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Why We Have Family Dinner

In Acts 2, we see an early glimpse of the christian community.

[42] And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [43] And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45] And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46] And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV) Acts 2:42–47

These followers of Jesus were committed to the teaching of God’s Word, prayer, they had an awe for God, a generous spirit, and a love for each other. This section is often appropriately titled “The Fellowship of the Believers”. They devoted themselves to God’s Word and to each other.

The word “fellowship” refers to friendly association over common interests. In this case, the common interest they had is what Jesus had done in their lives. The gospel brought them together, just like it brings us together on Sunday morning to open God’s Word and worship God together.

This coming Sunday evening, we’re coming together as a family so we can continue to get to know one another and develop deeper relationships outside of our normal Sunday morning gathering. We’re going to enjoy eating together, getting to know one another, having fun together, and hopefully meet people outside of our family who need to hear the love of Jesus. It’s just a small part of what a Christian community looks like. And Christian community is vital to the life of the Christian.Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer says,

“It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren”.

We need each other as we all grow in our relationship with Jesus. We want to provide opportunities for you to get to know other people within our church. Often, there is not enough time to build meaningful relationships with people on a typical Sunday morning. The Acts 2 church understood Christian Fellowship to be more than a Sunday morning gathering. We want to see relationships that exists outside of Sunday morning. Because of the Gospel, we can connect with other people in our community.

So here is why we have Family Dinners:

It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.

Family Dinner is designed to be a casual atmosphere that allows for easy conversation. If you see someone eating that you don’t know, sit down and eat with them. If you see someone off to themselves, strike up a conversation with them. Introduce yourself. Don’t wait for them to come to you; take the initiative. It may be the start of a new friendship.

It’s an opportunity to bring someone with you.

Many people won’t come to church, but they will come to the park with a friend. This is a great opportunity to bring a friend. Not only will you get to spend time with them, but they’ll also get to meet people from our church. Reach out to a few friends over the next few days and invite them out to Family Dinner. (Don’t forget to mention the free dinner!)

It’s an opportunity to encourage someone to join your LifeGroup.

Community isn’t a one time event; it’s an ongoing relationship. Our LifeGroups are designed so you can connect to other people while you grow in God’s Word. Not everyone attends a LifeGroup, so if you know someone that doesn’t attend your group, invite to join you! The Fall semester of LifeGroups begins on August 22nd. Maybe what someone needs is to be personally invited to a LifeGroup; to know they are welcome to attend.

It’s an opportunity to meet someone that isn’t a part of our church.

While we are at the park, there will be many people enjoying an evening at the park with their family. You’ll cross their path, but don’t ignore them. Say hi, invite them over for free hotdogs and drinks, ask how you can pray for them, invite them to church, and more importantly, share the good news of the Gospel with them. We may have the opportunity to welcome people into our family. A family made up of broken people redeemed by Jesus Christ.

So come Sunday at 10am and then come out this Sunday night at 5pm to Ronnie Van Zant Park and enjoy free dinner and a time with other families from Grace Life. I hope to see you there!

Click Here for the Family Dinner Facebook Invite.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

God of All Nations

I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend in Oshawa, Ontario as a side trip while I was visiting my family in Michigan.  This was my third time hanging out in Canada with our brothers and sisters of Fellowship Oshawa. It amazes me how God is able to open our hearts to make connections in such a short span.  It was good to catch up with some of the families that I haven’t seen since last summer, and also good to worship in a space where the gospel is preached unabashedly.

Even though Canada doesn’t necessarily feel quite as “foreign” as some other places, a drive down the road proves otherwise.  Between units of measure (kilometers instead of miles, Celsius rather than Fahrenheit) and different stores (the Husky gas stations always stick out to me), it’s easy to see a physical representation of a different nation.  However, what I was reminded of is that we still worship the same God.  We face the same problem of sin.  We need Jesus everyday, wherever we may be.  Every single person has the same need for the gospel.
In Matthew 28:19, the extent of the Great Commission is very clear- the good news about Jesus is to be brought to ALL nations.  But, some of us may never see outside the borders of the US, perhaps not even of Florida.  This means we have to ask ourselves some questions:
Are we reaching out to our neighbors and families with the gospel?
If we do travel, do we bring the light of the gospel in our speech and our actions?
Are we praying for those who we know have taken the call to live away from family and comfort in order to bring the gospel to people who have never even heard of Jesus?
These are the questions I’m asking myself after this weekend.  The mission given to us by Jesus includes all nations, both those far away from us as well as the one we live in.  So we must consider: do we recognize our part in participating in sharing the gospel with a fallen world?
Who can you tell Jesus about this week?  Who can you invite to come to Grace Life this Sunday?
In Him,
Ben Beck
b5beck1.blogspot.com

Last month, my family and I headed to Ohio for a two week vacation. While we were up there, we decided to take the kids to tour an Amish Farm. If you don’t know about the Amish community, they strictly adhere to a form of worldly separation that that strongly encourages a simple life. They wear simple clothing, avoid electricity, use horse and carriage, and for the most part, they are self sufficient.

On this tour, we looked inside an Amish home, filled with furniture made with their own hands. We walked through a barn that had goats, horses, and plenty of cats. We peaked inside an Amish classroom and even went on an Amish buggy ride. Even more intriguing then what I just mentioned, was this wagon:

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This wagon doesn’t look like much, but it is an important aspect within the Amish community. This wagon holds their church equipment. Amish communities are committed to keeping things simple, so they don’t build church buildings. Rather, they travel every other week to a different home and set up their equipment in the front porch. This begs the question: were the Amish the first to see the benefits of portable church?

When I saw this wagon, I couldn’t help but think about the men and women who come every week and help set up our equipment at Grace Life. They take time out of their busy schedules to make sure the chairs, drapes, lights, and everything else are ready to go for Sunday morning. It’s not simple; it’s hard work.

This weekend is our first full weekend of set up and tear down. After two months of rest, these incredible volunteers will continue serving Jesus while mostly going unrecognized. I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate them. I want to give you three ways how you can honor these men and women.

1. Pray for them

Pray for their rest and encouragement. You may not know them by name or know who is on the setup/tear down team, but pray for them. Pray that they will stay rested as they come from work on Fridays and stay late on Sundays. Pray for them to stay encouraged in who Jesus is. Pray that they remember why they are doing what they do.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. – Galatians 6:18

2. Thank them

There is no greater encouragement then to simply thank someone for serving. It shows that they are recognized and appreciated. The next time you see someone tearing down, stop and thank them for serving Jesus and our church in this capacity.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3–5

3. Join them

Finally, join them. If you asked any one of our setup/tear down team members, they’ll tell you about how much they enjoy it. Ultimately, the joy comes in knowing that we serve a King and we are bringing all glory to him. We serve to bring glory to God. So consider joining the setup team (Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:00) or the tear down team (right after Sunday morning gathering). It’s an incredible team to be a part of. Click here to take your Next Step and select “join a serve team”.

…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

Thank you to the Grace Life Setup and Tear Down team. You guys are awesome!

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Welcome to the Grace Life Blog!

A few months ago, you may have noticed that we switched over to a new website platform. Not only did the updated website bring a fresh, clean look to the “front door” to our church, but it also gave us different opportunities for engagement. We want to use these opportunities to better serve you and to better serve our community.

One such opportunity is through a blog. Our purpose for this blog is to continue to help you make Jesus-centered disciples for God’s glory. We’ll post about upcoming events, sermon recaps, updates from our church planting partnerships, and practical and helpful articles on topics like prayer, marriage, and parenting.

You won’t be hearing from just me either. You’ll hear from other members of our leadership team. They bring a wealth of knowledge and a love for our church that will be practical for you. They’re passionate about different things, but they share one common goal: to see our church make disciples.

You can follow the Grace Life blog by subscribing or by checking it out on our website. We will utilize Facebook and Instagram as well to share the posted content. And if there is something you’d like to see on the blog, just comment below or send us an email at info(at)thegracelifechurch.org.

Our prayer is that this resource will be an encouragement to our church and will continue to help us accomplish our mission to make Jesus-centered disciples for God’s glory.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

You can follow Pastor Matt on Social Media and on his Personal Blog:

mattmacnaughton.com

Making Jesus-Centered Disciples For God's Glory


Sunday 10am | Lake Asbury Elementary School
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