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Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,
 
I’m greatly encouraged as I write this letter to you. The response I’ve received from my most recent sermon has been a huge blessing to me! I’m so proud of our congregation for how we’re embracing a third way approach to being the church in a culture that is being ripped apart by partisan politics. Thank you for keeping your hearts open to what God wants to say to his people today.
 
If you missed it, this past Sunday I preached a message entitled, God & Government: A Responsible Reading of Romans 13. I felt it necessary to address some recent events, particularly in response to the US Attorney General’s use of Romans 13 as justification for supporting the Zero Tolerance immigration policy, which has separated over 2,000 children from their parents in the past two months. It has been heartbreaking to watch what has been happening on our southern border, knowing that many of the migrant families are seeking refuge from unimaginable violence in parts of Mexico and Central America.
 
As I said in my message, governments protect their borders. That’s what they do. But as Christ-followers, we live by a higher law of love that values the dignity and inherent worth of others before our own safety and comfort. That is the radical call of Jesus on our lives, as we take up our cross and are willing to lay our lives down for others. While we pray for our leaders and that our nation’s laws will be just, we don’t expect the government to act like Jesus. Instead, it’s the calling of every Christ-follower to do that. God has given the church this great responsibility!
 
So, I want to encourage you to use whatever influence you may have to stand up for those who have no voice, and to love like Jesus loves. May the Spirit help us to rise above all other competing allegiances and loyalties in order to obey God’s higher law of love, displaying that through our testimony and good deeds. And in doing so, we will, with God’s help, hold a mirror up to the evil and injustice of empire.
 
I’ll say one more thing about that. Our church staff has been considering how our church should respond to recent events. As you already know, we have been seeking to bring clarity to our missional communities at Grantham Church. We believe that this is a good opportunity to have an exploratory conversation around helping migrant families and refugees. If you’re interested in being a part of that conversation in the near future, please contact Dan Bisbee (Church Administrator) at dbisbee@gramthamchurch.org. Stay tuned for more information about an upcoming meeting.
 
Also, I want to remind you that I’ll be on vacation the next two Sundays. This coming Sunday is a Missions-Focused Sunday, organized by our Missions & Multi-Cultural Ministry Commission. See the announcement below for what we have planned for the day. And then the following Sunday, July 8, Pastor John Yeatts (Pastor Emeritus) will be guest preaching in the worship service.
 
Finally, the church board wants to invite you to a Special Congregational Council next Sunday, July 8, immediately following the worship service. If you’re able, please join us for a brief gathering as we vote to approve a new congregational secretary (Cheryl Wolf) and delegate to General Assembly (Jim Smiley). A printed agenda will be available in the church office on Sunday. If you have any questions, contact the church office (office@granthamchurch.org or 717-766-0531) or any member of the board. Thanks for helping us continue to move forward as a church.
 
I’ll see you again in worship on Sunday, July 15. If you’re in town, join us for a robust worship service on General Assembly weekend.
 
Grace & Peace,
 
Pastor David
 
P.S. In anticipation of General Assembly weekend  at Messiah College (July 13-16), I wanted to let you know of a few updates you’re going to see over the next few weeks. Here is what you can expect in and outside our facilities: (1) new signs outside that welcome and give directions to guests; (2) re-designed bulletin boards in our main hallway; (3) new lobby furniture and fresh paint/décor; and (4) new projectors in the sanctuary! All of these projects have been in the works for a while now, and so I’m excited to see them become a reality. Thank you for making these things (and so much more!) possible through your faithful giving and passionate service as active members of Grantham Church. May God use all of our efforts to further his Kingdom at Grantham and beyond.

* 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 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,

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,

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,

It’s certainly some strange weather we’re having. While the warmer, wet weather may be sending us mixed signals as to what season of the year we’re in at the moment, I think it’s safe to say that Grantham Church is in an exciting season of blessing and growth. I’m so glad that each of you are a part of what the Spirit is doing in our congregation.

I wanted to tell you that I spent a good bit of last Saturday with the church board at a conference called, Cultivating Healthy Leadership Cultures: Transforming Church Boards, held at Elizabethtown BIC. It was well worth our time as we were challenged to be more effective in our leadership roles, and we got to spend some quality time with one another. Please pray for us as we seek to implement some of the things that we learned. 

The Lenten season officially began last week with our Ash Wednesday services. It was a meaningful time, in the morning and in the evening service. At the evening service, I preached a 20-minute sermon called, Nothing is Hidden, to usher us into Lent. If you missed the service on Sunday, we began our Lent series, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness, with a message entitled, Welcome to the Wilderness (1 of 6). You can watch or listen to that on our website, and you can also find other resources. The small group discussion questions are available for individual use or to go further with your small groups.

In this first message of our series, I invited us to see how God wants to use the wilderness (metaphorically speaking) to grow us in our faith. We were encouraged not to waste the opportunities we have in the wilderness seasons of our life to cultivate a deeper relationship with God. For it’s in the wilderness that, like Jesus, we can root our identity and our calling in the truth of who God is and what he wants for our life. 

I have experienced this a couple of times in my walk with Christ. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and likely wouldn’t be pastoring Grantham Church, if I hadn’t drawn closer to God when things seemed to fall apart and I found myself in a dry, barren wasteland. I’m sure that many of you could say the same about your own journey.

