GP FOCUS Process – Update

Thank you to the many folks who have been praying for the FOCUS process! It has been an exciting journey seeing God work and lead us over the last several months. A lot has been happening behind-the-scenes and it’s time for an update!

First, I thought I should give you a brief overview of the FOCUS process and what we hope it will accomplish for our church. We hope and pray that the FOCUS process will allow us as a church to bring some clarity and focus to our missions efforts, and address how we can engage in missions – locally, regionally, and globally.

FOCUS is an acronym that stands for:

  • F – First Priority – The selected FOCUS project and/or initiative will be the missions project that we talk about the most – whether that is from the stage on Sunday mornings or in our regular publications. When it comes to mission-related opportunities, we’ll consider our FOCUS first, then look at other ideas. This will include short-term mission trips, potential new missionary candidates, special offerings and other opportunities.
  • O – Objectives Oriented – The FOCUS will be based on specific objectives that are established by our global partner(s) and/or missionaries. A major aspect of a FOCUS is to come alongside them and help them accomplish their ministry goals and objectives.
  • C – Collaborative – We will select and work closely with ministry partners to help them accomplish their goals and determine what we can learn from them in true partnership. There is much we can learn from this process as well.
  • U – Unleashed Potential – We have many people within our church family who are highly-skilled and gifted in a number of areas. We hope that our FOCUS will provide multiple opportunities to engage and mobilize our people for significant missions impact using their gifts, skills and expertise. That may include you!
  • S – Strategic – We don’t ever want to engage in any missions project without a strategy. Our FOCUS will have a determined strategic emphasis that will help us all to stay on task and prayerfully focused on what God would have us to learn and accomplish through this process.

The FOCUS process began last fall, and in January the FOCUS Selection Team was assembled with the specific task of selecting GP’s next missions FOCUS project. Over the last several months, the FOCUS Selection Team wrestled with a number ideas and issues, attempted to map our missions DNA as a church, conducted research and narrowed our many, many options down to two.

While there were many worthy missions projects from which to select and with which to engage, we had to evaluate multiple factors and make a decision based on what we believe would be a good fit for Grace Point at this time. It was not an easy task!

The FOCUS Selection Team has narrowed the potential projects down to the following:

  • Lebanon – working with the Kinship Network to equip church leaders and reach refugees and Muslims from both Lebanon and Syria.
  • Thailand – working with Converge International missionaries in Bangkok to help start and support English schools – each of which are tied to a local church. Other opportunities may include assisting with a ministry that helps victims and those rescued from the sex trafficking industry.

Personally, I’m praying that our FOCUS will engage our entire church in meaningful and impactful ways – so much so that all of us become more missions-minded to reach our friends and neighbors and to help us accomplish our FOCUS, and live out our vision of building bridges for life change through Christ.

What’s Next?
The next step in the FOCUS process is to send survey teams to each country with the goal to evaluate things on the ground, meet with the national leaders, identify national facilitators, and gain a clearer understanding of what God is already doing in their ministries. We will be sending two small teams made up of members from the FOCUS Selection Team this summer. While some logistics are not confirmed at this time, we have the dates for our trips.

  • Lebanon – July 25 to August 1
  • Thailand – August 21 to 28

For now, you can join our prayer team. You can sign-up online using this form, in the foyer at the Missions Wall or send an email to “go@gracepointpa.org” to be added to the list.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is exciting! I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made and look forward to what God has in store for us as a church!

Lastly, I’d like share our appreciation for Ellen Livingood, who has led our FOCUS Selection Team and really helped us prayerfully wrestle with the key ideas and issues related to missions. Ellen is a tremendous asset to us as a church and many other churches through her ministry. You can learn more about Ellen’s work with Catalyst Services on their website here: https://catalystservices.org/

Thank you, again, for praying! More details to come!

Resources for the Great Commission

Link to video used in 4/28 messageWorld map – What is a UPG?

Joshua Project – organization that tracks evangelism progress around the world, specifically Unreached People Groups.

Operation World, a classic book continually updated to inform our prayers for the peoples of the world.

Information on the FOCUS Process, in which Grace Point is currently prayerfully engaged, as we ask the Lord where He would have us concentrate our outreach efforts regionally and globally over the next 3-5 years.

Converge Worldwide (the church association with which Grace Point partners) is asking God to create a gospel movement among every least-reached people group, in our generation. Read more about Converge Missions here.

Perspectives Class at Cairn University. Perspectives is a 15 week life and learning opportunity that will change the way you view the world around you. In it, you will have your eyes opened to the heart and purpose of God, and how you can take part in His work all over the world, from the urban streets of America to the rain forest and deserts of distant lands.

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

Advent Conspiracy – video

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

Advent-Conspiracy-for blog

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?

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.

Picnic poster

Local “Good Samaritan” Opportunities

Here are a few ideas to “make neighbor a verb, not a noun!”

Don’t know where to plug in, but know you have a heart for Urban Ministries? Come to our Urban Ministry Interest Gathering in August, led by Steve Weir (Pastor of Missions & Communication): click here to sign up.

Burning Questions

Today we closed out our current series on the Pain of Life, which comes after messages about offering grace and truth to those who may think and live very differently than we do.

These have been some challenging topics, and we realize they may have raised more questions.

The leadership of GP would like to hear what is on your heart, what topic(s) would you like to see addressed from God’s perspective?

Take a moment and fill out the form to submit your questions and/or topics.

Submit your questions here.

Resources to Find Healing from Abuse

To find out more about the ministry of Transformed By Grace, visit their website at: www.transformedbygrace.org

You can also follow on their FaceBook page at Transformed By Grace, Inc.

Sylane Mack’s books are all available on Amazon and Kindle:

Convinced! – Sylane Mack’s autobiography, or as she calls it, “God’s transforming love story written in my life.”
This is also available in Spanish: ¡Convencida!
Grace Moments – a daily journey with God – is a daily devotional with reflective journaling pages.
Grace Moments – travel version – the same daily devotional, but without the journaling pages to make it easier to pack.

Other related books:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Cry of the Soul by Dr. Dan B. Allender & Dr. Tremper Longman III

Healing for Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands

The Healing Path by Dan. B. Allender, Ph.D.

When Life Isn’t Fair by Dwight Carlson, M.D. and Susan Carlson Wood

When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson

To explore other counseling options, please contact our Pastor of Congregational Care, Chuck Arnold.

Hope is available for you in Christ! Please let us help you.

 

Tenacious Love Resources

Below is a sampling of many resources available to help us learn how to balance truth and grace.

Responding to a gay family member or friend:

Compassion without Compromise (How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth) by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau

Messy Grace (How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others without Sacrificing Conviction) by Caleb Kaltenbach

Someone I Love is Gay (How Family & Friends Can Respond) by Anita Worthen & Bob Davies

When Homosexuality Hits Home (What to Do When a Loved One Says They’re Gay) by Joe Dallas

 

Understanding homosexuality, for teens:

Living in a Gray World (A Christian Teen’s Guide to Understanding Homosexuality) by Preston Sprinkle

 

Biblical understanding of homosexuality (written by individuals who experience same-sex attraction):

Is God Anti-Gay? (Questions Christians Ask) book by Sam Allberry

Is God Anti-Gay? Sam Allberry message delivered at the Village Church in Texas

Navigating Sexual Sin to Find Your Identity in Christ, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield Focus on the Family broadcast 1/2017

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (And English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith) by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield