Elder Prayer (Sunday 1/26/20)

Dear LORD, we thank You for being our great God, and for allowing Jesus to be our salvation—You have paid the huge debt that our sins had racked up for us by Your death on the cross. And You have made the way for us to inherit eternal life. 

Our loving Father, You allow us to grow through the questions that we ask of You, and of ourselves, and those that others ask of us. And like a sword that penetrates to the depths of our souls for healing purposes, You ask us questions in your Word [Hebrews 4:12-13].

So, we invite You through some prayerful questions to remind us of how great You are and how amazingly merciful You are to us.

You asked of Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” [Job 38:4a] and “Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like His?” [Job 40:9]”

And through the prophet Isaiah You asked: “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him?” [Isaiah 40:18] and “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” [Isaiah 40:28]

Yet, despite being Almighty, You told us: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart [Jeremiah 29:13]”

Our Father, we are so prone to wander! You know every sinful thought we are harboring in our hearts, every wrong we have done, all the good we have withheld from others, and all the blame we have been shifting onto others, and so we fall on Your mercy and ask Your forgiveness. And we rest confident in the truth that You refuse to remember any of these [Hebrews 8:12; 10:17], choosing to remove them from us as far as the east is from the west [Psalm 103:12], and to hurl our sins into the depths of the sea [Micah 7:19]!

Jesus our Lord, while on earth You asked questions like: ”Who do you say that I am? [Matthew 16:15]” and “Why are you so afraid? [Matthew 8:26]” and “Are you also going to leave? [John 6:67]” and three times You asked Peter, “Do you love me? [John 21:15-17]”

Help us in this day and the days to come to answer these questions and to choose well—to trust You and to love you [Joshua 24:14-15]. May we follow You and not the world [Luke 16:13]—those things that would entice us away from our first love [Revelation 2:4]. Embolden us to help others to know the truth, believe the truth, grow in the truth and share the truth about You, Lord Jesus.

Why would frail and fallible people like Tim and Jacki Faulkner in Italy, or Abbie in the middle east, or Val and Cassie in east Asia, give of themselves by going to the ends of the world to tell about Jesus our Lord to people whose hearts are often hardened fields?

The answer is “because they are following You”—in Your love for this world, You generously gave Your Son so that whoever takes the one step of faith to believe in this truth will take a giant leap into Your eternal kingdom [John 3:16]. We pray for these missionaries that they would trust You and ask insightful questions as they share the Gospel. 

Please guide us, Spirit of God, in this worship service, to know more of You as we praise Your name together, as we bring our offerings, as we hear Your Word proclaimed, and as we go into Your world this week.

Whose very presence in a life gives freedom and release from anxiety and burdens of sin? [Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:29-30; I Peter 5:6-7]] It’s Your Spirit within us! We ask You for the healing of hurts and diseases, of losses too deep for words, and of relationships broken or locked in bondage—please transform and deliver us. Your mercies are new every morning[Lamentations 3:22-23]—please bring us grace and peace [Philippians 1:2]!

Who is it that has purchased for us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for each of us who have been born again through faith? [I Peter 1:4] He is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  To You be all of the praise, honor and glory! [I Peter 1:7] 

We ask that these questions would stay with us, goad us into action, and bring us back for more of You.

And we pray all in Jesus’ matchless name—AMEN!

(Keith Brown)

Women’s Outreach & Fellowship Update

Our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship meets monthly on the third Wednesday from September to June from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Room 403 – The Clubhouse. (We do not meet in December.)  

This month, the group completed 275 key chains, 48 winter favors and 42 hand-written notes. All of these items are being given to local ministries to use in outreaches.

We would love to have you join us! We have women of all ages and all skill levels of crafting. There are a variety of projects we work on together each month. 

If you enjoy keeping your hands busy while sharing in sweet fellowship, then this group is for you. We share the Gospel by supporting missionaries and local ministries. We create, collect, and donate tangible items to assist them in reaching others for Christ. Bring lunch for yourself. Dessert and beverages will be served. Childcare is provided until 11:45 am.

If you would like to connect with Lori Wilson, our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship coordinator, you can reach her at women.fellowship@gracepointpa.org. You may also call the church office at 215.968.2354, and we will connect Lori with  you.

If you are unable to join us but would like to participate, here is a list of items we currently need for donations.

