From Pastor Peter 27-Dec-2013

Dear Grace Family,

One of our family traditions for Christmas is baking a birthday cake for Jesus (pictured below, and yours truly bought the gold & silver sprinkles).  Particularly with four young kids, it's one of the ways our family celebrates Christ's first advent as we enjoy this treat and even sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.  I say all that to say, our Christmas was a joyful time together for our family, and it's my hope and prayer the same can be said of your celebration earlier this week.

This Sunday

Birth stories.  Everyone has 'em, because everyone's been born (stunning logic, I know).  Technology has allowed people to share their birth stories on personal blogs and websites crafted specifically for parents to share the details of how their little ones made their entrance into the world.

The Bible has them, too.  Lots!  But there will never be a birth story that lights a candle to what we celebrated on Christmas just a few days ago.  Miraculously conceived in the womb of a young virgin named Mary, adopted into the house of David by Joseph, her soon-to-be-husband, fulfilling prophecies to the letter written long before either of them were alive, and all for one reason summed up in Matt. 1:21; to "save His people from their sins."  I'm looking forward to preaching the Word on Sunday one last time this year as we look at God's work in the womb of Mary, the heart of Joseph, all so that we could be saved and God glorified.

Next Sunday - Please pray!

Would you please start praying right now for the sermon I'll preach on Sun, 05-Jan?  It's my plan to use the sermon I preach this Sunday as a foundation for some vision-casting for our almost-1-year-old church as we kick off the New Year together next Sunday.  This post is long enough, so I'll leave it at that for now.  Bottom line, please pray for me as I continue to think, pray, study and prepare for my first sermon of the New Year next Sunday.

I'm very excited to preach live these next two Sundays at Newport and can't wait to worship our great God with you then.  See you on Sunday!

Much love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 20-Dec-2013

Dear Grace Family,

Family Christmas Celebration - THIS SUNDAY!'

Sundays together are great, but some seem extra special.  I really think this is one of those.  This weekend we'll have our Family Christmas Celebration at church.  Spencer & I met earlier this week to discuss the order or worship, and he's picked some great worship songs for him and his team to lead us in.  The passages of Scripture we'll look at together will help to focus our minds on the advent of our Lord & Savior's birth, and we'll end by celebrating Communion together and celebrating what He came to do: willingly lay down His life so that people like us could be saved.  What a Savior!

Bring the Kiddies!

Although we'll have Nursery available for the littles, I'll take some time to call your older kiddos (5 & up) down to the first few rows of the theater and use that opportunity to address them specifically.  I look forward to presenting the Gospel to them, praying for them, and giving them a tasty treat as well. :)

Pray for our guests!

I sent a note to every family we had the privilege of serving in our Thanksgiving Outreach, inviting them to join us.  Some of you have told me you've personally reached out to the families you served to invite them, too.  That's great!  Consider inviting those you reached out to if you haven't already, and pray they'll come.

Lastly, who can you invite to join us on this special Sunday?  Got a friend or family member?  A coworker?  A cashier or store employee you'll interact with today or tomorrow? Invite them to celebrate Christmas with us.  And check out our Facebook ad and share it on your timeline. That helps to spread the word, too.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.  We have a Savior!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

A 'God-hunt' while in Papua New Guinea

This blog post comes from Linda Sprague, a team member on the recent Papua New Guinea trip.

Sometimes we don't see how God is at work and sometimes we aren't even looking for how God is at work in our daily life. We get so used to our day to day tasks that we assume upon the grace of God and neglect to pray and ask for God's help in the seemingly small chores or events. I have at times gone on a 'God-hunt', looking for Him and how He is answering prayers.

Recently I have had the opportunity to see God at work in big and small ways and want to share how you played a part in it. 

This summer after hearing about an opportunity to go to Malasiga, Papua New Guinea to assist Kim & Annie Colich, my husband Lee suggested we sign up to go on the 2 week long trip. We discovered we were on the team in late July and had many things to learn to prepare for the November trip. The work on the Colich village house would be difficult in the heat. We had to get our passports updated, prepare with immunizations against many possible diseases, consider how we would adjust to the heat and humidity and dwell in very small house for 10 days and travel half way around the world.

