There is Coming a Mighty Season of Full Restoration {...thoughts on grace and gospel...}

I wish I could communicate to you the sweetness of tonight.  I am living a dream I have not earned and do not deserve.

{experiencing community through the sharing of a meal is one of God's best gifts - one Christ died to give us!}

As The Preacher and I fellowshipped with our young friends tonight, we talked about their upcoming wedding ceremony and the way they want it conducted.  We also talked about how our daughter Sarah and her husband Jonathan and their two baby girls spent the first night in their new home directly across from us.  Right next to that home, lives my other daughter -  her identical twin sister Hannah and her husband Justin and their precious little boy.

As of today, the Preacher and I have three of our four grand babies across the street.  

After a sumptuous dinner of paella and bread and wine, after fellowship and prayer and winding up this couple's final pre-marriage counseling, we invited them to walk across the cul-de-sac with us, and join us in praying a blessing over Jonathan and Sarah's new home.

They had already built the first wood fire that fireplace has seen (after removing the old gas logs) and we all gathered in close and spent some time in prayer.  Tim and I were surrounded by our natural children, by a young couple that we love as though they were our own children - they truly are spiritual children - and our grandchildren.

Friends, I don't care who you are....that is a moment.  That is the fruit of lives lived fully committed to the Gospel of the finished work of Christ.

I had Justin grab this candid shot for me - as the prayer was winding up in the dimly-lit room, the vintage console record player was playing some long-forgotten swing tunes, and my Preacher and our soon-to-be-married young friends, and our children and grandchildren stood chatting...and by chatting, I mean they were literally recounting the blessings of God and basking in the sweet presence of the Lord that already fills that home.

Then, the four of us - my Preacher, our friends, and me walked (walked!!!!) back up to my home and we gathered dishes up in the kitchen, and said our goodbyes to them on our front porch, as the waterfall made its ever-soothing sounds in the background.

Their wedding day is only two weeks away, so this night was beyond poignant and special - complete with my giving the bride a very special gift...something very personal, from me to her....something so perfect for her.  {wink, wink}

I wish I could show you how it felt to say goodbye to those young house guests...and then to stand in our own doorway, arms around each other, looking across the street at the glow of the lights in the two homes of our two grown daughters and their husbands and children.  To peek in the window to our left and see Hannah and Justin busy putting Timothy to bed....and then to look straight across and see the embers of the Howe family fireplace glowing still, as they put their baby girls to bed for the night.

"All this, because two people fell in love"....that's only HALF the truth.

"All this, because God is good and He gives manifold grace upon grace upon grace."  That about sums it up.

This is the kind of goodness God wants to lavish upon you, if you will just believe the Gospel.  Your works of obedience will not earn you this depth of lavish blessing.  It will be by grace through faith.  We Atchleys...Howes....McConnells....Trenthams....we are not His favorites.  What He has done for us, He will do for you.  The sweetness we experienced tonight, He wants to pour out in churches all over this city and around the world.

The grace of God enables us to live in community well, friends.

Tonight was a good, good night...and just the first fruits of a sweet, sweet life.

I have not earned it.  I do not deserve it.

But here I am.

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