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)

FOCUS Update – Humanitarian Aid Distribution in Lebanon

Over the last several months, our Middle East FOCUS partners in Lebanon have been working diligently to meet the immense needs of the Lebanese people. While the situation continues to deteriorate, Horizons International has been able to provide much needed food portions through their network of churches, across the country.

Below are some testimonies and pictures from area pastors who helped with the food distribution.

May God bless Horizons so much and give them double what they offer. You cannot imagine how much these food portions … are [especially] during these difficult times for people, to present the word of the Gospel and also to see and fulfill the urgent needs of people is total priority. Indeed, words of thanks are not enough, but I trust that the Lord will bless the service of Horizons more and more.

Rev. Najib Khoury
Marjeyoun Baptist Church

Thank you, Horizons, for your tremendous efforts, especially in the difficult days we are going through. We can say that Horizons always stands with the local church in various circumstances.

Rev. Rabih Taleb
Alma Shaab Presbyterian Church

Thank you, Horizons. Your offerings always come at the right time, and we desperately need them. May the Lord bless you and increase you many times over. Your ministry gives glory to God, and we are pleased to cooperate together.

Rev. Maroun Chammas
Deir Memas Baptist Church

Your constant and uninterrupted communication with us as churches is very wonderful and very appreciated. May the Lord bless you very much in the name of Christ.

Rev. Fouad Antoun
Marjeyoun Presbyterian Church

Brother Wissam Haddad from Cold Cup of Water ministry shared with me that because of food portions donated by Horizons to him last month God opened many doors and two people accepted the Lord Jesus and two got healed from the visits that happened because of the food portions. Through his ministry he is going to many Lebanese towns and presenting sandwiches and water and Bibles for free with a message of love. These pictures are in Makse, a Sunni town in West Bekaa, for providing food portions. The Lord used this offering and opened many doors for ministry. We pray that the Lord blesses and glorifies more and more through this special initiative and partnership.

Brother Tony Shalash
C&MA Rmeich

Thank you for your generosity in helping to make this possible and thank you for your continued prayers for the people of Lebanon. Please pray for our Middle East partners at Horizons International and Amchit Baptist Church, as they continue to rely on the Lord during these difficult and desperate days.

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!

Harvey Cedars Recap by Jeremy Davis

GP Students had the opportunity to travel to Long Island, New Jersey, to spend two weeks at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. These two weeks of ministry had been bathed in prayer for many months in advance. The preparation team endured many difficult challenges as COVID-19 regulations changed frequently. Thankfully, the Lord is greater than any difficulties we faced. 

We left for High School camp in hopes that God would do a wonderful work in our students; He did not disappoint. At the end of the week, we met at Barnegat Lighthouse to recap all the great things God accomplished. The students shared how encouraged they were in building friendships with one another, strengthening their relationships with God, and realizing how much their youth leaders love them.

Two days after returning from High School camp we loaded the vehicles up once again, this time leaving for Middle School camp. We came expectant that God would accomplish great things in the hearts of His young people. God was faithful, reminding us to have authentic faith in all we do. The students shared what a wonderful week they had with God and one another. 

Harvey Cedars is a special place, and it was a joy to see our students experience that, some for the first time! Thanks for praying for us. The Lord was kind and gracious in giving us two wonderful weeks together. We’re all looking forward to Harvey Cedars next summer!

-Jeremy Davis

Elder Prayer (7/25/21)

Jesus, we praise You for being the One who has set us free, for breaking all the chains that would otherwise hold us in bondage to sin and to the fear of death. We pray that each one in our church body would come to know You as their personal Savior, whether it be for the first time or in a new way as we spend time worshiping You, Lord. 

We pray for victory over any idols that have taken over control in our lives, and we pray for us to be free to live as a testimony of Your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. 

We pray for each family, for each marriage in our church. We pray that You would give us the strength to be sacrificial in the ways that we shower the love of Christ on one another in those families. 

We pray, Lord, for wisdom about the choices that we are making each day that determine the direction that our families and our households are going. Lord, we pray that You would also help us to be a testimony of Your provision and that we will be able to see ways to bless others in our spheres of influence. 

