Giving Update & Sunday Service: 03.29.20

Grace Church Family,

Moving forward, and until we’re able to gather in the Community Center again, Grace will continue holding Sunday services virtually. You can access our next Sunday service video starting at 8:00am this Sunday (03.29.20) by clicking HERE.

The videos will also be uploaded to our website’s sermon page found HERE, but will not be available until Sunday afternoons.

Below, you will find a Giving Update, Sunday morning prayer information, Children’s Ministry resources, and the Sunday Service Order for 03.29.20.

GIVING UPDATE

As we’ve been trying to communicate in our virtual services, during this time when we’re unable to worship through giving in-person during our corporate gatherings, there are two other ways that you can worship in this way.

First, you can give online through our safe and secure online platform Clover Give. To give in this way go to www.gracechurcheast.org/giving and click “give now”. We’ve also added step-by-step instructions to walk you through how to give – you can access those HERE

In Clover Give you can also set up recurring giving which might serve you as you seek to be intentional and consistent with your giving.

Secondly, you can give through the mail. You can personally mail a check or have your bank send us a check to our PO Box by setting us up as a “payee” under the “pay bill” option. You can also set up recurring giving through your bank.

Please email all checks to PO Box 247, La Mesa, 91944.

Most importantly during this time, let’s continue to be faithful in prayer as we ask our heavenly Father to “give us our daily bread” (Matt. 6.11) as we express our dependence on him for all things knowing that he knows our needs and is faithful to provide (Matt. 6.25-34).

Thank you for your faithfulness in this area as we’re all seeking to put God first in our finances.

SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER
For anyone who would like to join the virtual Sunday morning prayer meeting, here is the Zoom link: Sunday Morning Prayer. The meeting will be from 9:00am – 10:00am.

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY RESOURCES
For parents who would like to continue teaching the Children’s Ministry lessons at home, we’ve included those valuable resources here.

Older Kids’ Lesson: Click HERE
Older Kids’ Activity Page: Click HERE

Younger Kids’ Lesson: Click HERE
Younger Kid’s Activity Page: Click HERE

Preschool Kids’ Lesson: Click HERE
Preschool Kids’ Activity Page: Click HERE

SUNDAY SERVICE ORDER – 03.29.2020
Call to Worship
     Is He Worthy?
     Blessed Redeemer
     Glorious Day
Nicene Creed (click here to read/print)
     His Mercy is More
Pastoral Prayer
OfferingLuke 12:29-31
Announcements

SermonThe Cry of the Cross: Forsaken
Sermon Text: Mark 15:21-39
     In Christ Alone
Closing/Benediction

Virtual Prayer Meetings Start Tonight: 03.25.20

Grace Church Virtual Prayer Meetings – first meeting TONIGHT

Greetings Church Family!

As I mentioned in our video service on Sunday, starting today, Wednesday (03.25), we are going to begin having twice weekly virtual prayer meetings using the Zoom video meeting service – Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. If you’ve never used this service before click here to learn how to join a meeting.

We’re having these meetings because praying together directs our hearts and minds to God, it helps us find refuge in God in a tangible way, it connects us in fellowship with one another, and – most of all – our God is a prayer-hearing God!

Below are the times and links to join the prayer meetings (they’ll be the same each week). After each of the prayer meetings Tab and I will stick around to hang out or answer any questions you might have, but please know that we are easily reached at any time via email: tabtrainor@gmail.com and joshua.david.morgan@gmail.com. Feel free to call us on our cell phones at any time as well.

Wednesday Evenings (7:30pm – 8:30pm) – https://zoom.us/j/102141650

Sunday Mornings (9:00am – 10:00am) – https://zoom.us/j/380041501

Lastly, if you have any prayer request that you’d like us to be praying for as a church please email me at joshua.david.morgan@gmail.com, and I will be sure to add that to our church wide prayer list.

I’m looking forward to gathering with you all to cry out to God together, declaring our dependence on him who hears and cares for us.

Grace and peace,

Joshua

Online Sunday Service: 03.22.20, 10:00am

Grace Church Family,

As Tab mentioned in Friday’s email, Grace will be holding Sunday services online. Below is the Sunday Service Order and you can access the service video at 10:00am this morning by clicking HERE.