CURRENT LIST OF DONATION REQUESTS:

  • Complimentary/travel-sized soaps, shampoos, etc. 
  • Gently used costume jewelry
  • Small gifts for women
  • Gently used toys, books, puzzles (for all ages of children)
  • Men’s NEW white tube socks
  • Remnants of NEW cotton fabric and flannel
  • Leftover NEW Christmas wrapping paper
  • Leftover NEW Christmas curling ribbon
  • Medium sizes of shaving cream, deodorants, lotion, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Knitted or crocheted baby blankets, shoulder wraps, slipper socks, preemie hats and booties

To read more about all that is happening in our Women’s Ministry, click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by the Grace Point blog!

Pastoral Prayer (Sunday 1/19/20)

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3)

God of the universe, You know us personally and care about what is on our hearts. Thank You for being completely trustworthy. Give us Your vision. Call us to bigger things beyond ourselves.

“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

Father, every soul is valuable to You; we are made in Your image. Give us Your heart of love for every people and every nation. Equip us to proclaim Your Gospel locally and throughout the world.

“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You.” (Psalm 139:17-18)

God, You care perfectly about every detail of our lives. Please comfort those who are experiencing grief or suffering. Thank You for those who are in a season of experiencing joy. Keep them close to You. Bless our junior high teens and leaders at retreat this weekend. Grow them in their walks with You. Guide the leaders of our country in Your ways. Give us all hearts to honor You in private and in public.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Lord, as we continue in worship today, draw our hearts to You through Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. Reveal to us any sin interrupting our personal connection to You. Bring it to light and give us humility to repent and be led by You into repentance, holiness and obedience.

Faithfully lead us in the way everlasting.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus our Lord.

(Dave Wolf, Lead Pastor)

Elder Prayer (Sunday 1/12/20)

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 14:14-16)

Heavenly Father, our Lord and God, we come to You this morning to seek Your presence in our midst. To honor You and glorify You. Asking forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. Help us to know and live within Your will, supplying the strength we need to accomplish that.

We ask that You would be with Your church here at Grace Point. With Pastor Dave as he brings Your message this morning and with the entire pastoral staff, as well as all the staff who keep us going on a weekly basis.

We lift up to You the FOCUS Team as they determine the next steps of our outreach to Lebanon. And we lift up Denise Nichols as she leads this phase of the decision.

Console Tony Martin and his daughters in Sweden as they grieve the loss of Gwen. Guide and strengthen them as they continue their work for You. Be with all of Your faithful workers on the mission field throughout the world. Guide us on our mission field as we exit the doors of this building today.

Guide the Student Ministry Search Team as they look for a new Student Ministry Pastor/Director. Be with Tony Batres and his staff of volunteers as they keep the ministry moving forward.

Father, I ask that You would comfort and strengthen those dealing with difficult circumstances: illness, surgery, recovery, marital, financial, loss of work or depression. Whatever the need, Heavenly Father, I ask that You would supply the answer and each would feel Your presence in a special way.

Guide our nation. Be with our leaders, whether elected or appointed, on all levels of government: local, state and national. Assist them to be diligent and successful in representing and governing us.

Thank You, Father, for all the many blessings you have bestowed on us. We ask all of this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Jack Edmond)

Flag of Lebanon

21 Days of Prayer for our Lebanon FOCUS

Please join us in PRAISING God for His clear leading in choosing the Lebanon FOCUS, as well as unanimous support from FOCUS Selection team, elders and staff. As we pray, ask God to do something through us that is beyond us!

Below are prayers for the next 21 days, as we pray for Grace Point’s new missions FOCUS Lebanon and Syria. To learn more about our FOCUS, visit our website.

1. Pray for the formation of the FOCUS Implementation Team that God would bring together the right people and the right gifts.  Pray for wisdom, humility and discernment.

2. Pray that the FOCUS Implementation Team would be spiritually prepared for the work ahead of them.  Pray that they will have unity and be spiritually discerning, trusting in God’s plan and not their own.

3. Pray for a growing vision and passion in our congregation to reach people for Christ worldwide.  Pray for a deepening of our commitment to missions, both individually as corporately.

4. Pray for unity among our congregation we embark on the Lebanon FOCUS. Pray that this will be a church-wide effort, involving everyone in some capacity- whether on trips, through financial support or through prayer. Pray that we can use the gifts of the congregation through a wide variety of potential ministry opportunities.

5. Pray that God is glorified with every aspect of our FOCUS and that our primary goal always remains to glorify Him as we reach others with the gospel and minister to their needs. Pray that we remain committed to evangelism and disciple-making as our priorities in developing potential ministry opportunities.

