Pastor’s Notes

December 2017 Pastor’s Notes

This is our family’s sixth Christmas here at Grace and, as many of you know, it is one of our favorite times of the year.  We love all the excitement and family traditions, like putting lights on the house, cutting down a tree and decorating it, assembling new puzzles, playing board games and watching sappy Hallmark Christmas movies.  But, even with all the great family fun, we cannot lose focus of the enormous miracle that is the true “Reason for the Season.” 

     As we are going to explore in a two week series in December, the incarnation of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ is quite possibly the greatest miracle of all.  Think about it, the eternal and living God actually entered His creation through the birth of a newborn baby boy, and was laid in a humble manger, in a small country town in Palestine named Bethlehem.  It is like a painter entering his own painting or an author literally becoming a character on the pages of his book, but infinitely more amazing!

     Someone once told me that they “believed” in Jesus, but they just couldn’t believe all those miracles the Bible says He performed.  I told them, “If you can accept the miracle of the infinite Creator God entering His creation as a finite helpless baby, then turning water into wine or making a blind man see, is mere child’s play.

     Let’s never forget that night in Bethlehem…The Word, who was in the beginning with God, who was God, whom through all things came into being, became flesh and dwelt among us.  Hallelujah!  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

In His Grace,

Pastor Mark



October Pastor’s Notes

     The Scriptures are clear that before God saved us, we were dead in our trespasses & sins; and then at the moment we first surrendered to Him in repentance & faith, we were made alive together in Christ (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13).  The wonder of God’s grace should never cease to amaze us and we should always celebrate with the angels every time a new soul is added to His kingdom (Luke 15). 

     But have you ever wondered about the journey all of us took to that single day of salvation?  Yes maybe we remember the person who shared the Gospel with us that day, a friend, a co-worker, or a pastor.  But think for a moment, just how many people prayed for us, shared the Gospel with us in both word and deed, or simply loved us like Jesus when we needed it?  How many, of what seemed at the time to be unrelated events, encounters, and conversations, did our sovereign Lord lovingly use to guide us on our journey to Him?  Just thinking about it staggers the mind. 

     I have personally found it easier if I think of our journey as a long chain that has hundreds if not thousands of links in it.  Each link is one of the people who prayed us, invited us to church, taught us a Sunday School or Awana lesson, took us to lunch and listened to our problems, or simply greeted us with a smile and a small dose of Jesus’ love. 

     Beloved, every one of us is at least one link in the chain of someone else’s journey to Christ!  And this month we have so many low pressure opportunities that through the power of the Holy Spirit can be turned into another link in someone else’s journey.  Think how easy it is to invite someone to share a free breakfast and enjoy shooting at a private range.  Or how about proclaiming the Free Grace of God by simply handing out some waters or painting some children’s faces? There may be someone you know who hasn’t been in a church for years, but they would love to help out those suffering around our country today by giving blood.  And each year we’ve had over 120 kids come to our Trunk & Treat and this year we are also giving each family a Gospel DVD that is in both in English & Spanish.

     This month, please don’t think of these events as volunteering or doing your duty, instead take hold of them as the divine opportunities that Jesus has sovereignly laid before you to be a link in the chain of salvation for someone you love or someone you don’t even know yet, but who will one day be your brother and sister for all eternity.
 
   

 



WED EVENING WORSHIP IS BACK IN FULL SWING!!!

Beloved, our Wednesday night services are up and running again, and if last week was any sign of what is to come, God is going to deliver some incredible blessings this year!!!

The Fellowship Hall was full as we all enjoyed Carol’s delicious chicken tetrazzini while catching up after our summer break. Please remember that this week is our monthly Potluck, when we bring a dish to share with everyone (if you can’t bring one, d

on’t let that stop you from coming, there is always plenty to share).

Praises to God, for bringing a record 51 young people to start our AWANA ministry last Wednesday and may He increase it again tomorrow!!!!

We also restarted our 6:15pm study of “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong,” but it was only a review night, so if you were not able to make it, come tomorrow night, because you haven’t missed any new material.

The Isaiah’s Bells ministry kicked off rehearsals for another exciting year and our Voices of Grace choir is also back for our weekly 7:40pm practices!!!

So, I hope that you will be able to join us tomorrow night for another wonderful evening of Food, Fellowship, & Fun worshiping our Mighty Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!
Pastor Mark



September Pastor’s Notes

Everyone get  ready, because starting the first Wednesday in September (the 6th), we will be kicking off all of our exciting Wednesday Night Ministries!!!

