• Do you ever feel like you are living in a strange land that is foreign to the life God intends for you? In what ways?
Listen to how the writer of the book of Daniel chronicled the attempt by the Babylonians to deconstruct followers of Yahweh.
Daniel 1:3-5. (NLT)
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.” 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. When provided the rich food of Babylon, Daniel asked for a diet of vegetables despite the objections of their captors. After 10 days, Daniel and his friends were healthier and better nourished than those who were eating the king’s food.
• In what could we as followers of Jesus stand out for others to see the blessing of God in our lives?
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special
ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. 18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. The writer of the book of Daniel is very clear as to Who is the ultimate source of their knowledge and understanding—God alone. Daniel had a natural gift for learning and a supernatural gift for interpreting dreams. Both natural gifts and supernatural gifts are from God.
• What natural and/or supernatural gifts have you observed at Trace Ridge?
The Vision for Trace Ridge Church
Prior to the pandemic, our church had identified that out of the immeasurable number of good things we could do, the handful of great things God has called us to do at Trace Ridge remain our vision.
—150 professions of faith followed by baptism
—300 adults in Sunday worship
—100 children in Kid’s church
—50 students in the Sunday experience
We focused our energy around 4 wheels on our ministry car: Sunday worship, Kid’s ministry, Growth Groups, and a Guest Strategy. We began removing clutter, distractions, and sideways energy. We added in strategies, systems, prayer, and energy on those core areas that Trace Ridge is called to minister through. Our Vision 2024 urges us to continue simplifying,
ensuring the main things remain the main things.
• Why is this Vision so important as we live in a strange land?