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Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 2/21/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 2/21/19

As I look outside my window, I am thankful to see the sun shining. But I also reflect on yesterday, a day filled with snow, sleet, and more causing most of our family to hunker down inside together. In each of these scenarios, I see the family members surrounding me (physically when they are home asking what’s around to eat and mentally as they are each following the schedules of their day.) These people are a gift.

Thankful Thursday Heart

Both in our time together and our time apart, I know that they are going to be there for me and I for them. The comfort this knowledge brings is also a peace and a confidence. Regardless of the circumstances the love that comes from these relationships sustains the ups and downs of life.

Do those special people in your life know that you are grateful to have them there? Today is a great day to send them a quick text, pop a hand written note in the mail, or cook their favorite meal for them. Let them know you are thinking of them. Let them know how much they mean to you.

Blessings to you!

Experience Opportunities:

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services, click here. Can’t make it to worship? Or want to revisit a message that really spoke to you? Check out our Sunday Sermons.

Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run on Saturday, March 23rd. Learn more: click here. Sign up: Register here!

Chicken Pot Pie DinnerSaturday, March 23rd is also the date for the 8th annual Pot Pie Dinner! Sign up to eat in or order take out.

Thankful Thursday 2/14/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 2/14/19

On the day of celebrating love, many debate the greatest love story ever. Top ten lists rank books, movies, history, or even news headlines that have “the greatest love story ever”. As I search these lists, one story is blatantly missing: God’s love story.

His written love letter in the form of the Bible offers us the full impact of this story AND its capacity to encompass whatever we bring to God and lay before Him.  He has prepared the way for us to come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. He is waiting to welcome us into His loving arms.

Thankful Thursday Heart

The greatest love story ever is happening right now. God is here for you. God transcends time and space. The gift of free will allows you to choose where and when to turn toward Him, but you can not hide. Because where you go, He is there.

When you are ready, you can turn to God in prayer or spend time with Him in the Bible. Pause and notice the blessing of His gifts for you: the ability to hear, think, speak, and breathe. He has placed different people in your life to support, encourage, comfort, and challenge you on your life’s journey.

God knows what you need. Turn to Him. He is waiting for you to experience the greatest love story ever.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Blessings to you!

Experience Opportunities:

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services, click here. Can’t make it to worship? Or want to revisit a message that really spoke to you? Check out our Sunday Sermons.

Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run on Saturday, March 23rd. Learn more: click here. Sign up: Register here!

Chicken Pot Pie DinnerSaturday, March 23rd is also the date for the 8th annual Pot Pie Dinner! Sign up to eat in or order take out.

Thankful Thursday 2/7/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 2/7/19

Here we are in the month of February. The month of Love. Valentines abound with sweet words and thoughts shared to encourage and uplift one another. Thankful Thursday Heart

The greatest love letter ever written, the greatest valentine ever given is the Bible. Opening this valentine each day allows God to wrap you in the hug of His loving words. His words reach out to meet you where you are.

Words of support, encouragement, comfort, joy, challenge, and more reach out to you as you read. God knows what you need. Come to Him. Seek his direction. The Bible offers it all. He is waiting for you to come be His valentine and open yourself to the love He has for you.

Blessings to you!

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services, click here. Can’t make it to worship? Or want to revisit a message that really spoke to you? Check out our Sunday Sermons.

Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run on Saturday, March 23rd. Learn more: click here. Sign up: Register here!

Chicken Pot Pie DinnerSaturday, March 23rd is also the date for the 8th annual Pot Pie Dinner! Sign up to eat in or order take out.

Thankful Thursday 1/31/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 1/31/19

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This quote has passed before me more than once in the past few days. And I am reminded to focus on what I have been called to do. Remember the gifts I have been given. Exercise those given gifts and talents with the resources available. Praise God for the good that is and will come. Roadblocks will come. Continuing to remember, exercise, praise (REP) builds a pattern of consistency that no roadblock will stop.

Living into our gifts and talents brings joy to our lives. Comparing our talents or gifts with others steals our time, energy, and direction away from our true purpose. And when we move away from our purpose, we move away from joy. Follow the instruction from Hebrews 12: remain fixed on Jesus. (Read Hebrews 12:1-3, 25-28 here.)

Build your life around Jesus’s example. Do your REPs each day. And joyfully live with perseverance the life marked out for you!

Blessings to you!

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services, click here. Can’t make it to worship? Or want to revisit a message that really spoke to you? Check out our Sunday Sermons.

Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run on Saturday, March 23rd. Learn more: click here. Sign up: Register here!

Chicken Pot Pie DinnerSaturday, March 23rd is also the date for the 8th annual Pot Pie Dinner! Sign up to eat in or order take out.

