What's the Bible All About: Part Five



This week, we're hosting a five part interview here on the blog on our upcoming series, What's the Bible All About.  Senior Pastor Brad Bigney was willing to answer some questions to give us an inside scoop on what makes him so excited about this series, when to invite guests and resources to help us dig in deeper beyond Sunday morning.  So, without further ado, here's part part five of five.  (And if you missed earlier interviews in the series, check them out on the blog here.)


Question: If we were to invite a friend, neighbor or co-worker to any one of the sermons in this series, which one might you recommend?

Pastor Brad:  Well, the best thing would be for someone to attend the entire series because each message will build on the previous message as we work our way through from beginning to end, but if you know you can only get your friend to attend a couple of the messages I would suggest you invite them to Sermon #2 – ‘The Biggest Problem’ where we’ll talk about our sin problem that separates us from a holy God.  Sermon #4 – ‘The Greatest Gift’ will focus on Jesus Christ, and Sermon #6 – ‘The Clearest Explanation’ will focus on explaining why Christ had to die on the cross.  Here's the full Sermon schedule.

Question: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with us?

Pastor Brad: I’m really excited about what could happen to each one of us as we go through this series, because a better grasp of what the Bible’s all about will lead us into a clearer understand of who God really is.  And what that happens we could begin to experience what Daniel 11:32 was talking about when it says, “But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”  I’d love to see more of that in our church family!

Thanks for sharing with us, Pastor Brad!

What's the Bible All About: Part Four



This week, we're hosting a five part interview here on the blog on our upcoming series, What's the Bible All About.  Senior Pastor Brad Bigney was willing to answer some questions to give us an inside scoop on what makes him so excited about this series, when to invite guests and resources to help us dig in deeper beyond Sunday morning.  So, without further ado, here's part part four of five.  (And if you missed earlier interviews in the series, check them out on the blog here.)


Question: How can we prepare our hearts to best receive the message of this series?

Senior Pastor Brad Bigney: A couple of things come to mind.  

First, pray every week before you come, asking God to prepare your heart to see all the wonders of what’s really in His Word.  

Secondly, make sure you have a good Bible (New King James, ESV, or NIV) that you can bring with you each week, ready to make notes and underline key places for when you are reading your Bible in the future. 

Thirdly, consider reading through the Bible this year.  If you’ve never done that, this is a great year to take the challenge and plunge in.  There are all kinds of helpful reading plans that can guide you, depending on how quickly you want to read through it (The Gospel Coalition has one here).  

Fourthly, consider getting into one of our small groups that is discussing the sermon series.  There’s nothing quite like discussing Bible truth with others to give you greater understanding, and drive some of it deeper into your heart and life.

Question: What other resources would be good to accompany this series, in case we get the urge to dig a bit deeper?

Senior Pastor Brad Bigney: There are some great additional resources you might consider purchasing and adding to your own personal library: 

  1. How to Read the Bible Book by Book, by Gordon Fee, is a fantastic little book that gives a great summary and overview of each book of the Bible. It would be great to read this before you read any book of the Bible, as he gives a clear and simply summary of the author, the audience, the date, the location from which it was written, the big theme of that particular book.  You’d be amazed at how much more you’d get out of your Bible reading if you had a basic understanding of what is going on before you start in on that book.  My other recommendation is 
  2. Believer’s Bible Commentary, by William MacDonald.  This is my favorite one volume Bible commentary.  Consider reading through the Bible and using this commentary to stop and look up anything that you really don’t understand, instead of just plowing on in confusion.

What's the Bible All About: Part Three



This week, we're hosting a five part interview here on the blog on our upcoming series, What's the Bible All About.  Senior Pastor Brad Bigney was willing to answer some questions to give us an inside scoop on what makes him so excited about this series, when to invite guests and resources to help us dig in deeper beyond Sunday morning.  So, without further ado, here's part three of five.  (And if you missed the first two, check them out here and here.)


Question: What passages of scripture have you been spending the most time in when preparing for this series?

Senior Pastor Brad Bigney:  This is actually one of those series that is more of a lifetime of preparation than it is hunkering down and studying one particular passage. I’ve been reading through the entire Bible each year for the past 6 years now, and I’ve been reading my Bible daily since I was 19. So, I’ve had a steady intake of Bible for the past 31 years. In fact, I have owned the same Bible that I have right now for the past 30 years.  This series requires the ability to back away from the details and to put a hold on drilling down into any specifics and to see the overall, big picture.

