Elder Prayer (6/20/21)

Our Father, we praise You for being El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), and our Adonai (Lord and Master)! We worship the one true God, and You have many names that show how awesome and holy You are!

We are so very thankful to You for accepting us into Your family by the most amazing exchange—the blood of Your true Son given on the cross to make all of us helpless orphans into Your adopted children. As we celebrate the fathers in our lives, we give You praise for being the Father who never gives up. You’re always looking for Your prodigal sons and daughters to come home and to bask in the light and warmth of Your consistent faithful love.

And You call us to love like that as well: to lay down our pride, jealousy, competition and strivings, and to care deeply for the well-being of our brothers and sisters. We confess that we have at times chosen to compare ourselves with others, to pre-judge their motives simply because of the color of their skin, their political party, or the size of their bank account. In James 2, You command us not to show partiality or to divide based upon externals. Please forgive us for sinning by trying to do something that only You are qualified to do: to judge the hearts of other fallen people. Spirit, please show us how to rein in our self-reigning hearts. Challenge us through the faithful preaching of Your word today, we pray. Establish Your Kingdom in us as we surrender our lives to You.

We ask You to minister to our brother Khalil and his wife, our partners with Horizons International in Lebanon, who are both suffering from COVID, Khalil in the hospital and his wife unable to be with him. Care for them both, heal them we pray, and help them to know that Your Spirit is right there with them.

Jesus, You have called us to abide in You, and this promise is wonderful to cling to:  If we abide in You, and Your words abide in us, we are invited to ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us.

So we are asking, Father, that You would pour out Your wisdom that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere, and as we sow in peace please show us a huge harvest of righteousness.

Enable us to follow Your commandment that we fully and courageously love one another as You have loved us.

We worship You, the God who was, and is, and is FOREVER.  You outlast everything and You are the firm foundation on which we build our faith, our identity, our families, and this body of imperfect but surrendering believers—and we trust You as we place our hope in You.

Despite all that the enemy may say, Your truth is still true…and Your Kingdom is FOREVER! We take joy in rejoicing in You.

In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN!

(Keith Brown, Elder)

STUDENT MINISTRY – SUMMER 2021 (by Jeremy Davis, Director of Student Ministry)

Hey Grace Point Family, 

I count it a blessing to share my heart and passion for ministry with you. It is hard to believe that it will be a year of serving at Grace Point in July for me. It has been a joy to serve alongside of you all. I wanted to share an update on the great things God is doing in the Student Ministry. 

The Student Ministry will have a fresh look for the summer!

First, we will have combined meetings for the summer with high school and middle school students from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Grace Point on Sunday nights.

Second, the school year curriculum (New City Catechism) will pause for the summer, and we will be looking at an elder provided resource called “A.S.K., Real World Questions/Real Word Answers” by David Robertson. This book investigates 52 student-submitted questions for which Pastor Robertson provides the biblical response. I asked our students to review the 52 questions and submit the ones they would like to study. The results were tabulated and created the topics throughout the summer.

Third, we understand that many students will be away throughout the summer, therefore, we are providing a video teaching of each question for students who missed and for parents to know what is being taught. You can access this HERE.  

Our young people are asking a lot of questions, and the wonderful truth is God’s Word answers them! Pray that God gives our young people a longing for His Word. Pray that this resource blesses the students and parents. Pray that youth group encourages students to ask questions they may have on their minds. Pray for the parents and guardians of our students as they have a big task of discipling their children in Christ. 

As always, you can reach out to me if you have any questions. My email address is jdavis@gracepointpa.org 

Your brother in Christ, 

Jeremy Davis 

Elder Prayer (5/30/21)

Behold how good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Father in Heaven,

We gather together this day, sanctified and set apart for a holy purpose, in Christ Jesus, along with believers of every different tribe and tongue around the world who call Jesus Lord as we do.

It’s all about Your grace Father, in Jesus.

Yet, we often allow it to be about so much more that divides us. Forgive us.

You have been so faithful to us, and You’ve called us into the fellowship of Your Son, Jesus our Lord.

Baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit.

In this fellowship, there is no division.

