We serve at Grace Lutheran Church and would like to share with you the early history of our congregation. Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jackson Center, Ohio, is celebrating “100 Years of Grace” this year of 2022. On March 23, 1922, 58 charter members followed the Lord’s direction to gather together to organize a Lutheran Church in the community and first worshipped together in the Seventh Day Baptist Church. In mid-1923 the congregation voted to build a sanctuary and dedicated their new building in June 1924. As the congregation continued to grow, the members voted to build a new church located on South Main Street which was completed and dedicated in April 1958. Since 1958 there have been several additions to the present church building including an office space, a new south entrance, a new steeple, and a shelter house.
But the Church is not only a building, it is group of gathered people to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. And over the years, this congregation of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church has grown in numbers and in its faithful service to the Lord. The Scripture verse chosen as the congregation’s theme for the year is For from His fulness we have received grace upon grace. John 1:16 – a very fitting theme as the congregation aptly named has received Christ’s grace upon grace through the years. But what exactly does that mean for you personally? Warren Wiersbe in his Wiersbe Bible Commentary describes “Grace is God’s favor and kindness bestowed on those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it. If God dealt with us only according to truth, none of us would survive; but He deals with us on the basis of grace and truth (John 1:14).” We can all agree that truth is good; we want others to be truthful with us. Yet when we hear God’s truth we are confronted with our own rebellion, dishonesty, and sin. In the light of God’s truth, we stand accused of the crime of not keeping God’s Law. You and I are sinners separated from our Creator. Wiersbe continues, “Jesus Christ, in His life, death, and resurrection, met all the demands of God’s Law; now God is free to share the fullness of his grace with those who trust Christ.
Grace without truth would be deceitful, and truth without grace would be condemning.” Grace is kindness from others when we don’t deserve it, yet we expect grace from others even knowing that we don’t deserve it or merit it. Jesus, God’s own Son, overflows with grace towards us even though we don’t deserve anything from God. Even from the cross of Calvary, Jesus forgave his enemies, those who had betrayed him, those who denied him, those who tortured him even to death. So that Christ Jesus could redeem you. That is God’s grace, His saving work done in Jesus. And it is for you. And it flows out of the fullness of the Person of Jesus Christ to you as you trust in Him. God’s grace is new every day of your life. Jesus’s grace flows into you – his forgiveness and his love every day. Every day it is new. Bishop Handley Carr Glyn Moule (1841-1920), an evangelical Anglican theologian, illustrated the meaning of “grace upon grace” by describing a river. He said, “Stand on its banks and contemplate the flow of waters. A minute passes and another. Is it the same stream still? Yes. But is it the same water? No. The old water has been displaced by new water.” Joanie Yoder said that the same is true of grace. Your life today may carry yesterday’s problems, but God’s grace is new each morning.
God’s grace in Jesus is exactly what you need to meet each new challenge today and is an ever-fresh supply.
We at Grace Lutheran are ever thankful for the overflowing grace of Jesus Christ that continues to flow through the congregation through its worship and service ministries. This year there are monthly celebrations as we recognize the Grace of God in and through this congregation. We will recognize the 100th anniversary of the congregation’s founding at a worship service on Sunday, March 27, at 10 a.m. with the North American Lutheran Church Bishop Dan Selbo preaching and presiding. We invite you to join us for this celebration or any other Sunday as we praise the Lord for his continual grace.
If you are looking for a church home or feeling curious to know more about Jesus, please check out Grace Lutheran Church in Jackson Center or a local Christian church near you.
The writers are pastors at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jackson Center.