Saturday, September 24, 2011
Autumnal Fun in the Sun/Son
Hi there family! How in the world are you on this beautiful Saturday afternoon? In case you somehow didn't notice, autumn has finally arrived here in our beautiful state! Gone are those long hot days of summer; and now we can enjoy the refreshing cool autumnal breezes that make our leaves turn colors and put a little morning frost on the dewy grass. Oh, wait a minute, I thought I was written a letter to the other church I pastor in Ossipee, New Hampshire. Sorry about that.....so, let's see.....Florida......oh yes, autumn is here! The humidity dropped one percentage point, so autumn is officially here!Besides being fed the Word here at Grace and in your own personal time with the Lord, I know that many of you are encouraged, enlightened, and spiritually energized by pastors, authors, and/or bloggers that you come across on the Internet. This is good, healthy, and when you come across some particularly life-changing tidbits of faith you ought to consider sharing it with others. Well, I am challenged through these various avenues as well, but I still find myself learning the most about who my heavenly Father is through the life and times of my dogs. I know, I know: "Ugh, not another dog story!" Well, sorry about that, but you try writing these things once a week, and then we'll see how often God speaks to you through your dogs!!!In any event, the other day I made a passing reference to this dog story on Facebook, but I thought I'd say a little more (I promise, just a 'little' more) about it here in my Words of Grace.I couple of nights ago I was sitting in my usual place of comfort - my home office (otherwise known by my loved ones as 'The Cave'), listening to my music, surrounded by a plethora of books. I mention the books because my office is completely filled with books so it really is like a cave; the books muffle the sound so much that I can hardly hear anything outside of my office.So, I'm sitting in my soundproof cave with my music on when both of my dogs - Keaggy and Calvin - come slyly into my room and forcibly squeeze both of their rather robust canine bodies between my legs and under my desk. With this particular action I now know exactly what is happening in the 'other world' outside of my office that the 'cave' (with the books and music) doesn't allow me to necessary be privy to. It is obviously thundering and lightning outside. I muted my music and sure enough - it was raining HARD and the house started shaking. What's so amazing is that my dogs (and I think most dogs, for that matter) can sense and hear the thunder when it is still miles away.Being the softy that I often am, I wasn't about to rebuke my dogs (who were making my time - and my legs - in my office chair extremely uncomfortable), but instead reached under the desk to pet both of them on the head, scratch behind their ears and let them know that they were safe under the desk and could stay as long as they wanted.Of course, this is where the actions of my dogs spoke to me about divine truth. How often have I felt frightened by the 'thunder and lightning' of this world; the pressures of my calling; my responsibilities as a pastor, friend, husband, father, and now grandfather; and of all the insecurities and weaknesses that I carry (and most often hide) from those around me? Where can I run to be comforted and reassured? Well, of course, I can run into the throne room of my heavenly Father and not only crawl under His desk (throne) but I can jump into His arms where He will hold me, comfort me, and reassure me that I am safe and secure in His presence. Hebrews 4:16 reminds each of His children: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!"But here's something important to keep in mind: Ninety-nine percent of the time my dogs don't have to search me out in times of trouble - as if they are busy doing their own thing on the other side of the house. They don't just come find me when the thunder and lightning comes.....they are most often with me already. Sometimes it drives me a little nuts that my dogs follow me wherever I go, but at divine-lesson times like this I am reminded that my dogs WANT to be with me. They aren't insecure and lonely - they want to be with me because they love me! They are like little sheep that love their shepherd and desire to be near him because he will take care of them whether it's in time of trouble or just hanging out time.Let's learn what it means to 'hang out' with the Lord continuously; to sit at His feet relentlessly; to sense His presence and love during stormy times as well as when the sun is shining and a gentle autumnal breeze is brushing against our face. Let's 'practice the presence of God' (as Brother Lawrence wrote about in the 17th century) all the days of our life - knowing that our Lord will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), He will stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), and that His presence will go with us and through that presence He will give us rest (Exodus 33:14). And all of God's children who accept this word of encouragement said.....Bow wow!Here's what's happening:Tomorrow is Sunday!!! Yeah! I love Sundays! I will be sharing on Acts 10:23-48 and my message is called "Anticipating the Mystery". Sound exciting? Well, it will be! It is also the last Sunday of the month so we will be receiving a second offering - our missions offering - so please prayerfully consider what you can do above and beyond your regular giving to care for our missions work - worldwide, local, and within our own congregation.Parents of Prodigals: Will meet at 10:3o AM tomorrow for a special time of prayer for any of your adult children who have drifted from the Lord or who don't know the Lord. They pray in the Junior High room. Look for Gene and Rosie Mackay - they will gladly assist you."Reform" - our adult Sunday School class meets at 11:00 AM in the high school room at the south end of the children's wing. They are studying the Book of Isaiah - and I can tell you first hand, their teacher - Chuch Trujillo LOVES the Book of Isaiah!!!Tuesday: Church History class at 9:30 AM. All are welcome!!Wednesday: 'The Story' continues with Pastor Heath taking the helm this week as he give an introduction into the Gospels and then will focus on the Book of Matthew. Just us in the sanctuary (Cafe Grace) at 7:00 PM. The high school and junior high meet at the same time, as do our kids in their fantastic Wednesday night Kid's program!Next Saturday - Men's breakfast at 8:00 AM! Oh boy, what a great time....see you then men!!!Next Sunday - October 2 - we will be going down to serve dinner to the residents at Pinellas Hope - the local homeless shelter. Let Pastor Heath know if you want to come along to help - it's a great time!Next Phaino - night of worship and prayer: Sunday, November 6th at 6:00 PM. Oh, what a beautiful time of worship!Forgive me....I'm sure there are other important things that I could write about, but if you really want to know what else is happening then go and sign up for any number of our other online ways of staying in touch.
