The Advent of the Christmas Season

There is a lot to be thankful for as we enter into this week that is intertwined with the excitement of the Thanksgiving holiday. All around, people are and will be remembering ways they  have been blessed with this past year and throughout their lives. This Thanksgiving we have been reminded, after the service at Grace this past week and the community service at the United Presbyterian Church, that we are to be thankful for the source of all of these good things, and that is Jesus Christ.

Following Thanksgiving, we so easily jump back into the routine that consists of the speed and business of the “Americanized” mentality of life, hurrying through and sometimes not being grateful for the blessings of which we, days before, were celebrating and praising God. It is so easy to fall trap to such inconsistency, but it is possible to battle against such a mindset, cultivating a heart of thanksgiving, which is portrayed in our text from Sunday: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

One way we can give thanks to God is by reflecting on His promises and gifts that have come into the world by way of the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ. This upcoming Sunday begins the first week of Advent, as we will be grateful for the HOPE that Christ’s birth established and His first coming allows us to experience in light of His return. We reflect on the truth that ultimate HOPE has been given in the name of Jesus and something of which we are to be grateful.

advent_hope-2

Sunday, November 29th will be the first Sunday of Advent, where focus on the hope of Christ.

Advent is a time to consistently celebrate and cultivate a heart of thanksgiving towards God. Some sources that have been helpful with initial questions to what is the purpose or meaning of advent are found in the articles below:

http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/markdroberts/2010/12/is-advent-biblical.html

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-advent

Continue to be thankful for the blessings you experience, but even more so, look past the blessings, and look to God, who is the source of every good gift and every perfect gift. (James 1:17)

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Considering Compassion: Operation Christmas Child

If you were able to join us in this past Sunday’s service, you would have witnessed the presentation of numerous ministries around the globe that have an effective outreach in their context. Yesterday’s service held many different ways that people can get involved in showing compassion and making a difference in the lives of people on a local, national, and/or global level. It is exciting to be a part of a church family that has a mindset on loving those that we come into contact with, as well as desiring to partner with others who make an impact a great distance away.

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is one of the ministries brought to the attention of the Grace Family, especially with yesterday being the national promotion Sunday for OCCOCC. One week from today National Collection week for Operation Christmas Child begins. All next week, from November 16th to the 23rd, shoe boxes will be collected at various locations around the United States and sent to processing centers in order to prepare them to be distributed to places all around the globe.

As we consider compassion, using wisdom and sympathy to discern our involvement in the numerous ways that reach people’s needs, Operation Christmas Child is one of the ways that many people will get involved, which incorporates meeting the immediate needs of children around the world and sharing the Gospel through the giving of a shoe box. For more information on what the vision and purpose of Operation Christmas Child is you can visit their website to learn more about this ministry that reaches millions of kids a year.

On their website, you can also find incredible stories of how God has used OCC to reach people in unimaginable ways, as well as find some creative ways to be packing your shoe box. One of the ways that OCC has joined in the current social media trend is that as you craft a shoe box to send off you can post a picture using a provided picture frame and then hashtag #ipackedashoebox to see who the rest of the shoe box packing community is around the United States.

This ministry is effective in so many ways and that can be seen through the participation that takes place annually, whether through the creating of shoe boxes or by the time that is put in from those who work at their churches, local collection centers, larger processing centers, or who distribute them as they travel around the world. Some of the incredible ways that God has used OCC is demonstrated through the growth and enhancement of their ministry since 1993. For more information and facts on OCC there is a fact sheet available on the site as well that demonstrates how God has been at work through this ministry.
Our pastoral intern, Nick Boucher, has been able to be a part of a couple of trips to the processing center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been able to experience each year thousands of shoe boxes being collected, prepared, and sent off; giving him an even bigger picture perspective of the participation and involvement of those who support Operation Christmas Child. occ process“It has been a blessing to be able to take part in working in the assembly lines at the processing center in Charlotte, and see the amazing amount of boxes that have been created in order to impact the lives of children on a global scale to meet their personal needs, but ultimately to display God’s love to those who come into contact with a shoe box.”

Regularly in the processing centers, there is time taken out of each day for the workers to pause and pray over the boxes they are working with, which will also soon be given to children from various cultures and walks of life. Nick says that it is in those moments it becomes even clearer that these shoe boxes are an effective tool for distributing the Gospel worldwide and showing God’s grace to those in need.

Operationocc tree Christmas Child is an awesome opportunity to share the Gospel and to bless others in need. And whether this is one of the ways that you do partake in showing compassion to the needs of many, as Grace Baptist Church joins together to collect boxes within the next couple weeks, be in prayer for these boxes to be used as a simple gift that propels others to find joy in the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ.

The New Way to Get Connected at Grace B-“APP”-tist Church

The New Grace Baptist Church App Is Ready To Be Downloaded!


app 1“Learn God’s Word, Live God’s Way, and Light God’s World”- it is the mission statement of Grace Baptist Church.  Observing the community that continues to grow here at Grace is possible if one skims through the numerous ministries that are constantly taking place on and off the campus of Grace Baptist. Ministries of which include people of all ages meeting in vastly different settings. And it is exciting to be a part of the family here at Grace and join together in such Gospel-centered, Word-focused community. Whether through the various small groups, the Sunday morning adult Bible fellowships, the Radiate and Ablaze student programs, the new Wednesday night GPS program for the children, or corporately in service on Sunday mornings, as well as many others, there is a variety of options to choose from and to get  plugged in here at Grace Baptist.

However, it is also necessary in light of all of these wonderful things taking place here through God’s grace at Grace to make sure that people have the ability to learn about, stay informed, and have easy access to what is going on at the church. Such a need has been translated into the new Grace Baptist Church app that is available for download.

The usefulness of this app cannot go unnoticed. As soon as one opens the new app, it is possible to see the range of possibilities and the amount of information that can now be easily accessed with the touch of a finger. With the number of screens being used in today’s society this app keeps up with the ongoing trend, but also allows the church to steward its resources and information well.

If you would like to download the app on to your phone, and stay even more connected with what is happening at Grace then you can use the following links:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kbf.app20147187&hl=en

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grace-baptist-church-cedarville/id1028205713?mt=8

One word best describes why you should download this app, accessibility.

Linked to pages that can get information about Grace Baptist church, its leadership team, and ways to get connected, the app also provides resources to find past sermons, login to the CCB site [Church Community Builder], and app2remain up-to-date with events that are taking place here at the church. Naturally, contacts to church leadership are provided, but this app truly does provide more than can be expected, as it allows for in app use with a Bible app on your phone and a quick and easy link to the new service of push pay that has recently begun here at Grace Baptist.

Another resource offered within the app is a link to the numerous media posts and services that Grace has provided to the congregation that include podcasts, weekly bulletins, live streaming from Sunday morning, and even the blog that you are currently reading.

Able to see the mission statement on the cover page of the app, it is clear that this can serve as a valuable tool that can complement the local church body of Grace Baptist Church in their mission to Learn God’s Word, Live God’s Way, and Light God’s World.

Get plugged in, get informed, and get the app downloaded on whatever screen that you use to make sure that you have all the information and access literally at the tip of your finger.