From Pastor Peter 5/31/13

Dear Grace Family,

We’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I trust you just read that exactly as it sounded in my head. {;-)
Let’s face it.  Work is work, and vacation is vacation.  We love taking a family vacation.  However, while it always seems that vaca flies by and it would be fun to have just the proverbial “one more day,” I’m thankful to be part of a church that I genuinely miss worshiping with and look forward to coming home to.  I’m thankful to what God is doing among us, and glad to be part of it with you.

This Sunday

We continue our journey through the book of Romans together as Ryan Fultz opens the word for us, preaching Romans 2:17-29.  Consider reading through Romans 2 a few times before coming to church on Sunday.
Also – don’t forget to consider reading a chapter in Romans each day in addition to whatever you’re currently reading in your times with the Lord.  I’ve loved taking times to read books of the Bible repeatedly over the years, and have really grown from becoming very acquainted with what God has had to say through different writers.  You will be blessed to do that in Romans, so think about adding that to your spiritual diet.  You’ll not regret it.

Cross the Bridge For Life

I’m looking forward to representing GFC Newport the 2013 Cross the Bridge for Life event this Sunday!  It’s an annual event held right in our backyard at the World Peace Bell and the Purple People Bridge.  It’s an opportunity to get together with likeminded people who also value the Sanctity of Human Life, particularly as it related to the unborn.  Everyone starts at the World Peace Bell, a bunch of us speak for a few minutes each (representing different organizations, ministries, etc.), and then we walk across the Purple People Bridge together showing our love for the unborn in so doing.  Consider stopping by for a while, and perhaps walking across the bridge with us!  Regardless of whether you come or not, please pray that I would steward well the time I’m given to speak, and would honor Christ and encourage those in attendance that day.  I’m looking forward to it!

New babies!

A few weeks ago we were blessed to be able to acknowledge and recognize some of the littlest additions to our church body.  More have arrived since then!  Please join me in welcoming Violet Abigail Gautraud (born to Kevin & Sharayah on 23-May), and  Charlie Walker Gautraud (born to David & Megan on 27-May).  They’re being well taken care of by their Small Groups and families, but if you’d like to join in blessing them with a meal as well, do so for Kevin & Sharayah HERE, and David & Megan HERE.
See you on Sunday!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

Why I'm Reading Through the Bible, Part I

If you've ever walked into the theater on Sunday and wondered, "How did all of this come together logistically?" then allow us to introduce you to Andrew Caudill.  He's the one that opens and closes things at Newport when Pastor Peter is gone.  He has a deep love for Jesus, and God has gifted him with a mastery of efficiency (among the set-up team he's affectionately known as "The Caudill-Bot"). Andrew has some great perspective to share with us this week that we'll be sharing in a couple of posts. 

Reading the Bible Chronologically.  When I read my Bible, I sometimes forget that 66 books within were written by more than 40 authors over 1400 years. It's been helpful to me Reading through the Bible Chronologically is different than other reading plans for several reasons. It seeks to present the Bible in a chronological order of how God revealed Himself.  It doesn't seek diversity in reading. For example, you don't have some Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day. Second, it isn't just reading through the Bible in the order the books appear. Instead, the design for this reading plan is to highlight the grand plan of God: reading through progressive revelation as it was revealed to man.

See God act, as He acted.  As American Christians we sometimes take for granted all that we know today. We are a very privileged people not only because we have a full canon, but we have had much time to study it. Consider some of the saints of old, - like Job, or David! They did not have the vast majority of revelation that we take for granted today, but still walked even closer with God than many of us choose to.

God didn't just reveal Himself all at once. History reveals a continual unveiling of God in how He works with His people. Often, we miss this when we study His word. There are covenants that build upon each other, men who live in light of those before them, and believers who react to the teaching thus given to them.

If you want to understand much of the significance of the New Testament, you must know the foundation on which it very intentionally builds upon. In fact, you will see some very common themes as you study: A Sovereign God who does whatever He pleases (raising up men and putting others down), and a rebellious human race seeking their own will, not realizing they are heading for judgment (and would receive the full brunt of it if not for the promise and intervention of the God they so hate). God constantly is building covenants with His people, promising a Savior and even a new heart (as revealed in the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36-37).

We were made to worship.  One of the most enriching aspects to reading through the Bible in this manner is it gives a far deeper understanding of how to worship by bringing the psalms to light. The Psalms are read in the context of where they were written, which shows us how David worshiped while being hunted by Saul, vs. how David worshiped the day he was crowned King. Do you want to know how you should reply when it feels like everyone is against you in life? This will show you. How should you respond the day when it feels like you are on top of the world? Yep, the Psalms show that. When your son rebels against you and wants to kill you? We can look at how David chose to worship, and learn the man after God’s own heart.

From Pastor Peter 5/17/13

Dear Grace Family,

Last Sunday

Every Sunday is special as we gather together to worship God through singing, praying, and hearing God speak to us through the preaching of His Word.  In my opinion, last Sunday was particularly special as the manifest presence of God seemed to be so prevalent among us as we thanked God for the babies He's blessed us with, sang praises to His name, listened to a very powerful message by John Piper concerning the supremacy of Jesus Christ, and then topped it all off by celebrating Communion together, proclaiming the Christ's death by which He has redeemed us.  What a great day!  I'm thankful we were able to share that time together, and look forward to what the Lord has for us in the days ahead.  

This Sunday

I'll not be with you as our family will be in North Carolina enjoying some vacation with some extended family.  I'll certainly be thinking about you and praying for you as Sunday rolls around.  Please pray for our safety during the 12 hours of driving we'll be doing each way, and that we'd enjoy the downtime together.  We're thankful to God for the opportunity to get away like this, but also look forward to returning to worship with you soon thereafter!

Sermon: Back to Romans!

This Sunday, Pastor Brad will be preaching from Romans 1:24-32 as we look at some of the dangerous consequences of treating sin lightly.  Want to prepare yourself in the Word?  Consider taking some time over the weekend to read Romans 1:24-32 several times.  In doing so, look for a common theme.  Specifically, look for a phrase that gets repeated three times.  That will be highlighted in our sermon this Sunday.

See you soon!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 5/10/13

Dear Grace Family,

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…” (Psalm 107:2 NIV)

I hope you enjoyed last Sunday as much as I did.  What a blessing it is to hear of the ways God is at work among us on a Testimony Sunday like we had.  Thanks for being a part of that with me, and thanks especially to those who shared tidbits from their life that gave glory to God.  You’ve enabled us to celebrate what God is doing in your life with you.

Parent/Child Dedication + Communion

As we come together this Sunday to worship the Lord, we’ll take some time to recognize the newest littlest additions that God has brought among us – babies!  I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating and recognizing: Jesus loves children.  We live in a world that shows its increasing disdain for the youngest among us, but the local church should always be a place where all people – even teeny tiny ones – are welcomed and celebrated.  I hope you’re looking forward to not only celebrating their presence among us, but praying for the parents whom God has entrusted them to.  It doesn’t “take a village” to raise a child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, but what a blessing it is to have the people of God celebrating, supporting, encouraging and praying for parents who have the daunting task of pleasing God in their parenting.  Join us this Sunday as we seek to do just that.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we’ll remember in a special way the very crux of our faith by celebrating the Lord’s Supper.  This solemn yet celebratory remembrance proclamation of Christ’s death on our behalf is a privilege for the people of God to enjoy together, and I’m looking forward to doing that with you once again this Sunday.

Much love,

Pastor Peter

A Newport Kid-Friendly Coffee Refuge: Mammoth Coffee

Hi friends! It’s just me – Melissa. And I have a confession. When I wrote here last about my Sunday mornings, I made two mistakes.

First, I mentioned that there is a Graeter’s on Monmouth Street, next to Strong’s Brick Oven Pizza. This, you probably already know, is a giant lie. Who lies about ice cream? Crazy ladies who assume that a Graeter’s sign indicates Graeter’s ice cream, that’s who. In the case of the charming brick building on Monmouth Street, however, a Graeter’s sign indicates a hamburger joint. Forgive me. Next time I’ll peek in the window before I go assuming.

My second mistake was neglecting to tell you about the near-disaster of taking my children to the second story coffee place right there on the Levee. Feeling the lure of a double dirty chai latte one Sunday morning, I headed for the “up” escalator with all four of my little ones charging on ahead. On our way back down, I watched, horrified, as my three year old tumbled down the first several escalator steps (stopping there unfazed to sit a spell, thankfully, for the remainder of the descent) while my daughter stood behind me at the top, rooted to the spot, refusing to follow the rest of us down (and who can blame her, with all of that chaos happening below?).  The latte was terrific, but the panic of taking four homeschooled and [possibly] neurotically sheltered children down an escalator was just too much. I see that we will need to add “street smarts” to our curriculum, but we’ll start small.

In the following weeks, I have stopped at Mammoth Coffee. It turns out that every coffee place does a dirty chai, but not every place requires that you connect your toddler to your person with one of those bungee animal backpacks.

And – get ready for this, mamas! – Mammoth has a play area. It’s almost as if they .. welcome children? Can it be?! An entire shelf of books, puzzles, dolls, and an Etch a Sketch with one functioning knob. Instead of taking my drink and dashing off, we go a little early and sit a spell, enjoying Grace Fellowship Church Newport’s late-ish start time, the Bible app on my phone, and the town coming to life.

We have made the Mammoth stop several times now, and I have tried different caffeinated concoctions, never leaving disappointed. I watch fit people jogging in, stopping for egg whites and a skinny latte. Usually, I see a familiar face from church, eating breakfast or grabbing coffee to go. The kids argue over who gets the good Etch a Sketch knob and we arrive at church unscathed by that bothersome escalator.

Give Mammoth a try if you haven’t already. And maybe consider checking out some of the other restaurants open for breakfast along Monmouth. Let us know if you come across one that you like by telling us about it over on our Facebook page. Bonus points if they have a toy shelf.

Pictures and post from Grace Fellowship Church I Newport goer Melissa Talbert.  She blogs over here, in case you'd like to check out some of her other musings.

From Pastor Peter 5/3/13

Dear Grace Family,

Flying Pig Marathon

As you're probably aware, pigs fly once each year through the Cincinnati area via the Flying Pig Marathon.  It's this Sunday, 05-May.  Although I'm told the runners typically pass the Levee building by around 9:30, road closures may still be in effect when you arrive at church on Sunday.  Consider playing it safe by giving yourself a bit of extra time to get to church and find parking in the area.

Testimony Sunday!

We're taking a two-week break from our sermon series through the book of Romans.  This Sunday is Testimony Sunday.  Instead of hearing a carefully crafted sermon, we'll take time to hear what God is doing in the lives of those in our church body.  Psalm 107:2 says "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble."  Come to church ready to hear testimonies of God's grace at work in people's lives, and consider what you might share that glorifies our great God and blesses those of us who hear.


After church this Sunday, we'll hold a get-together for all those who are new to Grace.  It's a casual get-together where people will have the opportunity to mingle with ministry leaders and others who are new to our church.  Maybe you're reading this and you think Gasp! That's me! If so, consider the following:

First, can someone really "think" a gasp?

Secondly, click HERE for more "Connect" info.  It's never too late to register (or even just show up, for that matter).  Still, if you already know you're planning on being there, be a dear and RSVP so we can get a headcount.  Thanks!

I'm looking forward to Sunday.  Hope you are, too!

God bless,

Pastor Peter

Not Look Back: Response to "Why I'm Glad Paul Couldn't Get to Rome"

Meet Vinny Nizzo (pictured above).  Ey-o.  Is that Italian enough for you?!  {;-)  He goes to our old church back in New York City.  Quick story...

We led a home Bible study that he didn't attend at the time, but his sweet wife, Josie, did.  We prayed God would save Vinny, and then God called us to move to Kentucky.  Not long afterward, we received word that God saved him!

Now Vinny (a.k.a. "Niz") loves Jesus, is a Deacon, serves the Lord and His people in multiple ways, and (get ready for this) writes great poems that I get emailed to me every week.  

He emailed me earlier this week with this one in response to what he read in my post last week entitled, "Why I'm Glad Paul Couldn't Get to Rome."  I hope it stirs you as it did me.

God bless,

Pastor Peter

Not Look Back

You have brought me many places
Through Your sovereign will
I never really took the time
To listen and be still
Nor was I fully aware
Of a plan You had for me
Till You called out  my name
Opened my eyes to see
My self wants to look back
See where I have been
Though it be just an image
Of me mired in my sin
Lord keep me focused
So that I will always know
It is not where I think I should be
But where You need me to go….

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