Friday, December 30, 2016

"You are Holy"

From the writings of William Loader, Here's a prayer about God's holiness...

O God,
You are holy,
and deep within ourselves
where our souls touch the ground,
where our being meets your being,
we are on holy ground
and your holiness surrounds us
and calls our name.

Your holiness is your goodness,
your generosity towards us
and the silence which waits
and hopes and is glad
and disappointed - and waits.

You wait to meet us,
to make us holy with your holiness,
to make us loving with your love,
to make us hopeful with your hope.
In your presence we bow our heads
in shame where we have failed others,
failed ourselves and failed you.
Touch us with the tenderness of your forgiveness.

In your presence we breathe new life
when we dare to be still, to be centred,
to be whole, to be holy.

Set us free to be holy.
Set us free to be for ourselves a place
where sacredness is joy and peace.
And let us be a sacred space for others
and make sacredness for them.

Dwell in us as in a holy temple,
that we may know stillness
and that we may sense the fragrance of your love
and bring that fragrance to
where life is a stench and putrid and stale,
within ourselves and within our world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Come Lord Jesus

Here’s an Advent prayer from Fr. Henri Nouwen:

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things
look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people,
walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Prayers to the WORD

Here’s a prayer of petition and commitment based upon John 1:1-12...

In the beginning was the Word ...
to all who received him, who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God. ~ John 1:1, 12

Inspiring Word,
move over the chaos within me,
calling forth form and order,
that I may know you in my shaping,
and in the shaping,
surrender my life to yours.

Illuminating Word,
pierce the darkness within me,
calling forth insight and understanding,
that I may know you in my seeing,
and in seeing,
follow the way of your kingdom.

Incarnate Word,
indwell the life within me,
calling forth passion and purpose,
that I may know you in my living,
and in living,
embody you for the world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Exodus - A Story of Liberation

This October + November we will journey, with the ancient Israelites, through their famous EXODUS.

The book and message of Exodus is one of the most iconic Old Testament stories. It recounts the birth of the nation of Israel; it introduces us to Old Testament heroes like Moses and Joshua; and it provides the basis for so much Judaeo/Christian history and tradition - the burning bush, the plagues, the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, and the giving of God's law to his people. Most importantly, it tells the story of a God who is LORD over everything and faithfully desires to be with his people as they learn how to represent and share HIM with the world.

So join us each Sunday as we make our way through this invigorating and illuminating story.

Also, for a more in depth look and study in the message of Exodus, we invite you to download and use this Exodus Study Guide.

Enjoy. And may you see and experience the LORD in new ways.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Parables of Jesus

Parables were short stories that had a moral or ethical point related to matters of Jewish law, interpretation, and application. The use of parables was popular in all stages of Jewish literature, from the Bible to the writings of the rabbis.

Jesus used parables often to coincide with his teaching and understanding of Torah. His parables were often misunderstood, even by his own disciples, and often had several layers of meaning. Here are the parables by Jesus recorded in Mathew, Mark, and Luke:

Parable: Lamp under a bowl 
Matthew 5:14– 15; Mark 4: 21– 22; Luke 8:16; 11: 33 

Parable: Wise and foolish builders 
Matthew 7:24–27; Luke 6:47–49 

Parable: New cloth on an old coat 
Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; Luke 5:36 

Parable: New wine in old wineskins 
Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37– 38 

Parable: Sower and the soils 
Matthew 13:3–8, 18–23; Mark 4:3– 8, 14– 20; Luke 8:5– 8, 11–15 

Parable: Weeds 
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 

Parable: Mustard seed 
Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19 

Parable: Yeast 
Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20–21 

Parable: Hidden treasure 
Matthew 13:44 

Parable: Valuable pearl 
Matthew 13:45–46 

Parable: Net 
Matthew 13:47–50 

Parable: Owner of a house 
Matthew 13:52 

Parable: Lost sheep 
Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7 

Parable: Unmerciful servant 
Matthew 18:23-34 

Parable: Workers in the vineyard 
Matthew 20:1-16 

Parable: Two sons 
Matthew 21:28-32 

Parable: Tenants 
Matthew 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-11; Luke: 20: 9– 18 

Parable: Wedding banquet 
Matthew 22: 2-14

Parable: Fig tree 
Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-29; Luke 21:29-31 

Parable: Faithful and wise servant 
Matthew 24: 45-51; Luke 12:42-48 

Parable: Ten virgins 
Matthew 25:1-13 

Parable: Bags of gold (minus) 
Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27 

