What's New At Grace
Satan. Who wants to think about him? Not me! If I’ve learned just one thing over the last couple of years it’s that God is way more fun than I ever realized. And satan? He’s the opposite.
I don’t want to give satan much airtime, but it’s worth mentioning him and the demonic right now because it seems we as a church may have “poked the bear.” How so? As soon as 400+ of us from Grace Church started going through the discipleship book satan took notice and jumped to action. And why wouldn’t he? We’re growing closer to the Lord, we’re fasting more, praying more, memorizing, hearing, obeying, journaling, meeting, uniting. Yeah, he’d be stupid not to notice.
But what do we do about that? How do we battle through the yuck that he’s trying to create?
Satan doesn’t win. He came to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But our God? He gave us Jesus that we may have life NOW to the full. (John 10:10) We get to be in communion with our HOLY GOD! We get to hear directly from Him! We get to be filled with Holy Spirit and operate in the Supernatural! Wow! Let’s do this, friends! Onward and upward!
“Now to Him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Ladies: You are cordially invited to join us for High Tea “A Time-Honored Tradition” on March 23rd here at Grace Church. Come for a morning of elegance, fellowship, and discussion about what God is doing in our lives. We will have conversations over steaming cups of tea and an array of delectable treats. To ensure we prepare enough treats for all our guests, kindly RSVP.
Date: March 23rd
Start Time: 10:00 am
RSVP: By texting "Tea for ...." with the number of ladies attending to 707-289-3934 or call the church office to reserve your spot.
Dress: Embrace the spirit of the occasion by donning your best tea outfit! Hats and gloves are not only welcomed but encouraged!
Would you like to contribute or volunteer to help? Sign up under the tent on Sunday.
Let's come together to celebrate the timeless tradition of high tea and create cherished memories in the company of wonderful women. We can't wait to share this delightful experience with you!
This past Saturday, we had a great time during the Men's Breakfast at Grace Church. 63 guys came out and we were able to eat well, get to know some new guys, and hear a short devotional from Mike Nickel.
Men's breakfasts are not just about eating food, but also about getting to know brothers in Christ better. There are many things that a person can choose to do on a Saturday morning, thank you to those who served us and came out for some fellowship.
See you next time!
Let's chat for a moment about puzzles. I was on vacation recently and a puzzle made it to the table. It had so…many…pieces…. Not only was it a lot of pieces, but the picture was one of those abstract ones that doesn’t even give clear edges or much help for assembling. Sure, I can spend time putting this thing together and I did slowly put a piece or two in place from moment to moment during our trip. I don’t know that I can say this experience was very enjoyable. There was a small sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in each piece, but it honestly felt like a chore, not a joyful light experience. Fast-forward a few weeks later. I'm doing a puzzle with my three-year-old and the thing practically puts itself together just by taking it out of the box. As it required little to no effort with so few obviously shaped and colored pieces to put togetherand, there was no sense of accomplishment at all.
Let's bring this same concept to our discipleship series. Are you drowning in the complexities of the assignment? If yes, take a few steps back and set the goal on being spiritually challenged and growing in what you know about God and how you can best follow Him. Let the person that is walking with you know you are struggling and ask for help. Focus on single elements of growth. Don’t be tempted to settle for laziness or less than spiritual growth and maturity, but also don’t drown in the heaviness of some of the concepts. Here is a quote for you to let your mind rest on for a moment:
“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for theologians to swim in without ever reaching the bottom.”
Don’t drown, but don’t be that awkward adult wading in the kiddie pool either. Be challenged.
For those that love the thought of a complex puzzle and are ready to dive off the high-dive into deep waters, take the extra steps. Some of the weeks in your devotional have a “further study” section. Do the further study and dig deeper into the concepts. Reach out to other spiritual theologians and be challenged by their thoughts or insights on the topics at hand.
Keep the proper goals in mind. Our goal is that God would bring about spiritual maturity and growth in us. We don’t have to compare ourselves to others in order to grow. If you have never fasted before, engage with this new discipline. If you have fasted many times before, build on what you have already done many times. If you are overwhelmed, say something and adjust something to not be overwhelmed. Don’t give up, just change something about what you are doing. I think if there had been a few less pieces or a more clear picture I may have actually completed the puzzle while on my trip. Find a way to take joy in the process of growing in Christ and make adjustments so that you don’t just quit.