There was actually a class in my undergraduate studies at Columbia Bible College that first lit a fire in me for the overall scope and sweep of what is going on in the Bible.  I grew up in the church, but no one before had ever led me to step back and get the big picture of what the Bible was all about.  I still remember walking out of that class and thinking, ‘This changes everything.  I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.’  I was so excited and fired up.  So many things just clicked and fell into place for the first time.

What's the Bible All About: Part Two



This week, we're hosting a five part interview here on the blog on our upcoming series, What's the Bible All About.  Senior Pastor Brad Bigney was willing to answer some questions to give us an inside scoop on what makes him so excited about this series, when to invite guests and resources to help us dig in deeper beyond Sunday morning.  So, without further ado, here's part part two of five.  (And if you missed the first one, check it out here.)


Question: What are you most excited to share in this series?  What makes you excited about it?

Senior Pastor Brad Bigney: The thing that excites me the most about this series is to see the ‘light’ click on for so many people. Every time I’ve done this series (this is my third time in 17 years) people get excited about their Bibles like never before because they have a framework and a string that is connecting all the thoughts together.  With that string in place so many other things start to fall into place and make more sense.

One historian said, “Most people’s knowledge of history is like a string of pearls without the string.”  

I think that statement today is especially true of Bible history and Bible facts. A lot of people know some of the Bible characters and Bible stories but they have no idea how to string it all together.  I know I didn’t.  I grew up church.  I attended Vacation Bible School. I sat through Sunday School lessons – and listened to sermons, but I still did not have what I needed to fit it all together.  Nobody gave me the string that runs through the middle of it all!  That’s what I want to highlight in this series.  I want to give you the string that runs through the middle of it all.  I want to give you the biblical string that causes each one of the specific Bible ‘pearls’ or stories or characters to hang together –so that it starts to make sense, and so that when we’re finished we’ll have a beautiful piece of jewelry that worth owning – and worth giving our lives for. 

Here’s the string that holds it all together… you ready?  

That string that runs through the heart of the Bible is crimson red – it’s the theme of REDEMPTION or salvation.  

The big theme in the Bible is RESCUE.  

God is on a rescue mission for Man – on a scale that has never been seen before.  

That’s the string that holds all the other ‘pearls’ together.  The Bible has one primary purpose and it lifts up one great theme as it answers one main question: 

How can sinful people be made right with God? How can you be saved? 

That’s the biggest question that every human being faces!  

Not, ‘What will I do when I grow up?’  Not ‘Who will I marry?’  Not ‘Where should I invest my money?’  No!  The biggest question – with eternal ramifications is,  “What are you going to do with your sin, in light of a holy God?”  Where can I put it?  How can I get rid of it?  How can I shake this off once and for all? The Bible answers that question!

What's the Bible All About: Part One











This week, we're hosting a five part interview here on the blog on our upcoming series, What's the Bible All About.  Senior Pastor Brad Bigney was willing to answer some questions to give us an inside scoop on what makes him so excited about this series, when to invite guests and resources to help us dig in deeper beyond Sunday morning.  So, without further ado, here's part one of five.

Question: What's the topic for this upcoming sermon series?  How did the topic come about?

Senior Pastor Brad Bigney:  Whenever you pick up a book it’s good to understand who the author is, and what the purpose or overall theme of the book is about.  Otherwise you might struggle to hang on through some of the sections of that book.  The same is true for the Bible.  You need to know that the Bible’s a book of history.  It’s a selected history, but it’s a history none the less.  It’s HIS STORY.  It’s God’s story of how we got into this mess and what He’s done to get us out.  It’s a history of the redemption of mankind to the glory of God.

The big theme of what the Bible is really all about – and that’s redemption for the glory of God.  The Bible is basically a story of how God solves our biggest problem by paying the purchase price to buy us back from slavery to sin and Satan. I’m doing this because so many people can get lost in the Bible and struggle to make sense of the particular ‘slice’ they’re digging into because they’ve lost sight of, or never ever had to begin with, the ‘Big Picture’ of what’s really going on in the Bible.  The Bible is truly amazing!  66 books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament), written by 40 different authors, over a period of about 1600 yrs.  Yet there is unity and continuity like no other book, because God was ultimately the author overseeing the formation of Scripture.