While no sane person would ever ask God for the wilderness, it is encouraging to know that the Spirit meets us there in profound ways, and he is prepared to use our hardships for our good. But of course, we must submit ourselves to the Father who loves us and will not forsake us in the desert.

After communion at the end of the service, we introduced Lisa Mays as our new Communications Director. Thank you for giving her and Ed such a warm welcome to our church. I know they are looking forward to becoming a regular part of the Grantham family. Again, she will start work in the office on Monday, February 26, and will begin attending regularly on Sunday, March 4.

Finally, this Sunday we will pick back up with Jesus’ walk in the desert and take a look at his first temptation in Luke 4:1-4, and then jump forward to Mark 8:31-38 where we see how Jesus denied himself in order to be obedient to the Father. We will then consider what it looks like for us to grow in our faith by learning to put God and others first. Join us for the next installment in the series, a message entitled, It’s Not About You (2 of 6).

I leave you with this verse of Scripture for the week and invite you to meditate on it throughout the season of Lent.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:7-8 NIV

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,

Why do we give? That’s what Dan Bisbee addressed in his sermon, Loving Generosity, last Sunday. Dan invited us to consider several passages of Scripture that offer insight into why we should give to the church and others in need. Most importantly, because John 3:16 says that God, who is love, “gave” his Son to show us his love. True love gives for the sake of others, not expecting anything in return or thinking of the reward. And so, when we love God with everything that we are, and we love our neighbor as ourselves, we become like our giving God who puts his generosity on display in Christ.

Dan also pointed out that Jesus asks the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-22 to “sell” all of his belongings because “ownership” is involved. Unfortunately, we often tend to find our worth in what we own. While Jesus doesn’t ask everyone to give up all of their earthly possessions, we can see the reason Jesus asked the rich man to do this. His identity was rooted in what he owned. It’s no stretch to say that his stuff owned him. This can happen to all of us. Therefore, it’s a healthy practice to give away our resources to those in need; for their sake and our own.

So, after considering Jesus’ command to the rich man, we can see that giving is actually good for the soul. Jesus was trying to free the man from bondage to his stuff. Think about that. Spending all of our money on ourselves and accumulating material things tends to make us self-centered and insensitive to the needs of others. We can’t live into the Kingdom that way. But when we give, and we’re loving generosity, we become more fully human (like Christ) and it has a positive impact on our mental, physical, and spiritual health. It humanizes the giver and the recipient. Who doesn’t want that?

In his sermon, Dan said that a few things can happen when we give away our stuff: (1) we cut the cord of emotional ownership; (2) we clarify the true value of our possessions; (3) and we confirm the true source of our own worth. Those are excellent things to keep in mind each time you give to Grantham Church, a charitable organization, or to an individual in need. Giving truly is a spiritual discipline.

I want to thank Dan for giving us such a helpful message as we work at being good stewards and lovers of generosity at Grantham Church. And thank you to all those who are being intentional in what you’re giving to the church on a regular basis, so we can live into all that God has for us a congregation and we can expand our influence in our community in the days ahead.

Remember that tomorrow we enter into the season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday services. We are having a brief service (20 min) beginning at 7:00 a.m. that will include a couple of songs, Scripture reading, prayer, and the imposition of ashes. If you’d like to receive ashes before you begin your day, please join us in C8-12. There will be a full service at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary that will conclude with the imposition of ashes. Please join us for one or both of these services. If you’ve never participated in an Ash Wednesday service, it is very moving and unlike any other service that we do. 

This Sunday we begin our Lent 2018 series, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness. In this 6-week series leading up to Easter Sunday, we will look at how Jesus was shaped by his desert experiences and how this time of testing impacted his faith and mission. Each week we will begin in the desert and then jump forward to reflect on a future episode in Jesus’ life and ministry. What are some of the lessons we can learn from Christ’s example? How does God want to form our own faith for the journey ahead?

In 40 Days in the Desert, I’m inviting us to develop a faith that’s been formed in the wilderness. Please mark your calendars for these Lent to Easter events and services:

February 14 – Ash Wednesday Services at 7:00 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
February 25 – March 18 – Lenten Taize Services, Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m.
March 25 – Palm Sunday | Tony Campolo (guest speaker)
March 29 – Maundy Thursday, meal at 5:30, footwashing at 6:30, communion at 7:00 p.m.
March 30 – Good Friday Service at 7:00 p.m.
March 31 – Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30 a.m.
April 1 – Easter Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.

We will be taking communion at the end of the service this Sunday. During communion we’ll be singing “I Shall Not Want,” by Audrey Assad. This is a new song for our congregation. Therefore, in order to prepare to join in the singing, Pastor Dave has asked that you listen to this recording: www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8WgHGOak1c

Finally, I’m happy to announce that we have hired a part-time Communications Director! Lisa Mays is joining our staff and will be begin working in the office on Monday, February 26. Lisa comes to us from another local church where she has been serving in communications. As Communication Director here at Grantham, Lisa will largely be responsible for creating content for various communication pieces (e.g. bulletin, pastor’s email, weekly slides, etc.), and she will also assist with our utilization of social media and maintaining the church website.

We are excited to have such a qualified individual in this role. I will be introducing Lisa at the conclusion of the service this Sunday. Please come ready to welcome her as she becomes a regular part of our congregation.

See you this Sunday! May God bless you all as you follow Jesus through the rest of the 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