Thankful Thursday 1/24/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 1/24/19

Generosity. This word brings thoughts of giving. Giving your money, time, and more. How are you defined?Giving Basket

We are created to give. The act of giving is an outward sign of thanks and love. When we give, our joy is shared. When we hold onto the blessings to keep them for our selves to “enjoy”, we begin to experience “overwhelm” and a sensation of discomfort.

Money

When discussing generosity, money tends to be the direction our minds jump first. Our eyes see it. Our hands touch it. Money is the currency the world recognizes and often referred to as “loot”. God calls us to flip the view from “loot” to “tool”. Money is the tool that enables us to provide the food, the jacket, or the gas as the form of the blessing we are sharing.

Time

Towards the end of 2018, I heard of an exercise that caused me to scratch my head: a calendar audit. What is that? From what I learned, it is sitting down with your calendar from the past year and looking at where your time was spent. Your activities go into one of two categories: energy giver or energy taker.

Energy giver activities aligned with your current yearly goals earn a spot on your calendar. If an activity falls into the energy taker category, you need to ask yourself, “Is this activity helping me meet the priorities in my life?” If it doesn’t, remove it from your current and future calendar.

Love

Strong, positive connections with others have been proven to lengthen life expectancy. We are built to be in community. There are many forms of community: family, close friends, Bible study groups, Sunday school classes, choir, mission teams, softball teams, volleyball teams, youth groups, and more. Plug in. Share the light that comes uniquely from you. Pause and look for that light in those around you. Upon looking, you will begin to see a warm glow emanating from each of us.

When we intentionally focus the resources of our money, time, and love in collective efforts of giving, God uses them in ways we could never imagine!

Blessings to you!

P. S. All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Gravel Hill 5K Dual Sign Up

P.S.S. Have you heard? The Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run happening on Saturday, March 23rd. To learn more, click here. Ready to sign up? Register here! ( You can double your goals by sign up for both the spring & fall runs now.)

Thankful Thursday 1/17/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 1/17/19

Contentment. Simplicity. Two words that go hand-in-hand as you go in search of either. How does one pursue these?Pursue simplicity contentment

Action begets feelings. Feelings motivate more action. Simplifying creates contentment. A deepened contentment is nurtured by a grateful heart. An attitude of gratitude turns what you have into enough. It also helps one to see when they have been blessed with abundance. With the blessings of the Christmas season spurring us on in the new year, many feel content. Yet they boarder on that “over-blessed” feeling surrounding them.

Currently, I have seen many friends using the motivation of the Marie Kondo movement to help them simplify their belongings and homes. It is helping them move from the “over-blessed” to simplified life. While simplifying, they may ask themselves about each object, “Does this give me joy? Do I really need/use this?” When the curating is complete, the fun comes in figuring out creative ways to move this abundance forward and onto a new life.

There is joy in blessing others and contentment in the simplicity. To keep simplicity as part of your lifestyle, goals are essential. Without a goal, you will continue in your old habits. A goal gives you a new direction, a new focus to motivate you to choose differently. Making that different choice exercises your muscle of self-control (a fruit of the Spirit).  And for the parents out there that need to exercise that muscle for not only themselves, but also your kiddos who really, really, REALLY need THAT toy. Here’s a tip: use the camera on your phone to take a picture of the must-have item for their birthday/Christmas list.

Continued use of the self-control muscle strengthens your simplified living. The simple life brings contentment, peace, and gratitude. thanks be to God!

Blessings to you!

P. S. All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Gravel Hill 5K Dual Sign Up

P.S.S. Have you heard? The Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run happening on Saturday, March 23rd. To learn more, click here. Ready to sign up? Register here! ( You can double your goals by sign up for both the spring & fall runs now.)

Thankful Thursday 1/10/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 1/10/19

Movement. It can be freeing and it can be painful. It physically puts us in a different position; thus changing us.

It is easier for some to move than others. When we role out of bed, we begin a new day, a new opportunity to go into each moment as a blessing. We provide care for God’s creation that surrounds us (and includes us!)

As we spend time with God to find His direction for our lives, He helps us discover the passions and desires He has placed within us. Sometimes we are stumped as to how the seed of a dream planted in our hearts will grow into real life. That is when we need to look around for the people God is using to give us the knowledge, the encouragement, or the direction towards the next goal that takes us toward the dream.

If you are working towards the dream of better health, consider your word of encouragement: “You CAN be healthy!” Here is your first goal to go after:

Gravel Hill Spring 5K!

The Gravel Hill Spring 5K is a walk/run that will happen on Saturday, March 23rd. (Knowledge. To learn more, click here.) Walkers send the runners ahead with good wishes and words of cheer. (Encouragement. Words of cheer are not only shared with the runners, but also will each other during the 5K.) Ready to sign up? Register here! (Direction. You can double your goals by sign up for both the spring & fall runs now.)