Launch Invitation



We're going to be official on February 3rd, so let's spread the word.

During our service at AMC this morning, we passed out a card that you can give to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or other people you may have in mind.

For those of you more digitally-inclined, we have a digital way for you to pass that card on.  Here it is!  So, copy that web address into an email to some specific folks, post it onto your Facebook wall and do those digital things you do with things like this.

Or better yet, see the "share" button upper left on the Facebook ad?  Hit that button and share straight from the ad.

You know you want to.

Christian Talk Radio Interview


Pastor Peter says he has a face for radio.

He'll be on Christian Talk 1050 AM this week talking about Grace Fellowship Church I Newport:


  • Monday 21-Jan through Friday 25-Jan: 3:00 p.m. (a different 5-minute clip each day)
  • Sat, 26-Jan: 1:00 p.m. (full 30 minute interview)
  • Sun, 27-Jan: 12 noon (full 30-minute interview)

Check it out.  Tell us how good his hair looked over on our Facebook page.

Image via Flickr/ErnestDuffoo.

Soft Launch : Anticipation Becomes Reality


A group of us stood outside Theater 10 on Sunday morning to go over our new set up routine and welcome locations. After copious amounts of prayer and planning, it seemed everyone was excited to be part of a new adventure for Grace Fellowship Church. There were several mentions of how it didn't feel like Sunday morning, and how "this kind of feels like a date night."

It doesn't seem so long ago that Newport on the Levee was a brand new exciting place in Northern Kentucky. The movie theater seemed so regal! The sketchy Florence theater quickly became an afterthought, and even though a lot of us (okay, maybe just me?) didn't know what a levee was - we were ready for a new place to visit on the weekends.

I'd venture to guess I'm not alone in saying I never would have known that one day I'd go to church in the same place where I attended the midnight showings of the Harry Potter movies. But God continually surprises me with His plans, so I was definitely onboard.

There was a lot I couldn't picture. I knew the children would be in a couple different smaller theaters, but couldn't envision them playing there. I knew we would sing loud songs of praise, but what would it actually be like?

One of my favorite parts of our first official Sunday worshipping at Newport was seeing what I'd only formerly known as ideas come to life.



There were colorful mats pieced together like a puzzle that fit perfectly to the floor for the kids to play on. The sounds of the worship band filled the room while Peter did a sound check. Parents started checking in their little ones, and quickly the auditorium seemed alive with people. I was blown away by how seamlessly everything went. 

A lot of faces were familiar, and some were new to me. There seemed to be many that I'd always wanted to get to know but hadn't yet had the opportunity. The prospect of engaging with new community as more guests come to this new place of worship seemed very real and I think we all felt grateful to be a part of it. 

As we sat down in our VERY comfortable seats (WITH CUP HOLDERS), we listened to Peter as he reminded us that God builds His church on the rock. It was a perfect reminder that while we become better acquainted in our new Sunday "home," we will not be the builders. Our community in Newport will grow because of God, not because of us. 

There will certainly be hiccups along the way. Every Sunday might not go as smoothly, and that's okay. It does nothing to distract from the fact that we will continue to put forth our best efforts because we are confident that our good God will build as He sees fit.

Thanks to Newport member Fran Dorsey for the reflections on Soft Launch.  We, too, loved getting to see this dream become a reality.

A Note from Pastor Peter


We will have more on our "soft" launch soon.  But, in the midst of all that God did yesterday, we didn't want you to miss this note from Pastor Peter.  It was tucked in your popcorn box welcome kit.  And for what it's worth, the note was meant to be read...not eaten.  Here it is.



Thanks for joining us for this historic “first” worship service at Grace Fellowship Church | Newport.  Whether you’re planning on sticking with us for the long haul, or joining us this Sunday only, I’m glad you were with us on this special day.

We’re excited about what God has in store for us in the days ahead, but we need your help.  We oftentimes see God move in mighty ways among us when we pray & fast.  As Christ builds His church, would you continue to pray for us?
  • Pray God would draw many to Himself as a result of our ministry here in Newport (John 6:44).
  • Pray God would continue to use our Small Groups as a means of fellowship where we would encourage one another to love, good works, and growth in Christ (Heb. 10:23-25).
  • Pray for me as I seek to provide the servant-leadership necessary to best care for and lead the people of God at GFC Newport (1 Pet. 5:2-4).
Don’t forget to follow us for the latest information on Facebook, Twitter and here on our Blog.

