Palm Sunday

March 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Palm Sunday

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March 28, 2010 | Matthew 21 | Sermon | Download Audio

Godspell Revisited

March 29, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

godspellIn the Spring of 1982, I was a junior in high school and part of the school’s production of Godspell. I played the part of John the Baptist/Judas (interesting combination). Basically that meant I got to sing a couple of solos (including the beginning of the entire play singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from the back of the audience… A painful beginning to an otherwise good production).

Godspell is a modern telling of many Biblical parables– complete with a “Jesus” character and including the crucifixion. It is a musical with a lot of good music (at least in my opinion).

Friday night I got to see the production put on by Cox High School. It was the first time I had seen the show since I was in it– and it was quite an experience. It was cool to go to the show with my kids– greata 15, Emma 13, and Hayden 10. They wanted to see it and I wanted to go (Sara, my wife, was out of town). I figured that it would be good to support the high school and a nice start to the Easter season.

It turned out to be a lot more…

I thought the students did and excellent job. They had a gifted ensemble who could act and sing with equal aplomb (just wanted to use that word). I was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed it all. What I didn’t expect was the emotional reaction I experienced. I was very moved by their performance– and I tried to put my finger on the cause.

First of all– it was awesome to see kids using their gifts. That’s just plain cool– whether its in the classroom, on the atletic fields, or from the stage. The entire cast was totally committed to what they were doing and “went all out” the whole time. That’s always fun to see.

Second, it was amazing to have a public high school preaching the gospel in a public arena. I do not know if the kids knew what they were doing, by the Word of God was going out.

Finally, something hit me on a personal level. Seeing the performance obviously took me back to my junior year in high school. It reminded me of my relationship with God back then. My experience with Godspell was a good one– both artistically and spiritually.

See, I was raised going to church. I beleived in God, Jesus and the Bible. I even considered myself a “Christian” because of this. So performing a play based on the parables and life of Jesus was actually pretty cool. But last Friday I realized that in 1982 I just knew about Jesus… I didn’t know Jesus. There’s a big difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing him.

I guess I realized how far God had brought me in the last 28 years– and how gratful I am that he has revealed himself to me, gently and faithfully drawing myself to him. How he sought me– simply because he loves me. And the more I beleive and receive that love– the more I love him and those around me.

That may sound trite and cliche… But it’s the truth. Therefore, Godspell had changed dramatically since I performed it all those years ago. The music and the words were the same, but the subject was something entirely new… It had moved from a play about Jesus to a play about my friend. My friend I have walked closely with through good and bad times. My friend who will never leave me or forsake me. My friend who always has my best interests at heart (even when I don’t realize it or beleive it). My friend who is generous and patient and playful. My friend whom I love… because I know that he loves me.

It was good show… becuase he is an incredible friend!

Cool Family Ministry Opportunity!

March 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

StopHungerNowI know that this is a last minute thing– but I wanted to invite you to join in a very cool and fun ministry opportunity for our church and our families.

Last July, several of us were involved in putting together 10,000 meals for hungry people. These meals were part of  “Stop Hunger Now” and they were sent to Nicaragua and given to kids associated with Verbo Ministries (that the organization our own Tim Adams works with).

Well, we have the opportunity to put together more meals for hungry people. My friend Joe Caldwell has invited us to join him and others the Wednesday, March 31st from 6:00pm–8:30pm at Stop Hunger Now. They provide a dinner and training (the training takes about 5 minutes) and then we get to work. The kids had a ball (my kids begged us to do it again this year), and the cause is a worthy one.

So join us if you can– even if it is for a portion of the time.

Here are the facts at a glance… be sure to RSVP if you plan on coming.

WHAT: Food Packing

WHERE: Stop Hunger Now

4575 Progress Road, Suite C

Norfolk, VA 23502

WHEN: Wednesday March 31st… 6:00pm–8:30pm

RSVP: Christina.Lopez@WFAdvisors.com

If it helps, you get wear a hair net… cool, huh?

