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 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

Elder Prayer (3/29/20)

Father, we acknowledge that we owe our every breath to You, and by Your Spirit You sustain and encourage us (Job 12:10). We’re humbled to admit that we’re helpless without Jesus who holds all things in this world together (Colossians 1:17). But that’s where we are—helpless and vulnerable—and we’re especially aware of it in these days.

Our faith is in You, who delivered us out of sin’s dark night and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14). We have so much in common in Christ that even this COVID-19 social distancing pales in comparison with what we share with all of our brothers and sisters in the LORD (Hebrews 3:1; Galatians 4:4-7).

But we do confess that we have not been as loving toward Your people as we could be. And maybe not as attuned to the opportunities to love. Please forgive us for thinking too much about ourselves, watching too much on our screens, and missing out on the relationships that count—with others and with You, our gracious Father (Matthew 22:37-40).  

Help us, in courage and with wisdom, to extend appropriate help and encouragement to those who are physically weak, emotionally strung out, or spiritually bruised. We see and hear lots of fear around us, and if we’re being honest, within us, as well. These are trying times. 

We know that a crisis is a turning point, the fulcrum at which the trend of future events is determined, so we humbly cry out to You, our Almighty Father. We cast the weight of these days from our shoulders to Yours (1 Peter 5:6-7). Turn the hearts of people everywhere, so that the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the biggest pivot point in history, would go forth to the whole world, bearing fruit and increasing (Colossians 1:6).

We think of the nation of Israel at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-14), and we implore You to do a mighty work…to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14)…and people throughout this world, to help those who have been infected to receive the help that they need, and to slow to a standstill the spread of the virus…while at the same time increasing the spread of the Gospel. 

Please help us by giving us wise thoughts inspired by Your Spirit within us, wise words that help others and heal relationships, and wise counsel that is consistent with Your word (James 1:5-8). Thank You for our pastors, staff, and leaders at Grace Point who serve with devotion to keep our eyes on You.

We pray for all missionaries serving You around the world. We ask that Your Spirit would be moving to encourage, protect, and defend Sam and Amy, as well as Abbey, who are faithfully sharing the light in Middle Eastern societies—where Your truth is often suppressed.  Please release doors for these and all of our missionaries as they must find new avenues to be Your ambassadors to people who are, like us, facing their own mortality and so are feeling unsure of the future.  

We pray Your mercy on Christians in places like North Korea who are under constant attack and many are imprisoned for nothing other than their faith in You. Help them to persevere in their devotion to You and in their trust that Your grace is sufficient for them, for Your power is made perfect in weakness (2 Chronicles 12:9). 

Spirit of God, may You miraculously and with power blow the doors open so that the ones who are positioned to step through them—those we have sent to the ends of the world, and all of us right here in this community—would be enabled and emboldened to step into the new opportunities spawned by this worldwide pandemic to share the reason for the hope within us, and always to do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Help us to turn questions about our swirling circumstances into questions that point to ultimate reality.

At a time when everything seems to be radically shifting, we want to remember together as we worship Jesus that He is always and will always be a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19), a hope that isn’t dependent on the shifting sands of material prosperity, or religiosity, or “positivity,” or social connectivity, but on the Rock of our hope in Your eternity.

Pour out Your Spirit so that—in our individual lives and as Your church—we will “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). We are confident that Jesus is with us—His Spirit is here right alongside us—and He has forever overcome the world (John 16:33).

And so, we thank You and praise You in the name of our Savior Jesus—AMEN!

(Keith Brown)

Elder Prayer (2/16/20)

Heavenly Father, You are a God who calls.

You called forth order out of chaos, and worlds were created and life began.

You called Abraham, to leave behind all that he knew, his comfort and safety, to go and follow You not knowing where he was going. And he obeyed.

You later called him to give up what he had hoped and waited for his entire life. And he obeyed.

