Missions Sunday – Recap

A few weeks ago, we hosted a special missions-emphasis Sunday at Grace Point. It was awesome! We had 13 of our global partners present who represented a variety of ministries, from ministering to our nation’s military personnel to mobilizing new teachers to serve in schools around the world, from working locally in Lower Bucks County with troubled and at-risk youth to working in the Arabian Peninsula.

The energy on Sunday morning was inspiring! Compassion’s Virtual Reality tour of Haiti was neat. (Not for those who get motion sickness, though!) To see folks chatting and meeting our global partners in the foyer was also a great encouragement, knowing that relationships were being developed or started. Relationships that would lead to prayer support or financial support.

In The Commons we had flags from all over the world – each one representing a country where either used to have or currently have a missionary serving. We also got to hear from a small sampling of our missionaries about a life lesson they’ve learned from working on the mission field. It was encouraging to hear and see that missionaries are normal people, like you and me. And they face some of the same kids of things we do…just in a different country.

Really, that’s why we do missions Sundays. To build relationships, hear how God is at work around the world, and to be reminded that missionaries are just like you and me.

What was your favorite part of our Missions Sunday?

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

 

Three New Ways to Give

At Grace Point, our mission, together as a church, is to “help more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.” There are a number of ways that we can partner together to accomplish that mission. It could be serving in a ministry, praying for our missionaries, or giving to support the ministry at Grace Point.

Our General Fund is what we use to pay the electric bill, pay our staff, support our missionaries, and order supplies for our kids and youth ministries. All of these things (and many more) are crucial to helping more people become fully committed followers of Jesus.

Today in the services, we announced three new ways that you can give towards to the General Fund and support the work at Grace Point.

  • Debit Cards – You can now give via our Online Giving site (http://giving.gracepointpa.org) using your Debit Card. You can give a one-time gift or setup a recurring gift using your ACH info (routing & account numbers) or your debit card.
  • Give by Kiosk – On Sunday mornings we will have a special location in the foyer where you can give using your debit card at our new kiosk. In seconds you make a secure gift and print a receipt!
  • Give by Text – For many of us, our smart phones dictate our schedules, our work, and our social lives. You can now give by text! Simply text “gracepoint” to 73256 and you’ll be able make a secure gift. It’s fast and easy to use!

Regardless of how you give at Grace Point, it is an act of worship – prayerfully, giving back to God from what He has given to us.

If you have any questions about the above ways to give, general questions, or how to give via stock donations, contact our church office at 215-968-2354.

Looking forward to 2017!

Dear Grace Point family,

As we close a chapter and enter a new year, we can be encouraged at all the spiritual New Yearactivity we saw in the closing months of 2016: three men entered into relationship with Christ, one of them followed with baptism, and we saw a surge in individuals and families indicating a desire to make Grace Point their church home –over 50 adults plugged into GP in 2016. Helping more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ – that’s what GP is all about!

In addition, you showed gutsy generosity in our special holiday offerings: Thanksgiving brought in $4,996, which supported our Bolivian friend Stefany Gomez in completing her Leadership Development program, and our missionary friends the Martins, who faced an unexpected tax bill. Our Christmas offerings totaled $31,659, providing support to our partner church in Bolivia as they pursue a building expansion project to meet the needs of their growing church; and churches in the heart of the Syrian refugee crisis, as they continue to provide for the needs of displaced people.

And while we’re on the topic of generosity, on behalf of the staff I want to express deep gratitude for the staff Christmas gifts we each received. Thanks to all of you who gave – you made Christmas very special for staff and their families.

As we now look ahead to 2017, we applaud the youth transition team who is doing a great job leading our students as we continue our search for a new Youth Director/Pastor. The latest update is that our hard-working search team will conduct Skype interviews with six candidates next week, from which they will identify 2-3 top candidates. From there, staff will get involved to narrow the field to which candidate(s) will come onsite for final interviews with staff and elders. Please continue to pray for God’s leading and timing in this important decision.

I am personally excited about the new sermon series we began Sunday, “Raised from Ruins.” The book of Nehemiah is a masterpiece on leadership, and I pray that God uses it in our lives as individuals and as a church to prompt us to make a lasting difference in our respective spheres of influence.

As Nehemiah was moved to pray, I hope you will join a church-wide prayer effort asking God to use Grace Point to help more people become fully committed followers of Christ. We will provide a prayer guide this Sunday, when 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting begins. The staff and elders value your prayers to guide our decisions and bring about all the good that God has in mind for us.

Looking forward to seeing God do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, so that He may get ever more glory through His church in 2017!

In Christ,

Dave

Family Advent Opportunity

2016-advent-guide_from_village-church-1What is advent? Google search says, “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.

For us as believers, it is even more significant. It is the celebration of the arrival of God’s Son, Jesus, the most notable person there is and has ever been.

