June Ministry Celebration recap

On Sunday evening we held our June Ministry Celebration and Business Meeting. It was an encouraging evening celebrating what God has been doing at Grace Point!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We celebrated those who have taken the step of baptism this past year, by re-watching the video of Craig Stranahan being baptized in December!
  • Josh DeLeo was recognized for his faithful service in the A/V area, as he is stepping down to devote more time to his family.
  • Three staff members were recognized for their loyal service: JoAnn McDowell (17 years), Darrell Benjamin (15 years), and Steve Weir (15 years). Kudos to each of these special people for their vital contributions to our church family!
  • The Youth Pastor Search Team, and in particular Scott Leuz who served as chair, were recognized for their hard work in helping us find our new Youth Pastor, Greg Shelton. The Youth Transition Team was recognized for doing a great job keeping GP Youth going strong over the past year, thanking point person Bill Wright, along with Martin Hack, Matt Gibson, and John Kindred. And we celebrated the news that God provided a buyer for the Sheltons’ house in just over a week!
  • Charlie and Shirley McDonough were welcomed as new members to the church.
  • We heard a testimony from Julia Bonner, who took the three month “tithing challenge,” and shared how much God taught her through that experience.
  • Bill Wright, Director of Administration shared a financial update. Although giving is under budget, expenses have been less than giving and so we expect to end the fiscal year in the black – praise the Lord! For the first time in several years, giving has not declined from the past year but has leveled out. In addition to general fund giving, we have seen generosity demonstrated in special ways such as the Christmas and Easter offerings. Thanks to all who are practicing steady stewardship and gutsy generosity!
  • Dave Wolf, Senior Pastor, gave an update on the work staff is doing to develop strategies, goals, and objectives to address a central issue: helping people move from being me-centered to Christ-centered. The staff’s proposed goals and objectives will be reviewed by the elders later this month.
  • Glenn Ely, Elder Chair, led us in a vote that unanimously approved the 2017-18 budget, two new Management Committee members,
    • Treasurer: Tom Ames
    • Member-at-Large: Jan Haas
      and two other vital serving roles:
    • Church Clerk: Lynne Holmes
    • Head Teller: Dave Hefty (second 3 year term)
  • Glenn gave two elder updates: Jim Weber and Keith Brown will be observing a sabbatical year beginning July 1; and our two new elders, Dave Kneller and Rich Speeney, will begin their terms July 1. Jay Button is also planning a three month sabbatical, to begin in late August, pending final elder approval this month.

Praise the Lord for His work among us!

Your Husband Needs to be Cherished Too

When I meet with a couple for marriage or pre-marriage counseling I talk about the husband’s role in cherishing their spouse or future spouse. I also share with the wife or future wife the importance of valuing her husband. In today’s society, the issue of a wife cherishing her husband is rarely addressed.

A man is a person with feelings and a heart that can be broken. He is a person who experiences life much deeper than what we can see on the outside. Husbands long for their wives to connect with them at a deep level. Not only do they ask for respect but they want their wives to encourage their spirit. A wife embracing her husband is not just a matter of tolerating his behavior, but truly valuing the makeup of his personality and the positive things he has to offer.

As I talk to men I have learned about a few issues that they want their wives to know.

  1. Stop nagging
    It doesn’t matter what words are coming out of her mouth, most of the time a husband hears, “You are not good enough.” Proverbs 27:15 says, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.”
  2. Verbalize your appreciation
    Wise words build up. Learn ways to encourage your husband. James 3:3-5 reminds us of the power of the tongue.
  3. Connect with him emotionally
    Support him with your presence. Make him feel important. It’s not easy for a man to expose who he is underneath his tough exterior. He would be willing to do so if he can trust you to take care of his heart and not take advantage of it.

In September of 2016 Grace Point started a new ministry focusing on Marriage and Family issues. During the summer months, I will be putting together various seminars on the topics of marriage, relationships and family issues. These Sunday sessions will begin on September 10th at 9am.

If you have a specific topic you would like to see addressed, please contact me this summer. My email is: carnold@gracepointpa.org.

Have a wonderful summer with your family and friends!

Conversations Through TV Shows and Movies

This month’s video is on prompting conversations through TV shows and movies!

Television shows and movies are just two media forms that kids watch. Beyond that, network and cable television, DVDs, and online streaming providers increase access to media for our kids. This is the world they live in, and it’s likely not going to magically disappear. Rather than fearing what they could be exposed to, commit to teaching and training your child in the why—why it’s important to learn what is okay to watch and what isn’t.