Fellowship Meals:  This is a wonderful ministry that allows us time to both catch up with old friends and also to introduce yourself to new ones.  We will be using the same schedule as we have for years:  First Wednesday a Prepared Meal, then Potluck, then Prepared, then Prepared (sandwiches/subs), and if there is a 5th Wednesday in a month, we will have another Potluck.  As always, there is a suggested donation for members, but guests are always FREE!!

AWANA:  This is an excellent ministry that allows us to pour God’s love and Word into the next generation of His children.  And, every year since God brought this ministry to us here at Grace, we have seen Him add to our number and our joy.  We pray that this year, He will do the same again!!!

Bible Study:  This year we will be continuing our study of a thought -provoking and educational book called, “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong”.  This is an interactive study of how the Bible responds to some of the most difficult and hotly debated topics of our time, from Abortion to Homosexuality and Marriage to Politics.  Everyone is invited and all materials will be supplied.

Isaiah’s Bells:  Grace’s bell ministry will begin another year of rehearsals and preparations, so they can bring a touch of God’s beauty to our services!!!  If you have any questions regarding the bells ministry, please see Marceia Bartlett.

AWANA  MAMAS:  We encourage the moms who bring their children to AWANA to be spiritually fed as well, but  any women are welcome to join us as we discuss books that focus on living our lives for Christ, particularly as mothers.

Choir:  Although we have been getting ready for the last several weeks of August, the choir is preparing to kick into high gear now that we are in September.  We are preparing for another exciting year of worshiping the Lord that will include numerous Anthems and  special Christmas and Easter celebrations!!!

Beloved, it is going to be another incredible year of Wednesday Evening Ministries, so please mark your calendars and invite your friends and family up to Grace Mountain!



August Pastor’s Notes

As summer vacations begin to wind down and the school year begins to wind up, it is time for us to once again turn our prayers to whom God desires to be our next Deacons.  There are new members and guests since our last Election, so I thought it would be helpful to review our process and seek God’s guidance in this very important endeavor.

As we saw in our recent sermon series, we have a very biblical and God-honoring Leadership Structure here at Grace.  At its founding, we decided to combine the roles of Elder and Deacon into one office, that of Deacon.  Each Deacon serves a 4 year term on the Leadership Team with the Pastor.  This year, Lee Bryant finishes his term and rolls off of our Leadership Team. 

Our Bylaws divide the Deacon Election process into 3 phases: 

  • The Nomination Phase runs through the entire month of August and it allows members to prayerfully discern whom they believe God is calling into this important leadership position. A Deacon nominee must be at least 18 years old, have been a member of Grace for at least one (1) year, and meet the following standards: 
    • A Deacon must live above reproach, meeting the biblical standards as laid out in

    1 Timothy 3:1-13 & Titus 1:5-9.

    • A Deacon must be committed to some level of ongoing service within the church.
    • A Deacon must be a regular attendee of weekly church services.
    • A Deacon must be regularly involved in an ongoing church sponsored study of the Bible.

     

    • The Qualification Phase begins in September. It allows each interested nominee to meet with the Pastor and Chairman of Deacons to discuss the Biblical Qualifications and the Practical Responsibilities of a Deacon at Grace Baptist, as well as the Basic Biblical Doctrines of our church.

     

    • The Voting Phase begins by distributing a secret ballot of all qualified nominees to every member of Grace Baptist Church. There will be a 3 week time period for all ballots to be returned to the church, at which time they will be tabulated and the results reported to the church.

     

    I encourage everyone to read your Bibles and prayerfully discern whom God is calling to lead our wonderful family here at Grace.

    God bless!

Pastor Mark


IMPORTANT PRAYER REQUESTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Beloved, please be in prayer for Karen Walker as she was admitted to Martinsville Hospital yesterday with multiple pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. They are giving her blood thinners to dissolve the blood clots and she should be able to come home in a few days. Please pray for her quick recovery and also for her Dad (Junior) who is having 2 skin cancer related procedures this week…today and Friday.

NEW! SUN MORNING CLASS
We have recently had interest in a new class for those who are prayerfully considering becoming members of Grace’s Church Family. This Grace Family Foundations class will be on Sundays, June 11th – June 25th, at 9:45am. There will be a make-up class offered each following Monday night at 6:30pm, June 12th – June 26th.

GRAD PICS DUE TONIGHT!
Congratulations to all of our graduating high school and college seniors! Join us next Sunday, June 11th, as we recognize our graduates in the church service. Please send Casey Elkins (office@hisgraceforyou.org) at least 5 pictures of your graduating senior, along with their full name, school/college, degree/major, and a very brief summary of their plans in the Fall. Please send these to Casey by TONIGHT for our special slideshow.

UPCOMING INFO MEETING
On Wednesday, June 14th at 6:15pm, we will be having our first Informational Meeting regarding the proposed adjustments to our Constitution & Bylaws, which were handed out at the last Business Meeting. The Leadership Team will be present to answer any questions. If you need a copy of the proposed adjustments, please contact our church secretary Casey Elkins. We will be voting on these proposals at our next Business Meeting on Sunday, July 30th.

WED NIGHTS IN JUNE!
AWANA is over for the year, but there’s still exciting things happening for the month of June every Wednesday night at GBC! Throughout June, we will continue to have Fellowship Meals in the Fellowship Hall at 5:15pm, Bible Study at 6:00pm, and Choir Practice at 7:30pm. Childcare is also provided! If you have any questions about the “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong” Bible Study, please contact Mark Elkins. If you have any questions about the AWANA Mamas bible study, please contact Pam Elkins.



June 2017 Pastor’s Notes

     God’s Word has a great deal to say to about the church, including many metaphors and meaningful imagery.  One of the most used is the idea that the church is the Body of Christ.  It is made up of many different parts that all have different roles, but it still operates in unity under one head (1 Cor. 12:24-25, 27; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; Col. 1:18).
 
In the Scriptures, the church is also called the Bride of Christ.  Jesus is the bridegroom who chose her, paid the price for her, and will one day come to claim her for the great wedding feast in heaven (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-27; Rom. 7:4; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2-11; Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Matt. 25:1-46; John 14:1-3).
 
Over the past few Sundays, we’ve seen that the church is also the Flock of Christ.  We are Jesus’ sheep and He is the Good Shepherd, who knows and calls us by name, and who loves us so much He is willing to lay down His life for us (John 10:1-21; 1 Peter 5:2-4;  2:25; Heb. 13:20; Isa. 40:11; Ezek. 34:23-34; 37:24).
 
In both the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Revelation the church is referred to as a Candlestick. Jesus taught during the Sermon on the Mount, “16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16; Rev. 1:20)
 
But, of all of the metaphors and imagery in the Bible, my favorite is the church as a Family.  God is our heavenly Father, and Jesus is our Brother.  We have all been united together as brothers and sisters by the blood of Christ, and often we share more in common with our church family than our physical families (John 1:12-13; Matt. 12:40-50; Rom. 8:15; 12:10-13; Heb. 2:11; Eph. 2:19; Gal. 3:26-29).
 
     This is why I’m so pleased to be offering an exciting new class in June, one I’ve entitled Grace Family Foundations.  It will be a three week / one hour class that is aimed at sharing what our church family is like, what we believe, and what it means to be one of its members.  It begins Sunday, June 11th at 9:45am in the upstairs conference room and it will end June 25th.  There will also be a make-up class on each following Monday evening at 6:30pm.  So, if you feel the Lord calling you to become a part of our Grace Family or if you just have some questions, please join us.


Pastor Mark’s May Notes

     It’s already May, when our families’ thoughts turn to planning for the summer.  There will be days at Fairystone Park, drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and perhaps, a big summer vacation.   In the same way, our church family is also planning out our fun summer activities.  And this summer looks to be a wonderful one!!

     We are going to have so many exciting opportunities to worship, serve, love, and glorify Jesus this summer.  And, it is all going to kick-off in just a few weeks with our Red Cross Blood Drive on Wednesday, May 17th, from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.  This is an excellent way to share Christ’s love with our community.  Even if you can’t give blood, you can still serve in the canteen or the sign-up area.  So, call me to reserve your time slot and use your “Rapid Pass” to speed up the registration process on the day of the drive.
 
     Then, on Saturday, May 20th, we have the opportunity to serve at the annual Stuart Strawberry Festival.  We will once again be handing out FREE waters and also doing face painting for the kids.  This is a great chance to let our community know that Jesus loves them and so do we.  All you need to do is greet people and offer them a FREE ice cold bottle of water. There is a sign-up sheet in the hallway outside of the Sanctuary or you can call me at 229-5719.
 
     As school winds down, so does our AWANA ministry, which means it’s time once again for our AWANA Celebration Sunday, on June 4th
!!!  With almost 60 kids signed up this year as clubbers, it is going to be a fun-filled day.  We will be handing out awards to all the kids during the service, and afterwards, we will be having a church picnic with hamburgers, hot dogs, and loads of fun and games.  Of course, everyone is invited, and there will certainly be opportunities to serve in the food preparation area and with the games.
 
     And last but not least, Grace’s annual Vacation Bible School is coming Tuesday, July 11th through Saturday, the 15th!  Last year, God blessed us with over 100 kids to share the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is no telling what He will do this time.   This year’s theme is Operation Arctic from Answers in Genesis, where we will learn that the Bible is the “coolest” book in the world.  There are going to be many ways to serve, including Daily Prayer Warriors, Food Preparation, Teachers & Teacher Assistants, Games, Crafts, Set-up and Clean-up, and Guides to help the kids get from one area to the next safely.  So, please, pray about where you might like to help.
 
     As you can see, beloved, it is going to be a fun and exciting summer of sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ our Lord, so let’s get ready to be amazed!
Pastor Mark


April Pastor’s Notes

     Have you ever wondered how amazing it must have been when God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit first set the stars in the sky, formed the foundations of the earth, and gave life to every living thing on it?  And one can only imagine the awe of seeing the burning bush, the parting of the sea, and the pillar of fire that led the Jewish people during the Exodus.  But, as amazing and incredible as all these events were, there is absolutely no doubt that the climax of all history involved the events surrounding the first Easter almost 2000 years ago!

     That is because long before the calling of Moses, the building of the Tabernacle, the anointing of King David, the ministry of the Prophets, and even before the creation of the entire universe, God chose that
 
…when the fullness of the time came, [He would send] forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5; cf. Eph. 1:4-5). 
 
All that had come before and all that would come after hinged on the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Christ Jesus!

     And that is why this Easter, we are going to dedicate the first three Sundays of April to examining exactly what the Bible says about this climax of history.  If you’ve ever read through all four of the Gospel accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, it can, at first, seem a little confusing because each author gave his own Holy Spirit inspired perspective of the various events.  It can raise honest questions like, “When exactly did Mary anoint Jesus with the costly perfume?” or “Why isn’t there any mention of Jesus doing anything on Wednesday of Holy Week?” or “Who went to the tomb that first Easter Sunday and when?”

     But, with careful study the accounts are easily brought into harmony and the full richness of that first Easter is brought to life.  I encourage you to come and to invite everyone you know who has ever had a question about Easter to these first three weeks of April, so we can unravel the full majesty of God’s redemption of the world through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord!

 



Urgent Prayer Request!!!

Beloved, I want you all to know that our brother Clanton Howell won his battle last night and went home to be with his Lord around 2:00am.

Please be in prayer for Nancy, Lamar, Kim, Lena and the rest of the family, as they mourn His passing.

I will let you know the arrangements, as soon as they are finalized.

Thank you for your tireless Love and Prayers for One Another…
In His Love & Mercy,
Pastor Mark



ALL Church Activities CANCELED for Tonight!

I’m sad to announce that we are canceling ALL Church Activities Tonight due to the possibility of severe weather.

They are calling for up to 2 inches of rain, with 40 mph wind gusts, and the possibility of tornadoes.  Therefore, we will not be having any church activities tonight:  Fellowship Meal, AWANA, Bible Studies, Choir or Bells.

We will be praying for everyone’s safety.  Please let us know if you need any assistance.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Pastor Mark



Prayer Request & Funeral Arrangements

Beloved, please be in prayer for Jimmy & Jane Hall and their family as they mourn the passing of his mother Annice Hall this last Sunday evening.

The family will be receiving visitors at Moody’s Funeral Home this Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00pm and the funeral will be held the next day, Friday afternoon at 2:00pm, also at Moody’s. Also, we have the privilege to host a reception for the family after the interment back up here at Grac

e on Friday afternoon.

Here is a link to the on-line obituary if you would like additional details and/or would like to leave a note for the family: http://www.moodyfuneralservices.com/obituary?id=284818

The family also wanted everyone to know that they will be staying at Jimmy & Jane’s house the rest of this week, if you want to stop by and visit with them there.

Thank you for your tireless Love for One Another…
For His Glory,
Pastor Mark



Pastor’s Notes Blog: February 2017

     We live in a culture that is increasingly skeptical of the concept of membership.  Whether we are talking about aligning ourselves with a particular political party or just joining the local gym, in yet another attempt to fulfill a New Year’s Resolution, we are becoming more and more hesitant to make a commitment.  This trend is even beginning to affect the church of Jesus Christ.  Over the last 50 years, Christians have begun to stray from the Bible’s clear teaching on the necessity of church membership and instead wind up drifting from church to church in what has been called “church shopping”.

     There is not enough space here to show you how the Bible teaches that Christians are supposed to be committed members of one specific, local church.  So I encourage you to read your Bible with a discerning eye.  I believe you will find that although there is no use of the modern term membership, there is definitely a clear understanding that Believers are expected to be a part of a local church, for example, “the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1) or “the church in Smyrna” (Rev. 2:8).   The reality is that, in the Bible, once someone was saved, they were immediately incorporated into a local church.  There is simply no serious discussion of Believers operating outside of a local expression of Christ’s church.