In the weeks and days that precede Christmas, Advent, we can set aside time to pause and reflect on the birth of Jesus. As families, we want to encourage you to take a little time to consider what you want this season to be for your family. Making a plan for the time you want to set aside is key to sticking to the plan. So, go ahead, pick a time. Great. (thumbs up!)

Now that that’s done, we have something that could be a help as materials for that special family time. Click here. This link will take you to a five-week Advent Devotional Guide. You can print it out, or use it online. The materials give you a way to prepare for your devotion time, a family portion to help you facilitate your time with questions and ideas, as well as, songs to go along with the Advent celebration. While the family portion is geared more towards preschool and elementary aged children, consider having older children use the “Personal-Study” to work through in place of reading the family commentary and then talk about what you have learned together after you have finished.

We hope you and your family will join us as we focus on Jesus’ birth over the coming weeks.

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.

Summer Playlist

One of my favorite things about warmer weather is driving with the windows down and my favorite tunes playing on the car radio (sometimes louder than it should be). Backyard BBQs and summer parties tend to be a whole lot more enjoyable with some “tunes.” I love music.

NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love
NEEDTOBREATHE – Hard Love

Music has always resonated with me, and helped me to come to terms with some of the darkest times of my life. The song, “In Christ Alone” has a special significance for me. Music can help us relax, process, or simply “be still” in the midst of life’s storms. That’s one of the reasons I love that we incorporate music into our worship services.

This summer, I’m spending a lot of time with NEEDTOBREATHE‘s latest album, “Hard Love.” It came out while I was away from home, and so track 8, “Be Here Long” means a lot to me. The chorus goes like this:

Close my eyes and think of you
Go to sleep and dream of you
We don’t get to be here long
I gave you the best of me
Loved you more than anything
But we don’t get to be here long

At the risk of sounding all mushy, it made me think of my wife and my boys when I was 3,000 miles away.

What songs have meaning for you? What are you listening to this summer?

Free Indeed

AP_Documents_DeclarationofIndependenceOn Monday our nation will celebrate our 240th Independence Day also know as July 4th and by some Freedom Day.

On July 2nd, 1776 our founding fathers voted to break away from British rule and establish an independent nation known as the United States of America.

The actual signing of the declaration took place on July 4th, 1776 thus we celebrate our independence (freedom) on July 4th.

It is interesting to note that on July 4th 1826 two of the original signers of the declaration, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who served as presidents, both died 50 years to the date of the signing.

In thinking about what independence means to me I go back 50 years and reflect on my service in Cuba and then my service in Vietnam. In Cuba no one has freedom, all people did as the government said, no questions asked. In Vietnam, I was fighting to keep Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand free from communism.

You and I live in a land where we are free to choose where we live, what we will do for a living, and who we will marry. We are free to travel to any part of this great land – with no restrictions.

In John’s Gospel chapter 8 verses 31 -36, John deals with the issue of freedom. He presents three concepts concerning freedom:

  1. Truth gives you freedom
  2. Sin keeps you in slavery
  3. True freedom is found in Christ

Have a wonderful July 4th holiday!

Clothing Tags – Praying for the Nations

When I was in college, each year there would be a special missions-emphasis week. It was always an interesting week hearing from missionaries, missions pastors, and others sharing what God was doing around the world.

On one particular day, one of the speakers challenged us to start praying for the nations. Even if you weren’t planning to become a missionary, you could still pray. The question then became, “Where do I start?”

The speaker gave us a really helpful hint, that I’ll never forget. If you want to pray for the nations, but can’t think of where to start, do this:

  • As you get ready for the day, look at the labels on each item of clothing that you are about to put on. It will say which country it was made in.shirt tag
  • Whether it was made in the USA, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, or some other country, you can pray for that county.
  • Pray for the leadership. Pray for the people. Pray for any missionaries that might be serving in that country.

Doesn’t take long, and before you’re dressed, you might have prayed for two, three, four, or even up to seven countries – depending on how extensive your outfit is for the day!

“X” Marks the Spot

Jay ended the service Sunday suggesting that, just as some at times have to dig to discover hidden treasure, sometimes we need to dig in Scripture to discover all that God has provided for us.

Some Scripture passages are simple to understand, like “The LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). It’s a simple concept on the surface, yet there is great depth in considering all the aspects of a shepherd’s relationship with his sheep.

Treasure ChestThen there’s a passage like Ephesians 1:1-14, which requires some serious work to dissect and digest. But there’s a great treasure when one puts in the effort.

Here are some ways you can dig deep in this and other passages:

  • Read the verses in different translations (the YouVersion app, or http://www.biblegateway.com are great resources)
  • Notice any phrases or words that stir your heart – this is likely where the Holy Spirit is teaching you at this moment
  • Journal on your reactions after reading
  • Write a key verse that impacts you on a 3×5 card, carry it with you, and memorize it
  • Summarize a concept with a single powerful word

Have fun digging this summer. And the best part – this treasure chest never runs out!