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Blog Archives: January 2016 — December 2016

Three Reasons Christians and Skeptics Should Read the Whole Bible in 2017

December 30, 2016
Tag Tuck
To be included in the melee of year-end blog posts about New Year resolutions, advice about how to have a better 2017, and for the general good this is my annual blog post to encourage greater biblical literacy in 2017. There are three stages in learning a subject: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The grammar stage is the stage of vocabulary and definition. Dialectic is the stage where you begin to ask questions and make connections with your grammar. Rhetoric is the stage of true creativity and persuasion. It’s easiest to see how this ...

Word of the Week

December 30, 2016
Tag Tuck
Word of the Week: Lists As we approach the final two days of 2016, it’s appropriate to take time and look back over the year before jumping into the new one. No doubt you’ve heard this message in a variety of ways but especially in lists counting down the most popular songs, books, or news stories. Every year at this time there are lists of the best and worst of everything under the sun. Have you taken time to record some lists about your life in 2016? List your accomplishments. List your griefs and grievances. List your joys and list ...

Mercy Ministry @ GCC

December 21, 2016
Don Ward
Every year our Christmas Eve offering is dedicated to the GCC Mercy Fund. This fund is administered by the GCC deacons. When there is a financial need in our local church, this fund is utilized to meet that need. When a need of someone outside our church is brought to our attention, this fund helps as well. Most of those outside requests are first referred to our local partner, Love INC, who assesses the need and gets back to us with a recommendation. In some cases, two or three churches team up to meet a need. What do these needs look like...?

Word of the Week

December 21, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Peace to you This time of year we always say “Merry Christmas.” I’ve learned my Irish friends say “Happy Christmas.” I’ve come to realize that Christmas is a very hard time of the year for many people. It’s a season that many remember and realize their loss of a loved one quite keenly. It’s a season where our disappointment and loss in terms of family relationships is keenly felt.Perhaps we are alienated from family, or going through a divorce. Some of you are headed to be with family, and hoping to come out without much ...

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

December 14, 2016
Don Ward
Many memories of Christmases past flood my mind. Christmas was a happy time in childhood - full of joy and wonder. Honestly, I had much excitement about the gifts that awaited me on Christmas morning. The main gift that we received was usually open and left out for us to see, perhaps left for us by a visitor in the night who slid down the chimney from his sleigh, leaving behind a great and delightful toy. As a child there were times with uncles, aunts and cousins at every Christmas time. This usually meant a second Christmas at an Aunt’s ...

Word of the Week

December 14, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Thankful Simply Christmas was a smashing success. What a delight to watch the beautiful children of Grace slowly make their way to the stage and lead us in Christmas Carols. And what a great special song they sang for us! Then, Tag and Karen encouraged us in the keyboard and sax duet. It all left me thankful. I am blessed to work with talented and motivated people. Cara, Barbara, Karen, Tag and Candy all gave 110% over this weekend. They helped us welcome our guests well. Thanks, friends, for being who you are! In Him, ...

The Importance of Advent

December 07, 2016
Tag Tuck
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 7-9 How important is Advent, really? To answer the question we have to ask another: How important is the ...

Word of the Week

December 07, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Simple! The word of the week is a reminder!  Invite a friend to Simply Christmas at 10:45 AM this Sunday, December 11th. Bring CHRISTMAS COOKIES to share afterwards…bring some non-perishable food  with you for the Blue Ridge Area Food bank (canned fruit or vegetables, peanut butter, canned or evaporated milk, boxed pasta or rice, canned tuna). Get ready to enjoy some great carols and music, and some fun time as our children help us worship as well. In Him, Don

Satisfied

November 29, 2016
Tom Breeden
I longed for Christmas morning when I was a child. It wasn’t just the food or time off from school, though I delighted in those things. It was really about the gifts. I knew on Christmas morning that I got to tear into a stack of presents my parents had picked out just for me – and I longed for that moment. My parents caught me one night when I was seven or eight trying to get into the room where they stored the unwrapped presents. When they asked me what I was doing, I told them I was looking for a Star Wars action figure that I just knew ...

Word of the Week

November 29, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Focus Attention Deficit Disorder: Some of you have a diagnosis, the rest of us live without one. There are so many distractions, aren’t there? If I didn’t have ADD before, modern life has given me some version of it. I was working on a document and ended up doing 3 or 4 other things and checking on Facebook just for good measure, before finishing. It is hard to find some focus, isn’t it?  There are so many things fighting for my attention. Some things are worth the effort. Jesus is the Son of God - we are dwelling on ...

We are in it for the Long Haul

November 22, 2016
Don Ward
Now we consider the last of the GCC values in the refreshed purpose and values statement the elders recently approved.  It is worded as such: We are in it for the long haul We see following Christ and loving one another as a long journey. We aim for the long run commitment in our relationship with Christ, our families, and one another. We resist the quick fix and the easy path in favor of long faithfulness. I think of this value as a further outworking of the purpose of making “lifelong followers of Jesus Christ”. It’s much easier ...

Word of the Week

November 22, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Thanks The word of the week has to be “thanks,” right? It’s thanksgiving week. We are supposed to be thankful. Thursday football will, without fail, have sad stories about those much less fortunate than us. It’s designed to make us thankful, and perhaps, to feel a bit guilty. Let us remember the one to whom all thanks is to be given! Our Father is the source of every good gift in our lives.  All of us have things in our lives for which we feel grateful.  Spend some time this week speaking to God aloud, writing to God in ...

Not For Ourselves

November 16, 2016
Don Ward
This past Sunday in the sermon we considered scriptural roots for the last of the three values of Grace Community church: As those so extravagantly loved, we exist for our neighbors and for the world. We are the light of the world. We make room for guests. We care for others while expecting nothing in return. In case you missed it, the message is here. Two things I want to revisit, and then I want to think about one of our goals as a church. First, all of these values came to pass because there are people already living these ...

Word of the Week

November 16, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Division In reviewing prayer requests this week, I couldn’t help but notice that several prayer requests this week centered around our national election last Tuesday. Several of these were very thoughtfully written, and even wondered about their own individual role in promoting healing. One mused about why we didn’t mention these things in prayer up front. Good thought there. Perhaps in avoiding the political we missed a corporate prayer opportunity. Like many people, the results of last week’s election came as a ...

Lifelong Discipleship

November 11, 2016
Tag Tuck
This past Sunday we looked at Romans 8:18-30 in order to unpack the theme of Lifelong Discipleship. What is discipleship? Paul gives a possible definition of discipleship in Romans 8:18 when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” In other words, disciples of Jesus Christ have present suffering in the world, yet they live with the hope of a future glory. But can we give an even more practical answer to the question of what is discipleship? Y ...

Word of the Week

November 09, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the week: OK It’s going to be OK. The election just happened, and Donald Trump will be our President in January, 2017. Some of you are ecstatic. Some of you are grieving.  Many are somewhere in between, having been unhappy with the major party candidates.  As a political junkie, I follow elections.  This has been the most unusual and difficult in my lifetime. That comes as no shock to you, I’m sure. I’m thankful so many friends on social media are talking about God’s sovereign control of the nations. That control does not mean ...

Love As We Are Loved

November 02, 2016
Don Ward
This Sunday we started delving into the values our church highlights. If you were there Sunday you learned that we identified these values by noticing members of GCC who made a big impression on the elders. These are the people of whom you think, “I want all of our church to have this person’s character!” The first of these values we call “love as we are loved.” It is great to realize that there are some very gracious people in our church. There are enough of them that the elders identified these gracious qualities as something which marks ...

Word of the Week

November 02, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Beautiful This Sunday we had the baptism of Stephanie West. I hope you all get to know Stephanie. She is a special person. I hope you take the chance to talk with her. It’s beautiful to see a friend become a visitor at church, and then begin to go to a small group and learn about the faith. It’s beautiful for them to take the next step and then the next step until they are quite ready to proclaim their faith in the Lord. Somewhere in your neighborhood or mine, or at your workplace or mine, or your school…is another ...

Transforming Relationships

October 26, 2016
Don Ward
Many of you missed the opening of our purpose series entitled Transforming Relationships because you were on a ladies retreat. You can hear the message here. In a joyous coincidence, Laura Johnson talked to our ladies about true community as sisters in the Lord - in other words, transforming relationships. Recently, after many hours of work emerging from our surveys earlier this year, we have refreshed our purpose statement as a church. Grace Community Church exists to shape lifelong followers of Jesus Christ through transforming ...

Word of the Week

October 26, 2016
Don Ward
Word of the Week: Forgiveness Forgiveness is one of the most powerful words ever. In a world where we face our own frailties every day, to experience forgiveness is one of the most beautiful things we can enjoy. Hearing the gospel words of forgiveness refreshes us and renews our communion with God. Hearing another human say in earnest, “I forgive you,” and know that we are restored is like a cool fresh wind on a beautiful fall day. All is new again. There is hope. There are possibilities that had been previously ruled out. We declare ...

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