Monthly Archives: October 2016

SCREWTAPE WRITES AGAIN… by James Emery White

A significant study that came out earlier this summer revealed that Americans who don’t go to church are more than happy to talk about religion and often think about the meaning of life.

They are also open to taking part in community service events hosted at a church.

Or going to an event – like a church concert.

Now, this does not mean they think about what happens after they die. Nor, that they are as willing to actually attend a church service. Consider those to be steps taken a bit further down the road. It’s not that they are hostile to church; they simply do not think it is for them.

But according to a survey of 2,000 unchurched Americans from LifeWay Research and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, they are wide open to the first steps, or approaches, of evangelism.

This. Is. Important.

A full 79% of unchurched Americans agreed with this statement: “If a friend of mind really values their faith, I don’t mind them talking about it.”

So let’s do the math. We are called to convey the message of Christ to a fallen world. Further, we are called to care – and care deeply – about the spiritual state of those around us: friends, neighbors, family and co-workers.

And they are more than willing to listen, more than willing to engage.

That should be adding up to swelling churches, vast conversions and sweeping revival.

But it’s not.

Here’s why:

We don’t believe what they are saying.

We think they aren’t interested, and that any conversation – any sharing, any invitation – will simply be awkward. And unproductive.

So we don’t have those conversations.

The irony is devastating: The unchurched are willing to listen to the churched about their faith, but the churched aren’t willing to talk about it.

For all you C.S. Lewis fans, I can’t help but feel we may discover another trove of “Screwtape Letters” and find that this juxtaposition was masterfully, diabolically manipulated to prevent more human “patients” on earth from entering into the Light.

Perhaps one of those letters may read like this:

My Dear Wormwood:

Now that your patient has crossed over to the Enemy, the goal is not only to keep him from drawing near to the Enemy, but to keep him from encouraging others to join their ranks. If he were to be successful in that regard, it would add nightmare to the horror of what you’ve already allowed in your bungled handling of a soul that was almost ours.

We have had a fair amount of success in creating apathy toward the state of their fellow souls, but not as much as we would like. Our latest effort, however, is working brilliantly. An enterprise which, I might add, I had some hand in helping create. Rather than attempt to prevent the relationships from occurring, or even dulling their concern toward those around them, the new effort is to simply sow seeds of poor social taste.

Plant the thought, upon every chance, at how offended others would be if he talks about the Enemy. How painfully awkward it will go. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t true – but your patient doesn’t. If we can get him to believe this simple lie, then it doesn’t matter who comes into his sphere of influence, or how much the sniveling worm may care. He will fear uttering even the slightest word, and the victory will be ours.

(And for hell’s sake, do not let him even begin to contemplate that his efforts might be met with that blinding, searing Light we, as yet, cannot help but flee, the Spirit of the Enemy.)

The most powerful of those in the Enemy’s army didn’t fear us (They had a pathetic confidence in the Enemy that way.). And they didn’t fear the reaction of their peers. This was our great miscalculation. We let them become… I can hardly bare to utter the words… bold in their faith. How I hated them!

Thank the diabolical father that we aren’t making that mistake again.

So this is what you simply must not allow. Counter boldness with timidity; courage with the fear of embarrassment. I think you will find this will work quite nicely.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

James Emery White

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ENGAGE MISSIONS CONFERENCE 2016

“ENGAGE” MISSIONS CONFERENCE 2016 UPDATE

Our “ENGAGE” MISSIONS CONFERENCE 2016 is almost here. We have a wonderful group of missionaries scheduled to be with us from Friday night, October 21 through Sunday morning, October 23. Our conference will begin on Friday night at 5:45 pm with a roast beef dinner followed by a Worship Service at 7:00 pm. SIGNUP TODAY AT THE WELCOME CENTER FOR FRIDAY NIGHT’S DINNER AND SATURDAY’S LUNCH. The food will be great and the fellowship even better. You will meet our missionaries and enjoy a mission-focused message from Pastor Dennis Omondi from Kenya. Pastor Omondi is a speaker you do not want to miss. He is new to Grace Church. His conference messages will be timely, no doubt! Pray for these and others as they come our way.

“ENGAGE” MISSIONS CONFERENCE 2016 includes our children. Every session (Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning) is family friendly and includes services for our children. This is intentional and purposeful. This year we have a special treat for our children! Pastor Terry Coats and his wife Luann will be using chalk art to teach our children. They will love Pastor Terry and Luann’s teaching! Take advantage of this opportunity to educate your children about what it means to be a missionary. Your family is important to the Lord. This Gospel mission focus will bless you and your family!

If you have any questions, please contact the church office (252-355-3500) or any of our staff members. Call or text us… our numbers are on the bulletin. God bless you as you worship our Lord today!

Jesus is with us even in the storm!

Pastor Mike <><

 

“Following Jesus!”

Our Lord Jesus was a marvelous teacher! He had a unique way of leading and guiding His disciples. He called His disciples sheep. In John 10:10 Jesus mentions the thief in contrast to the Good Shepherd in 10:11. The thief destroys sheep but the Good Shepherd cares for His sheep and gives his life for his sheep! This is how Jesus ministered to His followers. He was their loving and kind Shepherd. This is our Jesus; He is our Good Shepherd! The beautiful thing here is that Jesus speaks to His sheep. Jesus’ sheep not only listen to Him, they follow Him! Jesus, our Good Shepherd speaks to us as His own and He wants us to follow Him! Let me encourage you today. Follow Jesus… He is our Good Shepherd! Jesus said in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. 29  My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Jesus… what a Shepherd and what a Savior! FOLLOW HIM!!!

Our THIRD ANNUAL ENGAGE MISSION CONFERENCE begins on Friday, October 21 with a roast beef dinner at 5:45 pm. Last year we had a feast! This great time of fellowship will be followed by our first service beginning at 7:00 pm. Our speaker will be Dennis Omondi from Kenya. This is Dennis’ first time with us at Grace Church. He has a unique ministry in Africa. His preaching will touch your heart! Dennis’ family will be with him as well. Pastor Terry and Luann Coats will use chalk art to teach missions to our children. They will love the Coats family and the chalk art lessons! Saturday begins with a Worship Service at 10:00 am followed by teaching sessions led by our missionaries and others. There will be classes for you and your children. We will have lunch together on Saturday at — and conclude with another time of worship at — with everyone. Again, there will be a children’s service as well! Please do not miss a service or a class. ENGAGE will conclude with our Sunday Morning Worship Service at 11:00 am. Missionaries will also be available for Sunday School classes.

Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. 

Pastor Mike and Cheryl <><