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Mid Week Update

June 07, 2017

Hello Church Family:

This past Sunday we enjoyed a really great time of fellowship together after the morning services as we gathered for a “Pot Luck Dinner” under the pavilion on the beautiful property God has provided.

I want to say a big “Thank You” to our Women’s Ministry Committee who provided leadership for the event. It was well-organized and well-attended. The food was pretty good, too!

The WMC intentionally organized the Pot Luck Dinner with our church vision in mind. One of the “big ideas” that we’re aiming at over the next several years is this idea of “Growing Together.” We want GBC to be a place where anyone who encounters us experiences a warm, healthy community that cares deeply for one another. We want to make our church “sticky” – a true church HOME for all who worship here. To do that, we have to provide opportunities to get to know one another beyond just the worship services on Sunday.

Obviously, a Pot Luck Dinner or even a series of them will not accomplish this goal alone. But, it was a good step in the right direction. I got to meet and talk to folks in an informal setting that never would have happened on a Sunday morning. I put some faces with some names. I met some people for the first time. And, yes, I got to talk to some of my “old standby” friends, as well.

So, if we’re able to do it again sometime, I would like to encourage you to participate if possible. It was intentionally low-key without a lot of specifics or details – bring SOMETHING and share it with others! It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

So, thanks again to our WMC and thanks to all who attended the Pot Luck Dinner on Sunday. I count it a privilege to be part of such a wonderful church family.

--Wayne


FOCUS On Vision

See Above!

June 07, 2017

Hello Church Family:

I said in Sunday’s sermon that Paul mentioned only in passing in Philippians 1:12 “what has happened to me” and how it “has actually served to advance the gospel.” I said that Paul elsewhere detailed some of those things that had happened to him in his pursuit to advance the gospel. Here’s the list from 2 Corinthians 11:23-28: He was imprisoned. He was severely flogged. He was exposed to death again and again. He received 39 lashes from the Jews 5 times. He was beaten with rods 3 times. He was pelted with stones. He was shipwrecked 3 times. He spent a day and a night in the open sea. He was in danger from rivers, bandits, his fellow Jews, and from Gentiles. He was in danger in the city, the country, and at sea. He was in danger from false believers. He often went without sleep. He was hungry and thirsty. He had been cold and naked. He was under incredible stress because of his concern for all the churches that he had planted.

Wow! Paul could easily have asked, “Why, Lord?” He could have asked, “Why ME, Lord?” He could have said, “I give my life to serve You and THIS is how You treat me?” But, he didn’t say any of that. Instead he saw adversity in his life as an opportunity for the gospel to advance (Philippians 1:12). His adversity revealed his true character as he REJOICED that the gospel of Jesus was being preached, regardless of the motives of those preaching it. Wow.

It is incredibly difficult for us to see the “big picture” when we’re in the midst of adversity, but may God give us the grace to do so. May He enable us to have our best witness in our worst circumstances because it is your perspective in times of pain that makes all the difference.

--Wayne


FOCUS On Vision

We have stepped into a new month and when June is complete, 2017 will be half over! Incredible, right? I’m sure you remember that our emphasis for 2017 as a church is to leave the fingerprints of God on the people and the circumstances we encounter every day. We’ve been endeavoring to track those fingerprints by (anonymously) reporting them on bulletin boards here at the church. We’re not doing that for the sake of “numbers,” we’re doing that to encourage one another and to “spur one another on to love and good deeds.” We want to have an impact on our community by showing love to those we rub shoulders with each day.

So, let me encourage you to influence someone’s life for good this week. Let me also encourage you to record your fingerprint(s) on the board in the church hallway as a way of “joining forces” to show the love of Christ to the world around us.

May 31, 2017

Hello Church Family:

This past Sunday we saw Paul’s heart for the Philippian believers in the prayer that he prayed for them. His primary desire for them was that they would LOVE one another. He wanted that love – which already existed – to abound more and more. His prayer was that their love would be grounded in the knowledge of God and that it would be applied in practical ways so that discernment and holiness would be the result.

But, it starts with love. The first and greatest commandment, according to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 is to love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, and mind. The second greatest commandment is a lot like the first: to love your neighbor as yourself.

Love – for God and others – is a huge characteristic of a spiritually mature person. May our lives be marked by love based on knowledge and applied in practical ways. Let’s love those we rub shoulders with every day and, in so doing, leave the fingerprints of God on their lives.

--Wayne


FOCUS On Vision

I would ask you to pray for a meeting we have scheduled with our ministry leaders for 12 June 2017. During that meeting we will be emphasizing the “4 mountains” of our vision. These are the goals we have set for ourselves over the next 3 years or so. We want to make sure that all our ministry leaders understand these goals AND that all our ministries are heading in the same direction, striving for the same results. Thanks for praying for that meeting on 12 June.

May 24, 2017

Hello Church Family:

Isn’t it great to know that God’s not finished with us yet? If He has begun that good work of salvation in us, He will carry it on to completion. That’s what we reminded ourselves of this past Sunday. Then on Monday I came across a prayer of David in Psalm 138:8 where he said, “8The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” We can have confidence that our God will not abandon that work of salvation that He has begun in us.

So, if you are struggling in a particular area, or if you feel like you’re treading water in your spiritual life, or if you’re wondering if God can use someone like you . . . take heart – God is not finished with you yet! He is going to continue working on you and in you until the day your life on earth is over or Jesus returns. Let’s surrender to Him daily so He can have His way in our life each and every day. He’s not finished with us yet.

--Wayne

May 17, 2017

Hello Church Family:

This past Sunday we finished up our Family Matters sermon series as we looked at the faith of one mother – Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Her faith must have been great because she made it into the “Hall Of Fame Of Faith” in Hebrews 11 along with others like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. We saw how her faith was courageous – she hid her child for 3 months, knowing that she was taking a great risk to do so. But, her faith was also sensible as she devised a plan to ensure the safety of her newborn son. May our faith be characterized by both of these qualities!

This coming Sunday we will begin a trek through the book of Philippians. I’m calling this series of messages “Lasting Joy” because that is the overarching theme of the entire book. This Sunday we will begin our study by recognizing that God finishes what He begins in our lives.

I like to preach series of sermons on practical topics (such as the topic of FAMILY), but I also think there is great value to preaching through the books of the Bible. We’ve done that recently with 1 John and 1 Thessalonians. Understanding the “whole counsel of God” is important for believers of all maturity levels. The Scripture is relevant for us today as we apply it to our lives. May God conform us into the image of His Son as we make our way through Philippians.

--Wayne


FOCUS On Vision

The warmer temperatures this week remind us that summer is approaching. Summer is a perfect time to spend time with our neighbors on the patio or deck, sharing a meal together. This would be a great opportunity to leave God’s fingerprints on your neighbors by showing them hospitality, getting to know them, and just letting them know that you care about them. Who knows where the conversation might lead? Even without a specific agenda, we can pray that God will give us opportunities to leave His fingerprints through our words and/or actions.

I just heard this past week about a family that opened their home to their neighbors. I was excited and I was motivated to pray for them. May we all be willing to take such a step of faith. I’d love to hear your story!

May 10, 2017

Hello Church Family:

We had a wonderful day this past Sunday on “Missions Awareness Day.” Our speaker, Ricardo Escobar, reminded us of a number of good principles from Matthew 14:22-33. This is the passage in which Jesus walks on water and invites Peter to do the same. Even in the midst of “the storms of life,” we need to be willing to take that step of faith and trust God to lead us and sustain us as we walk with Him. Ricardo also reminded us that the Great Commission was given to ALL of us as believers, not just pastors or missionaries. His challenge was to pray and ask God for an opportunity to share His love with someone this week. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity to our year-long emphasis of leaving God’s fingerprints on the people and circumstances we encounter on a daily basis. May God give us opportunities and may we be quick to take advantage of those opportunities!

