Deacon and Elder Nominations Are Still Open!

download (68)Thank you for all the nomination forms that have come in. Your nominating committee is collecting, reading, evaluating, and contacting those you are nominating for elder and deacon. Keep it up. Nominations are due October 11.

Can I ask you to especially consider nominees for Deacon? As you do, remember it can be men or women who are spiritually mature, meet the qualities of 1 Timothy 3, and Acts 6, and can help serve the church. We are looking for candidates who have these qualities and also show skill and understanding to be able to offer leadership in these areas:
Finance – including budget development and monitoring, dealing with insurances, contracts, and educating the congregation in various matters of financial stewardship
Properties – help with matters pertaining to building, grounds, vehicles, and maintenance (immediate and deferred)
Technology – keeping our computers and technology running and up to date in classrooms and offices, and data management and protection
Benevolence – providing financial assistance, as well as skilled help when needed, to our members and others in the community
Care & Compassion – organizing hospital visitation and home visits for the sick, for shut-ins, and seniors who need occasional visits, along with coordination with parish nursing
Hospitality – organizing and strengthening all aspects of our welcoming ministries, from ushers and greeters, to hosting, organizing, and coordinating church events, to recruiting and developing our security team

These are six areas that we are considering for the major task teams of the deacons. They may change over the course of the year, as this is our first year to work this way, but each deacon will be asked to choose one committee that will become the focus of his or her service for the year. There will be no regular monthly business meeting for the deacons; instead, each task team will organize themselves to get their work done, and each team’s leader will report to the chairman of the Deacons and to Bob Beikert, who will be their staff connection.

Click Here to Nominate Elder Candidates

Click Here to Nominate Deacon Candidates

The Ten Words Series Catch-Up

nullHave you missed any of the Ten Words Series messages? Well, this blog post is for you! Find all the information about the Ten Words Series here!

The Ten Words Series | A Reintroduction to an Old Friend | #1

Audio | Notes

The Ten Words Series | God Above All | #2

Audio | Notes

The Ten Words Series | Sabbath Rest | #3

Audio | Notes

The Ten Words Series | Parental Honor | #4

Audio | Notes

 

Congregational Vote Results

vote-results

This past Sunday the congregation voted and approved all three of the ballot items:

1. To approve the proposed constitution revisions as presented. (Passed with an 81% yes vote)

2. Assuming the passage of item #1, to then approve the recommendation of the deacons to form the transitional Elder and Deacon nomination committee responsible for presenting candidates to the congregation for the council of elders and new group deacons for 2016 (Passed with an 86% yes vote)

3. To grant licensure to Jim Phipps for Gospel Ministry (Passed with a 98% yes vote)

Now the work begins. The congregation is now responsible for nominating well-qualified men to be elders, and well-qualified men and women to serve as Deacons. Below you will see two buttons that will take you to the online versions of the nomination forms (also available via paper copy at the church office). We encourage you to nominate as many people from the congregation who you believe should seriously be considered. However, please use wisdom in whom you decide to nominate and prayerfully consider the responses you give to the nomination form questions.

Elder Nomination Form CLICK HERE            Deacon Nomination Form CLICK HERE

Exciting Changes Coming Soon for GraceKids Wednesdays!

GPSfinalThere’s lots of talk about what’s happening for kids on Wednesdays starting in the fall. I’ve heard many different versions – the furthest from the truth is – “there’s going to be nothing!” Let me take a minute to set the record straight!

This fall, Grace introduces a new program that will capture the midweek opportunity with our kids and community kids and redeem every moment of the evening. This new, original, and exciting program includes curriculum for 2-year-olds through 5th grade.

What is this new program called?

GPS – God’s Powerful Story
Check out our logo (at the top), designed for us by Ali Womack with lots of GraceKids input!

What is GPS?

GPS is a weekly curriculum, for pre-school and school-age children, with emphasis on an engaging and fun presentation of kid-friendly, basic theology and connected Scripture memory, with the intent that kids will gain a better understanding of biblical truth, which will grow into the desire to have a saving and intimate relationship with God.

What will a typical night include?

  • School-age GPS starts with a highly interactive opening in the gym involving kids and leaders in music and skits, videos, object lessons, and other activities which introduce the subject of each night.
  • From opening, kids transition to a teaching time, in age-appropriate groupings, where they are taught the content for the night using exciting and engaging methods.
  • Small group time includes activities that encourage the students in their work on and review of the memory passage and memory phrase. Each child joins a small group that includes the same teacher and kids from week to week.  In small groups, kids develop a teaching and mentoring relationship with a Christian adult.
  • Game time in the gym incorporates review of lesson content and memory work.
  • 2’s & 3’s and 4’s & 5’s follow very similar, age-appropriate elements: story time, small groups, music, and games.

