Marriage Matters: Experiencing Trauma, Loss, and Grief

During our journey through life we will experience losses, and in some cases, a traumatic event; some predictable and expected, but others a total surprise.

Being alive means we constantly have to resolve problems. Every new situation we encounter provides us the opportunity to develop new ways of using our resources in order to gain control. When a problem or situation seems beyond our capacity to cope, we are thrown off balance. This is known as a traumatic experience often leading to a crisis. A traumatic event brings about an acute response. An individual’s psychological homeostasis (balance) is disrupted both horizontally (with others) and vertically (with God).

The losses and traumatic events of life can be overwhelming. The question then becomes; How do we cope with the powerful emotions, chaos and confusion that follows a loss or traumatic event? What do we do to ease the pain and grief we feel? How can we carry on and eventually return to a normal daily routine?

During the classes of February 11, 18, and 25 we will explore the world of Trauma, Loss and Grief. This will be an opportunity to, perhaps, share your story and find a sense of healing as you interact with others.

Come join the class at 9:00am in rooms A-1 and 2.

Please contact Pastor Chuck with questions or comments.

January Business Meeting Recap

Below is a summary and recap of the Semi-Annual Business Meeting, held on Sunday, January 14 after the 10:30am service. The summary is written by Scott Leuz, Elder Vice-Chair.
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Hello church family,

We wanted to provide a brief summary of the business meeting held on January 14th for those who were not able to attend. We tried a new more efficient format for the meeting that was held immediately following the second service. We were happy to see strong attendance as about 100 members came.

During the meeting, Dave Wolf was able to provide an update to the ReVision process. A survey was taken during the morning services and the ReVision team will be working with a volunteer consulting group to evaluate the data and continue to seek God’s leading for the future.

If you were not able to participate in the survey on Sunday morning, you may take it online by going to http://gpsurvey.com. Please complete the survey by January 18, 2018.

Holly Ames, Jay Button, Cassandra DeWitt, and Joan Zeberlein were recognized for their years of service on staff.

Greg Shelton provided an update on the Youth Ministry with good attendance and upcoming winter retreats.

Bill Wright reported that the finances are healthy after a strong giving month of December.

We had one item for congregational vote. With an overwhelming majority vote, the congregation approved to ordain Steve Weir pending the approval of an Ordination Council – who will determine/confirm his calling and fitness for Pastoral ministry.

God bless,

Scott Leuz
Elder Vice Chair

Marriage Matters: Building a Marriage That Lasts

Happy New Year!

On January 21 at 9:00am the Marriage and Family classes will begin again. On the 21st and 28th we will start off the year by looking at the topic: “Building a Marriage that Lasts.”

Over the last 30 years or so divorce has become the fashionable way to deal with marital conflict. Books such as “Creative Divorce” have described it as the start of a brand-new life that was in the best interest of the entire family.

Even in the moments of conflict and discouragement the answer for couples is to work on their marriage and if necessary get assistance in doing so.

Guard your relationship against erosion as though you were defending your very lives.

Guard your relationship against erosion as though you were defending your very lives. You can make it together; not only survive, but you can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values.

On January 21 we will be looking at the “Marriage Killers.” On January 28th we will be looking at the “Fundamentals of a Christian Marriage.”

Join the class at 9:00am January 21 in Rooms A-1 & 2. We’d love to have you!

Please contact Pastor Chuck (carnold@gracepointpa.org) with questions or comments. Hope to see you there!

Through the Bible in 2018!

Your car won’t run if you don’t give it the right fuel. Neither will your spirit.

For decades now, I’ve made it a habit to read through the entire Bible in a year. While it’s great to spend time in the Bible looking at passages that child with Bibleaddress my immediate needs, it’s also important to get the “Big Picture” and read ALL the parts that I might never choose left to myself. God has something important to say to me there, too.

This year I’m choosing a new plan I haven’t done before, thanks to the many plans available on YouVersion – if you don’t have the free app yet on your device, check it out here.

