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Blog Archives

We Love as We are Loved

January 16, 2019
Don Ward
God’s wrath for our sin was satisfied on the cross, and we are now sons and daughters. Therefore, we lavishly offer love and grace to one another and to those in our world. Love as you are loved, forgive as you are forgiven. I’m excited about this value of Grace Community Church as it is the value most associated with the word “grace.” We value showing grace and love to one another as a high priority.  We long for it to permeate everything we do in all aspects of our life together. If you are like me, you find these words inviting and ...

Word of the Week

January 16, 2019
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Life I missed everyone on Sunday but thanks to those who found our Facebook live sermon and gave me a lot of encouragement. It is on the Grace Community Church (Cville) page, and the audio will be posted on our resources page. Every year two events nearly overlap. The nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and remembers a Supreme Court decision (Roe vs. Wade). In my thinking there is a great Biblical doctrine that informs my thinking about both. The Latin phrase is “imago dei” which means, ...

We Are in It for the Long Haul

January 09, 2019
Rich Brown
“One aspect of [our culture’s atmosphere] that I have been able to identify as harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once. We assume that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly and efficiently. Our attention spans have been conditioned by thirty-second commercials. Our sense of reality has been flattened by thirty-page abridgments.” It’s hard to believe that the late Presbyterian pastor Eugene Peterson penned these telling words nearly 40 years ago in 1980! As we have now ...

Word of the Week

January 08, 2019
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Feelings One of the most common questions Caron and I are getting lately is, “How are you feeling?” Or, “How are you doing?” Twenty-one years of ministry at Grace Community Church is coming to an end, and a new venture will begin in February…it’s an obvious question. Strangely enough, several members of our church are changing careers or jobs at the same time! Honestly, it’s difficult to describe. It’s not bittersweet because I’m not experiencing any bitterness internally or from others. There is a sweet sadness that ...

Discipleship Through Relationship

January 03, 2019
Tom Breeden
Moving is a daunting task under even the best conditions. There are so many boxes to move. Nobody seems to remember how the sofa got through the door the first time, but it wasn’t one of the seven different ways you just tried. Books are a wonderful thing…until you have to carry boxes of them up and down a flight of stairs. I’ve never met someone who enjoys moving, but it’s infinitely better with extra hands. Whether it’s professionals you hire or friends you bribe with pizza, moving is smoother when others pitch in. The bigger the move, the ...

Word of the Week

January 03, 2019
Don Ward
We were meeting as a staff this morning and several of us admitted we had been a tad confused about the day of the week. There were holidays stuck in the middle of weeks, and some days were feeling like Friday when it was actually Tuesday. You know what I’m talking about, right? During the holidays you are waking up and trying to remember if it was Saturday, or Sunday or some other day. I promised our staff that I would make the word “confusion” the word of the week. There are other ways we start the year a bit confused, and perhaps ...

What Does Advent Mean For Me?

December 27, 2018
Tom Breeden
By this point, the gifts have been opened. That turkey or ham has been carved and the leftovers are packed up in the fridge. The Christmas decorations are still up and Christmas music is playing, but only for a few more days. Soon January 1 will come and, while we might not rush to take the tree down, we all know it’s only a matter of time. Christmas is behind us; the New Year is before us. Dear Christian, don’t move on too quickly! We don’t pack up the incarnation with the decorations. Through Christmas is for but a season, its message is ...

Was Mary Really a Virgin?

December 19, 2018
Rich Brown
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Luke 1:26–28 (ESV) For many of us who have grown up in the church, the phrase “the virgin birth of Christ” is familiar to our ears. You’ve probably heard scores of sermons on the birth of Christ. And you’ve seen pictures and displays of the nativity scene: Mary, ...

Word of the Week

December 18, 2018
Don Ward
Word of the week: Community Last night I was at one of the ever-present Christmas parties this time of year. This one was a different, as there were only six of us plus some young people. At one point several of the people found themselves on the couch. They hadn’t connected in a while, and soon they were deep in conversation. They were so deep in conversation that I couldn’t peel one of them away to leave. They weren’t talking about their favorite Christmas tradition, the latest in decorations, or the recipe for a great Christmas meal side ...

Why Did Jesus Have to Be Born?

December 13, 2018
Don Ward
Why did Jesus have to be born? The short answer is that Jesus had to die, and then be raised from the dead. Of course, the answer is more nuanced and complicated than that, but I don’t think my first statement is too far from the truth.  Let me give you a few things to think about in answer to the question. To hear a sermon about the remarkable conception of Jesus of Nazareth, and why that is important, please click the link to this past Sunday’s sermon. Jesus was born to die as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice. God promised that ...

