3 Things to Know This Week

This week is a busy one here at Grace! We know you are, too, so here are three things for you to know for the upcoming week:10458636_10153930988694460_9149166528559979709_n

First up, please be aware that as the school year is almost complete, we will switch to our single service schedule on May 10. This means that Adult Bible Fellowships will be at 9:00am and the service will be at 10:45am. We will still have MIXLR Live streaming throughout the summer, so as you go, take us with you!

Next, we will have Parent/Baby Dedications also on May 10. Public dedication of our children provides accountability and encouragement to us as parents as we seek to lead our children toward knowing, loving, and serving Jesus. Dedications are also a regular reminder to our Grace family of the importance of our children and our shared responsibility in their spiritual growth. Click here to register this week!

Finally, we’d love for you to plan on supporting the Walk 4 Life this year! Help save the lives of babies by joining the Miami Valley unnamedWomen’s Center (MVWC) annual Walk 4 Life on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  This major fundraiser allows the MVWC to provide pregnancy testing and limited ultrasounds to clients at no cost to th223em. Last year, 727 women chose LIFE! This event also helps the MVWC share the Gospel, provide abstinence education, minister to women who have experienced a past abortion or infant loss, and help hundreds who are seeking resources in our community. Use a FundEasy personalized web page again this year to help you meet your fundraising goal! Pick up a sponsor pledge form in the lobby and Walk 4 Life! Questions? Call Jenny Shoup at the MVWC at 298-2822 or go to www.miamivalleywomenscenter.org.

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Pastor’s Update | Nothing Funny Edition

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It’s Not Funny

News that might bring a chuckle shouldn’t

When I was a kid, it was not uncommon for some of my friends to begin to laugh when something bad happened to one of our companions. “That’s not funny!” the sufferer would yell, but often that didn’t stop the inappropriate reaction, and it only made everything worse.

This week I heard an examination of a news story that was so ridiculous that it made you want to laugh. But as I was hearing it, it only made me grieve. Let me tell you what it was and why I had that reaction.

The report concerned a court case where lawyers representing two chimpanzees kept in the labs of the Stony Brook University were suing to have the chimps let out of the lab and moved to shelters because, in the words of the suit, their “imprisonment” was a violation of their rights. A New York state judge has opened the question for consideration of the two chimps as “legal persons,” issuing a writ of habeas corpus. A hearing will argue this point before the judge and the result will decide whether “human rights” will be extended to non-humans. Meanwhile, the chimps are awaiting a final determination of their status, of course being oblivious to anything about the case.

The attorneys work for the “Nonhuman Rights Project” (NhRP), and is seeking to establish that human rights should extend to all “cognitively complex” animals–such as apes, monkeys, orangutans, and also dolphins, whales, and others. The NhRP said that the chimps’ “voice will be heard.” That is obviously not true, because the chimps didn’t ask anyone to sue anyone!

From a practical standpoint, how cognitively complex would a creature need to be to meet the standards of the NhRP? My dog is pretty complex in her thinking, and some people think cats are. Pigs are said to be smarter than both of those. As you might imagine, the NhRP people believe they have their foot in the door, and there is no going back.

As a Christian, I accept the Bible’s teaching that the mandate of creation given to humanity in Genesis is to tend, rule, and cause the fruitfulness of creation, for the glory of God and the good of people and then the rest of creation. Humanity, by virtue of its direct creation by God and stated possession of the image of God is placed uniquely above all the rest of creation. We are not to be cruel to other creatures, but we are not to view them as peers.

Thus, this suit is nonsense, and would be worth nothing more than a chuckle and a “smh” comment (“shaking my head” for the non-text abbreviators out there), except for one thing. Earlier this week, I also heard Joel Rosenberg in a simulcast event we hosted here, talking about why he believes judgment is going to fall on America.

