Bread from Team McComas

11289493_10100165557724204_193784605614718340_oDuring the month of June Team McComas will be baking bread with the three-fold purpose of creating awareness concerning our call to South Africa, raising funds for that purpose, and making stomachs happy and hearts glad.  So far they’ll be making Nut and Seed Multigrain, Rosemary Thyme Country Loaf, French County, Near Baguette and more! It’s only $20 Large Round Loaves and $10 Smaller Loaves

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RAD Awards Recap

11204946_846180862096831_7079250816251735826_nSo many cool things happen at Grace each week. Sometimes we get the pleasure of going back and checking it out via pictures and video! We invite you to check out photos and videos of our Grace Radiate “Rad Awards” show. This year Mike Standish and Stephen Bell kicked it in to high gear and pull off an amazing celebration our the seniors of Radiate. Here is a little thank you that Pastor Mike mentioned on Facebook.

Wow…so grateful for all the help we had last night to put on the 2015 RAD Awards! Thank you Joel Wallis and Aimee Hill Wallis, Andrea Kinsinger, Mark Klimek and Cheryl Martin Klimek, Jack Berg and Peyton Berg, Scott Huck,Colin Idris Jones, Andrew Biddinger, David Joseph Thurlow, Josiah Winey,Joseph Zavodney, Chad Clark, Ian Waltz, Jonathan Zaharek, Kristin Klimek,Ella Kinsinger, Anna Kinsinger, Ben Kinsinger, and a SPECIAL THANKS toStephen Bell (who put in tons of hours for this show and was stinkin’ hilarious…you do “awkward” way too well man!) Tyler Kirkpatrick, we enjoyed having you Facetime in and make your appearance again this year. Keep working that resume!:) I also want to thank the many others who participated as presenters and performers. Finally, I want to thank my wife Erica Bartlett Standish who sacrifices SO MUCH to have me away to work on things like this. You are my biggest support and do so much more than anyone will ever know for our ministry. I love you!

As I sit exhausted this morning trying to recoup from the busy weekend, I can’t help but truly thank God for an amazing group of leaders and students that he has given me to work with at Grace Baptist Church.

Students, your talent was incredible, and Seniors, I hope you heard all the words others spoke about you and to you. Find your identity in Christ and keep him at the center of your life! On behalf of the GraceRadiate student ministry, we love you all!

After the program Stephen Bell put the videos online so you can watch them at home. CLICK HERE to check them out!

Also many pictures were taken by Jonathan Zaharek! Check them out in the album below.

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Pastor’s Update | More Generous Than You Know

You are…

More Generous Than You Know

I have always been blessed to know that the family of Grace is a generous congregation. You have shown that through your responses to various needs we have announced over the years. From local emergencies for individuals and families, to missionary crises overseas, to crushing human need in the wake of international disasters or wars, Grace has given approximately $100,000 annually in special offerings, including our Benevolent Fund and Harvest Offerings. That makes around $1 million since I’ve been here!

But your generosity is also seen in your consistent support of our budget. While not exactly a “glamorous” cause, giving to the church weekly toward the general fund pays the bills, funds your staff’s salaries, and supports our ministries, including Global Outreach. I wanted to let you know about two gifts you’ve given in the last month in response to pressing needs that you didn’t even realize you gave, because the funds were supplied through regular giving.

We received an urgent note from Jon and Joni McGinnis that their current vehicle would not be able to handle the roads in the rugged terrain where their ministry is now focused in the mountainous region of Costa Rica. They needed a much sturdier jeep-type vehicle, and $10,000 to buy it. Because we have budgeted for missionary emergencies and saved those funds for when needed, we were able to give them $5,000, which matched what they had received from their other supporters and they are looking for that vehicle this week.

Then, the same week, we received word from John Cook that progress on the campus for Grace Bible College in Amravati, India required raising around $37,000 to complete the Dining Hall (we helped them complete 2 dorms last year, built out of shipping containers!). Students will arrive in July to begin the new term. We were able to give another $5,000 for that need, and this amount, along with other gifts, has allowed the work to continue, even as more funds are needed. This school trains Bible teachers, pastors, and evangelists, who have planted hundreds of churches in the last ten years, and students we have sponsored have been a part of this. You have made this possible.

On top of this, your giving has allowed us to continue to support missionaries, provide increases when needed, (not always, and not as much as might be needed, but often), and consider new missionary support. You will be hearing about some new developments very soon!

