Life After Grace-Week 4 // Grace Is Power // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 12:1-10

If grace were only the assurance that we will find eternal life with God after we die, it would be more than enough reason to praise God forever.  If grace were only the character of God’s heart that chooses to pour out merciful forgiveness on sinners, it would be enough reason to give thanks for all of eternity.

Most of us think that’s what grace is–eternal life and an assurance of God’s mercy.  And it is more than enough for us.  Who could want or need anything more?

We do.

People who want to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus, we need more.

And the incredible good news is that there IS more.  Grace is even more than mercy and salvation.

Grace is power.

Grace is the force that resurrected Jesus from the grave.

Grace is the power inherent in the new life we receive from God.

Grace is the ability that is in us, but not of us, to be faith-filled followers of Jesus.

But most of us, as familiar and dependent on grace as we understand ourselves to be, don’t feel very powerful.  In our suffering and struggles, we are weak and despairing.  Or worse, in denial.  Many of us have been taught to completely deny our suffering and struggles.

If power is part of grace, then why are we so powerless?

Because, friends, the power of grace can only be found in one place.  It’s the place Jesus walked toward unflinchingly his whole life. And it’s the place most of us run as fast and far from as we possibly can.

I hope you will join me as we discover the exact place we can find the power of grace in our lives, should we choose to seek it.


Pastor Kate

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Life After Grace-Week 3 // Manna & Quail // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Exodus 16:1-16

Dear Church,

The Hebrew people were liberated by the power of God’s love for them. They no longer had to fear Pharaoh’s wrath or the brutality of slavery or the infanticide of their children.  They were rescued out of oppression and set on a journey towards the promised land and their common destiny–to dwell in a land flowing with milk and honey and become a source of blessing for every nation on earth.  It was happy-ever-after on all fronts.

Except that it wasn’t.

Because they didn’t know how to live blessed and free.  They didn’t know how to survive, how to care for themselves and, most basically, how to feed themselves in this new life. So this glorious freedom began to feel like doom and they cried out to God (read complained) and demanded to go back to their familiar life of slavery. At least we had good food back then, we’d rather die there than die out here in the desert.

Sometimes, freedom from your fears feels like a different kind of death. What is unknown can feel like threat, even when it’s actually a blessing.

As Christians, we have life after grace. We have been freed from the powers of sin and death and evil.  We are redeemed people and on our way to the promised land, and even on the way, we have abundant life.

And all this blessing is strange and unfamiliar.  Sometimes, wild new life can feel like death.  Sometimes, the urge to return to what we know is all-consuming. We too cry out to God. Sometimes we unconsciously choose to return to our old pre-grace–and don’t even notice.

The good news is, our God is a determined liberator. God meets our needs with extraordinary generosity and gentleness. God knows we need space and grace to grow into our new life in Christ and gives us both, abundantly.

I hope you’ll join me, as we look back at the story of the chosen people in the wilderness learning how to live in the freedom of God’s love and celebrate the way Christ, which ushers us into our own new life after grace.


Pastor Kate

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Life After Grace-Week 2 // Destruction // Cedric Lundy

Scripture:  Ephesians 2:11-16,  1:9-10,  3:6,  3:14-17

Dear Church,

When Jesus said ‘it is finished’ on the cross, he was announcing his eternal victory over the powers and principalities of sin and death.  That’s not what it looked like, but that’s what it was. The resurrection was God’s vindication and validation of Jesus’ triumph over the forces of evil. Ever since that first Easter, we have been living in grace.

Now that grace has come and the Kingdom of God is in our midst, the Holy Spirit has been unleashed to work in the world making all things new. And it may surprise you, but here’s the first item of business:


The Risen Christ has some demolition work to do. 

Specifically, he’s tearing down the wall of hostility that divides enemies and strangers from one another.

Perhaps your first response is incredulity.  You might look around and point out all the places that division and hostility still rule the day. But before we question the efficacy of grace in geopolitics and national culture, I wonder if we could pause and look inward. Are you willing to surrender to grace and allow the Lord to tear down the walls of fear and hostility you’ve erected in your own heart as a barricade against enemy love and redemption.

Our job is not to critique how well or poorly God is overcoming sin in other people’s hearts, but to soberly wonder if we are allowing the Lord to conquer and reclaim our own hearts that have been twisted by sin and fear. Life after grace includes rejoicing in the salvation God gives to our sworn enemies.

Do you long for reconciliation with your enemies, or are you still building a wall to stop the flow of unmerited grace?

I hope you’ll join us as our friend Cedric Lundy preaches the good news of God’s astonishing grace-fueled demolition!


Pastor Kate

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Life After Grace-Week 1 // Nothing To Fear // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture:  Matthew 8:23-27

Dear Church,

It has not been quiet at the Grove this week and we are so grateful!  We’ve gathered with more than 50 children and youth for our Treasure Hunters Spring Break Vacation Bible school and the mornings have been full of the sounds of young voices singing, playing, making art and seeking treasure.

All week we’ve soaked in joy of learning that Jesus is alive and making all things new–to heal, to reconcile, to provide abundantly and to bring peace to us even when we are in the midst of a storm. 

On Easter morning we discovered the resurrection of Jesus–and with it the glorious news that the last word in life isn’t sin or death or suffering.  Because of Jesus, the last and final word in life is grace.  And we who follow the risen Lord are entering into life after grace.  Together with the Spirit we are learning how to live now that we know grace, now that we see that in Christ there is always enough and nothing to fear.


Pastor Kate

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