As I write, an unexpected amount of snow is falling outside my window and the first fire of the year is blazing in our fireplace. With the right boots, the right shovel, and the right wood – thanks to a dear friend in the congregation, the snow is bringing a needed Sabbath rest and hush.


I came home from the office early but not before we had our first meetings with Bill Merriman and Jim Powell, our architects leading our master planning efforts. I could barely sleep Wednesday night. I had a kind of child-like Christmas Eve insomnia anticipating our time this week dreaming together with the Merriman Holt Powell Architects about the future – God’s future – for GRACE Church. Just like we had over 500 hundred people in 40 days group, I am hoping over 500 people will interact with Jim and Bill this weekend in the early stages of our master planning process.


If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. We have gatherings tomorrow – Friday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Click here to sign up.


This Sunday, we begin a short series, The Lost Art of Thanks.


Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami have done significant research on gratitude. In a recent study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on topics.


One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had an impact on them. After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They exercised more and made fewer visits to the doctor.


That’s not a surprise to me. Gratitude is good for your physical health, but it also cultivates your spiritual health. As we get ready for THANKS-MAS, those crazy, quick, wonderful, and exhausting days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this series will help us lean into The Lost Art of Thanks. Sunday, I’ll be preaching on how being thankful is a “Gamechanger” for your life.


We will celebrate Thanksgiving Communion in both worship services. Also, over the next two weeks, we will introduce the newest members of GRACE.


The series will continue at our Thanksgiving Eve Service at 7 pm, Wednesday, November 21. Always a highlight, we will hear testimonies from our members about God’s work in their lives. And the series will conclude on Sunday, November 25th at 10 am in one joint worship service at Northeast Middle School. Note the time and the location change for that Sunday only.


As you watch the snow fall, two last reminders.


With the cold outside, be praying for the work of the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter. Click here if you would like to join other GRACE people serving that important ministry.


If you haven’t yet made your 2019 commitment for the mission and ministry of GRACE Church, I want to personally invite you to do that today. Click here. Your giving is a “thank you” to God and makes a difference.


Stay safe and warm and see you this weekend!


Your pastor and friend


Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor