Elder Prayer (1/16/22)

Heavenly Father,

As we walk into this new year, we realize time has a different significance for You than it does for us. You have taught us to number our days, but our numbers don’t add up to Your numbers.

Looking back at the year past, we rejoice and thank You for the many blessings from You. The good days, our health, the peace in our hearts and lives. We even thank You for the difficult days, the sad days, even illness, Father, because they can bring us nearer to You. Cause us to remember that we can do all things through You, but apart from You we can do nothing.

This new year offers us a blank canvas. Help us to fill it with an obedient heart, a listening ear, and a willing attitude submitted to You.

We ask You LORD for the remission of this virus and good health and recovery for those who are presently sick. Be with doctors and nurses that are ministering to them, as well as those that are undergoing surgery.

Father, bless and protect Your church worldwide as it comes under attack in so many ways. Guide the pastors, missionaries, teachers and leaders that honor You with their work on Your behalf. Whether it is in Lebanon, Africa, China, Bolivia, Russia or here in North America, wherever they may be, sanctify their service and make it prosperous.

Guide our Nation, open our eyes and hearts to hear You and return to You. Help us to walk in Your ways. Cause us to be willing to listen, to work together, and to promote Your peace and Your love.

Above all, this week we ask for forgiveness of our sins. The thoughts, words and deeds that have caused us to dishonor You. Renew a right spirit within us.

We come to You asking these things in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

(Jack Edmond)

Read through the Bible in 2022!

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 address my immediate needs, it is 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.

There are many plans available on YouVersion – if you don’t have the free app yet on your phone or tablet, 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 recommendations:

YouVersion_Promo_Materials_157x157

Whatever plan you choose, and whether you go through the entire Bible in 2022, 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 – consider committing to a Bible reading plan with a friend or family member. That way you can motivate one another, hold one another accountable, and share what you are learning!

Happy New Year – and may you enjoy many meaningful moments with God in 2022! – Dave Wolf, Lead Pastor

Together at IHOP

When you think of IHOP, you probably think of pancakes. But the first IHOP, an International House of Prayer, was introduced 2,700 years ago in the Old Testament. Centuries later, Jesus, recalling Isaiah 56:7, declared, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” I know what a pancake house is like, but I wondered what does a house of prayer look like? As I wondered, I wandered through the random ideas below.

The Temple in Jerusalem, the “house” of which Jesus was speaking, was the place where Jews gathered to worship, learn and pray. It was a place where prayer was a defined purpose for gathering. Similarly, a Christian IHOP is a corporate endeavor where earnest commitment to prayer is an important and an obvious activity in that place.

“Lord, teach us to pray,” said one of the disciples when Jesus had finished a prayer with His followers in another corporate setting (Luke 11:1). Here is an important clue for IHOP: the prayers of its leaders are a model and a means of teaching others how to pray biblically and thoughtfully.

The early church recognized the essential link between prayer and preaching by appointing deacons to free the apostles from other responsibilities in order to pray (Acts 6:1-4). Linking of prayer and preaching appears essential for IHOP. Elder David Holmes, who leads the Wednesday prayer meeting, recently mentioned the Boiler Room at Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. This was a room in the basement where people met before and throughout Sunday services to pray for their pastor, Charles Spurgeon, and for the work of the Holy Spirit while he was preaching. In many American churches, at one time it was customary for parishioners to pray quietly for the service and message as soon as they were seated.

IHOP is truly international, a place for “strangers who bind themselves to the Lord to serve Him, to love His name …” (Isaiah 56:6). It welcomes strangers. It is informed about and engaged with the church worldwide. (I like to think every IHOP would have a FOCUS initiative and would be exchanging prayer requests with a church overseas.)

Grace Point’s “21 Days of Prayer” is both a personal and corporate endeavor. As we come to God may we share His joy in His house of prayer together.

Lord, help us to see Christ as we offer our sacrifice of praise. Guide our thoughts so that in the next 21 days we pray as we ought for what we ought. Make this a fruitful time in the life of Grace Point.

By Greg Scott

Elder Prayer (10/24/21)

Heavenly Father,

We gather this morning to praise and honor You and to learn more of You through the study of Your word to us.

We desire to follow Your will, but we are weak without You. Strengthen us, dear Lord, and keep us attached to the Vine, Your Son Jesus Christ, so we will be able to bear much fruit for You.

Forgive us of our sins, and lead us in Your ways.

Be with and comfort those who are enduring trails and heartaches. The loss of a loved one, sickness, marital or family problems, financial worries — whatever it may be, give us the capacity to wait and rely on You.

Father, we pray for our nation, for the people and the leaders You have appointed. Instill in them to administer true justice, to show mercy and have compassion on one another.

Continue to be with Your church worldwide. From Amchit Church in Lebanon to Unidos En Christos in Cochabamba, Bolivia. All of the bodies of believers that are proclaiming Your true Gospel. Provide for their needs and safety.

Thank You, Father, for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us, both individually and corporately. We would be so bold as to ask You to continue to shine Your face upon us and be gracious to us.

Also, we thank You for the good budget news and the generosity of the Grace Point members and friends. Guide our staff and elders as we endeavor to shepherd Your people.

We ask all of this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In His name, Amen.

(Jack Edmond, Elder)

Elder Prayer (10/3/21)

As we prepare our hearts for prayer this morning, I want to read a familiar passage from Philippians 2:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Let us pray…

God, we are amazed and forever grateful for Your sacrifice for us and Your model of humility! We confess to You and ask for Your forgiveness for the many times we have done things with selfish ambition, without looking to the interests of others! Forgive us for not valuing others above ourselves! We live in a world today where this is commonplace, and You have called us to be different by having the same mindset of Christ who did not use His equality with God to His own advantage. Help us Lord, to seek You daily to follow Your example as we relate to others!

We thank You for giving us the opportunity to worship today by singing, praying, giving, listening to Your Word and interacting with others who are all a part of your creation. There are undoubtedly millions of people in the world who do not have this privilege and help us not to take it for granted!

We pray for those who are here today or online who are hurting physically, emotionally, financially or suffering other hardships. We pray for healing knowing that You are the Great Physician! May we all be encouraged and comforted by Your love and care for us, realizing that You know us better than we know ourselves, and there is nothing going on in our lives that hasn’t passed through Your Will first. As we trust You for our eternal security, enable us through Your Spirit to trust You more with our daily challenges!

We lift up our volunteers and staff today asking that You would guide them in their call to this ministry.  We thank You for their willingness to serve. Give them wisdom to make good decisions and protect them from the enemy. We also pray for discernment for the Elders as we meet with representatives of Converge and ask for wisdom to make good decisions around our church’s affiliation.

So as we worship You today, we commit this time to You. May our hearts and minds be united by Your Spirit. We pray for Pastor Dave to be used by You to speak to us through Your Word so we can apply it to our lives.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Savior, Amen!

(Ken Kovalik, Elder Chairman)

GP Men’s Ministry (by Jeremy Davis)

Men’s Ministry Mission:  Our mission is to equip men to be strong in their faith in Jesus Christ and be His disciple-makers at home, at church and in the world.  

My goal for this blog post is to share the men’s ministry’s heart for equipping the men of God to be disciple-makers. What does it mean to equip? First, we need to establish that equipping is a biblical principle. Let us look at Ephesians 4:11-13 to see God’s heart for the equipping of the saints.    

Ephesians 4:11-13  

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…  

Clearly, Ephesians 4:11-13 teaches us that equipping is a necessity within the Body of Christ. The Greek Word for equip is Katartismos which means to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something. In this case, the text teaches us two things: who is equipping us and what are we being equipped for. Let’s take a look at who God gave us to help with equipping us.  

Who Equips? (Ephesians 4:11-12a)  

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds/pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints…  

The Apostles – These men were a gift to the church, first hand eye witnesses of Jesus, commissioned by Jesus to carry out God’s Mission. God used many of these men to record the Scriptures, to be a vector of transmission for the Gospel to spread throughout the world. These were the first believers, many faithful in the midst of persecution and martyrdom. Even though the days of the apostles ended when John on Patmos passed away, they still are a gift to the church because we read their teachings as they were carried on by the Holy Spirit.  