You called Moses, from within the bush, to an assignment that he did not want or feel equipped to do, to a true mission impossible. And he obeyed.

You called Your prophets, to share Your truth with people who didn’t want to hear it, at the cost of their reputations, relationships and very lives. And they obeyed.

You called Jonah to share Your grace and truth with a people that he despised, and though he initially ran, he obeyed.

You called a young peasant girl named Mary out of utter obscurity to carry and care for the infant Savior of the world, and though she paid a high cost for doing so, she obeyed.

You called 12 to leave behind all they knew to follow You. It cost them their occupations. It cost them their dreams of what a new Kingdom might be. It cost them their peace and safety and eventually their lives. And they obeyed.

You called a man named Saul, to lay down his arms, and follow You and suffer for You immensely, so that the message of Your grace and truth would spread. It cost him everything.

You’ve called so many ordinary people in the past who heard, responded and obeyed, even though they very often did not see promises fulfilled in their lifetimes, but welcomed what You promised from a distance.

You are calling some of us here this morning Lord.

Some of us here this morning are being called by You to quietly and patiently trust You in the face of unsettling uncertainty, or relentless and intense pain and suffering. We’re going to need to leave behind our expectations of how we thought our lives would be, our frustrations, as well as our sense of hopelessness.

Some of us here this morning are being called by You to reconcile and restore what’s been broken and lost. We’re going to need to leave behind our sense of right and fairness, and the hurt we feel that is all too real.

Some of us here this morning are being called by You to reach out and get into the mess of the poor and hurting all around us. We’re going to need to leave behind our comfort, our time, our pride.

Some of us here this morning are being called by You to a spiritual assignment that we don’t feel ready for, to step out in faith and courage in You. We’re going to need to leave behind our sense of self-protection, maybe our hatreds, our sense of inadequacy and fear of what the future holds.

Some of us here this morning are being called by You, to lay down our arms, and follow You for the first time, knowing that we’re going to need to leave behind our doubts and self-righteousness.

Your call is not something we add to our lives. It’s never exactly what we expect it to be. It always requires that we leave something behind. Our expectations, our fears, our doubts, our comfort, our safety, our pride, our very wills. To lose what we think life is all about, in order to gain real, true life, the life we’ve really always wanted, in You.

We’re not being called to a creed, a cause, a condition, a solution, a promise, a place, a state of mind or even a victory. We’re being called to You.

You often don’t tell us what lies next Father. We only know that You are so incredibly glorious, that to run from Your call is pointless. You ask us to simply do what lies before us, to do the next thing. 

To obey is our objective, because You obeyed Jesus. To suffer, for You, is to be expected, because You suffered for us so that we would not have to eternally. Your glory is our reward.

Help each of us this morning Father to respond to Your call on our lives, no matter the difficulty, no matter what we may need to leave behind, knowing that the only real and lasting happiness we will ever experience on this earth comes through the doorway of quiet, humble submission and trustful obedience to and acceptance of Your will.

In acceptance of Your will there is Your peace.

In Your great name we pray,

(David Kneller)

Elder Prayer (Sunday 1/26/20)

Dear LORD, we thank You for being our great God, and for allowing Jesus to be our salvation—You have paid the huge debt that our sins had racked up for us by Your death on the cross. And You have made the way for us to inherit eternal life. 

Our loving Father, You allow us to grow through the questions that we ask of You, and of ourselves, and those that others ask of us. And like a sword that penetrates to the depths of our souls for healing purposes, You ask us questions in your Word [Hebrews 4:12-13].

So, we invite You through some prayerful questions to remind us of how great You are and how amazingly merciful You are to us.

