Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Our entire church staff returned yesterday from a great time retreating together at Christian Retreat Center. We enjoyed getting to hang out with each other outside of the office, as well as spending intentional time sharing our stories, struggles, and events that have been formative in our lives. Sharing our stories got pretty intense, but it was also very meaningful. I’m grateful for the time we had being vulnerable with each other. Please continue to pray that the Spirit will strengthen our relationships and guide us as we lead Grantham Church.

Last Sunday we began a new 3-part sermon series called, Money, Sex & Power. If you missed the first sermon that set up the series and addressed money, you can listen/watch at our website, or listen on the go via the Grantham Church Podcast on iTunes. In this first message, I explained what idols look like today and how money can be a big one for some people. How do we redeem money and use it to serve Christ and his Kingdom, instead of living to serve money? I addressed this and much more inRedeeming Money. If you’d like to go further, check out the small group discussion questions.

I hope you can join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series. I’ll be preaching a sermon entitled, Redeeming Sex. Parents, I will be mindful that there are children in the room, but please use your discretion as to whether your child is ready to hear words related to the topic (e.g. sex, sexual intimacy, sexual immorality, pornography, etc.). This would be a good Sunday to utilize Kids Own Worship (K-5th grade). We have wonderful volunteers who are happy to continue leading your precious little ones in worship down in the children’s wing.

In this next message, we will take a look at the many ways sex has become a “disordered love” and has been idolized in our culture today. We will also consider how destructive sex can be outside of God’s original intent for it in marriage. Finally, we will reflect on how marriage and sex is meant to be a picture of Christ’s love for his church, and how it can bless society when it’s practiced as a sacred gift.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday. Included in our worship time will be a sending prayer for 4 people going on the annual Civil Rights Bus Tour next month. Until we’re together again, may God bless you with his inexplicable joy as you seek to follow Jesus through the rest of the week. Let us seek the Kingdom first, and then watch God supply all of our needs.

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 a beautiful day outside! I hope you can find some time to get out there and enjoy it.

I want to thank you for the positive feedback on my sermon from Sunday. It’s very encouraging to hear how The Mothering God resonated with many of you. Here are a few main points from the message: (1) God is spirit and transcends gender (Jn. 4:24); (2) God encompasses the best of masculine and feminine qualities; (3) we can and should learn to relate to God as a Mother, as well as Father.

I also challenged us to reflect and respond to the following questions:

  1. How is the Spirit leading you to connect with the Mothering God?

  2. Are you aware of how patriarchy has excluded the feminine side of God and contributed to the oppression of women?

  3. Are you experiencing the feminine side of God (e.g. affection, nurture, intimacy)?

  4. How might God want to bring healing to you and others through this message?

This coming Sunday we will begin a 3-part sermon series called, Money, Sex & Power: When Sacred Gifts Become Idols of the Heart. In this series, I want us to consider how God has called us to live rightly with three gifts that too often become the biggest obstacles to faithfully following Jesus and knowing the freedom that he gives us. Each week we will look at some of the ways our culture has idolized and distorted these gifts, and then how God can redeem them for our good and the furtherance of the Kingdom. Discussion questions will be provided as a guide for our sermon-based small groups.

Be encouraged, friends. The Spirit is at work in Grantham Church. May God give us the eyes to see where the Spirit is at work, so that we might partner with God in bringing hope and healing to the world.

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,

This past Sunday I shared a messaged called, Scandalous Grace. Here are several important points from the sermon:

  • The Apostle Paul, a strict-law abiding Pharisee, met the risen Jesus and began preaching the gospel of God’s grace;

  • Paul came to understand that Christ saves us by grace (not by works) and calls us to live by the Spirit and not by the Law;

  • It’s God’s loving kindness (i.e. grace) that leads us to repent and change, not judgment and condemnation;

  • Therefore, we should meet people where they are on their journey and extend God’s grace to them.

As I said in the sermon, this is how Jesus met the most despised people of his own day. For example, in Matthew 8:5-13, notice that Jesus doesn’t express his disagreement with the Roman centurion’s choices before he healed his servant upon request. And the truth is, a centurion would have known how a Jewish rabbi felt about his occupation. Remember, Romans were seen as foreign invaders and idolatrous oppressors of God’s people. Nevertheless, when the centurion approaches Jesus and asks him to heal his servant, Jesus responds by being willing to cross a major religious boundary and enter the centurion’s house to perform a miracle. The Gentile solider replies, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” Folks, that’s a guy who knows he is in need of grace!

As the story goes, Jesus heals the servant from a distance. And so the Lord extends God’s grace to an undeserving man of violence because in Jesus’ words, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Wow! That would have been scandalous! Jesus is acknowledging that people far from God can exhibit great faith. But that faith never would have been actualized had Jesus not extended grace and met the man where he was: a pagan who surprisingly believed in Jesus’ power to heal someone he deeply cared about.

Dear church, this is the God we worship. He enters into our mess and meets us where we are—rewarding whatever faith we can muster.

Let’s not move on from this message without giving it some serious consideration. Do you need to experience this kind of grace? Is there someone you need to extend God’s grace to as they work out what it means to follow Jesus? I encourage us to listen for the voice of the Spirit and then act upon his conviction and prompting that can lead us to freedom.

I hope to see you this Sunday in worship. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, The Mothering God. Until then, may you encounter God’s grace in your life and pass that grace on to others.

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,

I’m realizing just how much I needed spring! And thanks to a Zyrtec/Flonase combination, I’m really enjoying the season this year. I hope you are as well.

You know, it’s not uncommon for folks to grow up in the church and forget why the church exists. It’s also easy these days to become disillusioned with the church and want to back away from being so involved. Also, we live very busy lives. In fact, it’s never been so challenging to prioritize the church over other things that vie for our attention. So, what is the purpose of the local church? Do we really need to regularly gather and engage in a local congregation? And what’s the point when I can just listen to a sermon podcast and give to non-profits?

I addressed these questions and concerns this past Sunday, in a messaged entitled, Why You Need the Local Church to Follow Jesus. I also invited us to celebrate what God has been doing at Grantham, to consider where we can go together in the future, and then I challenged us to have a sense of urgency about meeting some of the needs we have as a congregation. Remember, if you sense God is calling you to engage in a new way and to help Grantham continue to grow, please contact the church office and let us know. We’d love to talk to you and help you discern how God is leading you.

I hope you can join us for worship this Sunday as we sing, recognize our graduates, hear God’s word, and receive communion together. We will begin again in Ephesians this Sunday, as we look further at how the work of Christ has impacted the church and her mission. I look forward to sharing how God’s grace has been extended to us so that we would be participants and carriers of that grace to others.

May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we hunger and thirst for more of Christ in ourselves and in the lives of our neighbors.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  As you all know, Gabi Bonifant is finishing up her time as the Worship Arts Intern at Grantham Church, which also means she’s about to graduate from Messiah College. As part of a final class project with Doug Curry, Gabi has requested our help by completing a survey. This survey is designed to help you reflect on your physical expression of worship. The purpose of the survey is to gain information on how comfortable congregants at Grantham Church are with different forms of physical expression in worship and why that is the case. Click on the following link to take the survey: https://forms.gle/D7B3wSyFGZc4Bo7CA. Your responses will remain anonymous and confidential. Thank you for taking 5-10 minutes to help!

* 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 hope your experience of Holy Week and Easter Sunday was as edifying for you as it was for our church staff. As we reflected on the previous week in our staff meeting yesterday, we were particularly encouraged by your participation this year in our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Not only has Jesus risen, but our attendance has risen in these two services! More of you are finding these services to be deeply meaningful and formative in our (re)telling of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I suspect that our appreciation for these services will only grow.

I heard a few people say, “Easter was far more meaningful because of the Good Friday service!” And to that I say, “Amen!” I personally didn’t grow up in a tradition that recognized holy days, beyond Christmas and Easter, of course. But now that I have been exploring more of the church calendar over the last several years, I can say that it has genuinely impacted my understanding of the gospel and deepened my faith in Christ. And I know that I’m not alone in this experience. Many of you have been on a similar journey.

As I recently read in the book, Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (2019), there appears to be a move of the Spirit toward the sacramental and liturgical among the church in North America. I’m very interested in that and would like to see our congregation continue to explore the power of the church calendar and liturgical practices that can best shape our faith in a post-Christian world. For us at Grantham, that means being a convergent congregation that sees the value in life-giving traditions and our connection to historic Christianity, while also embracing modern forms of worship and ministry in an effort to recontextualize the gospel for today. In this way we honor the past but also stay in step with the Spirit, as we move through time—closer and closer to Christ’s return.

Finally, remember that Easter isn’t one day, it’s a season! Lent was 40 days, but Easter is 50 days. In Eastertide, we learn and reflect on what it means to live into the reality that Christ has risen from the dead. Join us this Sunday for worship as we continue to celebrate Easter and consider what it means for our church to be a resurrection community on mission to make disciples and further new creation.

Until we gather again, may the Spirit fill you with the hope and joy that comes from the good news that God has raised Jesus from the dead.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  Don’t forget that our Peacemakers Workshop “Talking It Through: Staying Connected When We Disagree” is this Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm in C8-12. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Jim and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. Lunch will be provided by Messiah College and SEATING IS LIMITED. Time is running out! Please register ASAP for this FREE workshop by emailing the church office (office@granthamchurch.org).

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope that you benefited in some way from our Lent 2019 series. I concluded the series this past Sunday with a message entitled, Fickle Faith… Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! (6 of 6). I shared about the meaning of Palm Sunday and how Jesus is calling us to let go of what we want and cultivate convictions, particularly his own convictions. If we’re going to follow Jesus, staying with him wherever he goes and surrendering to his will for our lives, we must be prepared for him to do the unexpected. And remember, no matter how dark things get, Jesus reveals that there is reward on the other side of sacrifice.

This is Holy Week in the life of the church. It is also called Passion Week. Why? Because this is what everything in the life and ministry of Jesus was leading up to. It’s in his last hours upon the earth that Jesus most notably reveals the loving heart of God for fallen humanity, as he, the sinless Son of God, takes away our sin and nails it to the cross (Col 2:13-15). God help us if we ever forget the significance of this event. Therefore, we turn our gaze upon Christ and the cross, as well as our desperate need for his salvation, and we allow the Spirit to transform us through our reflection and experience of God’s love.

Our first Holy Week event is our Maundy Thursday Service, commemorating the Last Supper. We begin by eating a simple meal together at 5:30 pm. If you’d like to bring something to the table and help out, please let us know ASAP. Beginning at 6:30 pm, men and women will separately wash each other’s feet, as Jesus did for his own disciples. It’s at this time that we remember the love and service that Jesus calls us to as his followers. And then at 7:00 pm we will move into the sanctuary for a brief time of worship, sharing of the word, and communion by intinction. I hope to see you at this unique Holy Week event.

The next night at 7:30 pm, we will have our Good Friday Service. It’s at this service that we meditate and reflect on the meaning of the cross of Christ. This year we will sing songs, read Scripture, extinguish candles, and I’ll share a short sermon called, My Heart is Ready. Following the message, we will observe silence before the hammer rings out and the final candle extinguished.

And finally, you’re invited to celebrate Easter this Sunday at Grantham Church! As always, we have a very robust service planned for this special event. I want to encourage you to invite your family, your friends, and your neighbors to come worship the risen Lord with us. We’re expecting a full house in worship. So, I’d like to ask you to be intentional in welcoming our visitors. You can do this in several ways: (1) park as far away in the lot as you’re able (you can also use the BIC offices parking lot next door); (2) sit as close to the front of the sanctuary as you’re able, and move toward the center; (3) greet those who you don’t recognize and welcome them to Grantham Church. Let’s be extra vigilant in offering hospitality to each other this Sunday.

I’m very excited about the next few days as we open ourselves up and give Christ and the church our full attention. Let’s do all that we can to enter into the season for our own sake, but also for the sake of the church and those who are lost, so that the world may know the hope that is in Christ. May the Holy Spirit move among us in a powerful way this weekend. Be blessed, church.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Please remember that this is the final Sunday to sign-up for our Season of Service projects on April 27. At this point, we can still use up to 16 volunteers for the Serve Our Neighbors projects in the morning, and as many as 41 for the Serve Our Congregation projects that afternoon. If you have not signed up for that day yet, please stop by the sign-up station in the lobby this coming Sunday. Sign-ups for the following weeks are also available now and will continue through the Sunday preceding each weekend. Thanks again for giving of your time to serve!

* 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