This week's challenges:
If your calendar is anything like ours, we know how quickly it fills up with all the events of life!
Over the next few months, we want to spend more time together as a connected church body. With that being said, here are some upcoming dates to keep in mind to spend with your
Grace Church family!
Growing up, I took a childhood favorite, Acts 10:13, quite literally – "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." Admittedly, I may not have grasped the full depth of its meaning, but that didn't stop me from adapting it to my own name – “Rise, Brent; kill and eat.” Needless to say, my hungry proclamations became a familiar tune at home, much to the amusement (or perhaps mild irritation) of those within earshot, particularly my sisters.
Now, gentlemen, join me in a more practical application of this biblical sentiment. Let's rise and eat together on Saturday, February 17th, at 8:30 am in the church gym. It's time to rouse from slumber, but this time, not for a hunt, but for a hearty meal and good company!
Our men's breakfasts are laid-back affairs, providing the perfect opportunity to make new acquaintances or deepen connections. It's an informal gathering, making it a comfortable occasion to introduce a friend to the fellowship. So, why not bring a buddy along?
Come as you are, bringing only your appetite. If you're an early riser or willing to lend a hand with setup or cleanup, your support would be invaluable.
Don't forget to mark February 17th on your calendar – it's a date not to be missed! I'm looking forward to sharing a meal, laughter, and good times with each one of you. See you there!
Life is hard, I don’t need to tell you that. As an effect of sin being in the world, imperfection permeates every aspect of our lives. We see this in heartbreak, sickness, death and evil things done to us. No one is exempt. Which is why it’s interesting friends, that as soon as tragedy touches someone we know we feel dumbstruck. I’m not lecturing you; I’ve found myself in this situation all too often. When someone dies, looking at the loved ones of the person and telling them “I’m sorry” just feels like it doesn’t cut it. So, what do I say then? What could I possibly offer that would make the hurt okay, what could I possibly do to change the outcome? Alas, brother, sister you can’t change what happened to them. Christ is the only answer, He is the only redeemer who WILL one day save us from every bit of suffering and wipe away every tear. He defeated the cause of all our grief and in His time will make everything new - what a kind God we have, and what a day we have to look forward to! Praise Jesus! But until then, we still walk as sinners, sufferers and saints. In the sanctuary, at the coffee shop, between school drop off, and everywhere else we go we will see sufferers. How do we interact with someone who is going through something awful, what should you what to say?
I want to point out that every person's life is unique, and I cannot exhaustively speak to every type of hurt you might encounter in a single blog post. This is not a theology of suffering, merely a lay persons attempt at faithfulness. Here is a simple list of tactics for you to pray about, ponder with wisdom and hold up to the truth of Scripture in each nuanced situation you encounter with real life people. While it is definitely limited, I pray that it may be a helpful resource for you in future conversations while you minister God’s grace to the broken people He loves.
- Kim Bridges
We are excited to announce the upcoming launch of our next church series, "United In Grace: 50 Days of Discipleship," starting on February 11th and continuing through Easter Sunday. This study has been carefully written by Pastor Brent Smith and Pastor Paul Mollett and is tailored to meet the specific needs of this congregation. We have been working on the creation of this series for over a year and a half, anticipating seeing our church join together for the goal of making disciples.
What do you need to do?
If you missed the Vision Sunday announcement, you can see it here.
In the past few years, we've learned that as a church, we, the people, are the church. Each one of us is a minister within. Our collective call is to train each other to obey Christ. This series points us to an area in the church that can quickly be forgotten, discipleship making. Join us!
6:00am the alarm sounds. Opening my sleepy eyes I try to recall how many times the baby woke up last night, while toddler is sounding his battle cry.
Is it worth it today?
The next couple hours are a whirlwind. Not the magical kind. Getting ready, making breakfast, trying not to spill coffee. Setting out two tiny outfits, just hoping they still fit. I can’t find my left shoe and my toddler doesn’t understand why he can’t ride his baby brother like a horse. 100 tantrums later, he still doesn’t understand.