The Prophets – These are the men who proclaim God’s Word, speaking on His behalf namely through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. The term prophet has two meanings. The first meaning points us back to the prophets recorded in the Bible. They spoke on behalf of God prior to the closing of the Canon of Scripture. The second meaning refers to those who always point us back to God’s Word, often in powerful and personal ways, since the closing of the Canon of Scripture. As has been said, prophecy is sometimes foretelling, and other times forthtelling (pointed exhortation based solidly on God’s Word). These men serve as a gift to the church, studying God’s Word and presenting God’s Word for the flock to feed on corporately. They also provide a steadfastness to the flock as they always point us back to the Word of God.  

The Evangelists – These are the men who would go from place to place proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Often times going to places where the Gospel was unknown. Romans 10:15, And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Someone had to bring the Gospel to you, therefore we are to bring that Good News to others.  

The Shepherds/Pastors – These are the men responsible for supplying care and guidance to the local church body. Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd, leading the sheep and protecting them from any predator. These are the men who have direct care over the flock. They are a gift to the church, living selflessly to care for the good of the flock.   

The Teachers – These are the men who provide instruction. They instruct the body of Christ through their study of God’s Word, lessons God has taught them, personal testimony and instruction on how to live a godly life. They are invested and supporting their pupils in the instruction of the Lord.   

Believe it or not, all of these are equipping the GP Men’s Ministry in one form or another.

oThe Apostles have served faithfully as caretakers of God’s Word, writing it down for our study to this day. We have the inerrant Word of God because of God using their faithfulness. The Prophets speak God’s truth and always direct us to the Word of God. The Evangelists, those who travel bringing the Word of God, sometimes stop by GP Men’s Ministry as speakers to challenge and equip us. The GP Pastors/Shepherds supply care for our Men’s Ministry flock guiding us to pasture on the Word of God. The Teachers leading the small groups in the study of God’s Word, and providing wisdom on godly living.  

We established the who equips, now what are we being equipped for? We look at verses 12-13 for this answer;  “12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”  

The Work of Ministry –  We are equipped to serve one another, the word ministry often connotates a ministry that is humble or menial in nature. We are equipped to care and caring for one another can often be unglamorous. This is the life on life daily grind of loving one another.  

Building Up The Body of Christ – We are equipped to build one another up, a large construction project to raise up the believers, ultimately being fulfilled in the Christ-likeness of the Body of Christ at Christ’s return.  

Unity of Faith – We are equipped to have a oneness and unity amongst us. We are to be of one mind and one accord. Philippians 2:2 “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”  

The Knowledge of The Son of God – We are equipped to have content and knowledge of Jesus Christ, of what He accomplished, of who He is, of His redemptive works in restoring us to Himself.   

Mature Manhood – We are equipped to have a mature behavior recognizing the purchase that Christ made in His Crucifixion and our Redemption.  

Measure of The Stature of The Fullness of Christ – We are equipped to be more like Christ day by day, progressing in our sanctification day by day.   

Our mission is to equip men to be strong in their faith in Jesus Christ and be His disciple-makers at home, at church and in the world. Our mission is rooted in the Word of God as we long to see the men of Grace Point live out their calling as men of God. We believe God has equipped His people with spiritual gifts used for the building up of the body (Romans 12:3-8 see below). GP Men’s Ministry desires to see the men of Grace Point exercising their gifts for God’s glory. What are the practical ways we carry out these theological pillars?  

1.) We long to see men get connected in small groups, where they have an opportunity to have authentic godly relationships with other men. We desire to see men get into the Word of God together, to share the trials of life together, to pray together, to evangelize together, to fellowship together, to hold one another accountable ultimately loving one another.  

2.) We long to provide opportunities for all the men to come together, perhaps for a Men’s Breakfast, Men’s Retreat or other event. The goal remains the same, in this case corporately equipping all the men to be strong in their faith in Christ and be His disciple-makers.   

3.) Lastly we want to come alongside of Men encouraging them to get into the Word of God individually, providing resources to equip them in their study of the Scriptures.   

Our mission is to equip men to be strong in their faith in Jesus Christ and be His disciple-makers at home, at church and in the world.  

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.  

Romans 12:3-8  

Elder Prayer (9/26/21)

Father, Almighty God, we praise You. You are our salvation and our deliverance. You are our strength. Who else is like You? Who else can we turn to? You are holy and just, yet Your mercy is boundless and Your grace immeasurable. You live in infinite eternal majesty, yet You are near to the broken hearted and to all who call on You in truth.

And You call us.

You call us out of darkness and into Your great light, to be Your children.  

You call us to be salt in our world, to rub ourselves so much into the rot all around us, that our very presence through your Spirit helps slow the decay.

You call us to be light in our world, to shine the light of Your gospel compassion so that others see it and are drawn to You.

You call us to lives shaped by a Gospel that is not a theory, not an instruction or even advice, but is News. Good News that calls out to a lost world that something wonderful has happened, that changes everything.

But the world calls us too Father, and we often follow. We’re too easily led away from You, and we lose our saltiness and hide our light, and become burdened and detached from the very source of life that You designed us to crave. You. Help us to always remember that our hearts will not find true rest, until they find their rest in You.

Remind us this day of your steadfast lovingkindness shown to us by You in Christ who obeyed His call, and gave up infinite love and glory to come here, become like us, live among us, and suffer and die on a cross for us.  All so we could be one with You.  His blood was poured out so we could drink and have true life. His body was torn apart so we could eat together and be brought together through Your Spirit as one, in You. Natural-born enemies, called together in an enemy-free zone, Your body, Your church.

Father, as we rise each day to face our individual calls, feeling so inadequate, help us hear Your whisper in our ear that Your grace is sufficient and Your power is made perfect in our weakness.  

Father, we know You care deeply about what is broken in our lives, and in this world. May those of us today who are broken and in the dark, call on You and be comforted by this truth. We are not alone, because Jesus faced utter abandonment so we would never have to, and the darkness we feel now are more like temporary shadows. You walk with us in the shadows. Your joy is inside of our sorrow. And You call us as a church family to walk in the shadows, with Lark and Heidi Perez, our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, and many others who are hurting.

Your death and resurrection are a promise for us that neither evil nor suffering have the last word. Not broken relationships, not physical ailments, not financial issues, not cancer, not pandemics, not even death. Help us remind ourselves and each other daily of this true and steadfast hope.

Father, we have many plans for our lives, individually, and corporately as a church for the new ministry year. In all of these, help us to be Your image bearers in this world, and to be in Your Word, to learn who You really are and what imaging bearing really looks like, and not for what we want You to be or for what we want to do.

Father, we call to You with our needs, our requests, our complaints, our cries and our praises. We are hurting, heal our pain, and help us see with eyes of faith that the pain and suffering we experience here, will be redeemed when You come. We are grieving, comfort us and help us feel Your presence. We are doubting, so we lay our doubts before You, knowing that You and You alone will only and ever be the true answer to all of our deepest questions. We praise you that we are Your children, help us remind ourselves daily of what our true identity is, in You. An identity not based on what we do, but on what You did. And we praise You because of who You are, remembering that each of us has a lifetime journey of being still and knowing You are God.

Your words are life. As Your word calls to us this morning, help us have ears to hear, so that we are changed at our core and abandon all that calls to us from the world with false hopes of happiness, doing all that we do, not for the sake of a creed, cause, ideology, promise or dream, but simply because You call to each of us this morning, Follow Me.

We call on You with all this as we stand in Your presence, naked and utterly helpless, but covered by the blood of Jesus and adopted as Your precious children. Chosen, Called and Sent. Praise You. Amen.

(David Kneller, Elder)

Staff Transitions Update – September 2021

Our church has experienced three key staff transitions this year, and we are thankful that God has been faithful to provide for us in staffing these positions for uninterrupted and effective ministry.

Children’s Ministry. After serving as our Director of Children’s Ministry for 15 years, Cassandra Dewitt resigned on May 31 to follow the Lord in using her gifts in a new way on the next leg of her journey.

  • Donna Mulvaney is serving as our part-time Interim Director of Children’s Ministry and Ann Kovalik is serving in a part-time supportive role to Donna. Their initial focus is to offer Sunday morning classes for children birth to 5th grade.
  • Our Children’s Ministry Exploratory Team has researched and worked together to present several recommendations regarding multiple aspects of Children’s Ministry to the Elders for review. We anticipate forming a Children’s Ministry Staffing Search Team this month and prayerfully hope to have permanent staffing in place by early 2022.

