Examine the Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection

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“Come, see the place where He lay,” the angel said (Matthew 28:6). He’s not there any longer! You too can examine the evidence for the historicity of the Resurrection.

The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel

Also a movie, included with Netflix and available to rent on Amazon Prime.

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona

Scholarly:

The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, by Michael Licona

Devotional:

He Chose the Nails, by Max Lucado

Easter Greetings & Activities

Dear Grace Point Family,Easter Flowers

The world is slowly shifting once again from gray-brown to Technicolor! I love Spring! As life begins to burst around us, we are reminded of our Savior bursting free from the tomb. I hope you will join us in these opportunities to celebrate:

Pray and Invite
Pray for neighbors, friends, and co-workers you might invite to join us at Grace Point on Resurrection Day – that they will witness our worship, have ears to hear the Good News of Christ, and respond to God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Passport to the Cross: Your Guide to Understanding Good Friday
On Good Friday, April 19, beginning at 6:00 pm, we will host a new experience to help us appreciate more deeply the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As groups we will visit three stations that remind us of key events of Passion week, culminating in a time of reflection together in the Commons. Help your children experience the meaning of Good Friday for the first time, or come for your own refresher. Childcare is available for children under four years old. Register at http://gracepointpa.org/events for this unique experience.

Celebrate Resurrection Day
On Sunday, April 21, 9:00 and 10:30 am, we will celebrate Christ’s victory over death with powerful music and a continuation of our sermon series called “Crushed for Us, Raised for Us.” If you are bringing guests on Easter, please attend the service with them and help them feel welcome. Because we expect a large crowd, we will also provide overflow rooms for both services to make room in the Commons for guests. Children’s programs (Nursery through 6th Grade) will be available in each service.

Support our FOCUS Process
This year our Easter offering will fund survey trips for our GP FOCUS Process. I am excited to see where God directs us for greater impact as we endeavor to work together on a church-wide missions project. To learn more about the FOCUS process and the survey trips, please refer to this document. Please consider contributing financially toward the trips, and continue to pray for this important decision. I encourage you to continue pursuing steady stewardship with your tithes to our General Fund, and consider this an “above and beyond” gift demonstrating gutsy generosity. (When donating online or via check, be sure to mark your gift “Easter.”)

May you be filled with hopeful expectation, as we look to Christ for new life in this special season!

Celebrating with you,

Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

1/27 Business Meeting Recap!

Hello, Church Family!

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Grace Point held a semi-annual business meeting for church members, with about 75 in attendance. Below is a brief summary for those of you who were not able to attend.

PrintPastor Jay Button was delighted to welcome three new members to the Grace Point family: Lark & Heidi Perez, and Meredith Brown. If you have an opportunity to introduce yourselves to our new church members, we are sure they would be encouraged and blessed.

Cassandra DeWitt, Director of Children’s Ministry, gave an update on the aesthetic improvements in the Children’s Ministry wing, which help make the families and children feel well-served, comfortable and welcome. She also shared that a new community outreach event called “Family Fun Fest” will be happening on June 7. Allyson Kliefoth and Michelle Piccioni are volunteering to oversee the Family Fun Fest.

In Pastor Steve Weir’s absence, he prepared a video presentation outlining the FOCUS (First priority, Objectives oriented, Cooperative, Unleashed potential, Strategic) process introduction. He shared the vision and purpose of FOCUS and updated the members on the process and timing.

Dave Wolf introduced several staffing changes, including title changes for Greg Shelton (Pastor of Student Ministries) and Bill Wright (Director of Operations.) He also announced the retirement this year of JoAnn McDowell (whose service has been much appreciated and will be missed!) and the hiring of two new administrative staff members: Cyndi Kern and Sharon Sloan.

Dave and I then introduced a vote to change the Grace Point Constitution to reflect a title change for Dave Wolf from Senior Pastor to Lead Pastor. Dave felt it important to make the change to reflect his heart for shepherding and leading the staff and congregation, rather than suggesting seniority over others. With an overwhelming majority vote, the members approved to change Dave Wolf’s title from Senior Pastor to Lead Pastor.

Bill Wright, Director of Operations, recognized Ryan Burke for ten years of faithful service on the Grace Point staff. Ryan serves as the part-time custodian and is a great blessing to Dave Crist, Facilities & Grounds Supervisor. Ryan fills this role behind the scenes, usually at night and on the weekends.

