Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about how Jesus said he was the light of the world (John 8:12), and how the writers of the New Testament spoke of Jesus’ life as the light that shines in the darkness, and that darkness shall not overcome it (John 1:5). The apostle Paul said that we once walked in darkness before we became “children of the light” (Ephesians 5:8). Paul goes on to say a few verses later that living as children of the light requires that we “expose” deeds of darkness with the light of goodness and truth. In other words, we are called to lovingly shine the light of Christ on every matter and dispel the darkness.

Light can be comforting when you know you’re walking in darkness and you really want to see, but when you don’t know that you’re in darkness and so don’t think you need to see anything (or you think that you already see), well, then receiving the pure light of Christ and his gospel, which confronts, convicts, and calls us to repent, will feel like we’ve just tried gazing at the sun with a pair of binoculars. Not pleasant.

I know that confronting injustice today and exposing the darkness, especially concerning issues that have been heavily politicized in our culture, can be extremely challenging. As many of you know, we experienced this last Sunday as we gave attention to recent events in Charlottesville. As I said at the benediction, if you felt the struggle in the service, it’s because the struggle is real. But despite any efforts made to distract or deter us from our calling to exude Christ and be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), we went on to have a meaningful time of worship.

You can now listen to Dr. Todd Allen’s message at our website. You can also access other items under worship resources, including the congregational prayer that we prayed together in the service. Thanks to all those who came to the evening event at Harrisburg BIC. We had a great turnout and a wonderful time of listening and fellowship. It’s clear that our racial reconciliation work will continue. 

Brothers and sisters, please hear my heart. I want you to know that my concern for racial reconciliation is a biblical one (e.g. Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:11-22). As the Senior Pastor of Grantham Church, I am not interested in partisan politics or furthering any political agendas. No, I’m concerned about living out the good news of the Kingdom for which Jesus has made us ambassadors. That means that standing up for the poor and the oppressed may at times take on the appearance of being partisan, whether it be abortion, refugees, or racism, but I assure you it is not.

Instead, I’m sincerely seeking a “third way” through the polarizing nature of American politics, and it is my desire that you would join me in being the Kingdom difference the world needs. This was why I believe God led us through the Aliens & Exiles series last fall. We must find the third way if we’re going to be faithful to Jesus and be of any help to the world around us. May the Spirit help us to discover that way together, so we can prove to the world that our love for Christ and each other is a much greater bond than our political opinions and affiliations (John 13:34-35).

Finally, I hope you will join us this Sunday for an exciting time of worship and celebration. I will be preaching on the meaning of our Christian baptism, and following the service we will venture down to the Yellow Breeches to baptize a handful of young people. This is a special time in the life of our congregation. I hope to see you there.

Until we meet again, I encourage us all to live in love as children of the light. Have a great week!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S.  Matt Bushoven, our new Youth & Young Adult Pastor is working in the office this week and he will be with us this Sunday! If you see him, please welcome him to Grantham Church. Don’t forget that we will officially welcome Matt with a luncheon next Sunday, August 27. We’re so excited about Matt’s arrival and can’t wait to see what God is going to do through his ministry among our young people.

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope this weekly letter finds you living in love toward others as Christ loves you and gave himself for you.

In this past Sunday’s sermon, The God Who Looks Like Jesus, I talked about how reflecting and meditating on a loving God has the power to change our lives for the better. I began the message with this video of Greg Boyd talking about the many portraits people have of God, specifically those that don’t look like Jesus. Greg invited us to rethink and reimagine our portrait of God with this question: “What if the true God is infinitely beyond anything we could dare to dream?” In other words, what if the loving God our hearts long for can actually be known in the person of Jesus?

As I said in my sermon, the incarnation requires that we reinterpret the Old Testament (OT) and throw off all other competing portraits of God that don’t look like Jesus. Is this a radical thing to do? Yes, it is. And I submit to you that the force of such a statement, requiring we accept that Jesus shows us what God is like and always been like, was what Jesus’ original audience felt was blasphemous. This, of course, is the real reason that Jesus’ own people wanted to put him to death. They were well aware of what he was claiming (John 8:58-59; 10:33; 14:5-9).

My encouragement to our congregation is this: Put to death those competing portraits of God that are not good for your head and heart, instead of the true image that Jesus reveals to us in the Gospels.

Furthermore, as I suggested at the end of the service, if you’re struggling with your portrait of God, please take a few minutes each day to read and mediate on examples of Jesus’ love in the Gospels. You can also do this with the OT where you find glimpses of God’s love in Christ bursting through, sometimes in surprising ways! And remember to take captive those thoughts that are contrary to what Christ has revealed about God (2 Cor 10:5). In time, the Spirit will change your head and your heart, and you’ll more and more reflect his image through your life.

Don’t forget that Todd Allen will be with us this Sunday. Dr. Todd Allen is the newly appointed Special Assistant to the President & Provost for Diversity Affairs/Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Messiah College. For the past 16 years, in partnership with the PNC Foundation, Dr. Allen has led the “Returning to the Roots of Civil Rights” bus tour, an educational tour which visits many of the key southern sites of the Civil Rights Movement.