The team, Kevin & Jason Markesbery, Jeff Knutson, Valarie Bagwell and Lee & myself were very cognizant we would need much prayer to accomplish the preparation and the work. We saw God answer our prayers as we received passports back in record time. We saw God answer our prayers for the needed supplies and prep in PNG to be completed before our arrival. The solar power had to be updated before the power tools could be used on our assignment and two men helped Kim get the new solar system in place 2 weeks before our arrival. All the supplies and wood had to be shipped into Malasiga by boat and the wood siding was delivered a few days before we left.

As we prepared to leave, we made a prayer calendar to ask you to pray for the big adventure. We asked you to pray we would have hearts prepared for service and God saw fit to answer this by causing us to be ready to leave and excited about what we were to be participating in. We asked you to pray our flights and travel would go smoothly and safely. We saw God answer that request by providing a golf cart in LAX, a woman calling out 'connections to Brisbane...right here' and no unsettled stomachs as we hit turbulence over the Pacific...both directions!

We saw blessings of answered prayer as we adjusted quickly to the time change and the new culture. The men got started on the job by 7am the day after we arrived and put in 10 hour days in the 100 degree temperatures and 90 percent humidity. We saw God answer your prayers for health and strength in these conditions. As the days went by, there were so many times as we sat down at the day's end to recount what had happened and proclaim how thankful we were for God's provision of strength, health, grace and protection that day. We sensed that many people were praying for us and the Colich's through these days. The days seem to go quickly with so much work to be done. The wood siding, rain gutters and window screens were all replaced in 7 days and we were amazed at what was accomplished.

One day in particular was very difficult as we were all very tired and the heat was getting to us, I really sensed I had to step over by the ocean front and pray. God saw us through that day and the next few days went more smoothly too. What an amazing God to bless me with clarity and an urgent need to come into His presence. 

It was a great joy to be with Kim and Annie and experience life with them and be grateful for how God continues to give them what is needed to serve in Malasiga. As we stood in the village chapel that hot Sunday in PNG, I was reminded that in heaven we will rejoice around God's throne with people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation!

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray and to give financially to the missions Grace Fellowship supports around the world.

From Pastor Peter 13-Dec-2013

Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday

This Sunday we’ll begin celebrating one of the greatest truths in all of the Bible – the incarnation of Jesus Christ – that God took on flesh and stepped down into our world.  We're going to start in one of the most unlikely places – a genealogy.  We’ll dig into the first chapter of Matthew where Pastor Brad will show us some ‘grace nuggets’ that are tucked down into this list of ‘so and so begot so and so, who begot so and so.’  Our God is a God of grace, and you can trace His grace through all of the Bible – including genealogies.  To get your heart ready for Sunday, go ahead and read Matthew chapter 1, as it will prepare you for where we’re headed.

Save the Date!

It's back by popular demand - the 2014 Married Couples’ Dinner Dance.  Mark your calendar for Friday, Jan. 31.  There will also be a ‘Dance Lesson’ night (not required) with Durran Alexander the week before at the Florence Campus (Friday night, Jan. 24).  Click HERE for registration details.

Sprucin' up the Place

Some from both Florence & Newport have put some thought and care into decorating the theater for Christmas (we dropped some stuff of at the theater earlier this week).  Since I won't be there to see it, would you take some pics for me?  Post them to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram, and use the hashtag #GFCNPTChristmas13.  I'll be looking for them after church!

Missing you one last time

For the last time this year, I'll not be with you at church this Sunday as I'm preaching at our Florence campus.  However, I'm especially excited to not only be worshiping with you again, but am particularly looking forward to preaching at Newport for three consecutive Sundays starting next week on 22-Dec for our Family Christmas service.  More to come on all that soon.

God bless,

Pastor Peter

November 2013 Forum Recap

A few weeks ago, many from the Newport Campus got together at our second Forum to discuss a variety of topics.  Since many of you weren't able to attend, here's a quick recap...

Thank you, Bob Smith!  He's our Dir. of Operations, and he took the time to walk us through a financial report including YTD spending & giving, a forecast for 2013 year-end, and a presentation on the budget the Deacons put together for 2014.  UPDATE: That budget was unanimously approved by the congregation at our Business Meeting last night.

Candidates for Elders & Deacons were introduced.  These included Elders & Deacons who were "re-upping for another 3-year term (Elders Bob Greenwood & Rob Lohrmann; Deacon Don Price) and those who were coming on for the first time (new Elder JD Rogers; new Deacons Lloyd Conley & Doug Ortenzi).  UPDATE: All candidates were approved by ballot vote at our Business Meeting last night.

"Newport By The Numbers" was exciting to share.  #'s continue to be very encouraging, indicating a consistent upward trend in both area reach and Sunday morning visitors.  #FunFact: More than half of the visitors we've seen this year have come since August.

Our motivation for serving is something that has been on my heart for years, quite frankly, but is heightened as I've had the privilege of leading GFC Newport this past year.  As an Elder, I know one of our desires & prayer requests is for God to establish a "culture of serving" at GFC.  God has been VERY faithful to us at GFC Newport in raising up people to serve wholeheartedly in a variety of areas, which has gotten us off to a great start.'s December.

And you're tired.

And I'm tired.

And it's darker and colder nowadays as you continue to tirelessly serve to get this thing off the ground.

On the one hand, it really is the most wonderful time of the year in this guy's opinion.  I love Christmas time!  On the other hand, this is also the time of year where adding anything to my calendar tends to make me wanna punch myself in the face because...well, like I said; I'm tired, and it's just a very busy month and season.

Here's the bottom line: If you don't have a "why" for doing what you do that's rooted in the Gospel, you won't experiencing long-lasting, fruitful ministry in serving.  You'll only serve for the short-run.

In Rom. 12:1, Paul beseeches the church at Rome to present themselves as "living sacrifices," and goes on to call this "reasonable."  However, he doesn't simply say "put up & shut up," or give a tear-jerking speech followed by an altar call with every head bowed, every eye closed, reassuring them the buses will wait.

He refers them back to the mercies of God.  In view of God's mercy to us, sending His Son to bear our guilt and shame and not treating us as we deserve, our only reasonable, logical response is to be living sacrifices for Him, and to do so in an act of worship; not merely of meeting a need (pragmatism), not just because we're told to (obedience).  We serve as an act of worship because of the grace & mercy of God shown to us in Jesus Christ.

More to come on that, I promise.  Stay tuned.

Our next Forum is scheduled for Monday night, 13-Jan, 7:00 PM at the Florence campus (which seems like our best option at this time since we can provide childcare for those who need it).  I know, I more thing!  But don't worry...we'll both feel better about it after the New Year.  {;-)

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 06-Dec-2013

Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday

How much are you grateful for the great gift 'access' to the Gospel?  We can freely (and painlessly) hear the good news that Jesus Christ has died and rose again to pay for our sins.  Now consider that in vast parts of this world, that simple, radical, eternity-changing message has barely (or never!) been proclaimed.  Consider the peace, the fellowship, the love, the truth that we enjoy as we gather with our brothers and sisters each week...and how few people on this globe are able to experience that.
The message this Sunday is 'Engage the Nations'.  How can you prepare?
  • Pray God would give us thankful hearts, ready to praise God for what He has done and what He purposes to do.
  • Pray God would give us a holy discontent for the unfinished work before us.
  • Pray God would give us a willing heart, ready to hear the call of God.  

Thanksgiving Outreach Follow-up Plan
Several of you have asked me about follow-up plans for the families we reached out to in our Newport Thanksgiving Outreach that we participated in earlier last week.  Many have decided to contact the families they blessed on their own, which I think is great!  As far as what are plans are as a church, I will be sending them a note to thank them for welcoming us into their homes & giving us the opportunity to serve, and to invite them to church for our Christmas service on Sun, 22-Dec.  If you're among those who are reaching out to the families you served last week, join me in inviting them to join us as we worship our great God together, and pray God would stir them to come!
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!  In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful winter weather.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 29-Nov-2013

Dear Grace Family,

Thankful for Last Sunday!

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, especially how the Lord blessed our time together last Sunday.  First, we got to spend the morning together with the Florence campus, worshiping together and celebrating what God has done in so many lives, including several from Newport.  Afterward, GFC families hit the streets of Newport with grocery bags and boxes full of Thanksgiving groceries, taking advantage of a great opportunity to bless 68 needy families with food, prayer, an invitation to our church, and more.

As I've spoken with different ones of you, I've been blessed by the stories you've recalled to me of how your time went with the families you were assigned.  I'd love to hear more, and would love to share them in part on our blog so others can hear what God did.  If you wouldn't mind, please click HERE and share a few lines from your story.

Looking Forward to This Sunday!

The last sermon we heard looked at two strategies in the life of Joseph.  This Sunday, Pastor Brad will show us two more as we wrap up the Holy Sex sermon series.

Also, I'm looking forward to worshiping with you in our new home on 1!  It's just across the hall from theater 10, and I think it'll offer us some advantages on a weekly basis.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

In addition to the great meal we enjoyed today, I took time over the past two days to reflect on how God has so richly blessed me.  I'm so grateful to be able to worship with you each week, and watch God work in our lives at GFC Newport.  Thank you for praying, serving, giving, watching, helping, ministering and loving the Lord and His people the way you do.  Sarah & I are so blessed to have a church family like you.

Enjoy the leftovers.  See you on Sunday.

Love & thanks,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 22-Nov-2013

Dear Grace Family,

It's a very busy & exciting weekend for GFC Newport!  Check out the important information below:

THIS SUNDAY - Baptism Services at Florence!

This Sunday will be an exciting time for our entire church family...that means both campuses!  We'll be celebrating God's saving grace in the lives of many people, 4 of which our from the Newport branch of the Grace Fellowship family tree.  We'll worship together at our Florence Campus.  Sunday morning worship services are held at 8:15, 9:45 & 11:30.  If you've got kiddies, your key chain will scan in at Florence just like it does each week at Newport, and Children's Ministry is located in the rear of the building.  There will be NO WORSHIP SERVICES at Newport this Sun, 25-Nov.

This Saturday (tomorrow, 23-Nov), many of our men will be getting together at the Sparks' home for a time of praise & worship.  Click the image above for more details (including driving directions).

GFC Thanksgiving Outreach in Newport!

This Sunday afternoon, members of more than 20 Small Groups from both GFC campuses will be delivering groceries packages for complete Thanksgiving meals to over 65 needy families in Newport.  What started out as a last-minute shot in the dark to see if we could reach a few families this Thanksgiving has really taken off!  Contact your Small Group leader if you have any questions.

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way
we must help the weak and remember the words
of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Acts 20:35

I'm really looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming Forum on Monday.  Click the image above for details.  I've got lots I'd love to discuss with you, AND we'd all love to hear how God blessed the time He gave you during our Thanksgiving outreach.  Childcare will be provided (help us out by clicking HERE to let us know you're bringing your kiddies).  Hope to see you there!

Lastly, please pray for me as I have the privilege of preaching the Gospel as I officiate a wedding out of town this weekend for two of our own - Markus Pepper & Hannah Rausch.  I'm looking forward to it!

See you on Sunday!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

Men's Worship Event

This Saturday, the men will be getting together to worship God around a campfire (weather permitting), from 8am to 10am. 

You'll want to forgo the usual GoogleMaps option and follow these detailed instructions instead:

Take the Taylor Mill/Covington exit on I-275 and head south on Pride Parkway and then left onto Taylor Mill Road (Route 16) at the first stoplight. Continue for approximately 1.8 miles.

Turn left onto Wolf Road.

Follow down the hill until Wolf Road dead ends into Route 177 (Decoursey Pike).

Turn right onto Route 177/Decoursey Pike.

Take an immediate left onto Porter Road (maybe 4-5 car lengths).

Take the first right onto Tecumseh Lane (between 1 and 2 tenths of a mile).

Turn left into the 3rd driveway and proceed all the way up the hill and to the end of the driveway (approximately ½ mile).

Should you need clarification on the directions, please call one of the below numbers:

George & Sherry Sparks 750-3292; 760-9337

Q&A re: our Upcoming Forum on Mon, Nov 25th

What's a Forum anyway?