We pray for our church, that You would give great insight and direction to the elder team as we seek to shepherd the flock. We pray that You give us discernment as we seek to ensure that we are headed in the same direction with Converge, because our goal is that Jesus would be pre-eminent and that we would be in agreement about what the Holy Scriptures teach in advancing Your kingdom. 

Please guard and guide the staff as they work together to encourage us in our walk with You. Lord, we pray for our nation, that You would break the power of hate and despair and bring us back to unity. We pray that You would revive us as a nation and that Your Spirit would draw us to Yourself for the sake of Your name. 

Lord, we pray for the people of Cuba as they go through great unrest. We pray that You would free them from tyranny and allow all the believers in Cuba to worship You. Lord, there are other nations in this world that are tyrannical as well, and so we pray that all the believers that are seeking to worship You, whether it be underground or in secret or openly, Lord, that You would give them all courage, that You would embolden them. 

And we ask, Father, for all of our missionaries around the world, that You would help them to, in wisdom, discern the best way to share the truth of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ with brothers and sisters and also with those who do not yet know You. 

And we pray, Lord, that You would help us to be missionaries in our community; that You would help us to be faithful to share the love of Christ with others. Despite all that the enemy may say, Your truth is still true and Your kingdom is forever. We take joy in rejoicing in You, Father, and we praise Your holy name.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

(Keith Brown, Elder)

Elder Prayer (7/18/21)

As we go to prayer, I wonder how many of us are having these thoughts or questions as we think about our relationship with God:

          >I am overwhelmed with life right now. Is God there?

          >I’ve made too many mistakes to even be accepted by God.

          >I continue to make mistakes.

          >How can God love a person like me?

          >How can a God who is so big ever care about me?

Here is a familiar passage from Romans 8 that continues to encourage me, as it should encourage you!

Romans 8:28-39:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s look to the Lord in prayer:

God, we are so thankful for Your Word that we have read that encourages us and reminds us how much You love every one of us and care about us. So much that You gave Your only Son to die in our place for all of our sins, past, present, and future!

We thank You that You are with us today and that we have the opportunity and privilege to worship You in various ways, through singing, hearing Your Word, giving, and in the building of relationships with others who are here. We thank You that your Spirit unites us and that we can join together in worshiping You.

I pray for those who are hurting physically, financially, emotionally, or in other ways, that they may find peace and comfort in Your presence and through the encouragement of Your Word and others who are here today. For those who are sick, we pray for healing as we know that You are the Great Physician!

I thank You for our Staff and our Worship Team…thanks for their sacrifice of service as they use their gifts in serving You and leading us at this church!  We thank You for the many volunteers that assist in various ministries as well. We pray for all of them as they serve that You would provide strength, stamina, wisdom, and protection from the enemy!

We also pray for those many missionary families that we support around the world. We thank You for their sacrificial service and pray for their protection and effectiveness as they work to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their ministry. We pray for our partners in Lebanon through our FOCUS initiative who are undergoing struggles and suffering in so many ways, in particular Pastor Joseph and those who are a part of the fellowship at Amchit Church. Be their source of strength and encouragement today and provide for their needs as only You can do.

So again, Lord, thank You for Your love for us this opportunity today to worship You.  And we love You because You first loved us!

In Jesus’ Name, amen.  

(Ken Kovalik, Elder Chair)

Elder Prayer (6/20/21)

Our Father, we praise You for being El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), and our Adonai (Lord and Master)! We worship the one true God, and You have many names that show how awesome and holy You are!

We are so very thankful to You for accepting us into Your family by the most amazing exchange—the blood of Your true Son given on the cross to make all of us helpless orphans into Your adopted children. As we celebrate the fathers in our lives, we give You praise for being the Father who never gives up. You’re always looking for Your prodigal sons and daughters to come home and to bask in the light and warmth of Your consistent faithful love.

