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)

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)

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)

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.

A Fond Farewell to Jay & Kimi Button

On Sunday, August 29, we celebrated the years of ministry given to Grace Point by Pastor Jay Button and his wife, Kimi. The pastors and elders prayed for Jay and Kim during the morning worship services. We are sharing this prayer to the Lord to thank Him and in anticipation of His responses. Jay and Kim — we thank the Lord for you both!

Loving Father…we are extremely thankful today for Your chosen man, Jay Button, who you called decades ago into ministry—to preaching, teaching, shepherding, and caring for Your flock—to a lifetime of humble service.

Father, we are together giving You thanks for bringing our brother Jay, along with his dear wife, Kim, here to Grace Point. We hold Jay and Kim in the highest regard in love because of their service to You.

We ask You to grow and strengthen the faith that Jay and Kim have already displayed by leaving what is known and familiar, to step, in the same way that Abraham and Sarah did, toward something new that is only known (so far) by You. 

We ask You to give Jay a constant zeal for Your church, and to use Jay in a mighty way despite any personal challenges he may face.  Help Jay to live each sermon before he preaches it—to personally apply Your Word in his life so that he can be most effective in exhorting Your people to action. 

We know You don’t define greatness in the same way that we do—man looks at the outward appearance, but You, Lord God, look at the heart.  So we thank You for giving Jay a heart that follows closely after Yours, a heart that passionately pursues Your Kingdom in the midst of a broken and decaying world, a heart that clearly and lovingly shows the way to Jesus and to saving faith in Him no matter who is asking for directions, and a heart that seeks restoration for people whose lives are in pieces—as well as for those who think they have it all together.

Please give Jay the patience he will need to deal with people’s conflicts, and help him to persevere even when they don’t appreciate his pursuit of peace. Help those who Jay leads to loyally support him with wise and understanding hearts.

Dear Jesus, we praise Your name—You’re the One who saved us from eternal punishment and You’re the One who daily saves us from sin’s devastation.  We commit Jay and Kim to be Jesus to the many souls they will encounter in the future, just as they have been among us, so that others would come to know more of the best news ever—the gospel that restores the broken, heals relationships, and transforms lives.

Father, we know that this couple can mentor others well!  Please enable Jay and Kim to mentor with spiritual sensitivity, by listening for Your still, small voice, by patterning their lives after Jesus’ life, and by continuing to bear the fruit of Your Spirit.  We ask You to protect Jay and Kim from the focused attacks of Satan, and that You would enable them to both finish well, staying far from sin, and walking closely in obedience to Your Word. 

Gracious Spirit, we surrender Jay and Kim into Your hands, asking for supernatural guidance for this faithful pair. Wherever You may lead Jay and Kim, please continue to work through them for Your Kingdom purposes. May they be able to humbly and joyfully laugh at themselves, and to please You by steady obedience, in the same way that we have seen them consistently live for You while they were with us at Grace Point.  May the Buttons continue to be filled with your grace and truth, and to clearly display the gospel by their attitudes, actions, and words.

And we ask that in this day of celebration and farewells, …and in all the days for the rest of their lives, Jay and Kim may have rich and lasting joy in their journey with You!

We ask all of this, in the holy name of Jesus–AMEN

GP Groups: Know. Care. Encourage.

A new ministry year is beginning this month, and that means our Groups and Bible Studies are starting back up! We are very excited, and we hope you are, too! On Sundays, September 12, 19 and 26, Group leaders will be available before and after morning services to provide information, answer any questions you have and help you find a Group.  

At Grace Point, our Groups exist to create places of authentic community where people can grow spiritually and KNOW, CARE and ENCOURAGE each other. Groups are the primary place where the people of Grace Point are discipled. Groups are often where friendships are created and nurtured.  

Groups participants meet regularly to build intentional relationships and biblical community. We have a variety of Groups meeting on different days at varying times. We offer Groups for couples, families, men, women, young adults, new believers, those who are divorced or separated, those who are new to Grace Point and more!  

We invite you to take a look at our Groups and Bible Studies and see which one fits best for you! If you would like to connect with someone for more information, please email us at groups@gracepointpa.org. We are looking forward to getting to know, care for and encourage you! 

Elder Prayer (8/15/21)

As we go to prayer this morning, I want to read a brief passage from Psalm 32:

Therefore let all the faithful pray to You while You may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Father, we praise you that you hear our prayers and that you want us to bring our praises and petitions to you!  We are thankful for your promises of deliverance, protection, instruction and counsel…all you ask is that we come to you!

So we come to you today, thanking you for your faithfulness and provision in our lives and the life of this church.  While we acknowledge that, we are aware that there are likely several here today who are experiencing illness, challenges, or difficulties and are perhaps not sensing your presence or your love for them.  We pray for them and healing for those who are sick and for those that are joining us today, that they will be encouraged and strengthened by worshiping together and the message from your Word as it is proclaimed.  May your Spirit be upon Pastor Dave as he shares with us today and may we be open to what you want us to learn as we apply it to our lives.

We pray for the country of Haiti which has just been through another devastating earthquake.  We pray for those who have lost love ones and for those involved with repair and recovery. Demonstrate your presence in powerful ways that those wh do not know you would come to you.

We are thankful for our Staff and many volunteers who work so diligently to serve the needs of our congregation and pray that you would encourage them in their work and protect them from the Enemy.

We pray for our upcoming Fall Ministries and for the plans surrounding them.  We know that our plans only achieve results as they are filtered through your will and direction so we pray that you would bless our efforts and that You would be glorified through the lives that will be changed.

We thank you for your financial provision for this church over the years and pray that you would continue to move in our hearts to give cheerfully to the work of our ministry and current needs as we worship you through our giving.

So we thank you for your presence with us today as we commit this worship time to you!

In the name of Jesus our Savior, Amen!