Thanks so much to our Missions Committee for organizing such a rich day. The Adult Bible Class with Tim Heald sharing his prison ministry was a great blessing, as well. Also, I’m thankful for the prayer booklets that the committee provided and the text-message reminders throughout the day to pray for our missionaries around the world. At GBC, we have a rich history of promoting and supporting world missions, and I’m glad that our Missions Committee is helping us to continue that emphasis. Great job!



--Wayne


FOCUS On Vision

Each Sunday, I see a number of faces that I don’t recognize. Or, I see familiar faces, but I can’t honestly say I know their names. I’ve been trying to be more deliberate and intentional about introducing myself and welcoming them to GBC. Sure – there’s a risk involved. What if they’ve been coming for 2 years and I’m just now learning their names? That’s a risk I’m willing to take!

As I put myself in the shoes of those that are new to GBC, I realize just how difficult it can be to “break in” to a new church setting. Sometimes, people have moved into the area and don’t know anyone. Sometimes they’ve come from a difficult previous church experience. Other times, they may have no church background at all and are just “checking out” this whole Christian thing.

One of our core values is to create an atmosphere on Sunday mornings that is welcoming to all of our guests. So, let’s do our best to welcome newer folks and get to know them when we see them on Sunday mornings. We have no idea how meaningful a smile, a handshake, or a hug might be to someone who is feeling anxious or somehow out of place. Leave God’s fingerprints on someone this Sunday!

May 03, 2017

Hello Church Family:

I really enjoyed our Child Dedication Sunday this past week. It was so encouraging to see 6 different families dedicate 8 children to the Lord. Seeing those families and their children all standing on the platform was a great visual reminder of just how blessed we are as a church to have so many individual families in our big church family.

Congratulations to:
Caleb & Alice Crothers as they dedicated Baylor and Henley to the Lord.
Aaron & Lauren Dymond as they dedicated Ezra to the Lord.
Stephen & Amy McDowell as they dedicated Bryce to the Lord.
Michael & Alicia McDowell as they dedicated Clara to the Lord.
Jesse & Heather Neustadter as they dedicated Verity to the Lord.
Stephen & Teresa Watkins as they dedicated Gavin & Mason to the Lord.
It’s such a blessing to know that all these parents desire to raise their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. May we as a church support, encourage, and pray for all of them as they train up their children in the way they should go.

--Wayne
April 26, 2017

Hello Church Family:

Today’s version of the Mid Week Update will be greatly condensed!

I just want to remind everyone about the Child Dedication Service this Sunday. REMEMBER – just ONE service at 11:00 AM with Sunday School / Kid Konnection / Adult Bible Classes at their normal time (9:45 AM). I’m looking forward to the dedication service and I hope you plan to be there to encourage all those families who are dedicating their children and themselves to the Lord. Plus, it’s always refreshing to worship as one big congregation from time to time! I hope to see you there!

--Wayne
April 19, 2017

Hello Church Family:

Wow, what a great Easter weekend here at GBC! Friday’s Tenebrae Service was somber, but very meaningful. It was a great time to reflect on what Jesus went through for us. I heard lots of good comments, especially about the “What’s So Good About Good Friday?” video. Here’s the YouTube link for that if you’re interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzxXvEtf9D0 Many thanks to Jesse and the entire staff of people who put together such a rich service.

But, on Easter Sunday we had the opportunity to celebrate and rejoice in the resurrection! We considered the power of the resurrection. We recognized how the resurrection has the power to change lives. We saw the changes that took place in the lives of Thomas, Peter, and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. These changes could be explained in no other way except that the resurrection had made the difference.

The New Testament has plenty to say about the power of the resurrection. We looked at Philippians 3:10 which says, “10I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Romans 1:4 talks about how Jesus was “appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead.” Acts 4:33 tells about how the apostles testified to the resurrection of Jesus with great power. Yes, the resurrection is powerful – powerful enough to change lives!

Let’s allow that resurrection power to transform us and make us more like the Savior day by day.


FOCUS On Vision
This Sunday, during each of the morning worship services, we will have a brief review of the vision we discussed back in December of last year. We want to bring it to mind once again. We’re pretty confident that we’re all aware of our “over the horizon” vision of wanting to reach 50 new families in the next 5 years. We’re also pretty confident that we’re all aware of our one-year emphasis of “leaving God’s fingerprints” wherever we go. But, we want to also be sure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to our three-year emphases, which some of us may have forgotten.

Remember, we wanted to make sure we could all explain our vision to someone over coffee on the back of a napkin. That’s what Brent Lawrence, one of our elders, will help us do this Sunday!

--Wayne
April 05, 2017

Hello Church Family:

This past Sunday we talked about parenting. We looked at Ephesians 6:4 which says, “4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Of course, the greatest example of fatherhood that we have is that of God, our Heavenly Father. 1 John 3:1 states it quite clearly – “1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” There are many blessings that come with being sons and daughters of God. Here are just a FEW:
• Our Father cares for the birds of the sky, and we are of far greater value to Him than the birds. (Matthew 6:26)
• Our Father, though He has many children, will leave the 99 to go after the 1. That’s how much He loves us. (Matthew 18:12-14)
• We need not be slaves to fear because we are sons and daughters of God by faith. We call Him, “Abba, Father,” (or “Daddy” in our language). (Romans 8:15-16)
• God our Father knows how to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:9-11)
• Our Father has prepared a place for us in heaven. (John 14:1-2)
• But, perhaps the GREATEST blessing of having God as our Heavenly Father is this amazing truth – no matter how far we have wandered, we can still come home! Remember what Jesus told us regarding the Prodigal Son: “17When he came to his senses, he said . . . “18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.’” (Luke 15:17,18) Our FATHER always welcomes us with open arms - not with a scowl, or with criticism, or with skepticism.

So, the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father goes far beyond obedience, rule-keeping, or outward conformity. It’s based on love – a GREAT love that gives us the privilege to be called sons (and daughters) of God. Rejoice in that relationship with your Heavenly Father today and strive to have that type of relationship with your own children!

--Wayne
March 29, 2017

Hello Church Family:

This past Sunday we spoke directly to children (as the Apostle Paul himself did) from Ephesians 6:1-3. In those verses, Paul talked about two important elements in our relationship with our parents. He talked about OBEDIENCE and HONOR.

We know that obedience is about action – it’s about DOING the right things and conforming to the desires of our parents. It’s doing what they tell us to do. Honor is more of a mindset. Paul said it’s not just important to obey; it’s important to obey with the right attitude. We know that it is entirely possible to obey with an obedience that is perfectly correct in its ACTION, but is perfectly wrong in its ATTITUDE, and that’s not a good combination.

Honor for our parents has to be the basis for our obedience to our parents. This can be challenging, but by God’s grace and with HIS enabling, we can be wise because as Proverbs 10:1 says, “1A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.” Wise > foolish!

These principles also apply in our relationship with our heavenly FATHER. May our honor for our Father be the basis of our obedience to Him.



--Wayne
March 22, 2017

Hello Church Family:

Having considered the topic of humility in our messages for the past two Sundays, I'm struck by how prevalent the topic is throughout the Scriptures, both Old & New Testaments. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Jesus also said in Mathew 32:12, "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." James 4:10 says, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." That sounds a lot like 1 Peter 5:6 (which we looked at 2 Sundays ago) which says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." Even way back in the book of Proverbs, Solomon was expressing the same thoughts in Proverbs 3:34 - "He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed."

Maybe Ephesians 4:2 is the best summary of all. Paul said to the Ephesian believers, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Wow - imagine what our marriages (and ALL our interpersonal relationships) would look like if we were able to live that out consistently from day to day! As I've been emphasizing, it will ONLY happen in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit because, quite frankly, humility and "honoring one another in love above ourselves" (Romans 12:10) doesn't come naturally or easily. But, God is more than able - HE can do it through us. Let’s trust Him to do so.