Rosenberg pointed out that our nation has allowed the murder of 57,000,000 people in the womb. We cannot argue that they are not human, only that they are not fully developed yet. Some were killed because they were the wrong sex. Some were killed because they might not be physically perfect. Most were killed because they were an inconvenience to their parents. We rightly condemn Nazi Germany for its murder of 6,000,000 Jews and millions of other “undesirables” in the Nazi equation. We would see the destruction of Germany in World War 2 as God’s judgment on that nation. Rosenberg argued (persuasively, in my view) that a nation that has killed nearly 10 times as many defenseless people as the Holocaust is certainly deserving of severe judgment.

So, on the one hand, we continue to sanction the killing of unborn babies. On the other hand, we are going to have a court case to debate the whether chimps and other cognitively complex non-humans should have similar rights as humans. I cannot laugh at this. And given the inability of American courts specifically and society generally to hold onto well established and universal cultural norms, I have no confidence that we will not find ourselves giving more non-humans “human rights” even as we decide certain humans (the unborn, the imperfect, and the aged) should not have them.

God’s Word assures us that He will bring history to its perfect conclusion, and that He will judge with perfect righteousness. My confidence in Him and His plans is not diminished, even as my confidence in our nation’s future continues to diminish.


 Odds and Ends

Thanks for all the wisdom!  I’ve enjoyed reading the quotes that a number of you sent to me after last week’s Update, and am adding many of them to my files. In a few cases there were quotes that have been other favorites of mine as well. The collected wisdom of  generations past and present can be a gold mine indeed!

Pastoral Internship Available! As many of you know, Grace has a pastoral internship program that allows young men headed to ministry to serve closely alongside me in day to day pastoral work as a means of training and learning the nature of the pastor’s role. We have been blessed over the years by some of the men who have filled that role around here (Michael Strawser, Stuart Olley, Tyler Kirkpatrick, and Wade McComas are the last four). We are looking for candidates who might want to serve in this role beginning in the fall. If you know of a upperclassman or recent graduate who believes they are called to pastoral ministry and would be a good candidate, have them email me here for an application.

That’s it for now. See you Sunday, Lord willing. Love you, Grace family!

Radiate Jr./Sr. Trip | In Rewind

Through this post we want to show you what it’s like to go on a trip to the Smoky Mountains with our Radiate Juniors and Seniors. Please enjoy the trip via pictures and more.11178665_10152688687426086_680138810_n

We geared up and began to head out on Friday. It took a bit longer than we expected to arrive and the last few minutes were spent turning up and through the mountains. We finally made it late into the night and unloaded into the cabin. It was beautiful and we couldn’t wait to see the view the next morning in the light.  We weren’t disappointed, we saw 11008512_10152935703909755_5496585183621303549_nsome of God’s most beautiful creation!

After a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage we loaded up and went to Gatlinburg. There we found many interesting sights, sounds and food! Most likely we embodied the typical tourist, backpacks, souvenir shopping and selfie taking. We finished up Gatlinburg by eating at a variety of lunch spots then loaded up for our afternoon hike.

11165834_10152688686311086_784126687_nWe decided on the Laurel Falls Hike, a mile up and a mile down on a paved trail. This was a great hike where we  enjoyed each others company and breaking a little bit of a sweat. We ended  up at the top not to long after arriving and it was beautiful. You walk out on a bridge that is in the middle of the falls, the view is great and relaxing. Some of the students carefully tried their hand at climbing the rocks surrounding the falls and had fun doing it. On our way back down the mountain we saw many people heading up, then suddenly a snake! It took us off guard but was cool to look at (safely of course).11118341_10152688686636086_51072673_n

We made it down and headed back to the cabin and relax with games and pizza for the evening. The next morning we ate a quick breakfast. Then Pastor Mike got up to share a charge to the 11160555_10152688686271086_905468719_nseniors, just as he was about to begin the bears came to steal our trash. We had seen these little guys earlier, but not for long. They came back for more, more food that is. The students got a great, up close look at the bears and even saw their trash opening skills. After the excitement Pastor Mike gave his charge to the seniors. He ended with a time of prayer around the seniors for their life ahead.11164201_10152688684761086_1704849174_n

11165944_10152688685336086_739913915_nAfter the bears left  and Mike had given his charge we cleaned up the trash, packed up and said goodbye to the cabin. We began our trip back with a short visit to the Pigeon Forge outlets, lunch at CiCi’s Pizza. After those two stops we made a long push through rain and the mountains to finally make a quick Chipotle stop before arriving home in a torrential downpour.