Parable: Sheep and goats 
Matthew 25:31-46 

Parable: Growing seed 
Mark 4:26-29 

Parable: Watchful servants 
Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40 

Parable: Moneylender 
Luke 7:41-43 

Parable: Good Samaritan 
Luke 10:30-37 

Parable: Friend in need 
Luke 11:5-8 

Parable: Rich fool
Luke 12:16-21 

Parable: Unfruitful fig tree 
Luke 13:6-9 

Parable: Lowest seat at the feast 
Luke 14:7-14 

Parable: Great banquet 
Luke 14:16-24 

Parable: Cost of discipleship 
Luke 14:28-33 

Parable: Lost coin 
Luke 15:8-10 

Parable: Lost (prodigal) son 
Luke 15:11-32 

Parable: Shrewd manager 
Luke 16:1-8 

Parable: Rich man and Lazarus 
Luke 16:19-31 

Parable: Master and his servant 
Luke 17:7-10 

Parable: Persistent widow 
Luke 18:2-8 

Parable: Pharisee and tax collector 
Luke 18:10-14

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You Make the Difference - Tips on Gathering Well

Hello Grace Church family + friends. Gathering together on Sunday mornings is and always has been a very important part of our church's ministry. And a successful Gathering will always be corporate endeavor. 

So here are some thoughts on gathering well...

Be Intentional:
Our mission + vision drives all we do: "Grace Church is a community of changed people committed to serve + renew the Greater Dunedin area with the movement of the Gospel." Everything we do is to this end and it can be summed up with one key word, discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20). 

So, when we come to a Grace Church Sunday morning Gathering, let's remember #WHYWEGATHER  and come with an intentionality to grow, to learn, to serve, to give, to encourage, and to worship. 

Do not come solely for social reasons. Do not come to be entertained. And do not come out of some begrudging sense of obligation (whether to God or to your church community). 

Come because the MOST SATISFYING OBJECT in the universe has invited you to come and experience Him the best way one can... together, with other seekers.

Be Committed:
Another key component is to come regularly. Of course, we won't be able to make it church every single Sunday. Life happens; and there are plenty of good reasons to miss church. But I encourage each of you to make our Sunday Gathering a core part of your weekly routine; and to make regular attendance a priority.

God most certainly isn't to be viewed as an "add-on" to your weekly endeavors and, therefore, neither should His people (nor our involvement with His people). "Let us not [give up or forsake] meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). 

Also, a huge momentum-killer is a low turnout to church meetings. So, when you come, your presence and participation can do a lot for our church's forward momentum. Please consider that and realize what a crucial part that plays in the kingdom-building cause of our mission + vision.

Be Punctual:
Also, and related to that, being on time is also very important. When a large percentage of the Sunday morning crowd is 10 to 20 minutes late, unintentionally, a negative message is sent to our new comers and visitors. When our meeting space feels empty at 9:56am, it's not a pleasant feeling for a first-timer and, more importantly, no one is there to greet them and make them feel welcomed. And they can very easily get a sense that corporate worship may not be a priority to this group of people. Obviously, that's not the case for us and we don't want any new comers to feel awkward, so let's do our best to be on time.

Be Curious + Expectant:
Come ready to learn and grow through our times of teaching, our corporate worship, and our interaction with one another. 

And may I encourage you to invest your mind and prayers into our teaching series and/or topic. Remain curious, ask lots of questions, and expect to learn something new. Also, give some thought to the text and/or topic ahead of time. Listen to the Grace Church Podcast to catch up if you missed a week. Consider doing some of the extra readings recommended throughout the series. Check the blog  and our Facebook page for more resources and quotes. Etc., etc., etc. The more personal effort you put into our Sunday Gatherings the more you will receive. I promise! 

So, remain curious and come ready to be challenged, encouraged and equipped.

In summary... 
Coming with intentionality and expectancy while remaining committed and punctual will greatly help our Sunday morning Gathering experience together. 

Let's keep going! May we experience all the spiritual growth and vitality we possible can together! 

All are welcome. Sundays at 10am (DHS).

Grace + Peace,
P. Heath

P.S. Oh...and invite a friend to join us!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Parables - 4 Things to Keep in Mind

RC Sproul offers 4 interpretive guidelines to keep in mind when reading and studying the parables of Jesus...