And You call us to love like that as well: to lay down our pride, jealousy, competition and strivings, and to care deeply for the well-being of our brothers and sisters. We confess that we have at times chosen to compare ourselves with others, to pre-judge their motives simply because of the color of their skin, their political party, or the size of their bank account. In James 2, You command us not to show partiality or to divide based upon externals. Please forgive us for sinning by trying to do something that only You are qualified to do: to judge the hearts of other fallen people. Spirit, please show us how to rein in our self-reigning hearts. Challenge us through the faithful preaching of Your word today, we pray. Establish Your Kingdom in us as we surrender our lives to You.

We ask You to minister to our brother Khalil and his wife, our partners with Horizons International in Lebanon, who are both suffering from COVID, Khalil in the hospital and his wife unable to be with him. Care for them both, heal them we pray, and help them to know that Your Spirit is right there with them.

Jesus, You have called us to abide in You, and this promise is wonderful to cling to:  If we abide in You, and Your words abide in us, we are invited to ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us.

So we are asking, Father, that You would pour out Your wisdom that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere, and as we sow in peace please show us a huge harvest of righteousness.

Enable us to follow Your commandment that we fully and courageously love one another as You have loved us.

We worship You, the God who was, and is, and is FOREVER.  You outlast everything and You are the firm foundation on which we build our faith, our identity, our families, and this body of imperfect but surrendering believers—and we trust You as we place our hope in You.

Despite all that the enemy may say, Your truth is still true…and Your Kingdom is FOREVER! We take joy in rejoicing in You.

In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN!

(Keith Brown, Elder)

STUDENT MINISTRY – SUMMER 2021 (by Jeremy Davis, Director of Student Ministry)

Hey Grace Point Family, 

I count it a blessing to share my heart and passion for ministry with you. It is hard to believe that it will be a year of serving at Grace Point in July for me. It has been a joy to serve alongside of you all. I wanted to share an update on the great things God is doing in the Student Ministry. 

The Student Ministry will have a fresh look for the summer!

First, we will have combined meetings for the summer with high school and middle school students from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Grace Point on Sunday nights.

Second, the school year curriculum (New City Catechism) will pause for the summer, and we will be looking at an elder provided resource called “A.S.K., Real World Questions/Real Word Answers” by David Robertson. This book investigates 52 student-submitted questions for which Pastor Robertson provides the biblical response. I asked our students to review the 52 questions and submit the ones they would like to study. The results were tabulated and created the topics throughout the summer.

Third, we understand that many students will be away throughout the summer, therefore, we are providing a video teaching of each question for students who missed and for parents to know what is being taught. You can access this HERE.  

Our young people are asking a lot of questions, and the wonderful truth is God’s Word answers them! Pray that God gives our young people a longing for His Word. Pray that this resource blesses the students and parents. Pray that youth group encourages students to ask questions they may have on their minds. Pray for the parents and guardians of our students as they have a big task of discipling their children in Christ. 

As always, you can reach out to me if you have any questions. My email address is jdavis@gracepointpa.org 

Your brother in Christ, 

Jeremy Davis 

Elder Prayer (5/30/21)

Behold how good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Father in Heaven,

We gather together this day, sanctified and set apart for a holy purpose, in Christ Jesus, along with believers of every different tribe and tongue around the world who call Jesus Lord as we do.

It’s all about Your grace Father, in Jesus.

Yet, we often allow it to be about so much more that divides us. Forgive us.

You have been so faithful to us, and You’ve called us into the fellowship of Your Son, Jesus our Lord.

Baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit.

In this fellowship, there is no division.

You, the Son and the Spirit have enjoyed a divine dance of love for all eternity, showering each other with joy, praise, love and glory, endlessly. A divine dance that You call us to join.

In this divine dance we find true happiness, true joy, a true satisfaction not based on our circumstances. Our true identity and true relationship.

Father, we face a tough and determined enemy. An enemy that seeks to devour and destroy through discouragement and division.

Yet Lord Jesus, on the night You were betrayed by those closest to You, You prayed to the Father that we would not only be protected from the enemy, but that we would be One, just as You and the Father are One. That we would be in You.

No division.

United, though different. Dependent on each other and on each other’s differences.