What if we just stayed home and watched a movie?
We take deep breaths and repeat “BE KIND”. After shoes and car seats, we made it in the car on time! But there’s still curlers in my hair and mascara only made it on one eye. Whatever, let’s just go. Key in the ignition and the gas light turns on. Now everyone is crying.
Is it even worth it to go? It might actually be easier to just go back in the house at this point.
Get behind me satan. We make it to the church parking lot a respectable 7 minutes late, now it’s just multiple bags to bring in and two wild banshees to wrangle. Breathe.
Hi, I’m Kim. You might know me as Pastor Josh’s wife. The most popular greeting I get on Sunday morning is “you sure got your hands full!”. And they would be right; my hands are full. I have two sons under the age of two and sometimes a simple day at church feels like an Olympic sport. I’m coming to understand it’s not just me though. The process I described above is what it looks like for a lot of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other brave loved ones who dare to bring little ones to church. Please don’t misunderstand me, friends, I love church! We look forward to it every week. I don’t desire to grumble to you, I merely want to normalize the difficult feat of bringing young kids to church and encourage you as someone who is currently in the trenches with you.
Because the truth is, friend, on this Sunday it would have been much easier to turn on the tv and stay home instead. It would have been easier to cry on the floor with my toddler (like I do sometimes) and forget church. If that’s true, then why bother?
As always nothing is truer than God’s Word, and the Lord has commanded us not to neglect the gathering of His people (Heb 10:25). He makes it clear that we need each other, we need the encouragement of a friend after a hard week (1 Thes 5:11). We need to praise our great God corporately, to lift up His name in honor and adoration (Col 3:16). We need help, the support a church body offers to love our families well (1 Thes 5:14). We need accountability when we fall short, guidance to forgive one another and reconcile (Gal 6:1-5). We need to be with likeminded people who will weep with us when we are hurting, as well as celebrate in our joy (Rom 12:15). We also need to learn from God’s Word, timeless, soul-saving, life-changing truths only offered in the Bible (Rom 15:4; 2 Tim 3:16-17). I am always encouraged to hear stories of other parents who have gone before me and raised godly children.
Many years ago there was a woman of strong faith, both she and her daughter were committed to teach her grandson about Jesus. The little boy, although he likely couldn’t tie his own sandals yet, believed. The Scriptures were his guidebook and he followed the Savior whom he loved to the ends of the earth – working alongside missionaries to pass along his faith to others. You know this little guy, church; his name was Timothy. He was the recipient of 1 and 2 Timothy and in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 Paul wrote to him, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Friends, God is the one who does the saving. God is the one who calls men and women to do great things. But this man’s journey started as a little boy with an adult in his life that cared about his relationship with the Lord. In God’s kindness one child can make an impact on many for Christ, to the praise of His glory.
If I could offer one last bout of honesty to you, brothers and sisters: if you bring a little one to church it might not always be picturesque. You’re going to have to wake up early, carry lots of bags, and shepherd hearts that don’t understand the significance yet. Some weeks you’ll have a hard time getting out the door, l forget to feed them breakfast or lose a shoe. They will be way too loud, sing off key and sometimes throw temper tantrums in the middle of the aisle. *Sigh* that’s how it goes. But that’s okay, their tiny hearts await to hear of a tender, gracious Father. We don’t mind dirty faces or loud voices; they’ll be in good company. So, press on!
Strive to pass on the faith and bravely keep bringing His little children in. I’ll be right there with you, tiny disciples in tote and my hands full just as they should be.
By: Kim Bridges
Date: Begins January 21
Time: Sunday Mornings 9:00 AM
Duration: 7 Weeks
Contact: Christian Ahlmann
Do you know that you have been created for a purpose? Rick Warren says, “Your life is not all about you! You were created by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.” Through this 7-week course, you’ll walk away with a much clearer purpose for your life.
Everyone is welcome wherever you are on your spiritual journey. Our time together will include great discussions and provide practical steps to help you uncover and live out your purpose, starting with exploring three essential questions:
1. The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?
2. The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?
3. The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?
Join us and begin to live a purpose-driven life!
Office Hours: M-Th 8:30am-4pm