April 16, 2017
April 16, 2017
The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is the first step of obedience after surrendering to Christ: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Baptism allows a believer to communicate to the world their heart-felt commitment to Christ. It shows that they have decided to put Christ at the center of their life, after coming into life-changing relationship with Him. Baptism is an outward picture of what has already taken place on the inside of a person. Being baptized does not make you right with God, but it shows others that you have already trusted in what Christ did for you on the cross. Like a wedding ring in marriage, the action of baptism is a symbol of a commitment made, a declaration to others of the love and devotion you have for Christ.
What if I’ve already been baptized? Do I have to do it again?
Many people’s parents had them baptized as infants or children, and although we believe that those parents were doing what they thought best as a way to dedicate their children to the Lord, the Bible only gives examples of adults who made that decision for themselves. So even if you were baptized as an infant, we’d love to see you take this step of obedience to declare for yourself that you wish to follow Jesus with your whole life.
Does it matter whether someone is sprinkled or dunked?
Following the examples given in Scripture, we baptize by immersion (Mark 1:9-10). If you have a medical condition which prohibits full-immersion, please let us know and we will discuss alternatives with you, so you can still take this public step of obedience to Christ.
My child wishes to be baptized – what age does Grace Church baptize at?
If your child is 8-13, we’ll ask you to schedule a meeting with our Pastor prior to scheduling a baptism date. We typically do not baptize children under 8 years of age, because we want to make sure your child understands the abstract significance of baptism. We would, however, be happy to schedule a Child Dedication service, where you can publicly dedicate your child to the Lord during a Sunday morning service.
As we fulfill our vision, we are guided by these values from the Bible…
To be a Christ-centered Acts 1:8 family.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
We want to be about one thing – Jesus. In a culture divided by politics, race, secondary doctrine, and endless other issues, we want to be about one thing – Jesus.
We want to be about Acts 1:8. We don’t want to be about human effort and agenda. We want God’s Spirit to fill us and work through us to reach the world with the Good News of the love and grace of Jesus.
We want to be a family. Not just people who happen to occupy the same building together. We want to love one another and build one another up.
Our mission is to help people take the next step in their journey with Jesus…together.
We are here to HELP people in their journey. We want to provide the resources and encouragement necessary for you to know Jesus better. We are not here to force anything on anyone, but we are here to come alongside and help as best we can.
We are here to help people take THEIR NEXT STEP. Everybody is different. No two stories are the same. Therefore, there is no “cookie-cutter” approach to getting to know Jesus better. We want to get to know you, where you are at spiritually, and where you want to be spiritually. We want to work with you to help you move one step closer in that direction.
We are here to help people in their JOURNEY WITH JESUS. After all, following Jesus and getting to know Jesus is really a life-long process (a journey). The great thing about a journey is your starting point is less important than your destination. Wrong turns can be course-corrected. It doesn’t even matter how fast you travel. What matters is moving forward.
We are in this journey TOGETHER. We all get tired, discouraged, and frustrated along the way. Therefore, we journey together. We help each other. We work together. We lean on each other when we are weak. We help others when we are strong.
We’d love for you to journey along with us!
Good Friday Service
Friday, April 14, 2017
Easter Sunday Service
Sunday, April 16, 2017
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
It is interesting to watch people gathered around a campfire. They will sit close to the fire until they warm up, then they scoot away when they get too hot. But as the fire dies down, they get cold and slide closer to the flames again. We like a comfortable temperature – give me 72 degrees at all times, right?
I find the same principle at work spiritually. We like to stay a comfortable distance away from the presence of God. We certainly do not want to be so far away as to be spiritually cold. But if we get too close, it gets uncomfortable. God starts pruning us. He starts convicting us. So we scoot back to our comfortable distance.
Can I urge you to press in deeper with the Lord? To draw closer to the fire of His presence? To get as close as possible to Him?
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards
are in blossom.”
-Song of Solomon 2:15
For most of us, it will not be the big sins that do us in. Most of us will not commit moral failure. We will not find ourselves in prison for tax fraud. For most of us, it will be the little foxes that undermine our relationship with Jesus. It will be time wasted in front of the television. It will be time spent on our favorite hobby. It will be time on Facebook. It will be time at the gym. None of these things are bad. However, it is very easy to allow those things to subtly choke out time in the presence of the Lord in prayer and His Word.
Would you be willing to let God reveal to you the little foxes in your life? The little things that are not wrong, but still crowd out time we could give to Jesus?
Journey With Jesus (Part 4)
March 12, 2017
Speaker: Rev. Paul Yanchek
March 12, 2017
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:25-31
As Paul and Silas sit in prison, praying and singing hymns, where is God? Well, we know that God is everywhere at all times. Theologically, we call this the omnipresence of God – there is no where that God is not. But something interesting happens in this passage. God shows us in a way that is beyond His omnipresence. Writers of old referred to these moments as “thin places” – where the divide between heaven and earth is thinner than normal. Some refer to these moments as God’s manifest presence.
