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).

Why Short-Term Missions Trips Matter

I went on my first missions trip in 2003. I was 23 years old and was headed to Naples, Italy to help one of our missionary families and their church. My experience in technical theatre and professional audio had uniquely prepared me for accomplishing a complete overhaul of the sound system at the Naples church.

“How to Use the Board” – struggling through Italian (2003)

Two years later and now a newly-wed, my wife and I and one other team member, Andrew, headed to Tokyo, Japan to assist with English classes and essentially close out a 5+ year international focus with a different missionary family and Japanese church planters. Over the course of the partnership two churches were planted and many from Grace Point prayed, supported, and traveled to help and participate with this unique partnership. Many, many Japanese people heard the gospel, in a country where less than 2% are Christian.

Sarah & I teaching English at Tama Church, Japan (2005)

“Short-Term missions changed the direction of my life.” That was what one person recently shared with me. You see, she grew up at GP, and engaging in short-term missions trips helped to firm her faith, steer her towards Christ, and has since developed a heart for reaching more people with the gospel.

As a missions director, I believe that short-term mission trips are a vital part of our missions strategy and can be a huge faith-builder in the life of a believer. The Great Commission wasn’t given to just church leaders and missionaries. It was given to all of us to make disciples of all nations (literally all people groups). Each of us are called to be engaged in missions and the Great Commission in some way.

Yes, we need people to go – people who will be obedient to the call that God has placed on his/her life to either become a missionary or to go on a missions trip. We definitely need “go-ers.” If you feel God might be calling you to go, I would love to hear from you! 🙂

For every “GO-er”, however, we need even more “SEND-ers” – people who are committed to:

  • Pray for missionaries, short-term teams, and missions endeavors
  • Disciple and prepare missionaries and short-term teams to go on the field
  • Support missions financially

We need many more “SEND-ers.” Will you be a SEND-er?

This summer we are sending out three short-term teams from Grace Point. Each trip is strategic in helping to accomplish certain ministry goals and strengthen existing partnerships.

  • Lebanon Team (June) – mentoring and discipling women who live in a nearby worn-torn country and working with our friends in a kinship partnership
  • Bolivia Team (July) – a combined team of 25 people (10 from our sister
    Unidos en Cristo (2011)

    church Restoration Church) heading to Cochabamba, Bolivia to help finish a newly built classroom addition, encourage the local pastors, and to strengthen our relationships with our sponsored kids through Compassion International and our partner church, Unidos en Cristo.

  • Bridesburg, Philly (July) – working alongside long-time partner ReaLife Church our team will be assisting and facilitating a week-long daily Vacation Bible School program for the kids and families of the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia.

My dream and prayer is that Grace Point would continue to be a church with a strong missions focus; not just because of these trips, or by simply supporting 20+ missionaries. But, that our entire church family would be engaged in missions and what God is doing in our community, region, and around the world. (Read Acts 1:8)

I encourage you to join our summer trips prayer teams. You can sign-up here.

We are currently raising financial support for our missions teams. You can give on Sundays in the offering plate (mark your check/envelope as “missions”), using the Giving Kiosk in the foyer (select the Short Term Missions fund), or online at giving.gracepointpa.org (select the Short Term Missions fund).

We have two Missions Team fundraisers coming soon. Learn more on our events page.

Will you join us and what God is doing? I believe that you’ll be glad you did and it may just change your life! I’m hoping it changes mine!

Grace Point’s New Vision Statement

When I was a kid, building with LEGOs was a big part of how I spent my time. My

Source: https://flic.kr/p/CRF2M

brother and I would begin to create an elaborate community with all sorts of intersections, activities, buildings, and little mini-figure people. More often than not, we’d begin with a not-so-well-crafted idea and just see what happened. We’d often have to make changes on-the-go, modify our structures, or deconstruct what we had just spent hours working on.

Why? Because we lacked a clear vision.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working. It did, however, prevent us from building something that was long-lasting, effective, and meaningful.

The same is true in ministry.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working.

For the last six months, we’ve been praying and working to craft a vision statement that will inspire and lead us into the next three to five years. Our prayer has been to ask the Lord, “What is Your vision for Grace Point?”

Many of you have been praying with us through this process. Thank you!

