Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Can you believe we are fast-approaching the holidays? This week in our staff meeting, I described this time of year like being at the top of a roller coaster just before it starts its decent. Ready or not, here it comes!

Do you have a plan for how you will resist the cultural forces that will demand more from you than you and your family can give? If not, give that some careful thought. Let’s consider how God would have us enter into Thanksgiving and Advent/Christmas in pursuit of the Spirit, who wants us to know the peace and rest of Christ.

This past Sunday I preached a message entitled, Leaving a Legacy of Faith, based on Hebrews 11. It was such a blessing to hear all the names of the faithful that were called out during the sermon. If you missed it, you can hear the congregation’s response in the video of the message. Thank you for helping to make the worship service so meaningful.

This coming Sunday I will be asking us to reflect on The Power of Thankfulness. While there is much in this world that we can worry and complain about, we are called to be a thankful people. I’m excited about sharing how Jesus and the New Testament invites us to experience an abundant life by giving thanks, and that recent neurological studies confirm how truly life-changing thankfulness can be for those who will focus their attention on the blessings of life, instead of those things that rob us of inner peace and joy.

Also, please join us on Sunday, November 18 for our Thanksgiving Service. We will get to hear from multiple folks within the congregation who have been recently impacted in some way by the people and ministries of Grantham Church. Don’t miss out in this special service as we give thanks for all that God has done and is doing in our church family this year.

Are you over-flowing with thankfulness about what God has been doing at Grantham? I want to encourage you to take a moment and share your story with Pastor Kelly at kchripczuk@granthamchurch.org. She is collecting your thankful thoughts for the service on November 18. Help us make this service meaningful as we give thanks together.

Mark your calendars and please stay tuned for more information regarding these upcoming events in the life of our church:

  • Sunday, November 25  –  Communion 

  • Sunday, December 2    –  Beginning of Advent Sermon Series & Child Dedication in
                                              worship service
                                              End-of-year Congregational Council at 6 PM

  • Sunday, December 9    –  Deacon Consecration
                                              Children’s Christmas Program at 3 PM

  • Sunday, December 16  –  Communion

  • Friday, December 21    –  Lessons & Carols at 6:30 PM

  • Sunday, December 23  –  4th Sunday of Advent (Before Christmas)

  • Monday, December 24  –  Christmas Eve Service at 6:30 PM

May God continue to bless our congregation as we seek to finish the year well, for the glory of Christ and his 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,

This past Sunday I shared a message entitled, Beggar Spirituality. I talked about the proper way to approach a holy God with our requests. Jesus revealed that we should acknowledge our spiritual poverty if we ever hope to receive God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness (Matt 5:3). If we want to know God’s power in our weaknesses, we ought to confess that we need him to do what we can’t do on our own. In other words, once we’ve come to the end of ourselves, that is when God is able to do his greatest work in our lives (2 Cor 12:9-10). This is a foundational truth in the building of our Christian faith.

It’s in the preaching of this message that I was reminded of the paradoxical nature of God’s Kingdom and the way the Spirit works. As I pointed out in the sermon, God humbles the proud and exalts the humble. We’re told in the New Testament that God uses the weak things of this world to shame the strong. We’re told that the message of the cross is foolishness to the world, but the power of God to those who believe. Jesus said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first; that the way up, is down. So, give that some thought as you allow the Lord to speak to your heart this week.

Dear saints, there is much in this world that can easily cause us to despair. Believe me when I say, I too am concerned about the future of our country and our children/grand-children. I ask you to join me in praying for the president, our leaders (federal & local), and the upcoming elections. We are seeing an alarming level of violence and hatred that the church must oppose with the love of Jesus by using whatever avenues of influence God has given us. As the prophet Micah said, we must act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We must be peacemakers (Matt 5:9). 

Having said that, I’m reminded, and I want to remind you, that Jesus never promised us safety in this world. In fact, he told his disciples it was certain that they would at times experience great trials and tribulation, and that some would even lose their lives for the sake of the good news. But Jesus also said these words, which I pray will bring us all comfort and peace from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). 

How has Jesus overcome the world? He has done this by defeating the power of sin and death, guaranteeing that someday he will judge the world and make all things new. And so the hope of the Christian faith is that what happened to Jesus in his resurrection will happen to all of creation at some point in the future. But in the meantime, creation groans and we often struggle and toil, looking forward in great expectation to the liberation and reconciliation of all things (Rom 8:18-25). So, for the time being, let our lives testify to the hope we have in Jesus, for only Christ can heal this world.

Let’s remember these words from 1 Peter 1:8-17. Peter writes: 
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Grantham Church, I encourage us to do good—to rise above the fear-mongering, the “us vs. them” mentality, the hateful rhetoric, and the hopelessness that is characteristic of those who are lost, and let us live as people who have pledged themselves to Christ as his Kingdom. May the Spirit help us to live as people who have hope in this life and in the next, for such a time as this.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Need proof that God is at work among us? Check out this video of Shirley Groffsinging with the choir last Saturday at Mennonite Home in Lancaster County! Shirley has miraculously recovered from an illness that almost took her life. We’re hoping that Shirley can return to Grantham real soon. Please continue to pray for a full recovery. We miss you, Shirley!

* 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,

Thank you for helping to make Missions Sunday 2018 a special day in the life of our church. I know that the Owen family felt how much we care for them and their work in Malawi. Also, I’m glad that many of you came back on Sunday evening to hear about the amazing work God has done through the Spurriers and the staff at Macha Hospital over the past 4 or 5 decades.

As you know, our ingathering offering goal was set at $10,000. I’m happy to report that we have received $10,344.14 so far, exceeding our goal! Thank you for your generous gifts that go to furthering the Kingdom around the world.

If you weren’t able to give and you’d like to do so, you can continue to give to the Missions Sunday 2018 offering until Sunday, November 4.

Tonight we’re having Trunk or Treat at 6:15 pm in our parking lot! Even if you’re not decorating a trunk or have children to escort around, I’d like to encourage you to come and interact with the many families that will be with us. Trunk or Treat is a great opportunity for us to connect with new families in our community. Please pray for Pastor Denise and all those who have worked so hard putting this event together. Also, pray for all those who will come tonight. Let’s exude the love of Jesus as we have a great time of fun and fellowship.

I hope you can join us for worship this Sunday. We are using some of our service to recognize World Communion Sunday, which promotes unity, solidarity, and ecumenical cooperation with Christians around the world. Therefore, our music and singing will mostly be reflective of global Christianity. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, Beggar Spirituality, based on Mark 10:46-52. Immediately following the sermon, we will share in communion together. I encourage you to come with open hearts, ready to hear and receive what the Lord has for us.

Until we gather again as a church family, may we live in love as Christ loves us and gave himself for us on the cross.

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,

Fall is definitely upon us! It’s refreshing to feel the cool air outside. I confess that this is my favorite time of year. I have found that the change in the temperature carries with it the potential for change in my soul. I’d encourage us all to experience the changing of seasons that way. In what ways might God want to bring refreshment and change to your life?

This past Sunday we concluded our Streams series with a message called, Our Streams, Our Witness (6 of 6). I began by sharing how we affirm the Apostles’ Creed. I then pointed out something that was missing: the life and teachings of Jesus. If we want to be the difference the world needs to see in the church, we mustn’t overlook the importance of Jesus’ life and teachings. As I mentioned in the sermon, Jesus commissioned us to make disciples that learn to follow his commands (Matt 28:18-20). And what were some of those commands?

Here are a few commands that come primarily from the Sermon on the Mount:

  • Love and pray for your enemies (Matt 5:44-46)

  • Repent of your sins and follow him (Matt 4:17-19)

  • Store up treasures in heaven, not wealth on earth (Matt 6:19-21)

  • Don’t worry but trust God instead (Matt 6:25)

  • Seek the Kingdom of God above all things (Matt 6:33)

  • Don’t judge people’s hearts (Matt 7:1)

  • Treat others like you want to be treated (Matt 7:12)

  • Forgive others/be reconciled (Matt 5:23-24; 18:21-22)

  • Love God and your neighbor (Matt 22:37-39)

Since Jesus commands us to live in this way, how do we actually put these things into practice? Well, we can’t do it alone. This is why we have been stressing the importance of our sermon-based small groups at Grantham Church. Jesus had a small group (a personal space) where he invited his disciples to share the journey together. Are you meeting with others to talk about these things? I want to encourage you to go below the surface in your conversations and be real about those areas God is speaking to you. And then encourage each other unto repentance and obedience. This is the way of discipleship.

This weekend is Missions Sunday – The World of Missions. Please join us as we explore and celebrate the world of missionaries and the ways they serve. Jonathan and Becky Owen, our missionaries in Malawi, will speak to our adults and our children at 9:00 am, Jonathan will preach in the service, and there will be a lunch in the fellowship hall. We will also have an evening gathering in the sanctuary at 6:30 pm with John and Esther Spurrier, long-time BIC missionaries to Zambia. They will share of the great work God has done through them in helping to eradicate AIDS in Africa.

Want to give to the Ingathering Offering this Sunday? There will be envelopes in the pew racks for you to designate your offering. 50% will go to support Jonathan and Becky Owen, Jay & Judy Smith, and Secure Workers in the Middle East. The other 50% will go to help these projects: Macha Hospital Support, Malawi IT Server & Support, Leadership Development in Spain and in Mozambique. Thanks in advance for helping us reach our goal of $10,000 in order to assist our brothers and sisters in the work of the Kingdom around the world.

You are making a difference, Grantham Church. May we press on in the hope of the resurrection, for we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

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,

Have you found a way to testify yet? If you were with us this past Sunday, you heard Pastor Kelly challenge us to walk out the message by sharing what God has done in your life. It could be with a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. You can do that in person or on social media. How can you testify to how the “good news” of Jesus has made a difference in your life?