We see many of these moments in the Bible. We also see many of these moments in church history. We have become accustomed to not experiencing these moments, so we have made a theology that leans heavy on God’s omnipresence. However, we must long for and pray for these moments when we experience “thin places” when God manifests His presence in life-changing ways. This is the only way to see His Kingdom advanced with power in our lives and in our churches today.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. –James 5:13-18
Could you imagine walking outside in the middle of a thunder storm and praying for it to stop? Elijah’s prayers changed the weather! Was he a superhero? Not according to James. According to James, Elijah was an ordinary person, just like the rest of us. The difference, I believe, is that he “prayed fervently.” Literally, “praying he prayed.” He meant it! He prayed with passion. He prayed with confidence in the greatness of God.
“But we need to pray according to God’s will.” I know. But do you notice that we always start from a place of doubt. We would never call it doubt, but the bottom line is we “spiritualize” our doubt. We decide for God what His will is and is not. The end result is that we pray for a place of doubt, assuming God will not answer our prayers.
Let’s get back to praying big prayers to a big God for His glory and let Him decide, for Himself, what His will is for each situation.
Journey With Jesus Part 2
February 26, 2017
Speaker: Rev. Paul Yanchek
Raspberries are fascinating. A common method of growing raspberries is to plant the canes and allow them to grow for a year in cooler climates. After the year is over, they are completely uprooted and replanted in warmer climates. Once replanted, they quickly flower and produce a crop. Their roots also spread quickly underground and can easily overtake gardens.
Acts 12:24 says, “But the word of the God increased and multiplied.” By the time Jesus ascends to heaven, there are 120 disciples gathered when the Spirit comes at Pentecost. Once they have the power of the Holy Spirit, countless lives enter the Kingdom of God. Initially, the disciples seem to try and track the numbers. However, as Acts goes on, the numbers seem to reach uncountable levels. Here is where we find our verse – God’s Word just keeps increasing and multiplying.
Much like the raspberry, I believe that God has brought us through our initial season of planting. It is time for our roots to spread. It is time to see the Word of God increase and multiply through us. If the Holy Spirit can use 120 disciples to take the name of Jesus to the world, He can certainly use a slightly smaller number of us to take the name of Jesus throughout our region.
Would you join me and asking God to fill us with His Spirit so that His Word would increase and multiply through us to reach our community, this city, this county, and to the ends of the earth? He can do beyond all we ask or imagine. He is simply looking for those who will go in the power of His Spirit!
Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus is about to unleash His disciples to take the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is an important work. It is an urgent work. However, He does not want them to start just yet. – Acts 1:4 says, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father.”
The disciples could have gone out and preached Jesus. But they would have failed. Not because they did not have the Spirit. This is not the first time that the disciples will encounter the Holy Spirit. In John 20:22, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says “receive the Spirit.” In other words, coming into Acts 1, the disciples do have the Holy Spirit in them. But there is a difference between them having the Spirit and the Spirit coming upon them. To “come upon” means to “overtake.”
So, even though the disciples have the Spirit in them after John 20, by Acts 1, they are still not ready to go into all the world. They needed to wait for the power of the Spirit to come upon them. How often do we rush out to do work for Jesus assuming that, since the Holy Spirit is in us as believers, the power of the Holy Spirit has not “come upon” us?
Would you open your heart afresh to the anointing power of God’s Spirit upon you? Would you pray for this power to come upon your church?
Note: This blog has been edited for spelling and clarity.
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Emphasis added)
When this passage uses the word “presence,” it is the Hebrew word paniym which refers to one’s face, or presence. Even in our culture, we understand the nature of personal space. The reality is, we allow some people to come close to our face, but if others come too close we pull away. The difference is the level of intimacy we have with that person. If our relationship is close, we welcome them to be close. Through Jesus Christ, we are allowed to draw near to the very face of God. In that closeness, we find the fullness, or abundance, of joy.
Certainly, we understand the difference between joy and happiness, but sometimes we put too much space between those two concepts. In other words, we allow there to be too much joy with so little happiness. The reality is, true joy will bring with it the emotion of happiness.
The psalmist goes on to say that at the right hand of God are pleasures forevermore. The right side is known as the place of strength and power. In other words, you will know true delight when you stand at the side of God’s power and strength because there is nothing that can come into your life that God is unable to handle.
The Psalmist speaks of finding this joy and delight in the presence of God. Now, this brings up a question we will explore in the coming weeks. Namely, since God is everywhere present, how can we come “into” His presence?
For now, let us ask God to make us a people marked by living and being in His presence.
Note: This blog has been edited for spelling and clarity.