FORGETTING HOW TO FEEL SAFE

What do you need to feel safe? What good and bad things do you carry around on your back to help you feel like you’re in the right?

Early Christian Peter was prone to a ‘gospel amnesia’ caused by a deep rooted love of pleasing people, a deep fear of others thinking he wasn’t holy enough, and so he kept trying to reinstate old rules that God had given his people for a previous generation in his own life. And in so doing he kept excluding people who Jesus welcomed.

Paul had good news for Peter. In the words of Barbara Duguid, “There is grace to change you and there is grace to help you cope with failing to change.” Both are needed, though the second is a bit scary.

It’s not just Peter though, followers of Jesus for 2000 years have found themselves prone to forget how good Jesus is, and imagining themselves less than safe in him, they’ve reached for countless others things, good things, bad things, cultural things to define themselves.

On Sunday morning Stuart quoted Paul Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling:  “My experience with hundreds of pastors is that many sadly function in a regular state of gospel amnesia. I love reminding pastors of the present benefits of the person and work of Jesus. I love helping them to see their security… in how much Jesus has already loved them.”

Paul spoke to his friend Peter, two rocks of the early church movement, to remind him that ‘the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.’

It feels terrifying to let go of all the good things and bad things in which we find our security, but says Paul, you really can trust Jesus to carry you, just see his arms open as he died for you.  Would you entrust yourself to him?

We continue our series You are always welcome at our next Sunday gathering.

HOW’S YOUR MARRIAGE?

It’s a perfectly good question, for a friend to ask.

But how do you answer it. What kind of language is appropriate? How honest can I be? How could I honour the relationship without faking like everything is amazing?

The same struggle could be true if we try to answer the question: what is God saying to you?

“Er…”

Jesus said to his first followers (in John 21:20-23) “Don’t worry about the story I’ve written for other people, you follow me.”

So, “What is God saying to you?”

“Er…”

Changing the conversation can be deeply disorienting. If we’re used to talking about certain things – like what God is generally saying, or what other people need to hear – seasoned believers can suddenly feel like novices.

Culture-shock is awkward. It’s unsettling. But learning our way through the discomfort might bring us life.

This is where we’re looking to be. Recognising that each of us is on a journey with Jesus, needing to take one step at a time with him, we want to be huddling with others to pursue this question. What is God saying to me?

It may take some time to learn the vocabulary to answer the question, but if each of us could discern what God was saying to us and what he was asking of us… Just imagine.

For more see our recent message: You follow me.

GOD SAYS HELLO

What kind of introduction would God make to people? We’re asking this question as we unpack the first century letter from Paul to the churches in Galatia.

The letter opens passionately with a reminder of the welcome of God they’d heard of. The kind of welcome can be discerned from the kind of God.

A God who is pleased. Can you imagine God with a smile on his face? Paul says, don’t imagine – look at Jesus.

A God who is personally introducing himself by revealing his Son. If Jesus is the Son then God is Father. This God makes himself known.  Where religions call us to adopt them, this God comes and offers to adopt us into his family.

A God who is present.  He is pleased to reveal his Son to people and even in people. Not merely information but an inner revelation, moving into our lives by the Spirit of his Son.

Is this presumptuous, to claim that Jesus is the way you can know God? It sounds like arrogance but this isn’t believe in Jesus and get a prize. Jesus himself is the prize. If you want to know him get to know him.

God, with a smile on his face sends his Son to make himself known. We unpacked this in our Sunday Gathering on September 14th. We’ll continue exploring this at our Sunday Gatherings this term.

VISION SUNDAY

On Sunday 21st September we’re taking a one week break from our series unpacking the Bible book of Galatians to take stock on where we find ourselves and to paint a picture of the future we’re pursuing. We call this a Vision Sunday.

Stuart Alred will be speaking at this Sunday gathering.

This will be an opportunity to see clearly what Grace Church Exeter is about and how you can play a part as we learn to explore, experience and express the goodness of God in our city. Please do join us for this important moment.

EXPLORE MORE

This event has now happened. More opportunities will be available in future.

On Sunday 7th we gathered to celebrate the gift of four young children. We hope our meetings create a context where it’s good to explore faith wherever you might find yourself, to seek honest answers to honest questions.

We’re aware that sometimes a little more space to talk might be needed.

This week we’re opening up at Maker Maker on the corner of Magdalen Road and Denmark Road from 8pm on Monday 8th September.