After conducting a church-wide survey (a summary of results found here), reviewing data regarding our surrounding community, sorting through research on external factors and current trends, and meeting with a number of incredible consultants, our staff and elders have crafted the following vision statement.

Building bridges for life change through Christ
Building bridges for life change through Christ

We want to build and strengthen connections within our church and to our community that move us all towards life change – which can only happen through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we want to reach our community and make an impact, we need to build a bridge to get there. You may remember a quote from a few months ago, “Love is a bridge over which truth can pass.” If we’re going to share the gospel, we must first build a bridge of love.

As believers of Jesus Christ and as the church, we’re called to participate in the Great Commission. But, that’s not always easy. In fact, we will face many difficulties trying to reach certain people and even certain places – whether that’s because of geographical limitations, pre-conceived perceptions about God and faith, or because of past hurts and wrongs people have experienced. There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

At Grace Point, we need to be building bridges for life change through Christ to make an impact in our community.

There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

In a few weeks, we will unpack our vision statement on a Sunday morning where a few members of our ministry staff will share how this vision statement has already begun to inspire them in their areas of ministry.

When I consider my LEGO creations as a kid versus what I see “professional LEGO builders” create, I’m left in awe. A clear vision, dedication, and teamwork certainly payoff in the end!

Source: http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Around_Town-Inside_Job/38048/Inside-Job-LEGO-Master-Model-Builder.html

It is our prayer that with this new vision statement, a dedication and commitment to prayer, and teamwork as a staff, leadership team, and together as the entire church of Grace Point, we can accomplish great things for the kingdom and love our community.

And in the end, when we’ve seen what God has done, we will be left in awe!

–Steve Weir for the ReVision Team & The GP Leadership Team

ReVision Survey Results!

Since September 2017, our elders and staff have been working on a major project: updating our church vision statement. Vision statements have been very powerful in the journey Grace Point, as evidenced by our most recent vision which led to the establishment of a partnership with Unidos en Cristo Church in Bolivia and the planting of Restoration Church in Levittown.

On January 14, we conducted a survey at the end of our worship service, collecting demographic data and seeking the input of our church family regarding what you perceive to be our strengths, areas for improvement, and ideas for the future. Our response rate was over 75%, which is fantastic – thanks to all who participated!

Below you will find some of the most significant findings from the survey. This data, as well as much more, has been reviewed by our ReVision Team and is being considered as we begin the formation of our new vision statement.

Next steps:

  • Elders and staff will review and refine the draft statement at our retreat April 6/7.
  • We will seek feedback on the statement from focus groups in the weeks to come.
  • We anticipate a finalized vision statement and resulting staff goals/objectives to be formulated by July 1.

Integral to this process has been the work of three Grace Point attendees who are skilled in data collection and tabulation: Paul Benchener, Dan Hughes, and Tom Nolte. We also wish to thank two individuals who are “on loan” from Crossing Community Church who have also volunteered their expertise: Larry and Cindy Newman – thank you for your heart to build the Kingdom!

And a reminder of who comprises the ReVision Team – feel free to talk with them at any time if you have comments or questions: Glenn Ely, Scott Leuz, Rich Speeney (elders), Steve Weir, Joan Zeberlein, and Dave Wolf (staff).

Your prayers for this ReVision process continue to be appreciated and impactful!

And now, some key findings:

Grace Point Survey ResultsGrace Point Survey Results2Grace Point Survey Results3Grace Point Survey Results4Grace Point Survey Results5Grace Point Survey Results6Grace Point Survey Results7Grace Point Survey Results8Grace Point Survey Results9

 

Strengths

  1. Preaching/Sermons
  2. Church Culture
  3. Worship/Music
  4. Leadership
  5. Christ-centered
Opportunities

  1. Millennials
  2. Unaffiliated
  3. Surrounding townships
  4. Families
  5. Religious Identity
Weaknesses (Areas to Improve)

  1. Assimilation/Getting to know one another
  2. Greater outreach
  3. Music ministry
  4. Preaching
  5. Parenting
Threats

  1. Millennials hard to serve
  2. Church membership dropping rapidly
  3. “Competition”
  4. Doubt

Through the Bible in 2018!

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 child with Bibleaddress my immediate needs, it’s 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.

