Gifted in Grace

by Adam Smith on September 01, 2023

What is Grace?

As Christians we refer to it all the time. We know it’s central to faith somehow. It has to do with Jesus, right?

I knew a person named Grace one time...

The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church in Corinth: “Last of all, as to someone untimely born, [Jesus] appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them – though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe” (1 Cor. 15:8-11).

For Paul, grace is that one thing that that has made him who he is. It is that one thing that works within him to be his best, to confess, “I am what I am.” It is that one thing that moves not only him, but others to come to believe in Jesus Christ.

Grace is the key to life. Grace is the source of power, strength, hope, and love. Grace transformed Paul’s whole life, so that he could be truly himself.

Grace is the free gift of God in Jesus Christ who died so that each of us might live. It isn’t a gift we deserve or that we have to earn. It is freeing. It frees us from sin, hopelessness, fear, scarcity, unworthiness, being a nobody. It is an act that saves us for full life right now and forever as it brings us back into communion with God.

Oh yeah ... Grace embodies ALL of that...and more!

I remember the first time I truly felt the impact of what grace has done in my life. Immediately I wanted others to feel that sense of freedom. I remember the relief, the burden lifted off my shoulders, and the opportunities that just rose up from every corner of my life. It’s not that life got easier, it’s that I knew I wasn’t alone anymore; that the God of creation, of all things, loved me and died for me, and I was free to live and be my true self.

And I had to share it. I wanted other people to experience that hope, that sense of belonging, and that sense of purpose. No longer was my life meaningless, but it was part of God’s ultimate plan of rescuing everything.

Maybe you all have similar stories. Maybe you had a moment where grace just ‘clicked.’ Maybe that sense came about over a long period of time instead. Maybe it comes and it goes. We all come to understand, experience, and see grace in our own time as the Holy Spirit unveils things for us.

But when we do, we don’t just sit around, rest and bask in this gift. We want to share it. We HAVE to share it!

As a congregation, we are all about grace! Grace lies at the heart of our identity as Church, and it reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are part of a body of believers on a mission to share this good news and to build up the church by making disciples.

In 2023 and 2024, we are embarking on a journey together with the theme “Gifted in Grace.” We are going to focus on how grace has and is changing us. But we are also going to see how grace moves us to act toward fulfilling our mission. Grace motivates us to explore and hone our own giftedness, our own talents, our own resources to do this work in the world. God doesn’t just save us, but calls us to live out loud the grace that has so transformed our lives.

At PCN, we know that in order to be the Church of Jesus Christ, we are each called to use our gifts, talents, and resources to live into our mission toward our vision for the future. And we know it takes all of us together. We want to be the church on the move where we all utilize what we have to be a ‘beacon of hope, reviving the world through God’s love.”

So in 2023 and 2024, we are going to be praying individually and together: Where and how is God calling me to serve in the life of PCN (and beyond)? As a church, we will be engaging in a campaign to find out what your gifts are and how you might feel called to serve in the life and ministry of the church. We want this to be a year of discernment, of action, and working together to build up the church. In the days to come, we invite you to watch and listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to reflect on how grace has and is changing your life, and how God is calling you to rise up in word, action, and prayer to join in God’s song at PCN.

With Hope & Grace,
Pastor Adam


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