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Blog Archives: January 2015 — December 2015

Word of the Week

December 30, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Plan Hi, gang!  I hope you had the merriest possible Christmas.  Our families at GCC have a wide range of experiences at Christmas, from joyous family Christmas full of people, to reminders of grief and loss, to concern for family members deployed overseas and separated from spouses.  Ours was blessed and fairly quiet except for a short trip to Baltimore, from which I am recovering today. One thing many people do as a New Year’s resolution is plan to read the Bible.  This link is for the Discipleship Reading Bible Plan.  ...

Looking Forward

December 29, 2015
Tom Breeden
This week we finish out another year and with each new year comes New Year’s resolutions. I must admit that I am not a huge fan of making resolutions. If I want to change something or make a long-term plan, why not just do it? Why wait for a particular time of year? But I get why New Year’s resolutions are popular. With a new year come new opportunities and a time for reflection. We think about the past year, in all its successes and failures, and dream about what the next year might hold. So as we think about what the next year might hold, ...

A Christmas Thank You

December 23, 2015
Don Ward
Merry Christmas everyone!  Last week I had a wonderful lunch with Tom Gilliam, a GCC-sponsored missionary.  Tom and Vicki are great examples to me of faithfulness under trial.  For the last five years they have continued to minister faithfully in Ireland as they grieved the loss of their son Tommy.  We received this great Christmas thank-you letter and I wanted to pass it along to you this week. Dear Members of Grace Community Church, Merry Christmas to each of you! There is something particularly special about being back in the ...

Word of the Week

December 23, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Lasting Without thinking very much, take five seconds to name one gift you received last year.  Did you come up with one?  I love opening presents, but I don’t remember very many of them.  The people that are there, the times we had, the ones that don’t remain around the table - those things stick with me.  What makes a Christmas memory lasting?  Sometimes it is pain, like a blowout at a family outing.  My prayer for us all is that love may abound in our hearts, and that what will last is the love we have experienced from ...

Parents' Day Out

December 17, 2015
Cara Kidd
Thirty excited children, owl ornaments, teenagers, adults, Uno, tag, basketball - what do all these things have to do with one another? Parents’ Day Out! For the last 2 years we have sponsored an event for the families and friends of Grace Community Church called Parents’ Day Out. It began with wanting to serve our GCC families and friends during the busy holiday season. Our hope was that parents would be able to have some free time to shop or wrap (or really do anything that they wanted to!) without their children. We also wanted to serve ...

Word of the Week

December 16, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the week:  Unshaken Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. (Psalm 125:1-2 NIV) “Which cannot be shaken.” I’m struck by those words this morning.  Those who trust in the LORD cannot be shaken.  That doesn’t seem to be our experience.  We trust in the LORD and yet are shaken up. Right now the Christmas season is shaking some of you up.  It’s a stressful season.  I have two ...

Love in Action

December 10, 2015
Stacey Powdrell
A couple in their 80’s struggling with different health issues. A 79-year-old grandma feeling the wear and tear of aging. A widower and single dad.  What do they have in common?  The youth ministry Rake-A-Thon! Their yards were all invaded by a crew of hardworking GCC students and adult volunteers on November 22nd. I received a note in the mail this week from one of the ladies we were able to help out. It said, “On a recent Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of a visit from a group of young people. They came armed with rakes and plastic bags ...

Word of the Week

December 10, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Epic Epic: extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope (Merriam-Webster) Epic has other primary meanings, but I use it as defined here.  Sunday, December 6, 2015, was Epic.  We had four baptisms (three of them were adults), four professions of faith, and a total of seven new members join the church. Numbers didn’t just make it epic; it was the stories beyond each life represented up front. Epic: The baptism of a child from a family who a few years ago wondered if having children would ever ...

Our Savior: Perfectly God, Perfectly Man

December 03, 2015
Tag Tuck
You should act more like your older brother. Have you ever heard someone tell the story of a well-intentioned mother speaking to her younger child? She means well and wants the best for her baby, but she expresses by holding up the older brother as an example of how things should be done. Is it always wrong to do this? I don’t think so. Does it usually help the younger sibling? Almost never. Similarly, we can treat Jesus like this. We read the Bible, listen to a sermon, talk to one another within the church and somehow hear something about ...

Word of the Week

December 02, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the week:  Thanks? This week’s word is thanks - with a question mark!  Do you feel thankful about your Thanksgiving? I’ve talked to several about their Thanksgiving experience with family.  For some there were moments of delight and joy.  For many of us, we hoped to keep our dysfunction to a manageable roar.  We hope those who carry wounds in our family won’t walk away more deeply wounded.  What happened to that Hallmark commercial Thanksgiving and Christmas I had hoped for?  Sometimes the holidays are stressful because we are ...