David Kneller informed us of a newly-adopted policy Affirmation and Policy on God’s Design for Human Sexuality which incorporates material from and supersedes several older policies including several on marriage and divorce. His work, along with that of other elders, to update our church policies is much appreciated, so that the church can function with integrity and efficiency.

Bill Wright reported that the finances are healthy after a strong giving month of December. Specifically, the water well initiative through Samaritan’s Purse for Cambodia exceeded the expected giving such that six wells are being installed instead of the original goal of two wells. The surplus of the Thanksgiving and Christmas offerings was allocated by our church leadership to the general church fund.

The meeting concluded with a closing prayer.

God bless,

Scott Leuz
Elder Chair

Happy New Year 2019!

Dear Grace Point family,

Happy New Year! As we turn the calendar and begin 2019, I’m excited to celebrate with you some highlights of God’s work among us in 2018, and also look forward with expectation to the months ahead!

img_5552We start by celebrating 16 baptisms in 2018, including one special Sunday when we saw eight people take this step of faith! I am thrilled to see this number increase dramatically over the last few years: three in 2016, and five in 2017. To God be the glory for the way He is stirring in hearts and changing lives!

Praise the Lord for great participation in One Winter Night (including so many of you who volunteered to make it happen) and our Christmas Eve services! We know of at least one family whose first time at Grace Point was One Winter Night, and they have returned on Sundays in December. Let’s continue to pray for long-term life change as a result of the amazing outreach at OWN.

turn-on-the-tapAnother celebration from this past Advent season is the amazing movement of generosity among our church family, following our Advent Conspiracy study on “spending less and giving more,” and what a response! We set out with a goal to provide two wells (costing $10,000 each) to villages without clean water, and you responded so incredibly, we FAR EXCEEDED that expectation! We will give more specifics soon, after the year’s finances have been closed out, but for now I’ll say that we at least doubled our goal!  Let’s pray that these wells meet both physical and spiritual needs, as Samaritan’s Purse does this ministry in the name of Jesus.

I also want to take this opportunity on behalf of the staff to thank those who contributed to the staff Christmas gift – we are truly humbled and grateful to serve here!

Before leaving the topic of generosity, we can also celebrate that we finished 2018 in the black, as our General Fund giving has caught up to budgeted need. This positions us for some very exciting ministry in the year to come:

A dedicated FOCUS Team under the direction of Catalyst President Ellen Livingood and our Pastor of Missions Steve Weir will be examining our outreach strategy and working to flesh out what it looks like to “build bridges for life change through Christ” both locally and globally. If you are not part of our GP Prayer Team, please email vision@gracepointpa.org to be part of our 21 Days of Prayer for GP FOCUS, which begins Monday, January 7.

gp central logoOur staff is devoting new energy to our strategy of “creating a culture of belonging” as we read a book together called Fusion by Nelson Searcy. As part of our efforts we are upgrading our database, which will allow more personal and robust follow up with our guests. It will also facilitate better communication among our church family, including our Groups, which are the heartbeat of our connections with one another.

Toward that goal of improved communication, our pastors want to offer a new forum for conversation, “Coffee with the Pastors,” to give you the opportunity to share any constructive feedback or new ideas for our consideration. The inaugural conversation will be on January 27 (the day after the next business meeting) – you can choose to participate at either 1pm or 7pm in A5-6. The pastors look forward to talking with you about what’s on your mind.

I could go on, but you have your own New Year projects to tackle. Praying that God bears much fruit through us together, for HIS glory, in 2019!

In Christ,

Dave

Advent Conspiracy – video

Here is the link to the Advent Conspiracy video we watched together in Sunday’s service!

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Consider having a conversation with your family about “doing Christmas differently this year.” Here are some discussion questions you might use to engage your family in the decision:

  • What do you like, or not like about the idea of giving each other fewer presents this year?
  • What are different kinds of gifts we could give to one another that don’t cost a lot of money?
  • What activity could we do together to make a memory that lasts longer than a physical gift?
  • How could we collect the money we save from shopping in a visible way (maybe a container in the kitchen) to give toward clean water for people in need?

Converge Responds: injustice, division and violence

I find myself avoiding the news lately. I get tired of hearing of the violence, division, hatred, and injustice that seem to fill the screen.

In contrast, my eight year old son, Reilly, loves to watch the news and see what is happening in the world – both good and bad. When he does see/hear of some of the awful things happening in our world, he often says things like, “Daddy, don’t they know that’s not right?” Or, “Why don’t people love other people? Don’t they know that God loves them?” Often, “We should do something and tell them about Jesus.”

He’s right. God does love them. People do need Jesus. And, we should do something.

