From Pastor Peter 6/28/2013

Dear Grace Family,

Good Times at Sawyer Point!

About 3 dozen people enjoy a picnic and some fun in the sun.  The kids had some fun on the playground, and a bunch of us got to do one of my favorite catch. :)  Thanks so much for joining us!  If you weren't able to make it, I hope to see you the next time we hang out like that.

This Sunday - Concert of Prayer

Grace Fellowship Church holds concerts, but we do them a bit differently than others.  Instead of everyone seated watching a band or group up front, everyone joins in together to sing and pray together to our "Audience of One," our great God.  Come to church ready to sing, pray, and hear other members of our church family do the same.  Next week, we'll jump back into our sermon series through the book of Romans.

Do you read our blog?

I hope so.  I'm looking forward to using it in a bit of a different way in an effort to bring my submarine to the surface.  Huh?  What?  If you're thoroughly confused, click HERE to see what I'm talking about.  {;-)  If you're not a regular reader of the blog, consider starting!  Whenever we post an update, we let folks know on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

I'll miss being with you this Sunday as our family will be attending an out-of-town wedding that will prevent us from getting back in time to worship at GFC Newport.  I look forward to worshiping with you again next Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

20,000 Leagues Under the Levee


Before Netflix & Amazon, there was (and is) Redbox.

Before Redbox, there was Blockbuster.

But...before Blockbuster, there were privately owned little video rental stores.  I'm not sure what yours was like, but the one we went to as kids was very small.  It was a narrow store with two aisles that maybe went 100' deep.  There were videos on the wall that were organized either according to genre, or wherever the last person left it after they were done looking at the case (kinda like what you do when you're done looking at greeting cards and don't put them back where they belong.  Yes...yes you do).  At the risk of dating myself, I'll even admit to remembering a small section that had Betamax movies to rent...all 9 of 'em.I think the store was cash only, and I don't know if we even had a membership card.  I think Mom just used her license. We'd take them home, watch them, rewind them, and return them the next day.  Good times. As a kid, I had my regulars, one of which was (get ready for this) 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  I loved that movie and basically had it memorized.

It had explosions.

It had Kirk Douglas, who dove into the ocean to rescue Captain Nemo from a giant squid by carrying a knife in the cleft of his chin (not really, but he did use a knife).  

James Mason smoked a cigar made of seaweed.

Peter Lorre whined...a lot.

And, the vast majority of the movie took place on a submarine.  Not a yellow one.  An epic, black one that was mistaken for a sea monster by so many as it blasted ships to smitherines.  Oh, and it also had a pipe organ.


I am a "submarine planner."  There.  I said it.  I think it comes from years in youth ministry where you rarely went public with plans until you could anticipate questions students and parents might ask so you could have answers that would inform, as well as put their minds at ease.On the surface of the water, it just seemed like another calm day at sea.  Not much to report.  But I was below, in my submarine, praying, planning, researching, making phone calls, sending emails, praying some more, and ultimately working on something that I think was God-honoring and helpful to students and parents.Then out of nowhere, I'd take my submarine to the surface and explode with a plan, or a project, or a theme for camp, or a trip, or whatever.  That's how I rolled.  If I breached the surface too early, there would be more questions than I had answers to, and that wouldn't build trust with parents or students.  Timing was key, so I tried to be wise in how I prepared, planned, and went "live" (public) with things.  Sadly, I left youth ministry before I ever had the chance to kill a giant squid.

Broaching the Surface
There's SOOOOO much going on at GFC Newport, but only a handful know about any one thing.
  • There's a Small Group birthing to Cincinnati, but the only people that know the details behind that move are those in the Small Groups involved. That's not a sin, but it's exciting news that ought to be shared.
  • Most people aren't good at judging attendance at a quick glance, especially in a dark movie theater, and with kids and workers spread out over 3 different theaters. What's our average Sunday morning attendance? I know, because I have the data and can run the numbers. What do you think it is? I wonder how close you are. :)
  • GFC started meeting in a Cinergy conference room in downtown Cincinnati. Since then, GFC has been a suburban church. Now we have a campus that is, once again, in a more urban setting. With this comes unique opportunities for outreach. We have some opportunities that are in the works...some of our own, and other opportunities to partner with existing ministries and outreaches in the area (meeting with people from the Salvation Army in Newport next week, actually). I know about this....and some others do...but most do not.
  • What about our meeting place in the theater? On the one hand, there are a ton of reasons it's an ideal meeting place. On the other hand, it presents a unique set of problems as well. Is the plan to overcome the obstacles as they are, or seek a new place to meet that may not have those obstacles (but will present ones of their own, of course)? I don't have all the answers, but I have some...and I can definitely give you things to add to your prayer lists.