--Wayne
March 15, 2017

Hello Church Family:

C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.”

This past Sunday we noted that humility is a decision to put the priorities, interests, and concerns of others above mine. In 1 Peter 5:5 Peter tells us to “clothe ourselves with humility” because “God opposes the proud but shows favor (or grace) to the humble.”

This is clearly NOT an easy (or natural) thing to do, and our flesh often fights us in this regard. But, we’re also told to “cast all our anxieties on God because He cares for us!”

Let’s keep our hopes, dreams and desires for marriage from becoming expectations by casting (pouring, dumping, throwing) them all on God, not on our spouse. That may require daily or hourly or minute-by-minute prayer, but when we humble ourselves, God gets involved by giving His grace.



--Wayne
March 8, 2017

Hello Church Family:

Many thanks to Pastor Rob for speaking in my absence this past Sunday. I've heard only good things about his message. Thanks to Pastor Steve for handling the communion service this past Sunday as well. We here at GBC are certainly blessed to have multiple pastors who are trained and experienced in preaching and teaching the Word of God. Hearing from “multiple voices” is good for all of us.

We will return to our “Family Matters” series this coming Sunday. Last time, we talked about the danger of our hopes, dreams, and desires for marriage turning into expectations. This Sunday we seek to answer the question, “Since it’s natural to have hopes, dreams, and desires when it comes to marriage (and since we all have them), what can I do to keep them from turning into expectations?” We’ll look at 1 Peter 5:5-7 and make some practical applications from this very challenging passage. I hope to see you this Sunday!

--Wayne

PS – Thanks to all who made The Great Date Night a huge success and a wonderful night. I think all who were there were blessed and encouraged - I know I was.

--Wayne
February 23, 2017

I really appreciated Pastor Steve's reminder and challenge this past Sunday to "align our hearts with the heart of God." We know that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to pay the price for the sins of people just like you and me. Pastor Steve reminded us from Luke 19:10 that Jesus "came to seek and to save the lost." God's heart is to bring hope to a lost and dying world through the good news of the gospel message. God loves the world and he desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

So, if we want our hearts to "beat with God's heart," we need to love the world as God does. We need to share the love of God with those with whom we come in contact on a regular basis. We've been reminding ourselves for several months now - we need to leave the fingerprints of God on the people and the circumstances we encounter every day.

Pastor Steve gave us 2 prayers to pray:

1) "Lord, make the people I will contact today HUNGRY for the truth. Open them up so that they'll be receptive to Your love."
2) "Lord, give me an opportunity today to somehow touch someone with Your message of love and forgiveness in Jesus."
Let's start each day with these 2 simple prayers and let's EXPECT God to give us the opportunities for which we pray. By His grace may we take advantage of each of those opportunities. I'm excited to hear the stories of what God will do. (Don't be shy about sharing them with me!)

--Wayne
February 23, 2017

I really appreciated Pastor Steve's reminder and challenge this past Sunday to "align our hearts with the heart of God." We know that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to pay the price for the sins of people just like you and me. Pastor Steve reminded us from Luke 19:10 that Jesus "came to seek and to save the lost." God's heart is to bring hope to a lost and dying world through the good news of the gospel message. God loves the world and he desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

So, if we want our hearts to "beat with God's heart," we need to love the world as God does. We need to share the love of God with those with whom we come in contact on a regular basis. We've been reminding ourselves for several months now - we need to leave the fingerprints of God on the people and the circumstances we encounter every day.

Pastor Steve gave us 2 prayers to pray:

1) "Lord, make the people I will contact today HUNGRY for the truth. Open them up so that they'll be receptive to Your love."
2) "Lord, give me an opportunity today to somehow touch someone with Your message of love and forgiveness in Jesus."
Let's start each day with these 2 simple prayers and let's EXPECT God to give us the opportunities for which we pray. By His grace may we take advantage of each of those opportunities. I'm excited to hear the stories of what God will do. (Don't be shy about sharing them with me!)

--Wayne
December 14, 2016

Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. These are not hard things to understand, are they? They are basic things that we are (hopefully) in the habit of doing just about every day. But, as we saw on Sunday, these things become a lot more challenging when Paul modifies them with some additional words or phrases. Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances. We have opportunities on a daily basis to choose joy, to keep pressing on in prayer, and to trust God’s sovereignty even in the circumstances that we can’t completely understand right now. Let’s encourage one another to do so and praise God for the results we see as He blesses others through us, especially during this Christmas season.


FOCUS on Vision

This is a feature I will strive to include every week as we continue to try to clarify our vision and get us all thinking along the same lines. So, I will present a question that one or more people have asked and try to answer it to the best of my ability with our vision front-and-center in our thinking.

Q. Families are fine and everything, but what about the ____________ group (fill in the blank with an age group or special focus)? Don’t you care about them anymore?

A. It is true – families will be in the “bullseye” of the ministry because that’s who we believe God has called us and best equipped us to reach and serve. But, that IN NO WAY means that others don’t have a place here at GBC. After all, one of the things that characterizes GBC is that we are a multigenerational church – we have people of ALL ages. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this point is to think of mixing music. When you hear the worship team on Sunday, the guys back at the mixing board adjust the volume for each instrument and microphone. Lead vocals and the melody instruments are turned up in the mix. The background singers are just a touch lower. “Color instruments” add great variety and spice, and the drums are turned down as far as they will go (just kidding Nate & Andrew)! If the volume for all participants was identical across the board, it would tend to sound more like noise than music, right? So in the same way, the volume will be “up” on families, but we will have lots of opportunity for “other band members” to really round out the sound so it makes beautiful music to the Lord. But, hey . . . not everyone can be the lead singer!

When I think about ministering to and reaching families I get very excited because I think it means good things for the future of our church. There are many churches which, sometimes by default, end up ministering primarily to the older folks in the church (I am one now, so it’s OK if I say that! ). It’s easy to fall into that pattern. What happens as a result? Those churches are primarily made up of . . . older people. We want to reach and train those who are young so that we can pass the mantle of leadership to them in the future. We also want to assist and help the parents of those young folks to raise those kids in God’s discipline and instruction. Can YOU have a part in that? ABSOLUTELY! God can use those of us with the experience that age often brings to minister to those who are following in our steps. It’s all part of making and growing disciples.

We want YOU. No, we NEED you as part of the family that makes up this local body of Christ called Grace Bible Chapel. Let’s move forward TOGETHER as God leads us.

--Wayne

December 07, 2016

Hello Church Family:
When detectives find fingerprints at the scene of a crime, they know for sure that a certain person has been there. Our fingerprints are unique and they provide a means of identification. There’s no denying I’ve been somewhere if they find my fingerprints in that location, right?!

We have a sliding glass door in our home that opens onto our patio. My grandkids love to stand at that door and look outside. When they do, they almost always touch the glass, leaving their little fingerprints all over it. Those fingerprints are a sign that my grandkids have been there – and they’ve left their mark.

When I power-down my iPad and the screen is dark, I can see my own fingerprints on the screen where I have swiped, clicked, or double-tapped. Those fingerprints are evidence that I’ve been using that device – my identifying marks are all over it.

In Galatians 2:20, Jesus said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Did you catch that? Christ lives IN each one of us who know Him as Savior and Lord. Our friend Ken Needham recently reminded us of the importance of “letting Jesus out” as we live from day to day.

Think about it – we have the opportunity to “leave the fingerprints of Jesus” on people and situations on a daily basis. “Let Jesus out!,” as Ken would say. An act of kindness, a word of encouragement, a promise to pray, an invitation to an upcoming Christmas service, letting someone ahead of you in line, complimenting someone’s well-behaved child – all of these simple, low-risk ideas (and many, many, many more!) present themselves to us every day, don’t they? Teresa of Avila (a 16th century nun) said it well when she said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.”