What content will this curriculum cover?

GPS is comprised of a three-year rotation. Kids, with their teachers and small group leaders, walk through the topics of Bible, God, Sin, Jesus, Salvation, and Christian Life. Each section is four weeks long with the fourth week covering review of previous material. With each section kids learn a memory phrase and memory passage that reinforces the theological truth being taught. The format of GPS could be easily described as a basic theology course for kids!

What makes this program unique?

All kids, all ages, are learning the same material each night making it easy for parents to review and reinforce the material at home. Students spend four weeks learning about and committing to long-term memory the Memory Passage and Memory Phrase. They hear the phrase and passage each night in opening, group teaching, small group, and game time. Also unique is the website being developed by volunteer, Karley Hepworth, which will provide information for parents so they can easily keep in touch with the GPS calendar, Scripture Memory plan, teaching schedule, memorization ideas, and downloads for learning tools. We are excited about this feature and the ways the website will develop as a resource to parents!

Will GPS include any Scripture memory?

Yes!!

Who will be working in this new ministry?

God has blessed the GPS ministry with an incredible leadership team that has met weekly and worked diligently at getting so much organized and details worked out as we anticipate start-up in just a few short weeks.

Meet the GPS Leadership Team:

Liz Winey – Co-Director, Preschool Age

Will Humphrey – Co-Director, School Age

Jenn Davis – Nursery Coordinator

Bekah Rogers – Tiny Trackers Coordinator (2’s & 3’s)

Michelle Humphrey – Young Explorers Coordinator (4’s & 5’s)

Mindy Hughes – Treasure Seekers Coordinator (K-2nd grade)

Pat Warren – Treasure Seekers Teacher (K-2nd grade)

Lisa Jenerette – Path Finders Coordinator (3rd – 5th grade girls)

Alissa Woyak – Path Finders Teacher (3rd – 5th grade girls)

Bob Paris – Trail Blazers Coordinator (3rd – 5th grade guys)

Mike Eckstein – Trail Blazers Teacher (3rd – 5th grade guys)

Missy Hunt – Registration Coordinator

Jeff Beste – Opening Coordinator

Lyndell Rising – Drama Coordinator

Libby Shearer – Games Coordinator

When will GPS happen?

GPS will start on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.  Meetings will continue weekly on Wednesdays from 6:45 to 8:00pm. Upon arrival, all kids, Nursery through 5th grade, need to be checked in by an adult in the gym foyer. Preschoolers start the evening in their respective rooms in the Preschool Neighborhood. School-age kids all start in the gym. At the close of the evening, preschoolers will be picked up from their respective rooms. School-age kids (K–5th grade) will all be picked up in the gym.

How do I register my kids?

Go to this link and register your kids! All age groups need to register.

There will be a set maximum capacity for Nursery, 2’s & 3’s, and 4’s & 5’s based on room space and available staffing.

What role do parents play?

GraceKids goal to partner with parents in their God-given role to raise up their children to know and love God and GPS is designed to be a tool that parents may use in this effort. Our hope is that parents will have a desire to work in the GPS program and take the journey through this basic theology study with their child(ren). Information will be available on the GPS website so that parents can access the GPS calendar, Scripture Memory plan, teaching schedule, memorization ideas, and downloads for learning tools to use to reinforce GPS teaching at home.

How can I get involved?

Would you enjoy loving on babies? Would you be willing to come alongside 2’s, 3’s, 4’s or 5’s as they begin learning foundational truths for the faith we pray they will embrace for life? Are you interested in mentoring a small group of school-age kids and helping them gain a better understanding of biblical truth which we pray will grow into the desire to have a saving and intimate relationship with God? Do you want to be involved but would rather be behind the scenes? Would you be willing to faithfully pray for a group of kids and their teachers? If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Barb Hunt.

Excitement mounts as we anticipate what God has in store with this new program for training our kids in the basic truths of our faith. We look forward to seeing all that the year ahead will hold. Our leadership team is busy with preparations as September quickly approaches. If you see one of those on the leadership team, please help me by thanking them for all their hard work.

Learn Verses Better | One App that Helps

Logo_DarkTowards the beginning of our blog, we shared with you an app. That app at the time had the cost of $5, but now it is free! This app is a creative tool for learning Bible verses, it guides you through memory games and helps you attain your goals of memorizing and retaining scripture. If you are interested we invite you to watch the short video below and click here to go and download it onto your phone.