This was a great weekend for our students to getaway, make their bonds tighter, and celebrate the time they have had together in Radiate.

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2 Opportunities to Serve at Grace

One of our core values here at Grace is service. We desire to further the impact of the Gospel and serve others through many avenues, both in the church and out. This week we have two areas of ministry where you could serve.

landscaping51. We are seeking volunteers for a short “Landscaping Workday” at Grace this
Saturday, April 25 from 9-12am. If you would like to help spruce up our grounds, please show up for donuts at 9:00am  and work at 9:05am! Bring your gloves; all other tools will be provided. Contact us by clicking here with questions. 

2. We are also seeking people to work the check-in kiosk for our children’s ministry! Its a comfortable commitment and it provides safety and security for the children of Grace. This commitment is one or two services a month. All you need is a friendly face! Please let us know if you could serve with us by clicking here. 

Service Core Value

We must look beyond ourselves. As we transform and consider our fellow brothers, we lose our selfish ways, and look for ways to serve those in our church family and those outside our wall, whether believer or unbeliever. To serve is to solidify God truth in our lives.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:13, 14

Pastor’s Update | Some Smart Sayings | Quotes that made me think this week

Some Smart Sayings

Quotes that made me think this week

I love good quotes, and too often I lose track of them. I came across a few this week that were pretty good, and I’ll share them with you–that way I won’t lose them, and you can have them, too!

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China… I don’t know who it was… It must have been a man… a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing… and God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward… And God said – ‘Well, she’s willing.'” ~Gladys Aylward

I don’t know if you know the story of Gladys Aylward, who was a young, uneducated girl from Great Britain who worked as a housemaid, was told she couldn’t be a missionary to China, but spent her life savings and went anyway–having to walk from Siberia the final leg of her journey. She did amazing work and her story has been told in books and a Hollywood movie (that so glamorized her that she was mortified), but she never lost her humility. In that humble mind-set, she tackled incredible odds in very difficult circumstances and brought many to Christ.

I read this quote and thought about its clear theological error–she certainly was God’s choice for his work, even over a “well-educated man.” Paul tells us God chooses the “foolish things” to confound the wise. But I love her humility, and her understanding of the priority of surrender and willingness. Are you willing to be used, even if you don’t have what the world may tell you it takes?

“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.”~Josh McDowell

McDowell was being quoted by someone else when I heard this, in the context of authoritarian parenting. The speaker was saying parents must manage the task of being an authority in their children’s lives (“children, obey your parents in the Lord…”) without resorting to an “authoritarian” approach (“I said so, that’s why”). That is a tough balance to strike isn’t it? That is, until we see how God does it with us. Now, of course he gives lots of commands and doesn’t always give reasons. But because he has revealed himself so fully, we know his heart is for us, his love is given to us, his nature is totally good, and we have a relationship with him. When we give our kids rules, but do nothing to build relational capital (they know we have their best interests at heart, that we love them, and that we believe in what God is doing in them), they will rebel. It may be outward or inward, and I think the second kind is harder to handle.

“In one sense, this injunction [Philippians 4:4] is so self-evidently right that it is embarrassing that we should have to be reminded of it. Surely all redeemed men and women will want to rejoice in the Lord. Our sins have been forgiven! We have been declared righteous because another has borne our guilt. We have received the gift of the Spirit, the down payment of the promised inheritance that will be ours when Jesus comes again. We are children of the living God. Our ‘threescore years and ten’ may be fraught with difficulty, but eternity awaits us, secured by the Son of God. We shall see Christ face to face and spend an eternity in the purest worship and in consummated holiness. If we fail to respond with joy and gratitude when we are reminded of these things, it is either because we have not properly grasped the depth of the abyss of our own sinful natures and of the curse from which we have been freed by Jesus or because we have not adequately surveyed the splendor of the heights to which we have been raised.”~D. A. Carson, in Basics for Believers: an Exposition of Philippians (p. 104). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.