First of all, please visit our web site. Just about anything you need to know is right there!Facebook: GCF has a great Facebook page with all kinds of church info. Join the GCF Facebook page here.
Twitter: For all those tweeting on Twitter, you can follow us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/GCFofLargo.Church calendar: If you want to see our church calendar, please visit our web page here or you can see our church calendar directly through Google here.
Okay....that's it....see you in church tomorrow!
A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he's on the level.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Convention 2011 at the Tradewinds Schedule!2011 ISCA Convention Schedule
November 13th - 18th - St Petes Florida
Sunday November 13th
3pm - 8pm Registration & Check in at the Tradewinds Island Grand!
7pm - 11pm Ice-Breaker reception - Hello ISCA members!Monday November 14th
8am - 9.30am Registration/Portfolio/Studio submissions
9am - 10am Welcome Breakfast & Keynote from President
10am - 10.30am 1st Time attendee ‘How it works’ run thru
10.30am - 11.30am Seminar: Uncle Lar waves his magic
12pm - 8pm Portfolio/Studio on display
1pm - 2pm Seminar: Angie Jordan Digital iPad2.30pm ****Competition/drawing room opens for 24hrs availability!4pm - 6pm Likeness competition
9pm - 11pm Live party CompetitionTuesday November 15th
9am - 11am Registration open
11am - Midday Seminar: Caricature 101 with Sean Gardner
12pm Vendor tables Open: Portfolio/Studio on display
2pm - 3pm Seminar: David O’Keefe - the life of a professional
4pm - 7pm Speed Competition
9.30pm - 10.30pm *ISCA Annual Business meeting & Elections
Wednesday November 16th
9am - 10am Registration open
11am - 12pm Seminar: Sculpture 101 with Johanna!
4pm - 5pm *GUEST SPEAKER Drew Friedman
8pm - 10pm VIP Gold Member reception with Drew FriedmanThursday November 17th
9am - 4pm Final hours of open competition/drawing time
4pm open competition/drawing time ENDS!ISCA Board members to review walls to check for infractions
5pm - 8pm Voting on artwork
9.30pm - 10.30pm Seminar: KICK Back with Uncle LarFriday November 18th
11am - 12pm GUEST SPEAKER Drew Friedman
2pm - 3pm Poolside Sketch club
5pm - 6pm Cocktail Hour with art auction items on display
6pm - 10.30pm ISCA Awards Banquet & auctionDetails of which rooms and locations for the seminars etc will be made known at registration for everyone attending!
Friday, September 2, 2011
From: Randy Evans <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: September 1, 2011 11:33:27 PM EDTSubject: Words of Grace from Pastor Randy, September 1, 2011
Grace Christian Fellowship is expecting a baby – a baby girl!!! Okay, half of you are in shock, half of you are completely confused, half of you are waiting with bated breath as to how I’m going to explain this startling revelation, and one more half of you are realizing the Pastor Randy can’t do basic math!
BIG NEWS FAMILY!!!!
I have mentioned in the recent past that one of the signs of a healthy church is that it is willing to multiply itself in other areas so that the Kingdom of God here on earth (and in Pinellas County) will continue to grow and mature. Along with commenting on that healthy sign, I went even further to say that for a while now it has been the heartfelt desire of the leadership here at Grace (and for Pastor Heath and myself, even longer) to give birth to a daughter church somewhere else in the county when we felt the Lord’s timing was right. Well, we all believe that the timing is now right.
So, we as a church are pregnant with a daughter – a new church that will be birthed from its mother - Grace Christian Fellowship. I prefer the birthing metaphor to the church planting metaphor, because in giving birth to a new church, the offspring becomes one of us, and as a parent would naturally do, we can feed, nurture, love, teach, and encourage our child to grow and prosper. Some couples talk about wanting children way before they ever plan on having one. Some other parents announce that they are currently trying to get pregnant (too much information for me!); while other parents tell the world that they are pregnant the moment the home test turns blue; and still others wait a couple of weeks or even months before they officially announce that they are pregnant – just to make sure.
Here at Grace Christian Fellowship we are a bit like the couple who has waited a few weeks before announcing the pregnancy of a new church, and we have done so because we wanted to make sure: 1. We had heard clearly from the Lord; 2. All of the leadership was in agreement; 3. And that the Church Board (which includes the financial committee) felt that it was fiscally feasible. We are now at that place.