I do hope that you found the message on evangelicalism helpful. You can listen/watch Evangelicalism: The Way of Passion at our website or via the Grantham Church Podcast. In our fourth and final stream, I shared how the evangelicalism of today is not the movement that the BIC first embraced in the 1950s. What is evangelicalism and how has it changed? Should we acknowledge it as one of our streams? I encouraged us to see the best about historic evangelicalism and discard what can’t be synthesized with our other streams—to be evangelicals with a difference.

This Sunday I’ll be bringing our Streams series to a close with a message entitled, Our Streams, Our Witness (6 of 6). We should recognize what orthodox Christianity shares in common (i.e. Apostle’s Creed), while boldly embodying our beliefs and proclaiming our distinctives in love and grace. How can the Spirit use our unique beliefs and practices to further his purposes today? I hope you can join us for the conclusion of our series, as we seek to be the difference the world needs to see in those who claim the name of Jesus.

Don’t forget that Missions Sunday is coming up on Sunday morning, October 21. Jonathan and Becky Owen will be sharing about their work in Malawi in a combined learning community class at 9:00, preaching in the service at 10:30, and then will answer questions over an African lunch in the fellowship hall. Please come and show your support of the Owen family through your time, attention, and the ingathering offering. As their home congregation, we are honored to serve the Owen family and learn from the work they are doing in southeastern Africa.

Finally, I want to thank all of those who served at Harvest Happening and helped to make our time together on the front lawn a meaningful experience. On top of our Grantham family, we welcomed several new families and college students to this festive event. Close to 300 people enjoyed food, fellowship, games, cider, and some great music by the Eric Byrd Trio. It was wonderful to see everyone having a good time, even if it did feel like summer. Also, I want to thank you for making my visiting family members feel at home. They were extremely impressed by your love and hospitality on Sunday.

Let’s keep pressing on and living as people who have encountered the good news of Jesus. And may God continue to bless Grantham Church in the days ahead.

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,

What did you decide to give up this week? This past Sunday we looked at Wesleyanism: The Way of Holiness (4 of 6) in our Streams series. At the end of the message, Pastor Kelly challenged us to “walk it out” by doing a mini-fast and giving up something we want. It could be a certain food, snack, or drink you have every day. It might be intentionally not watching the news in the evening. It could also be cutting back on the time you spend on your smart phone. Whatever it is, whenever you feel the desire to have those things, we’re asking you to deny yourself and say, “God, you are enough.”

What am doing? I’ve decided to leave my smart phone on the other side of the room and out of sight for most of my evenings at home. So, what are you doing to embody the message about holiness? Remember, holiness involves sustained attention to the heart. Notice any compulsive behavior? Any obsessions or addictions? Is there something you can’t seem to live without? If you’re not sure, ask your parent, your spouse, or a friend. They might be able to help you. And then consider what is going on in your heart. Once you’ve identified the area of need, ask God to meet you there.

As I said in the message last Sunday, fasting is something we have a hard time doing as Americans. You see, the spirit of the age today would have us believe that getting what we want is the greatest good, and that denying ourselves those things that bring us pleasure somehow violates or threatens who we are. But isn’t that the same deception that the serpent used against Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? They turned from believing that God was enough to satisfy their curiosity and deepest longings, and they instead tried to receive life by indulging themselves on what would only bring them temporary pleasure. Of course, the pleasure quickly led to a feeling of emptiness and an acute awareness of being distant from God. Clearly, we’re not better for getting everything we want.

When Jesus says to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him… he intends for us to do it in that order. That’s the way discipleship works. That’s how we come to experience God’s peace and joy. We can’t follow Jesus without learning to deny things that we desire, be they good things or bad things. Jesus taught us that self-denial is the way you discover a deeper life. For it’s in denying your own desires that God is able to show you more of his great love for us, and of our great need for him. So, I encourage you to let the Spirit guide you to those areas in your life that God wants to fill with more of himself.

This coming Sunday we will look at our final stream, Evangelicalism: The Way of Passion (5 of 6). As many of you know, this stream will need to be unpacked more than the others. It is the most recent stream within the BIC, being with us for almost 70 years now. I hope you can join us in worship this weekend. I look forward to sharing how I believe we can best synthesize evangelicalism with our other historic streams, and be the difference the world needs to see in the church today.

Finally, don’t forget that this Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm is our annual fall festival, Harvest Happening. Come and join us for live music (Eric Byrd Trio), food, fun, and fellowship! We will have games for children, youth, and adults. There will be a bounce house for the kids. We will also be running the apple cider press. We will have quite a few hay bales, as well as some tables and chairs, but we’re encouraging you to bring your personal lawn chairs this year. We plan to be outside on the lawn facing the college, weather permitting. Please invite your family, friends, and neighbors. We desire that this event be a place of intersecting with the college and our community.

Have a great week! See you in worship on Sunday.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  We have received word that the road construction at the intersection of Lisburn Rd and Grantham Rd is now complete! The detour signs are removed and the new roundabout is open for traffic. If you’ve never used a roundabout, or you need a reminder on how it works, please watch this video. Drive safely my friends.

* 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