Scott Ridout, the president of Converge and Dr. Harold Lewis, Converge’s VP of Biblical Diversity recently shared from Micah about what our response should be to last week’s synagogue shooting and other violence in the news. Below is a short excerpt from a recent blog post.

Last week’s news was filled with injustice. Saturday’s massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Pittsburgh area left 11 dead and many more wounded. On Friday, it was announced that the suspected pipe-bomber who sent packages to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN, and other political and thought leaders was arrested. On Wednesday, a man tried to break into a predominantly black church in Kentucky. When he was unsuccessful, he drove to the local Kroger and killed two African-Americans based solely on the color of their skin.

These stories, though seemingly completely disconnected, are not. All were driven by hate and fear fueled by the ever-increasing divisions we see in our country around race, ethnicity, culture, politics, pride and fear. Divisive rifts are growing in our country as more and more people self-identify around what they are against and ignore the commonalities that could draw us together.

Social media is fast becoming a bastion of hate, emboldening negative talk under the banner of free speech and self-expression. With polls soon to be open, political campaigns seem to have reached a new low in the all-out strategy of character assassination of opponents. There seems to be little or no conversation about the issues of everyday life. The media has also done its part, adding to the feeding frenzy with perhaps less-than-fully objective angles on stories that our itching ears want to hear (2 Tm. 4:3).

While general agreement about such events being evil is common, meaningful action in response to such things is rare. “General agreement” is often the enemy of true change. General agreement is the idea that we all agree that something should be done or could be done. But we do nothing because just agreeing seems to satisfy our souls.

Divisive leadership will always result in divided culture. Words are worthless to address mortal wounds. Moments of silence will not muffle the screams of those who lost loved ones. Flags at half-mast will not change half-hearted efforts. Political elections are not the answer for personal character flaws. Committees can’t heal our country of this cancer…only Christ can. This present time calls for action from the church.

We must lead the way. While I agree that it would be wise for all of us to look at our church security protocols, I pray for a more robust response from the church that goes beyond taking care of ourselves. We must respond to our communities.

Last month Dr. Harold Lewis joined our team as the Vice President of Biblical Diversity. Our hope is that we can work together to find solutions that empower our local churches to lead the way in tangible, gospel-centered, God-honoring responses that result in changed hearts and impacted communities.

To read the rest of the article, click here.


Converge is a movement of more than 1300 churches working to help people meet, know and follow Jesus. We do this by starting and strengthening churches together worldwide.

Two Revelation Resources

As we hit the halfway mark in our Revelation series, “A Concise Guide to the End of the World,” we want to make you aware of two resources that might interest those who want to do extra study.

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1 – Revelation Q&A with Dr. Jonathan Master. Mark your calendar for Friday, November 9, from 7-8:30pm, in Rooms A5-6. Dr. Master, Professor of Theology at Cairn University, will respond to questions that expand on our sermon series. Submit your End Times questions on the book of Revelation to info@gracepointpa.org.

2 – Overview of Revelation Interpretation. The ESV Study Bible offers an excellent overview of various ways to approach the book of Revelation. You can read the overview here, and see the first few pages of Revelation with study notes as well. You might also consider the ESV Study Bible as a Christmas present for yourself or someone you love!

Benefits of Belonging!

There is an amazing wealth of riches available to us when we belong to Christ. To explore in more detail, check out this extensive post.

As you read, I encourage you to pause, note, and marinate on any riches that particularly grab your attention. God may be opening your eyes to a treasure He has provided to meet one of your needs!

 

And don’t forget to mark your calendar for our Connection Picnic on Sunday September 9! An opportunity to take another step toward belonging at Grace Point.

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New Stewardship Class this Fall – God Owns It All

God Owns It All: Transform your fear and confusion about finances into confidence and peace.

Ever wonder about God’s view of money?

Join us for God Owns It All as we explore Biblical, financial principles that will equip you and those you love to approach money management and financial planning with increasing freedom, generosity, contentment, and confidence. With over four decades of experience in the financial-services industry, Ron Blue (via DVD) presents financial principles that are affirmed by the authority of Scripture and tested by the marketplace. He knows that God’s principles work and are needed in our finances.

Wednesdays, 6:30-7:45pm, for six weeks starting Wednesday, September 19.

Sign-ups available at our Next Steps Area after Labor Day and online registration will be coming soon. Visit gracepointpa.org/events.

Questions? Contact Keith Brown (kbrown@gracepointpa.org) or Ken Kovalik (kkovalik@gracepointpa.org).