Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

We launched a new series this past Sunday called, Missio Dei—A Worship Series on the Mission of God. I felt the energy in the sanctuary as over 400 of us worshipped together with joyful hearts. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but your participation in worship often impacts my preaching. I was already bringing a message I was excited about, and then your singing and engagement in worship added fuel to the fire. Thank you!

If you missed the first message of our current series, you can now listen or watch Missional God (1 of 6) at our website, with links to worship resources (e.g. sermon transcript, bulletin, small group discussion questions, etc.). You can also subscribe to the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes and listen on the go. I want to encourage you to trek with us each week of this series, as each message builds on the other.

Also, please stay plugged in to your sermon-based small group and go further in conversation among friends with what God is saying to you and how he wants you to respond. Remember, we need to “work the spaces” of the church to be properly formed followers of Jesus, and so we can continue growing as a congregation, which includes working the personal space with other disciples. If you’re not a part of a small group, please contact the church office and we will help you find a group that you can grow together with.

In the first message of the series, I explained how Missio Dei fits with our Roots and Brick by Brick series from last year. I gave a brief overview of the series and then guided us through some Old Testament passages that reveal how God is “missional” by his very nature. God is a sending God. And if we’re going to follow God, he will send us out on mission for him. Indeed, he has called us all to go to the people around us in some way or another. We also looked at what the book of Jonah teaches us. Not only do we see that God is a missionary God, when we don’t heed his call, we forfeit his joy and blessings that come with obedience.

This Sunday we will look at the Missional Jesus (2 of 6). I’ll invite us to see that the Father sends us his Son to embody the mission of God. As Eugene Peterson has translated John 1:14, the Word became flesh and “moved into the neighborhood.” In Christ we see the missional God seeking out those who are broken and lost, those who recognize their need to be healed and reconciled to God. Please join us in worship this Sunday as we’re called to follow Jesus and his risky way of crossing borders and boundaries for the sake of those whom God loves.

Finally, don’t forget that the following Sunday (April 29) is Service Sunday. The Service & Outreach Commission has informed me that we still have quite a few opportunities for folks to sign up and serve our community. Have you signed up yet? If you haven’t, you can do so this Wednesday and Sunday. This will help us plan ahead for the projects we have lined up. Furthermore, it would be great to see every family of our church involved in Service Sunday. Please take the time to sign up in the coming week and join your church family in serving our neighbors.

I look forward to seeing you again in worship. May God continue blessing Grantham Church as we seek to embody Christ and share in the building of the Kingdom around us.

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,

After some really unpleasant weather, it appears that Spring is actually arriving this week. Our family is very happy about that, as I’m sure you are as well.

You may have noticed that we’ve been intentional in addressing giving and stewardship this year. I believe that God is calling our congregation to see our regular giving as a part of discipleship and our spiritual formation. Also, I believe God wants us to increase our overall giving so that we can do greater things as a church.

Therefore, at the end of last year, I preached a message called, Giving as a Spiritual Discipline. A couple months ago, Dan Bisbee gave an excellent message called, Loving Generosity. And if you missed last Sunday, you can listen to Beryl Jantzi’s message, Money Matters According to Jesus, at our website or at our podcast via iTunes. 

I hope that these messages have been helpful and encouraging to you. I know that I was personally challenged by some things Tony Campolo said a few weeks back, specifically as it relates to this subject. I’m sure you were challenged as well. I have been encouraged to see how you have responded as a community of faith. I have noticed that our giving has been going up, and that many of you are responding to the messages you’re hearing.

Thank you for listening to God’s voice and being willing to respond to the Spirit’s prompting. It’s a huge blessing to see our church family applying the word in our daily lives. Let’s keep moving forward!

This coming Sunday we begin a Spring sermon series called, Missio Dei – A Worship Series on the Mission of God. We will look at how the missionary heart of God is both the spark and the fuel to local ministry and church growth efforts. If we're captured by God’s heart for people and obedient to Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), then multiplication will be in the DNA of our church.

In our Roots series, we looked at who we are as a church. In our Brick by Brick series, we considered what we’re doing as a church. In Missio Dei, we’re invited to think about where we’re going as a church. What is our mission? And how does God want to equip us to be a missional church sent to those who live within our sphere of influence. In this six-part worship series, we will take a fresh look at basic Christian concepts like discipleship, evangelism, worship and community. I hope you will join us April 15 – May 27 as we explore the mission of God together.

Finally, this coming Saturday is the Susquehanna Regional Conference meeting. There are 14 of us who will be attending the conference at The Meeting House (Dillsburg) on behalf of our congregation. The theme this year is called Transitions. We will be highlighting how God has been transforming several of our churches through transitions of various kinds. Grantham Church is being featured in the stories that will be told at our annual meeting. Please pray for our team and for the entire event. May it be a blessing and an encouragement to the pastors, leaders, and members of the churches in our conference.

Have a great rest of the week! I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S. This Sunday we will be singing a new song called, O Praise the Name (Anastasis). As a way of helping us prepare to sing aloud together, please watch the lyric video when you have a chance this week.

* 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,

Wow! What an amazing Holy Week and Easter Sunday at Grantham Church. It was such a blessing to share this special time with many of you.

We had our traditional Maundy Thursday meal, a time of foot washing, and communion service. The next night we had a deeply meaningful Good Friday service. It was good to see a lot of visitors joining us for that gathering. This was only the second time we’ve done a service like this, but it was well-attended. I believe that the crowd in our Good Friday service will continue to grow each year as our church increasingly sees the value in it, and as visitors come because their congregation doesn’t have one. If you weren’t able to attend, you can listen to my message, Experiencing God-Forsakenness, at our website.

From the prelude to the Hallelujah Chorus, Easter Sunday was truly a celebration. Over 500 of us worshipped the risen Christ together! I want to thank Pastor Dave Perry for all the work he put into leading us in worship. Also, thanks to those who helped lead us in other various ways, as well as those who participated in the service. It takes a community of committed staff and volunteers to orchestrate the wonderful time of worship that we experienced on Easter Sunday. The Holy Spirit was evident among us, and heaven rejoiced with us as we lifted up our voices in praise. 

If you missed it, you can watch the entire service by checking out the video in our church library. You can listen to the sermon, He Is Risen, and Why It Matters, at our website or podcast.

This Sunday we have a guest speaker with us. Beryl Jantzi was a pastor for 23 years and now serves as the Stewardship Education Director at Everence, a faith-based financial services organization. I first met Beryl when I was pastoring a Mennonite church in Virginia. He has a real heart for people. And in our efforts to give more attention to seeing our giving to the church and those in need as a part of our discipleship, I’ve asked Beryl to come share a message that can help our congregation grow in this area. Beryl will be preaching a sermon called, Money Matters According to Jesus. Please join us in worship this Sunday.

Finally, don’t forget that our annual Service Sunday is coming up on Sunday, April 29. Instead of our regular Sunday morning gathering, we take this time to get out into our community and serve our neighbors. We consider this an act of worship, as we put our love of God on display through our joyful service. I’ve been told that our coordinators are still in need of projects that can be done on that day. Do you have a job in mind? Do you have a neighbor or a friend who needs some help with repairs, yardwork, clean-up, or some other Spring-cleaning task? If so, please contact Dwayne Johnson (hispromisejeremiah2911@gmail.com) or the church office (office@granthamchurch.org).

We are now in the Easter season. That’s right. Easter is a season! So, we will continue to celebrate the risen Jesus in our upcoming worship services. As Spring slowly emerges and the flowers begin to bloom, I hope that you will stay plugged in and awake to the beautiful things God is doing at Grantham. Let’s continue on our way of being intentional in our discipleship and growing deeper into Christ as a community on mission.

May God bless you this week as you live in the power of the resurrection. As the Apostle Paul said, “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Romans 8:11). See you this Sunday!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S.  Next week I’ll be sharing some information about our upcoming series, Missio Dei – A Worship Series on the Mission of God.  Stay tuned!

