Welcome again to Christmas!

Welcome again to the Christmas season! With Thanksgiving so early this year, I’ve been catching myself this past week thinking it’s already December, but in fact November has lingered. Now that the Advent season has truly arrived, I hope you’ll engage in these exciting opportunities this month:

Sunday Mornings in December – We will continue our series “The Heart of Christmas,” THC_title_slidelooking at four different types of hearts God came to visit that first Advent, and still visits today. This is a great time of year to invite friends who normally don’t attend Grace Point!

Christmas Eve – On Sunday, December 24 we’ll offer three identical family services at 10:30am, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm. There will be NO 9:00am service. Christmas Eve Services will include carols, special music, and candle lighting. Nursery will be available for infants and toddlers at all services.

Christmas Offering – This year’s Christmas Offering will be used in two key ways. The first is to bless our missionaries by sending each missionary family a Christmas/year-end gift. Each of our missionaries has expressed a decrease in their overall financial support, and we hope this special financial blessing will be an encouragement to them. By supporting our missionaries, we are giving to those planting new churches, mobilizing new missionaries to serve overseas, assisting troubled youth in Bucks County, spreading the gospel in local schools, reaching Muslims in remote parts of Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Central America.

The second half of our offering will be given to support our General Fund, the primary means by which we fund our ministries and offer outreach events like One Winter Night.

Contribute throughout December marking your check and/or envelope as “Christmas Offering.” All offerings collected on Christmas Eve will go toward our Christmas Offering unless otherwise designated. You may also give online: http://giving.gracepointpa.org

I also want to take a moment here to say thank you for your generosity as we collected $9,630 for our Thanksgiving offering to help with Hurricane Harvey relief.

Sunday, December 31 – There will be ONE SERVICE ONLY at 10:30am, an opportunity to look to the Lord as we begin a New Year. Children’s classes will meet as usual through sixth grade; there will be no Adult Bible Study.

Jesus set aside His glory to enter our world 2,000 years ago so He could love on hearts like yours and mine. Our leadership team at Grace Point is praying that your heart is drawn ever closer to Him during this very special season!

In Christ,

Dave Wolf
Senior Pastor

Marriage Matters – Dads and Their Daughters

I have been working with families since the mid-seventies. Over this period, I have met with many women whose stories break my heart. They tell of an absent father either by physical absence or emotional absence.

In a recent publication on current statistics it is noted that 92% of the children in our inner cities do not have a father involved in their lives. We blame all the violence in our inner cities on many things but fail to address this very sad statistic.

Let’s look at the basics of the Father Daughter relationship.

  • The father relationship with his daughter is crucial for her health.
  • Not only is a father the most important man in her life, but to every girl her dad is her first love.

The unique dynamic:

  • There is a love and protectiveness that a dad feels towards his daughter that is different from what he feels toward his son.
  • There is tenderness in the father-daughter relationship.
  • There is a respect that a girl is meant to have from her father from the very beginning of her life.

Her Hero:

  • A daughter perceives her dad to be her hero.
  • What does your daughter look for in you that causes you to be her hero?

Time: Special moments with just the two of you. How about a date night with your daughter?

Eye Contact: Face to face when connecting.

Availability: Even when your busy, take time to be available. (They grow up fast!)

A Listening Ear: Women need to be heard and listened to. This starts at a very early age. If a little girl feels connected to her dad this helps her in her emotional and physical developmental journey.

Men: Being a hero to your daughter is about having strong character, paying attention to her, communicating with her, and letting her know she is your “Princess.”

Marriage Matters – Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

In August I wrote the following: “Children need strong attachment bonds in order to develop into healthy adults.

I often hear from parents who are frustrated because they don’t know how to handle their strong-willed child. They are concerned that the “battle of wills” will come against the need for a strong attachment bond.

It is not the authority that is the problem, but how authority is communicated.

Strong-willed children do not despise or have problems with authority, but they reflect a need for control and love. Strong-willed children are well versed with the letter of the law and are usually a couple of steps ahead of their parents. But, positive communications leads to gaining the respect of the strong-willed child.

Message to parents: It is not the authority that is the problem, but how authority is communicated. If you pull the authority trip and say, “You will be doing this. End of discussion” then you are doomed.

The relationship is the most important thing.

Strategies: Choose your battles, don’t make everything a big deal. Decide what you are going to go to the wall for. Back off on everything else. You are not going to get everything. Decide what you can’t live without.

Make sure that your strong-willed child knows that your love is unconditional.

If you don’t demonstrate an unconditional love for them as a parent, then they can’t possibly believe that there is a God in heaven that has unconditional love for them as a child.

You have an incredible advantage. You serve a heavenly Father, Creator, and Designer. God, Himself, fills the place you might have missed. His mercy, grace and strength give you the will to go on.

It is not mistake that God gave you a strong-willed child!

Do you have a strong-willed child? How have you been handling things? Comment below.

Missions Sunday – Recap

A few weeks ago, we hosted a special missions-emphasis Sunday at Grace Point. It was awesome! We had 13 of our global partners present who represented a variety of ministries, from ministering to our nation’s military personnel to mobilizing new teachers to serve in schools around the world, from working locally in Lower Bucks County with troubled and at-risk youth to working in the Arabian Peninsula.

The energy on Sunday morning was inspiring! Compassion’s Virtual Reality tour of Haiti was neat. (Not for those who get motion sickness, though!) To see folks chatting and meeting our global partners in the foyer was also a great encouragement, knowing that relationships were being developed or started. Relationships that would lead to prayer support or financial support.

In The Commons we had flags from all over the world – each one representing a country where either used to have or currently have a missionary serving. We also got to hear from a small sampling of our missionaries about a life lesson they’ve learned from working on the mission field. It was encouraging to hear and see that missionaries are normal people, like you and me. And they face some of the same kids of things we do…just in a different country.