I hope that you will join us on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. as Dr. Allen talks about the Civil Rights Movement: Then & Now. Remember that we will join with our sister congregation in Harrisburg Sunday evening to continue our dialogue about racial reconciliation and the multi-ethnic Kingdom, which we began in January. I hope you can join us for this event and help with the potluck dinner that begins at 5:30 pm.

Come hear Dr. Allen and a panel of people from both churches who participated in the civil rights bus tour, and learn how we can further God’s justice today. If you are planning to attend and have not done so already, PLEASE take a moment to sign-up so that we can make the necessary arrangements for the meal, transportation, and childcare.

Finally, I’m looking forward to our baptism service down at the Yellow Breeches Creek (by the college campus) immediately following the 10:30 worship service on Sunday, August 20. Please plan to join us by the creek for a special time in the life of our congregation and in the lives of those being baptized.

And may God continue to bless Grantham Church.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor David

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in August. I hope you enjoy the final month of summer.

This past Sunday we had yet another meaningful worship service. I heard from several of you in attendance that it was a blessing. Thank you for sharing how the Spirit ministered to your hearts. I want to encourage you to share your edifying thoughts with our new Worship Arts Pastor. If you’re able, please take a moment and bless Dave Perry with an email expressing your appreciation for how he has led us in the past few weeks. Pastor Dave can be reached at dperry@granthamchurch.org or by phone at 717-766-0531, ext. 7078.

If you missed the sermon, I invited us to consider how Jesus offers us his joy over the worries and anxieties of the world. You can now listen to Living with Joy and access the slides, bulletin, and small group discussion questions at our website. Remember that you can also subscribe and follow the sermons at the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes.

Here are a few other reminders as we make our way through August and approach the beginning of our fall ministries:

Sunday, August 13:  
Baptism class @ 9:00 am – contact church office for more info
Special Speaker Todd Allen in worship @ 10:30 am
Evening event, The Civil Rights Movement: Then & Now, at HBIC starting @ 5:30 pm

Monday, August 14:  
Start date for Matt Bushoven, our new Youth & Young Adult Pastor!

Sunday, August 20:  
Baptismal Service at the Yellow Breeches following our morning service in the sanctuary

Sunday, August 27:  
Welcoming Luncheon for Matt Bushoven, all college students return

Sunday, September 10:  
Kick off our fall sermon series and fall ministries, including our new sermon-based small groups!

Sunday, September 24:
Discover Grantham Church class begins for those interested in membership and/or learning about us (stay tuned for details)

If you’re in town this Sunday, I hope that you will join us for congregational worship. We are designing a Christ-centered service that will focus our attention on the beauty of the God revealed in Jesus. Unfortunately, many Christians haven’t let Jesus fully reveal God’s true character. That’s no small error, since this is the whole point of the New Testament, and that our portrait of God is the most important thing about us. Jesus is what God is like and what God has always been like, and will always be like. I will be expounding on this truth in a sermon entitled, The God Who Looks Like Jesus

Until then, I pray that you’re walking in the Spirit and abiding in the Lord’s love. May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we trust in him to lead us.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope your week is off to a great start.

This past Sunday we experienced a moving service. Pastor Dave is doing a wonderful job leading us in worship together. And even though it is summer and people are coming and going on vacation, our attendance is holding steady. If you missed the service and sermon, you can now listen to Dealing with Doubt at our website or via the Grantham Church Podcast on iTunes. If you’d like to dive down a little deeper into the topic, you can find the small group discussion questions under “Worship Resources” just below the sermon audio.

Most of you will recall that we did a series in the spring called, Roots: Exploring the Core Values of the Brethren in Christ. In that core values series, we looked at who we are and what we believe as a congregation, as well as the unique distinctives and perspectives of our denomination. This coming fall, I’ll be preaching through a series that looks at what we’re doing as a church. Jesus said that the great commission of the church is to make disciples. Dallas Willard once said that the two most important questions a church needs to be asking are: (1) What is our plan for making disciples? (2) Is our plan working?

Therefore, beginning Sunday, September 10, we will kick off our fall ministries with a new sermon series that will give some direction at how we can intentionally make disciples at Grantham Church. We will look at the various spaces of the church (public, social, personal, and intimate spaces) and how we need to be working all of those spaces in order to grow up into healthy disciples.

In keeping with this intentional focus, we will be formally tying our small groups to the sermons, which we’ve been moving toward since last year through the utilization of the sermon-based small group discussion questions. Many of you have already benefited from this approach. In time, we would like the majority of our church involved in small groups. Why is that?

For several reasons: (1) Jesus had a small group (i.e. his 12 disciples) and the earliest churches were small gatherings; (2) small groups provide a personal space (8-12 people) to interact with what God is saying to you through his word; (3) small groups create space for you to share life with others, to minister and be ministered to; (4) small groups can serve as a primary vehicle for discipleship and pastoral care.

