Marriage Matters – New Marriage & Family Ministry

October is here. This means the World Series is coming. As I look back on my childhood I remember the connection with my grandfather and how he brought the game of baseball to life for me. Now I can pass this heritage along to my grandchildren. They love to attend the Trenton Thunder games with me.

October also means the start of a marriage and family Ministry at Grace Point. We want Grace Point’s marriage and family ministry to allow you to grow in your family relationships while allowing you to build life-time memories.

To get us off to a great start, Grace Point will have a fun night on October 22 called the Great Date Night with Mark Cable. Check out the information on our website.

On Sunday October 23 we will begin our Marriage and Family classes at 9:00AM. These classes will be offered on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of each month through May 2017. Each month we’ll present a topic on a marriage or family issue.

Come out on October 23 to learn about the specifics of the Marriage and Family ministry.

Also, each month I will write-up an article that will present thoughts about a Marriage or Family issue. At the end of each article I will ask a question for you to respond to. For example; this month’s question is: What is your favorite family childhood memory?

Adventures at Adventure Camp

This is a special week for many of our kids at Grace Point. There are 130 kids ages 8-11 having a great time at Adventure Camp at Camp Tel Hai. Cassandra DeWitt, our Children’s Director, Liz Coffman, our Nursery Coordinator, and 50 other leaders are leading the charge to “Walk this Way” – which is this year’s theme.

From archery to crafts, from riding horses to sitting ’round the campfire, Tel Hai is always a life-changing week for these kids. Below is a portion from earlier this week on the Adventure Camp blogCheck out the blog for a daily video!

One of our favorite meals today was tacos for TACO TUESDAY of course! To top that, as if you could, we had a treat of terrific apple crisp today too!

An even more fun treat, was our evening special where the kids got to rotate between an evening swim, hayride and mini-golf under the lights! This is a favorite night for many of the campers getting to swim under the lights, and also, having the hayride back was a special treat. You could [hear] the kids singing tunes from miles away I am sure!

Beach Vacation With Our Toddler – What Were We Thinking?!

As I’m packing up our car for our family beach vacation, tucking items in every little corner, under each seat and in the roof cargo carrier, I ask myself the question most parents with small children ask: How much stuff does this kid need?!

Of course, the reality is that she doesn’t “need” most of it but rather it’s our attempt as parents to our almost two-year daughter to be prepared for any possible scenario…..and provide opportunities to create fun, meaningful, “perfect” memories that we will cherish forever.

Then hits the reality of the endless chasing, sand eating, can’t sit still, temper tantrum and downright tiring days. My wife and I will look at each other with those eyes that say, “What were we thinking?  This is exhausting!”  But we also know that there will be many laughs, hugs, pictures and all around sweet moments together.  The combination of these not-so-perfect moments with the unplanned amazing moments, will not only strengthen our bond as a family, but turn into some of the best memories of our trip together.

Too often we consume ourselves with planning the perfect occasion or vacation and get upset when things don’t go as planned.  We say things we don’t mean or act in anger when we know we are better. We forget that these imperfect moments are what may become some of our fondest memories of our time together as family or friends.  Some of my greatest childhood memories with my dad involve trips where the boat sank, the tent blew away and the raccoons stole our food at the campsite.  In the moment, we weren’t very happy about what was happening, but now they are the fun memories I still talk about today.

What are your plans for the rest of this summer?   Whether it’s a family vacation, BBQ with friends, or a day trip to a park, I hope that the greatest memories are made not just because everything was planned and went perfectly, but that you and your loved ones are able to stop and laugh at the not-so-perfect moments.

So when you are in that situation where you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” shake it off and just roll with it.  Life can be messy.  Have fun with it!

Geocaching: Take Your Tech Fun Outdoors

Several years ago our family discovered geocaching. Geocaching is like a high-tech treasure hunt game using an app on your phone to locate hidden containers, called geocaches. We have found geocaches in coffee cans in the woods, buried under a fence in a local park, and wedged into an old stone bridge.

What makes it challenging is that your phone’s GPS will only get you within 10-15 feet, so you have some work to do from there. Often you need to patiently scour the area, and occasionally get help from a cleverly-worded hint.

Some geocaches contain a small treasure like a coin or small toy, which you may take with you, but then you must leave something of equal or greater value. Other geocaches hold nothing more than a paper log where you can write your personal geocache ID and the date you found it. The real treasure is the success of the find!

We have found this a great family activity that gets us out, active, and enjoying some fresh air any time of year. To top it off, the app is free! For more info, search “Geocaching” where you find your apps, or check out my favorite geocaching website.

VBS – A Great Week!

We had a great week at VBS! Thank you to the many volunteers and leaders who helped our 135 (average daily attendance) kids to have a great week!

Joseph helped us to learn that:

  • God gives us hope – even in our darkest, saddest, and scariest days.DSC_4335
  • God gives us special abilities – things that help make us special and we all have a spiritual gift from God.
  • God gives us wisdom – when we ask for it, God promises to give us wisdom to make good, wise decisions.
  • God gives us forgiveness – we don’t always get things right, and need God’s forgiveness when we mess up.
  • God gives us family – whether it’s our immediate family or a large family like a church family, God gives us special people to love and care for us.

DSC_4341What was your (or your kid’s) favorite part of VBS?


