GRACEblog

 

Weekly SnapShot // 01/05/17

 
snap shot

Hello everyone! Here is a snapshot of what is going on….

 If you miss a sermon or want to listen to the music, you can go to the following places:

Website – 

http://www.thegracechurch.net/sermons/

Vimeo – 

https://vimeo.com/thegracechurch

Podcast: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/gracechurch/id947202372?mt=2

 

CURRENT SERMON – BAD ADVICE

There are a lot of people who offer advice and a lot of that advice is terrible! We are going to spend a few weeks de-bunking some popular advice that you really need to avoid!

 

UPCOMING SERIES

 

February 12th // I CHOOSE

 

YOUVERSION APP

 

If you would like to follow along with the message 

on Sunday, please download the YouVersion app. Go to events, turn on location and you will see Grace Church as an option. Click that and you will have the notes for that week’s message. Plus any special announcements – https://www.youversion.com

 

CONNECT3

 Connect3 for 2017 starts back on Sunday, 

January 8th 

at 6pm.

 

GRACE 101

A six week connect group centered around who we are and what we believe. Kicks off Sunday, 

January 8th

 at 6pm.

 

GRACEyouth

 Friday, 

January 13th, the youth will be having Nerf Night. We’ll be playing some war games with nerf guns. If you want to join us, bring your Nerf gun. If you don’t have a Nerf gun let Stewart know and one will be provided for you. We will also be providing Nerf bullets. Cost is $5. It will be from 7pm-9pm

!
MACHO NACHO
For all men 13 and up. Join us Tuesday, 
January 17th 
 at 7pm. Steve “Wildman” Wilson will be our guest speaker.

 

CONNECT2

If you want to learn more about the mission and vision for Grace we invite you to join Bro. Tommy for a Connect2 meeting following the 

11amgathering Sunday, JANUARY 29th. We will provide lunch! So, please email Donna@thegracechurch.net

 if you plan to attend.

 

IF:GATHERING

 Our annual Women’s gathering, IF:EASTEND will be held  March 3-4 (Friday Night and Saturday) here at GRACEchurch. Go to the following website to register: thegracechurch.net/ladiesofgrace

.

SUNDAY’S ATTENDANCE

9:15
Worship Warehouse                       145
Adult Volunteers                                6
 Infants                                                      2
 Toddlers                                                  7
 Preschool                                               7
School Age                                            
18
  

                                                                   185

 

11:00
Worship Warehouse                        197
  Adult Volunteers                                 7
Infants                                                          2
Toddlers                                                       9
  Preschool                                                16
School Age                                               
27

                                                                        258                                

Total                                             293

 

Total Sunday Gatherings      443

 PRAYER

 

God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.  –Ephesians 6:17-18 MSG

 

PRAYER REQUESTS      

  • Carla Duncan
  • Liz, Wendy & Keith Archer
  • Abby McKenzie (Alisha Kinnard’s Niece)
  • James & Tracy House & Family
  • Brittany Morgan & Family
  • Amber & Zach Hodge
  • Greg Burris (Sarah Hufford’s Dad)
  • Betty (Sandy Fite’s Sister)
  • Connie Holland (Crystal Kaufman’s Mom)
  • Barb Schmid and Family
  • IF:Local and IF:EASTEND, 20 days of Prayer, 1/9-1/29
  • GRACEstaff, leaders and volunteers 
  • GRACEdiscovery Center and Staff
  • GRACEland New Construction
  • New CONNECT3 groups starting
  • New members of GRACE

 

CONNECTED

 We actually have several ways to stay connected. Below is a listing of the various places you can find out information about specific ministries in the church.

Youth – 

https://www.facebook.com/GRACEyouth-352952804888442/timeline/

You can also send a text to 81010 and send the message @connectgy to get text updates about youth outings and events. The youth meet weekly at 

6:30PM on Wednesday

 nights!
Betweenagers – 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/539484139467296/

Men of Grace – 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/405565316258269/

Ladies of Grace – 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/LadiesofGraceChurch/

 

All of the above are excellent links to download to stay connected. You can also access our GRACE Facebook page at –

https://www.facebook.com/Grace-138738835605/timeline/

 – You can also sign up for text updates from GRACE by texting the number 81010 and sending the text @connectgc

 

MORE INFORMATION

Want to know more about the United Methodist view on baptism? Go to this address and find out more! 

http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/baptism

 

Want to know more about the United Methodist View on Communion? Go the address below and find out more! 

http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/communion1

 

 



Why we Sing what we Sing

I have read several blogs online lately about people’s journey away from contemporary music. Although the opinions vary as to why some prefer “traditional” hymns over contemporary music, I believe Dan Cogan summed up the general idea best in his post. 

