Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,
 
I hope you’re enjoying your summer and the change of pace that this season brings.
 
This past Sunday I preached a message entitled, The Power of Choice. The Bible teaches that Jesus fully reveals to us that God is love. And because God is love, he created a free world where we have some say as to what comes to pass. We can use our freedom to be wise, or unwise (Eph 5:15-17). We can do a great deal of good, or make poor choices that result in disastrous consequences. However, as I said toward the end of the sermon, we can take comfort in knowing that God is able to bring good out of every circumstance, even when we’ve made a mess of our lives due to bad decisions (Rom 8:28).
 
Also, I said we should live wisely because our choices, become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character becomes our being—who we are. What then do your choices reveal about the person you’re becoming? Are you pursuing Jesus with your choices, becoming more and more like him, or are you doing what feels “natural” and comes easy? If we want to be the Lord’s disciples, we must be intentional in the sanctification process, because nobody coasts their way to holiness.
 
In other words, we must listen to Jesus (through Scripture and prayer) and other trusted disciples (e.g. a parent, a spouse, a friend, etc.) about what does and doesn’t reflect God’s best for us, and then rely on the Spirit’s help to change us over time. This is what it means to be a disciple: we’re learning to be like Christ by carrying our cross daily (Lk 9:23). Therefore, I encourage you to keep on keeping on with your life as a disciple of Jesus. Remember, in time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal 6:9). So, keep calm and disciple on.
 
I hope you can join us this Sunday morning in worship. I’ll be preaching a message called, God & Government: A Responsible Reading of Romans 13. Not only will the sermon be relevant to our current socio-political situation and context in America, but we will be taking communion at the end of the service. In “third way” fashion, I intend to call us all to remember who we are as disciples of Jesus.
 
Also, this will be my last Sunday before I go on vacation. I’ll be on summer vacation from June 29-July 8. There will be guest speakers on July 1 and July 8. Stay tuned for more details about those Sundays.
 
Finally, even though it’s summertime, I want to remind you to stay connected to what is happening at Grantham Church. I believe there are some exciting things ahead for our congregation. But as I said in my vision talk a couple weeks ago, nothing of Kingdom significance happens without us first joining with God in prayer. May God empower us and protect us as we follow Jesus together.
 
Have a great week. See you Sunday!
 
Grace & Peace,
 
Pastor David
 
P.S.  I wanted to let you know that the sealing/painting for our parking lot has been postponed from this Friday to Thursday, July 5 due to weather conditions this week. In addition, you’ve all seen the construction that has begun at the corner of Grantham and Lisburn. We have been informed that PennDOT will soon be putting in a roundabout at the intersection in front of the president’s house. We’re not sure when this project will begin, but we’ve been told that we will be given a 1-2 week notice. So, as soon as we know, we will post that information along with a map showing the detour route. The entire project should hopefully be completed before the beginning of the fall semester. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all prepare for these changes.

* 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,
 
Vacation Bible School is going well. We broke a record the first day with 175 kids in attendance! We are so thankful that God is blessing this ministry at Grantham Church. Please continue to pray for the children and all of the volunteers throughout the week. We look forward to hearing how the week went this Sunday in our worship service.
 
If you missed the service this past Sunday, I preached a message entitled, Beware the Yeast of the Pharisees. Who were the Pharisees? Why did Jesus have such strong words of rebuke for them? And what is the “yeast” (sins) that he warned us to watch out for as his disciples? I encourage you to go back and listen to the sermon if you weren’t present in worship. I do believe that we see the sins of the Pharisees at work in the church today, and we want to be careful that we’re standing with Jesus and not those whom Jesus says will never enter the Kingdom of God.
 
After the sermon, I said that one of the reasons that Pharisees don’t see and treat people like Jesus—extending God’s love, mercy, and grace—is because they haven’t experienced those things for themselves. You see, it’s possible to grow up in the church, learn some stuff about the Bible, go through the motions, but not actually have a real experience(s) of God’s love. But as Brethren in Christ, we believe that the Christian life is made up of these experiences. In fact, the more experiences we have, the more we’re helped along to become like Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian.
 
The Christian life is not easy, but it does get easier the more we submit to the Spirit and respond out of the mercy he has lavished on us.
 
You may remember the story in Luke 7:36-50 when a “sinful” woman (likely a prostitute) barges in on Jesus’ dinner with the Pharisees. She washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. She also anoints Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfume. In typical Pharisaical fashion, the religious leaders can’t believe that Jesus allows her to do this. “Don’t you know what kind of woman she is? She’s a sinner!” Jesus then responds with a short story about forgiving debts. And he said, “The person who has been forgiven little, will forgive little.”
 