* 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,

Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week. And what a way to enter in to this special time of year on the church calendar! Our worship was rich and meaningful, and Tony Campolo both encouraged and challenged us to follow Jesus, instead of being seduced by Babylon (empire). If you weren’t able to be with us on Sunday, you can now listen or watch Tony’s message, Third Way Allegaince: Following Jesus in an American Empire.

Tony gave us a lot to think about and to consider as we seek to follow Jesus today. I want to invite you to continue letting the Spirit speak to your heart about how his message applies to you as an individual. How does God want to use Tony’s words to nudge us to change for the better?

For example, does God want you to make or renew your commitment to peace and non-violence? Does he want you to live more simply, discarding or giving away things that you don’t need? It’s possible he is calling you to give to needy children through World Vision or our own Spice program. Whatever it is, may our faith be formed in our willingness to do what is right, even when it is hard.

As I said, we are now in Holy Week, where we remember and reflect on the final days of Jesus’ life. I’d like to encourage you to read the Scriptures and follow the timeline each day of the week. At this point, you’ll need to go back and read the passages for Sunday and Monday. And then I hope that you will break away from your regular weekly routine to join us for the following services:

Maundy Thursday
5:30 p.m. - Dinner
6:30 p.m. - Foot Washing
7:00 p.m. - Communion Service

Good Friday
7:00 p.m. – Tenebrae Service
(homily is entitled, “Experiencing God Forsakenness”)

Easter Sunday
10:30 a.m. – Worship Service
(sermon is entitled, “He is Risen, and Why It Matters”)

I’m looking forward to sharing these services with you. I think that each of these services have the greatest impact when we see that they are connected. It’s on Thursday during Passover that Jesus gave his disciples communion and then a new commandment to love each other as he loved them, where he visibly portrayed this by washing their feet. That evening Jesus is arrested and rushed through a mock trial in the middle of the night. 

Then it’s on Friday that Jesus went before Pilate and was sentenced to death by crucifixion, when the Son of God was brutally executed and bore the sins of the world on a Roman cross. Only then, after having walked with Jesus through the horror of Friday, can we truly appreciate and celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Therefore, I do hope that you’ll join us for each of these services and receive the full experience of the Easter season.

Finally, please join me in praying for Holy Week. We have designed our services to help the congregation enter into worship of the crucified and resurrected Messiah. Pray for those leading and for those who will attend. Pray that we will come with open hearts and hungry souls. And may God bless our efforts to meet with him together in the sanctuary.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S. We had a very productive time in our monthly Church Board meeting. The February minutes were approved last night. You can read those here at our website. Password: Grantham1998.

* 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 have really enjoyed preaching through our Lenten series, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness. I hope you’ve been able to trek along with us in a small group and/or in discussion with your friends. I know that God has been speaking to many of you, some of who feel they are in a wilderness or just came out of one. It’s encouraging to hear how God is meeting you where you are and growing you in your faith.

If you missed the sermon from Sunday, you can now listen to Post-Wilderness Conviction (5 of 6) at our website or on the go at our podcast via iTunes. You can also watch the sermons onVimeo if you prefer that. Remember, if you’d like to see the entire service, you can check out a DVD in our church library. We have many resources in our library, including books related to this series. You can find those books on the shelf in the lobby.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a humble servant on a donkey, instead of a warrior-king on a horse. In remembrance of this special day, when the people welcomed Jesus as Messiah to the waving of palm branches, we will all (children and adults) receive palm branches in our worship this Sunday.

As I said on Sunday, Tony Campolo will be with us as a special guest speaker. I have asked Tony to close out our series by addressing the topic of wilderness faith in a post-Christian America, in a message entitled, Third Way Allegiance: Following Jesus in an American Empire. I learned several months ago that Messiah College was bringing Tony for an event, and I was glad to be asked if we wanted to be included in his itinerary. Tony had an influence on me becoming Anabaptist many years ago. From his popular sermon, It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming, to his other messages of Jesus’ radical love over the years, I’m thankful for Tony’s heart for Christ.