     And if you think about it, God’s plan really makes a great deal of sense.  Who would think it is right to leave a newborn baby all alone without a family?  No one!  That would be cruel and disastrous!  God’s plan from the very beginning of time has always been for the family to be the place where newborn babies grow and learn how to be children, then teenagers, then adults and then parents themselves.

     And this model of the family is the same one that God uses for His church.  Every individual church is a separate branch on God’s family tree.  Each one is tasked to function as His family here on earth until Jesus’ return.  Each one is to take in both “newborn” Believers and Believers of all spiritual ages and then love them, protect them, feed them, teach them, discipline them, and give them opportunities to use their gifts to serve, to be blessed and to be a blessing.

     This is why it has always been God’s plan for His children to be grafted into a local branch of His family tree.  It is only there that a Believer can truly experience the healthy spiritual life that he or she was redeemed to enjoy.  I pray that you will find that experience of family and joy here at Grace Baptist Church.



Church News & Updates!

This year is already off and running and we have a lot of opportunities to glorify God coming soon. Here are a few quick bits of news regarding what is going on at GBC:
 
This Sunday is our First Quarterly Business Meeting and Potluck Lunch. The lunch will begin directly after the service and the meeting will follow the lunch. There are information packets available on the table in the hallway outside of the sanctuary and here is a link to the meeting agenda:

http://hisgraceforyou.org/business-meetings/

Also this Sunday we are going to be presenting Glenna Shelor with a Deacon Emeritus Plaque for Jim Shelor, so please come to support her and honor Jim’s faithful service.

This Sunday is also going to be our quarterly Sing-a-Long during the 11:00am service, so join us with your favorite Hymn and let’s worship the Risen Lord together!!!

There is going to be a Missions Meeting in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday February 5th directly following the service. We will be discussing Local, Regional, and International mission plans for 2017 and beyond. If you are interested in learning more or feel led to serve in one of these areas please plan to attend.

Praise God, we are already beginning to see some offerings in the Large Baby Bottle for the Pregnancy Care Center. Please continue to fill your bottles and bring them in and if there’s time refill them again. The final day for collections will be Sunday, February 12th.

This is the last week for submitting your request for a new Security Code, so please see Pastor Mark at your earliest convenience. New codes will go active next week.

We are putting the final touches on our new Church Directory and hope to have it ready for February. There is a rough draft in the sanctuary, so please take a moment this Sunday and check the information regarding your family, make sure that we have everything correct, and add any contact information before we print the final versions.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Pastor Mark



Church Schedule & Prayer Request Updates!

Praise God, the church driveway is finally clear! This means that all of our normal Wednesday night church activities are ON For Tonight; including AWANA (Crazy Hat Night), Fellowship Meal (POTLUCK), Bible Study, Choir Practice, and Bells.

Also, praise God because both Robert Reynolds & Clanton Howell are home from the hospital. And although they are both strong brothers, they still need a lot of prayer, so continue to beseech the

Father for healing, comfort, and wisdom.

And finally, please keep Linda Griffin and her entire family in your prayers because her brother James went home to be with the Lord Monday evening. Pray that God will provide the strength and peace to get them through this difficult time.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Pastor Mark


All Sunday Church Services Are Canceled for Tomorrow!

 All Sunday Church Services Are Canceled for Tomorrow!

Good Afternoon Beloved,

The Deacons and I have discussed the conditions around the area and the very low temperatures forecast for tonight and we have decided to Cancel all Sunday Church Services for tomorrow.

Please stay safe and enjoy a worship service with your family.

For the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Pastor Mark



Men’s Ministry Breakfast Canceled for Tomorrow!

Good Afternoon Beloved,
 
Up here at church the snow has finally changed from flurries to real snow, so I think it is only prudent to cancel tomorrow morning’s Men’s Ministry Breakfast.

The Deacons and I will be monitoring the storm and we will make the call regarding church services this Sunday as soon as we feel that we have a definite answer.

If anyone needs any assistance in the storm, please don’t hesitate to call my cell number:  276-229-5719

Looking forward to worshiping with you all again soon. . .

For the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Pastor Mark



Prayer Request Updates

Beloved, we have some great reasons to praise our Mighty Savior today!!!

Robert Reynolds has been feeling much better then this weekend and he had a successful procedure this morning that banded some spots in his esophagus and there was no new bleeding…AMEN!!!!  There is also hope that he will be transferred from ICU to a regular room today.

Also, Clanton Howell came home yesterday from Martinsville Hospital and he is also feeling better…AMEN!!!!

Please continue to pray for both of these brothers in Christ, for their continued healing and strength.

 

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Pastor Mark



Urgent Prayer Request

Please be in prayer for Robert Reynolds who is currently at Forsyth Hospital awaiting some test results and perhaps some more tests.  Beseech our compassionate Savior to grant him healing and a special measure of comfort since he has been in 2 ER’s for over 12 hours.

 In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord,

Pastor Mark



Merry Christmas!

Not only do we have the opportunity to worship together tonight at our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, but we also have the special privilege that only comes every 5 to 7 years, to remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ during our Sunday Service. 

Tonight’s service begins at 7:00pm and tomorrow morning there is no Sunday School, so we will begin at 11:00am.

Click HERE to watch a clip of last Sunday’s Christmas Celebration featuring a fun skit from the Children’s Choir.

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

Pastor Mark


Throwback Tuesday! That’s Totally a Thing, Right?

Exactly one year ago today, we celebrated Christ’s birth in our “A Christmas to Remember” event. Check out these awesome photos and be sure to join us this Sunday at 7pm for our Christmas Celebration featuring a fun skit from the Children’s Choir, the Voices of Grace Choir, Isaiah’s Bells, and joyful worship for the whole family!
 


Lottie Moon Christmas Offering 2016

This is our week of prayer and this Sunday is our ingathering for our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support Southern Baptist Missionaries all over the world. The goal for our church family this year is $1,400.00, so this week, please pray for our missionaries and also for how God might use you in their mission.

For those who were not in service this Sunday, I didn’t want you to miss the blessing provided by this wonderful video from the International Mission Board about

this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: https://vimeo.com/181350673

See you Sunday,
Pastor Mark



December Grace Notes are Here!

There’s so much in store this month at Grace Baptist Church as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth! Check out this month’s GBC newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest announcements! Click below to download the PDF document or visit http://hisgraceforyou.org/grace-notes/. Make sure you read the prayer requests and praises below as well as the important Saturday Morning Men’s Ministry Announcement!!!
Download Grace Notes

Important Prayer Requests and Praises

Praise God that Shelley Hollandsworth’s breast cancer surgery went very well and that the subsequent tests revealed that the cancer had not spread and she will only need radiation and not chemo.  Please pray for her full recovery and strength through the upcoming radiation treatments.

Praise God that David Byrd’s knee surgery went very well and that he is continuing to do physical therapy.  Continue to pray for a reduction in his pain and a recovery of his full range of motion.

Also, praise the Lord that Laurie Salser had successful foot surgery Tuesday and is home recovering.  Please pray for a quick recovery and a cessation of all her symptoms.

Please pray for Karen Walker that God’s will be done and strength for her as she continues her battle against cancer.
 

Saturday Morning Men’s Ministry

Tomorrow morning’s Men’s Ministry meeting has been CANCELLED! Pastor Mark is still sick, but have a blessed weekend with your families!!!



Prayer Requests!

Beloved, I just wanted to make you aware of a couple of prayer requests:

First, Shelley Hollandsworth has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but by God’s grace it has been caught very early. She will be having surgery on 11/22 at Moses Cone in Greensboro. The Dr.’s. are anticipating that they will be able to remove all the cancer at that time. She will have to have radiation treatments, once she is healed (probably a few weeks after the surgery). She wanted to make sure that

I thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for a complete healing and strength.

Also, please keep Karen Walker’s dad in your prayers. He has had another stroke and is recovering slowly.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Pastor Mark



What Does Jesus Want From His Church In This Election?

Beloved, tomorrow our nation will be asked to choose who will be our president for the next four years and I thought it might be helpful to consider What Does Jesus Want From His Church In This Election. Our Sovereign Lord is both intimately concerned and involved in all things that occur in His creation, which also means the selection of our next president. Paul highlighted this truth in his letter to the church in Rome, which was at that time under the leadership of Emperor Nero: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1).

Since we know that Nero persecuted Christians and probably ordered the death of Paul, who penned this very truth, we know that not every person God allows to lead a nation is “God’s” person. In our nation’s brief history this truth may never have been more on display than this year. That is because neither of the two main presidential candidates has really made a believable argument that they will preserve a society that both values life and makes spreading the Gospel possible. Therefore, many very strong Christians find themselves deeply divided leading up to tomorrow’s election.