You, the Son and the Spirit have enjoyed a divine dance of love for all eternity, showering each other with joy, praise, love and glory, endlessly. A divine dance that You call us to join.

In this divine dance we find true happiness, true joy, a true satisfaction not based on our circumstances. Our true identity and true relationship.

Father, we face a tough and determined enemy. An enemy that seeks to devour and destroy through discouragement and division.

Yet Lord Jesus, on the night You were betrayed by those closest to You, You prayed to the Father that we would not only be protected from the enemy, but that we would be One, just as You and the Father are One. That we would be in You.

No division.

United, though different. Dependent on each other and on each other’s differences.

We are different Father. We are fans of different teams. We come from different places. We like different foods. We ascribe to different political beliefs. We see problems in different ways. We look different, act differently, talk differently and think differently.

Yet in You, we are One.

United not in policies, programs, plans or purposes. But united in a Person, The Person of Jesus Christ.

So that the world might know that He, Jesus, was sent in the love of the Father, to save the lost.

Our unity, our oneness in Christ, is a testimony. Probably the strongest testimony we have against the onslaught of discord, division and destruction we see playing out all around us, here, near and far.

In this season where differences are elevated to existential threats, help us, Your Bride Lord Jesus, look different than the world around us, and be united.

Although unity does not mean conformity, differences don’t have to mean division.

Help us, Your Body Lord Jesus, to be visibly united to a world hurtling out of control into a Christ-less eternity. Help us make every effort to maintain this unity in You through Your Spirit, binding ourselves together in peace.

Help us be united in our care for those hurting in our midst, those recovering from significant health issues, or facing challenging financial issues, or losing hope in the face of endless disappointment. Help us be united as we navigate through a season of change, with staff departures, new additions, and new ways of doing things. Help us be united as we pursue healthy, open, transparent, other-centered discussion on a variety of topics. Help us be united as we honestly face and address the downward trend of giving, and its implications. Help us be united as we serve the needs of the neediest in our region. Help us be united as we partner, and unite, with our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. Help us be united as we show and tell the world who You are Jesus.

As Your Church, Your Bride, Your Body.

One Body, bound by One Spirit, all called to the same One Hope in Christ.

Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.

Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, providing us peace with God through His shed blood on that cross, and reconciling us and all things, all different things, to Himself. So that we can be One.

It’s in His name we pray, together as one. Amen.

(David Kneller, Elder)

A Reflection from a Father with Special Needs Children

Written by Jeremy Davis, Director of Student Ministry

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

The Davis Family

My wife, Tara, and I were sitting in the ultrasound room awaiting the results of our weekly ultrasound for our little girl who has a rare chromosome disorder. My phone buzzes, and it is Pastor Dave asking Tara and I to share a brief reflection on having special needs children. He wanted us to examine Psalm 139:13-16 and share our experience with other special needs families. As we’re awaiting the results to be read by the Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor I begin reading out loud Psalm 139. We’re in the same room where many of expecting parents have heard devastating news about their child(ren), potentially news that their child would only have a few life-breaths before passing into eternity, news that their child will have a very challenging life ahead of them, news that no parent wants to hear of their child(ren) on the way. Does Psalm 139 change in these cases? Not one bit, in fact, as I’ve always thought long before having special needs children of my own, special needs individuals teach us so much about God.

God’s Word does not change when our circumstances do; 1 Peter 1:25 tells us that the Word of the Lord endures forever. These children, from the world’s perspective, are a mistake, an error in genetic coding, a mutation, a whoopsie, but from God’s perspective, these are wonderfully and fearfully made image bearers of God. This means they have incredible value in the eyes of God.

Being a special needs parent is tough, and there are often difficult questions to process through. The most common question that has rattled through my mind has been “Why? Why is this happening? Why would God allow this? Why? Why? Why?” These are natural questions to ask, and I’m thankful the Scriptures help answer these difficult questions. In John 9:1-3, the disciples observe a young man (at least 12 years of age) who was born blind. The natural question of that time was, “Who sinned to cause this man’s blindness?” Jesus reveals an important truth for every special needs family; Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The rest of the chapter unfolds with a beautiful narrative of how this man’s blindness displayed the works of God. Understanding this text changed everything for me. Instead of asking God, “Why have You done this?” I’m thanking God for the opportunity to see His works displayed in my children. I can share a multitude of ways that Elias’ life has made a lasting impression on others and how our unborn daughter has touched others; the works of God have already been displayed in their young lives.