I shared this on Facebook earlier this week, and I share it again here because I can’t seem to escape it, especially the last part. How is it that I can, so often, read of, hear about, or even contemplate the blessings of salvation and not be overwhelmed with joy? Am I still so oblivious to the depths of my own sin and the judgment it deserves, or do I fail to grasp the wonders of what God has in store for me? Either way, I surely need God to work in my heart to cure this joy-killer!

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”~C. S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

I saw this again this week, and include it simply because every time I see it I am reminded to ask God to deepen my desires for things that bring true and lasting delight, rather than the shallow pleasures (not always bad, but destructive when made ultimate) of this life.

Do you have a favorite quote, new or old? Share it with me if you like! 

Rosenberg Simulcast This Sunday Night!

This Sunday night at 6 pm, join us in the auditorium for a special simulcast from Joel Rosenberg on the current situation in the Middle East. This free event is open to all (an offering to help defray the cost will be taken) and we encourage you to come and bring anyone who might be interested.

All eyes have been riveted on the ISIS offensive in Syria and Iraq in recent months. But Radical Islamic jihadists are also intensifying their operations against other countries in the region. This is news to some but no surprise to those that follow closely the prophesies and stories of the Bible. Very few have traveled the lands, conducted the research, or written the texts that continue to point out the eschatological happenings all around us.

Joel C. Rosenberg, New York Times best-selling author and Founder & Chairman of The Joshua Fund shares insight into this most dangerous time for Christianity in the history of the region Rosenberg calls the “epicenter.” He shares firsthand the fight of the persecuted, the prophetic implications, and potential answers to a pending question… Who is the third target of this rising Islamic State?

During the simulcast, he will answer questions such as:

· What is the “Islamic State” (aka, ISIS and ISIL) and what are its objectives?

· Why is ISIS so much more dangerous than al Qaeda?

· Why does Joel say “genocidal conditions are emerging” in Syria and Iraq?

· Why is ISIS trying to destroy Christianity in the lands of its birth, and could it succeed?

· What are the prophetic implications of this horrific wave of persecution?

· What are The Joshua Fund and other Christian ministries doing to make a difference?

· How can Christians throughout North America and around the world pray for and help our brothers and sisters in the Middle East?

Odds and Ends

What Next?  If you are keeping track, you might have noticed that we are running out of chapters in Philippians. In fact, we are in the last one! That means we have a new sermon series coming, and it will cover some familiar material in a different way.

The series is entitled “Crisis@Home” and it is an attempt to deal with major fault lines, questions, and challenges facing Christians as we seek to build biblically faithful families. Modeled after the approach we took in the “No Easy Answers” series, these messages will not just be biblical descriptions of family roles and responsibilities, but an attempt to apply biblical truth to the many situations where family life seems to be falling apart and offer both hope and practical instruction as to how to strengthen the church family and its family units at a time when so much seeks to undermine it. You’ll be hearing more in the coming weeks…

Live Streaming works! Over 30 people listened in this week live to our sermon live stream, including one family from their car while on the road (thanks to the Mixlr app on their phone). If you can’t be here on any given Sunday, and won’t be worshiping elsewhere, remember you can hear the message as it is given. Just go to the church website and click on the Mixlr button, or download the Mixlr app for your phone, search for “GraceBaptistOH” and you will find us! It even lets you know when the stream is live. It sent me a notice that it was live Sunday–but I already knew that because I was preaching! 🙂

That’s it for now. See you Sunday, Lord willing. Love you, Grace family!

 

3 Reasons to Come to the Third Target Simulcast

1. It will be addressing many questions you might have asked to yourself or others in the past few months.

Some examples of questions that will be addressed.98d.Splash_Header_ThirdTarget_Rosenberg

  • What is the “Islamic State” (aka, ISIS and ISIL) and what are its objectives?
  • Why is ISIS so much more dangerous than al Qaeda?
  • Why is ISIS trying to destroy Christianity in the lands of its birth, and could it succeed?
  • What are the prophetic implications of this horrific wave of persecution?
  • What is The Joshua Fund and other Christian ministries doing to make a difference?

