This past Tuesday was a day we have all been praying and dreaming about. It was a historic milestone and the beginning of the next chapter of our dear church. Tuesday, we broke ground on the Hecktown Road property. The key moment wasn’t about shovels. Though it was about breaking ground. We didn’t just break ground, we pounded hundreds of prayers into the ground on the outline of our new church building. That’s what you see above. I wept tears of joy seeing you and your prayers and re-living the “Only-God” stories we have experienced these past years. If you missed it, CLICK HERE to see a gallery of Groundbreaking photos.
Even with the joy of this week, my heart is heavy. I have been on my knees asking for God’s mercy and grace over Afghanistan. I know you join me in praying for the Afghan people, for Americans still there, and for our military who regularly put their own lives at risk and are doing that today in order to evacuate people to safety.
As Christ-followers, there is no way to ignore, or duck when we see pain and suffering in the world. Our commitment to Christ, means we love the world in Jesus’ name. Part of our becoming more like Jesus is seeing the world with His eyes, and with His heart. Our hearts break for the things that break His heart.
That’s exactly what we are talking about this Sunday. We’ve been talking about the practices that make us more like Jesus in our In-Training series. Sunday, we talk about service –living out our faith in the world – the world that Jesus gave his life for.
Our preacher this week is our new Executive Pastor, Doug Stewart. Doug and his wife, Susan have spent the past week transitioning from Omaha to Bethlehem. They closed on their new home in Bethlehem today. As I have previously shared, the Stewarts are Delaware natives who are excited to get back to this part of the country and excited to join us here at GRACE. Doug’s first career was as a Vice President and General Manager of the AAA Omaha Royals. In his second career (as he describes it), Doug served as Associate Vice President of Bellevue University. When he wasn’t working those jobs, Doug was actively engaged in his Presbyterian Church serving in volunteer and staff roles in mission, next-generation ministries, and discipleship, as well as serving as a trainer and teacher in BSF. Through all of that, Doug began to feel the tug to full-time ministry. He has completed seminary and the ECO ordination process and is certified ready to be ordained. We will have the privilege of ordaining Doug in the next couple of months. Doug brings some needed administrative and systems gifts as well as a heart for Jesus and the local church. Doug and Susan have two young adult children, Allison, and Graham, who both live in Omaha. I can’t wait for you to meet Doug on Sunday.
On Sunday, you will also begin to hear about the growth opportunities that are coming this Fall. One of those is Financial Peace University. See below for more information.
Bring your joy and your tears to worship the God who has the whole world – including your life, in His hands. He deserves your worship and will be there ready to receive it.
Dr. Marnie Crumpler