So, what does Jesus want from His Church in the election? He wants us to be salt & light to our culture, while simultaneously loving one another, forgiving each other, and preserving the unity of His Church. Jesus calls for Believers to be Salt & Light in a dark and decaying world, which I believe means that every Christian should endeavor to vote for our country’s leaders. So, if your conscience tells you to vote for a candidate that you believe gives the best chance of preserving a society that both values life and makes spreading the Gospel possible, then I believe the Scriptures are clear, God wants you to vote for them. And if your conscience tells you not to vote for either presidential candidate, then the Scriptures are also clear about that too, God does not want you to violate your conscience, so don’t vote for either candidate. But, as Salt & Light I believe you still need to vote for the candidates further down the ballot that you do believe will value life and preserve our ability to share the Gospel.

But, whatever you do and regardless of who wins tomorrow, remember this: long after the votes are counted, the confetti has been cleaned up, and the pundits have told us what we should think, Christ’s church will still be marching on and not even the gates of hell will overpower it! So, Wednesday morning, we must endeavor to love those who may not have agreed with our political views. We must strive to forgive those who may have sinned against us and confess to those we may have sinned against. And we must preserve the unity of the church that Christ bled and died for. To these goals I want to refer you to an excellent podcast I heard last week entitled, “Christian Unity and the 2016 Presidential Election”:
https://soundcloud.com/…/til-074-christian-unity-and-the-20…

In His Grace,

Pastor Mark


Special Sunday Service!

Good Afternoon Beloved,

We have a special service planned for this Sunday because it is our Quarterly Potluck Fellowship Luncheon and Business Meeting. During the service, we will have the Puppets of Praise perform and a “Good Ol’ Gospel Sing-a-Long” where you can request your favorite hymn.

Please bring a dish to share for the Potluck Luncheon, which will begin directly following the service. Our Business Meeting will begin right after lunch.

In His Grace,
Pastor Mark



Excellent Article from SBTS!!!

Beloved, I hope that you have been enjoying our series “What Does the Bible Say About…?” I know that I have been richly blessed these last three weeks meditating on what God says about His redeemed children, the Church of Jesus Christ. This morning during my devotions I read this excellent article from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary that I thought built perfectly on Sunday’s message, so I wanted to share it with you in the link below. I hope that you are richly blessed with it too!

Also, please join us the next two Sundays for the last two topics in this series: What Does the Bible Say About…Itself & Forgiveness.

In His Grace,
Pastor Mark
 
http://www.sbts.edu/blogs/2016/10/17/cannot-coast-christ-likeness/
Don Whitney — October 17, 2016
 

When it comes to discipline in the Christian life, many believers question its importance. Devotion to prayer declines into drudgery. The real-life usefulness of meditation on Scripture seems uncertain. The purpose of a discipline like fasting is a mystery. Why not leave spiritual discipline to those who seem to more disciplined by nature and let the rest of us “live by grace”?

We are not what we shall become

First, we must understand what we shall become. The Bible says of God’s elect, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God’s eternal plan ensures that every Christian will ultimately conform to Christlikeness. We will be changed “when he appears” so that “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). If you are born again (John 3:3-8), this is you, Christian, as soon as “he appears.”

So why talk about discipline? If God has predestined our conformity to Christlikeness, where does discipline fit in? Why not just coast into the promised Christlikeness and forget about discipline?

Although God will grant Christlikeness to us when Jesus returns, until then He intends for us to grow toward it. We aren’t merely to wait for holiness, we’re to pursue it. “Strive for peace with everyone,” we’re commanded in Hebrews 12:14, “and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Notice carefully what that says: without holiness—that is, Christlikeness; Godliness—no one will see the Lord, regardless of how many times they’ve been to church or how often they’ve engaged in religious activities or how spiritual they believe themselves to be.

Made righteous

It’s crucial—crucial—to understand that it’s not our pursuit of holiness that qualifies us to see the Lord. Rather, we are qualified to see the Lord by the Lord, not by good things we do. We cannot produce enough righteousness to impress God and gain admittance into Heaven. Instead we can stand before God only in the righteousness that’s been earned by another, Jesus Christ.

Only Jesus lived a life good enough to be accepted by God and worthy of entrance into Heaven. And he was able to do so because he was God in the flesh. Living a perfect life qualified him to be a sacrifice the Father would accept on behalf of others who by sin had disqualified themselves from Heaven and a relationship with God. As proof of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ life and sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead.

In other words, Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life in complete obedience to the commands of God, and he did so in order to give the credit for all that obedience and righteousness to those who had not kept all of God’s law, and he died for them on a Roman cross to receive the punishment they deserved for all their sins against God’s law.

As a result, all who come to God trusting in the person and work of Jesus to make them right with God are given the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). The presence of the Holy Spirit causes all those in whom He resides to have new holy hungers they didn’t have before. They hunger, for example, for the holy word of God—the Bible—that they used to find boring or irrelevant.

They have new holy longings, such as the longing to live in a body without sin and to have a mind no longer tempted by sin. They yearn to live in a holy and perfect world with holy and perfect people, and to see at last the One the angels perpetually praise as “Holy, holy, holy” (Revelation 4:8). These are some of the holy heartbeats in all those in whom the Holy Spirit resides.

Consequently, when the Holy Spirit indwells someone, that person begins to prize and pursue holiness. Thus, as we have seen in Hebrews 12:14, anyone who is not striving for holiness will not see the Lord. And the reason they will not see the Lord in eternity is because they do not know the Lord now, for those who know Him are given His Holy Spirit, and all those indwelled by the Holy Spirit are compelled to pursue holiness.

No coasting

And so, the urgent question every Christian should ask is, “How then shall I pursue holiness, the holiness without which I will not see the Lord? How can I become more like Jesus Christ?”

We find a clear answer in 1 Timothy 4:7: “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (NASB). In other words, if your purpose is Godliness—and godliness is your purpose if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, for He makes godliness your purpose—then how do you pursue that purpose? According to this verse, you “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”

This verse is the theme for Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. In it I attempt to unpack the meaning of 1 Timothy 4:7 and apply it, chapter-by-chapter, in practical ways. I will refer to the scriptural ways Christians discipline themselves in obedience to this verse as the Spiritual Disciplines.

I maintain there that the only road to Christian maturity and godliness (a biblical term synonymous with Christlikeness and holiness) passes through the practice of the spiritual disciplines. I emphasize that godliness is the goal of the disciplines, and when we remember this, the spiritual disciplines become a delight instead of drudgery.

______________

Donald S. Whitney is professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary. A longtime pastor and author of numerous books on the Christian life, he is also founder of The Center for Biblical Spiritualityand is author of numerous books including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Lifeand Praying the Bible. This article was originally published on the Crossway blog.



Urgent Prayer Request!

Beloved, please be in prayer for Karen Walker and her family, because her Dad is in the ICU at Forsyth Hospital for observation stemming from a series of potential mini-strokes. They are going to do more tests tomorrow morning, so please pray for His healing, and the family’s strength and peace.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord,


Pastor Mark



September Pastor’s Notes

    Summer is winding down, the kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and the choir is back.  It’s also time for a new Wednesday Evening Small Group Study.  We are going to kick off with the study of a really thought provoking book, entitled “Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong,” by John MacArthur.

     The book begins with a bold observation:  “It is common in the evangelical church today for people to verbally acknowledge that the Bible, as God’s Word, is the final authority for both what they believe and how they live.  Yet in reality, a clear connection between that public confession and personal conduct is rare.”  It then goes on to prove that the Bible, a book finished nearly 2000 years ago, is the single greatest source of truth in the world, and that it still speaks truth into the situations and problems we face in our modern world today. 

     The book is broken into four major sections:  Entertainment & Leisure, Morality & Ethics, Politics & Activism, and Tragedy & Suffering.  Within each section is a series of essays/chapters (20 in all) that deal with a wide variety of relevant topics including: “Christian Liberty and the World of Entertainment,” “Issues Related to Divorce and Remarriage,” “Euthanasia, Suicide, and Capital Punishment,” “Racism and Reconciliation in Church and Culture, “Illegal Immigration and Border Control,” and “Responding Rightly to Personal Hardship and Trials”.  I believe that you will find this book to be an invaluable resource for the issues we face today.

     So, please join our new study, beginning Wednesday night, September 14th at 6:15pm.  The books have been graciously provided by the providence of God and the faithfulness of His children at Grace Baptist, so all you need to bring is a Bible and lots of questions.  Also, this study is open to everyone, so please invite your friends and neighbors. 


Urgent Prayer Request

Good Afternoon Beloved,

Please be in prayer for the Reynolds and Pierson family as they mourn the loss of Paula’s Dad, our brother in Christ Burton Pierson, earlier today.

His funeral will be in West Virginia early next week, but you can pay your respects at Moody’s Funeral Home tomorrow, Saturday the 3rd from 11:00am to 5:00pm.
The family will not be present at Moody’s, but there will be a guest book and they are accepting calls and guests at the Reynolds home.

Also, please continue to pray for our sister Janet Ferraro, her family, and Mike Craig as they continue to mourn the loss of her Mom, Carmella Ferraro, early Tuesday morning.

In the Precious and Powerful Name of Jesus Christ our Lord,

Pastor Mark