Really, that’s why we do missions Sundays. To build relationships, hear how God is at work around the world, and to be reminded that missionaries are just like you and me.

What was your favorite part of our Missions Sunday?

VBS: How To Pray In the Days That Follow

When we speak truth to kids, we can rest assured that His Word will not return void. He will accomplish the work that He has set out to do in His time (Isaiah 55:11 paraphrased).  This reminder should be our prayer going forward.

  • That God will accomplish His work in the lives of all who were touched because of  His work at Vacation Bible School this year.

The way a kid sees God now is foundational and shapes their understanding of who God is for a lifetime. They need to see God in all his amazing power, holiness, grace, and never failing love.  We strived to do just that during our week together at VBS.  His light shone bright through all of those dedicated to the ministry.  God’s truth, power and love was poured out to the families who attended.

  • Pray they will know Him and seek community with those who know Him.

Here are a few snapshots of our week together.  We hope you will pray over these children and their families with us!

A Great Reminder in the Midst of Seeming Chaos

Unless you live under a rock (not judging you if you do), you’ll know that the news and media outlets are chock-full of headlines regarding growing tensions between North Korea, the United States, and the United Nations.

Regardless of whether or not we believe they should be met with “fire and fury,” I feel we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus. Pray. Do not fear. Trust God.

As you may know, Grace Point is part of Converge, a network of churches working to start and strengthen churches together. Converge’s president, Scott Ridout, recently published a great reminder for us all regarding the current global political scene.

It’s worth the read. Find it here.

Fostering Secure Attachments

I often wonder what the world will be like 10-20 years from now. I do know that if major Family Life changes are not addressed the future will be very difficult. Children need strong attachment bonds in order to develop into healthy adults.

This is a message to all the parents on how to develop healthy attachments in your family:
1. Spend “one-on-one time” with each of your children. Enter into their world. Get to know what makes them special.
2. Children react differently to emotional issues. Help your children get in touch with their emotions by putting words to what they are experiencing.
3. Provide your children with an environment that is predictable and consistent.
4. Create a stable family life by balancing work with family time. Establish rituals and traditions.
5. Establish a self-care system for your spouse and you. Parent’s emotional state influences your children’s development.

Looking ahead, Grace Point will resume the weekly marriage and family classes on September 10th at 9 am in rooms A1 -2. In the fall, we will concentrate on the topic “Life Change: addressing all the issues that keep up from having meaningful relationships with God and others.”

Please contact Pastor Chuck for specifics.
215-858-0879
carnold@gracepointpa.org

Starving for Relationships

I grew up in Union City New Jersey in the 40’s and 50’s. My family lived in what was known as a “cold Water Flat.” We walked a half mile to school each day (no school buses). We had lots of friends and knew the parents and siblings of each of our friends. We did not have air conditioning, color TV’s, or any of the fancy gadgets that are part of our culture today. After school, we could be found outside playing a variety of sports and would only come home for supper. What we did have is a loving family and a very stable environment. Words such a divorce, depression, boredom etc. were never part of our vocabulary.

Today our children are struggling with so many issues. 40% of today’s children live in a home without a father present. This effects their relationships with others and God. One in three girls are sexually abused by the time they are 18 by someone they are supposed to be able to love and trust. The divorce rate is over 50%; combined with separations, over 70% of marriages have failed. Families are on the move; so, friendships come and go. 56% of children under the age of 6 have both parents working outside the home (19% in the 50’s). Alcoholic homes affect 26 million children.

All of the above dictates how children (especially teens) will function in today’s world. They learn to escape through the internet, drugs, alcohol, sex, and basically avoiding meaningful relationships.

Every child needs and deserves at least one person in their life who is crazy about them and can confirm their personal value and worth.

Looking ahead, Grace Point will resume the weekly marriage and family classes on September 10th at 0900 in rooms A1 -2.

In the fall, we will concentrate on the topic; “Life Change”: addressing all the issues that keep us from having meaningful relationships with God and others.

GP Kids Parenting – Importance of Play

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

Most of us have probably heard that quote before. As adults, we can forget how important playtime is to kids. We live in a time of rushing and busyness: rushing to get from place to place and rushing our kids to grow up. Sometimes we forget to let our child just be a kid.

Take a few minutes and check out this month’s parenting class on playtime. We explore why play is so important for our kids. Later this month, we will dig deeper and explore creative ideas for kids and suggestions for parents.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/107774699/a835499b54

Staying Connected During the Summer

Summer is here and vacations are in full swing!

While we and our families are heading to the beach, the boardwalk, and other great destinations, there’s a lot happening at Grace Point this summer. With VBS quickly approaching and Greg Shelton (our new Youth Pastor) and his family soon to arrive, you won’t want to miss a thing!

Here are a few ways that you can stay connected:

  1. Subscribe to our GP News List – This is the primary way that we send out announcements and other key news items. You can sign-up for GP News or any of our other email lists using this form.
  2. Listen Online – Each week (typically on Mondays) we post the messages
    Watching Jesus in His every day life helps us find Him in ours.

    from our Sunday morning services on our website. You can stay current with our current series, Every Day Jesus, and listen while your cycling down the boardwalk, sunbathing, or watching the kiddos in the pool!

  3. Follow us on Facebook – On our Facebook page, we’ll often post updates, events, pictures, and other encouraging posts to help you along the way in becoming more following Jesus.
  4. Follow our Blog – You’re here already! Great!
  5. We’re also on InstagramFollow us on Instagram for updates and pictures of encouragement and events.

Know that our staff are praying for you and your families this summer! Have a great week!