Spiritual Motherhood

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Spiritual Motherhood

When we think of mothers in the Bible, Hannah may be the first to come to mind. She wanted so badly to have a child. After beseeching the Lord numerous times over many years, God granted her the desire of her heart and she gave birth to Samuel, her son. After he was weaned, she gave her son back to God according to the vow she made. Hannah trusted God to give her a son, and Hannah trusted God to raise her son. Samuel was probably about three or four years old.

Hannah weaned her son off milk onto solid food. Baby Christians need to desire the sincere milk of the Word to grow, but they mature on the meat of God’s word, exercising righteousness, doing what is right. Our children must be fed milk to grow.
(1 Peter 2:2)
 
Here are a couple of takeaways on Hannah for us as mothers:
She was a prayer  warrior! She was tenacious in prayer to have
a child and specifically a son. Even in the face of regular ridicule
and persecution from Peninnah, Hannah remained steadfast in her
pursuit of God and a resolve. It was not months but years before
Hannah would see the fruit of her womb.

Prayer brings results!

 

We also find a faith in Hannah that is
unshakeable, unwavering. In her pursuit of God, she would vow to give her son back to the 
Lord after he was conceived, to serve the Lord all the days of his life.
She believed God for a miracle and God responded to her

faith, giving her Samuel, and afterwards five other children. 

Faith brings results!

 

Hey, moms, by His grace, when we pray in faith, God brings results. But without faith
it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that 
He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Like Hannah, we are in covenant with
an Almighty God who rewards those who seek Him with all their heart!
 
 
Lisa Martin,
Children’s Pastor 
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Embracing Our Missions Mandate

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Join me in focusing on God’s heart for as we celebrate GAP Missions Emphasis Week taking place April 10 – 17. It is such an important time of year when we can come together as a congregation to seek God’s face about how He would have us individually and corporately further the missions mandate given to the Body of Christ. It is a great time for us to catch fresh vision and direction as well as dream about all God could do through our local church family. This year’s theme is “Invading the Darkness.” God’s Kingdom is to be a Kingdom advancing against all the powers of darkness. Jesus said

“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIV)

Our church family has embraced the missions mandate since 1985 and we now regularly support missionaries that are making an impact in the United States, the Navajo nation, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Israel, Italy, France, Central Europe, Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique, Thailand, Japan, Burma, Vietnam, India, Iraq, the Philippines, Indonesia, and among the Persecuted church. What a privilege to know that we have a part in the gospel touching souls around the globe!

If you are not currently involved in the missions work of Grace and Peace, we invite you to get involved. Missions is the responsibility of every one of us and the more we prioritize missions, the more we’ll see God’s glory revealed in the earth.

To get you started, ask the Lord how you can help in any of the following areas:

G – Give – as you participate in our

Monthly Missions Pledge and Faith Promise

commitment, you allow us to dream and plan and commit to missionaries and missions projects around the globe.

A – Act – through our local missions, short term trips, or a myriad of other missions opportunities including trips to Arizona, Panama, New York City, as well as our regular outreaches to the town of Seaside, the Seaside Boardwalk, and Lakewood, you can bring the gospel to the lost.

P – Pray – God moves as people pray! We need to cover our missionaries and the people they are reaching out to in Spirit-filled, anointed, and effective prayer. Pray monthly in a corporate group or join our Missions Prayer Initiative where you pray for our missionaries in your personal prayer time.

Give. Act. Pray. We invite you to seek God on how He would have you participate. Again, we all have a part to play when it comes to the missions mandate given to us by our Lord. What an exciting day we are living in. We are among the generation that could see the gospel brought to every tribe and nation. What an honor and what a responsibility. God bless you as you stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the body here to see His glory revealed among the nations!

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New Life

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“…and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17 NASB)

I need to confess, there are times when I mumble and complain about living in the northeast with the crowds and the fast pace of daily life. I’m going to stop here before I get started—yes, there are many times when the proverbial grass looks greener on the other side of the hill. I repent Lord…again.

However, one thing I do enjoy about this part of the country is the changing of the seasons, each one distinctly unique in character. If I had to choose one time of the year above the others, it would have to be spring. After the long cold grip of winter releases its icy hold on nature, how wonderful it is to see new life stemming forth from all that appeared to be dead. The crocus and daffodils stretch their tender green blades upward from the warming soil; the songs of finches and wrens absent from our surrounding fields and woodlands once again begin to delight our ears. Everything that was asleep over the past several months yawns and awakens to a new day.

God speaks to us in many ways, one of them being through creation. “Through everything God made, they (humanity) can clearly see His invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Rom. 1:20 NLT) Spring is a wonderful example of new life. Once through the power of sin death had its icy grip upon us, but God through his wonderful plan of salvation brought to us the fullness of life through His son Jesus.

“In those days you were living apart from Christ…you lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2: 12,13 NLT)

In the coming weeks as everything begins to spring to life, rejoice in God, who called you from the darkness of slumber to the radiant light found only in the person of Jesus. Rejoice that the old man has passed away and that you are a new creation in Christ.

 

Pastor Bob Oettinger

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Have I Learned to Love?

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February for many folks, is a time to remember courtship and love. It is a time for cards, dinners out, and gifts that express our sincerity to the one we love. Rosemary and I were married in February; 35 years this month! February certainly means a lot in our home! Clearly we all recognize that love is worth remembering. God’s Word speaks of a love that is beyond the Valentine’s Day love we celebrate; not an emotion or a romantic love, but a love of that comes from the motivation of the heart. A love that is unconditional. The very love of God. In the New Testament Greek, AGAPE (noun) and AGAPAO (verb) is the God kind of love the Bible speaks of. God is AGAPE. It is an attitude, an unselfish devotion, not of an impulse or a feeling, but of the decision to love without condition. God AGAPAO the world and sent Jesus, His Son. It is the love that caused Jesus to lay down His life for us. This is the Christian love we are all called to. Father God put this nature of AGAPE in us when we became born-again; when we asked Jesus into our hearts to forgive our nature of sin and put a new nature in us. Our nature as believers is the nature of AGAPE. We were re-created in Christ to love – to AGAPE. So what really matters now, since we are called to bear fruit for Him in this world, we are called to bear the fruit of AGAPE. The works of AGAPE are not seen in my good intentions but in the fruit of my actions. The most important question we should ask of ourselves, as we examine our growth in Christ, is – “

Have I Learned to Love?” Have I learned to love others more than myself? Do I pray for others with the same devotion as I would pray for myself? Yes, even those who would persecute me! My human love can’t do this, but my new nature of AGAPE can! The Apostle Paul tells us bluntly in 1 Corinthians 13, without AGAPE (coming from me in practice) I am nothing. Have I learned to love? This seems to be the main pursuit of my life and the sum of all my pursuits now. I hope all of us in the month of February go beyond the affections of the heart, nice as they are, and go much deeper to pursue what matters, “Have I Learned to Love?”
 
Pastor Ralph Freda
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Building the People that Shape the World

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Happy New Year Grace and Peace! We are now through the Christmas holiday season and we turn our attention to the brand new year before us. We have many hopes, aspirations and desires for this next year and perhaps there are concerns or worries that we face as the year begins. It is always a great idea to begin the New Year with a reminder of all our priorities. I’m sure you have many and, of course, God lets us know several of His priorities for us as they relate to His will for our lives. The underlying foundation of our years, months and days can be summed up in this simple reminder; we are “to know Him and to make Him known.”
 
Our mission as a church is to: “build the people that shape the world.”
 
We are so grateful to get to do life together. It is my desire, and that of the leadership at Grace and Peace, to see this church support, challenge, grow and facilitate God’s best for you and your loved ones. Hebrews 12:1 tells us “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” As a local church and community of believers, we can help, support and encourage each other in the process of doing life with the foundation of “knowing Him and making Him known.”

 

Our focus in this next year is to continue to pull on heaven for God’s anointing and presence in our services and ministry activities. We are continuing to support and build our children’s and youth ministries, and we are putting a huge focus on evangelism. There is a lost generation right in our back yard that needs to be rescued and we have taken up the cause! So we will work harder to get into our community to love and serve them and one main way we will do this is through life groups around the region. I want to ask you to make room for life groups as we launch a whole new model that will allow greater outreach and impact into the community.

 

We are excited to see all that God unfolds over the next year. Know that you matter to God and you matter to us. We are committed to see you challenged and equipped to live as an overcomer. As we lift Jesus high, we are hungry to see the lost found and the bound go free. Let’s expand the borders of God’s Kingdom in 2016!

 

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Christmas: Hope for My Past, Present, and Future

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What encouraging words we read when the Bible says, “God loved the world so much that He gave his Son.” To think that the eternally-existent Son of God entered the world the same way as everyone else, as a baby; it is such a picture of God’s great grace. This wonderful baby grew up to die on the cross so that we could be saved, delivered and set free. God’s Word tells us, “For unto you is born a Savior.”

 This wonderful gift that we have received is so significant! The Bible tells us that because Jesus Christ came, three things are yours if you have invited Him into your heart as Savior and Lord. First, your past is forgiven. Romans 3:23-24 says, “All of us have sinned yet now God declares us ‘not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Christ who freely takes away our sin.” That’s good news! We have been made right with Him and our past is washed clean!

 Second, your present is now manageable. In a world that is so unstable and shaking at every turn, doing life can be challenging and overwhelming. However, the Christ who came at Christmas 2000 years ago gives you the power to manage your present problems. In Philippians 4:13 we read, “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power Christ gives me.” When you give your life to Christ, He assumes responsibility to take care of all your needs. “God gave us His own Son. Can we not trust such a God to give us everything else that we need?” If He supplies ALL your needs, then what is left? Nothing!

 He takes care of your past; He takes care of your present. Third, your future is guaranteed. Hebrews tells us, “Jesus became like us to set free those who were slaves all their lives because of the fear of death.” Yes, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have a bright eternal future where we will be with Him forever. We are no longer slaves to fear – because the Savior has come and rescued us!

 That pretty much covers it all doesn’t it? In Christ, your past, present and future are secure. You are safe in His hands. May the hope and peace that comes from knowing Him fill you with awe and wonder this Christmas season. And of course, let us not keep this wonderful news to ourselves! Let us share the hope and peace of our Savior with the world this season.

 

Merry Christmas!
Pastor Jim Wehrer

 

 

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