Care Ministry. Chuck Arnold retired from Grace Point on June 30 as Pastor of Congregational Care, and we thank the Lord for Chuck’s time serving our church family. Grace Point will continue to respond personally and promptly to spiritual, emotional, and financial needs, and to utilize a team approach in meeting those needs. Our Care Ministries Team (led by Linda Hamilton, Marlene Bollmann and Joan Bennett) is working together effectively to continue to extend care to our church family in ways that represent Christ.

  • Pastor on Call. The pastors on staff rotate for one week at a time responding to incoming calls and email requests. The POC then works with the individual or family to determine steps forward in their care, which may include an external counseling referral, an internal referral to a Confidential Care Provider, or another specialized connection within or outside Grace Point. Chuck had been training the POCs over the last year in resources available, and he has been role playing counseling situations. POCs will provide pastoral counseling on spiritual matters (1-3 sessions max) and will refer all other cases to Christ-centered counselors in our area, while maintaining contact with the counselor for shepherding purposes.
  • Care Coordinator. Eileen Hemming was hired on June 1 as our part-time Care Coordinator, and we are excited to have her skills and experience in this vital area of ministry. The Care Coordinator is an administrative position. Eileen interfaces with the congregation, the pastors and the Care Ministries Team and care providers outside of Grace Point to assure loving and effectual care to those in need.

Connection Ministry. Jay Button was celebrated and thanked by the church family on Sunday, August 29 as he stepped away from his role as Pastor of Connection at the end of August. Jay and Kim are looking forward to seeing where the Lord has them next to continue in ministering to God’s people.

  • Small Groups Ministry will be led by a volunteer team overseen by Dave Wolf, with elders serving as coaches for our highly valued small group leaders.
  • Men’s Ministry will be led by Tom Cummings and a well-established group of volunteers under staff oversight of Jeremy Davis.
  • Discover Grace Point, Membership, and Baptism will be coordinated by Jim Weber with staff oversight by Steve Weir. The Discover Grace Point class will resume this autumn on a regular basis to offer opportunities for Grace Point attenders to learn more about the church and to become members.
  • Fellowship Fund will be administered by Jan Haas with staff oversight by Bill Wright.
  • Prime Time Ministry will be overseen by Sharon Sloan, who will work with the current Prime Time Planning Team when they are ready to resume gatherings. This important ministry provides fellowship opportunities for our attendees ages 55 and up.

Administrative Support. We are delighted to announce that we have hired Jenna Mazer as our part-time Ministry Administrative Assistant. Jenna will begin the week of September 19, 2021. She will be our receptionist and will serve Dave Wolf, Jeremy Davis and our Children’s Ministry. Look for Jenna in our front office soon, and please take a moment to welcome her!

We thank the Lord for the staff team members He has provided throughout the years and those He has planned for the future. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)

Please pray with the elders and staff for God’s favor as we navigate these changes and look forward to the new season of ministry in the coming months.

If you have further questions, please contact kkovalik@gracepointpa.org, dwolf@gracepointpa.org or sweir@gracepointpa.org.

Elder Prayer (9/19/21 – 120th Anniversary – Celebration of God’s Faithfulness)

God, we bring You our undivided attention, knowing that Your Spirit is praying with us, the Son is advocating on our behalf, and Almighty Elohim, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, has promised to attend to our words.

We agree with the song: “…right now, in the good times and bad, You are on Your throne, and you are God alone.”

Father, we ask for Your Spirit’s tender comfort in the lives of Lark and Heidi, and Myla and Kadyn as they bear heavy burdens of grief and loss. We ask You to comfort and sustain them through each day. Please help them to see You as they look, through tears, on their shaken world. Please allow Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, to guard their, as well as our, hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

We come to You in reverent awe. In the same way that Your people have praised You in this body for 120 years, we lift up Your holy name.

Thank You for the foresight, vision and courage of the band of believers who gathered in September 1901 with no permanent building and very limited resources. Like the disciples, they brought just a few loaves and fishes to You…and how amazingly You have multiplied the church at Grace Point to be a throng of witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus. We acknowledge that there is nothing that You can’t do, and that more than the building we’re worshiping in, the people of Grace Point are Your precious possession. So, we ask You to continue to use each one of us to follow Your lead as You establish Your righteous, holy and just Kingdom here in Bucks County…and throughout Your world.