This year I’m choosing a new plan I haven’t done before, thanks to the many plans available on YouVersion – if you don’t have the free app yet on your device, 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 picks:

YouVersion_Promo_Materials_157x157Whatever plan you choose, and whether you go through the entire Bible in 2018, 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 – this Wednesday I will begin weekly posts to my personal blog, to provide a mid-week spiritual check-in, as well as an opportunity for interaction for others in our church family. It’s easy to come on Sunday, worship, and leave not having really connected with others. I want the blog to be an online opportunity for mutual encouragement and conversation. Find it here.

Happy New Year – and may you enjoy many meaningful moments with God in 2018!

Receiving God’s Love

Use the Scriptures below to take time this week to marinate in God’s love, His LOVE IN ACTION as demonstrated through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for you – because God wanted to close the gap of separation caused by our sin and failures.

Our love for God is fueled by His love for us!

Scriptures from the 4/9/2017 message:

1 John 4:19

1 John 4:7-10

1 John 4:16-19

John 15:13

Romans 5:7-8

Accounts of Jesus’ trial, suffering, and death:

Matthew 26-27

Mark 14-15

Luke 22-23

John 18-19

Other Scriptures about God’s Love:

Ephesians 3:14-19

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

High School Winter Retreat Recap

Today’s blog post is written by one of our volunteer Youth Leaders, Jamie Kuhner, who recently joined me and several others on our High School Winter Retreat. We had a great weekend!


One of the first questions I want to ask God when I get to heaven is, “Why do children have more energy than adults?” This past weekend a group of 15 students and four adults made their way to Rock Mountain Bible College for the High School Winter Retreat. As one of those adults, I can safely say that our students do not value sleep nearly as much as I do, yet they moved through the weekend as if they were Energizer bunnies. Despite the lack of sleep, it was a wonderful weekend. Our students were joined by youth groups from the surrounding area who belong to the Allies Youth Network. Activities for the weekend included organized games, sledding, and most importantly, worshiping together and hearing from Gods’ Word.

Tre Ford, the speaker for the weekend, shared the importance of being different through the story of Nehemiah building the wall. As Christians, if we are following God’s commands, we will not blend in with the general population. Students were encouraged to be in the world and not of it, share their faith boldly with others, and be a light in the dark. Following each lesson, the churches broke up into small groups to further examine the topics.

Students felt that school is the main area where they can be salt and light (showing God’s love and enhancing those around them). This idea is easier said than done. As Tre said, we have to remember that our value is not determined by peers, but by God. When we cling to this fact, we will not be afraid to act boldly for His kingdom.

After chewing on these concepts, one student shared that they could be more open with their friends about their weekend. Instead of just saying that they were on a retreat, they could go into detail about what they learned about their faith. Other ideas included standing up for those who need it, attending FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and bringing friends to youth group.

Growing up, my youth group called our weekends away an “advance” instead of a “retreat” because you want to move forward. I firmly believe that there was life change this past weekend and our students will make moves that can further the kingdom of God.

Please continue to pray for our youth. They are not just the future of the church; they are the church right now.

Use Your Clout – Stop Exploitation

At the end of Sunday’s message on Confrontation, an opportunity was mentioned to Raised From Ruins“use your clout to help someone out.” We are privileged to live in a country where we can petition our law-makers to encourage them to do the right thing. Please consider using your voice to help those who are being exploited.

The following information on the progress of PA Bill 851, the Safe Harbor Act, is copied from the website of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, dated November 2016. You can find more details about Bill 851 here.

The 2015-2016 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly officially closes on November 30. Here is the status of the several high priority bills that were on the legislative agenda of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.

Human Trafficking – Senate Bill 851 would have ensured that juvenile victims of human trafficking are not prosecuted as criminals and that support services are made available to them. No action was taken by the end of the session, but legislation may be reintroduced next session.

 

How to write a letter to your PA State Senator, to encourage him or her to reintroduce and pass this legislation:

To find the name and address of your State Senator, please visit “Find Your Legislator” and fill in the relevant information.

Click on the name of your Senator to be taken to their personal page.

You may email your Senator by clicking on the image of the envelope under your Senator’s picture.

If you prefer to mail a letter, you can find your mailing addresses for your Senator’s offices listed on the lower, left-hand side of the page.

You may also want to contact Senator GREENLEAF who was the prime sponsor for this bill.

In your letter, let your Senator know you support them in doing all they can to stop the exploitation of innocent victims.