Here are quite a few options to read through the Bible in 365 days.

If you need help narrowing the choices, here are my top picks:

YouVersion_Promo_Materials_157x157Whatever plan you choose, and whether you go through the entire Bible in 2018, or even a portion, it’s a great practice to start your day spending time with Jesus, listening to Him speak into your life.

One further note – this Wednesday I will begin weekly posts to my personal blog, to provide a mid-week spiritual check-in, as well as an opportunity for interaction for others in our church family. It’s easy to come on Sunday, worship, and leave not having really connected with others. I want the blog to be an online opportunity for mutual encouragement and conversation. Find it here.

Happy New Year – and may you enjoy many meaningful moments with God in 2018!

Women’s Outreach & Fellowship

At Grace Point we have a stellar group of ladies that work tirelessly to advance the gospel in very tangible ways. Our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship group has been working over the last 12-18 months creating, quilting, collecting and assembling thousands of items that are given out and used by local, regional, and global ministries.

We give God the praise for what He will do through the ministry of our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship!

Here’s a snapshot of their work for 2016 and 2017:

8 meetings & 5 quilting meetings

Total Meeting Hours:

  • 32 Women’s Fellowship
    22 Quilting

Total Items: 6,857 Made or collected

OUTREACH PROJECTS

  • Child Home Community
    • 5 Baby blankets, knitted/crocheted
  • C.E.F.
    • 2000 “wordless” zipper pulls
  • Esperanza Medical Center
    • 460 Christmas – Stars; Happy B-day cupcakes
    • 685 Easter crosses
    • 576 Spanish stickers: Jesus Loves Me
    • 300 English stickers: Smile God Loves You
    • 535 Back-To-School bookmarks – Fruit of the Spirit
    • 62 Children’s books donated to their library
    • 88 Travel hygiene kits assembled
    • 200 Memory Verse Packets (in envelopes)
    • 34 Fall favors: Give Thanks
    • 6 Children’s wooden puzzles
  • Good Shepherd Ministry
    • 50 Cans filled with cookies
    • 100 Candy favors
    • 28 Walker bags
    • 25 Lap Robes
    • 21 Knitted slippers
    • 9 Knitted shoulder wraps
    • 206 Assorted Sunshine Bag items (2 boxes)
    • 166 Christmas cards/envelopes
    • 18 Toys
    • 5 Stuffed Animals
  • Philadelphia Bible Clubs
    • 270 Tree Christmas party favors
    • 43 Jewelry and jewelry boxes
    • 77 Misc. household gifts/ornaments/etc.
    • 31 Baskets filled with travel/cosmetics/gifts
    • 60 Christmas bracelets for mothers
    • 16 Hats/scarves, knitted
    • 13 Towels/sheets/blankets
    • 47 Small toys for prizes
    • 7 Christmas wrapping paper rolls
    • 2 Christmas ribbon
    • 1 Box assorted treats for volunteers
  • Pickering Manor (Bible Study)
    • 10 Fall Favors (Give Thanks)
    • 10 Christmas Favors (Happy B-day Jesus cupcakes)

Grace Point Ministry Projects

  • On Eagles’ Wings
    • 60 Christmas favors (foam nativity)
    • 60 Valentine’s favors (anchor for my soul)
    • 65 Easter favors (crosses)
    • 64 Summer favors (Patriotic)
    • 64 Summer favors (C.O.F.F.E.E. – ladies)
  • Quilting
    • 97 Quilts for kids
    • 2 Flannel quilts for Kyrgyzstan
    • 43 Handmade stuffed animals
    • 6 Knitted/crocheted Preemie Hat & Bootie sets
    • 30 Knitted/crocheted hats
  • Sunday School – Rising 7th Graders
    • 10 Wordless bracelets w/explanation cards
    • 10 Wordless key chains
  • Vacation Bible School
    • 180 Prayer Journals assembled

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!