Bob Waliszewski, the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting, offers a few ideas for parents who wish to take a proactive approach to the media. Waliszewski suggests having an honest and ongoing discussion with your child about the importance of protecting their minds.

In that conversation, you can talk about how the Bible encourages people who follow Jesus to guard their minds and hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it” and Jesus taught in Matthew 15:19 that “out of the heart come evil thoughts . . .”

The goal is to raise children that will begin to sense that conviction in their souls when they aren’t with you—and make good and wise decisions on their own that carry into their teenage years and adulthood.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/206402355/002158ccb9

I’m praying for you and your family. We are in this together!

Cassandra DeWitt

Fun Ways To Study Scripture With Your Child

Raising our children to pursue a personal relationship with God is something every Christian parent wants, but statistics show that only five percent of teens study the Bible on their own on a daily basis. And, just over half of teens say they read or study their Bible away from church.

That said, I’m happy to tell you that YOU can influence your children to be one of the five percent who study their Bible every day. How? By getting creative, that’s how!

For ways to make studying scripture with your kids more fun, check out this months online parenting class. It will give you a good start towards making positive changes in your home in this area.

I hope you find this lesson helpful. You are always welcome to email me with any prayer requests your family may have. I truly enjoy serving your family.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/141593132/13f9137123

Sincerely,  Cassandra

Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety

Parents, either you’ve already experienced separation anxiety, you’re in the middle of it, or it’s on the horizon. To be honest, I’m in the middle of it with our two-year old. Can I hear an amen, Lord help us?!

What is Separation Anxiety? Pediatricians help us understand that separation anxiety is so tough on kids because they don’t understand object permanence. A child realizes Mom is gone, and what they think is, “Oh my gosh, MY MOM IS GONE,” like…forever gone.

https://contentpathway.s3.amazonaws.com/separation-anxiety-full.jpg

It’s why we play hide and seek or peekaboo with little ones. We want to reinforce the idea that even though you can’t see an object, it doesn’t mean it’s gone. The fear produced over this misunderstanding is what we call separation anxiety. It creates anxiety in our children, and much of the time, an anxiety in us as parents.

Take some time to check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with anxiety. Later in the month we’ll look at some practical tools for how to help your child conquer separation anxiety.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/95865874/650be0e74c

Receiving God’s Love

Use the Scriptures below to take time this week to marinate in God’s love, His LOVE IN ACTION as demonstrated through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for you – because God wanted to close the gap of separation caused by our sin and failures.

Our love for God is fueled by His love for us!

Scriptures from the 4/9/2017 message:

1 John 4:19

1 John 4:7-10

1 John 4:16-19

John 15:13

Romans 5:7-8

Accounts of Jesus’ trial, suffering, and death:

Matthew 26-27

Mark 14-15

Luke 22-23

John 18-19

Other Scriptures about God’s Love:

Ephesians 3:14-19

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Marriage Matters: Self-Worth vs. God-Worth

People wrestle with knowing, feeling, and accepting who they are. This goes back to the “fall of man” in Genesis.

The world’s definition of self-worth is based on performance and what you think about it. This basic concept leads to four FALSE BELIEFS:

  1. I must meet certain standards in order to feel OK about myself. (Fear of Failure)
  2. I must have the approval of others in order to feel OK about myself. (Fear of Rejection)
  3. Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve punishment. (Fear of Condemnation)
  4. I am what I am; I cannot change; I am hopeless. (Fear of Hopelessness)

God’s definition of self-worth is based on what God’s truth says, not performance or what others say. It is who we are in the context of our relationship with Christ.

“…the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

God’s solution to the fear of failure is the doctrine of justification. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we are complete in Him and fully pleasing.

God’s solution to the fear of rejection is the doctrine of reconciliation. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, He has reconciled us back to the Father. He has bridged the gap and we are, therefore, approved by God.

God’s solution to the fear of condemnation is the doctrine of propitiation. At the cross, Jesus took all Satan’s accusations and decrees against us and nailed them to the cross. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we are deeply loved and completely forgiven.

God’s solution to the fear of hopelessness is the doctrine of regeneration. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we have been made brand new and complete in Him. With Christ, we are able to make the changes necessary to live a life of faith and joy.

This Easter season ask God to help you write a new life story, while allowing Him to be the Author and Perfecter of your faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

GP Kids Parenting: The Comparison Game

Being a parent is hard work and sometimes we wonder if we are doing a good job?  We hear about other families, other people’s kids and it can be easy for doubt to creep in.  Comparing ourselves to others is natural and depending on the situation can either make you feel like parent of the year or a total failure.