In other words, if you don’t recognize the gravity of your own pitiful state, and what a merciful and gracious act it was for God to forgive you of your sins, then you won’t extend that forgiveness to others. But if you do see yourself as you really are, as Peter once said, “Go away from me, Lord! I’m a sinful person” (Luke 5:8), then you can’t help but reciprocate what God has done for you. What Jesus was saying to the Pharisees was this: “You’re acting this way toward this woman [shaming and shunning her] because you don’t recognize how sinful you are and what God has done for you.”
 
That would be tough for the Pharisees to hear, right? And even tougher for them to actually repent of their self-righteous, judgmental attitudes so they can adopt Jesus’ way of seeing people. Yet, that is what Jesus asks of us who take his name and profess to follow him. What about you? Are you finding it difficult to forgive or extend mercy and grace to others? I want to encourage us to see ourselves the way God sees us—made in his image, but broken and not as we should be. For that’s when we will experience more of God’s love and be changed by an encounter with his holiness.
 
Brothers and sisters, nothing is hidden from God. He sees all of our short-comings and hypocrisies. He knows how much we need him. The question is… do we know that and show that? If so, I encourage us to allow the Holy Spirit to soften our hard hearts and give us the heart of Jesus—a heart of compassion, mercy, and grace. And let us be known for that heart at Grantham Church.
 
I hope to see you in worship this Sunday. Until then, may God give you fresh experiences of his love and grace in your life.
 
Grace & Peace,
Pastor David
 
P.S. We are continuing to work on bringing clarity to our missional communities (MCs) at Grantham. Remember that MCs are communities of people, on mission with God, who seek to make disciples by demonstrating the gospel tangibly through a common service and witness to a specific group of people. Examples of these are Paxton, New Hope, Friends Over Fences, etc. And as I’ve said before, we should have about 4-5 missional communities in a church our size, with the current level of involvement. We’re making progress, but we need your help. If you have any specific thoughts or ideas on how you see God at work at Grantham, or how you’d like to personally be involved in a MC, please contact Dan Bisbee (dbisbee@granthamchurch.org) in the church office. Thank you!

* 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 this letter finds you living in love toward God and your neighbors. Thanks for taking a few minutes each week to read my emails to you.

If you weren’t able to join us for worship last Sunday, I gave a message entitled, The God Who Meets Our Needs. I made a big announcement toward the end of that sermon.

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We are absolutely thrilled that Kelly Chripczuk is joining us as our new Associate Pastor at Grantham Church. You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript to learn about her background and journey up to this point. We are excited about Pastor Kelly and her family coming to Grantham. Pastor Kelly will begin her role on Monday, July 30, and she will be installed on Sunday, August 5. She will also be preaching that day as well.
 
There were about 75 in attendance for our Special Congregational Council on Sunday evening. Every year we have an end of the year Congregational Council to conduct the business of Grantham Church. This year we decided to hold a Special Council where we could give you a mid-year update on where we are as a church, and so I could share some vision about where I see us going in the future. If you missed the gathering and you’re a member and/or regular attender at Grantham, I strongly encourage you to take the time to listen to the update and vision casting that I shared with our church.
 
In my vision casting, I mentioned 5 different ways that I’m inviting us to move ahead into God’s good future. Those 5 points of vision for Grantham Church are: (1) seeing our facilities as a Kingdom resource; (2) missional communities; (3) church planting; (4) partnering with congregations of our missionaries; and (5) being a leader within our denomination and beyond.
 
I expounded on each of these in my talk before sharing two major challenges that we will need to overcome. We then had a time for questions and comments. It was a blessing to receive feedback that was affirming, encouraging, and helpful in discerning the way forward. I trust that the Holy Spirit is stirring our hearts and minds to dream, and to believe that God can do more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
 
At the end of our meeting, I called our church to begin praying very fervently for what God wants to do next with Grantham. Will you do that? Will you commit to praying for the vision that God is placing before us?
 
Also, ask yourself how God is calling you to be a part of Grantham’s future? What can you give? How does he want you to serve? As always, I want to challenge us to lean in and listen to God’s voice, so that we can faithfully respond to his will for us. In doing that, our roots will grow down deeper into Christ. And we will receive the Kingdom blessings that come through obedience, so that we can then be a blessing to others.
 
In the meantime, know that your staff and board are working toward seeing this vision become a reality. We will prayerfully pursue each of these in the days ahead, moving us further in the direction of being a missional church. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. I look forward to what God will do through our members, and through those who aren’t yet a part of our congregation.
 
I’ll see you this Sunday. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, Beware the Yeast of the Pharisees.
 
May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we seek to bring glory to the name of Jesus and his Kingdom in 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, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Our Missio Dei series is now in the books! If you missed any sermons in the series, you can go back and listen or watch them at our website. You can also listen on the go by subscribing to the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes. I have been encouraged to see how many of you have been processing the messages, and that you’re asking the question, “Where does God want us to go? Where do I fit in what God wants to do?”

It’s important that we see how God is moving us forward into his good future for Grantham Church. Are you seeing that? Remember, in our Roots series we looked at who we are and what we value as a congregation. In our Brick by Brick series we were first introduced to the “spaces” of the church and we looked at the purpose of the church, as well as our commission to make disciples who make disciples. Our Missio Dei series has taken us further down the road by looking at God’s desire to reach others within our sphere of influence, and by seeking to bring clarity to what it means to be a missional church.

I’m sure there will be another series in the near future that will continue to build on this foundation, but for now, I’ve invited us to be intentional in processing the content we have covered thus far. In the final message of our Missio Dei series, I said that we need the Holy Spirit to propel us forward as a church. I truly believe that with deep prayer, hungry hearts, and a longing for more at Grantham—a holy discontentment—the Spirit will bring about greater things through us. We can be a part of a missional movement and lead out in being a church that reflects the missional Jesus in our broken world.

Please join me in believing that God can do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine in the church (Eph 3:20-21). During the summer months, I’m not planning to begin any lengthy series of messages. Instead, I want to use the weeks ahead to freely move from one thing to the next, as I sense the Spirit leading. This Sunday I’ll be preaching a message entitled, The God Who Meets Our Needs. We will look at how Jesus reveals a God that is not only capabale of meeting our needs, he wants to meet our needs. But we must first see ourselves in need of what he offers us. And then, at the end of my message, I’ll be making a bigannouncement. The search has come to an end, and I can’t wait to introduce you to our new Associate Pastor!

Finally, this Sunday evening we are holding what we have been calling a “Special Council” at 6:30 pm. It may be more fitting to think of it as a mid-year update. We were planning to get some information about the meeting to you ahead of time, but we are not prepared to vote on anything at this point, so it didn’t seem necessary. We apologize for any confusion that previous announcements have caused. This Sunday evening we simply want to report out on how we’re doing as a church (staff, ministries, financial info, etc.), where we’re going in the last half of the year, and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

Also, I’ll be sharing some specifics concerning the “vision” I have for our congregation, as well as some challenges that I believe we can overcome together. I’m excited about sharing these things with you, and I value your feedback and questions as we discern the Spirit’s leading as a church on mission for God. I hope to see you there.

Have a great week! I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday, as it’s bound to be a meaningful and memorable time together.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  You have probably noticed that our two front projectors in the sanctuary are fading with time, making it difficult to see our screens. It was especially noticeable this past Sunday in worship. I want you to know that our staff and board have been aware of our sound, video (projection), and lighting needs for a while now, and we’ve been following a process to bring some much-needed updates to our worship technology. Thank you for your patience as we take the necessary steps toward enhancing our Sunday morning worship experience. And thank you for continuing to faithfully give your offerings each week, as it deepens our discipleship and allows us to carry out our mission as a church.

* 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,
 
The sun is shining today and it is warming up! I hope you’re able to get outside and enjoy the nice weather.

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost done with our Missio Dei series. This past Sunday we looked at Missional Living (5 of 6), where I began by talking about “missional communities” at Grantham Church. As a large church, I believe that our congregation ought to be made up of “communities” of people, on mission with God, who seek to make disciples by demonstrating the gospel tangibly through a common service and witness to a specific group of people. We can’t do everything, but we can harness our energy and focus our attention on a few things and do those things well.

And so I encouraged us to begin thinking of our “OUT” ministries in this way. For example, those who have a passion for Paxton ministries should think of themselves as part of our missional community to Paxton. Also, those who work with Friends Over Fences and care deeply about ex-offenders, as well as others in need who come through Jewel’s Closet, should think of themselves as part of that missional community.