Lord-willing, we’ll have many more times to worship together at GFC Newport, but there will only ever be one “first.”  Thanks for being a part of it with us!  We’re glad you’re here.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter LaRuffa



Top 10 Things You Should Know for Soft Launch Sunday



Here are the Top 10 Things You Should Know for Soft Launch Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church | Newport:

10.  Service Start Time: 10:30 AM!
Nursery & Children's Ministry will be provided for kids age 0-5th grade.

9.    Check-in ALL your kids when you first arrive!
Stop by our child check-in counter and check your kids in.  If they're 2 or younger, take them back to the Nursery in Theater 2.

8.    Kids 3 & up worship with us all!
Take your kids with you to your seats to worship in song with us!  Later on in the service, we'll take them to Sunday School for you.

7.    Give yourself some extra time!
It's a new Sunday morning routine, so give yourself a little extra time to get to church.

6.    Check out our parking options!  Use on-street parking near the theater for free (meters are off on Sundays), or park inside the Newport On The Levee parking garage for $3.

5.    The sermon tomorrow will be from Matthew 16:13-19.  Pastor Peter has mentioned a portion of this text many times during #LaunchPrep Meetings, and he's excited to spend a bit more time in it this weekend.

4.    Pastor Peter will be preaching live this week.
Although the vast majority of our sermons will come to us via video Pastor Peter will preach live about 25% of the time.  The sermon next week will be on the big screen.

3.    Pray for Florence!
Remember - the launch of GFC Newport affects our friends at the Florence campus, too.  Believe it or not, there have been changes made to just about every area of ministry possible, to some degree.  Pray for the team at Florence who is working hard to make sure things go smoothly there, and here.

2.    Pray big!
The foundation of our campus is truly fasting & prayer.  That's when we saw God move the most and open doors for us to meet where we are.  Now is NOT the time to stop praying, and now is not the time to pray little iddy-biddy prayers.  Pray for big & great things to take place in the lives of all whom God will bring to GFC Newport!

1.    Stay positive.  Be thankful.  Be patient.  Have fun!
This is a brand new journey for all of us.  We've been working hard, so lots will go right...but some will go wrong.  There will probably be many adjustments for each of us.  Let's show our gratitude to God by overflowing with thanksgiving, a positive spirit, and having fun together.  May the joy of the Lord be our strength!

Image from shockmotion/Flickr.

Welcoming as Worship



Editor’s Note:
This post comes from Laura Lewis, member of the Welcome team.  While what Laura shares below is from a Welcome team meeting, it can be argued that we’re ALL responsible for welcoming.  What a way to walk out God’s love for people that come through the doors on Sunday morning at AMC Newport.


Last Sunday Pastor Peter met with the Welcome Team of folks going over to Grace Fellowship I Newport and gave us some very helpful values that shape our role on the team. Here are a few ideas I walked away with that might be an encouragement to you as well...

Value: Intentionality
Being highly proactive in looking for, identifying, and engaging our first-time guests.
In our discussion, I realized I need to ask for God’s help both to recognize guests and to know how to love them. I need to pray for discernment to know when to push through an awkward silence and when to give someone a little needed space. I can only do this with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Value: Interaction
Delighting our guests with personal interaction that is loving, engaging and informative.
My tendency is to be task-oriented, but my prayer is that God would help me learn to better interact with those I greet, engaging them by learning their names and remembering what I discover about them. I want to care enough to get to know them rather than just greeting them and pointing them in the right direction.

Sunday, Peter encouraged us that whether we’re greeting first-time guests or active members, we’re helping to prepare people for worship. What an awesome privilege!


Image via Flickr/visualdensity.



Commissioning

The Newport Campus will be commissioned this Sunday at the beginning of each service. We'd love to have those going to Newport to pick a service, then stay for the beginning of another one, so that the Florence campus sees our faces and knows who will be leaving.  And, why not get doubly prayed for?  Join us for more than one commissioning if you can.



« »

Grace Fellowship Church | Newport All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger