From Pastor Peter 26-Dec-2014


Dear Grace Family,

I trust you enjoyed celebrating the birth of our Savior with loved ones yesterday, and look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday!  Join us for worship one last time in 2014 as we thank God for His mercy, faithfulness, and grace upon grace, chiefly through the giving of His Son for us, and in so many other ways each & every day of our lives.  Consider the following Scripture the Lord called to mind during a conversation yesterday:

What shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?
It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--
more than that,who was raised--who is at the right hand of God,
who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine,  or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.



In Christ,

Pastor Peter

From Pastor Peter 19-Dec-2014


Dear Grace Family,

This Sunday we'll celebrate Christmas by having our very first Christmas Candlelight Service!  I'm very excited about it and looking forward to this special time together.  With this in mind, we'll be limiting seating on Sunday to enable us to more easily light each others' candles.

Also, please remember this a "Family Service," so there will only be Nursery & Sunday School for kids ages 5 & under.  Bring the older ones in with you as I'll look to spend some focused time with them presenting the Gospel as I do each Christmas.

To prepare for our time in the Word together, consider the following:
  • Read through Philippians 2:5-11.  We'll spend time here as we finish our sermon series, "God in Flesh."
  • Pray, pray, pray for God to move in all our services, here at Newport and over at Florence as well.  May His Word run with power and magnify the name of Jesus Christ!
  • Invite someone to join you this Sunday!  Talk to them at work, in the store, maybe send them a link to this post, but prayerfully ask if they'd consider joining you for a special Christmas service.
  • Go out of your way to look for and greet someone you don't know.  Tell them you're glad they're here, and ask how long they've been coming to Grace (instead of "Is this your first Sunday?" and you find out it's their 3rd month.)  #awkward
See you there!


Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 12-Dec-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    I'm looking forward to worshiping together once again this Sunday!  This week, Pastor Brad will be walking us through an amazing passage of Scripture, John 1:1-18.  Please consider joining me in the following between now & then:
    • Take some time to read through John 1:1-18 a couple of times this weekend before you come on Sunday.  If you’re a coffee drinker, grind those beans (Pastor Brad's current favorite is Organic Reality Blend from Reality Tuesday, while I'm still head over heels for just about anything from Carabello), get in your favorite chair, and enjoy some unhurried time with the Lord, even if just for a little while.  You won't regret it.
    • Pray for the preaching and worship on Sunday! What might happen if we all really prayed before we came on Sunday?  Let’s find out!  Pray for Christ to be lifted up, for God’s Word to go forth with power, and for hearts to be pierced with the hope and truth of the Gospel
    • Invite someone to join you!  Who’s in your circle of influence or network of relationships at work, neighborhood, gym, hair salon, or school that you could invite?  Remember – the #1 reason anyone ever steps foot in a church is because somebody else gave them a personal invitation to join them.
    • Pray for the #AskPastorBrad event tonight (Fri, 12-Dec, 7:47pm, at the Florence campus), for 17-26 yr. olds.  Pray that Christ would be lifted up and that both grace and truth would be shared in a way that would connect with unchurched, unbelievers, or churched young people that are wrestling through what they’ve been taught.  Click HERE for more details! 
    So glad to be returning to Newport this Sunday.  Hope you will too.  See you then!


    God bless,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 05-Dec-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    I’m looking forward to opening the Word with you on Sunday!  We’ll be starting our Christmas sermon series together as we look forward with great anticipation to celebrating the birth of our Savior a little less than three weeks away.  This week, we’ll start out by looking at the arrival of God in flesh—not at the narrative itself, but why the incarnation of Christ is important, and what bearing it has on our lives as Christians.  People have wrestled with the nature of Christ for centuries.  Let’s wrestle with it a bit ourselves on Sunday, and look to God’s Word as we celebrate our Savior both in His Word and as we enjoy the Lord’s Supper together.

    Want to prepare yourself in the Word?  We have lots of Scripture in the sermon outline this week, but we'll be landing on Gal. 4:4-5.

    I'll miss being with you this Sunday as I preach at our Florence campus, but look forward to being back with you next week.


    Have a great weekend,


    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 28-Nov-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    Most families have traditions, especially around this time of year.  Our church family is no different!  Every year, we typically set aside the Sunday after Thanksgiving for hearing what God is doing among us.  Come hear what God is doing, and consider sharing some of what has done in your own life.

    Maybe you have an answer to prayer, or something God has been teaching you from His Word.

    Maybe you've had an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone or help point a brother or sister back to Christ.

    Maybe God is sustaining you in a situation that isn't getting any better, or perhaps is getting worse, but God is giving you strength.

    I look forward to thanking God with you at church.

    Also, thanks so much for participating in the Thanksgiving Meal Outreach.  With your help, we were able to bless over 100 families with groceries, the Word of God, the Gospel, and an invitation to church.  It's becoming another great "family tradition" among us, and one that I'm especially excited about growing as we continue to think outside ourselves, blessing others because we've been so blessed by Christ.

    Enjoy your weekend!


    God bless,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 21-Nov-2014



    Click HERE to check out the latest post on the Elders' blog.

    Dear Grace Family,


    This Sunday: Baptism Services at our Florence Campus!

    This Sunday we'll gather together as one church family at the Florence Campus to celebrate new life in Christ!  We'll be baptizing over 25 people, including two from our branch of the church family tree at Newport.  Anthony will be baptized at the 2nd service (9:45a) and Erin will be baptized in the 3rd service (11:15a).  Hope you'll join us for a very special worship service in Florence (click HERE for directions.  There will be no worship services in Newport this Sunday).



    Thanksgiving Meal Outreach - get your stuff!

    Folks from our church will hit the streets of Newport this Sunday to bless over 100 families with groceries to make a Thanksgiving Meal.  If you're participating, don't forget to pick up a Bible, a gospel tract, and a church information card to add to each package you're dropping off.  Check out the table in the foyer at the Florence Campus for more information.

    Elders' Forum - 5p at Florence Campus

    The Elders will hold a Forum during which we'll discuss items to be voted on in our Annual Business Meeting on Tue, 09-Dec.  These items include the annual budget, and new Elders & Deacons.  If you so desire, join us at 5p to learn and talk about these important items.

    See you on Sunday!

    God bless,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 14-Nov-2014



    Click HERE to check out the latest post on the Elders' blog.

    Dear Grace Family,

    I'm looking forward to being back with you this Sunday!  Lots to cover, so I'll try to be brief (which is hard 'cause it's exciting stuff that's fun to talk about):

    Sermon This Sunday

    This week we'll look at history's greatest missionary, Paul, to see what we can learn from the master builder (1 Cor. 3:10).  Consider reading through Acts 13-14 before coming to church on Sunday, and check out our website to gain a better understanding of much of the missions work that our church is involved with all over the world.

    "Orphan Monday"
    (...like Orphan Sunday...except...on a Monday.)

    The Florence Campus held an informational meeting on Orphan Sunday, 02-Nov.  We're holding the same meeting this Mon, 17-Nov, at the Florence Campus.  Whether you're considering adoption or foster care yourself, or just want to learn more so you can better come alongside others who are in process, this informational meeting will prove to be very helpful.  Dinner & childcare provided, if that makes it easier for you to attend.  Meeting starts at 7p, with optional dinner served at 6:30p.  Check out the agenda and other details HERE.
    http://graceky.org/orphan-monday/

    Thanksgiving Meal Outreach

    What a joy it is to serve together like this.  We've already far exceeded the number of families we served last year, and people are still signing up!  There's still time for you, your family, or your Small Group to sign up, so click HERE if you'd like to participate. 
    https://graceky.org/newport-thanksgiving-meal-outreach/

    I tried to be brief.  High-fives all around for making it to the bottom!  K I'll stop now.


    See you at church,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 07-Nov-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    Thanksgiving Meal Outreach

    Last year we blessed 68 families with the means to have a Thanksgiving meal as folks from our Florence & Newport campuses hit the streets of Newport with boxes & bags of Thanksgiving groceries to give to those in need.  We're doing it again this year!  Consider signing up to put together a box of groceries with your Small Group or on your own.  We'll tell you everything you need to know to reach out to a family in a very special way, as well as hook you up with a Bible, a Gospel tract and a church information card to give those you're blessing with food.  Click the banner below for more info, or let me know if you have any questions.  Hope you'll join us!  

    https://graceky.org/newport-thanksgiving-meal-outreach/

    Sermon This Sunday

    This Sunday we'll look at Rom. 8:28-30 as we see what the Lord wants us to know with certainty about our circumstances, our sanctification, and our security in Christ.  As we've seen in recent weeks, God wanted us to realize six simple words that have us looking forward to eternity with Him during times of difficulty in this life (and long before Sinatra sang it): The best is yet to come.  Consider reading through Rom. 8:18-30 before coming to church on Sunday as we'll spend the lion's share of our time there, particularly the last three verses (I'll be preaching out of the ESV this Sunday).

    Did you know...?

    Since I'm preaching this Sunday, I'll be at the Florence campus.  Did you know I pray for you each time we're away from each other?  Usually between the first and second services at Florence, I take time to pray for your time together.  Truth be told, there's usually one instance during the 2nd service that I look at the clock and notice it's near 10:30 and Newport worship services are just about to start or have just started, and I'm a little distracted for a second or two. :)  That's because you're on my mind & heart whenever I'm not there, and I'm always looking forward to being back.  Thanks for distracting me a little while I preach.  I think it's a good thing. ;-)


    Have a blessed weekend,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 31-Oct-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    This week, I told Pastor Brad I honestly thought his sermon last week was one of (if not, the) best sermon we've had in Romans thus far.  What a Word!  If you missed it, check it out HERE when you get a chance (particularly if you can watch or listen to it before Sunday).  Several times this week, Sarah & I remarked how grateful we are to sit under the preaching we're blessed with at our church.  I don't ever want to take it for granted.

    
This week, we'll dig a bit deeper into what it means to be "groaning" differently than the rest of the world.  Consider reading through Rom. 8:18-26 before Sunday, maybe in a few different versions of the Bible.   

    
Grace For You & Baptism classes starting Sunday

    Don't forget these two informative classes that are taking place this Sunday!

    
Grace For You in theater 2 at 9:00 AM (info & registration HERE)
    Baptism class in Dewey's Pizza immediately after church (lunch included; info & registration HERE)

    
"Orphan Sunday"

    Ever heard of it?  It's a Sunday during which many churches pray for and equip their folks to learn more about orphan care.  Typically, it's the first Sunday of November (meaning this weekend).  We'll be offering a brief informational seminar re: foster care & adoption, but we're unable to offer it this particular Sunday.  We're working out the details for an alternate meeting date/time, and I hope to have that information to you very shortly.  Stay tuned!

    Have a blessed weekend!


    

In Christ,

    
Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 24-Oct-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    This week, Pastor Brad is back in the pulpit, preaching on Romans 8:18-30 and "Suffering in Light of Eternity."  Consider taking a look at this passage between now & Sunday, preparing your heart & mind for the preaching of the Word.

    Also, our candidate for Pastor of Small Groups will be worshiping with us this Sunday, and available for a "Meet & Greet" after church in theater 3.  We'll be holding a special Business Meeting at the Florence Campus at 5:45 PM this Sunday to vote on this important decision.  Stop by theater 3 to meet (and greet) him & his wife, and then come to the Florence Campus later Sunday afternoon to vote (all are welcome, but only current church members can vote).

    Next Sunday is a busy one at GFC Newport...

    "Grace For You" starts NEXT SUN, 02-Nov

    New to Grace Fellowship?  Maybe you're wondering if you should get more connected, or would just like to find out more about how and why we do what we do.  "Grace For You" is that opportunity! Beginning Sunday, November 2nd – 9:00am – Theatre 1 and running three straight weeks, the class is open to all who would like to learn more about Grace Fellowship and if this is the place God has planted you to Grow and Serve (also satisfies a prerequisite for church membership, should you decide to join). Please register HERE so we can plan for materials.



    Baptism Lunch Meeting after church NEXT SUN, 02-Nov

    Have you been publicly baptized since you came to faith in Jesus?  If not, consider taking this important step of faith and obedience to the Scriptures in celebrating your new life in Christ.  Just not sure?  Got questions?  Wanna learn more?  You commit to nothing by just coming to the meeting (and you get free Dewey's Pizza), so come to listen and learn (help us get a headcount by registering HERE).



    See you on Sunday!


    God bless,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 17-Oct-2014



    Dear Grace Family,

    I'm looking forward to being back with you at church this Sunday!  Ryan Fultz will be taking us back a bit in Rom. 8 to cover the verses I skipped over last Sunday, specifically Romans 8:5-13.  I'm excited to focus on what God's Word has to say about the life in the Spirit we've been given.  Hope to see you there!

    Coming Soon: More Outreach Opportunities at Newport Intermediate School!

    Yesterday, I had a great meeting with a Guidance Counselor and Family Resource Coordinator at the Newport Intermediate School.  I also got to see Kyle Niederman once again, only this time he's the school Principal (he was Asst. Principal last year).  I wanted to congratulate them on the great press they got in the Enquirer a few weeks ago for the progress they're making, as well as learn about what ways we might serve them again this school year.  I came away with lots of notes and ideas, and look forward to spending some time in prayer, as well as talking to some of our Small Group leaders and staff to see what might be the best way to come alongside them.  Please pray for me as I do that over the next two weeks.

    A Request for Prayer (and Brainstorming)

    Also, while I'm overjoyed to be serving them in the ways they suggested, it's my heart's desire to somehow, in some way, use this as a bridge between them and our church.  I'd love to see these students and their families join us for worship on a Sunday and give them the life-changing, life-giving Word of God we know and love so dearly.  This is something else I plan on spending some focused time in prayer and thought on.  Will you join me in praying for that?  I'd definitely appreciate it.  Oh, and if you have any ideas as to how we might better connect them to our church, I'd love to hear from you!  Call me at the church office during the week (859-371-7880) or drop me a note at peterlaruffa[at]graceky[dot]org.  I look forward to hearing from you!


    Have a blessed weekend,

    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 10-Oct-2014


    Dear Grace Family,

    I’m looking forward to preaching the Word this Sunday!  We’re going to skip a bit ahead in Rom. 8 and look at verses 14-17, focusing specifically on what it means to have the “Spirit of adoption.”  Take some time to read through Rom. 8:1-17 to prepare your mind for our time together, and pray the Word will impact all of us as we worship together this Sunday.  I'll miss being with you this weekend as I preach at our Florence campus, but look forward to returning next Sunday.

    I spent most of this past week in California attending the Annual Conference for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.  What a blessing it was to be with over 1,000 people who want to continue to sharpen their skills in sharing the saving, sanctifying Word with others who are looking for help & answers in life.  I’m so thankful to be a part of church that equips people to rightly handle the Word of God when teaching, counseling and discipling others.  Consider checking out their website, biblicalcounseling.com, every once in awhile.  There are lots of helpful resources to be read & watched, and most of them are free, too.  I hope you’ll pay them a visit.


    God bless,


    Pastor Peter

    From Pastor Peter 03-Oct-2014


    Dear Grace Family,

    From the Elders
    New post over on the Elders' blog!  Click HERE to check it out so you can know how to pray more specifically for us in the days ahead.

    Elders' Forum
    Thanks so much for coming out to our Elders' Forum on Monday night!  I enjoyed the dialogue that took place, and also enjoyed sharing a bit about my time in Albania the preceding weeks.  If you missed it, I'll get a recap up on the blog soon to give you a summary of what we discussed.  Also, special thanks to Megan Curd for her hard work in putting all the pieces together.  It wouldn't have happened without her hard work, particularly since that was my first day back in the office after being in Albania.


    This Sunday!
    We're taking new ground this Sunday!  No more looking back.  We're jumping into Rom. 8, and Ryan Fultz (Dir. of High School Ministry) is taking us there.  Pray for him as he puts the final touches on his sermon and preaches the Word this Sunday.


    See you then,

    Pastor Peter
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