In addition, I said we need to clarify other missional communities in our church and invite our congregation to serve through these avenues. What about those who have a heart for education, locally and globally? What about those who have a heart for multi-cultural ministry or ministry to women at risk? In a church our size, we should have about 5 or 6 missional communities. What is God saying to you about your participation in or creation of a missional community? Join me in praying for God’s direction as our church leadership seeks to clearly define what missional communities exist and which ones should be created moving into the future.

This Sunday we will conclude our Missio Dei series by looking at how the Holy Spirit empowered the early church to carry on the mission Jesus gave his disciples. We will then consider how the same Spirit wants to empower us to do greater things than we could ever ask for or imagine, if we’re hungry for more and are willing to cry out for more of the Kingdom in our church and our community. That’s how movements are born.

Finally, I’m happy to report that our church staff had a great time together at Christian Retreat Center on Sunday and Monday. God truly blessed the 24 hours we devoted to team-building. Our staff was asked ahead of time to read The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni. I highly recommend it to leaders and members of a team. We had a lot of fun and frutiful conversations about what it means to be humble, hungry, and smart. Thank you for your prayers and support of our church staff. It is clear to me that God is building an amazing team of people to grow us into the future, and I’m excited to say that we will soon be adding another member to the team.

Stay tuned and plugged in so you don’t miss out on the story that God is writing at Grantham Church. See you Sunday!
 
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,
 
Check out the new look to the weekly Email From the Pastor! Thanks to Lisa Mays, our Communications Director, for making it happen. We hope that this fresh format is more helpful and pleasant to the eyes. This weekly communique is the best way for you to stay connected and informed on what we’re doing and where we’re going as a congregation.
 
We are now four weeks in to our six week sermon series, Missio Dei – A Worship Series on the Mission of God. If you’ve missed any of the messages, remember that you can listen/watch the sermons on our website or via the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes. This past Sunday we looked at Missional Leaders (4 of 6) and how God wants to raise up pioneers among us. I said that according to Ephesians 4:11-16 everyone has one or more “base” gifts or ministries. What is your base ministry? How is God calling you to serve and lead at Grantham Church?
 
It’s worth repeating that only Jesus perfectly embodied the fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. That’s important because it means that we need each other to corporately express Christ in our church and in our surrounding community. And since it’s vital to the health of the church that we have people functioning in all of these roles, it’s necessary, for example, that we stop and ask, “Who are the apostles among us? What are we doing to call them out and empower them?” We might also ask, “Who are the evangelists in our church? What are they doing to help us reach our neighbors? Are we taking them seriously?”
 
Think about this, church. While all of our voices and gifts are important, it serves us well to recognize who the prophets are among us, and ask, “Are we listening to what God is saying though them?” Once we recognize the giftings each of us have, it allows us to be open to hearing how God is speaking through them to us. If we don’t recognize their gifts, well, it’s easy for us to tell the prophet to keep his voice down, or to tell the evangelists to be content because we like the make-up of our congregation as it is already.
 
My point is this: God wants to raise up missional leaders who are utilizing their gifts to grow our church. It benefits us to recognize who they are and prayerfully discern how God is working through them for his glory.
 
As I said in my sermon, each of us have at least one of the base ministries. And I think it’s those who have matured in their giftings that God calls to lead in the church. Will you spend some time thinking about your gifting? It may be time for you to step up and lead in some way. It may also be the case that God wants to grow you in that gifting? Just remember, missional leaders are followers first. They are learning who they are in Christ before they are sent out to do ministry. That means it may be time for some of you to rest and (re)discover your identity in Christ, until it’s time to work again. Whatever it is, follow the Lord’s leading.
 
I remain hopeful about the future of our church. I believe God wants to multiply the number of folks in our congregation who are a part of our committed core—those who are connected and plugged in to all of the spaces of church life. I’m confident that God is building a solid foundation and setting us on a trajectory for greater things. If you see that too, join me in asking the Spirit to propel us forward on his mission for Grantham Church.
 
Finally, I’d like to ask that you pray for your church staff. We will be leaving this Sunday afternoon to spend a day-retreat at Christian Retreat Center. We will return on Monday evening. Therefore, the church office will be closed this Monday, May 21. Thank you for your prayers and support as we take some time for personal enrichment and team building.
 
I hope to see you this Sunday in worship. We will continue our Missio Dei series with a message entitled, Missional Living (5 of 6). I’ll be talking about what it means to have “missional communities” in our church, and what it looks like to be evangelists today in a post-Christian culture. Until we gather again to worship the Lord together, may you live in love toward God and others, just as Christ loved you and gave himself for you.
 
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