2. It is relevant! We see ISIS in the news every day and this simulcast will aid in the understanding of the nature of this group.

This simulcast will touch on many issues that have been in the news highlights recently. As you prepare to come to the simulcast, read a recent blog by our Pastor, Craig Miller, on “Loving ISIS: Remembering Jesus’ Words When I Don’t Want To.” Read it by clicking here.

3. Joel Rosenberg is a well-known New York Times best-selling author and Founder & Chairman of The Joshua Fund. 

613ZTsN4NBL._UX250_A former aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, Joel has traveled extensively through Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Afghanistan. He is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books about the Middle East, including Epicenter, The Last Jihad and Inside The Revolution, with more than three million copies of his books in print. His newest thriller, The Third Target, will be published on January 6, 2015. It is a novel about ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and planning to wage genocide against its enemies. www.joelrosenberg.com (IncastEvents)

Follow Joel Rosenberg on Twitter here: @joelcrosenberg

Join us this Sunday for the simulcast in the auditorium from 6:00-8:00pm.

Grace Baptist Church
109 N. Main St.
PO Box 12
Cedarville, OH 45314

Empowered to Connect Recap

Empowered-To-Connect_bannerLast Friday and Saturday we had the privilege to host the Empowered to Connect simulcast. We want to give update about this event. Several Grace members had attended a similar conference, and they saw the potential that this conference could have in our church. This simulcast was a part of our Adopted by Grace ministry, and it reinforced many of the previous meetings of this group. Greg and Tricia Clark spearheaded the effort to bring this simulcast to Grace. They organized the event by handling sign-ups, arranging for snacks, and serving as hosts.

11093761_10152673912546086_1139568475_nOn both days of the conference, we had people from Grace and other local churches come to Grace to participate in the simulcast. The conference was hosted by Show Hope: A movement to care for orphans. The premise of the conference was to help parents, families and couples better understand how to help kids from challenging backgrounds. Their end goal truly is the title of the conference: empowering people to connect with children no matter their background.

The conference hosted speakers such as Dr. Karyn Purvis, Amanda Hiles, and Daren Jones. The conference also provided a way for attendees to receive continuing education certificates for those in need of them! Overall this was a great way to learn how to better connect with all types of children. Check out some tweets below that highlight great quotes from the conference. Also read a few thoughts from the blog of Craig and Lauren McClellan. Craig shares some of his perspectives on the conference and how it fits into their process of becoming foster parents. We were blessed to be able to host this vibrant and encouraging conference, and we look forward to see how it promotes life change in those who attended.

“Our kids find their words & can begin to heal when they know they’re safe.” Thank you Dr. Purvis for your heart & passion! @ShowHope #ETC15

— deborah (@girlresolved) April 11, 2015

Parents, we have to fiercely deal with our own past in order to help our children heal today. #ETC15 @ShowHope @JTMGiveHope #hope

— Journey Together (@JTMGiveHope) April 11, 2015

“Our children need to know that they are precious, in the sunshine and in the rain.” – Dr. Karyn Purvis #ETC15 pic.twitter.com/RerAx2T63X

— Show Hope (@ShowHope) April 12, 2015

“Play is a great way to touch the heart of a child.” – Dr. Mandy Howard #ETC15 pic.twitter.com/VLAqNn1B6g

— Show Hope (@ShowHope) April 10, 2015

Pastors Update | Living in the Moment

 

Living in the Moment

Hearing a sermon, preparing another

This week’s schedule has been quite different for me, coming off of last week’s illness (I’ve never been sick over Easter before in 35 years of pastoral ministry, and missed only one other preaching engagement due to illness in my life). I’ve had to slowly get back to things, and at the same time move within a tight schedule–this is even being written the day before you read it because we are traveling to Chicago for a quick time with our family, but traveling back to be here Sunday morning!

Of course, Philippians 3 has been much on my mind, as I consider Paul’s singleminded pursuit of Jesus, and what that might look like for us. It is the theme of this Sunday’s message.

