California, that it’s good thing to go back and re-grasp some of the great sections of Scripture that laid the foundation for all the work that God has done here.
Now obviously, the most important element in the ministry of Grace Community Church is our commitment to the Word of God. And I have battled for the truthfulness of the Word of God, the priority of the Word of God, the centrality of the Word of God all the years that I’ve been here. And the battle shifts and moves and the front changes from time to time. But there is also the necessity of affirming the truthfulness, the priority, the centrality and the glory of Scripture, nor as an end to itself but as a means to an end. It is the means by which people are saved and sanctified and equipped and trained and motivated and given the hope of glory. It is not the end but it is the single means by which God does all His work. It is the Spirit using the Word of God, the Word rightly understood and applied. And so, from the very beginning, back in February...February 9thof 1969 when I came here, we have in every service opened up the Word of God. We want to hear God speak. We know that He does His work through His Word....