We’ve established two truths thus far- special needs children are not a mistake, not a whoopsie. They are precious image bearers of God. We have also established that a child’s special needs give you a front row seat to watch the mighty works of God. With these two truths in mind, here’s an awesome encouragement for you all, which is one of the most profound things anyone has said to me. “Jeremy, you’ve been given an incredible gift. God has found you and Tara worthy to raise one of His precious children.” These words were from my previous youth pastor after sharing the news of Elias’ diagnosis. I praise the Lord for this truth. Instead of looking at this journey as a daunting, difficult task, I now have the freedom to see it as a precious gift, as I get to steward two of the most precious image bearers of God.

To my other brothers and sisters raising these blessings, God has found you worthy to raise His sweetest creations. What an awesome calling. What a weighty calling. These precious children are fearfully and wonderfully made; they are masterpieces created by God, knit together by His hand. You are not alone as you shepherd and disciple your children. You have your church family journeying alongside of you. More importantly, you have Christ. Always remember the promise Jesus made to His followers, “I am with you always, to the end of the Age” (Matthew 28:20b).

Your Brother In Christ,

Jeremy Davis

Reflections on Black History Month

As Black History Month comes to a close, guest contributor, Joan Bennett, Leader of Grace Point’s Ethnic Awareness Team, shares some thoughts with us regarding a biblical response to Black History.


The month of February is designated as Black History Month and is a time when people (Christians and non-Christians) across the country reflect on the many ways in which people of African descent have affected, shaped and influenced our culture and our world. The contributions (small and large) of Africans/Black Americans have been numerous and varied, influencing all our literature, music, entertainment, sciences, medicine, politics, economy and church history. Without a doubt these great accomplishments are to be celebrated, given proper credit and respected.

Black History is woven into the history of our country. Black History is woven into the history of the Church. Black History is biblical history. Black History is all our history.

As Dr. King so famously said, “…all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

After all, God made us all the same. In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” This truth is foundational. God created all human beings in His image. Gender, skin color and other physical differences do not change that reality.

In God’s eyes, all are equal. Acts 10:34-35 says, “God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right.”

God does not favor one person or group over another. He acknowledges the diversity of His creation, while showing grace equally. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are to follow this example. Anything short of this, is a violation and disregard of God’s desire for His diverse creation.

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” Acts 17:26

“Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me.” Song of Solomon 1:6

And so, this February, Black History Month, let us together reflect, remember, honor the black men and women who have affected, shaped and influenced our culture, our church, and our country.

~ Joan Bennett, Leader of Grace Point’s Ethnic Awareness Team

Elder Prayer (2/14/21)

Father in Heaven, You are great and awesome. 

You are holy, righteous and just, yet compassionate, full of grace and merciful. You’re always active and moving, yet patient, imperceptible and slow to anger. You are sovereign over the movement of stars and planets, yet You know our words before we speak them.

We gather together this morning to speak words to You in worship through prayer. 

The world has gone daft around us Father. Wrong has become right. Comfort and security have replaced service and sacrifice. Being right is more important than being truthful. Anger and violence solve our disagreements, rather than patience, understanding and grace.

We ask that You renew in us a right spirit. So that following You would be more important than any agendas, creeds or causes. That laying down our lives for those who hate us would be more important than being right. That knowing You deeply through Your Word, would be important to us than posts, feeds or blogs.

Help us to see that there is a world around us hurtling towards a Christ-less eternity. Stir our hearts to reach them and not stay asleep in the light.

We bring our needs to You Father, remembering that it’s not so that You can be reminded about them, but so that we remember that You have sovereignly allowed them into our lives so You would be glorified.

Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon are undergoing severe trials. COVID is rampant, lockdowns are prevalent, jobs are scarce and basic necessities are in short supply. This is breeding hopelessness, so much so that young people, even in the church, feel there is no other way but to leave the country. Yet in the face of all of these deep needs, our brothers and sisters are asking for provision and wisdom to reach their world for You Jesus. Provide and guide, and use us in that process Father.

Our missionary partners around the world serving You need protection, resources and encouragement. Help us hold them to You in Prayer for all they need.

Father, as a church, we desire to reach our world too, yet we find ourselves in need of financial resources. Move on our hearts Father to be conduits of all the tremendous resources You have provided us so that the lost might be saved.

We come now to hear Your Word to us, delivered through Your servant Dave. We admit that we come to Your Word with our own questions, problems, agendas and conceptions. Help us instead come to Your Word now with softened hearts to clear up any misconceptions we have about You, so that we know You for who You truly are, and not how we want You to be.

We lift up these words to You, Father, and we are only able to because You sent Your one and only Son, the spotless lamb of God that takes away our sin, Jesus, to step into our mess and lay down His life for us while we were still rebellious, so that we could be adopted as Your children and spend eternity with You, our true and only home. Such amazing love. It’s because of this, that we pray. Thank You, Father.

Amen.

(David Kneller, Elder)

Scriptures on Anger

Memorize one or more of these Scriptures as you seek to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind!” (Romans 12:2)

…Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)

…The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Prov 29:11)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23)

… I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. (Jonah 4:2)

On RightNow Media:

Overcoming Emotions that Destroy (Chip Ingram)

Bringing Balance to Last Week’s Article

Grace Point Family,

Last Friday we forwarded to our church family an article written by Converge President, Scott Ridout, condemning the violence and riots that occurred at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Since last Friday, several people in our Grace Point family courageously reached out to me to express their concerns that the Converge article could be perceived as partisan, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to ask these individuals to “help me understand your concerns.” Through these conversations, I heard a primary concern that this article did not represent the balance for which Grace Point is typically known in its communication on current events, and so I offer these thoughts to bring balance to this conversation.

Let me first share with you the two reasons we forwarded the article:

  1. We felt Converge had made an important statement distinguishing our Christian community from those who, while carrying symbols sacred to our faith, attacked the Capitol building and endangered the lives of others. While it is not for me to judge the hearts of these individuals, I do believe it is important to call out their actions as inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. He called us to respect the property and wellbeing of our neighbors – even those with whom we disagree. (This condemnation is equally applicable to the many riots sparked by racial tensions in 2020.) It is important for the unbelieving world to know that believers, in general, and Grace Point, in particular, in no way endorse or identify with those who perpetrate hatred or violence.
  2. We also feel it’s important from time to time to remind our church family that we are part of an association of churches called Converge, which exists to start and strengthen churches worldwide. Forwarding articles from the president helps us stay connected with our larger network, and to understand the perspectives that are shared on a national level.

It was neither my intent nor desire to make a partisan statement with this article. Rather, the motivation was to uphold the name and mission of Christ in the eyes of those who do not yet know Him. Some of you will remember a message we studied last July:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD.”  Joshua 5:13-14 (emphasis added)

Here is one of many cases when God is not interested in taking sides as people divide into “us vs. them,” but is solely focused on making the name of Christ known so that Christ may draw all people to Himself. Grace Point has not been and under my watch will not be a church that promotes political sides. We are to promote the Great Commission of Christ as members of the army of the LORD, fighting together the darkness brought on by our spiritual enemy. The purpose of last week’s article was not to promote a political side, but to promote the purity of the cause of Christ.

Having said that, I understand that last week’s article calls out one political side without calling out the other. Because the article specifically called out our now former president, I would like to balance what was said there by stating that I have serious concerns about several policies our new president has vowed to pursue, and the impact they may have on our religious freedom. As well, I have concerns with the stance of the new administration on several social issues including abortion, which I believe to run counter to my understanding of Scripture. 

In all honesty, I feel there is a lot of material to work with in calling both the Democratic and Republican platforms to account from a Scriptural standpoint. I have always made an effort to “offend everyone equally,” so to speak (when it comes to politics at least!) and I apologize that last week’s email was not balanced in that way. 