1. Don’t treat parables like allegory.
An allegory is most often completely filled with symbolic meaning. Every detail means something that can be traced to the overriding principle that is being illuminated. Parables usually have one basic, central meaning. Trying to oversymbolize them can have the effect of tearing them apart. A person doesn’t understand the beauty of a flower by disassembling it. Like a blossom, a parable is best understood by seeing it in its simple and profound entirety.

2. The Rule of Three.
Like all good storytelling, parables usually follow the Rule of Three. Do you remember the stories you heard as a child—such as “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Three Bears”? Both of these stories are filled with more “threes”: three wolves, three beds, three bowls of porridge. Jesus did this often in the telling of the parables. And is it any wonder that many parables deliver three important truths or that most sermons rest on three important points?

3. The Rule of Two.
Parable characters often follow the Rule of Two. There were usually two people who experienced tension between righteousness and sin, good and evil. When you look for these two elements you will find an important part of the development of the parable.

4. Code words and phrases.
Jesus’ parables used certain phrases and code words that communicated in subtly powerful ways to His audiences. For instance, “How much more” is used to build a bridge from temporal things to spiritual realities. “He who has ears to hear” calls people to critically important issues of spiritual life and death. “Verily, verily, I say to you,” means that Jesus is speaking with earnest intensity; don’t miss it. Look for these phrases and understand where they’re leading you.

* Adapted from R.C. Sproul’s What’s in the Bible

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How will The Huntley help Grace Church?

Hello friends! Unless you've been living in a cave (or completely ignoring us!), you probably know that we have a storefront! It's called The Huntley and it will be a communal, multi-purpose space which will greatly enhance our church's ministry. 

More discipleship!

More community!

More ability to effectively live out our mission + vision in serving + renewing the greater Dunedin area!

Listen HERE to find out how.

To all those who have already contributed to The Huntley renovations, thank you, thank you, thank you! We are currently at $5,247.00. We're trying to raise $7k. We have just a little bit more to go!

If all our Grace Church friends + family gave an extra $20-30 to the our 947 Huntley Ave. project we would hit our $7,000 goal! 

Together, this is totally doable!

Join this grassroots effort! Consider giving and being a part of the exciting things to come with The Huntley in Dunedin?  Every gift helps! 

You can donate HERE

To read more about some of the plans for The Huntley read HERE. It's pretty exciting! Also, you can follow some of the progress + news about The Huntley by following this hashtag - #ProgressAtHuntley.

Thanks for pressing on with us.

Grace + Peace,
P. Heath

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Storyteller - Summer (2016) at Grace Church

Hello friends! 

It's summer! And one of the rhythms within Grace Church's annual teaching schedule is to spend our summers looking into the character, personhood, actions, and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the four Gospel accounts.

Jesus was a masterful communicator and thought-provoking rabbi; and this summer we will be considering the message of God's good news and Kingdom through Jesus' many parables and allegories in a series entitled, The Storyteller.

This isn't the first time we have looked at Jesus as a storyteller. Listen to Kingdom Stories Pt. 1 + Kingdom Stories Pt. 2 (from way back in 2012!).

Oh, and there's is a way for you to participate in this teaching series too. Here it is...
Do you have any questions about a parable or about one of the many allegories Jesus shared in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?  If so, please let us know and we will be sure to address it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Christ is Supreme - The Whole Series on Colossians

Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 
 Colossians 1:12-14

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing 
over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15

Hi Grace Church family + friends! I had such a wonderful time taking our church through the message of Colossians in April + May. Special thanks to Daryn Kinney and John Howell for contributing to the series with their great insights on their assigned texts. 

Here are all the messages from the series:

Grace + Peace, 
P. Heath

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The HUNTLEY - Join the Effort!

Hello friends! Exciting things are in the works as we plan and consider how The Huntley (947 Huntley Ave) will be used. Here are just some of the ways it will be used (beginning this summer!):

The Q Series - A bi-weekly study + discussion group aimed at addressing specific questions about faith, culture, theology, and biblical passages/topics.

The Conversation - A monthly discussion group for skeptics, agnostics, and atheists.

Directions - We plan to reboot our church membership class which, in the past, we have called it our Community Commitment Class. The reboot will be called Directions and will involve 3 meetings: Grace Church 101 + 102 + 103. The Directions Series will run several times a year, all at The Huntley.

Other Grace Church Meetings + Events - people in our church are already talking about doing a special summer kids program, marriage discussion groups, a mom's discussion group, and parenting classes - all at The Huntley!