Let’s pray – every day – for opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus. May He leave His fingerprints on the world through US. Let’s pray for those opportunities and EXPECT God to provide them! Oh – and I would love, love, LOVE to hear how God leads and uses YOU to leave His fingerprints on the world around you. It’s not bragging, it’s not boasting – it’s “encouraging one another on toward love and good deeds” as Hebrews 10:24 instructs us. Let’s do it!

--Wayne

November 30, 2016

Hello Church Family:
We were blessed by the ministry of Ken Needham this past Sunday both in the morning services and in a special evening service. As I was thinking about the passage in Luke 8 that Ken spoke from in the morning dealing with the demon possessed man that Jesus restored, I was reminded about the way the chapter ends. Verses 38-39 say, “38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”

Each one of us also has a story to tell about how God changed our lives because of Jesus. We all have a personal testimony. God puts us in situations, He puts us in contact with people on a daily basis. May we keep the words of Jesus in mind so that we can tell how much God has done for us when we find ourselves in those types of situations. Let’s function as salt & light in this world or ours!

Changing topics . . . don’t forget . . . this coming Sunday, 4 December 2016, the elders will be making a presentation during the ABC / Sunday School hour at 9:45 AM. The presentation will be an explanation of our church’s vision for the future. We have been working on this for several years now and we hope this meeting will allow us to begin to cast that vision to the entire congregation. Vision, as defined by Andy Stanley, is “a mental picture of what COULD be, fueled by a passion that it SHOULD be.” God has placed us where we are as a local church with the resources and gifts to carry out His desires for us. Please join us Sunday so we can be on-board together as we move toward God’s preferable future for GBC.

--Wayne

November 23, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Today’s Update consists of 2 reminders of the important special events happening this week here at the church.

Reminder #1 – Tonight’s Thanksgiving Service
This is one of my favorite services of the year. We gather together to remember and give thanks for the blessings of our God over the past year. We will spend some time in congregational worship, I will bring a brief devotional thought about gratitude, and Jenn Murray and Jesse Neustadter will minister in Special Music. But, the highlight of the service for me is hearing the testimonies of our people. We recorded some video of our people giving thanks, and hopefully that will “prime the pump” for others to give testimony to God’s goodness during the service. I hope you can join us tonight. It is a great way to get Thanksgiving started on the right foot!

Reminder #2 – Ken Needham’s Visit
Our missionary, Ken Needham, will be speaking this Sunday in both morning worship services (8:15 & 11:00 AM). We are also going to hold a special EVENING service at 6:00 PM so that God can bless us through Ken once again. If you’ve been attending GBC for any length of time, you know what a blessing Ken has been to us in the past. If this is your first time hearing Ken, I assure you – you won’t be disappointed.

So, have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends! Praise God for His blessings.

--Wayne

November 16, 2016

Hello Church Family:
“Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”

This is how Paul closed the 4th chapter of 1 Thessalonians. He had just finished talking about a very sobering topic – death. But, Paul wanted the Thessalonians to realize that physical death is not “the end” for those who believe in Jesus. Because Jesus was raised from the dead as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20), we have the confidence that we, too, will be raised. In fact, those who have died before the return of Jesus will be raised FIRST, then those who are still alive at the time “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The same verse goes on to say that “we will be with the Lord forever.”

That was the source of Paul’s encouragement for the Thessalonians. He wanted them to have a different perspective on their grief. Notice - he didn’t say, “Don’t grieve!” Instead, he said in 4:13, “Don’t grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope.” Big difference, right?

So, to those who have lost believing loved ones . . . there is hope! When our time here on earth is through, we still have ETERNITY to look forward to – an eternity in the presence of God in that “building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). I’ll say it again - there is hope! Not a “wring your hands, hope for the best” kind of hope but rather a confident assurance in the promise of our faithful God. We don’t grieve as the rest of mankind does. And that is a great reason to “encourage one another with these words.”

--Wayne

November 09, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Shoe-leather faith. That’s how John Macarthur describes the kind of faith in Jesus that affects our daily lives. That’s the kind of faith that the Apostle Paul encouraged in the lives of the Thessalonians. He told them in 4:3, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” In 4:1-8, Paul dealt with a very specific aspect of sanctification, namely sexual purity. But, in 4:9-12, he gives them 4 actions they were to do in their everyday lives that would lead to their sanctification. Love one another. Lead a quiet life. Mind your own business. Work with your hands. In verse 12, Paul tells them that the result of these 4 actions would be that their lives would “win the respect of outsiders.” So, if you and I want to influence those around us with the gospel, let’s strive – with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit - to make these 4 actions part of our daily lives. Let’s love one another. Let’s lead quiet, peaceful, relaxed, contented lives. Let’s mind our own business. Let’s work hard to provide for our own needs and for the needs of others. It will be exciting to see what God does through us! --Wayne

November 02, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Jesus encourages us to follow Him. When He called His first disciples, He told them in Matthew 4:19, “’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” Jesus also said in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” He reassured the disciples in John 10:27, “’My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.’” That’s what a disciple does – he or she follows Jesus.

It was a tremendous joy this past Sunday to see 10 of our own people follow Jesus through the waters of baptism. Each one of them was making a public statement, “I belong to Jesus.” It was so encouraging to have the entire church body together to celebrate the step of faith taken by each of these 10 folks. Thank you for the love, support, and encouragement that you, as their church family, gave them this past Sunday.

I would like to give a special word of thanks to Dave Crouse and our entire Tech Team who really went the “extra mile” for us this past Sunday. The pre-recorded videos were great! The live images of the baptisms on the worship center screens really added a lot, especially for the people seated in the back. The Tech Team had no easy task this past Sunday, and they pulled it off flawlessly! Thank you, men (and woman!), for serving us with such excellence and selflessness. We appreciate you!

So, congratulations to Bryan Wilson, Scott Simpson, Kevin Hart, Abrey Sottnick, Gary Cooper, Debbie Cooper, Derrick Green, Regina DePase, Rachel Kolodzey, and Jill McKay. We are PROUD of you! Keep walking with Jesus.

--Wayne

November 02, 2016

Hello Church Family:
I know you don’t need me to tell you this, but . . . the election is coming! It will be held on Tuesday, 8 November 2016. As a church, we have been careful NOT to endorse or support any particular candidates. What we have tried to do is encourage and motivate you to:

1. Register to vote.
2. Exercise your right to vote for the candidates that you think best exemplify the types of leaders who will govern us with righteousness and morality.
3. PRAY for our country and its many needs at the time of this election.
Attached to this e-mail is a prayer guide that may help you pray specifically for God’s mercy on our nation and for His hand in placing those in leadership who would honor Him. Please consider using the prayer guide to pray individually, with your family, with your small group, and collectively with others at GBC. Pray that God will hear our prayers and give us leaders who will respect and honor biblical principles and Scriptural guidance.

I would also like to invite you to join the GBC church body in prayer at our regular monthly Prayer for Our Nation with a special emphasis this month on the election on this Sunday evening, 6 November 2016, from 6-7 PM.

--Wayne

October 26, 2016

Hello Church Family:
This past Sunday’s message can be summarized in one word: RUN!!! In the passage we looked at in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Paul said, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.” We also referenced 1 Corinthians 6:18 where Paul said, “Flee from sexual immorality.” When it comes to our sanctification in this area, the strategy is pretty simple – RUN! Don’t stand up against sexual immorality and resist it with all your might. Don’t just ignore sexual immorality and hope it will eventually go away. Don’t make a list of the pros and cons of sexual immorality and make a wise choice based on that list. Don’t pray for strength to “Just say NO” to sexual immorality. Don’t wait for a full explanation of what’s REALLY going on if something looks like sexual immorality. NO – RUN!!!!

Sexual sin is in a category all its own. It is one of the most difficult sins for which to forgive ourselves, even though we might know in our minds that we have been forgiven by God. The consequences of sexual sin are often far-reaching and sometimes plague people for their entire lives. It’s nothing to be “messed with.” So, is it any wonder, then, that Paul’s strategy for dealing with it is RUN?

Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11-12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Our testimony – especially in this area of sexual purity – will have an impact on those around us. Let’s be salt an light!

--Wayne

October 19, 2016

Hello Church Family:
On Sunday, 30 October 2016, we will be having a very special service here at Grace Bible Chapel. That is the day of our Baptismal Service. We will have just ONE combined service that day, beginning at 11:00 AM right here in our worship center. There will be no early service or Sunday School hour that day – just the one combined service at 11:00 AM. Please pass the word about the time!

The entire service on the 30th will center on baptism. We will have our time of congregational worship and a brief message (about baptism). The bulk of the service, however, will consist of the actual baptism of 10 of our people in our new portable baptistery: Kevin Hart, Rachel Kolodzey, Derrick Green, Gary Cooper, Debbie Cooper, Bryan Wilson, Jill McKay, Regina DePase, Abrey Sottnick, and Scott Simpson.

Baptism is an important step in the process of discipleship. It is a public declaration of faith in Jesus. It is a public statement of a person’s intention to follow Jesus for their entire life on earth. It is an OUTWARD sign of an INWARD grace. So, we want to rejoice with the 10 people getting baptized on the 30th as they take this step of faith and, as a church family, we want to encourage them to walk with Jesus. I hope you’re planning to be there to support each of these 10 candidates. I can’t wait!

During the service, you will have opportunity to hear a little bit of each person’s “journey of faith” through a recorded video that they have each prepared. The videos will be shown on our big screens in the worship center as the candidates enter the baptismal pool. I KNOW you will be encouraged by the stories of LIFE CHANGE that God has accomplished in each one of these folks. It’s going to be a great service! I hope to see you there.

--Wayne

October 05, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Pride. We’ve all seen the devastating and disastrous effects that pride can have on people. Pride can ruin a marriage, break up a friendship, or derail a career in the blink of an eye. The Bible – especially the book of Proverbs – has a lot to say about pride, and much of it is not good.

However, we saw this past Sunday that there is a different kind of pride – a good kind of pride – that the Apostle Paul had for the Thessalonian Christians. He was proud of them in a good sense because of the way they stood firm in their faith and honored Jesus with their lives. Because Paul had such significant spiritual input into the lives of these people, their testimony of faithfulness and commitment gave him a good sense of pride. Paul says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”

Imagine how satisfying it must have been for Paul to be able to say those words! I want to encourage each of us to INVEST in the lives of those around us. Let’s make time for the important things in life like people and relationships. Who knows? There may be a day where you may be able to repeat the words of Paul above when it comes to someone YOU have influenced with the gospel – “YOU are our hope, our joy, our glory, our crown.” How awesome will it be to one day say, “Now we really live since you are standing firm in the Lord.”

Invest in a life today. Spend time with them. Love them unconditionally. Invite them to church. And expect God to do great things in their life. You may be the only “Jesus” they ever meet.

--Wayne

September 29, 2016

Hello Church Family:
This past Sunday, we recognized two attitudes or mindsets in the Thessalonian believers from 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 that allowed them to have a big influence on the people around them, both near and far. First was their submission to the Word of God. We saw how they RECEIVED the Word from Paul and his associates. They also ACCEPTED the Word – not simply as a human message, but as the Word of GOD. Finally, they BELIEVED the Word. This was a step of action – they trusted the Word and submitted their lives to it. The second mindset or attitude that characterized the Thessalonians was their perseverance in the face of opposition. Remember – they suffered this opposition from their own people (the Gentiles). But, they didn’t give up when they we opposed. They pressed on and continued to be salt and light in a very dark city.

Remember: there is no substitute, there is no short-cut when it comes to spending time in the Word. Let me encourage all of us today to have a plan for DAILY Bible reading. As I mentioned on Sunday, I am really enjoying the You Version Bible App right now. I find the “Plans” that they make available very helpful. I just completed the New Testament Chronological plan. If you’re looking for something to help you stay focused, the You Version might help. It’s free!!! Plus, you can share what you’re reading with your “friends” on the app for increased accountability. (If you use the app, be sure to add me as a “friend.”) It doesn’t have to be a LONG time each day, but let me encourage you to make SOME time each day for Scripture reading. Receive the Word, accept the Word, and believe the Word each day.

--Wayne

PS – A great big “THANK YOU” to all those who worked hard to make the “Pond Picnic” a great event. We had perfect weather, wonderful fellowship, and plenty of good food. A good time was had by all!
September 21, 2016

Hello Church Family:
This past Sunday we saw from 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 how Paul dealt with the Thessalonian people as a spiritual parent. He said he was gentle among them like a nursing mother cares for her children. He was motivated by his LOVE for those people (2:8) as he gently fed them and cared for their spiritual needs. He said he was also like a spiritual father, encouraging, comforting, and urging the Thessalonians to live lives worthy of God.

We recognized that the bottom line for Paul in his dealings with the Thessalonians was pretty simple: Love people, and point them to Jesus. What a challenge for US! As God brings people into our lives and as we have opportunity to rub shoulders on a daily basis with people who need Jesus, may we do the same – may we love them and point them to Jesus.

So, I hope we will all live with the expectation this week (and every day!) that God will use us as we make ourselves available to Him. Pray for those opportunities for God to leave His fingerprints on the world through you! And – if you think of it – share with me some of the ways (big or small) that God uses you. I love to hear the stories of what God is doing in the lives of His people here at GBC.

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

September 14, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Wow – what a great missions emphasis weekend our Missions Committee put together for us! Thanks you so much for all you did to inform us and inspire us.

I heard wonderful things about the Friday evening ladies’ activity. Thank you, Bella Jones and Mary Beth Weaber, for being willing to share your short-term experiences with the women of GBC.

I got to experience first-hand the great men’s breakfast on Saturday morning. The food was great, the setting was beautiful, the fellowship was sweet, and the message by Nate Leigh was challenging. We were encouraged to look back at the “Jordan stones” in our lives – those times when God provided for us in the past. Since God has been faithful in the past, he can be trusted in the future. Why should we worry when God has been so faithful in the past?

Pete Scott, one of our “home grown” missionaries, did a great job during the Sunday School hour of reminding us of our “roots” in missions and also of informing us about the ministry of member care that he and Wendy are involved with through Pioneers.

I think everyone was blessed and challenged by Steve Richardson’s message during the worship services. The story of the “Peace Child” is a tremendous testimony of how God brought the message of the gospel to one tribe in Papua New Guinea. But, we also know that God will use us in our circumstances and situations as we make ourselves available to Him. We were challenged to do a “15 minute missions inventory” by asking God what personal role He might have for us in carrying out the Great Commission.

It’s always good to come back to the basics, to remember the marching orders that Jesus gave us just before He left this earth. We want to make and grow disciples both across the street and around the world. GBC has a long, rich history in foreign missions and it’s always good to remember, as Steve Richardson reminded us, that we ought not to “grow weary in doing good.” May the Lord continue to use us as a church AND as individuals to complete the task of taking the gospel to the nations.

--Wayne

August 24, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Pastor Steve did a nice job this past Sunday of reminding us of the many benefits that come from participating in the Disciple Group ministry here at GBC. We talk a lot about this statement as elders and as a staff: “Spiritual growth happens best in community.” We recognize the tremendous benefits that come from getting people “out of rows and into circles.”

