Category

Thankful Thursday

11-28-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 11-28-19

Thankful Thursday meets Thanksgiving today. The day when Americans collectively pause, gather together around tables, and give thanks for various areas of their lives. This sharing of gratitude creates a foundation for happiness and joy.

Love comes to full expression in various forms on Thanksgiving. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called, The Five Love Languages. He names the love languages as Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Many of us have our love language (or languages) reached on this day.

Gathering gives us quality time. The preparing and serving of a meal meets acts of service. Those enjoying the meal receive the gift of food and good conversation. The words of thanks offered for the food prepared, the talent shared, or the story voiced offer building words of affirmation. And the welcome hugs and departing squeezes of affection shared until the next gathering express love through physical touch.

Many walk a little taller, a little stronger, and with a heart (and stomach) more full after a day of sharing blessings. We sleep better after being fueled both physically and emotionally. A day giving and receiving love in all its forms.

With this day of love as a catapult, we enter into the Christmas season. We prepare our hearts and minds for the greatest expression of love ever given: Jesus Christ. As we walk closer to Christmas, remember this day. A day of giving and receiving love. A day of blessings shared and expressed. Hold onto these actions. Repeat them anew. Edify the love and joy in the lives of those around you and in doing so, you too will be built up in love and joy.

Blessings to you!

11-28-19 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.

11-21-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 11-21-19

Thankful Thursday joyfully awaits Christmas Market! Walking through the doors you enter a familiar space transformed. The energy and spirit of the event buzzes through the building. It wraps you up and carries you through the various areas while lighting a smile to your face.

The change taking place in the building precedes the change (both literal and figurative) that will bless four local charities. Those charities benefit a variety of ages in many ways from education to food to housing and more. These groups meet people where they are now and provide the resources to support a move towards a better tomorrow.

Choice by choice we each are forming and transforming the life we live. These choices range from physical to mental to emotional to spiritual to social and beyond. Jon Gordon encourages us recognize our abilities and use them:

“‪You can’t change your past but you can create your future. ‬

‪Don’t get stuck in thinking about what you could have or should have done. Think about what you can do and will do now to create the life you want. Then start taking action.” -Jon Gordon ‬

Will it be easy? Not always. For in the struggle, we gain strength. And we have been given the gift of community. Helping others and allowing others to help us strengthens our communities. Together we lift each other up. As we choose better for our lives, we choose better for our communities. As change takes place, transformation occurs. Many hands have prepared the Christmas Market. Come be a part of blessing and change.

YOU are invited to the Christmas Market on Friday, November 22 from 4 – 8 PM and on Saturday, November 23 from 7 AM – 1 PM. Details about this event can be found here.

We look forward to having you join us in blessing local charities through the Christmas Market.

Blessings to you!

11-21-19 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.

11-14-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 11-14-19

Thankful Thursday counts the days to Christmas Market, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. As the count downs mount and preparations for all the good things ensue, pieces of life sometimes get lost in the shuffle. And when that happens, the aide of kind people blesses those lost bits of life. Sometimes we loses the bits of life and sometimes we bless others losing their bits of life by extending grace and kindness.

Yesterday, World Kindness Day, many Pennsylvanians honored both the day and Fred Rodgers by wearing cardigans. Google answers the question “Why was Fred Rodgers important?” with the following: Fred Rogers was known for his creativity, kindness, spirituality, and commitment to the well-being of children. Lovingly called “America’s favorite neighbor,” he used his many diverse talents to inspire, nurture, and educate.

Fred Rodgers inspired a movie currently in theaters, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Based on the relationship between Rodgers and a journalist, it shows how one man lived out kindness towards his fellow man. I look forward to seeing this movie demonstrate the powerful effect kindness can have in a relationship. I expect to walk away inspired and encouraged to spread more kindness.

Oh, for those who love a good countdown, days remaining stand at:

Christmas Market – 8 days

Thanksgiving – 14 days

Christmas – 41 days

Each of these days is a gift. We get the opportunity to approach them with the mindset we choose. Forever grateful for the gift of free will. Will you choose to see the beautiful neighborhoods each day has? Will you look for ways to be kind to those around you?

Use these days as a challenge to spread kindness (one person each day). I dare you! You may find yourself creating entire new “neighborhoods” in your life!

Blessings to you!

11-14-19 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.

11-7-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 11-7-19

Thankful Thursday breathes long draws of anticipation for the coming Christmas Market here at Gravel Hill. The excitement is building. And Saturday marks the official start to preparations for this coming event.

It takes many hands and many hours to bring the event to fruition. The energy of all these hands and hearts coming together over the hours creates a transformation of the church each year. The festive, warm feel that exudes from the doors reaches into the hearts of those entering. That warm feeling grows from the inside often expressing an outward glow through the form of a smile.

Now those smiles come from not only the feeling that takes over, but also from some of the deliciousness that delights taste buds and fills bellies. Three meals span the time of Christmas Market offering a variety of delights to enjoy. If you want to take some of that goodness home with you, the bake sale beckons and soup awaits your selection. (You can even pick up soup before the Christmas Market officially begins!) Currently orders are being taken for Chicken Corn Noodle Soup and Ham & Bean Soup to support the Christmas Market and its recipients. Four local charities share the blessings from Christmas Market: Ronald McDonald House, Agape Family Shelter, Phoenix Youth Center, and Lebanon Rescue Mission.

If you would like to learn more details about Christmas Market or place a soup order, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to place your soup order.

I’m thankful for the building feelings of anticipation and warmth. Just thinking of what is to come brings a smile to my face and a sparkle to my eyes. I hope that you and yours will visit the Christmas Market to share in all of its goodness.

Blessings to you!

11-7-19 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.

10-31-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 10-31-19

Thankful Thursday beckons thoughts of treats and sweets this year by being the same day as Halloween. Tonight individually wrapped confections or delicious delights that tempt our taste buds will abound. In thinking on sweet treats in life, I’ve found the treat of connecting with a good mentor (and maintaining a teachable attitude) to bring a true sweetness to my life.

In an effort to live life “smarter not harder,” I look for others who have walked the road I’m on before me. I acknowledge the journey they have made. Then comes the question: “What have you learned that makes or would make the journey easier?”

Sometimes the wisdom shared brings great life hacks. At others, it brings the encouragement of looking at the bigger picture to remember why I am walking this road and to keep my eyes focused as I go through the hard parts. I may not see others as I take step after step, but I know that I am not alone.

My mentor has gone before me. I walk the road now. Others will come after me.

In my gratitude for the treat of wisdom that was paid forward to me (thank you to all the various mentors in my life!), I look for those coming after me who are seeking a mentor to share with them. Wisdom is a golden nugget that must be sought through experience, shared knowledge, or gleaned observations. It is only enjoyed more fully when it is then appropriately applied to ones life. And becomes even sweeter when shared.

If you want to look up some written wisdom that is waiting for you to find it, check out Proverbs. Thirty one chapters chock full of goodness. And it can leave a pretty sweet imprint on your life.

Blessings to you!

10-31-19 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.

10-24-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 10-24-19

Thankful Thursday holds the day of my oldest son’s final high school football game before our family. We hit the one week mark of his final home football game tomorrow. Already, I have frequently replayed the moments of that evening in my mind.

An evening of celebration honoring our seniors and crowning the homecoming queen rounded out with a hug as my son was about to leave his home stadium for the last time as a player. As we hugged, I shared a few words with him: we are proud of him for giving his best effort and leaving it all on the field. We love him! And turn around during your walk to the bus and see the stadium at the end of the evening. Take it all in and soak in the moment.

As time continues to pass by this week, I keeping coming back to the statement I shared: Take it all in and soak in the moment. How well have I followed the advice I shared with my son? Am I present in each moment? Do I observe the beauty around me or appreciate the people I am getting to do life with? Or am I floating through my days wrapped up in my thoughts, my feelings? When I throw off my expectations of how I think events should occur or how I believe others should be reacting, then I can just be – in the moment – enjoy all that is present and making the experience all that it is.

Time will march on. The seasons will come and go. This moment is a present, a gift, and I am grateful to fully soak in the entirety of it. I pray that you may appreciate the entirety of your moments too.

Blessings to you!

10-24-19 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.

10-17-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 10-17-19

Thankful Thursday has me grateful for sound! Currently the wind outside is whipping around at varying rates of speed creating some crazy noises, but as I type in the safety and protection of my home, the radio is humming along with the talent of singers and musicians. The songs speak to my head and heart as they drift through the room.

Songs prepare us to move from one situation to another. Think about athletes preparing for competition. Many athletes use song playlists to pump up for the competition before them. Or consider a parent calming an infant for bedtime. Soft, sweet strains of lullabies pull heavy eyelids closed.

Recently, my sons and I got in the yard for some sprucing up. They were not thrilled with the task we tackled and tensions were running a bit high. As we moved to a different section of the yard, we took a water break which included some music. Upon seeing the smiles and dancing elicited by the music, I told them to bring their speaker outside to play their music as we worked. A wonderful shift occurred as the songs played: conversation brightened, stories and laughs freely flowed, and in what seemed like no time, our task was completed.

The beauty of music stirs our emotions, transports us through time to another place and prior memory, and transforms us from one mindset to another. I praise God for the gift of sound and the ability to receive it. Enjoy the beauty of the music in your life this week. If you are feeling a little blah, try a different genre. It may put a little pep in your step or brighten your spirit with a walk down memory lane.

Blessings to you!

10-17-19 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.

10-10-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 10-10-19

Thankful Thursday casts beautiful weather on Central PA. The sun is shining. The air wafts an ebb and flow from warm caresses to cool crisp jolts jockeying for our attention. And the foliage offers hints at the days to come: change is on the way.

No matter where you find yourself in life right now, this season will pass. A new one will come. We are less than 90 away from the new year of 2020. A year for 2020 vision. Gain crystal clarity in where you are headed.

To do so, look back at where you have been. Assess what you have now: your gifts, talents, and experiences that have given you the knowledge and love for a variety of aspects of life. These are unique to you. This uniqueness can bring a blessing to you and those around you. Thank God for where you are now. And be excited for the possibility of these blessings. A new season is coming.

Daniel 2:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.

God has been there. He is with you now. Turn to Him to guide your steps. You make the choices through the free will gifted to you. The results of your choices will build tomorrow’s memories.

Look to God who is always there through the good and the bad. No matter the changing seasons, He is always constant. You are his child. He loves you so much.

Blessings to you!

10-10-19 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.

10-3-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 10-3-19

Thankful Thursday calls me to reflect. I’ve received many messages of the joy of lives entering this world and of the sorrow of lives leaving this world this week. As my heart roll on through the ups and downs of each message, my thought cry out to God in celebration and then in anguish over the experiences those here on earth are having.

In searching for the gratitude through this week, I give thanks for being a part of several communities. In these communities, the joys shared double while the sorrows when shared become halved. To know that others are being intercessors in prayer for me is humbling. To have the privilege to be an intercessor for another is an absolute blessing.

This circle of life offers the opportunity to experience many different points, perspectives, and connections. What season of life are you in? How do you look at the world? Where do you connect? While our answers to these questions may vary, we are all called to follow these two commandments:

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In the privilege of Christian community, I will pray for you this week.

Blessings to you!

10-3-19 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.

9-26-19

By | Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 9-26-19

Thankful Thursday holds overcast skies offering up momentary sprinklings as the parched land awaits a thirst-satisfying rain. We know the rain will come. But for now, like the land, we wait.

There are times in life when we hit dry patches, times of waiting. In these moments, we are called to praise God. All that He is. Remember what He has done before. Know that He is working to make all things work for His glory.

This waiting offers each of us the time to make sure we are ready for answering the call for our life. Have we worked to keep our relationship close with God? Will we know when He calls us? Whether it is a nudge, notion, or sense from the Holy Spirit within or a repeated message from various friends, family members, or surroundings that is used to speak to us, will we notice?

Once we notice, will we answer the call in faith? We are gifted the free will to respond, to be in relation. When remaining in relation with the one who provides us with living water, we can tap into the eternal spring of life.

For the gift of free will and for the gift of life, I give thanks. The ebb and flow through the seasons of life bring such variety to what we experience. But the grounding source of comfort through all of these changes: to know God was, is, and always will be the same. Always there for us.

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Revelation 21:6

Blessings to you!

9-26-19 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.