Let me also say that when guest speakers are invited to come to Grantham, I personally lead that process. I know that we have had (and continue to have) speakers that come share, who we may not agree with on every issue, but that’s fine. I’m aware that you don’t always agree with me, though the “Amen” section is growing. But seriously, I want you to know that I always share with our guest speakers a little of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going, as I familiarize them with our context. And then I trust them to do their best in ministering to our congregation with the gifts God has given them.

This too is part of what I believe Being a Third Way Church is about. Let’s continue on that way together.

I admit that I’m proud of our church. We have a spectrum of theological and political views in our congregation, yet we continue to worship alongside one another as a family. Therefore, I’ve been intentional in trying to lead our church in a third way beyond partisan politics. It’s not only the right thing for our church, but something that needs to be modeled for all churches as the world looks at us to embody the gospel of the Kingdom. Having said that, thank you for helping us work toward that end. Thank you for being willing to embrace Christ as Lord and rise above the divisiveness that is so pervasive in our culture.

Please pray for Tony and all those leading in our service this Sunday. I believe that the Holy Spirit wants to challenge and encourage us in our time together on Palm Sunday.

Finally, today it is officially Spring, but we may be getting hit with another winter storm. It just started snowing as I finish this letter. The church office will let you know tomorrow morning if we need to cancel Wednesday night activities. While we’re not sure what will happen today and tomorrow, the weather is looking really nice for Sunday. I look forward to seeing you for a robust Palm Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. Come worship with us as we begin Holy Week at Grantham Church.

Blessings on the rest of your week.

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,

If you’ve been with us through Lent, you know that we’ve been in a series called, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness. We’ve been looking at how Jesus’ time of testing in the desert helped to solidify his character and decide what kind of Messiah he would be. Each week we’ve been challenged to think about what the Gospels want us to know about the temptations, as well as how it applies to our own lives as Christ-followers.

This past Sunday, we looked at the final temptation, in a sermon entitled, No Shortcuts in the Kingdom (4 of 6). I invited us to reflect on what it meant for Jesus to reject Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the world, and how Jesus refused to take any shortcuts to receive what the Father had for him. I said that we should follow Jesus in this way. Therefore, we too must be patient and wait on the Lord. A major lesson to be learned in the wilderness is that waiting on God’s timing for his provision and promises is a necessary part of being a disciple and deepening our faith. We grow in our faith when we learn to trust God and his will in the waiting.

The next installment in our Lenten sermon series is called, Post-Wilderness Conviction (5 of 6). This Sunday we will look at how Jesus leaves the desert full of the Spirit with a clarity about his identity and calling as Messiah. Jesus returns to Nazareth, his hometown in Galilee, to announce who he is and what he’s come to do as God’s anointed. We will see that Jesus’ time in the wilderness propelled him forward with confidence about the true nature of the good news and the Kingdom which he brings into the world. Join us as we consider how the wilderness sharpens our focus and shapes our convictions as people of faith.

Also, this Sunday we are collecting coins, paper money, and checks that go to supporting Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) food programs. The children will help up take a special “My Coins Count” collection during the worship service. The offering received through April 6 will be delivered to the PA Relief Sale on April 7 at the Farm Show Complex. Please come prepared to support this annual offering.

Finally, don’t forget that the following Sunday, Palm Sunday, we will have a special guest speaker. Tony Campolo, author and speaker, will be with us for the 10:30 a.m. service. Tony was first invited to speak at Messiah College, and we were glad to be included in his itinerary. Come hear Tony preach a message called, Third Way Allegiance: Following Jesus in an American Empire.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in worship. As you enter the sanctuary and receive a bulletin, you will notice an insert for all our events and services during Holy Week. I hope you will join us for this special time in the liturgical calendar and in the life of our church. I’m excited about experiencing Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday with all of you.

Blessings on the rest of your week. May you walk in step with the Spirit until we gather again as a church family.

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