 

Leaving a Legacy | Getting to know PhilanthroCorp

We are told that a staggering 70% of Americans do not have a current will.  Wow!  The ramifications of this on children, surviving spouses, on taxes and fees is immeasurable.

123We think there are many reasons for this.  Fear of dying, procrastination, confusion about the estate planning process, the cost of creating a will…and more.

We, at Grace Baptist Church, want to provide some “layman friendly” estate planning information that can enable you to protect your family and be a wise steward of what He has entrusted you with.

So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, kick off your shoes and browse around the links below.  If you just want to get down to business, you can click on the Estate Plan Organizer on any page and walk yourself through a tutorial/data gathering process.  At the end, you can print it at home or ask for help. All of the information you log in is confidential.  The Estate Plan Organizer does not ask for social security numbers or bank account numbers.  No one will see your entries unless you submit at the end and ask for help.

HAPPINESS is a habit

In that case, one of our friends at PhilanthroCorp (a trusted estate planning firm) will be in touch to serve you in any way they can.

We invite you to watch the video below to learn more.

Also if you would like, please click this link and make an inquiry!

Thriving in Babylon

73cb82fb-3d7c-48ba-8a92-04273ee8c3f4One pastor’s book title perfectly captures our opportunity and goal

Larry Osborne is a pastor from Oceanside, California, that I’ve known since the late 1980s. He has led a solid church ministry in northern San Diego County, but it is his books that have really challenged me, especially the titles. They are such good titles, and they set you up for a great experience reading his books.

His book on getting people connected in and committed to a body of believers? Sticky Church.

His book on what happens when our “standards” become too important to our Christianity at the expense of grace? Accidental Pharisees.

But his latest may be his best title yet (can’t say about the book because I just got it). It is using the life of Daniel to learn about how those who love God can live, serve, and prosper even in a culture that stands for all the wrong things. It calls for “hope, humility, and wisdom.” The title is Thriving in Babylon.

The book is certainly timely, because of its subject matter. But that title just grabs hold of me, almost making me shout “That’s it! That’s what we need to do!” I don’t know that there ever was truly a “Christian America”–in fact, I’m pretty sure there never was. But there was a time when America and Americans took most of their cues on the nature of life, right and wrong, the value of human life, the definitions of human relationships, and more, from biblical understandings. After all, all men being “created equal” doesn’t stem from evolutionary thought, atheism, or rationalism. I know we are not the “morality police,” but Christian faith has been the “morality source” for the underpinnings of the nation. It was that niggling “all men are created equal” that was the impetus for the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, and a few other good things.

Those days are gone. Forever. Don’t assume the next election will change it all back. It won’t. We are, as another book title from decades ago put it, Slouching Towards Gomorrah. Christians have always been “strangers and aliens” in this world, but in America, an illusion developed that because our values had shaped the nation’s founding in so many ways, we would always have a better culture and an easier way in the world. No more.

Unlike Daniel and his friends, we have not been carried off into captivity. Instead, we have had the true nature of being exiles made clear as the glossy curtains of America’s civic Christianity have been ripped down. It’s taken long enough that the coming generation has no real memory of it being different, but historically, the pace of the change has been breathtaking.

So America isn’t the promised land. It is Babylon. A powerful nation with dangerous rivals who would eventually overthrow it, Babylon was not a friendly place for Jewish faith to thrive, and to do so as a captive carried off to serve in the palace would be even harder. But Daniel and his friends decided that a hostile environment didn’t change the truth from God or the power of God to accomplish the will of God. When they could seek accommodation (in their diet for example), they did. When they could serve (interpreting a dream or serving in administration), they did. And when they couldn’t compromise and needed to trust God (as in not worshiping an image on pain of death), they did. And they didn’t just survive–they thrived. They made a difference and an impact. And they did so with no guarantees that it would all turn out for them. Even though it did, as Osborne says, they were “exceptions, not examples.”

America is a powerful nation with dangerous enemies, and it is not necessarily a place that fosters faith or faithful obedience to God. It seems to have become (or is certainly on its way to becoming) another Babylon–not in the biblical prophecy in Revelation sense, but in its increasing opposition to God and His Word. Yet, many of God’s people in Babylon managed to do so much more than just survive. It wasn’t just Daniel and his friends. Whole communities of captives in Babylon kept the faith alive. Synagogues were born in Babylon, and biblical scholarship among Jews actually flourished–one of the great copies of their laws was called “the Babylonian Talmud” because it developed there. Many were able to thrive, because they didn’t forget God, and they knew he had not forgotten them.