The last thing you want to hear about when you were up all night with your ten month old is how someone else’s two month old is sleeping through the night! Or how about running into that mom who is always perfectly put together when you can’t remember the last time you got a shower?

Comparisons can be harmful to our self esteem and our outlook on how we are managing.  It’s easy to fall into this trap. We have to realize that we all have good and bad days.  No one has completely mastered being a parent!

Take some time and check out this month’s video to see how we can deal with those moments we feel like we don’t measure up.  Later this month, you will receive some tools to help you when you are playing the comparison game through our email list here.

Here is the link to the video: https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/90162336/2b9dba9f43

Thanks,

Cassandra DeWitt

 

Taking Action – Compassion in India

Dear Grace Point Prayer Partners and Compassion Sponsors,

As you may know, Grace Point has a partner church in Bolivia through Compassion International – a Christ-centered organization that seeks to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Recently, Compassion has been forced to withdrawal all operations from the country of India – affecting over 145,000 children and babies. Below is an update from Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion. 

Would you please pray for Compassion and the many children affected by this decision? Would you take action and contact your senators and congressmen to ask for their help with this situation?


From Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion International:

For nearly a year, we’ve been sharing updates with our sponsors of Indian children about the severe funding restrictions India’s government has placed on our programs there. Along the way, we have sought every possible remedy with the Indian government, and while we have received significant support from our U.S. government at the highest levels, India has still not lifted their restrictions. Now, despite all these efforts and worldwide prayers to prevent this outcome, our inability to fund our operations is forcing us to suspend our India operations fully starting March 15.

For the sake of the 145,000 babies and children who will suffer as a result, our government is willing to stand with us in voicing our significant concerns over this action, but they need to hear from you, our Compassion sponsors, to do so. That is why we are reaching out to each of our U.S. sponsors to make them aware that Compassion is being forced to close its sponsorship program in India and to request their assistance with a very important ask.

Today, in response to this terrible injustice, will you make a bold statement to your representatives in the U.S. government? Speak up for the children who have no voice. Make a statement about your heart’s desire that these children be loved and served. Let them know that the children in India who live on less than $2.00 per day really matter.

Please take just one minute to write your senators and representatives today. Let them know that people like you who want to help should continue to have the opportunity to support children living in extreme poverty in India. Ask them to show their support of these children by speaking with political representatives in India. We’ve pre-written the letter for you, but you can also add content if you want to share your personal thoughts and feelings about Compassion closing its work in India. It will only take a few clicks to make this very important statement.

While these letters may not prevent the close of our work in India at this time, your action will serve as a seed that God plants to make a significant difference in the future, for Compassion and many other faith-based as well as secular organizations working in India. And who knows how God may use this? This may just be the impetus He uses to soften the hearts of the India government regarding Compassion. Please stand with us and show your elected officials that you care for these children.

Despite this deeply troubling situation, we take to heart Jesus’ message in Matthew 25:40 that “whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me.” We cannot imagine not being able to serve these vulnerable children in India, especially when the need is so great. Although Compassion’s existing service to more than 145,000 precious Indian babies and children may end, we will continue to work diligently to advocate for the more than 100 million children living in extreme poverty within India.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to partner with us in this important effort for these very vulnerable children in India.

In Christ,

Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO
Compassion International

P.S. Please make an important statement by taking just one minute to write your senators and representatives today to let them know that you want a future hope to support precious children living in extreme poverty in India.

Marriage Matters: Welcome to Baseball Season

The last few days of 70-degree weather have been a blessing and also a reminder ]that not only is spring on the way but baseball season is upon us.

I have been following the game since 1950 when my Yankees beat the Phillies in the World Series. To me baseball is more than a game. It’s a life time of memories; my grandfather introduced me to the game he loved. He was a Brooklyn Dodger fan and taught me all about the game. He died in February 1955 before he saw his Dodgers win the 55-world series. Today, I have the opportunity to build memories with my grandchildren as we attend the Trenton Thunder games. It’s so much more than baseball. It’s about spending time with them and letting them know how special they are.

Too many children today do not have these special moments of building life time memories.

During the month of March Grace Point will be offering three classes on exploring the world of the developing adolescent. These classes will take place on March 12, 19, and 26 at 9AM in Rooms A1-2.

Some of the topics that we will explore are:

  • An Inside Look at the American Teenager
  • Adolescent Developmental Influences
  • The Impact of Trauma on Adolescent Development
  • Factors that Contribute to Good Psychological Health
  • Parenting Adolescents

These classes are recommended for the parents of children aged nine and above, teachers, counselors, and anyone else who lives with or works with the adolescent.

You can contact Chuck Arnold (carnold@gracepointpa.org) for additional information.