We need one another, don’t we? Pastor Steve referenced Hebrews 10:25 which encourages us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” The very next verse talks about “encouraging one another.” Disciple Groups provide an excellent environment for both of these things to happen.

So, I’d like to encourage you as best I can to give serious consideration to joining a Disciple Group, especially if you are relatively new to GBC. Joining a Disciple Group is a great way to get connected to the church and make long-lasting friendships. Believe me - the effort required to meet each week is well worth it. I, personally, am really looking forward to forming and leading a group again this year (which will be my 11th year).

You can sign up for a Disciple Group at our church website, www.gracebiblechapel.org by going to the “Ministries” tab, selecting “Disciple Groups,” and filling out the on-line form. You can also sign up at the Information Desk on Sundays. I trust this will be our best year yet as we create meaningful opportunities for interaction among believers. Sign up soon!

--Wayne

August 24, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Dawson Trotman is a name you might recognize. Dawson was the founder of the Navigators, an organization fully devoted to Christian discipleship. Their own website describes their history well. “The Navigators® ministry began in the 1930s, when a young California lumberyard worker caught a vision. After seeing the benefits of basic discipleship principles in his own life, Dawson Trotman wanted to teach them to others, echoing the call of 2 Timothy 2:2: "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."”

Dawson Trotman often asked the believers he came in contact with, “Where’s your man?” What he really wanted to know by that was, “Whom are you discipling for the next generation?”

This was the pattern we recognized in the Thessalonian church this past Sunday. They received the message with joy in spite of sever suffering. The imitated godly examples. They then BECAME examples to other believers so that “the Lord’s message rang out from them and became known everywhere.” They were, as 1:7 says, “a model for the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”

Dawson Trotman’s question is a good one for all of us – “Where’s your man (or woman)?” May the Lord lead us into those discipling kinds of relationships where we can encourage one another and “spur one another on.”

--Wayne

PS – Thank you to those who took the time to write and let me know about the ways God has used YOU to leave HIS fingerprints on the lives of people. Those stories are very encouraging! Expect God to use you today – He will!
August 17, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Our Facilities Manager, Jack Dye, does a fabulous job of keeping our church building clean and in tip-top working order (Thanks, Jack!). One of the things I see Jack doing on a regular basis is washing windows and cleaning the glass on both our interior and exterior doors. Why? Because fingerprints show up on that glass very easily! On the bottom panes of glass you see tiny, little fingerprints (or noseprints!) from some of our little people trying to act big by pushing that big, heavy door open. On the upper panes, you see bigger fingerprints from folks like you and me who put their hand on the window to open the door or hold it open for the person who is following them.

Fingerprints are quite natural and they’re to be expected when you have people using the building on a daily basis. Those fingerprints are an indication that “someone has been here.” Not only have they been here, but they’ve left their mark. Detectives look for fingerprints all the time to connect people to crimes, don’t they? Why? Because if they find fingerprints, they know who was there.

The Thessalonian church was having an impact on the people around them. Not only were they having an impact in Macedonia and Achaia, they were having an impact EVERYWHERE. You might say they were “leaving their fingerprints” on the lives of people with whom they came in contact.

So, how about us? Where are we leaving our mark? Are we leaving our “fingerprints” on the lives of the people we have contact with every day? As you walk around your neighborhood or your workplace or your school . . . can you see the fingerprints of God that have been left by His people?

Today, let’s consider our attitude as we step out of our door and into the world. Let’s EXPECT God to use us to influence someone else in a POSITIVE WAY  today. It may not be a full-blown gospel presentation. But, it might be an act of kindness or word of encouragement or even a cold bottle of water in Jesus’ name. Where will you leave your fingerprints today? Better yet . . . where will God leave HIS fingerprints through YOU today?

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

PS – I know most people don’t like to “brag” in themselves, but . . . I love, love, LOVE hearing your stories about how God is using you to influence others. Those stories encourage me to no end. So, if you have a moment, reply to this message and let me know how God is using YOU to leave His fingerprints on the world around you.
August 11, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Well, after 9 messages we have come to the end of our sermon series Living Generously. Generosity can manifest itself in so many forms, can’t it? We can be generous with our time, our talents, and our treasure. But, as we’ve been saying . . . generous is not something we do, it’s something we are. I trust that the Lord will continue to mold us and make us all into the generous people He wants us to be. Grace Bible Chapel has benefitted greatly from the generosity of God’s people over the years. Think of the missionaries we supported, the ministries we’ve been able to support in our own community, and, of course, the building He’s allowed us to construct. None of this would have been possible if not for the generosity of the people who make up GBC. I’m amazed at the opportunities that the Lord continues to give us in this area of generosity. I know I’ve said it MANY times before, but . . . we are so blessed as a church to be able to send OUR OWN PEOPLE out into the mission field around the world. What a blessing it is, but what a responsibility, also! Pete & Wendy Scott, Dan & Jackie Scott, Abby Miller, Bronson & Jenny Hokuf, Ryan & Mary Hokuf, Jackie England – all of these folks would identify GBC as their home church or their sending church. We want to be faithful in our support of all of these choice servants of God both prayerfully and financially. Paul boasted about the Corinthians because of their generosity (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). May the same be said of us here at GBC as we continue to give cheerfully and generously. Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

August 4, 2016

Hello Church Family:
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” These words of Paul from 1 Corinthians 12:27 are a good reminder to us of a truth we looked at again this past Sunday – “What you have is far less important than what you do with what you have.”

We all (believers) have been blessed by God with spiritual gifts and natural abilities. The Holy Spirit is generous. He gives gifts to His people according to 1 Corinthians 12:4 – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.” So, the question is obvious, isn’t it? What will we do with what we have? We are ALL part of the body of Christ, right? So, let me encourage all of us today to use what God has given us to touch someone’s life today. Let’s leave our mark, let’s leave the fingerprints of God on someone’s life today in the name of Jesus. Let’s be GENEROUS with our talents, gifts, and abilities for Jesus’ sake!

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

July 28, 2016

Hello Church Family:
In what is probably the oldest of all the Psalms, Moses wrote in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

This is right in line with what we considered this past Sunday when Paul encouraged us in Ephesians 5:16 to “make the most of every opportunity” or to “redeem the time.” As we look around us, we would have to agree with Paul that “the days are evil.” So, what will we do – intentionally – to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way to do good, to be salt and light, to encourage, or to help someone around us? Each of us has a different set of circumstances, a different sphere of influence, and different opportunities that we can redeem.

Let’s be careful how we live. Let’s be wise in all our decision-making. Let’s live as children of light.

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

July 21, 2016

Hello Church Family:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

These words were drilled into me by one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith was my 4th grade teacher (I was 9). It was one of only a handful of classroom rules that she enforced. When it comes to relating to others, “The Golden Rule” sums it up pretty well, doesn’t it? It’s a pretty sobering thought to realize, as the end of Luke 6:38 says, “38For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We talked this past Sunday about the difference between farmers and miners. Farmers invest in their land, they prepare the soil, they plant the seed, they fertilize, weed, and water their crops. And, even when things don’t go their way because of drought, flood, insect infestation or WHATEVER, they will do it all over again the following year. It’s just what farmers do. Miners, on the other hand, are only interested in what they can get FROM the land. If the mine doesn’t produce coal, gold, or diamonds . . . they abandon the mine and move on.

Let’s be FARMERS. Let’s farm with an understanding of the “Law Of The Harvest”. You reap WHAT you sow. You reap MORE than you sow. You reap LATER than you sow. So, what are we sowing in our lives? The Law Of The Harvest says that’s what will come back to you. Let’s be GENEROUS with gracious words, compliments, and encouragement toward one another. If that comes back to us in “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over,” it will be a beautiful thing!

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

July 14, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Lots to think about from our passage this week in Matthew 6:19-24.

Two treasures – where is yours? Are you storing up treasures here on earth? Don’t forget, moths and rust will easily destroy them because they are temporary and very elusive. Or are your treasures in heaven? Remember, “You can’t take it with you, but you CAN send it on ahead!”

Two visions – how is yours? In effect, Jesus told us, ““When the things we can see outweigh the eternal things that are unseen . . . we have spiritual near-sightedness.” So, how’s your vision today?

Two masters – who is yours? The goal is not balance. The goal is singleness of mind. If your heart is pursuing the things of this world, those things will control you. We cannot serve two masters.

These are sobering thoughts, but hopefully they will move us closer to the goal of this sermon series – Living Generously. We have opportunities every day to live generously. May we each say “Yes” to God when those opportunities arise.

--Wayne

July 06, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Wow, what a couple of weeks it’s been. I can’t tell you how exciting it’s been for me as a pastor to see and hear about the great things that God is doing through people like YOU here at GBC.

We’ve just come through 2 HUGE initiatives here at the church that were very closely related. On Sunday, 26 June, we had both the first day of Vacation Bible School AND the Family Pig Roast. The stated purpose of both of these things from the very beginning was to reach out to our community with the gospel message. And, I must say . . . the people of GBC responded beautifully!

First, the Pig Roast. It was a beautiful day and the committee did an awesome job of planning, organizing, and carrying out a wonderful plan for a great meal and tons of family-friendly activities. The event ran “as smooth as silk” and I heard nothing but positive feedback from all those in attendance. We were happy to welcome a number of guests to both the worship service and the pig roast to follow. Thanks to all who had a part in the event. Thanks, too, to all of you who invited a friend or family to join you that day. I trust your friends or relatives felt welcome and enjoyed the interaction they had with other GBC-ers. Great job!

Second, VBS. Wow – what a week! Consistent attendance of around 165 children per night was quite a blessing from God. Again, that was made possible by two groups of people: the volunteers who made up our staff AND the families who invited their friends, neighbors and relatives to be part of VBS. I heard multiple stories of kids who were super sad that VBS ended – they wanted to come back for more! I also heard stories of volunteers who volunteered for ONE night but came back on subsequent nights just to be part of what God was doing. How exciting is that?! It was also great to see the excitement of the kids as they sang on stage in the 2nd service this past Sunday. WHOA!

The success of both of these activities shows me just how important it is for ALL OF US to be on the same page as we do ministry together. It’s exciting to work together – to “pull on the same end of the rope,” so to speak – to accomplish something that none of us could do alone. It’s also extremely exciting to focus our ministry efforts OUTSIDE of ourselves for the benefit of those not yet a part of GBC. My kids are “grown and gone,” but I still loved being part of something that was reaching children and their parents with the gospel of Jesus. What could be more exciting and motivating?

Well, I just realized . . . this is getting lengthy (people tell me you won’t read it when I ramble! ), so I’ll quit. It’s just hard to contain my excitement for the great things we’ve seen God do over the past few weeks. It is so wonderful to minister shoulder-to-shoulder with all of you. Thank you for the key role you play here at GBC!

--Wayne

PS – remember to pray for our Sr. High students who are in the Dominican Republic finishing up a week of ministry. They return on Saturday, 9 July.
June 29, 2016

Hello Church Family:
I read a story recently in a book that the Elders are working through together. The story was about 3 laborers who were making bricks in the hot desert sun. Someone was passing by and asked them what they were doing. The first answered, “Can’t you see that I’m making bricks?” The second one said, “I am building an important wall.” The third one paused, looked out into the distance and replied, “I am building a beautiful cathedral. And it’s going to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals of all time!”

Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

This week, God’s people here at GBC have been working together to build a “beautiful cathedral” at VBS! More than 100 volunteers have been working TOGETHER to do what none of us could do alone. It would be so easy for an individual worker (registration table, crew leader, kitchen worker, clean-up crew, song leader, tech team, drama actor, nursery worker, etc.) to feel like they’re just working alone, “doing their thing”, making bricks. But the truth is . . . it’s all working together to create a beautiful work of art that will have eternal consequences.

I cannot express how much joy this brings to me as a pastor. THANK YOU to each and every one who has had a part, big or “small.” It feels so good to have everyone pulling on the same end of the rope, working together to minister to families and reach out to our community. Well done, GBC – well done!

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

June 22, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Wow, wow, WOW! These are exciting days - VBS is almost upon us!

I love the idea of “doing together what none of us could do alone.” That’s EXACTLY what VBS is at GBC. I’m so thankful for the MANY volunteers that make something of this magnitude possible. Think about it – there have been people planning this for MONTHS. Food items have been donated. Volunteers are in place in every conceivable position from teachers to crew leaders to kitchen help to drama folks to singers to games to sound/audio/video people to missions to clean-up . . . you get the idea! Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to make “CAVE QUEST” a wonderful, memorable experience for all here at GBC.

Don’t forget – we’re having just ONE SERVICE this Sunday, starting at 10:00 AM. There are no ABC classes, Sunday School Classes, or Kid Konnection this Sunday. The morning worship service will serve as our first day of VBS. Children should sit with their families on Sunday morning. It’s going to be a very exciting service! I’ve heard John the Baptist is even going to show up.

Also . . . don’t forget about the PIG ROAST that will follow the morning service. Everyone is invited for a wonderful meal (pulled pork, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, & baked beans) as well as great family activities like a hayride, photo booth, and games for all ages. As of right now, the weather is looking GREAT - PTL!

And, of course, VBS will also be held Monday – Thursday, 27-30 June 2016 here at the church each evening from 6:00 – 8:30 PM. There will be classes for those kids who have completed kindergarten – 5th grade. There will also be a Jr. High group AND a class for ADULTS taught by Pastor Steve. So, we hope mom & dad (or g’ma & g’pa) will take advantage of that and “hang out” with Pastor Steve while the kids are at VBS.

Whew! That’s a lot! Join me in prayer for this very exciting week. I’ll look forward to seeing you on Sunday and all the other days of VBS.

--Wayne

June 16, 2016

Hello Church Family:
I’m a day late with the Mid Week Update. That just means the weekend is a little closer! Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

We serve a generous God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all are characterized by giving. The Father gave His one and only Son. The Son gave His life for sinners. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to His people. As we aspire to greater godliness, generosity ought to characterize our lives in increasing measure. After honest evaluation, can we say that about ourselves? Let’s pray to that end. My God help us to become more and more generous each day.

I heard of an opportunity for generosity this morning that I wanted to share with the church family. Nicanor is a ministry that, among other things, provides food for homeless and other needy folks in our county. On the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, Nicanor provides the food and serves a meal at the Paris Foundation on Bridge Street in Elkton. They could really use some help serving this coming Sunday, 19 June 2016. You would NOT have to bring and food, nor would you have to prepare or cook any food. Help is needed with SERVING the food. Perhaps this is a way you (and your family) could reach out and be generous with your time to help others. If you are interested in helping, please click the button below to contact Richard Starr. Thanks for considering this!

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

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June 8, 2016

Hello Church Family:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We were challenged by these words of Jesus (quoted by Paul, written down by Luke in Acts 20:35) on Sunday. At the end of the message, I asked us all to be looking for an opportunity this week to be blessed by giving to someone in need. This morning I received this e-mail from one of our people that just made my day.