That’s what we Christians need to do. We need to decide to thrive. It doesn’t matter what the culture may adopt next, or whether we won’t be popular or respected or tax exempt! We know our God, and he hasn’t forgotten us or lost control of his plan. And because we are still here and the end hasn’t come, there is still the opportunity to bear witness to truth and know that our witness and fruitfulness can thrive. So, let’s do this. Let’s not back off what we believe, but let’s stop being surprised that others don’t believe it. Let’s expect iniquity to abound–these are, after all, the last days. But let’s remember that when sin abounds, grace still abounds much more. Let’s believe that God may be making the lines between truth and lies clearer, and pushing those who claim to know him to show where they stand. Let’s believe that some pressure (and maybe some persecution) is going to be the catalyst for cleansing and empowering God’s people. And let’s thrive, like the faithful Jews in Babylon, or like the church just after Stephen was killed, or like believers in China for the past sixty years.

(Oh, and maybe you’ll want to read the book, too. You can order it here. I haven’t finished so I can’t offer a full endorsement yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far.)

Global Outreach Updates

tonightWe have something new for you! After much consideration and evaluation, we want to share our global outreach partner updates with you. These people are important to us, and we know many are important to you. The updates we will be posting will be their stories, experiences and photos, so we invite you to read them, share them and comment with your encouragement to them! God has blessed Grace with being able to partner with a vast and diverse group of people and we can’t wait to share their passionate outreach endeavors with you.

Don’t Waste Your Summer

Tsea-nature-sky-sunsetime for some educational, apologetic, (and perhaps remedial) reading for such a time as this.

Summer is always a time that people think about reading (perhaps taking a book on vacation), or may have a little more time to do so. Of course, you can now “read” through audiobooks, so that counts, too.

I am a great advocate of reading, and I do so widely–theology and contemporary issues, history, biography, and fiction (classic and new) all interest me. But I also find that at times when there are very pressing issues or concerns for Christians, good reading can be an essential bulwark in building up both my faith and my knowledge so that I might give good answers to anyone who would seek them from me.

There are a number of such issues today, but none seems to have captured our attention like same-sex marriage (SSM) and same-sex attraction (SSA) and how we might respond to it. Let me suggest that the need to find ways to engage those who support SSM and believe that acting on SSA within “loving, committed relationships” is a biblical option is a great one; those who simply say, “well, there are good arguments and scholars on both sides” need to actually engage their brains instead of assuming we can’t really know. In order to get yourself equipped for this ongoing conversation, let me suggest some reading that will help (clicking on the title will take you to an Amazon.com link where you can buy it):

What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung. This is a short book, but a powerful one, and if you are only willing to read one book, choose this one. It covers the biblical texts, deals with the most common arguments against them, and then wrestles with the questions raised by many Christians. It is excellent.

Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry. Sam is a Baptist pastor from England who deals with SSA in his own life, and has written another short book on this subject, and his own life and testimony certainly provide the perspective of one intimately involved and concerned on this issue. I’ve heard Sam speak, and I have great appreciation for his work.

God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, by James Hamilton, Denny Burk, and Owen Strachan. Vines, a former Harvard student and former “evangelical” wrote a book that became very popular repeating many of the claims that have been used before him to justify homosexual practice within “committed relationships” and it caused quite a stir. This book goes through those arguments and responds. Since Vine’s material wasn’t really “new,” neither were the responses, but they were needed and they were good.

Out of a Far Country, by Christopher Yuan, is one of the best personal stories of both conversion and commitment to faithfulness to Christ. Yuan’s visits to Cedarville University may have made his name familiar to you, but his book should be read if you haven’t already.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Butterfield. This is the story of a former atheist, lesbian, feminist studies professor who came to a very unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ. Her story is incredibly powerful and informative.

Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, by Wesley Hill. This testimony of a young man battling against SSA and trying to discover God’s will is a powerful one. His commitment to celibacy and the development of spiritual friendship within the Church is commendable.

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, by Robert A. J. Gagnon. OK, for those who still want to argue about the texts, this book is the single most exhaustive study available, and has been strongly endorsed as accurate even by many who oppose Gagnon’s conclusions that the Bible is opposed to all homosexual activity. It is big, it is detailed, and as someone once said in another context, “if this doesn’t convince you, you may not be open to being convinced at all.” This is not light reading, so don’t take it to the beach.

There are other books I can also recommend, but these should get you started. Not every statement in every book is endorsed by me, but these authors hold high views of Scripture and demonstrate good understandings that make them all easy to endorse for your consideration.

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