Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

We launched our six-week Knowing Jesus series this past Sunday with the message, Nothing Greater Than Jesus. In this first sermon, I invited us to consider the centrality and supremacy of Jesus over all things in our lives and in the universe. God the Father exalted Jesus, the Word made flesh, to the highest place. Therefore, Jesus is the very reason we exist and the way by which we can experience the fullness of life. So, when knowing this Jesus is at the center of our life, we become more and more human—seeing and experiencing the world the way he did.

That is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10-11). Paul wanted to grow into Christ’s very own image, even to the point of suffering! He understood that the more he got to know the person of Jesus, the more he would see the world through his eyes, feel what he felt (i.e. joys and sorrows), and experience the power of God working through him. Paul said that everything else is garbage.

You see, for Paul, knowing Jesus wasn’t about learning stuff, though that can certainly be helpful. Instead, knowing Jesus was and is about embodying his Spirit and living the way he lived, which is what God wants for all of humanity. In other words, the whole point of Christianity and the work of the church—the irreducible minimum of our faith—is that we would come to know Jesus and be transformed by walking with him in a real relationship. And that’s what this series is all about.

Remember, if you’re coming and going at the end of summer, you can stay connected and follow the sermons at our website or at the Grantham Church Podcast on iTunes. Sermons are online by the end of the day on Monday. Thank you for listening, reflecting, and applying what God is speaking to us through our weekly messages.

Until we gather again, may the Holy Spirit continue to stir our hearts and give us a hunger for more of God’s presence and power at Grantham Church.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for baptisms at the creek on Sunday, August 18. That is also the last Sunday of our sermon series. If you’re interested in being baptized this summer, please contact the church office ASAP. You can email us at office@granthamchurch.org.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It was good to be back in the pulpit this past Sunday. I addressed a topic that has become increasingly difficult to talk about in our post-Christian culture, which generally tends to scoff at the idea of the devil, demons, and spiritual warfare. I mentioned that 40% of Christians in the US believe that the devil is merely a symbol of evil, not a personal agent of evil. About 20% aren’t sure. This is a disturbing trend and it reveals that a growing number of Christians are denying something that the Bible teaches is a fundamental aspect of reality. How can we oppose the real enemy if the church doesn’t believe he exists?

In a message entitled Not Against Flesh & Blood, I began by sharing a personal experience with the appearing of a dark figure in my college dorm room. I believe this demonic attack was in response to my commitment to passionately pray with a sense of urgency for family, friends, my church, and some of the worst of sinners. I was even praying for rock stars that were associated with the occult and Satanism. Needless to say, I had gotten the attention of the “principalities and powers” (Eph 6:12). I didn’t grow up in a “charismatic” church, but this event definitely impacted the way I view prayer.

From there I invited us to consider what the Scriptures teach regarding the spiritual fight we’re in as followers of Jesus. I said that our worldview will shape the way we pray. If we believe that everything happens because God wants/wills it (even evil things), then we are far less likely to revolt against evil in the world. We will probably not see the real enemy (Satan), pray with a sense of urgency, or pray in the way that we ought. So, accepting that God is revealed in Jesus as the One who stands apart from evil, and calls us to oppose the darkness in all its forms, has made it possible for me to see that we’re in a real battle of the wills. That’s what I hope we will embrace. We can shape the future, for better or for worse. We can act or not act. We can engage or disengage. Our decisions matter.

Remember, we pray “thy will be done” (as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer) because clearly God’s will is not always done. Therefore, God calls us to cry out for more of the Kingdom through prayer and join him in resisting the devil (James 4:7). May we be a church that acknowledges this truth and corporately utilizes prayer as a spiritual weapon against the forces of darkness in the heavenly realms. Let us passionately pray with a sense of urgency for our family, friends, our church, and those who have great power to influence the world around us.

Finally, if you’re in town this weekend, please join us for worship at 10:30 am as we kick off a 6-week summer series called, Knowing Jesus – A Worship Series for Saints & Sinners. You will find a summary of the series in a bulletin insert this Sunday. The first sermon in the series is called, Nothing Greater Than Jesus. I look forward to worshipping with you as we consider what it means to make knowing Jesus our greatest passion and pursuit in life.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  Grantham Church will be offering meeting space to Eileen Gardner, a Professional Counselor and recent graduate of Messiah’s Graduate Counseling Program. Eileen is a long-time member of Mechanicsburg BIC Church. She will be meeting with people at Grantham Church on Tuesdays, from 8am -12 pm and Thursdays, 5pm -9 pm. Eileen will be offering a special reduced rate to clients associated with our church. Interested in scheduling an appointment?  Contact Eileen at egardnercounseling@gmail.com or call 717-526-0943. Questions? Contact Pastor Kelly @kchripczuk@granthamchurch.org.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I have returned from a two-week vacation with my family. We were able to see both sides of our family in Texas, do a few things at home, and then conclude our time in the mountains of Virginia at Massanutten Resort. We especially enjoyed time away with our boys in Virginia. If you’re on Facebook, you can see some pictures of our adventure posted on my wall.

In my absence, two gifted women filled the pulpit. If you’ve missed a Sunday in the past two weeks, check out Evie Telfer’s sermon on how Jesus redefines what it means to be family, particularly in how his radical vision relates to single people in the church. Also, Pastor Kelly challenged us to consider what it means to follow Jesus with her message, The Cost of Discipleship.

This Sunday we will continue with the theme of discipleship and share communion together. We will also have a sending prayer for those going on the youth mission trip this coming week. Please be in prayer for Pastor Dave and his family. Dave’s grandmother passed away and he will be out of town at her funeral this weekend. Paul & Melissa Cohen will be leading us in worship.

Finally, I know that summer affords many of us a break and a much-needed change of pace. Thank God for that! However, I want to encourage us all to remain in prayer for Grantham Church during the summer months. Let’s continue to pray for our staff, our ministries, for each other, and for the road ahead this fall. Please join me in going to God about where he is leading us as a congregation.

May God continue to pour out his mercy and grace upon all of our lives as we stay committed to Jesus and the Great Commission.

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 and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s summertime and folks are coming and going. Were you out of town this past Sunday? It was Pentecost Sunday. If you missed the sermon, you can listen to Marks of a Spirit-Filled Church at our website or at our podcast. I began by talking about the role of the Holy Spirit and we saw what it looks like when the Spirit is empowering the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Based on the book of Acts, I said that the Spirit-filled church will…

  • have Spirit-filled believers

  • be faithful to worship and share life with the community

  • pray fervently together

  • be unified in purpose

  • be generous in giving

  • see new disciples, church growth, spiritual maturity, etc.

  • see evidence of the supernatural, e.g. “Only God could do this!”

  • encounter resistance (discouragement, division, spiritual warfare, etc.)

  • experience the Holy Spirit’s power and courage

I then encouraged us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit and hinder his work in our lives and our church. Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve [emphasis mine] the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Let’s give some thought to how we can so easily grieve the Spirit with careless words and actions, and remember that these things quench the Spirit’s work. As John Wesley said, grieving the Spirit is like turning a friend away after saying or doing something hurtful to them. Instead, we want to welcome more of the Spirit by loving each other well, which Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 13. I hope that we will continue to strive to be a Spirit-filled church by exhibiting the items mentioned in the list above. Let’s press on and imagine greater things together as a congregation (Ephesians 3:20).

This Sunday we will have a full service, including the children’s choir (VBS songs) and a child dedication ceremony. Also, it’s Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday. As I said before, I will be preaching a follow-up message to The Mothering God sermon from last month. I’ll address why we call God our Father, in a message entitled, Our Father in Heaven. Please join us for worship if you’re able.

Finally, my family will be going on vacation after the service this Sunday. I will be out of the office from June 17-July 1. During that time you will receive the weekly Body Life but no letter from me. So, I want to let you know that Evie Telfer will be our guest preacher on June 23, and then Pastor Kelly will be filling the pulpit on June 30. I know that they will be a blessing to you in my absence. I would appreciate your prayers as my family gets away (first to TX, back to PA, then VA, and back again) for some much-needed time together. It’s been a challenging spring, so thanks in advance for your prayers.

See you this Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Our building has been full of children every morning this week for Vacation Bible School! Thanks to all those who have helped in some way to make this year’s Athens VBS a success. Please continue to pray for our children and volunteers. And may God bless our efforts to teach the little children about the good news of Christ in a fun, life-giving way.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

We completed our Money, Sex & Power series this past Sunday. I hope it challenged and encouraged you in your walk. If you missed any of the series, please check out the sermons and other worship resources at our website, as well as suggested reading on the bookshelf in the lobby. Remember that you can also listen to sermons on the go this summer at The Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes. If you’ve not subscribed to the podcast, please take a moment to do that and also give us a positive rating to help boost our visibility on iTunes. This increases the chances for folks to find the podcast and be blessed by it.

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, when we remember what it means that Jesus has given us his Holy Spirit. The Messiah worship band Seven will be leading us in worship, and I will be preaching a sermon entitled, Marks of a Spirit-Filled Church. In the Old Testament, the Spirit was at work in creation, empowered key individuals, and filled the Temple for a time. But it was through Jesus that the Spirit came in a unique way—empowering him to bring about the Kingdom on the earth. Finally, after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit comes upon his followers on the day of Pentecost, just as Jesus had foretold. And this Spirit causes the church to grow as she carries out the liberating work of Jesus in the world.

I hope you can join us this Sunday as I invite us to consider why the Spirit is necessary for both personal and congregational growth. We will learn what it looks like when the Spirit is at work in the church and what we must do to welcome his transforming presence among us. Have a great week, friends. And may God continue to bless our church as we seek to discern his will and apply his truths to our lives.

See you Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Don’t forget that Vacation Bible School (VBS) begins on Monday, June 10. Please be in prayer for Pastor Denise, all of our volunteers, and the children who will be joining us all week. Pray that God will open up hearts and minds as we minister to the precious children who will be taking a trip to Athens in the Grantham Church facilities. Thank you for your dedication to our children’s ministry.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Sex, marriage, and singleness. That’s what I addressed this past Sunday in a message entitled, Redeeming Sex (2 of 3). It was a lengthy message, but it was necessary in order for me to adequately cover the topic in a wholistic way. If you missed the sermon, I talked about what a major problem internet pornography is today, and shared how porn affects the brain and human development. I tied that in with what the Bible means by “one flesh” unions (Gen 2:24), and why God created sex to be enjoyed within a covenant relationship (i.e. marriage). I also pushed back a bit on culture’s mockery of “biblical” marriage.

Additionally, I showed how Jesus presents us with two options for expressing our sexuality: monogamous marriage or singleness. I closed by encouraging our congregation to see singleness being equal to marriage as a Kingdom calling, and to make celibacy more plausible in the church by not idolizing marriage and our own families. Instead, we must defy the loneliness that threatens all people by learning what it means for the church to be family, whereby we include others who long for connection and intimacy. We don’t need sex to be fulfilled or to experience real human connection. To claim that sex is a right for everyone, is to make sexual fulfillment an idol. As we’ve said in this series, only God can meet our deepest longings for connection. May we all come to experience this reality in the life of the church.

Next up is Redeeming Power. This coming Sunday we will conclude our series by addressing the idol of power and taking communion. Power is about getting things done. Particularly, it’s how we get things done or bring about a certain outcome. This Sunday we will look at how the world wields power versus what power looks like according to Christ, the cross, and the Kingdom of God. I will challenge us to denounce ways that the church often seeks to wield power as the world does in order to get our way. We will see how one way brings disaster and the other way leads to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Also, don’t forget that this Sunday we are starting up our two adult Learning Communities at 9:00 am. The Philatheans class will be studying the topic, Faith at Work in Christ’s Family. The second adult class will be looking at, Paul’s Letters to Timothy & Titus: Finding a Third Way Among Contemporary Issues. For more information, you will find our summer ministries flyer in mailboxes and at the welcome centers this Sunday morning. I want to encourage you, whether it’s a learning community or a small group, let’s stay connected as a family this summer.

Finally, this Sunday we will be offering up an opportunity to do that. Please see the announcement for the Brown Bag Lunch in the Body Life below for more details! Let’s join with old friends and new friends for this time of fellowship together. I look forward to seeing you there.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Just a reminder about the Giving at Grantham flyer that Dave Warren (church treasurer) mentioned two weeks ago. As you prepare for the joys and opportunities that summer brings, stop for a moment and think of how you might deepen your involvement in our shared ministry by increasing your support of Grantham. There are several ways you can give to Grantham and help us continue to impact lives in and outside our church. Would you consider starting, or deepening, your support at this time? If so, please contact the church office and we will be happy to assist you. Thank you for all that you do to help move our congregation forward into God’s good future!

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org