 

Grace and peace,

Doug

Good Friday Service

March 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

GoodFridayOn the Friday before Easter, we gather to remember Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf on the cross by worshiping, reading the stories of the crucifixion, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. This is a great time to prepare for the celebration of Easter and a powerful part of the season.

This year, I am excited that we will do the service with Hilltop Community Church and their Pastor (and my friend),  Troy Smith. This is a time for all believers to come together and focus on Jesus.

WHEN:  Friday, April 2– 7:00pm

Where: Virginia Beach, VA

Address: 929 1st Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454

Map:

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March 28th News

March 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This Sunday begins an incredible week in the Church calander. It is the beginning of Holy Week. We start with Palm Sunday, move through Good Friday and finish with Ester Sunday– the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As beautiful as Christmas is, I hope that we all can appreciate the wonder of this special week. This week encompasses the heart and soul of our faith– and highlights the cross and empty tomb as realities that separate Christianity from every religion known to man.palm_sunday

This Sunday we will remember the day that Jesus went to Jerusalem for the last time. Unlike other times during his ministry, when he would tell people to keep healings and miracles to themselves, Jesus makes no effort to move unnoticed on this day. We call it Palm Sunday because people waved palm branches in celebration of Jesus’ arrival. And it is an incredible celebration– with praise and adoration flowing from the people to Jesus.

The story of this triumphal entry in Jerusalem is found in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19. I would encourage you to read each of this accounts and focus on how they are the same; how they are different; and how each author tells the story.

I also want to thank Katie Adams for filling in for me last Sunday while I was working at the Grace Bible men’s Retreat. I know that she did an incredible job (although I didn’t get to hear it because the tape recorder didn’t work properly!). It is a blessing to have people in our body who can share God’s truth and encourage each of us in the faith.

Finally, I would encourage you to invite someone you know to join us this week and for Good Friday and Easter. Maybe God is preparing someone you know to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ at Grace2F!

Looking forward to Sunday!

 

Grace and peace,

Doug

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Grace2F Men’s Retreat

Retreatlogo1Guys, you came up big! We had nine sign-up for the retreat and bring in the cash. This is pretty awesome when you think about it– any church would be thrilled to have 50% of the men in the church commit to a weekend retreat!

But here’s the deal: There were several guys who were not able to attend– and we don’t want to leave them out (We realize that a particular weekend won’t work for everyone— but perhaps a retreat planned further out [maybe the fall] would allow more guys to attend).

With that in mind– THE MEN’S RETREAT HAS BEEN POSTPONED to an indefinite future date. We will return the checks you have already given (minus an administrative few, of course… no, no– I’m joking).

BUT, we also want to capitalize on the fact that we got guys who want to get to know one another, hang out, learn about God, etc. So here’s what we’ll be doing…

On Friday April 16, we will have a Guys Dinner (that was supposed to be the first night of the retreat). We eat, talk, compete (if there’s something we can play against each other). It’s just that night, so we want to encourage those who couldn’t come for the weekend to come to the dinner. One thing we’ll do is talk about ideas for other things we can do as guys (golf tournament, work days, bingo–whatever) to move us toward a possible retreat in the future.

I want to thank Scott Ringo for everything he did to provide this opportunity– did you see the logo?!?– and look forward to the guys of Grace2F getting together this Spring and Summer

________________________________________-

Good Friday Service

On the Friday before Easter, we gather to remember Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf on the cross by worshipping, reading the stories of the crucifixtion, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. This is a great time to prepare for the celebration of Easter and a powerful part of the season.

This year, I am excited that we will do the service with Hilltop Community Church and their Pastor (and my friend),  Troy Smith. This is a time for all beleivers to come together and focus on Jesus.

WHEN:  Friday, April 2– 7:00pm

WHERE:  Hilltop Community Church

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March 21st News

March 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

grace2flogo-300x150The sun is shining; flowers are peaking their heads out of the ground; Wake forest is beating Texas to win an NCAA tournament game.. It must be SPRING!

That’s good news (at least to me it is).  But, more importantly, the arrival of new physical life in nature points to the spiritual reality of new life in Jesus! We are entering a wonderful time in the calendar year of the church. A time to focus our thoughts and hearts on the cross and the resurrection.