“The problem with my youthful logic only began to dawn on me about seven years ago. I had come to recognize that these ancient hymns accomplished something that the new songs weren’t. While contemporary worship seemed to take the listener on an exciting and emotional rollercoaster, the old hymns engaged the mind with deep and glorious truths that when sincerely pondered caused a regenerated heart to humbly bow before its King”. Dan Michael Cogan | Thursday, December 4, 2014

The basic premise of this line of thinking is that somehow the old hymns connect the audience with God in a deeper way than more modern or contemporary songs do. I have heard this same sentiment echoed by others in the church community. 

First, I appreciate his opinion, and I am a lover of all sorts of music. Some of the songs that I will always love are songs I consider to be classics. 

Here I am Lord, It is Well With my Soul, Were You There? 

I could put together a fairly broad list of classic Christian hymns that stir great emotion in me. I grew up on those songs and they will always hold a special place in my heart. 

I certainly have an affinity for “traditional” worship music. And, if that is the choice a congregation makes, then I applaud it. I believe God will still be God.  

But, I do not share the opinion that contemporary or more modern worship songs are somehow inferior or do not poses the same ability to be used by God to “

regenerate hearts to humbly bow before its king”. 

I believe contemporary worship music can be used by God in amazing ways. I have seen it.  God can use whatever God decides to regenerate hearts. There is no more inherent power in a hymn written by Charles Wesley then there is a song written by Chris Tomlin. What makes the music special is that the Holy Spirit uses these songs as a way to open our hearts and minds. 

So, as long as a song is theologically accurate, then what difference does it make if the song uses 4 words or 400 words? God uses what God chooses to use, and time and time again I have seen Him use contemporary worship as a means of connecting with people. 

Jesus loves me is not a deep theological song. But, no one can argue that it is a classic Christian Hymn. It was written in 1860. The point of the song is simple, 

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. 

The song conveys one simple message, Jesus loves me. Isn’t that the heart of our belief? What is wrong with a song that teaches my three year old that Jesus is in love with her? 
 
This brings me to my second reason for advocating contemporary worship in the church where I serve.  People need to be spoken to in their language. The average age in the congregation I serve is around 37. No one, not one person, in this church speaks in King James English. Why would we ask people to sing that way? We sing a modern version of Come Thou Fount,  and I am still trying to figure out what a fetter is.

I believe effective messages are those than an audience can understand. I say this, because I believe this is the example Christ set for us. 

When Christ spoke to people, he spoke in Aramaic. This was the language of the street. He could have spoken in Greek, Hebrew, he could have spoken in any language he saw fit. But, he used modern language. He didn’t speak to people about dinosaurs, he spoke to people about farming, taxes, he spoke to people about things they understood, and he did it in a language they understood. 

This is why we sing songs that people can understand. We want people to be engaged. We don’t want them to have to wade through the language before their heart can connect with the message. In our setting, the service begins with music. The point of the music is to engage and to connect. It is our desire to take our congregation on a musical journey through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ before I ever share the message. We want to do this in terms that are easily understood. 

Now, if everyone in our church had been a Christian their entire life, and had a deep knowledge of the Bible, it might make sense to use primarily songs that took the listener on a deep theological journey. But, that is not our setting, and I am thankful for that. We are here to reach the least, the last, and the lost, and if we confuse them before we engage them we might miss an opportunity to do exactly what we are called to do. 

This brings me to my third thought. 

When we discuss music used during the worship gathering, it is often discussed as if it is the entire gathering. It’s not.

 The music is not the whole service. In our church, and I would guess in most churches, there is also a message from a pastor. There are prayers. There are plenty of opportunities to introduce deeper theology. The music does not stand alone, it is one portion of the entire worship experience. 
 
In my opinion, effective music has opened the seeker’s heart to engage with God on a deeper level. The Holy Spirit takes the music, and He uses it as conduit to insert truth through the message. So, to say that music is required to “engage the mind with deep and glorious truths that when sincerely pondered caused a regenerated heart to humbly bow before its King”, seems to put an unfair burden on the songs being sung. It also implies that the music is expected to operate in some sort of vacuum apart from the total worship experience. If music engages the mind with simple truths (still glorious) that then open the minds to deeper truths why would we not consider that effective? 

God’s grace seeks out; God’s grace draws us to repentance; God’s grace leads us towards a deeper relationship with Him; God’s grace sustains us on our journey; what is wrong with creating a service designed to be conduits of those gifts at every level we can? We hope to marry milk and meat, so that we are doing all we can to meet people on their level, in their language, and then draw them deeper. We want to reach the seeker and the saint, and move them closer to God. 

Finally I would say this, are the simple truths really that bad? What really caused you to bow humbly before the King? Was it your understanding of the complexities of Levitical law and how it relates to the modern day Christian? Or, was it the simple truth? For me, it was the simple truth that caused me to bow down. It was the understanding that He Alone Can Rescue. For me it was the understanding that I am All He says I am. For me it was pondering on How Great is Our God. These simple truths were the ones that opened my mind to see that I was totally and completely in need of redemption and only Christ alone could provide that for me. 

I now long for deeper theological truths, but it was the simple truth that caused me to seek the deeper. Many of these simple truths were communicated to me through song. I love the old hymns, I always will, but, I believe contemporary worship music, in our setting, is the most effective means of seeking those we are called to seek. Many of the songs we sing today are simply re-writes of old hymns away, they are just repackaged in a manner and means that our audience understands. 

I have seen God use modern music to change lives by communicating an ancient and beautiful message. And as long as that is happening, it’s hard for me to see why it’s wrong.



28 Days – Day 17

28 Days – Day 17
 
Romans 2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
 
I often find myself getting caught up in politics. I wish I wouldn’t, but I do. So last night I was once again watching the results from the primaries. And the tone of this political season has been so divisive and so full of anger and fear. It’s during times like this that it becomes extra important for us to remember who we are and Whose we are. Before we are supporters of any party or any person we are follower of Christ. And as followers of Christ we have been called to live and act different. We have been called to be set apart in the world. To be salt and light. We are the ones who are called to bring peace where there is chaos. We are all entitled to have opinions, but the way we express our opinions matters.
 
As I was going to sleep last night I was reminded of the above verse from Romans chapter 2. As we travel our road of 28 days towards Easter we must be aware of all the enemy’s traps. One of his greatest is to plant a seed of judgement in our minds.
 
We are at our worst when we start believing we are the best. That our opinions are somehow better than everyone else’s. That our motives are right, and theirs are wrong. That we are somehow different from some other sinner simply because we don’t commit the same sin they commit. This mindset seems to be fanned by the hostile political climate. A climate that divides us, and we begin to look down on others because their thoughts and actions are different than ours.
 
When we boil everything down, we know one great truth – The God of all creation loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we might be free. And through His death and resurrection we are given life eternal. For those who accept Christ’s offer we are re-born. We are made clean, and whole. We are given another chance. The only One who has the right to judge us all, offered us love and forgiveness. And it’s His love. It’s God’s kindness that leads us back into relationship with Him.
 
My prayer for us today is that we remember that. What will draw the world to Christ is not our political convictions. It isn’t our ability to be right. It isn’t that we bash some certain sin, or some group of people. It is our love and kindness. It’ our willingness to forgive. It’s our willingness to bring peace. It is our humility and understanding that we are totally broken. It is admitting that it is only through Christ that we are made complete and new.
 
Today, I pray, that we will be the voices of love and compassion in a world that needs it. We are all flawed, we all suffer from the results of sin in our lives. But it is the love and kindness of Christ that leads us to a life of eternal meaning. It is our love and compassion that will lead the world to Christ.


28 Days – Day 16

28 Days – Day 16
Psalm 63[a]  You, God, are my God,     earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you,my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.I have seen you in the sanctuary    and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life,    my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live,    and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
What a beautiful concept. We believe this Psalm was written by David. And his life wasn’t easy. If you know his story, he went through a lot.  Some of his misfortunes were beyond his control, some he caused himself. But, the dude went through a lot. And , he wrote a lot of Psalms. In many of the Psalms that come before this one, he is crying out to God in anger, in pain and in sadness. It’s the same with many of the Psalms that come after this one.
Sandwiched between past and future trials, David stopped  and he worshiped. I love that concept. In the midst of a chaotic life, he stops, he focuses on God,  he sings, he lifts his hands, and he fearlessly worships God.
Your past is done. Finished. You can’t  undo it. Tomorrow, who knows what tomorrow is going to bring. But today. Today I dare you to worship God. Freely. Turn on your radio, shut your eyes, lift up your hands and sing like you belong in the band (for those of you who sing like me, I hope you just smiled).
Today you can worry about yesterday. You can worry about tomorrow, or you can worship in this moment. But, eventually there can be only one. Worry and worship won’t play well together for long. Most of us have spent a lot more time on worry, then we have on worship. Just for a  little bit, at some point today, worship Him in the moment. It may not change your past, and tomorrow will probably still have some issues, but I can promise the moment you give to Him will not be one you regret. And who knows, enough of those moments, and worship might just become a lifestyle.


28 Days – Day 12

28 Days – Day 12
Isaiah 40: 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
How has your week been? Are you still fighting through the 28 days? My prayer for you is that you are hanging in there and holding strong. My prayer is that you haven’t given up and that through this time we are all growing closer to Christ.
Sunday is coming and we will experience the renewal that comes from worshipping God together as one body. On Sunday this house will be alive with hundreds of individuals who are overflowing with celebration for a God who is good.
So between now and then keep your hope. That verse says for those who hope in the Lord He will renew their strength. They will soar, they will move forward and not grow weary, they will not grow faint. So, if your hope is in the Lord, he will sustain you on this journey no matter what’s going on or where you are.
But, if your hope is somewhere else then you are going to struggle. Your strength will run out. You will fall on broken wings. You will run, but you will grow weary. You walk, but you will grow faint. Apart from the Lord we are relying on our own strength. Our own limited strength. But when our Hope is in God we are drawing from a well that endlessly deep.
The truth is hope in anything less will run out and disappoint. But Hope in God lasts forever. It is hope placed in the eternal, it is hope placed in the Author of hope, it is hope placed in the one who has the power over your circumstances, over life and death.
Keep moving and place your hope in a God that will allow you to move well.


28 Days – Day 11

 


28 Days – Day 11

John 3:26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.

One day John’s followers came to him and said, “hey, there is that Jesus guy, and now everyone is following him instead of you”. And in John’s response we see the incredible reality of what it means to truly embrace Christ – “He must become greater, and I must become less”. John knew that he was in the presence of one who was more powerful than himself. He knew Jesus was greater, therefore, he knew he must become less.

When we are in the presence of greatness, we yield to them. If your hero is at your house, you focus on them. If Michael Jordan shows up, you don’t talk about your incredible basketball skills. If Andy Stanley (best preacher ever) invites me to lunch I seek his advice, I don’t try to teach him. When in the presence of greatness, we humble ourselves.

Now, apply this same concept to your relationship with Christ. John knew that in order to fully follow Christ he had to take the spotlight off himself and put the spotlight where it belonged – on Christ. John understood that center stage belonged to the Son of God.

Like John, we must willfully surrender the top spot to Jesus Christ. And when you do this, the return is a greater life. Maybe not an easier life, but a life with more eternal meaning. A life given over to the Kingdom of God.

Christ becomes greater, your fears become less. He becomes greater, your remorse becomes less. He becomes greater, your selfishness becomes less. His power becomes greater in your life. You receive more of His hope in your life. His peace becomes greater in your life!

The world says we need more “self-help”. The world tells you to focus more on self. And if I do that, the best possible result is more of me. And I am broken, flawed and limited. I want more than more of me…

But, if I want more than me, if I want to experience more passion, more joy, more hope, more peace, more love, then I need more of Him. I don’t need more brokenness, I need more Healer.

This is a trade John was willing to make…Less of John, more of Jesus. Less of John, more of real life. Are you willing to make the same trade? Less of you, more of Him?



28 Days – Day 10

28 Days – Day 10

Philippians 4:11-13 – 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

 This is often one of the most convicting verses I read. But, it is one I think we should read and pray over often.
First, see what Paul says early on “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”. When I read that it makes me think he wasn’t always that way. If you learned something, then you didn’t always know it…

I think it is easy to see people who seem joyful and content and assume they are just born that way. And maybe some people are, but most of us are not. Clearly Paul wasn’t born that way, he learned it. Over time, through effort, he discovered that he too could be content in all circumstances.

No matter what he had, no matter what was going on, Paul discovered that he could avoid misery. And Paul says “I learned the secret”, again meaning he hadn’t always known it. The secret was one his own he could not be content. On his own he was a slave to circumstance. On his own, he was a slave to moods and emotions. His happiness was dependent on how much he had. But then he “learned the secret”

The secret was through Christ he could be content. That through focusing more on Christ than he focused on circumstances he could find a peace he had not previously had. When he was in need – he focused on Christ and was content. When he had plenty – he focused on Christ and was content. When he was fed – he focused on Christ. When he was hungry – he focused on Christ. No matter what was going on he focused on Christ and through Christ things became well with his soul.