Outreach + Service Projects - The Dunedin Give Backhas a couple projects and planning meetings planned to be held at The Huntley. Also, plans for some free healthcare courses and child-birthing classes, which will be held at The Huntley, are in the works. And a local church planting network will begin having their regular meetings at The Huntley beginning in August.

Local Dunedin Groups - The Dunedin Lyricists Society, a local Rotary Club, and several local Dunedin companies have already expressed interest in utilizing The Huntley for events and meetings.

Grace Groups - When our Grace Groups resume in August (after the semester break), several groups already plan on meeting at The Huntley!

So, as you can see, the Huntley will greatly enhance our ability to live out our mission + vision and connect with our community. But we can't do it without some fundraising support!

A lot of renovation progress has already occurred at The Huntley. Though much of the building will be remaining as is, we have opened up about 1000 sq. ft. (by removing some walls and the drop ceiling) to create a wonderful multi-purpose area. (And you can follow some of the progress + news about The Huntley by following this hashtag - #ProgressAtHuntley.) 

We will be painting and doing the finishing touches soon. But before we do that we have some of the more expensive components to get done first - A/C work, electric work, lighting, and insulation foam sprayed on the ceiling.

We are raising $7,000 to pay for the renovations and move-in expenses. Some money has already come in; but we have a bunch more to raise! Would you please consider giving and being a part of the exciting things to come with The Huntley? 

You can donate HERE.
(And please select "947 Huntley Ave.")

This is super exciting! Will you help us get there? Will you be a part of something awesome in Dunedin!?!? Every donation helps! 

Thanks for pressing on with us.

Grace + Peace,
P. Heath

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 40


In preparation for Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday), consider the resurrection accounts in Matthew 28:1-20 and Luke 24:1-53. And the following questions: How did this passage speak to me? And what am I going to do about it?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 39


Fast from lunch.
Consider the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 27:32-56).
Attend the Good Friday service.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 38


Today, in preparation for Good Friday, choose to speak only when necessary. Don’t use a lot of words. Instead, spend time listening and reflecting on what’s being said and who is saying it. And spend some time in silence prayer. No words. Just listen to what God may be speaking to you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 36


Read through Luke chapter 15. Ask the following questions: In what way(s) am I lost? In what way(s) am I like the older brother? How did this passage speak to me? And what am I going to do about it? 

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 35


Consider Proverbs 16:24 - “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Today, give at least 5 compliments to 5 different people.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Holy Week - Readings

A number of years ago, Gospel Coalition blogger, Justin Taylor posted a short series on Holy Week providing daily Scripture reading for each day of the week. Each reading corresponds with each day of Jesus’ final week - leading into his crucifixion and resurrection. 

It’s a helpful resource for personal devotional study this week as you prepare for celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday (Palm Sunday)? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Monday? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Tuesday? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Thursday? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Friday? 
Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday (Resurrection/Easter Sunday)?
*Note that there are two Sundays. The first marks the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which many churches celebrate, like Grace Church, Palm Sunday. The second Sunday is of course the day of the resurrection. 

* Also, there is no post for Saturday, because on that day Jesus was dead in the tomb and his followers were grieving. But on that second Sunday, up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - 4th Sunday


Consider 1 Corinthians 10:31. Today, in the name of the Lord and as act of faith filled worship, do something you deeply enjoy. 

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 34


This weekend, do an act of secret generosity that only you (and the Lord) know about.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 33


As much as it is within your control, go the day without TV, radio, Internet, social media, cell phone apps, etc. Take a day to unplug, rest in simplicity and focus on these words from Psalm 80: “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 32 (St. Patty’s Day)

The following is St. Patrick’s “Breastplate" — a beautiful Christian prayer/hymn attributed to Patrick. Written during his Irish ministry in the 5th century, the cause of its composition was to protect Patrick and his monks against deadly enemies that lay in wait for the clerics. And this is a corslet of faith for the protection of body and soul against devils and men and vices.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through the belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, through the strength of his descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today through the strength of the love of cherubim, in obedience of angels, in the service of archangels, in hope of resurrection to meet with reward, in prayers of patriarchs, in predictions of prophets, in preaching of apostles, in faith of confessors, in innocence of holy virgins, in deeds of righteous men.
I arise today through the strength of heaven: Light of sun, radiance of moon, splendor of fire, speed of lightning, swiftness of wind, depth of sea, stability of earth, firmness of rock.
I arise today through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, and God's host to save me from snares of devils, from temptations of vices, from everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils, against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul, against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of pagandom against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ to shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 31


End your day today by spending 10 to 15 minutes in silence reflecting on how you saw and/or experienced Jesus working in your life today.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 30


Pick several times today to pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; you can also find it on our weekly Gracelet).