Some of you may know that my wife and I met in house churches for about 5 years. We got first-hand experience and saw the benefits of meeting regularly with a tight-knit group of disciples we could share life with and grow in our faith. We learned that in these house churches (or small groups) that we could better apply the principles of community and discipleship that we see in the New Testament (1 Cor 14:26; 1 Thess 5:11; Gal 6:2). This has much to do with why I’m a firm believer in larger churches having a thriving small group ministry that best positions us for going deeper in our relationship with Christ and others.

I will be sharing more about small groups and what that will look like as we get closer to the kick off of our fall ministries. In the meantime, please be in prayer for this important ministry.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. I will be preaching a message entitled, Living with Joy. I’ll be talking about overcoming things like worry, anxiety, and depression in order to experience the abundant life Jesus offers us as his disciples. I hope you will join us for another meaningful time of worship with the body of Christ.

May God continue to bless us as we seek to be his faithful people on the earth.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope you’re enjoying your summer with family and friends.

If you missed this past Sunday, we had a meaningful service as Dave Perry led us in worship for the first time as the new Worship Arts Pastor. I preached on the realities and rewards of following Jesus in a message entitled, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Remember that you can listen at our website or through the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes.

Please join us this Sunday as we look at Dealing with Doubt in our walk with Jesus. I will be sharing about some of my own journey out of a psychological certainty model of faith to the adoption of a covenantal faith that is built on relational-trust, and produces the confidence that it takes to act on our beliefs. If you’re in town and able to attend, I think you will be encouraged by the whole experience.

There are a few things I’d like you to be aware of for the future.  

On Sunday, August 13, Todd Allen will be speaking in worship. Dr. Allen is the incoming Special Assistant to the President & Provost for Diversity Affairs at Messiah College. That evening we will join with our sister congregation in Harrisburg (HBIC) for an event called, The Civil Rights Movement: Then & Now. We want to continue the dialogue about the Multi-Ethnic Kingdom that we began in January.

We will start our time together at 5:30 p.m. with a potluck dinner and table discussion. Then at 6:30 p.m. we will hear from Dr. Allen and a panel of people from both churches who participated in the civil rights bus tour earlier this summer. We will be sharing more details in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, please mark your calendar.

Also, I’m excited to announce that we will introduce our new Discover Grantham Church class on Sunday, September 24. This class will be for those who are new to our congregation and/or want to know more about becoming a member of Grantham Church. Those who are interested will be asked to register for the class in the near future. Stay tuned for more details. 

Finally, a final reminder that if you’re interested in being baptized at the Yellow Breeches Creek on August 20, immediately following the worship service, please contact the office. There will be a baptism class on August 13 for those who are interested or who are already planning to be baptized the following Sunday. The class will cover our view and practice of baptism, and it will allow those interested in baptism to ask questions.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in worship. May God continue to bless Grantham Church.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s good to be back in the swing of things here in the office. We missed you while we were away seeing family in Texas.

As you already know, Lynda Gephart brought the message on Sunday, July 2. If you missed her sermon, you can listen to Each One of You is a Part at our website or via iTunes. I listened to Lynda’s message and thought it followed our previous sermon series on children very nicely. Lynda shared about the importance of youth in our congregation and gave us some things to think about as we look forward to the arrival of our new Youth & Young Adult Pastor, Matt Bushoven. 

Remember, Matt will begin work on Monday, August 14. We will have a time of installation and a luncheon for Matt on Sunday, Aug 27. Please mark your calendars.

This past Sunday we heard Doug Curry speak to the question: Why Does Worship Need a Pastor? Doug shared a message that is critical to understanding why we aim to do convergent worship as an intergenerational congregation. If you’re new to Grantham Church, or you’ve been with us for a long time and want to help others understand who we are, I encourage you to use Doug’s message and the Roots series sermon on Worshipping God as a helpful reference. I hope that these messages help bring clarity to who we are and where we’re going as a church.

If you were present in the service last Sunday, you know it was a very special day. Dave Perry was installed as our new Worship Arts Pastor! It was a joy getting to witness the passing of worship leadership from Doug to Dave. God clearly led us to Dave and I have the greatest confidence in his abilities to pastor us through worship, as we continue to pursue our unique calling as a congregation. Most of all, I’m impressed with Dave’s heart for the Lord, his sensitivity to the movement of the Spirit, and his desire to lovingly lead us in worshipping Jesus together.

Please pray for Dave through this transition. I encourage you to welcome him as you have welcomed me. It was evident through the service and the luncheon on Sunday that you are already doing this. It blessed me to see how you are embracing him and his ministry. Thank you for supporting our brother in the days and months ahead.

Some of you may have been wondering where we’re going with the sermons through the rest of the summer. Here is a glimpse into the next few weeks:

July 16 – A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
July 23 – Dealing with Doubt
July 30 – Living with Joy
August 6 – The God Who Looks Like Jesus

I hope you can make it this Sunday. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Some of you will recognize that title from a book by Eugene Peterson. I will be addressing the realities and rewards of pursuing Christ over the long-haul, and how our daily choices shape us for better or for worse. I think you will find the message a bit raw and uplifting. 

May you have a blessed week as you follow the Lord through the good times and the bad.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org