Most people have a general spirit of discontent. (We always want more. It doesn’t matter how much you have, you want more. It doesn’t really matter how well your life is going, still you want more. So we too must LEARN to be content, because it doesn’t come naturally for any of us. And the secret is more focus on Christ.

Today, before you complain about your circumstance, before you decide you need more stuff, or more money, or more whatever, before you do any of that, focus for just a few minutes on Christ.

Paul learned the secret to being content. And fortunately, he shared it with us. Christ alone will make you content.

 



28 Days – Day 9

 28 Days – Day 9
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have talked with so many of you lately, and I know  there are struggles out there. So, that verse is simply my prayer for you.  It’s my prayer for  me too. Listen, I don’t say this lightly, joy is often the toughest choice you will ever make. Joy in the midst of tough circumstances doesn’t come easy for most people.
But you must know this, joy is not just something you “muster up”, joy is a gift given to you by God. It is there, it is implanted in your heart through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Joy is available to you, but you must decided whether or not you are going to  choose it.
And you must understand joy is not just present happiness. God isn’t asking you to grin and fake it. Joy doesn’t mean the absence of pain, it also doesn’t mean hiding your pain. It means that even in your painful moments you have hope. Even in your painful moments you have faith that somehow,  someway, God is going to be glorified through your life. Joy is knowing that a better day is coming. Joy is the anticipation of a incredible  pleasure that goes beyond your current pain.
I love when Paul (who wrote Romans) talks about joy, because he often did it from prison. But for Paul there was joy in suffering, because Christ suffered. His current pain paled in his mind to the  joy he knew was coming. In this life or the next, he knew a joy was coming that would blow the pains of this world out of the water.
Joy is God’s gift to you the believer. Choose it. Today  may be tough, but we are not just people of the moment, we are people of forever, and our forever holds a joy that today’s pain can never stop.


28 Days – Day 8

28 Days – Day 8

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
In the message on Sunday Chris talked about synchronicity. That moment where coincidence and God collide. I wonder how often that happens in our lives? I wonder if the reason the often miss it is because of pride? I wonder how many good things we miss in general because of pride?
Humility is one of the greatest tools we can have in our pursuit to turn more of our lives over to Christ. God works through our humility to make us aware of the need for Him. God works through our humility to allow us to see Him in the everyday events. When we humble ourselves we are more prepared to give God credit for all the good that happens around us. When we humble ourselves and look first to God, we are more prepared to accept that what is happening is not our work, but the work of a Divine Creator.
When we humble ourselves we are more prepared to accept God’s timeline over ours. That verse says “therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may life you up in due time”. Due time = HIs time. Humility allows us to accept that maybe God’s timing is better than ours.
Finally, humility allows us to cast ALL our anxiety on him. Pride tells us to handle it ourselves. Humility tells us that is impossible. We give it to God, because we become aware that we cannot handle it on our own.
This week, start the week of by getting humble. We do this by doing what humble people do. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Look for God in your situation. Admit that you cannot handle it on your own. Seek him as someone who believes you cannot live with out Him.
I believe with a little humility, we will see God in a brand new way. I know this, because I am the most humble person I know.
(I’ll be working on this with you today) In the journey together…


28 Days – Day 5

28 Days  –  Day  5

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.
Have you ever felt the way  this Psalmist feels? Lord, where are you!?? Have you forgotten about me? Are you there? My sorrow feels overwhelming. I am so tired, so run down, so weary. I just need you!
If your answer is no, then it’s good to be you. Stop right now and thank God for your incredible life. ..
If the answer is yes, then  ME TOO! I think we have all felt that way. But look at that last stanza. Where the author says “But, I trust in your unfailing love”. Notice he  doesn’t say,  I feel your unfailing love. He doesn’t say I trust in  the fact that everything is going to be okay. He doesn’t say I trust in my ability to manipulate this situation. He just says, I trust in your unfailing love…I trust that Daddy loves me, and He  is going to take care of me.
Trusting someone often means to assume the best when the best cannot yet be seen. Today, I believe God is asking you to trust Him. Trust in His life. In-spite of what you can see, in -spite of what you can feel, trust in his unfailing love.



One Response to “Blog”

  1. admin says:

    I agree!! Was so good to be surrounded by people I love while watching it!
    -Rachael

Leave a Reply