Come and have a cuppa with Stuart and Dave, hear the story of how former Exeter Chiefs squad player Stuart came to faith in Jesus, and enjoy an informal and honest chat about any questions you have.

Open to all.

VENUE MOVE: THE MAYNARD SCHOOL

Grace Church Exeter New Venue Frontiers Church Exeter

This Autumn we begin meeting at The Maynard School for our Sunday gatherings.

This blog will give some of the context behind the move and explain why Grace Church Exeter will be meeting in this venue.

Whilst we believe that the local church is about people, not buildings, our experience has nevertheless been that finding a suitable venue is an important step for every church. As we begin meeting at The Maynard School we are delighted to have found a venue which will allow more people to explore, experience and express the  goodness of God together.

The 5-Year Plan

We’ve been looking for a large, city-centre venue to host our Sunday morning gatherings for much of the last 5 years. Whilst there are several venues that meet some of our criteria, until now we have been unable to find a suitable facility.

As Frontiers Church Exeter we have met in various venues around the city, tried running 2 back-to-back meetings and even hosted an evening gathering in a local primary school. Whilst this allowed us to make more room for more people, we have remained persuaded that a large Sunday morning venue is the best option for our church at this time.

Hitting Legal Limits

From 2012 until August 2014 we met at Isca College on Topsham Road, a great venue with excellent facilities for our children’s groups. During this time our Sunday attendance increased by over 25% as people invited their friends to church and others moved to Exeter to start new jobs in the city.

On several occasions in the last 12 months we have reached the legal limit of the building. This would mean that we would have to start turning people away once the limit had been reached – and that the experience on a Sunday would be uncomfortably busy.

We knew at this point that we would need to find a new venue for the start of the new academic year in 2014.

An Excellent Opportunity

After a lengthy investigation into possible venues it became clear that The Maynard School best fitted our criteria. We have previously used a smaller hall on the same site and have maintained an excellent working relationship with the school.

We will be meeting in Bradley Hall, a large sports hall which offers us a significantly larger capacity for our Sunday gatherings. There are good facilities for children’s groups, on-site parking and close proximity to public transport links.

Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘perfect venue’, we are very excited about meeting at The Maynard School. There will inevitably be a transitional phase as we get used to the new surroundings, but our staff team and volunteer leaders will be working hard to ensure that the experience is as warm, helpful and welcoming as possible.

Join us on Sunday

If you’d like to join us on Sunday then we would love to see you. We’ll be serving tea & coffee from 10:00am in Bradley Hall and the service will begin at 10:30am.

There will be parking available on site; if the car park is full, stewards will be on hand to advise you of suitable on-road parking options in the surrounding streets.

If you have any questions about our Sunday gatherings then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

LOOKING FOR FRONTIERS CHURCH EXETER?

If you’re looking for Frontiers Church Exeter then you’re in the right place…

Our church started out as a group of 8 people in 2003 under the leadership of Andy & Jane Arscott. The name “Frontiers Church Exeter” was chosen to help communicate the new church’s affiliation with the Newfrontiers movement of churches.

In the last decade much has changed. We have experienced significant growth, developed new leaders and launched various ministries. Many of those who were part of the launch of Frontiers Church Exeter have now moved away from Exeter to be closer to their families.

During the last 2 years we have been working together to establish what we’d like our church to look like in the coming years, and in the last 18 months this has included reviewing our name.

What’s in a Name? 

As a Leadership Team we have enjoyed a lengthy process of planning and prayer as we have carefully considered what our future as a church should look like. It soon became clear that an important part of this process would be choosing a new name.

After an extended period of consultation – which included speaking to various leaders in the church, friends in Exeter and conducting a public online survey – it quickly become clear that Grace Church was the overwhelming favourite.

We feel that Grace Church is a much clearer expression of our desire to make the grace of God accessible to as many people as we can. There’s no such thing as a perfect name, but we believe that “Grace Church” is a good fit and will work well for us.

In August 2014 we officially became Grace Church Exeter.

The name change doesn’t devalue what has gone before – it simply marks the start of a new chapter for us.  We want to retain all that is good about Frontiers Church Exeter as we look to the future together.

Our life as Grace Church Exeter begins on Sunday 31st August at Maynard School.

We’ve included more of our story on the website so that you can understand a little more of our history.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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