Would you like another opportunity? Nepali refugees desperately need housing, and IMI is seeking to supply the same kind of tents we purchased for Iraq to pastors and ministries in Nepal. You can give through Grace’s Open Treasury, simply by writing a check to the church and designating it- IMI Nepal Relief.

I just want to thank you for this faithful giving, which allows us to engage in Gospel work far beyond what you may realize. And don’t get tired of doing what is right!

Summer Wednesday Night Dinners

We are looking forward to our Summer Wednesday Night Dinners this year. They will be on June 10 and 24, July 8 and 22, and August 5, at 6pm in the gym. These dinners are a great way to get to know others in our Grace family! The church will provide an entrée for each dinner, and you bring a side dish, salad, or desert, and $2 to help cover the cost of the main dish (7-yr-olds and under are free). Sign-up today for our June 10th meal and bring friends as well! 

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Life on the Day After… | Pastor’s Update

Life on the Day After…

The Ascension might have set up the disciples for a let down

When you’ve been on an absolutely amazing trip, the first day back home can seem a bit anti-climactic. Of course we all know that the day after Christmas is, for many, a bit of a let down after all of the build up for the holiday. As a kid, if you went to church camp, you were warned that leaving “the mountaintop experience” could be difficult, and it probably was.

But imagine having been through what the eleven remaining disciples had been through by the time of Jesus’ ascension into heaven one Thursday, forty days after his resurrection. You had watched the triumphal entry (up), and then heard Jesus talk about His impending betrayal (down). He confounded the Pharisees and Sadducees (up), but they were angry and looking for ways to destroy Him (down). At the last supper He talked about the kingdom (up) but said one of them would betray Him (DOWN). He was betrayed (by Judas, the man they’d trusted as treasurer! down), tried, crucified and buried (down, Down, DOWN), then rose on Sunday and they saw Him (UP x100). For forty days He continued to appear and tell them about the kingdom and the coming power of the Spirit (UP). And then He left and went back to Heaven, having told them to wait for that power.

While I doubt they were depressed at His ascension, I do wonder if they felt a sense of loss–He clearly was doing something miraculous, but separation had come. And the next day, there was no power–yet.

And the power didn’t come the next day either. They had to live in anticipation without any certainty of when things would change–except that Jesus had said it would be “not many days from now” before He left. That would be encouraging, until you start wondering what a “short” time for God would be–after all, Jesus said He was coming “quickly” at the end of Revelation, and 2,000 years is within that “quick.”

What they did was especially instructive for those of us who also live in a time where we already have received much, but are awaiting more. Today is the day after the anniversary of the Ascension, and we, too, need power to live faithfully until Jesus comes. I would suggest that they took four essential actions for living in the days in between mountaintops.

1. They obeyed the last instructions they had. Jesus had made it clear, they were to wait until the power that He would send would come. Apparently, His references to “baptize you with fire” was enough for them to know that when that power came, they would recognize it. Until then, they would stay where they were. Are you wanting God’s power, or direction, or anything else He might have for your future? Let me ask you this–are you doing the things He has told you to do up to this point? Are you seeking God’s direction for the future? While you wait, are you doing the last thing you know He had made clear was what you were supposed to do? Until new directions come, you follow the last ones you received.

2. They didn’t hold on alone. We see in Acts 1 that the disciples gathered together in the “upper room” where they were staying (1:13–very probably the same upper room where they had celebrated the Passover/Last Supper), and that the company of believers–about 120 people–was together then or soon after. Even before the official birth of the New Covenant Church, there was a clear and continuing pattern of togetherness for support, encouragement, prayer, and decision making. Imagine how much harder it would have been had they all dispersed to their own places for a week. I know that we can hardly get 75% of our people together weekly on any given week (it’s actually closer to between 50-66% of “regulars” in church on any given Sunday), but there was a sense that they really needed each other–to reaffirm what they had seen and heard, to encourage, and to comfort when doubt might strike.

3. They took what actions they could. The Scriptures were Peter’s guide in leading the believers to replace Judas, and they did so using biblical means appropriate to the times. Matthias was chosen, and that settled the matter–there was no later message from the Spirit that they had blown it and it was supposed to be Paul, even though he was also an apostle. Their motivation was pure, and it was simple–Jesus wanted 12 witnesses, and we only have 11, but there are others here who have been followers from the beginning that can fill that role, so let’s get this done. There may be power you have to wait for, but there often are steps you can take to prepare to be as ready as you can be for the power when it comes. I think about King David here. He was told he couldn’t build the Temple. So, what did he do? He gathered as much of the material needed as he could so that when Solomon started he would have what he needed. That’s what the believers did, too.