You asked of Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” [Job 38:4a] and “Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His?” [Job 40:9]”

And through the prophet Isaiah You asked: “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him?” [Isaiah 40:18] and “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” [Isaiah 40:28]

Yet, despite being Almighty, You told us: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart [Jeremiah 29:13]”

Our Father, we are so prone to wander! You know every sinful thought we are harboring in our hearts, every wrong we have done, all the good we have withheld from others, and all the blame we have been shifting onto others, and so we fall on Your mercy and ask Your forgiveness. And we rest confident in the truth that You refuse to remember any of these [Hebrews 8:12; 10:17], choosing to remove them from us as far as the east is from the west [Psalm 103:12], and to hurl our sins into the depths of the sea [Micah 7:19]!

Jesus our Lord, while on earth You asked questions like: ”Who do you say that I am? [Matthew 16:15]” and “Why are you so afraid? [Matthew 8:26]” and “Are you also going to leave? [John 6:67]” and three times You asked Peter, “Do you love me? [John 21:15-17]”

Help us in this day and the days to come to answer these questions and to choose well—to trust You and to love you [Joshua 24:14-15]. May we follow You and not the world [Luke 16:13]—those things that would entice us away from our first love [Revelation 2:4]. Embolden us to help others to know the truth, believe the truth, grow in the truth and share the truth about You, Lord Jesus.

Why would frail and fallible people like Tim and Jacki Faulkner in Italy, or Abbie in the middle east, or Val and Cassie in east Asia, give of themselves by going to the ends of the world to tell about Jesus our Lord to people whose hearts are often hardened fields?

The answer is “because they are following You”—in Your love for this world, You generously gave Your Son so that whoever takes the one step of faith to believe in this truth will take a giant leap into Your eternal kingdom [John 3:16]. We pray for these missionaries that they would trust You and ask insightful questions as they share the Gospel. 

Please guide us, Spirit of God, in this worship service, to know more of You as we praise Your name together, as we bring our offerings, as we hear Your Word proclaimed, and as we go into Your world this week.

Whose very presence in a life gives freedom and release from anxiety and burdens of sin? [Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:29-30; I Peter 5:6-7]] It’s Your Spirit within us! We ask You for the healing of hurts and diseases, of losses too deep for words, and of relationships broken or locked in bondage—please transform and deliver us. Your mercies are new every morning[Lamentations 3:22-23]—please bring us grace and peace [Philippians 1:2]!

Who is it that has purchased for us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for each of us who have been born again through faith? [I Peter 1:4] He is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  To You be all of the praise, honor and glory! [I Peter 1:7] 

We ask that these questions would stay with us, goad us into action, and bring us back for more of You.

And we pray all in Jesus’ matchless name—AMEN!

(Keith Brown)

Elder Prayer (Sunday 1/12/20)

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 14:14-16)

Heavenly Father, our Lord and God, we come to You this morning to seek Your presence in our midst. To honor You and glorify You. Asking forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. Help us to know and live within Your will, supplying the strength we need to accomplish that.

We ask that You would be with Your church here at Grace Point. With Pastor Dave as he brings Your message this morning and with the entire pastoral staff, as well as all the staff who keep us going on a weekly basis.

We lift up to You the FOCUS Team as they determine the next steps of our outreach to Lebanon. And we lift up Denise Nichols as she leads this phase of the decision.

Console Tony Martin and his daughters in Sweden as they grieve the loss of Gwen. Guide and strengthen them as they continue their work for You. Be with all of Your faithful workers on the mission field throughout the world. Guide us on our mission field as we exit the doors of this building today.

Guide the Student Ministry Search Team as they look for a new Student Ministry Pastor/Director. Be with Tony Batres and his staff of volunteers as they keep the ministry moving forward.

Father, I ask that You would comfort and strengthen those dealing with difficult circumstances: illness, surgery, recovery, marital, financial, loss of work or depression. Whatever the need, Heavenly Father, I ask that You would supply the answer and each would feel Your presence in a special way.

Guide our nation. Be with our leaders, whether elected or appointed, on all levels of government: local, state and national. Assist them to be diligent and successful in representing and governing us.

Thank You, Father, for all the many blessings you have bestowed on us. We ask all of this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Jack Edmond)