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

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Are you practicing the presence of God this week? That was the “Walk It Out” challenge that Pastor Kelly gave us this past Sunday at the end of the sermon, Pietism: The Way of Renewal. In the latest installment of our Streams series, I talked about how God calls us not only to live and worship out of the left side of our brain, but out of the right side as well (i.e. our emotions). The Spirit calls us to go below the surface so Christ can meet us in the innermost place. We refer to this place as our heart. This is what it means to “abide” in Jesus (John 15:5-8), and the way to be renewed in our soul.

We suggested that you spend five minutes resting in God’s presence each day this week. As the hymn “Blessed Assurance” says, “Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.” You can do this in several ways. You could try focusing on your breathing (imagine that you’re breathing in the Spirit and exhaling all that doesn’t reflect Christ in you). Focusing on your breathing means your mind is less likely to wander. You could read slowly through a verse or two of Scripture, close your eyes and envision what you’re reading (e.g. Psalm 23 – Say, “The Lord is my shepherd…” and see him in your imagination).

You could also set your phone alarm at a certain time of day and pray for a greater awareness of God’s presence in your lives. You might also want to listen to a favorite song or hymn that speaks to you—old, familiar songs might work for you, or trying a new song might be better. I have been practicing the Lord’s presence with two new Lauren Daigle songs, You Say and Remember. I encourage you to get alone in a quiet place, plug in your earphones, and allow the Lord to meet you as you make the song your own prayer to him. Give yourself permission to “feel” your own emotions and hear God’s voice.

I’m happy to report that after the sermon on Sunday some of you sent in your reflections on last week’s assignment to pray for your enemies. Here are a few responses we received:

  • “It is both hard and freeing.”

  • “When I prayed for my ‘enemies’, I immediately felt a softening.”

  • “I began to wonder: how many people are praying for me because I am their enemy?”

Please take a few minutes this week to let us know how practicing God’s presence has gone for you. Share your experiences with Pastor Kelly at kchripczuk@granthamchurch.org.

Remember, we’re not wanting just to give mental ascent to our beliefs, but also to embody them. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities throughout this series to experience a deepening of faith in your walk with Christ, and to put into practice what we confess with our mouths. In this case, we say Jesus is alive and a person that we can encounter in the power of the Holy Spirit. So, go, encounter him, church. Experience him in your head and your heart, for that’s how we truly change to become more like him. Be still and know that he is God, alive and present with you.

Finally, I want to remind you that Harvest Happening is coming up on Sunday, October 7 at 4:00 pm. If the weather cooperates this year, we will be setting up outside with games, apple cider press, good food, and live music. We’re excited to have The Eric Byrd Trio with us again for our annual fall festival. They were with us two years ago and blessed us through their music. Please consider inviting your neighbors, friends, and family. Harvest Happening is a great opportunity to reach out to the college and our community. Mark your calendars and join our church family for a fun, festive, outdoor event.

May God bless you as you practice his presence this week. See you this Sunday in worship!

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,
 
How is it going this week with praying for your enemies? If you missed the message on Sunday, we continued with our fall sermon series, Streams: Embodying the Beliefs & Practices of the Brethren in Christ.

This past Sunday we looked at our first stream in a sermon entitled, Anabaptism: The Way of Peace (2 of 6). I challenged us to embody the way of peace set forth in the teachings of Jesus by praying for our enemies. I hope that you’ve been intentional with “walking it out” this week. As Pastor Kelly said, let us know what that experience has been like for you. What is God showing you?
 
Our Streams series continues this Sunday with a look at our next historic stream, Pietism: The Way of Renewal. Just as we did last week, I’ll begin by defining and briefly sharing some history of pietism, particularly as it led to the birth of our denomination. What is pietism? How does it fit with Anabaptism?

Also, we will look at how Christ and the Scriptures reveal that our faith should be full of life-changing experiences with God—experiences that lead to spiritual fruit in our lives. We will see how true piety is born of the Holy Spirit, and how this empowers us to experience real, meaningful change.
 
Furthermore, I’ll share how we’re designed to live out of both sides of our brain. The left side of our brain is for analytical thinking, logic, law, mathematical equations, etc. It’s a much-needed part of us, for sure. But sometimes we tend to neglect (or even suppress) the right side of the brain that God made for creativity, imagination, spontaneity, beholding beauty, and for expressing our feelings. This is what we’re describing today when we talk about expressing our “heart” in life and worship.
 
So, this Sunday I’ll help us to see how we’re unable to fully worship God and have a living relationship with Jesus when we’re only operating out of one side of who we are. Even now, I’d like to encourage you to begin preparing your heart and mind for worship this weekend, as we consider how God is calling Grantham Church to fully embrace pietism in what has increasingly become a left-brained society and culture.
 
Finally, it’s not too late to join a sermon-based small group for this fall season. As I’ve said before, we want to be intentional with our small groups at Grantham. In time, I hope that we will see the majority of our congregation engaged in a “personal space” where we can discuss what is being taught from the pulpit, hear God’s voice together, apply what’s being learned, and openly share life with one another in close-knit community.

Please contact the office if you’re interested in joining a group this fall. Thank you for working all of the spaces as we seek to be fully-formed disciples of Jesus.
 
See you this Sunday!
 
Grace & Peace,
Pastor David
 
P.S.   Want to help those who have been impacted by Hurricane Florence? WHTM ABC 27 out of Harrisburg, PA will be airing a telethon today to benefit the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS). The MDS phone number (1-800-241-1111) will be displayed on air throughout the day and WHTM will be reporting live during their morning and evening news programming. A generous donor has pledged to match up to $20,000 in donations on the day of the telethon. Additional matching support is being pursued. A similar telethon was held last year and raised more than $100,000 for the MDS response to the 2017 hurricanes. Your support could help MDS surpass last year's total. Call 1-800-241-8111 to make a telethon contribution, or give online. Donate now to help with the response and recovery efforts!

* 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,
 
We have successfully launched our Fall 2018 Ministries at Grantham Church!
 
We began our new Streams sermon series this past Sunday. If you missed the first installment, you can listen to One Church, Many Expressions at our website or podcast. Remember, the sermon and other worship resources (including small group discussion questions) are posted online every Monday afternoon. I encourage you to stay connected and engaged through the entire series. If you haven’t joined a sermon-based small group, but you’d like to do so, please contact Pastor Kelly (kchripczuk@granthamchurch.org).
 
Jesus prayed that his church would be one, so why are there so many denominations today? In the intro to our six-week series, I invited us to see how there have been multiple expressions of the church since the very beginning. It’s good for us to see how God uses our differences to further the gospel of Christ. And before we reflect on our own distinctives in this series, I wanted us to see where we fit in the larger church, and how we should view other Christians who don’t believe, worship, and live the way we do—lest we become arrogant or sectarian in the way we live out our faith.
 
This coming Sunday we will begin surveying our historic streams by first looking at Anabaptism. As I will say in the sermon, this first stream really sets us apart from most denominations in America. This is where we receive our peace heritage and Jesus’ command to love our enemies and live non-violently in the world. So, we will start with a little history, examine the words of Jesus, and think about what it means to love like Jesus and live peacefully toward our neighbors and enemies today. And then Pastor Kelly will come up and give us some practical ways we can embody the message in the week ahead.
 
Once again, I’d like to remind you to take your Fall 2018 Ministries brochure and pray over the ministries and the people involved. You can do that individually, as a family, in your small group, etc. I believe that God wants us to partner with him in what he wants to do this fall by being intentional in prayer. Let’s ask the Spirit to move among us in powerful ways, to provide for our needs as a church, and to further the Kingdom of God through us, so that we can deepen our discipleship and reach others with the gospel of Christ.
 
Finally, our Discover Grantham Church class starts on Sunday, September 30. If you’re interested in learning more about Grantham, becoming a member, and/or being baptized, please contact the church office (office@granthamchurch.org). Also, please pray for all those who will be taking the class. We will be receiving new members and presenting them to you later this fall.
 
May God continue to bless Grantham Church, as we remain humble, teachable, and ready for whatever comes our way. Stay hungry, my friends.
 
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