Ahh...excellent question.  Forums are an opportunity for dialogue among the congregation and Elders & key leaders regarding the latest and greatest at Grace Fellowship Church.

Sounds like a blast!  Where does all this take place?

This one will take place at GFC Florence Campus on Monday, 25-Nov, 7 PM-8:15 PM.

Will childcare be provided?

Yes!  Please click HERE and help us know how many of kiddies to prepare for.  Thanks!

What happens at these things?

It's not a lecture.  It's not a sermon.  It's not a monologue.  It's a dialogue.  The best forums involve healthy conversation regarding the matters at hand.

Is this Forum special?

Yes, and for two reasons.  First, our Annual Business Meeting is coming up in a few weeks.  The Forum will help to better acquaint you with issues to be decided on at the Business Meeting, including the 2014 Church Budget.  We'll also be voting on Elders & Deacons, as well as new members who will be added to the church.

Second, it's an opportunity for me to update you on things specifically pertaining to GFC Newport, and do some vision-casting for our campus specifically.  These times don't come often since time is short on Sunday, so I really look forward to spending this time with you when it comes around.

Do we vote on stuff at Forums?

No.  Voting takes place at Business Meetings.  These Forums enable us to talk with each other, and also help to keep Business Meetings more focused on...well...taking care of business (...every way).

Got any teasers for us?

K how's this...come to find out how money, coffee, cheesecake, children's ministry, outreach, new theaters, Fort Thomas Plaza and the Pony Express can all be discussed in one Forum.


Yup.  Totally serious.  You won't wanna miss it.  Hope to see you there!

God bless,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 11/15/13

Dear Grace Family,

Sermon this Sunday

We'll be wrapping up the Holy Sex sermon series over the next few sermons.  During that time, Pastor Brad will give us a strategy for resisting the sexual temptations that are all around us.  We're going to look at the life of Joseph together as a framework for building that strategy.  If you want to start thinking about it, start reading Genesis 39:1-20, as we’ll be drawing some strategies from the life of Joseph that I think can serve us to keep from getting sucked in, chewed up, and spit out by this sex-crazed world we live in.

Invite a friend to "Connect!"

Got a friend you want to bring to church?  See someone new at church on Sunday? Invite them to "Connect" after church this Sunday.  We'll meet in the Community Center, have some lunch together, and spend a small amount of time getting to know one another (very informal).

All-Campus Baptism Service - NEXT SUNDAY, 24-NOV

Next Sun, 24-Nov, we'll be worshiping at the Florence campus on our Baptism Sunday.  If you've never been to the Florence campus of our church, directions can be found HERE.

I've worked with the organizers of the service to figure out how to best serve all involved on this special day.  After all is said & done, the best situation was to spread our baptisms out among all three services.  We'll have 1 at the 8:15 service (David Michael), 2 at the 9:45 service (Emily Bartlett & Jenny Keene), and 1 at the 11:30 service (Ethan Gautraud).  Hope to see you there!

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 08-Nov-2013

Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday

What are you doing right now to avoid the temptation and trap of adultery & fornication?  What hedges do you have in place in your life?  This Sunday, we'll look at some strategies for staying sexually pure based on what we see in God's all-sufficient Word.

Save the Dates!  Sun & Mon, Nov 24 & 25

We've got two important dates to mark down on our calendars, and they'll both be here before we know it!

On Sun, 24-Nov, we're going to have an all-campus baptism service at the Florence campus.  This will enable us to celebrate together what God has done in saving souls within our church as they profess their faith by being baptized.  3 of the baptisms that day are from our branch of the GFC family tree at Newport! Hope you'll plan on joining us then.  I'll have more information for you between now & then. 
On Mon, 25-Nov, we're going to be holding another Grace Forum.  This will be similar to the one we had in July, except we'll hold it at our Florence campus (meeting places in the Newport vicinity weren't available this time around).  Just like last time, we'll meet at 7 PM, enjoy some coffee and a light dessert, and will get started soon thereafter.  Bob Smith, our Dir. of Operations, will be there to give us a financial update and tell us about the 2014 church budget (which will be voted on at the Business Meeting on Tue, 10-Dec), and then we'll take some time to discuss items & updates specifically related to GFC Newport.  Hope you'll join us!

Thank You

Thanks so much for your great response to the recent giving exhortations.  Let’s continue to send it on ahead and invest in what matters most.  If you'd like to set up an EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer), click HERE.

Have a blessed weekend!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 01-Nov-2013

Dear Grace Family,

G4U and "Connect" on Sunday

It'll be a busy week at GFC Newport as we hold another "Connect" lunch for newbies, and our very first Grace For You (G4U) class before church.  It all takes place in the Community Room in the Levee Building (opposite GameWorks).  Click the links above if you missed our short quick notes about them earlier this week.  We hope to see you there!

This Sunday

I look forward to opening up the Word with you again this Sunday!  We'll continue in our Holy Sex series with a sermon looking at just what is wrong with self-gratification, paying special attention to the effects of pornography on our walks with the Lord, our minds, our hearts, our children, and our families.  The message applies to all of us, but know this: most kids' first exposure to Internet pornography is age 11.  Further, the largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children, ages 12-17.  Having said that, if your child is around this age-range but doesn't typically sit under the preaching of the sermon each week, please consider bringing them into the Sanctuary with you this Sunday.  It's my hope and prayer God will use it as a helpful admonition to all of us walk in purity in holiness with Jesus for the rest of our earthly lives.  May God give us mercy & grace onSunday as we look to listen to Christ together.

From the Elders

Click HERE to check out the latest from the Elders re: Women's Ministry at the Florence campus.

Looking forward to being with you again on Sunday.  It's been too, too long!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

Grace For You (G4U) class starting THIS SUNDAY!

Grace For You (G4U) is a 3-week class for those who are new to GFC.  It's different from "Connect" in that it's a more detailed, granular look at biblical doctrine that defines what we believe, and why we do what we do honor the Lord as a church.  You commit nothing by coming to the class, but you'll have the opportunity to complete a membership application and join the church at the end of the class, if you want.

Planning on coming?  Click HERE and help us plan by letting us know.  Hope to see you there!

Come to "Connect"

Perhaps Grace Fellowship Church is entirely new to you, and our Newport Campus is pretty much your first exposure to Grace.

Well...then this is for you.  {;-)

We're calling it "Connect."  Right after church on Sunday, February 9th, head downstairs to the Community Room in the Newport on the Levee Building (it's on the Riverwalk Level - same level as the AMC ticket booth - opposite Gameworks).  You'll get to meet Pastor Peter, some other ministry leaders, and mingle with other newbies like you.  We'll even feed you' free (can't beat that).

It's never too late to let us know you're coming, so click here to RSVP and that will help us get a general headcount.

Got questions?  Email, or call 859.371.7880.

Hope to see you there!

From Pastor Peter 25-Oct-2013

Dear Grace Family,

Thank you

I wanted to take a brief opportunity to share a word of thanks to SO many of you who have offered some of the most encouraging words regarding my sermon last week on homosexuality and how we are to respond.  Being a part of such a Word-centered and responsive church like GFC is good for my walk with Christ, as your desire to walk closely with the Savior and be more like Him serves as an encouragement for our family as well, both personally & ministerially.  May God continue to use the preaching of His Word for His glory at our church, and may we continue to be found faithful as we seek to walk in a manner worth of our calling as adopted sons & daughters of the Lord (Eph. 4:1).

I Miss You!  :(

One last Sunday, friends, and then I'm looking forward to worshiping with you once again and preaching live next week at Newport.  Preaching at Florence and the travel I've done over the past week (some work-related, and some getting to see some family while away) has been busy, but very sweet.  The conference I attended was very helpful and encouraging, offering fresh insight into the Word for me as a leader and as a child of God.  Thank you for praying for this time, and know that I can't wait to see you again face-to-face!

This Sunday

We’ll keep building on the foundation we’ve laid so far, as Pastor Brad gives us some strategies for staying sexually pure in a sex-saturated society.  The strategies will apply to all of us, but there will make special application to those of you who are not married, as it’s become more difficult harder to stay sexually pure today.  To get ready for Sunday – read Ephesians 4:17-20 and 5:1-7.

Also, thank you so much for the great response from so many of you regarding God’s call to invest your money into your local church and what God is doing in and through us.  A lot of you that are new to the church have jumped in and started giving for the first time, as well as dozens more of you that have taken that step to sign up for an EFT.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  If you’ve been praying and you’re ready to sign up for an EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) you can do so by clicking HERE.

Also, if you're considering supporting Kingdom work done at GFC, please know that we try to make wise use of the money you give, most notably by not spending it all on ourselves.  Most churches our size spend 90% of their budget on salaries, wages, benefits, plus facilities, and the remaining 10% goes to fund all of their ministries – including missions.  Not so at Grace!  This year only 47% was spent on SWB (salaries, wages, benefits), and another 21% was allocated to missions, leaving another 32% for ministries and facilities.

We’re also working hard to knock out that facility part.  Our goal is to have this facility paid off and to be DEBT-FREE by 2020 – in 7 years!  And we’re on track to do that by paying an extra $150,000 every year towards reducing our debt.  If we’re able to do that, we’ll be debt-free by 2020.  But to do that we need you to give generously and sacrificially.  Would you consider giving a special gift towards debt reduction that would help us pay the extra $150,000 this year?

It's a joy to be in the same church body as you.  What an even greater joy it will be to be in the same church building as you next week!  I look forward to seeing you then, and will be thinking about and praying for you this Sunday and in the days ahead.

Much love,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 18-Oct-2013

Dear Grace Family,

This Sermon

7 days ago wasn't just your typical Friday.  It also happened to be "National Coming Out Day."  It's a day that people publicly & corporately celebrate identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  It's not new, either.  This is actually the 25th year that the 11th of October has been used to celebrate people identifying themselves in such a way.

Our sermon series is entitled Holy Sex: Sexual Purity in a World Gone Mad.  One of the clearest signs of the madness of our lost world can be seen in the advancement of the homosexual agenda in our culture.  This Sunday we'll look to the Scriptures to see what God has to say, not only about the homosexual, but about all Christians and how the Lord would have us respond in a way that is pleasing to Him.  May God use our time together to take us back to the hope and help all Christians find in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the power of God unto salvation and holy living.

Also, I'll be waving around a book I highly recommend reading entitled Out of a Far Country.  I only came across it a few weeks ago so when I preached this sermon at Florence last week, we weren't able to offer it in the Resource Center.  However, we were able to get our hands on a few copies to offer at our Resource Center this Sunday in time for this sermon, so consider picking up a copy or ordering it online.  It was a GREAT read, both teaching and reminding me of truth as I learn of how God worked in this man's life.

I won't be with you this Sunday as I'm in New York City officiating a wedding for a former student and friend of mine.  Afterward, I head off to a conference in Chicago.  Please pray for both of these times; that I would preach a clear Gospel message at the wedding, and that I'd learn all that God has for me at the conference next week.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

Spencer Settles on Glory Awaits

We asked Spencer Settles, our campus music leader, about a new song that we started singing this weekend, Glory Awaits.  Listen to the song here.  Why are we singing this song in worship of God, among so many others to choose from?  Here's what Spencer had to say.

I wanted to do Glory Awaits as soon as I heard it.  It is a simple but extremely encouraging song reminding us that this life, full of sorrows and trials as it is, will give way to a glory only as yet imagined by those on this side of heaven.  It brings to mind this Scripture:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed 
day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory 
beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that 
are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the 
things that are unseen are eternal.

From Pastor Peter 11-Oct-2013

Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday!

How do we get out of sexual sin?  How do we get out of any sin?  Last week we’re in Romans ch. 1, where we looked at the slippery slope down into sexual sin that starts with suppressing the truth, not glorifying God, not being thankful, and not being careful with where your thoughts run. And then… it’s light’s out.  Your foolish heart will be darkened – and you’ll start going places you never intended to GO… becoming someone you never intended to BE.  How can you get OUT of sexual sin if you’re already in it?  And what does the closest ‘Exit’ look like?  There’s hope!  That's what we'll see this week.  

I'll miss being with you this Sunday as I'll be preaching at our Florence campus.  I'll be praying for you, friends.  Please pray for me as I preach!

Love and thanks,

Pastor Peter
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