VBS – Midweek Update

We’ve had a great week at Vacation Bible School, as we’ve followed Joseph’s journey from prison to palace!

Joseph in Prison
Joseph in Prison

The kids have enjoyed making their own multi-colored “coats” – just like Joseph’s! Today we worked on shoebox dioramas depicting Joseph’s jail cell and the palace. Also, today was water day for games and from the looks of it, the kids had lots of fun! (I think the leader’s did, too!)

We love the music and lessons we’ve been learning. Parents, we’re anxious to show you what we’ve been learning. Join us Friday for our closing program at 11:00AM.

Each morning we’ve been hearing from Joseph, himself, as he tells his story and truths from the Bible, including: God gives us hope and wisdom. Tomorrow we learn about……I guess you’ll have to wait and see!

Children’s Volunteer, You Are The Awesome Secret Sauce

Dear Children’s Volunteer,

Thank you. Thank you for being on the frontlines of ministry each week. You play a unique role to help shape the future of a child’s life. There are not enough thank-you cards to say how grateful we are. Week by week, you plant and share God’s truth in a relational way kids can put into practice. You prepare before you arrive on Sunday. You meet kids in their world to help them talk through and embrace faith. Thank you for choosing to develop relationships with kids to have influence in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to love and know these children. This is no ordinary volunteer job you take on. There are some not-so-nice things, and some wonderful things happening. We know that at every phase in a child’s life there is culture to contend with. Look at you . . . taking time to learn what’s happening in each age and phase of a child’s life that you serve. You become relational by engaging them in what’s happening in their world. You know that fun matters. You are being and showing Jesus to them. Thank you.

Thanks for doing your homework to learn about things like what current shows kids are watching. You listen for songs that kids are singing. You use this to stay “in tune” (sorry) with a child’s world to have influence. Thanks for learning that Terraria is neither a plant, nor a disease—but a game elementary kids love right now. Thanks for helping understand kids are now wired, and take devices to school for education. Being aware of what’s happening in a child’s life is important. You know this. Thank you.

By staying tuned in to each phase of the kids you serve, you help support the vision of Grace Point. We know that “having common ground with kids to engage them helps create trust.” (Quote from Not Normal.) You meet kids right where they’re at. And then you speak into their lives and apply and introduce them to God’s love through conversation. You help give them a Monday through Saturday faith that they can own and live out. Way to go!

And Volunteer, you bowl us over by how you take a step to reach out to meet and engage parents. You are another voice in a child’s life to help partner with them. You follow up with kids and parents during the week. Why? Because you care about the kids and their families and how you can support them in their faith.

Children’s volunteer, you are the awesome secret sauce to impact kids in our church.

Thank you.

Father’s Day

Dad, what are you doing to make a difference when Father’s Day is over?

“Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, was driving home at the end of one particularly long day, looking forward to relaxing. But his plans came to a halt when he turned on the radio and heard someone say, ‘I hope you did something of value today. You wasted a whole day if you didn’t.’

Realizing the most important work of his day was yet to be done, 10 minutes later he turned into his driveway. Six pairs of eyes soon surrounded his car with shouts of ‘Daddy … Daddy … Daddy!’

‘I did my best that night, and on the many nights that followed while my kids were growing up,” Dennis writes, “to leave, with God’s help, a legacy that counts. A legacy that will outlive me.’”

Cited from article, “Applauding Dads for what they do well” by Mary May Larmoyeux

Summer Recipe: Spiedie Chicken

One of my favorite things about summer is grilling. (Of course, I’ll grill any time of the year. Snow-grilling for the win!) From burgers to smoked seafood, marinated steak to BBQ chicken, there’s nothing that beats grilling in the summer.

Spiedie Marinade
The Original Lupo’s Char-Pit Spiedie Marinade.

At our house, a favorite is Spiedies Chicken.

For the last several years our family has made a trip to My wife’s aunt and uncle’s house. They were the first to introduce us to Spiedies chicken, using the original Lupo’s Char-pit Spiedie marinade, from Lupo’s in Binghamton, New York.

Spiedies Sandwich
A perfect spiedies chicken sandwich!

I’m told the way to prepare it is, to start by cutting skin-less chicken breast into kabob-sized pieces and place in the marinade. Let it set for 24-36 hours in the fridge.

When done, grill on an open fire on kabob sticks. Serve with Italian bread (toasted if you want). You have to be sure to hold the bread in your hand, place the kabob-with-chicken in the rolls (like a hotdog) and grip firmly. Pull out the kabob-stick, leaving you with a chat-pit Spiedie chicken sandwich to enjoy!

What’s your favorite summer time recipe for the grill?

Hashtag GP Summer 2016

A lot of us are on social media. We post about our food, our trips, our weekend plans. We post our lives on Social Media. Do you have a great summer family idea that you want to share with others at Grace Point?

Wherever you’re posting, use the hashtag #gpsummer2016 and your post might be shared on our spaces (Facebook, twitter, Instagram).

Growing in biblical community means learning from one another and learning how to “do life.”

  • Got a great new grilling recipe? #gpsummer2016
  • Capture a great photo heading down the water slide? #gpsummer2016
  • Experience a “God-sighting” on vacation? #gpsummer2016

See you in the Inter-webs!