We ask You to build Your Kingdom in our hearts and in all those whose lives we touch. Thank You for partnerships we have formed over the years with missionaries in Japan, Central Asia, Italy, Bolivia, and now in Lebanon.  Please continue to flourish the seeds planted in those far-away soils and in our own community so that the souls of many, many more would become Yours.  

Please help our brothers and sisters at the Amchit Baptist Church to have an excellent church camp this week focused on the theme, “Victory despite the collapse.” And please use the new, but shaky, government in Lebanon to restore some order and begin to help the people to recover. As all people in this battered nation look for hope, we ask that they would find it in You.

Thank You for the 8-year-old band of Jesus followers at Restoration Church in Levittown where You are transforming lives and moving mountains—do Your excellent work through Ross and Emily Manders and all of the body there who name Jesus as Lord, so that many more would do the same!

Jesus, You tell us that peacemakers will be blessed to be called Your children, but what do we say to a culture that is polarized over worldly concerns? It’s the age of outrage. And we in the church, just like our society, have been far too comfortable with being mean-spirited to one another, choosing not to trust, and assuming the worst of intentions in other people. Please forgive us and turn our hearts back to Your heart.

Thank You for Your promise that “if we confess our sins, You are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9). Please unleash forgiveness through us at Grace Point in a way that blows our community away with the power of the Gospel. Since we’ve been given such rich and full forgiveness in Christ, help us to lavish it fully on others.

As we look to the future, we pray from Psalm 89:1: “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” Please give wisdom, vision, and passion for You and Your word to each of those who lead this body in all future generations. Enable us to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:58).  As we celebrate 120 years of Your faithfulness to us at Grace Point, may we all respond by spurring one another on to more love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24) in the coming days and years.  Glancing back gives us reason to sing Your praises, and even more reason to continue to press on toward the goal for the prize of Your upward call in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)!

As this assembly has praised You for the past 120 years, we now pray today: “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)

(Keith Brown, Elder)

A Guest Blog Post by Sheryl Vasso – Women’s Ministry Bible Study Teacher

“got fruit? got gentleness?”

When I think of gentleness, I think of my nieces and nephews and their parenting of my great nieces and nephews. In the days before Covid, when we freely gathered together, I was fascinated by their parenting style. Whenever one of my great nieces/nephews would touch something they were not supposed to touch, or attempt to put a finger in the face of the youngest baby, or reach for a knick-knack they shouldn’t touch, I would enthusiastically (meaning not so gently) say, “No, no, no! Don’t do that!” However, by contrast, my nieces and nephews told their children, “Gentle. Be Gentle.” What a positive and effective way to course correct as opposed to my harsh admonition, “No! Don’t do that!”

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 emphasis added)

The eighth fruit of the Spirit is gentleness, and it is often misconceived as a weakness or passivity. However, true gentleness is just the opposite. Gentleness is the strength to be tender and it requires humility and self-control.

Many are the ways we can display gentleness towards others, however, one of the most powerful ways is with our words. There is a strong connection in the Bible between gentleness and the power of words:

1A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger….
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit
.” (Proverbs 15: 1; 4)

Our soft words have the power to diffuse an angry situation. Frequently our conflicts with others have more to do with our temperaments than the issues separating us. Rather than return angry words for angry words, we would do well to respond gently. Our gentle words are like a tree which continually pours forth life through its shade and fruit. Our words have the power to do far more good than we sometimes think.

In the New Testament, Jesus comes as the perfect example of being gentle and humble of heart:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

The Holy Spirit can produce the fruit of gentleness in our lives if we allow Him to lead us. So how are you doing? got fruit? got gentleness? – Sheryl Vasso of Words of Worth, Inc.

Join Sheryl Vasso and Sue Weber on Wednesday mornings at Grace Point (and on Zoom) for Bible Study starting Wednesday, September 15, 2021! This autumn they are teaching “What’s In A Name?” – a Bible study on the names of God. For all the details and to register, please go to our Women’s page.