We are different Father. We are fans of different teams. We come from different places. We like different foods. We ascribe to different political beliefs. We see problems in different ways. We look different, act differently, talk differently and think differently.

Yet in You, we are One.

United not in policies, programs, plans or purposes. But united in a Person, The Person of Jesus Christ.

So that the world might know that He, Jesus, was sent in the love of the Father, to save the lost.

Our unity, our oneness in Christ, is a testimony. Probably the strongest testimony we have against the onslaught of discord, division and destruction we see playing out all around us, here, near and far.

In this season where differences are elevated to existential threats, help us, Your Bride Lord Jesus, look different than the world around us, and be united.

Although unity does not mean conformity, differences don’t have to mean division.

Help us, Your Body Lord Jesus, to be visibly united to a world hurtling out of control into a Christ-less eternity. Help us make every effort to maintain this unity in You through Your Spirit, binding ourselves together in peace.

Help us be united in our care for those hurting in our midst, those recovering from significant health issues, or facing challenging financial issues, or losing hope in the face of endless disappointment. Help us be united as we navigate through a season of change, with staff departures, new additions, and new ways of doing things. Help us be united as we pursue healthy, open, transparent, other-centered discussion on a variety of topics. Help us be united as we honestly face and address the downward trend of giving, and its implications. Help us be united as we serve the needs of the neediest in our region. Help us be united as we partner, and unite, with our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. Help us be united as we show and tell the world who You are Jesus.

As Your Church, Your Bride, Your Body.

One Body, bound by One Spirit, all called to the same One Hope in Christ.

Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.

Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, providing us peace with God through His shed blood on that cross, and reconciling us and all things, all different things, to Himself. So that we can be One.

It’s in His name we pray, together as one. Amen.

(David Kneller, Elder)

Elder Prayer (2/14/21)

Father in Heaven, You are great and awesome. 

You are holy, righteous and just, yet compassionate, full of grace and merciful. You’re always active and moving, yet patient, imperceptible and slow to anger. You are sovereign over the movement of stars and planets, yet You know our words before we speak them.

We gather together this morning to speak words to You in worship through prayer. 

The world has gone daft around us Father. Wrong has become right. Comfort and security have replaced service and sacrifice. Being right is more important than being truthful. Anger and violence solve our disagreements, rather than patience, understanding and grace.

We ask that You renew in us a right spirit. So that following You would be more important than any agendas, creeds or causes. That laying down our lives for those who hate us would be more important than being right. That knowing You deeply through Your Word, would be important to us than posts, feeds or blogs.

Help us to see that there is a world around us hurtling towards a Christ-less eternity. Stir our hearts to reach them and not stay asleep in the light.

We bring our needs to You Father, remembering that it’s not so that You can be reminded about them, but so that we remember that You have sovereignly allowed them into our lives so You would be glorified.

Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon are undergoing severe trials. COVID is rampant, lockdowns are prevalent, jobs are scarce and basic necessities are in short supply. This is breeding hopelessness, so much so that young people, even in the church, feel there is no other way but to leave the country. Yet in the face of all of these deep needs, our brothers and sisters are asking for provision and wisdom to reach their world for You Jesus. Provide and guide, and use us in that process Father.

Our missionary partners around the world serving You need protection, resources and encouragement. Help us hold them to You in Prayer for all they need.

Father, as a church, we desire to reach our world too, yet we find ourselves in need of financial resources. Move on our hearts Father to be conduits of all the tremendous resources You have provided us so that the lost might be saved.

We come now to hear Your Word to us, delivered through Your servant Dave. We admit that we come to Your Word with our own questions, problems, agendas and conceptions. Help us instead come to Your Word now with softened hearts to clear up any misconceptions we have about You, so that we know You for who You truly are, and not how we want You to be.

We lift up these words to You, Father, and we are only able to because You sent Your one and only Son, the spotless lamb of God that takes away our sin, Jesus, to step into our mess and lay down His life for us while we were still rebellious, so that we could be adopted as Your children and spend eternity with You, our true and only home. Such amazing love. It’s because of this, that we pray. Thank You, Father.

Amen.

(David Kneller, Elder)