Word of the Week

December 12, 2018
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Community Whew! We got worship in on Sunday just under the wire before the snowfall really started coming. Here is an odd thing you might not think about: It’s a hard decision to cancel church. If we had cancelled Sunday, I would have been kicking himself if I’d been at home at 9:30 and there was no snow coming down. I give a big shout out to deacon of the day, Paul Parmiter, for helping to make the decision and staying at the church until everyone left. We were able to worship together and have the Lord’s supper. It was ...

Why Do Christians Celebrate Christmas?

December 05, 2018
Tom Breeden
If you crack open your Bible, you’ll notice a myriad of holidays and festivals. This is especially true if you turn to the Old Testament. But if you keep going, you’ll notice less and less of them as you approach of the New Testament. Even most of these are references to Jewish holidays that were still being celebrated, such as Pentecost rather than descriptions of holidays that Christians would go on to celebrate. One thing’s for sure – you won’t find any mention of our Christmas celebrations. So why do we celebrate Christmas? 1. We ...

Word of the Week

December 05, 2018
Don Ward
My New Calling At the end of our trip to Malawi, Africa in July 2018, Duncan Nyozani, the Malawi Team leader, asked me a pointed question: “So Don, are you God’s man for Malawi?” At the time I told him I didn’t know the answer to that, but I expressed my desire to ensure that capable pastors return annually to train leaders in Malawi. My sense was that in a few years I would leave Grace to work full time with Equipping Leaders International. However, several moments this fall changed my time frame. The ELI director let me know they’d ...

What Does It Mean to Grieve the Holy Spirit?

November 28, 2018
Rich Brown
When you look back at the story of your life, what particular things have stood out to you the most? Perhaps you can recall particular events that have shaped who you are as a person. How about employments that have strengthened you and allowed you to use the gifts and talents God has given you? Or loved ones who have been with you for the long haul, or those who have come and gone? Perhaps you can recall broken relationships that seemed to be beyond repair. What was once healthy had, in time, become disjointed and fractured. If we were ...

Word of the Week

November 28, 2018
Don Ward
Word of the week: Wonder Do you remember the last time you had a sense of wonder? Can you think of the last time that something really amazed you? Perhaps someone in your family has a new baby and you held the child over Thanksgiving. Or this year you traveled to some amazing place and paused to be amazed at the sights and sounds. Wonder and amazement bring joy to us and enhance the sense that the world has beauty and order beyond easy explanation. I remember my childhood Christmas celebrations as times of wonder. It was when the tree ...

What Does It Mean to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit?

November 14, 2018
Tom Breeden
Usually I don’t answer my phone if I don’t recognize the number, but this time I did. It was a deacon at a small Baptist church not too far away from where I lived. They were currently without a pastor and looking for someone to fill the pulpit for an upcoming Sunday. Was I interested in doing the service for them? I was still in seminary and it was only the second time I had been invited to preach a service anywhere before – of course I was interested in doing the service! When I got there on Sunday morning, I realized we had very ...

Word of the Week

November 14, 2018
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Wonderful Some things are just wonderful to see. When you are going through some sorrows (as our family is), sometimes something beautiful and wonderful is just the medicine for the soul which God prescribes. Last Sunday we watched Steve Hohenberger baptize his little grandson. Many of their family was there for this special occasion. That in and of itself is beautiful, as we recognize God’s grace to this family and his covenant promises to all generations. But this was a special moment because there is a bigger story ...

Who is the Holy Spirit?

November 07, 2018
Rich Brown
Evangelical Christians across America were asked a series of questions recently through Ligonier Ministries concerning basic Christian teachings. It turns out that 56% of those surveyed believe that the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but rather some kind of mystical force or movement! In other words, when they think of God, they probably have a decent understanding of God the Father and God the Son, but the Spirit is some mysterious energy that empowers Christians. While time would fail us to go into all the various passages that describe the ...

Word of the Week

November 07, 2018
Tom Breeden
Word of the Week: Potentate When was the last time you used that in a sentence? Well, if you were in worship with us on Sunday, you used it at least once. In “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” we worshipped Jesus as the “Potentate of time.” Crown him the Lord of years, The Potentate of time, Creator of the rolling spheres, Ineffably sublime. So, what’s a potentate? It’s a ruler or someone in power (think “potent”). Jesus is a ruler, but not like any other. He’s the Ruler of time itself! He’s the Creator of the planets and stars ...

What Matters Most

November 01, 2018
Don Ward
Grief and loss are times of clarity (Ecclesiastes 7:2, 4). Things that seemed so urgent or important suddenly don’t matter at all.  A struggle during times like this is to be patient with those who are caught up with the world’s normal fusses and fights. When you are watching a beloved mother slip away from you, so many things are shown to be an obvious waste of our time. On the other hand, there are some simple things that I take away from the last few draining days that I pray God will keep near to me: I learned a lot of high-sounding ...

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