“Last night, I was in Walmart, and the older gentleman in front of me in line was buying food and a few miscellaneous items. His check kept getting declined. He explained to the cashier that his monthly check would be automatically deposited at midnight - the $$ would be in his account in a few hours. My items were already on the counter - and there was a long line behind me. He tried another check, no luck. He tried his bank card, no luck. By this time, the folks behind me had gone to another register. I was the only one left. I asked if I could pay his bill. He said no. The cashier asked me if I knew what the amount was - I did. I swiped my card and paid. I felt a "gentle nudge" from the Lord - confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

We walked out together and he gave me a check for part of the amount. He lives in Florida with his wife - but his children live in Cecil County. He is on a very limited income and they came for a visit so that his daughter could help them refinance their car to a lower interest rate and payment. He is 76 years old and hoping to get a cashier job at Walmart in Florida when they return home. I do not plan on cashing the check - but I have the address. I plan to return it with a note - and a card with our church name and address - and invite them to be my guests next time they are in the area.“

Wow! Is that awesome, or what? God’s people being salt and light in the world – what a beautiful thing.

I don’t know what your story will be this week, but I’d love to hear it. Don’t forget – God knows your situation. You may be struggling yourself right now and wondering, “How could I possibly give to someone else? I have unmet needs of my own.” Again, God knows. Make yourself available to God. Say, “Here I am, Lord – use me to meet someone else’s needs.” I can guarantee you this: If we make ourselves available to God, He will use us. It may not be exactly how WE envisioned it, but He will use us. Would you take the time to let me know how He uses YOU this week?

Joyfully in Jesus,

--Wayne

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June 1, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Well, our outdoor service was great! Thanks to all the willing people who worked so hard to make it happen. There was such a wonderful spirit of cooperation that the set-up and tear-down didn’t seem like burden at all. What a wonderful thing to be able to say! It’s a great thing to see the Body of Christ work together in such a beautiful way. Thank you to everyone who had a part – I really appreciate it. Praise God for some nice (hot) weather, too!

We saw this past Sunday just how important it was for the Israelites to establish solid families as they entered the Promised Land. With godless influences all around them, it was important that they teach their children and their CHILDREN’S CHILDREN the commandments of the Lord. They had to KNOW God. Jehovah alone is God - there is no other. They had to LOVE God with every part of their being – with their heart, soul, and strength. They had to LEAVE THEIR MARK on their children and grandchildren by impressing the commandments of God on them in every circumstance of life – at home, along the way, before going to bed, when waking up.

Some things in life are important. Other things are necessary. But, some things are fundamental and non-negotiable. As parents and grandparents, our responsibility to train our children and grandchildren in the ways of the Lord is one such thing. Let’s not allow the hustle and bustle of the busy world we live in to cause us to shirk our responsibility in this area. Remember: the path of least resistance is not always the best path to travel!

Ronald Reagan once said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” So, here’s a very practical challenge for all of us. Let’s eat together as families as often as possible. It’s often easier for everyone to do their own thing at dinnertime, but it is most beneficial in the long-run to make the extra effort that is often required for everyone to eat together. In fact . . . I bet you probably have some great stories of meaningful things that have happened at your dinner table. Would you be willing to share one with me? Simply hit the “Send Email” button below and tell me your story – I’d love to hear it!

Have a great week, and shine brightly for Jesus.

--Wayne

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May 25, 2016

Hello Church Family:
Since Sunday, I’ve had a number of people – via text message, e-mail, or face-to-face conversation – share with me their struggles in the area of generosity. Several have expressed a desire to be more generous and are asking the Lord to grow them in this area. That is very exciting!

I find it extremely interesting that Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, summarizes the teachings of Jesus in the parable we looked at this past Sunday (Luke 12:13-21). Paul talks about NOT putting our hope in wealth, but rather putting our hope in God. He talks about being generous and willing to share. He talks about seeing things from a long-term perspective, not the short-term perspective.

I don’t know about you, but I really want to live from an abundance mindset, not a scarcity mindset. It’s encouraging to think what God could do in us and through us if we held our possessions with an open hand and saw ourselves as stewards rather than owners!

One last thing – if you have a story about generosity (something you did or something someone else did for you) that you’d be willing to share, please let me know. It would be EXTREMELY encouraging to hear how God has used you (or someone else) to minister through generosity. Thanks in advance!

Joyfully in Jesus,
--Wayne
May 18, 2016

Hello Church Family:
What a tremendous blessing we have as believers according to 1 John 5:20 – “20We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.” We have been given understanding by God – He has opened our hearts and minds – so that we can have a PERSONAL relationship with Him. Access has been granted and we can come to God by His grace through faith in what Jesus has done for us. Wow – we are blessed!

John closes out the letter in the very next verse by simply telling us, “21Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” We recognize that anything that takes the place of God in our lives is an idol. May God grant us the strength to keep our Lord seated on the throne of our lives in His rightful place.

--Wayne
May 11, 2016

Hello Church Family:
A real “Defining Moment” in my life came when I was confronted with Matthew 7:2 and applied it to my life. In that verse Jesus says, “2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Whoa – think about that for a minute!

When I “mess up,” I’m always thankful for people who are gracious and forgiving. Who isn’t, right? My personality is such that I almost always ALREADY feel bad enough for doing what I did or saying what I said. I usually don’t need (or want) more guilt or condemnation from those around me. GRACE is a wonderful thing and is most welcomed when I need it – which, to be honest, is far too often!

So . . . if I appreciate a gracious and forgiving spirit in other people . . . I ought to express that TO others, as well. After all, Matthew 7:2 promises that the measure that I use will be measured to me. Sobering thought, right?

When it comes to praying for and ministering to those who might be struggling, I need to remember this principle. I referred to Galatians 6:1 this past Sunday which says, “1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person GENTLY. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (emphasis mine).

Let’s PRAY for one another and be GRACIOUS to one another as we walk this path of discipleship together. Let’s be gentle with one another. Let’s live up to our name – GRACE Bible Chapel. I think Jesus would have it no other way.

--Wayne
May 4, 2016

Dear Church Family:
We have a perfect opportunity to put this week’s message into practice. Tomorrow (Thursday, 5 May 2016) is the National Day Of Prayer. GBC, in cooperation with several other local churches, is hosting an event that will help us PRAY.

At the event, there will be corporate worship, special music and, of course, PRAYER. There will be 7 different topics for prayer (government, military, media, business, education, church, family). Those who attend will divide into small groups and spend several minutes praying for each of the topics. Each topic will be introduced by someone from our community who has influence in that particular area. Dr. Stephen Hokuf, pastor at First Baptist Church in North East, will wrap the evening up with a 6-7 minute devotional message.

Remember, by virtue of the fact that we belong to Jesus, we can have confidence in approaching God in prayer. We know that God hears us AND answers us when we ask anything according to His will. This is a great motivation to pray. I hope you will consider joining us tomorrow night as we come confidently before the Father to seek His will in all of these different areas. See you tomorrow evening.

--Wayne
April 26, 2017

Hello Church Family:
This coming Sunday we will be continuing our journey through 1 John and the passage we will look at is 1 John 5:14-15. These two verses will show us another benefit of our relationship with Jesus. Not only do we have the confidence of eternal life (1 John 5:13), but we also have the confidence that when we pray according to God’s will He hears us AND we have whatever we have asked of Him. WOW – that’s a bold statement, isn’t it? And I thought last week’s passage was difficult!

The Lord’s timing is great, isn’t it? We come to this passage on prayer THE SUNDAY BEFORE the National Day Of Prayer which is Thursday, 5 May 2016. Several from GBC (under Rodney & Becky Brewer’s leadership) have been planning and organizing a community-wide prayer event for that day right here at GBC. The event will start at 6:30 PM and run until 8:45 PM. Several other churches in our area are cooperating and participating in the event. There will be prayer in small groups for various topics from business, media and government to family, church and education. I would like to personally invite you and encourage you to attend as we come CONFIDENTLY (1 John 5:14) before God in prayer.

Thank you all for making Grace Bible Chapel such a great place to minister and call “home.” I love you all!

--Wayne

Grace Bible Chapel
1949 Joseph Biggs Memorial Hwy
Rising Sun, MD 21911
410-658-5767

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