6. Pray that God fills our hearts with a deep, genuine and sacrificial love for refugees both in Lebanon and at home. Pray that God fills our hearts with compassion for others, particularly those that have been displaced from their homes.

7. Pray that we would view Muslim people the way that God does, as people desperately in need of Jesus, worthy of His love and worthy of our love.

8. Pray for our pastors, elders, staff and other leaders as they help facilitate our FOCUS. Pray for wisdom in leading Grace Point as we embark on our FOCUS.

9. Pray for victory over the spiritual warfare that we will face as we seek to bring the light of the gospel to darkness. Pray that we would all wear the full Armor of God against the enemy’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11-18)

10. Pray that God uses the FOCUS endeavor to change our hearts and to grow to become more Christ-like. Pray that we can learn through the example of those facing such tremendous hardships yet find their true joy in Christ rather than their circumstances.

11. Pray that the FOCUS strengthens GP families’ interest and commitment to missions. Pray that through the FOCUS, we help teach our children to love others the way God does. Pray that we engage the entire family well, including children and teens.

12. Pray that we continue to act in obedience to what God is calling us to do and not be distracted by fear.

13. Pray for peace in the region. Pray for our enemies. Pray for political leaders around the world and the de-escalation of the current conflict. Pray that differing political views do not interfere with our goal of reaching others for Christ.

14. Pray for the believers in Syria, both for physical protection as well as the hardships that they face. Pray for the believers in Syria as they seek to share Christ with non-believers.

15. Pray that God would enlighten the hearts of Muslims who are searching for spiritual truth, that they will come to know and experience Christ.

16. Pray for a hedge of protection around the Syrian pastors who put themselves and their families at great risk yet are courageous enough to continue their work for God’s kingdom.

17. Pray for the Syrian refugees in Beirut as they face many hardships. Pray for them as they face persecution from their families for having converted to Christianity. Pray for all who have recently come to Christ that God would strengthen and encourage them as they face hardships, persecution and family tensions.

18. Pray that we can be an encouragement to those we will minister to, both directly and indirectly. Pray that we are sensitive to cultural differences.

19. Pray for the spiritual development, strength and growth of the potential partner church and ministries in Lebanon. Pray for resolve and steadfastness for the other churches and missionaries that are working faithfully in Lebanon/Syria.

20. Pray for the local church that we will be partnering with, that God will show us how we can best come alongside them in ministry. Pray for humility as we seek to learn from them as well.

21. Pray for Horizons International (our on the ground partner in Lebanon) as well as Ananais House (our on the ground partner in Syria). Pray for Ellen Livingood and Kinship Network in coordinating missions efforts in Lebanon and Syria involving other North American churches.

Prayer for New Year and New Decade

Hello GP Family,

As we enter a new year and a new decade, I encourage you to join with me in prayer over the ministries of Grace Point – it is only by God’s grace that we will see Him do exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think! Consider devoting a day this next week to fasting and concentrated prayer.

Pray for Grace Point Staff and Elders

  1. Pray for unity in decisions about our church’s ministry in 2020.
  2. Pray for clarity and smooth transitions for staff who are moving to new roles.
  3. Pray for effectiveness in meeting ministry goals of 2019-20, and for God-honoring goals for 2020-21.

Pray for Small Groups and Hospitality

  1. Pray for an enthusiastic, united, faithful team to welcome our GP family and new guests into our church each week.
  2. Pray for our GP family to embrace and know that we are ALL part of the Hospitality Ministry as we ALL have a part in creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  3. Pray that our Hospitality Ministry team provides an easy, yet essential place for those new-er to GP to serve.
  4. Pray that our strategy for a “one-stop shop” WELCOME CENTER is effective and served by appropriately-gifted volunteers.
  5. Pray for God’s Word, truth, love and grace to do His beautiful work within our small groups and that they would bear fruit for His glory and purposes.

Pray for Missions

  1. Please continue to pray for Tony Martin and his daughters as they continue to grieve the loss of Gwen.
  2. Please pray for each of our missionaries as they have added responsibilities this time of year. Pray for those who are serving in security-sensitive areas, considering the seeming unrest in many countries.
  3. Please pray for the launch of our FOCUS and that our entire church family would engage in meaningful ways in missions.

Pray for Care Ministries

  1. Please pray for our all of our Care Ministries and for the leaders of each.
  2. Please pray for Barnabas Care Ministry as they provide personal support to individuals.
  3. Please pray for those in need of specialized counseling.

Pray for GP Finances & Operations

  1. Please pray for us to be excellent stewards of all God has given to us at Grace Point.
  2. Please pray that God would be honored in our building, on our property, in our hearts and in our lives.
  3. Please pray that He would bring fruit for His purposes and glory through all the Bible studies, fellowship events, outreaches, retreats, etc., through the year.
  4. Please pray for His continual wisdom, discernment and discretion as we make decisions
    regarding finances and operations.
  5. Please pray for humility, unity, devotion to God, good health and God’s love throughout our staff team and their families.

Pray for Children’s Ministry

  1. Please pray for team building and training happening for the Rainbow Class. Pray specifically for the families ministered to by the Rainbow Class who have great need. Pray they will find respite with us at Grace Point.
  2. Please pray for continued efforts to mentor and grow our 5th – 6th grade boy ministry.
  3. Please pray for evaluation of Children’s Ministry transitions and how we can further support families through mentorship/small groups and healthy transitions from age group to age group.
  4. Please pray that parents and new parents continue to become fully engaged in Children’s Ministry. Pray for ways we can partner to disciple families.

Pray for Student Ministries

  1. That our teens would seek to abide in Jesus so that they may bear fruit that honors Him.
  2. For wisdom and direction for our seniors as they are sending out college applications and making decisions regarding their future.
  3. That our students will have the privilege of seeing their friends come to know Jesus as Savior.
  4. For God to strengthen our adult leadership team.
  5. Praise God for new volunteers with the Student Ministry.
  6. For the parents of students as they seek to model for our students a Christ-centered lifestyle.
  7. For Tony as he seeks to keep a healthy balance between his work schedule and his ministry.
  8. For God to lead the Student Ministry Director/Pastor search process and strengthen all
    aspects of ministry to our teens.
  9. For the winter retreats overall. (7th-8th grade retreat is January 17-19, 9th-12th grade retreat is February 14-16.)

Pray for Worship & Preaching Ministries

  1. Please pray that JESUS ONLY is seen and lifted up. Pray the worship team is behind the
    cross and that God alone is glorified.
  2. Praise the Lord for the addition of Paula Sharik (violin)!
  3. Please pray for the physical strength and health of our team and their families.
  4. Please pray for Shelley as she retires and is planning to move to Florida in the spring/summer. Praise God for her service to Him and to the Grace Point family on the worship team. Please pray the Lord provides for this loss on the worship team of a vocalist and keyboard player.
  5. Please pray for a worship intern over the summer weeks while Darrell is away.

Looking forwarding to what God will do among us in 2020!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Praying with you and for you,
Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

Elder Prayer (Sunday 12/8/19)

Heavenly Father,

At this time of the year when we remember the first coming of Jesus into the world, we lift up our hearts and voices in praise to You, for sending Your Son to us to be our Savior– so that through Him we can be brought back into right relationship with You and receive Your gift of an eternity with You – by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Heavenly Father, we rejoice when we call to mind the glorious truth that the eternal Light of the world came to earth to become our Redeemer – to give His life for a lost world and to pour peace and hope into the hearts of a people who were estranged from their God. We stand in awe when we recall that He set aside His glory and majesty and closeness with You to take on the form of a man and be born into this world as a tiny, helpless baby, in such humble circumstances. He humbled Himself in obedience to You, and suffered and died a death He did not deserve, so that we can be saved.

Father, may our lives reflect Jesus’ obedience and love as we look back to the first Advent – but help us not forget that there is a future Advent – a second coming when the earth will be filled with Your glory. Lord Jesus, You are returning not as a tiny baby lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes, but as a conquering King, with power and great glory, to fulfill all promises, to judge with justice, to rule in righteousness.

Lord, I pray that You will find us, Your Church, ready and working, prepared for Your return. And, as much as we pine for the sentimentality of this season, help us to remain mindful that we have a job to do. Purify our hearts and sanctify our lives so that we may serve You in newness of life not only in this special season but every day of our lives.

We come to You this morning with many needs Father. And You already know each and every one. In fact, You have allowed each one into our lives to help us mature and become more like Jesus, and to drive us to dependence on You.

We lift up to You the hurting this season. The grieved, the discouraged, the depressed, the suicidal. Help them know that You not only came near through Jesus so many years ago, but You are near, with them, now. Help this to comfort them.