These are the things I think about. These are the things my meetings revolve around. These are the things I talk about when I meet with different people within our church, our staff, and in the community. But you don't know that because we all live busy lives and have submarines of our own.
Soooooooooooooo here's the deal...
Save the Date
First, remember this date: July 17th. This will be our first GFC Newport Forum. I'll give you a financial report similar to the one that was given at the most recent Church Business Meeting (I say "similar" because I'll give you numbers that are current to that date). I'll then go through the items that I presented above to bring you up to speed on stuff, as well as answer questions you may have about our GFC Newport past, present & future. I think it'll be a good time. Start time will be 7 PM. Location TBD, but will be somewhere in the Newport area. Hope to see you there!
Stay Tuned
Secondly, I'm going to be using our blog to try to keep you in the know more often on things that are going on at GFC Newport. They may not be polished, clean, spic & span, shiny and ready to go. However, I want you on this journey with me, and that means I need to communicate with you while things are in process, not necessarily when they're done. Therefore, I'm going to be using this thing more often to give you quick updates on things as I'm able, as God brings them about, so you can be thinking about them and praying for God to continue to move...just as He did when He brought us to the theater we've been calling home for the past 6+ months.
Thanks for reading, thanks for praying, thanks for serving, and thanks for being a part of what God is doing at GFC Newport.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Peter (Image Creative Commons licensed via Flickr)

From Pastor Peter 6/21/13

Dear Grace Family,

There's No Place Like Home
I've enjoyed being with our church family at the Florence Campus these past two weeks, but I've missed being with you and am looking forward to returning home, to GFC Newport as we gather together to worship.  I'm excited to be preaching live this Sunday, picking up where we left off last week and looking at the end of Romans 3, specifically Rom. 3:25b-31.  In these verses, I hope to show you the primary reason Christ died, and the first person God had in mind as He sent His only Son to bear the wrath of His people.  Much has been said, written, debated, and preached on in answering the question "For Whom Did Christ Die?"  The Bible has answers, many of which are provided in Romans, and Paul may take a perspective this week you weren't expecting.  If you want to prepare yourself in the Word, take a look at Rom. 3:21-31, and we'll focus on the latter portion of that text together when we meet on Sunday.

Picnic in the Park!
Our family is planning on eating lunch in Sawyer Point Park after church on Sunday!  We're not sure exactly where, but our plan is to walk across the Purple People Bridge, hang a right, and look for a piece of grass to throw a blanket down and enjoy a sandwich (I'll also tweet where we end up in case you want to catch up with us).  We hope you'll consider joining us.  Bring some lunch with you in a cooler or grab a sandwich from a local store and meet us over there.  There's a really cool playground for the kids to enjoy underneath the "Big Mac" bridge, so we'll probably look to eat over there.  Hope to see you there!  (Hey...bring a baseball glove.  Maybe we'll play some catch.)

Church Business Meeting
There will also be a Church Business Meeting this Sunday at the Florence Campus.  New Members will be voted on, and a financial report will be given.  The meeting will begin at 12:45 PM.

Save the Date - Wed, July 17th, @ 7 PM
GFC Newport has been around for just under 6 months now.  I want to take an opportunity to hold a Forum of our own, and to let you know all that God is doing among us.

  • How many guests have visited GFC Newport since we've started?  Where are most of them coming from?
  • Did you know we're planning on birthing one of our Small Groups in Cincinnati in the Fall?
  • Will we have a baptism of our own?
  • How can we better schedule "all-campus" events like the Business Meetings?
  • What's the plan for our current meeting place at the AMC Movie Theaters - long-term home or bridge to something else?
  • What type of outreach plans are in the works?

I'll look to provide answers to these questions and whatever else you may be wondering at this meeting (I'll also give a financial report like the one being shared at Florence this weekend, since I know many of you will be eating lunch with us in the park).  More details coming soon as we secure the best possible meeting space for our time together, but keep watching our Facebook page, Twitter, and blog for posts between now and then that will hopefully whet your appetite for a great time in a few weeks.  Oh, and speaking of appetite, I'll feed you something, too.  {;-)

It's no mistake that you are part of GFC Newport for such a time as this.  Oftentimes as I pray throughout the week, it is with a glad and grateful heart that you are among us as we continue to blaze this trail together, learn as we go, and follow the leading of our great, sovereign God as we walk faithfully with Him.  I love being your Pastor, and am so glad you're part of this exciting new work of God for His glory.

See you at church...and in the park for lunch afterward!

Love in Christ,


From Pastor Peter 6/14/13

Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday!

You'll see me this Sunday, but I'll not see you.  That's not as creepy as it sounds, actually. I just have to preach one more weekend at Florence so you'll be catching my sermon on the big screen this weekend. {;-)

Our text this week has been referred to as "the chief paragraph in all of Scripture" by Martin Luther.  

Leon Morris says it's "the single most important paragraph ever written."

John Piper says these are "the most important words in the Bible."

I hope I can show you why when we worship together on Sunday, but feel free to figure it out on your own by preparing yourself in the Word by reading through Rom. 3:21-26 between now & then.  You won't regret it.

Next Sunday, 23-Jun - Business Meeting & Lunch in the Park

As I've mentioned before, our family is planning on walking across the Purple People Bridge, hanging a right, finding a cumfy piece of grass, and eating lunch in Sawyer's Point next week after church next Sunday.  Unfortunately, the church Business Meeting ended up being scheduled on the same day as our lunch in the park (phooey).

Church Business Meetings are important decision-making times for people at all GFC campuses.  This one in particular, however, has only one item on the agenda requiring a vote, and that is the addition and removal of members (there will also be a financial update given).  Seeing that this is the only time we'll be able to hold our lunch in the park for quite some time due to scheduling conflicts in the weeks ahead, and since the Business Meeting only has one item on the agenda requiring a vote, we decided to not postpone the lunch plans we made.  Obviously, people can feel free to go to either event, both event, (or neither event).  As for me and mine, we'll be eating our lunch in the park as planned on what will hopefully be a beautiful, sunny, Summer day, and look forward to a good time with whoever is able to join us.

Eh, we're all learning.  This is the first Business Meeting we've scheduled since we've had two campuses.  In the future, we'll certainly consider better options for handling Church Business together.

Have a great weekend.  Looking forward to being back with you next Sunday

Love in Christ,


Serving in Small Group: Meals Part II

We featured a story on serving small group through meals back in April.  Small groups are central to who we are.  Serving within our small groups is pretty far up there on the list of things we hold near and dear.  Your small group may not be meeting this summer but now might be a good time to check in with folks and see how you can serve them.

So, here's Melissa to tell you why she cares so much about serving through meals.

I could write volumes on how deeply I feel about the custom in our small groups here at Grace Fellowship Church to provide food for each other during times of trial or change. Of all of the ways that I have experienced the tender arms of my Father wrapping around me in comfort and care, this way of His to prompt other women to serve my family through food has been one of the most humbling and powerful for me.

Two years ago, there was a day when my oldest and youngest sons were both in separate hospitals an hour’s drive apart, one recovering from an emergency surgery and the other having an outpatient ear procedure. My husband Ben stayed with our oldest while I headed north with the baby, and left our two middle children with loved ones. Ben and I returned home that afternoon with our sleepy boys in tow and found a steaming pot pie on the porch swing – a piping hot gift of love wrapped in my friend Kate’s from-scratch crust.

Two months ago, I began experiencing a health crisis that sprang out of [what felt like] nowhere, dug in its heels for several weeks, and then flittered off as if it had never been there. Women – friends of mine from various small groups that we have attended through our years at Grace, mostly – began appearing at my door, arms laden with dinner. Tucked into boxes of homemade meals were index cards filled with Scripture – powerful verses telling of those saints who came before, suffering yet clinging to the truth. Roasted chicken. Offers of child care. Stew and worship songs and my sadness broken up into pieces and borne by these lovely, godly women who served me. All of them giving out of needs and grocery budgets and time constraints of their own, not from a place of excess.

Through the years since, we have been the recipients of many meals. And I have had the enormous pleasure of delivering some dinners myself. There are many times when it is appropriate to nurture each other through food; when this simple act of kindness can change someone else’s day, the season that they are entrenched in, maybe their life. When we are celebrating a new little one, of course. But also when we are grieving a death. When we are sick or when we are caring for a sick child. During frightening times of emergency or weary seasons of exhaustion. When we are at the beginning or end of a pregnancy. When we have lost a little one somewhere in between. During these times, we still need to carry on. We need to eat. We need to feed our families. We need each other. We need the love of God to pour out on us in this tangible way.

The fare needn’t be lavish. Bowls of beans and rice. A favorite soup or stew. Your mom’s lasagna recipe or even the one on the back of the spaghetti sauce jar. A loaf of bread, warm and simple. Comfort food in the truest sense. We accept our ability to mix ingredients in the kitchen as a tool to extend God’s love. When we have nothing to give, we have food and we have the love of God prompting us to load it in our minivans and deliver it to someone who needs to be nurtured. We chop vegetables and make a sauce. We sauté and boil and bake. We whisk and stir and offer up fragments of prayer as we go for the recipients of our efforts.

We rap on the door and when it opens, we extend ourselves. We hold out a lasagna and a note of concern or congratulations or encouragement. We listen. We embrace. We pray together. We leave baking instructions and maybe a plate of cookies.  We serve each other and so serve Him.

From Pastor Peter 6/7/13

Dear Grace Family,

Thanks for coming to Cross the Bridge For Life!

Thanks for coming to and/or praying for the "Cross the Bridge for Life" event!  I had the privilege of speaking there, and then crossing the Purple People Bridge with thousands of other pro-life advocates from the tri-state, and many of them were from GFC Newport and Florence campuses! This was my first time there, and I hope to promote it more next year and get an even greater turnout from our church.  It really was a great time.

This Sunday!

I hope you're looking forward to digging into Romans 3 this week!  It's a critical part of the letter as Paul brings to a close the first major section of the book of Romans (Rom. 1:1-3:20); his closing arguments for God's case against humanity, namely our universal sin problem that separates us from a holy God.  The sermon will focus on Rom. 3:9-20, so consider reading through that portion of Scripture if you want to prepare for the sermon this Sunday.

Counseling & Discipleship Training Conference

Last week I mentioned the Counseling & Discipleship Training (CDT) Conference coming up in the Fall.  It's an excellent time to be taught, trained, and equipped by counselors who love the Lord, His Word, and firmly believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to counsel others.  Whether you ever plan on doing formal counseling or not, you'll be blessed by attending the conference just to hear the teaching that's offered.  All the details can be found HERE so consider registering soon to take advantage of early bird discounts.

Come have lunch w/ us!

The warm weather is here, and God has blessed us with a great meeting place for the past several months.  Our family is looking forward to bringing a picnic lunch with us to church on Sunday, June 23rd, and enjoying the sunshine and riverfront views over in Sawyer Point Park.  We'll bring a blanket and find a piece of grass somewhere between the Purple People Bridge and the Yellow "Big Mac" Bridge (I-471).  Think about joining us!  Bring lunch with you to church, or grab a bite and walk on over (or drive).  It should be a good time. :)  I'm also working on some other Summer activities, outreaches, etc., so keep an eye opened for more details soon, and do pray as I work with others to see how we might best serve.

I'll miss being with you this Sunday as I'm preaching at the Florence campus, but I'll be thinking about & praying for you as I finish preaching in the first service (that's when you'll just be starting).

God bless,


Why I'm Reading Through the Bible, Part II

In case you missed the first part of this post that Andrew shared with us, catch up here

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.  When Paul writes of all scripture being inspired by God, the first thought to enter his reader's minds would have been the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, we somehow don't treat Chronicles with the same thought that we do Ephesians. God is revealing Himself in both, and yet if we are honest we tend to skip one.

Why? Because it is far easier to "find God" in Ephesians than it is in an OT passage. However, 2 Timothy 3 is clear that All Scripture is not only given by inspiration of God, but is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. (Remember, Paul had the Old Testament in mind when he wrote that).

A full View of Christ.  I’m not into watching sports on TV (not even baseball – sorry Peter!) However, I think it is common with any sport to have instant replays, showing the exact same action from multiple angles. It allows the viewer to gather a fuller understanding of what just took place. That is what the four gospels seek to accomplish: they tell the exact same story, from multiple angles (Matthew, a Jew, highlighting the Messianic Kingship of Christ; Mark focusing on the Suffering Servant who bore the weight of sin; Luke, a physician, highlighting the humanity of Christ; and John, highlighting the deity of Christ). Just as we watch baseball or football constantly switching camera angles, a Chronological reading plan will tell the one narrative of Christ showing the different accounts in the gospels.

Stay Focused.  I love reading. In fact, there have been times I've been reading through multiple books at once – probably reflective of the multitasking society I’ve been guilty of getting too caught up in. However, it goes without saying that focusing on one theme at a time and building upon that makes it far easier to learn and concentrate. This plan will do that.
Consider joining me – and let me know what you think! You can download a reading plan here – and be sure to let me know what you think of it if you do!

If you have questions, or want to talk more about this stuff, feel free to reach out to me at andrewcaudill[at]graceky[dot]org.
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