In light of this incident, I commit to two practices going forward:

  • I will renew my vigilance to present any political views in a balanced manner, as we have done to this point.
  • When addressing sensitive topics like politics, when there is high potential for offense or misunderstanding, I will make sure that you hear from me or another trusted member of our own Grace Point staff rather than forwarding the thoughts of someone with whom you have little connection. You need to be able to follow up a Grace Point communication by approaching a leader you know and trust with the conversation, “help me understand.”

And there is something I hope YOU will take away from this. In the polarized culture in which we find ourselves, I want to call you to trade a posture of accusation for a posture of teachability. Resist the natural bent to judge the motives of those with whom you disagree, and instead follow the example of those brave individuals who reached out to our leadership this past week with a humble spirit of curiosity in saying, “help me understand.”

I believe strongly in the vision and mission of Converge, and I trust Scott Ridout’s desire to follow Christ and make Him known. We will continue to cultivate our relationship with Converge and share Scott’s thoughts with you again in the future. As well, we will by God’s grace communicate in such way that we do not lose the opportunity to impact our community for the Gospel by taking political stances.

I am grateful for the diversity of Grace Point – ethnically, socially, politically. As we are called by Christ to unity, let us remember that unity is not the same as uniformity. And let us embrace the fact that unity is not easy – sometimes it takes hard work. Let’s continue to do that work together, as we fix our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith.

For the glory of Christ,
Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

…Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Elder Prayer (01/17/21)

Loving Father,

We praise You, the Creator of the whole universe. There is no one like You! You brought this world into being, and You graciously allowed our nation to be founded so that people could live in freedom and experience prosperity. But we confess that we have made the quest for prosperity and even living in freedom into gods that we worship sometimes even more than we worship You. We are so prone to look to this world for meaning and purpose, to try to find substitutes for Jesus. And these fake saviors lure us into sin, darkness and enslavement. Forgive us, we pray, and wash us clean. Free us to be all that You have called us to in Christ.

Jesus, we are in awe of You, our Savior and Redeemer. You laid down Your power before broken, hateful men and women so that, as Your children, each one of us could live in relationship with You and to be reconciled to one another. It’s in Your name and by the power of Your Spirit that we can experience hope for today and for the future.

Help us to see clearly more of who You are, and calm our anxious hearts. Give us grace to see beyond this moment and to believe that there is nothing to fear in light of Your greatness!

We pray that Grace Point and each of the Bible believing churches in our community would effectively reach out in love to others who we perhaps don’t understand. Help us to build bridges that would lead to life transformation. Help us to give up our hateful speech and prideful devotion to agendas (political and otherwise) in favor of a deeper devotion to You and a stronger love for others who are different, or who dislike us.

Our great God, we ask You to accomplish amazing things in this world through Your willing servants, each of our missionaries, as well as each one of us, graciously taking Your truth into societies that deny the truth and even deny the ability to know truth.

We ask that You would equip Amchit Baptist Church in Lebanon to share Your love despite the pandemic lockdowns. Please give the younger generation leaders a vision for staying and trusting in You. And continue to heal and strengthen Pastor Joseph, that he and his church can be strengthened to show Your love to their community.

Break down walls and open hearts so that Your kingdom may be established in this world more and more for Your honor and glory… we pray in the unparalleled name of our King Jesus —AMEN.

(Keith Brown, Elder)

Converge Responds: Further Thoughts on the Assault on the Capitol Building

Dear Grace Point family,

Our country is at a crucial crossroads, politically, socially and spiritually. 

Below we have linked to a statement from the president of our church’s association, Converge, calling us as Christ-followers to unity and prayer following the events that took place last week at our nation’s Capitol.

I realize that a variety of political viewpoints are represented across our Grace Point family, and for that I am grateful because it means that we are centered on the true foundation of Christ, and not a political ideology or party. As you read these strong words from Converge president Scott Ridout, I remind you of the calling of the Church to bear the light of Christ in the world, including the responsibility to speak Biblical truth into the events of our day.

https://converge.org/article/further-thoughts-on-the-assault-on-the-capitol-building

In Christ,
Pastor Dave