We lift up to You those with physical ailments of many kinds. Some are irritating, some are life threatening, all are not what we planned for. Help them know that You are able to heal, but that even if You don’t, You are Sovereign and worthy of our praise, and even in sickness, we can be witnesses of Your love, mercy and grace.

We lift up to You financial difficulties of all kinds. Help us not be fearful of or mastered by money, but to place our treasure in Heaven, remembering that You will provide all that we really need when we need it, and if we don’t have it, then it’s a safe bet we probably don’t need it. Our church has a significant budget shortfall Father, move on hearts and provide what we need to do the ministry You have called us to do.

We lift up to You the many events this season. We are thankful for a wonderful turnout and time together for the Women’s Christmas Tea this past week. We humbly lay before You our desire to serve this community this coming Friday night through One Winter Night. So many hours of preparation, so many hands sacrificing time and energy. Use it all Lord, including the parades, to help those who need You to feel Your love, to draw our community to You, and for You to be glorified. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the numbers, regardless of the last-minute glitches, take this our humble offering, be in it, and make much through it.

We are hopeful this season Father. Hopeful that wrongs will be righted, hopeful that hurts will be healed, hopeful that relationships will be restored, hopeful that lives will be changed. You are the God of hope. You have planted hope deep within our souls. By the power of Your Spirit, help us abound in hope. We watch, we wait. Knowing that You are Faithful to complete all that You have purposed. Just as You were Faithful to send Jesus to us that first Christmas, even though the world waited so long. Remind us this season that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by letting us have our own way and getting all that we want, but by allowing us to wait, bearing in love and patience, carrying many unanswered questions, so that we can come to the place where we truly can pray, ‘Thy will be done’.

Thank You, Father, for the Living Hope that we have through the resurrection from the dead of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. It’s in His name we pray all this, Amen.

(David Kneller)

Depression Resources

 

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Life’s Good, I’m Worried, a podcast looking at the intersection of mental health and faith. Hosted by Cassie McCullough and Jessica Wolf, both of Grace Point!

 

 

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There are a number of video resources available on RightNow Media – click here to see a list. RightNow Media is available to regular attenders of Grace Point – click here to request access.

 

 

Turn Your Life Around   Noted counselor and author Dr. Tim Clinton writes about overcoming the troublesome things of your past in order to face a brighter future.

 

 

The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman. In a world that is veering dangerously off course from what it calls “truth” comes a classic work that unmasks the lies we unwittingly believe, lies that destroy us and ultimately damage our emotional health, relationships and spiritual life.

 

To get help locating a Christ-centered therapist nearby, contact our Pastor of Congregational Care, Chuck Arnold.

12 Months Later – Water Wells in Cambodia

Many of you may remember that last year’s combined Thanksgiving and Christmas offering was designated to help build fresh water wells in villages in the country of Cambodia by partnering with Samaritan’s Purse. We had set a goal of raising $20,000 for these wells.

Not only did we meet our goal, but we surpassed it! In the end, we raised $60,000 for the fresh water well projects. Wow!

Many of you have been asking, “What happened? Did they build the wells? Is there an update?” I have good news! Last week, I received an update from Samaritan’s Purse, and it included a video from the village!

Over the last 12 months, the staff and personnel with Samaritan’s Purse have been actively working to build and complete the wells in three villages in Cambodia. Below is a video from one of the project leaders thanking Grace Point personally for our generosity in helping to build these wells, and bring much needed fresh water to these people.

Thank you for your generosity and for helping to bring fresh water to the 300 families (1,500 people) in three villages of Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia.

Dirty Water
Previous water supply for the village.

Completed Water Well
A completed fresh water well in the village.

Children from the local school who live in the village.

“When I Don’t Desire God” by John Piper

Sometimes we may feel far from God, and life feels heavy. Sometimes we get lazy or too busy, and we neglect to read the Bible for a time.

In his book When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper contends that the only way to know real joy as a Christian is to pursue the Word of God. Not just pursue it, but to actually fight daily for this joy. It is a battle for our time and our minds.

Before reading this book, I never thought of pursuing God’s Word in the morning as a daily battle. Now I realize how precious this time is and how easily we can let daily life distract us from this joy.

I recommend John Piper’s book, and it can be found in the Grace Point Library! Visit us soon ~ we are open any time the church is open!

~ Barb Lewis