Last week, we finished our study on the Call of Isaiah (Isaiah 6), and a week from this Sunday we will start the Easter season with Palm Sunday. So… this Sunday we have a “between time” and we will have a surprise.

That’s all I will say– but I think it will be a tremendous way to head into the Easter season.

Make sure that you read the announcements below– stuff about the Men’s Retreat, Grace2F lunch, and Good Friday.

 

Looking forward to Sunday!

 

Grace and peace,

Doug

******************************************

Grace2F Men’s Retreat

Retreatlogo1Guys, you came up big! We had nine sign-up for the retreat and bring in the cash. This is pretty awesome when you think about it– any church would be thrilled to have 50% of the men in the church commit to a weekend retreat!

But here’s the deal: There were several guys who were not able to attend– and we don’t want to leave them out (We realize that a particular weekend won’t work for everyone— but perhaps a retreat planned further out [maybe the fall] would allow more guys to attend).

With that in mind– THE MEN’S RETREAT HAS BEEN POSTPONED to an indefinite future date. We will return the checks you have already given (minus an administrative few, of course… no, no– I’m joking).

BUT, we also want to capatalize on the fact that we got guys who want to get to know one another, hang out, learn about God, etc. So here’s what we’ll be doing…

On Friday April 16, we will have a Guys Dinner (that was supposed to be the first night of the retreat). We eat, talk, compete (if there’s something we can play against each other). It’s just that night, so we want to encourage those who couldn’t come for the weekend to come to the dinner. One thing we’ll do is talk about ideas for other things we can do as guys (golf tournament, work days, bingo–whatever) to move us toward a possible retreat in the future.

I want to thank Scott Ringo for everything he did to provide this opportunity– did you see the logo?!?– and look forward to the guys of Grace2F getting together this Spring and Summer

_________________________________

chef-cookingGrace2F Lunch

All I can say is WOW! Thanks to everyone who came and brought such great food to the lunch last Sunday. I wasn’t sure how many were going to attend and if we would have enough food– but the floodgates opened in both areas.

This kind of event is a great way to just be together and get to know other folks at church and I hope that we can make it a regular part of our community.

With that in mind, if you would ever be willing to host a Grace2F Family lunch, let me know and we can get it on the schedule.

________________________________________-

Good Friday Service

On the Friday before Easter, we gather to remember Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf on the cross by worshipping, reading the stories of the crucifixtion, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. This is a great time to prepare for the celebration of Easter and a powerful part of the season.

This year, I am excited that we will do the service with Hilltop Community Church and their Pastor (and my friend),  Troy Smith. This is a time for all beleivers to come together and focus on Jesus.

WHEN:  Friday, April 2– 7:00pm

WHERE:  Hilltop Community Church

cross11

The Call of Isaiah Part 3

March 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Call of Isaiah Part 3

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March 14, 2010 | Isaiah 3-6 | Sermon | Download Audio

A Spiritual Time Change

March 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This weekend we change our clocks– we spring forward. spring-forward-2

I don’t know about you, but I like the time changes. Yeah, springing forward makes us lose an hour… But it stays light later. And when we fall back, we gain an hour and it’s light earlier.

I guess I just like the change. It creates variety and spices things up a little.

I was thinking about the idea of “time change” and have decided that there’s a spiritual lesson here– not specifically about gaing or losing time– but rather, about how we spend it.

For the last few months, our chuch has been in a series called “Encountering God”. We’ve been looking at people in the Bible whose lives have been dramatically changed by an encounter with the Living God. Moses, Abraham, and Isaiah encountered God and their lives were altered forever.

One thing that changed is how they spent their time. We can see that what they did changed after they were called by God. This change in activity or behavior, however, was the result of an initial change in who they were. Moses goes from a rural shepherd to a national emancipater; Abraham goes from a childless rancher to the father of a nation; Iaiah goes from a regal communicator to a prophet of God. In each case a change in their identity preceded a change in their mission/activity– in how they spent their time.

I believe the same is true today for everyone who encounters God.