Now, for those of you who have been pregnant in the past, you know what happens when you announce that you are expecting a child – or when you yourself (and spouse) discover that you are pregnant. Some people (or you as a couple) are very excited for you; others are shocked; a few are fearful; some may be sad (about the change of status and routine), some may be mad because they were not consulted; and some may even initially say that it is a mistake!
But hopefully, in time, the couple (and others) settle down with the news, knowing that it’s all part of God’s will for the couple (or church) to reproduce. With that in mind, I’m asking everyone who is a part of Grace Christian Fellowship to take a deep breath and trust that the Lord is behind this – we have not rushed into anything – and that He will take care of His children, no matter where they are (as long as they are in God’s will!).
So, I am now going to tell you EVERYTHING that we know at this point in time so that we can quiet any possible potential rumors; keep no one in the dark concerning our plans; and so that we can all be praying about how EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US can participate in this opportunity to advance the Gospel. Again, I am now telling you everything that we know, so you don’t have to run to particular people and ask them a million other questions. They (the leadership) will tell you exactly what I’m telling you – since, again, this is all we have so far! So, here you go:
1. Pastor Heath will be the lead pastor of our daughter church. Heath has been with us here at Grace for 12 years….12 years!!! It has been his desire for a long time – and I have known, expected, and anticipated this for years myself – that one day he would pastor his own church.
2. There is ABSOLUTELY no problem or negative reason why Pastor Heath is taking part in this birthing process! So, don’t even begin to start any of that kind of talk!!! This is not anything like that insane TV show “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”, in which we are suddenly telling the church that we are starting a new church just to satisfy some crazy whim of Pastor Heath’s or because of some conflict between him, me, and/or the leadership. This has been a lovingly planned and conceived project that has taken much prayer, discussion, research, and study.
3. At this time we do not know where our ‘daughter will live’, other than it will be in the northern part of Pinellas County. So don’t try to dig something out of Pastor Heath that just isn’t there at this time. The moment we know that a good location has been determined you folks will be the first to know.
4. As of this moment, we do not know when our daughter will be born….we just know that we’re pregnant. Human fetuses take nine months (266 days) to gestate; sheep take five months (148 days); Asian elephants take twenty-one months (645 days); and rabbits only take a little over one month (33 days)! I can’t find a chart that tells you exactly how long a mother church is pregnant with a new daughter church; but this much I do know – when the Lord says it’s time – we’ll all know it.
5. We are 99.9999% sure of what our daughter is going to be named: Grace Church. It’s a good name: concise and meaningful. But I will say at this point that since Grace Christian Fellowship is the mother, we get dibs on the name ‘Grace’! So, we can still say that we ‘go to Grace’; Heath’s members will have to say that they attend ‘Grace Church’!!! Oh, all right, they can say whatever they want!
That’s what we know so far. As we progress we will keep you fully informed. So, what can we as a church do about our pregnancy at this point?
1. We can pray for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
2. We can pray for Pastor Heath, Andrea and their three daughters – Lanie, Eiley, and Everly.
3. We can pray for a perfect location that will assist the new church in touching the greatest number of people who need to hear the Gospel and desire to grow in God’s grace.
4. Even though we only know that the location will be ‘north county’, you can begin to pray to see if the Lord has seriously called you to be a part of this new endeavor. Of course, no one has to decide that right now, and both Pastor Heath and I agree that your decision ought to really be centered on God’s calling of you there, rather than on some other convenience or friendship reason; but I’ll talk about that another time.
Okay my friends – my church family – I know that was big news. For some of you, you really weren’t surprised – you may actually be wondering why it didn’t happen sooner (because of Pastor Heath’s gifts and talents). For others this may have really come to you as a surprise, but I sincerely hope and pray that you trust us as your church leaders that we have done, and are doing nothing without having seriously and earnestly prayed that the Lord’s will would be done for all of us.
Not only is this going to be an exciting time for the new Grace Church, but the Lord has amazing things in store for us at Grace Christian Fellowship! We will have newer opportunities to evangelize and grow; raise up additional leadership; stretch our members to participate in ministries where they never have before – and on and on the fruit will spring forth! So, if we as a church family work together to be a blessing to our daughter, then we aren’t ‘losing’ anyone! Instead we are all participating in this joyous time of birth, growth, maturity, and Kingdom building!
God bless! (I’m going to send another church wide email with a list of upcoming activities, but let me just remind you of few things right now:
1. Men’s breakfast this Saturday at 8:00 AM.
2. Phaino on Sunday evening at 6:00 PM – a night of worship and prayer. And we’re doing something extra special this time: Afterwards we are going to have an ice cream sundae social as a little fund raiser for the youth. Brownies and ice cream sundaes for only $3.00. Coffee and Ice Tea will also be available. Consider staying for fellowship and be a blessing to our youth!
3. I’m looking forward to preaching from Acts 10 this Sunday, but I’ll say more about all of this (and other things) later today.
4. Next Sunday (a week from this Sunday) is September 11th - the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We will begin the service with a touching video to commemorate this event and I will have a special message for this church regarding the 'Time of Remembrance'.
Pastor RandyWhen I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half. ~ Gracie Allen