February 21 – We are ALL IN!

Read 1 Timothy 4:12

Few things in this world get me more excited than people discovering their potential in Christ. When someone gets the chance to find freedom and utilize their skills and abilities to build the Kingdom, it brings a joy to my heart that is indescribable.

That joy multiplies whenever it’s a student discovering a passion for Kingdom-building.

Students have such an incredible opportunity to spread the Gospel. They’re surrounded by their friends at school, on their teams, and on social media. They have access to the hearts of so many people.

It’s been my joy to get to walk alongside our middle school students as they begin to learn what it means to have the ability to influence others. It’s been such a joy to see them grow through mission trips, inviting their friends, and through their personal walk with Christ.

Whenever I consider how students can impact the people around them, I am reminded of what Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12.

He brings recognition to the fact that, just because someone is young, doesn’t mean they don’t have influence. And even more so – what kind of example they can set for believers when, even at a young age, they choose to live out their faith in their speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.

Seeing a student who is willing to take their next step by beginning to influence the people around them, moving from a “me, me, me!” attitude to an others first mindset, is something that few people get to see. How lucky am I that it’s a part of my job on a regular basis!

Nothing compares to the feeling of hearing a middle school student say, “I invited 3 of my friends to come to Grace Students this weekend! I really hope they come!”

It is consistently such a blessing for my wife, Jess, and me to see our students grow in their faith as they walk alongside others and share the Good News with them. It is my joy to be ALL IN with our student ministries here at Grace!

Sean Snyder

Posted in 1 Timothy, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 20 – We are ALL IN!

Read Psalm 145:1-21

Sixth grade. What a wild time it is to be in the preteen stage. It’s a time where everything’s changing, everyone’s awkward, no one understands, and all you want is to feel accepted.

This was the age that I began attending Grace Church and, honestly, it was a rough start. Not only was I awkward, but I didn’t know anyone and I felt so overwhelmed coming to this new place. After a few months of getting to know the leaders and making some friends, Grace slowly became a place that felt more like home.

My middle school and high school years were spent building community with a student Grace Group, going on mission trips, attending Kalahari, and serving with Grace Kids. I was ALL IN! I left Grace Students with a stirring in my heart to pursue a life of full-time ministry and, as I’ve chased that call, God has laid a beautiful path that led me back to the place that I had grown to love so dearly.

Today, I have the privilege of leading Merge and serving our 5th and 6th graders every Sunday – the same age that I was when I started attending! This is an age group that I absolutely love! I love their quirks, their hunger to learn, and their hearts for others! They challenge me to be better every day, and I love that I get to encourage them to be all in for Jesus!

The Church has the opportunity to lead the next generation to be ALL IN for the Gospel! Those of us who have experienced God’s goodness and grace now get to be the ones who pass it on to the generations that are rising up.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.” Psalm 145:5

As the Church, let’s choose to be all in! Let’s be ALL IN for praising God for who He is, ALL IN for committing to telling the next generation about Him, and ALL IN for intentionally knowing Him better!

Take time today to pray through Psalm 145 and ask God to reveal the areas of your life where you need to take the step to be ALL IN!

Becca Harbaugh

Posted in Psalms, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 19 – We are ALL IN!

Read Matthew 28:18-20

Make disciples.  Period. The mission Jesus gave us became crystal clear when Julie and I began attending Grace.  Sure, I had dabbled in it.  I had shared my faith “when I was comfortable,” or when it was less intimidating.  I had been involved with Bible studies, had regular, personal devotional times. But the clarion call of Jesus to the church to make disciples came to life and dressed up in living color at Grace.

The fact that this mission is an all-in statement inspired me even more. Jesus was calling me to give all that I am and all that I have for as long as I can to accomplish that for which He gave His life.

And to sit across from someone and see them cross over from death to life… there’s nothing like it.  It’s addicting.

Suffice it to say, that mission of Jesus captured my heart… big time.  And I went all in.  So much so that I eventually experienced Jesus’ gentle, persistent calling to give up my pursuit of an academic profession and devote myself to vocational ministry.

I found it nearly inconceivable that God would have a place for me – a contribution, if you will – to this cosmic endeavor of disciplining the nations. I was in awe of it.  It surpassed my imagination. You might say it was “immeasurably more than all [I] could ask or imagine.”

What’s more, that vision spurred a lifelong commitment to growth and discovery that still burns white hot today.

I began my ministry at Grace leading evangelism and missions.  But, eventually, our church grew to the point where we needed someone to help lead our staff to stay on-point with the mission of making disciples.  When asked by our board if I would be content with that, given my love for evangelism, I said, “Yes, because I believe I will have more influence over the evangelistic temperature of our church than I ever had before.  I will be able to press the Great Commission into every aspect of our ministry.”

I love my ministry at Grace because I get to do just that. I love seeing how every aspect of our ministry tangibly contributes to Jesus’ command to “make disciples of the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Every weekend worship service.  Every kids lesson.  Every student Grace Group.  Every adult Grace Group. Every missions trip.  Every event.  Every video.   Every social media post.  Every dollar of every financial contribution.  Every one of all these things… tangibly contributing to God’s relentless pursuit of the lost through the church.

I. Love. Working. Here! I’m all in! And I can’t wait to do it again, tomorrow.

David Lawson

Posted in Matthew, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 18 – We are ALL IN!

Read Exodus 14:14

My name is Kimberlee Nussbaum, and I’m one of the newest staff members here at Grace. My husband, Abe, and I grew up in Wayne County and feel extremely blessed to find a place where I can use my passions and talents in such a supportive community.

My role at Grace is Media Video Producer, meaning that I help create anything that you may see on a screen during a Sunday morning or even on Facebook. Coming from a world of breaking news and Hollywood entertainment fluff, working at Grace has been a huge encouragement to me with not only the stories that I get to tell, but also in the way that God provided for me to use my skills in a renewing atmosphere. In the past, my stories were made to inform, but here at Grace, they’re meant to inspire. That carries such a huge weight as to why something as small as the right camera angle, music or edit matters in my work.

I couldn’t imagine what God had in store when I decided to leave the corporate world,  and when Abe and I put our trust in God that He had something better. All we knew is that I wanted to find a place that was in our home town, supported my passion in working with youth, and supported our community, and that I shouldn’t settle.

Seeing how God provided not only through the unknown, but in bringing me here to Grace, combining my love for production with ministry in our hometown, makes me ALL IN!

Whenever life seems to be confusing about which direction to go… usually it’s when I think I should be heading one way, and God closes that door…I turn to Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I trust that God has an amazing plan because He has continuously fought for me and shown me that His plan is way better than I could ever imagine. That makes me even more excited to see what else He has in store here at Grace.

I encourage you to take time to be still and see how the Lord leads you… instead of trying to be the one leading. This doesn’t always come easy to me, as someone who likes control, but it’s in those moments of stillness, when I know the Lord is fighting for me, that God does amazing things.

And that is why the Nussbaum’s are ALL IN here at Grace!

Kimberlee Nussbaum

 

 

Posted in Exodus, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 17 – We are ALL IN!

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Hello! My name is Kim and I love working at Grace Church! Throughout my 14 years, I have had opportunities to intern, serve as administrative assistants and currently work with the Grace Kids team as the Early Childhood Coordinator.

My husband of 12 years, Ryan, attends Grace Church which is where we met. We have 2 wonderful kids, Parker (he’s 9) and Sydney (she’s 6).

I am originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Ohio after graduating from Messiah College. My mom grew up in Ohio and moved back to be close to family after my dad died. He passed away the summer before my senior year of high school.

The verses that you just read provided peace during this hard time and for years to come…

The definition for comfort is “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.” In our world, we see people in pain…family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers at the store, people in other countries and individuals at church.

“…God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles…”

God is merciful. God is the source of all comfort. God’s mercy is rooted in His love for us. God is our source of peace.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”

We live in a world where we need comfort. We should be receiving comfort and actively sharing it with others.

As the Early Childhood Coordinator for Grace Kids, I see pain in people’s eyes and hear stories of sorrow. It is heartbreaking to see adults and children hurting, but it exists. Part of my job is to love them and comfort them. To take time to care and listen. To pray for them. To point them to God.

I am passionate about my job because I have the opportunity to point children to God. Our Grace Kids vision is to build a foundation for life change in kid’s lives. I want children to know how much God loves them. To know God is always with them. To know God meets their needs. To feel God’s peace and comfort in times of pain by being an example of Christ’s love.

As you endure pain, seek God. Be in the Word. Know that you may feel lonely, but you are never alone.

As you see others in pain, point them to our merciful God who comforts all. Provide a hug or a listening ear. Follow up with the person. Pray for them. In doing so, we glorify Him!

Kim Hochstetler

 

Posted in 2 Corinthians, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 16 – We are ALL IN!

Read John 17:20-26

I love concerts.  There’s nothing like the experience of live music. The lights, staging, video, and especially the MUSIC.  I dream of a day when I might take my wife, Sarah, and both our girls to a concert with me!  Of all the concerts I’ve seen, my favorite has to be U2 at Brown’s Stadium for their 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour.  It was awesome from start to finish… and that’s what they did.  They played The Joshua Tree (greatest album of all time) from start to finish (plus all the hits too).  It was a huge and they spared no expense.  But why?  Why play at a football stadium?  Why have a giant 4K screen that stretched the width of the field?  Why perform night after night all over the world?  THE FANS!  There’s enough of us around world to fill these venues.  We’re united by our love of this band’s phenomenal music.  With that many fans, the experience has to be huge!  Aside from whoever I came with, I’m surrounded by thousands of strangers—strangers who are united because they’re all there for the same reason!  When U2 plays the song “One”, we’re all singing along “One life with each other… sisters brothers!”  In that moment, we mean it!

When we come together to sing songs of praise and worship to Jesus on Sunday mornings, special services, or nights of worship, the same phenomenon is true.  I may know way more people here at Grace than I do at a U2 concert, but I definitely don’t know everybody personally.  But if you’re a follower of Jesus, we’re united.  We are united in His love!  When we come together in His name, we get a chance to fulfill what Jesus prayed for the night before his crucifixion in John 17.  He asked his Father to make us one in Him as He is one with his Father.

Of course, our corporate gatherings aren’t the only time this happens.  You’re living out this out daily!  But when we come together to celebrate Jesus and the power of His love working in and through us, it’s powerful!  There’s unity in that!  In Romans 15:5-6, Paul prays for unity “so that with one heart and mouth” the church would glorify God!  The person 3 rows behind you or 7 rows in front of you singing their heart out–you’re one because of the love of Jesus you share!

So, if it’s entertaining and even moving to be a part of an experience like a concert, how much more amazing is it to come together as followers of Jesus and lift up his praise with everything we’ve got?!  Plus, it’s contagious! Jesus prayed, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  What if someone was so moved by Christ’s love and the unity around them that they decided to become a follower of Jesus?  It happens every week at Grace Church!  That’s why The Carter’s are all in!

Matt Carter

 

Posted in John, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment

February 15 – We are ALL IN!

Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

My wife, 4 children and I have been truly blessed to be here at Grace Church! I was personally drawn in by our mission to develop people into fully devoted followers of Jesus… that is SO GOOD!  Matthew 28: 18-20 is truly lived out here and THAT is the type of place where I want to raise my family!

A couple of years after moving here I became the Grace Kids Director. To sum up why I love my job, you have to picture this…It’s Christmas 2018… you’re 8 years old and just walked into church for a Christmas Eve Service. You do not know what to expect and you walk into a room with red and green balloons… games… cupcakes…  and a whole lot of fun! But then something happens. You and all of the other kids and leaders head to the stage and you hear the greatest story of all time. You find yourself realizing that Jesus is not just a character in a book. He isn’t just someone who may have lived a long time ago or just a name in a song at Christmas time. You realize that HE’S REAL!!!  And He did something special for YOU!  FOR YOU!  Then the leader prays and you find yourself praying along and making the greatest decision you could ever make… you decided to follow Jesus!

And that story was lived out in 21 kid’s lives at Christmas Eve!  NOW THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

So why do I love our church? Why am I “all in” here?

Because we believe and live out 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11: “…But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ!”

You see, from the very beginning of a child’s life, they get to know that Jesus loves them so much and that He wants a forever friendship with them.  And they get to learn the basics of our faith that will help build a foundation for life change in their lives. This foundation is built on Jesus Christ and will be the rock they can stand on for their lives!

I ask you to stop and pray right now…for kids here at Grace to find Jesus at the earliest age possible. And that, together, we can help build a foundation for life change in kid’s lives!

Tim Boucher

Posted in 1 Corinthians, We are ALL IN! | Leave a comment