I say all this to get to a real practical issue. One that those inside the church world all have to deal with– especially this time of year:

How do we get people to make it to church on time?

It all has to do with SEX.

(Actually it doesn’t, but I knew that I would lose most of my non-church staff readers with my statement about getting to church on time… See, I had a professor in seminary who once said in a preaching class, “If you feel like you are losing the audience say the word ‘sexand you’ll get them back”. I just would like you to continue and hear me out.)

Before I climb up on my soap box (which is actually quite difficult to find in today’s modern world), let me say that I have relaxed a great deal in my time sensitivity when it comes to church. Mostly because trying to get people to church on time is an exercise in futility (if you think that moving the starting time back 15 minutes will solve the problem, you will discover that you really have just given folks 15 minutes more at home).

So, my goal is not to make you feel guilty about getting to church on time– but I do want you to consider something that perhaps you’ve never thought about before– especially in a small church like I’m involved in right now:

People visiting our church show up early.

Obviously, since they are entering the unknown they don’t want to stick out by stumbling in late. Now here’s they irony– when they are early and everyone else is late– THEY STICK OUT MORE.

I think you’d get a kick out of me and the worship team trying to assure our visitors that there really will be a service and they actually are in a church… Even though there is only four people here with 2 minutes to go until the start of the service.

So here’s the thing… I don’t want you to feel rushed on Sunday morning. I want you to relax and enjoy the ride to church. But I also would love to have other who are investigating our church (Grace2f ) to meet some folks before the service– I mean you all ARE the church!

I’d like them to feel greeted and welcome. I’d like for them to NOT stick out if they want to.

Maybe part of the “time change” for all of us is to give some time to Sunday morning before the service. Time that we’ve set aside for whoever and whatever else God may have in store that day. Maybe you’ll actually enjoy it.

Before closing, let me state the obvious: I am the pastor– so I have to be there early. Maybe that’s why this is an issue that’s big enough for me to write 800 words about (actually it’s only 716 on my “word count” right now… but I ain’t finished). Maybe I want you there early so that I can feel good about myself and the church. Maybe I need to continue relaxing and roll with it more. Maybe…

… But then again, maybe not. Maybe God wants you (and me) to consider these things.

I will now dismount my soap box.

March 14th News

March 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Lots to talk about this week… Fortunately, much of it has been posted already (scroll down to read about the Grace2F Family Lunch and the Time grace2flogo-300x150Dated Men’s Retreat Info… “Time-dated” because if we don’t get you $110.00 in this weekend it ain’t happening!).

I also want to remind you that this weekend we SPRING FORWARD with the time change. What does that mean? Well, a couple of things…

1) Move your clocks FORWARD on Saturday night before you go to bed (for you legalists out there– set your alarm for 2:00am– the actually time the change is to occur; get up; move you clocks forward on hour; go back to bed; wake up more tired than those who changed their clocks before going to be on Saturday night).

2) Make an effort to prepare yourself to get to church ON TIME. You see, you are actually going to lose an hour of sleep Saturday. That means church time will come up even faster than usual and creating even more of a challenge to get to church on time (and we all know that most of you are challenged with NO time change 🙂 ).

And you don’t want to miss this week. Why…

Well, this Sunday we finish up looking at “The Call of Isaiah”.

To prepare, read Isaiah 6 and reflect on what we’ve talked about already… God-quakes, God as a reality v. a concept; glory; Self-quake; holiness; “Woe is me!”; humility; cleansing.

If you missed last Sunday (or even both weeks), click on the “Messages” button of this website and listen to the last two weeks (we put them there as a resource for you!). Immerse youself in Isaiah’s story because God wants to communicate something directly to you and the circumstances you are experiencing right now through his Word.

We will see that the God-quake, which leads to a Self-quake, will end with a World-quake. And it’s a quake that is happening today!

Looking forward to Sunday!

 

Grace and peace,

Doug

The Call of Isaiah Part 2

March 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Call of Isaiah Part 2

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March 7, 2010 | Isaiah 2-6 | Sermon | Download Audio