By completing the 5K, you will be stewarding the body God has given you with positive self care. You can seize the opportunity to cheer others on along the way (& have fun doing it!) And – you support The Caring Cupboard. Monies raised from this event go directly to help fund The Caring Cupboard and its day-to-day operations.

As we move deeper into 2019, change your movements. Shake things up! Gain the knowledge, hear the words of encouragement, and take action towards the God-given dreams that lie within your heart. May your actions fortify your God-blessed direction. Remember to be thankful for each morning you have the opportunity to role out of bed and go after your dreams.

Blessings to you!

P. S. All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Thankful Thursday 1/3/19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 1/3/19

Enough. What is enough? How much is it? How little is it?

We will explore what is enough this Sunday. This exploration will be based on the book, “Enough,” by Adam Hamilton. For those that have the book, reading through chapter one will have you well prepared for the message. If you don’t have the book, check this out: Enough Chap. 1 Sample. Want your own copy of the book? You can get one ($5 each) Sunday in the lobby.

In chapter one, Hamilton references the lyrics from the Shaker song “Simple Gifts” written by Elder Joseph Brackett. Upon seeing the lyrics, I was transported to my high school years of singing this song and sang along as I read:

‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

 

When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and the bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till be turning, turning we come round right.

Ah, memories! Just one of the simple things blessing life. Enjoying the simple comes with the challenge of creating the spaces that nurture us and leave room for growth.

Here in the month of January, many are assessing their physical surroundings, their use of time, and their quality of relationships. If you are going through this process, recognize what you need to cultivate a healthier 2019. Be grateful for the role the item, activity, or relationship played in your life. If it still nourishes you, intentionally make it a part of your life. If it is an excess in your life, bless others by passing it on.

May this sharing help you to see the abundance in your life and to be truly grateful for the life you live.

Blessings to you!

P. S. All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Thankful Thursday 12/27/18

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 12/27/18

On this final Thursday of 2018, we pause to reflect on the year that has past. We also look forward to opportunities and excitement that lay before us in 2019. During these moments of reflection, it is good to remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Sometimes finding that gratitude may be challenging, but I encourage you to look for thanks in the simple things such as a warm cup of coffee to drink, hearing the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, or the very breath you just took. Pause to soak in the beauty of the twinkling lights both here on earth and in the skies above. And that outfit you put on – where your shoulders are straighter and your chin is a little higher – to help you conquer the world. Thank God for the confidence in which you are able to dress.

The gifts of this moment are your present. The experiences of your life are lessons of your past. The opportunities knocking on your door are your potential.

In moments of opportunity, again remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Seek God for His guidance as you decide your action. He is there for you always. Opportunities are the gift to choose differently than our human nature – choose better, divinely better!

Those hard things you faced and made it through showed you strength. When you chose to speak up instead of staying silent, you displayed your courage. Or the time-out you took to bite your tongue and take a deep breath before responding with a loving answer showed compassion.

May God bless you in 2019 as you thank God for what He has brought you through. And as you continue to seek Him for the strength to choose divinely blessed action in the opportunities 2019 brings your way.

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Blessings to you!

Special note: Our Faith leaders are so very important to each of our journeys with Christ. If you would like to contribute to a Church Family Gift for the active Pastors of our congregation, please do so by check or cash. You may turn your gift(s) into the church office.

Thankful Thursday 12/20/18

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 12/20/18

Have you seen one of these men?

Pastor Doug Smith

Pastor Doug Smith

Gravel Hill Pastor Shawn Lochinger

Pastor Shawn Lochinger

Joe Royer

Pastor of Visitation: Joe Royer

No, they are not on a most wanted list near you. 🙂 But if you have worshiped on a Sunday morning, two of these faces may look familiar. If you have been in the hospital or home bound, there is a chance all three may be familiar to you.

On Sunday mornings, Pastor Doug Smith and Pastor Shawn Lochinger work as conduits of God’s message. They prayerfully plan sermons each week. With thoughtful and focused direction, they share the Good News.

Sometimes in life, we have views of the world from a hospital bed or from inside of our home. If this view was yours this year, you probably saw the friendly face of Joe Royer, Pastor of Visitation. Pastor Joe, along with Pastor Doug and Pastor Shawn, brings Gravel Hill to you. They work steadily each week to visit those who are limited from coming together with the body of believers at Gravel Hill.

We are grateful for the work each of these men does. Your dedication, talent, and heart to serve God’s Call through you is appreciated. This Sunday morning, these men will be honored at each of our services.

All are invited to worship this Sunday at 8:00, 9:15 or 10:30 AM and also Christmas Eve at 5, 7, or 9 PM. If you would like to know more about these services,  click here.

Blessings to you!

Special note: Our Faith leaders are so very important to each of our journeys with Christ. If you would like to contribute to a Church Family Gift for the active Pastors of our congregation, please do so by check or cash. You may turn your gift(s) into the church office.