Jesus Without Sin

November 24, 2015
Tom Breeden
Who is Jesus? This is a question that always comes up around Christmas and Easter. So, with one of those holidays rapidly approaching us, we can expect to hear all kinds of different answers. He is a myth. He was a good man. Or, as Christians throughout history have confessed, He is God in flesh. As we have looked at the Chalcedonian Creed together over the past few weeks, we have had a chance to review a classic Christian answer to the question of who Jesus is. Jesus is fully God and fully man. When considering what it means for Jesus to ...

Word of the Week

November 24, 2015
Tag Tuck
Word of the Week: Eucharist This past Sunday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. This celebration is also known as communion. Maybe you’ve heard it called by another name–eucharist (pronounced yoo-kuh-rist). This is a word brought into English from Greek. The word eucharisteo means “I give thanks.” Before Jesus gave the bread and cup to His disciples, He gave thanks. Then He did in real life what the bread and cup symbolized. His body was broken on the cross and His blood was poured out for us. Now it is we who give thanks. As we sit down ...

The Divinity of Jesus: Before all Ages

November 19, 2015
Tag Tuck
Where was Jesus before the first Christmas? Does it matter? How did He “pre-exist” before He was humbly born in a stable rude? Is this a life-altering truth I should concern myself with today? Does it matter to you and me that He is God and has done what only God can do? If so, then there follow four good reasons why we should cling to the phrase “before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead” found in the Chalcedonian Creed (pronounced kal-suh-doe-nee-un). The best examples of this are found in the gospel of John. Jesus states it ...

Word of the Week

November 19, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Doctrine According to the dictionary, doctrine is “something that is taught.”  Doctrine can be an unpopular word in some circles, especially those who believe “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.”  (Some of you might say, Amen!)  Of course, each of those words has a doctrinal component.  Each of them teaches an idea that purports to be the correct one.  I had some great doctrinal questions emerge in the weekend Discover Grace class. And Tag Tuck is diving into some of our more complex doctrinal issues in our ...

The “God-ness” of Jesus of Nazareth

November 12, 2015
Don Ward
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the ...

Word of the Week

November 12, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week:  Visitors I don’t know what is going on, but we are having more visitors than ever lately!  We are so thankful for them, of course!  Can we keep our eyes open for them?  They are a varied bunch!  Younger and older, married and single, with kids and without. A pastor pointed out this past weekend at our Presbytery meeting that the word “hospitality” in the Bible literally means “love of strangers”.  Let’s keep up loving the strangers among us, for the purpose of helping them engage our process of discipleship through ...

Anchored in Christ

November 06, 2015
Cara Kidd
A few months ago I wrote about community and specifically about the opportunity to grow in community on our annual women’s beach retreat. A few weeks ago we were able to go on this retreat and this is a brief synopsis of what it looked like and what we learned from sharing space and time with each other for a weekend. Over the course of this weekend we were able to learn several things about one another and about God, in His infinite glory and grace. Leigh Ellen Rodriguez shared about how God has been teaching her and her husband, through ...

Word of the Week

November 04, 2015
Don Ward
Word of the Week: New New is a beautiful word.  New car: smells good, runs well, and is fun to drive.  It doesn’t rattle and shake like the old car did. New house: like a new car, only bigger and costlier.  It is nice and clean and requires few repairs. New job: hopes, dreams, better benefits (maybe), easier boss (we hope).  New is an adjective that immediately makes something seem better (with some exceptions). New believer - now that is something exciting!  I’ve been blessed lately by talking to several of you who are new believers in ...

What's Your Salvation For?

October 30, 2015
Stacey Powdrell
If someone were to ask you “What’s your salvation really for?” how would you answer them?  What would you include in your response?  Is it simply about your own rescue from sin or is there a greater purpose?  Our 6th-12th grade students have been mulling over this question this semester at Crossroads with the help of a video series called “For the Life of the World.”  Created by Acton Institute and produced by Gorilla Pictures, this creative and clever 7-episode series challenges its viewers to think about what it means to be “in the world ...

Word of the Week

October 28, 2015
Tag Tuck
Word of the Week Story is a word I’ve been thinking about this week. Do you know Donald Miller who wrote the best seller Blue Like Jazz? It was a great story of his struggle to live out his faith in Christ. He’s gone on to start his own company called Storybrand that helps others communicate their message. He’s worked with several large companies putting his expertise in the study of story to good use. He talks about a basic 7-part framework to every story from Shakespeare to Star Wars. Every story starts with a hero character (1) who has ...

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