I also had a commitment to meet and hear the CU chapel speaker on Wednesday. Dr. Ronnie Floyd preached a classic application of 2 Chronicles 7:14–a passage I have heard twisted and turned in lots of interesting ways. His faithful exposition was a great blessing and encouragement. More than this, though, it gave me food for further thought on how to put into practice single-minded devotion.

The message came to a close with one profound challenge. After providing four steps to take whenever we find ourselves in a tough spot, Dr. Floyd asked the question, “why should we take these steps the moment we recognize our need?” Good question. His answer was great: “Because God can do more in a moment than you can do in a lifetime.”

I had seen that even that day, my first of much activity since being sick. A couple of unexpected events and mini-crises were coming dangerously close to derailing my plans and my equilibrium. But as I read the Scripture for that day in my devotions, I had been encouraged to remember God’s faithfulness and His power and His care for me, and so I had prayed specifically that I would trust Him to take care of these things so that “today” could proceed. Long story short, He did. What made that significant was that I find my “single-mindedness” for Christ most often derailed by pesky details and concerns that become too big in my thinking.

Hearing Dr. Floyd reminded me of this, and also that what we will be talking about on Sunday has life-long, but also immediate consequence. In one moment, we pass from death to life. In one moment, we can say, “I repent” and mean it. In one moment, God can answer our prayers. In that one moment of turning to God, or as Dr. Floyd’s four steps from 2 Chronicles 7:14 put it, “humbling ourselves, praying to God about it, seeking God’s face (His presence, not His actions), and turning from any evil way we’ve gone,” God can and will act. And He’ll do it repeatedly, in every moment that we recognize the need.

Isn’t that the hard part about changes in life direction? We take the step in the moment, and then in the following moment where it’s hard to follow through, we fail and get discouraged, instead of realizing we need to do the very same thing in that moment, too. It is continuous, moment by moment cries for help and His answer, that change truly comes.

I hope I haven’t ruined the anticipation of Sunday for you–there is so much for me to share with you. But I offer this as hope to any of you who hear convicting messages from Scripture and then despair of ever seeing them take root. You are asking for too much if you want a “one and done” prayer for change. But if you see yourself needing change “moment by moment,” that is exactly the time frame God asks in order to work–He says, in effect, “Come to Me, now, for what is needed now.”

One gospel song says it this way:

Moment by moment, I’m kept in His love;Moment by moment I’ve life from above;Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.
And a favorite hymn has this verse:
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.I need Thee, O I need Thee;Every hour I need Thee;O bless me now, My Savior,

I come to Thee.

Of course I could have chosen many more contemporary songs that say the same thing, but we are helped when reminded that, throughout the generations, truth is the same, and spiritual progress requires us to live in and understand the need of each moment. May we do so with increasing success!

Odds and Ends

Transportation Changes “Captain” Bob Beikert, of Grace Transport, is pleased to announce that we have added a 25 passenger luxury liner to our fleet of vehicles for ministry needs. Other than insisting we call him “Captain” and answer questions “aye aye,” other changes will include greater comfort for larger groups traveling. We are thankful to God for this providential discovery and addition to our resources for ministry. The Captain may be willing to take passengers on rides after church! OK, probably not, but you can always ask!

Live Streaming works! Because I was unable to preach (or even get out of bed) Sunday, I did have the privilege of listening to Chris Miller’s message to us just as you were doing. I was listening to our Mixlr live stream, found on the Grace website home page. I listened during both services, and heard it both times. I’m so thankful for Chris filling the pulpit for me on such short notice, and for our tech team making this available when I wasn’t!

That’s it for now. See you Sunday (and I mean it, although I should add, ‘Lord willing’). Love you, Grace family!

Why We Stream

live-streaming

So why have we chosen to stream our messages here at Grace? We want to share with you why we have chosen to do this and how you can share it with others. We have seen over the past year how our podcasts have influenced people across the United States and the world. People near and far are listening to the messages from Grace and we see how God is making Kingdom Impact through this. We have added a live audio stream because we want to further this outreach. With live stream we can personalize and bring home those messages even better to those abroad.
We want to focus not only on those far away, but also those in our congregation! We have our podcast that goes up on Mondays, but sometimes you want to be listening in while your family, friends and congregation is as well. Our MIXLR live stream makes it easy to do that! It is a perfect fit for…

  • Older members who are no longer able to make it to worship services every week
  • People recovering from illness or an operation and are confined to their home
  • People with contagious illnesses like cold or flu who don’t want to risk of infecting others
  • Snowbirds who want to stay connected to their congregation all year round
  • A member who is out-of-town for vacation or business and wants to keep up to date
  • Youth away at college who want to stay connected
  • Missionaries who want to maintain contact with their home  or supporting churches

We believe that live streaming will have a tremendous impact, an impact that you can have a part in. Live streaming is also great way to introduce friends and family to Grace. Please share the link below with them and encourage them to tune in shortly after 9:00am and 10:45am on Sundays to listen to Pastor Craig’s messages. You can also send them to the podcast link to catch past messages!

Live Stream Link: http://mixlr.com/gracebaptistoh/

Podcast Link: http://gracebaptischurch.podbean.com/

Pastor’s Update for a Good “Good Friday”

Keeping “Good Friday” Good

Making it more than just another day off

When I was a kid, our church, like many others, had a Good Friday service. It started at noon (the time recorded in Scripture when the sun was darkened over Calvary) and lasted until 3 pm (when Jesus died). I know it sounds intense, and maybe it was, but as a kid I found it almost impossible to get through. There was singing, preaching, and Bible reading, all in a minor key. It was enough for me to HATE Good Friday services until I was much older, and could actually help plan them.

It wasn’t just churches–banks closed during those hours, and so did most stores. These were some of the most important hours in the history of humanity, and even a culture that wasn’t particularly Christian still had a reverence for the death of Christ.

Of course, that is no longer the way it is, and I’m not complaining about that. Outward observance without a heart for Christ can make people feel better about themselves than they should. But I would encourage you to take some moments today to keep the “Good” in Good Friday. Let me suggest how…

  1. You keep it good by keeping it about “God.” As I’ve shared at other times, the word “Good” in Good Friday, is most likely a corruption of the German word for “God.” Every day needs to have God as its center for a Christian, but this day especially is God’s great demonstration of His love toward us (Romans 5:8). Don’t finish the day without taking a moment to think of the Father’s love for His Son, and then think about the cost of sacrificing that loved Son for unlovable children.
  2. Read one or more accounts of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Use some of your time to let your mind go back to that bloodied and barren site along the road where our Savior was taken and hung, naked, for all the world to see, and for many to mock. Marvel at Pilate’s inability to stand for justice, and the willingness of the crowd to seek the release of a violent criminal.
  3. If you have to work today, maybe you could find a way to share with someone there the significance of the day–you’d be surprised to discover how many people have no idea what it is.
  4. Consider joining us at a much shorter Good Friday service for the community tonight at 7 pm at the Presbyterian Church. It will focus on the the cross, with readings from the texts that tell us the story. A community choir will sing, as will we, but the plan is 60 minutes or less. And it’s always good to be with other Christians as we mark important moments in redemptive history.

However you spend the day, let the sacrifice of Christ not be far from your mind and heart.

Odds and Ends

Follow Up on Elders and Deacons I realized after editing last week’s Update and sending it out, a word was missing in a headline that would have helped some people feel just a bit more comfortable. It was the word “proposed” next to “Upcoming” and before “changes.” I have been doing all I can to keep you in the loop about our thoughts and work on this issue, but it is preparing a proposal for consideration and a vote by the congregation later in the year. Any leadership restructuring or constitutional change would require this, and while most of you probably assumed that, I wasn’t as clear as I could have been, and I’m sorry for any confusion! I was encouraged by the responses I’ve received so far, and I’m always ready to hear from you–you can shoot me an email here, for example.

Live Streaming of Messages! You asked for it, and we’ve now got it. If you cannot be with us on Sunday, you can still hear the sermon, live, during both services. Simply go to the church website and click on the link you will see there.That’s it for now. See you Sunday. Love you, Grace family!