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 29


Consider 1 Thessalonians 5:11 - “…encourage one another and build each other up…” Today, encourage someone you know by acknowledging their character, skills, and/or abilities you see in them.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - 3rd Sunday


Heavenly Father, we thank you for your reconciling and restorative work in Christ.
We thank you for Jesus Christ, our reconciler, our savior, our source of true life. 
We thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, leading us in renewal and repentance, causing us to dance, delight, and celebrate in the beauty and wonder of your love. 

May we, your beloved church, walk and live faithfully. May we increasingly follow your right way. And may we properly represent your grace and kindness to the world around us. 

This Lent, deepen us in prayer and activity. May we sense your presence and call.
May we grow in our wonder of you.
May we celebrate in our redemption.
And may our hearts find rest in you.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 28


“I fear that we're asking God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us. In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain." ~ Eugene Cho

The aim of Lent is to experience deeper spiritual formation. Consider 2 Peter 1:5-9. What discipline and virtue needs to added into your life? What attitude, behavior, desire, etc. is God putting his finger on? What does he want to see changed (or moved) in your life? If you aren’t sure, spend time asking Him this weekend. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 27


Consider Galatian 6:10. Make a list of major issues faced by your community. Think about how the way you live your life contributes to or detracts from resolving these challenges. What changes can you make in your life to increase the positive contribution you make and decrease the negative?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 26

Consider Luke 4:24-30. Like Elijah and Elisha, Jesus is not sent to the Jews only. Also, consider John 17:20-21. Jesus desires unity within His church. Find out more about Christian unity and interfaith dialogues and initiatives in your area. Pray for their success in breaking down barriers and building community. Pray for a willingness to become more active in pursuing Christian unity.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 25


Meditate on Romans 12:18 and call or message someone you have had a falling out with make amends.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 24


Read Romans 5:1-11 and make a mental note or write down all the words that come to mind when you hear the word “salvation."

Romans 5:1-11
Peace and Joy
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 23


Read Psalm 90. In particular, reflect on verses 1-6 and 12-14. Allow yourself to feel the grandeur of God (and the finiteness of yourself). May this exercise humble you and invite you into deeper reliance upon his presence and grace.

Psalm 90
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men." 4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning-- 6 though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. 7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. 10 The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 11 Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. 16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 22


“Be still and know that I am God.” Pslam 46:10
This weekend, invest in your soul. 
Read the Word. 
Even if it’s just for a few moments, embrace silence. 
Go for a walk. 

Laugh with friends.
Soak in God's creation.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 21


“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” ~ Ephesians 2:4-5

For some Christ-followers, sin and death weave so familiar a narrative that we’ve become numb to their sting. For others of us, the wages of sin and our subsequent spiritual death weigh so heavily that we refuse to accept God’s gracious mercy. The balance in which God calls us to rest is certainly dissatisfied with both extremes. 

Take some time today to rest in the grace of God. Take some time listen to God’s declaration of  “YES!” spoken over you through the Gospel of Jesus. Take some time consider grace’s invitation to resits sinful living and to repentant from self-centeredness.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lent 2016 - Lenten Activities + Prayers - Day 20


As much as it is within your control, go the day without TV, radio, Internet, social media, cell phone apps, etc. Take a day to unplug, rest in simplicity and focus on these words from Psalm 80: “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”

New Psalms Teaching Series - Unfailing Love

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither --whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-4

Hello Grace Church family + friends! I wanted to fill you in on what we're planning to do on Sunday mornings this month. 

During March, leading up to Easter Sunday, we will be journeying through a few Psalms together. Known to some as "the hymnal of the Old Testament," the Psalms are an ancient Hebrew collection of prayers and spiritual songs meant for both personal and liturgical use. The Psalms are packed with honesty and a wide array of emotion. They possess expressions of both faith and doubt. They encourage as well as exhort. And they continually remind us that God is the present ruler (over all) and that his love is unfailing. 

Here's the line up:
Blessedness + Wisdom - Psalm 1
March 6th

Darkness + Lament - Psalm 88
March 13th

Thanksgiving + Salvation - Psalm 118
March 20th

Want to read a great introduction on the book of Psalms? Check out this intro from Dr. Tremper Longman. 

Grace + Peace, 
P. Heath