Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s “Spring Break” for our Messiah College community. Which is a little hard to believe since we’re forecasted to get hit with a blizzard late tonight and tomorrow. There is nothing like a PA snowstorm in March for my Texas in-laws to experience the week they are here for a visit. I hope grandpa is ready to ride the sled with our four-year-old!

Due to the winter weather, the church offices will be closed tomorrow.

If you’re not out playing in the snow tomorrow, this is a good time to catch up on any sermons you have missed in our current Roots series. Although our attendance was down yesterday, we had a very meaningful worship service together. Your voices always resound throughout the sanctuary and fill our worship space with joyful praise unto the Lord. Thank you!

If you missed the service yesterday, we covered core value #6 on Witnessing to the World. I said that we were never called to be the quiet in the land, but to be the light in the land (Matthew 5:14-16). What does it look like to engage our culture for Christ? What does it look like to be a faithful presence of Jesus among our neighbors?

Each week I’ve been reminding us about three historic (now four) theological streams that have impacted the BIC. Several of you thought it was helpful for me to succinctly explain how we are Anabaptists, Pietists, Wesleyans, and Evangelicals with a difference. Here is what I said:

“We are committed to Anabaptism, which means we’re committed to things like peace, non-violence, and living simply, but we are not a Mennonite church. We’re not looking to create an ethnic-Anabaptist, or ethnic-Mennonite culture in our worship. There are churches out there like that, but that’s not who we are, nor has it historically been who we are as a Brethren in Christ congregation. We are Pietists, which means that we recognize our need for the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. We believe in heart-felt worship, for the real transformative power of God in our lives, but we also recognize that we’re not a full-blown charismatic or Pentecostal church. People probably won’t be rolling in the aisles anytime soon. We are Wesleyans with a difference, so we believe in sanctification and free will, but we don’t baptize infants, or wish to rotate our senior pastors every few years, if we can help it. The BIC does reflect some of the organization and polity of many Methodist churches, but we’re aware that we’re not going by the Methodist playbook. And to be Evangelicals with a difference means we believe in the authority of Scripture, the centrality of the gospel, and the urgency of sharing it (which we’re talking about this morning), but we’re not buying into the game of partisan politics, and we’re intentional about not letting our theology and our church life be shaped by our political opinions, whether you’re on the right or the left. Being historically evangelical has nothing to do with American politics. So, I hope that challenges us and at the same time excites us to be a part of Grantham Church and dream about what our community can become as God continues to grow us together. For there are many living in a post-Christian America who are longing for a church, a community of faith, in which they can belong and that looks like that. Which looks more like Jesus.”

Remember that you can view the sermon slides, the bulletin, and small group discussion questions under each sermon on our website, or you can subscribe via iTunes and listen to the sermons on the go. Installation of our new HD camera is happening this week and we will begin training a few people to operate the new system. Our plan is to start regularly posting the new HD video of the sermons to the website beginning with our Easter service. Also, if you prefer, you can always check out the DVD of the entire worship services in our church library.

Finally, you don’t want to miss out on hearing our special guest speaker on Sunday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m. Greg Boyd will be speaking on peace and non-violence in a message entitled Pursuing Peace (8 of 10). Greg will also be speaking in a combined Learning Community at 9:00 a.m. in C8-10. I’m excited that Greg can speak to us on this core value. It was largely due to Greg’s influence that I understood and embraced the Anabaptist perspective over 10 years ago. Whether you’re a cradle BIC or you’re unconvinced of our peace position, you will be challenged by Greg’s sermon.

If you’d like to hear more from Greg while he is in town, check out the 2017 Annual Shrag Peace Lectures at Messiah College.

I look forward to seeing you in worship!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

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