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

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I hope you’re having a good week. It’s hard to believe that this is the last day of February!
If you missed the message on Sunday, you can now listen to the audio of Following Jesus (4 of 10) at our website or via iTunes. Small group discussion questions are available online when the sermon is posted, usually on Monday afternoons. It won’t be long before we have a new HD camera installed and begin posting high quality video of the sermon to the website.
Remember, you can always check out the video recording (DVD) for the entire worship service from our church library. Also, there are quite a few new books in the library. We are working with Edie Asbury, our librarian, to keep the library up to date with resources that are relevant and easily accessible to our church. Stop in for a visit when you’re here. If you’re looking for a quiet place to read or study, drop in and stay a while. If you need a place to pray, try our Prayer Room in A2 or our Prayer Garden behind our building. The sun is out today!
The Tree of Life (Lenten Series) begins tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. with our Ash Wednesday service. I hope you can come to Eat & Run between 5-6 p.m. and then join us for the start of Lent. Since we’re currently in our Roots series on Sundays, we will be using Wed night to walk through Lent, the 40 day season of prayer, fasting, and penitence before Easter.  
Here are the upcoming Lenten Worship Services:
March 1, 6:30 pm – Ash Wednesday*
March 8 – April 12, 6:00 pm – Lenten Taize Services*
April 13, 5:30 pm – Maundy Thursday
April 14, 6:30 pm – Good Friday
*Childcare for children birth – age 5
Please join us for this formative season in the church calendar and take advantage of this opportunity to experience the deeply meaningful liturgy of Lent. In my Ash Wednesday homily, Dust to Dust, I’ll begin by briefly sharing about the power of liturgy and why we’re choosing to embrace it here at Grantham Church. I invite you to come prepared to encounter the Lord together.
On another note, I wanted to let you know of a few things we’re doing, and mention an upcoming opportunity to serve alongside our brothers and sisters at Harrisburg BIC.
First, you may have noticed that Melissa Shumaker has been regularly worshiping with us. As you know, Melissa is one of our missionaries to Spain. She has a passion for the lost in Spain, but recognizes God has her here for a few months while her visa is being processed. In the meantime, we just officially asked Melissa to be our Missionary-in-Residence (8-10 hours per week) while she is with us. BICWM is funding her work. She has whole-heartedly agreed to serve and help us see our community as a mission-field, and to work toward building bridges with minorities.
We are very excited about this and looking forward to the fruit of her ministry. We will soon be translating the sermon (in real time) into Spanish for a dear lady in our congregation. We hope this opens the door for others in the future. We saw the need and so we responded. We know this is just one step in the right direction. We also see that we have a door of opportunity to our college students, especially our international students. Melissa is working with Nathan Rosentrater, our Youth & Young Adult Pastor, to discern the path forward.
Please pray that God will show us how we can do more to participate in the Spirit’s building of a multi-ethnic Kingdom of God.
Finally, if you were in worship on Sunday you heard the announcement about the food-packaging event, Feed My Starving Children MobilePack.

Pastor Woody Dalton called me a few weeks back and personally invited us to join Harrisburg BIC for this great cause. We have an opportunity to literally rub shoulders with our friends at Harrisburg, and do some good for children who need to eat.
Register online and help pack 100,000 MealPacks to be sent to starving children all over the world. Go to https://give.fmsc.org/Harrisburg for more info and to sign up.
Grantham Church, I’m praying for you. Please be in prayer for our wonderful congregation and all that God is doing and wants to do 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