 

Sermon Based Small Groups

Our mission is to help more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. One way that happens is by connecting with others and growing in our faith, together. Small Groups are one way to connect with others at Grace Point.

Starting this week, we’re introducing Sermon Based Small Groups – using Discussion Questions based on that weekend’s message. Our sermon series this fall is taken from Genesis 1 – 3, entitled “Scarred.” If people from your Life Group miss Sunday morning’s message, they can go to GP’s website which promises to have the audio portion online by noon Monday. On that page, you’ll also be able to find the Discussion Questions.

All new groups will be using the Sermon Based Small Group Questions and will meet for 10 weeks. We’re asking new LG attendees to commit to seven consecutive weeks. After that it’s your decision if you want to continue with your group, or opt for another group beginning in January for 10 weeks.

For existing groups, you’re highly encouraged to try it out. It would be great to get all our groups aligned and on the same page for the fall. There are real advantages that benefit the church as we all study the same passage(s). This also helps new attenders to GP – there’s no hidden studies, or feelings of being left behind. We’re all together, and it’s easy to pick up if you’ve missed a week.

If you’re not in a group, we hope you’ll seriously consider joining one. You can always email Jay Button, Pastor of Connection at groups@gracepointpa.org if you have any questions or are interested in joining a group.

Fall Happenings!

School has started, the leaves are turning – summer is gone.

Though days at the beach and beside the pool might soon become distant memories, exciting days are ahead at Grace Point. As a staff, we’re excited to see what God is going to do in our church and in our community this fall. I think you’ll want to be a part of it!

Below is a laundry itemized list of what’s happening and opportunities to connect with others at Grace Point.

Be sure to check our website and Facebook page for updates!

SUNDAY MORNINGS

  • Worship Services, 9AM and 10:30AM
  • Grace Point Kids 9AM & 10:30AM
  • Grace Point Youth Sunday Study, 10:30AM
  • Adult Bible Study, 10:30AM
  • Women’s Bible Study, starting September 11 at 10:30AM
  • Life Group Connection, September 18 at 10:30AM
  • Newcomers Luncheon, September 25 at 11:45AM
  • Barnabas Care Ministry Training, September 25 to November 13 at 9AM
  • Marriage Classes, October 23, November 13, 20, 27 and December 11 & 18 at 9AM

KIDS & YOUTH

  • Kids Club – Wednesdays starting September 14 at 6:30PM, 3 yrs. (potty trained)–6th grade
  • Youth Group – Middle/High School – Thursdays starting September 15 at 7PM
  • Youth Retreat – October 28-30
  • Seniors Retreat – November 4-6

ADULTS – Ongoing

  • Choir, rehearses twice a month, sings on Sunday once a month
  • Discover Grace Point, Saturday Edition, September 17 at 8:30AM…also offered in four one-hour sessions, Sundays, October 9-30 at 9AM
  • GP Men Breakfast, Saturdays, October 3 and December 3 at 8AM
  • Men’s Bible Studies, Mondays-Saturdays at various times and places
  • Moms in Prayer, every other Thursday morning at 9:15AM, starting September 9
  • Moms Morning Out, Wednesday mornings at 9:45AM, starting September 7
  • Newcomers’ Luncheons, Sundays, September 25 and November 13 at 11:45AM
  • Potluck & Praise Evenings, Sundays, September 18 and November 20 at 5:30PM
  • Praise & Prayer, Wednesdays 7-8PM
  • Prime Time Fellowship, various monthly events for those over 55
  • Shabbat Fellowship, 1st Fridays of the month at 7PM
  • Small Groups, various times and places during the week
  • Small Group Leadership Training, Tuesday, September 27 at 7PM
  • Women’s Fellowship, third Wednesday of every month, starting September 21, 10AM-2PM
  • Women’s Bible Studies, various days and various types
  • Worship Team (vocalists and instrumentalists), on rotation, rehearses prior to 9AM service, assists in worship on Sunday
  • Young Adult Gatherings, Wednesdays, starting September 21, 6:30-8:30PM at Elys

One-time Events

  • Men’s Tailgating Party, Sunday, September 25 at 2PM
  • Block Party for All Families, Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 to 8PM
  • “The Great Date Night,” an enjoyable evening for adults, Saturday, October 22, 7PM
  • Men’s Retreat, November 4-6 at Refreshing Mountain