4. They prayed. Marking their gatherings and their decisions, and even their waiting moments, they sought God. They prayed for the power to come. They prayed for wisdom in decisions. They probably prayed about a lot of things, but corporate conversation with God set the stage for the arrival of the power. The more they talked to God and each other, the closer they were to the Spirit’s coming, but also the closer they were to each other and God! We want power, but do we pray together for it? We want greater unity, but do we regularly unite in prayer? We want to know God more, but do we even talk to Him, or just settle with ideas about Him?

Ascension Day was when Jesus went to His throne, but also when His absence was keenly felt by His disciples. They had His promises and the angels’ words that He would return, but the more immediate concern was a mission to be witnesses to the world, and the inability to do it without power. They came down the mountain (Mt. Olivet to be exact), and did exactly what was needed to prepare for power. May we use this day after Ascension Day to consider how we might faithfully live between the mountaintops.

Odds and Ends

Family Matters! Our series, Crisis @ Home, has begun, and this week we will wrestle with the reasons that the subject of the family is so closely tied to Christian life and thought. After all, isn’t the gospel the central message? Why are Christians and churches so hung up on questions about marriage and family? Come this Sunday and see.

That’s about it for now–I know, only one O & E item! Consider it an early summer reprieve from information overload!

See you Sunday. Love you, Grace Family!

Urgent Prayer Request

This news just came to us this morning as we were about to send out this newsletter:
Our former Associate Pastor‘s wife, Joyce Farlow, passed away unexpectedly this morning.  While no details are yet available, their church, Harvest Baptist of Oswego, IL, where Mickey Farlow currently serves as Associate Pastor of Outreach & Pastoral Care, has asked your prayers for the family and their church family.

We will inform you of the details of her service and an address to send condolences as soon as they are made available.  Thank you for your prayers for Mickey, their children, Jeremy, Andrea & Julia & their families.

Thoughts on Interning at Grace from Melissa Labbadia

Hey there! My name is Melissa Labbadia and I just graduated in May from Cedarville with a degree in Applied Communication. I’m originally from Connecticut 0ac1e3band being a part of a church that I can get connected with has been a strong desire of mine; but for my first three years at Cedarville, I ended up just “church hopping”. Before my senior year started, I made up my mind to attend Grace for the purpose of getting plugged in and being able to serve in a ministry setting. At the beginning of the school year, I attended the meeting for students who were looking to get involved in some way. When I heard Barb say that she was looking for a Children’s ministry intern, I was automatically interested in working with her.

During my time working as an intern at Grace I was able to serve in many different capacities. For the first semester, I was able to take turns each Sunday helping with and observing each Sunday School class from Nursery through Fifth grade as well as a few Wednesdays during Awana. During the second semester, I had 11142915_771719856280388_2083215155_nthe opportunity to serve in Connect 34 with the 3rd and 4th Grade Girls. I had never worked with this age group before, but I loved every minute of it and wish I could’ve stayed longer! Throughout the week, I was able to work in the office near Barb. I focused mainly on helping her with a variety of projects, filing and organizing many things, and I was also able to plan a girl’s event.

The one thing that was the most impactful, and most unexpected, part of working at Grace were the people who I was able to meet and work with. I was blessed incredibly by the loving and welcoming environment that made me realize I did have a church family here at school (finally!). I found a great mentor in Barb and I was thankful for her guidance and desire to want me to be able to use my skill sets to serve Christ. I feel more equipped after working at Grace to be able to jump into different areas of Children’s ministry and serve effectively; all with keeping in mind the purpose of sharing the big picture of God’s word with every child.

 

Calling All Table and Chair Borrowers!

16.-Vintage-Metal-ChairThrough many years of table and chair lending here at Grace we have lost quite a few. Some may have been broken and thrown away, but we know there are some still out there. If you happen to still have any chairs or tables you have borrowed and not yet returned, we need all previously lent items back in order to continue lending them out – especially as we approach this next season of Grad/Open Houses. Thank you so much for hosting our lonely tables and chairs, but it’s time for them to come back home. Please return any chairs and tables between May 14th-15th and May 18th-20th under the overhang. Just drop them off at the top of the stairs and they will be returned to their place. Thank you for helping us out with this!

Celebrate Mother’s Day Locally

mothers-dayMother’s Day is this weekend, so we decided to suggest a few local places where you can spend more time with your mom. The area we are in is abounding in great ideas, here are a few.

Hikes

Food

There are many other ideas and options, however we can’t give you everything. Two things we want to leave you with, Groupon has lots of local deals, go find them.

Lastly, This week our schedule changes here at Grace. We move to one service at 10:45am and our Adult Bible Fellowships and Student ministries move to 9:00am. Preschool neighborhood will be available both hours. Have a great weekend Grace!

 

Pastors Update | Living out Joy

Living out Joy

No shortage of opportunities to practice

The Philippians series was barely finished when this week brought its first reminders that truth requires us to embrace it to reap its benefits. Tuesday morning one friend texted to let us know that an expected positive event had suddenly de-materialized. The next day a friend let us know of a profound challenge that had come and brought great pain to the family. In both cases, I was reminded by the person of one of our four “takeaways” from Philippians that had sustained them in facing these challenges. Another person this week cited another of those takeaways as a thought that was in the forefront of their thinking.

Those four takeaways, if you weren’t there or don’t remember, were:
1. Christ is the “interpreter” of life’s circumstances for the joyful Christian.
2. Christ is the “mindset” in life’s relationships for the joyful Christian.
3. Christ is the “passion” of life’s pursuits for the joyful Christian.
4. Christ is the “supplier” of life’s needs for the joyful Christian.

In each case, the takeaway was being used to reinforce the decision to stay on the path of joy–trusting that these circumstances were from Jesus for gospel purposes, that relational challenges were to be thought of as Jesus would think of them, that this was an opportunity to keep focused on knowing Jesus better, and that Jesus was giving what was needed in each moment.

This pastor was encouraged and joyful!

Of course, seeing some of you make choices to live these things out takes many forms. I was reminded and blessed even today of this when one of our senior saints was telling us about befriending a local single mom who needed some encouragement in tough circumstances. As he found ways to encourage and help, he became a friend to the young teenage daughter as well, and found out she wanted to go be with her friends at a local church’s midweek program, but had no way to get there since her mom had to work. Our friend became the ride, and now weekly takes her to this program, along with two friends she invited. What a testimony of selfless service! He told me that at times the challenges of age and failing health make leaving for heaven seem to be a more desirable option (didn’t Paul say that in Philippians?) but I think his being around is more necessary right now. May his joy be multiplied!

Joy results from our choice to live and believe a certain way, and I love seeing our daily opportunities being grasped!

Odds and Ends

I love feedback! I’m so grateful for those of you who respond to the various questions I ask through this email. Your feedback is helpful as we make decisions, and often you give me great personal encouragement. Thank you.

Based on our most recent survey, we are moving ahead to schedule Dr. Scott Carroll for Sunday night, June 28th, for a family-friendly presentation on the Bible and ancient manuscripts. I hope you can plan to be with us.

I continue to get quotes, and a number of you have shared wonderful stories of how you heard the quote, or who made it memorable for you. That is a blessing!

Thanks also for so many kind words (personally and via email) regarding our just completed Philippians series. Remember you can access it in either audio or video formats at our website, and you can request copies of outlines as well by contacting the office.

I posted a prayer for our nation yesterday to mark the National Day of Prayer. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, or pray it, you can go here to do so!

Our new series: “Crisis@Home”!  We are beginning our new sermon series this week, entitled “Crisis@Home.” It will seek to address pressing questions that are being raised by the actions or patterns of our culture as it relates to the family and its members. Using a more topical approach, similar to our “No Easy Answers” series, we will consider a number of important topics related to our society’s increasing disconnect from eternal truths about men, women, marriage, and family. You won’t want to miss it, and if you have questions after a message, email me here and ask. I’ll try to address them either in this email or in a following message.

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

Philippians Series Round-Up

Today we want to help you connect further with the Philippians series. We were so blessed to hear great teaching, here are links and connections to some of the best tweets, the sermons and the notes. Please share with others!

Notes

Together with the notes we also recorded audio of our services, we welcome you to listen online to all 13 of the sermons of the Philippians series. Also to share with others, friends, family and more! Click the picture below to listen online right now.

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Along with the notes and the audio we also had many of the services live tweeted. That means we got to take away many quotes and moments from the messages as well. Here are some of the highlights from those tweets.

Notes (1)