Sunday Service Order – 03.22.2020

Pastoral Introduction
     All Creatures of our God and King
     He Will Hold Me Fast
     Oh God
     Be Thou My Vision
Pastoral Prayer
Announcements & Worship Through Giving
Sermon – “The Path of Life in the Pandemic”
     Your Great Name
Benediction

Current Priorities: 03.20.20

CURRENT PRIORITIES (3.20.20)

Dear Grace Church Family,

As we awaken to the reality of our entire state being called to shelter at home, let’s remind ourselves of this vital truth from Psalm 46.1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  With that reality filling our minds and hearts, we respond with the psalmist in verse 2, “Therefore we will not fear…”

We promised you an update today about how we intend to proceed as a church community in this time of uncertainty and (at least in our lifetimes) unprecedented experiences.  Here are the FIVE MAIN PRIORITIES we see for us pastorally and as a church:

  1. establish worship services (online)
  2. establish community (online)
  3. establish care
  4. provide for practical needs
  5. engage our community

Here’s an explanation of those five priorities in more detail:

  1.  Establish Worship Services

Beginning this week we will upload a weekly online worship service video for you on YouTube.  It will have important announcements and a sermon from God’s word.  This week we will also have some songs recorded as part of that video to encourage you.  We are learning and experimenting on this front; thank you for being patient!

We will let you know when that video is uploaded, and how to access it (you will receive a text from us like you did today).  Watch that video, sing along, and allow the word of God to minister to you as it is preached.  Now, more than ever, those means of engaging with God and receiving from God are vital for our souls!  Follow-up thoughts and resources related to the sermon will be put on our church blog.

  1. Establish Community

We are getting our Home Groups up and running through virtual means.  Each Home Group leader is establishing a Zoom account for video conferencing.  It’s not the same as meeting in-person, but right now it’s the next best thing.  You will be hearing from your Home Group leader about joining a Zoom Home Group meeting very soon.

NOTE:  If you are not connected with a Home Group right now, please contact one of the Home Group leaders (their names are listed at the bottom of this letter).  It is an important time to be connected together as much as we possibly can.

We are also establishing our Prayer Meetings through the Zoom platform.  In fact, we plan to add an additional prayer meeting during the week.  Praying together directs our hearts and minds to God, it helps us find refuge in God in a tangible way, it connects us in fellowship with one another, and – most of all – our God is a prayer-hearing God!  For all those reasons, join us in a virtual prayer meeting.  Look for updates about when they will take place.

In addition, the Women’s Bible Study is seeking to migrate to a Zoom platform; look for information about that.  If the Men’s Bible Study is able to meet virtually, we will let you know that as well.

  1. Establish Care

As elders, we are going to contact each of our members (and regular attenders) with a personal phone call over the next couple of weeks.  We recognize that the spiritual and emotional impacts of COVID-19 are very real.  During this extraordinary time, the earnest desire of your pastors remains to “…care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20.28)!

As elders, we will seek to stay connected with each of you via a periodic phone call throughout this time of crisis.  However, if you need any assistance, counsel, or care, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Our staff pastors are easily reached via email:  tabtrainor@gmail.com and joshua.david.morgan@gmail.com.  Feel free to call us on our cell phones at any time as well.

  1. Provide for Practical Needs

Not only are the spiritual and emotional impacts of COVID-19 real, the practical impacts are just as real.  We know there will be needs for shopping (for shut-in members) and for benevolence support.  This presents us with an opportunity to immediately apply 1 John 3:18, “…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

We expect that those practical needs will emerge through our Home Groups, so don’t hesitate to raise those needs within your groups.  We also want you to contact us directly about those practical needs (you can email Tiffanie; she will help us track those needs to make sure they are being met as best we can.)

In terms of meeting the financial needs of our members as they arise, we do have a benevolence fund that you can give directly toward.  I want to stress the importance of continuing your regular giving (online or regular mail), as an expression of your worship to God – and your support of the ongoing ministry of the gospel.  But, in addition to your tithes and regular offerings, we anticipate a heightened importance of our benevolence fund in the weeks and months ahead.  Please consider giving to that fund to help meet the financial needs in our midst.  Thank you!

  1. Serve Our Community

While we emphatically agree with and urge everyone to fully comply with our governor’s order to stay at home, there may be an opportunity to help Bridge of Hope as a local food bank.  We will let you know if an opportunity to love our neighbors through our ministry partner is open to us.  But, again, stay at home out of love for neighbor too!

There are also unique opportunities to show the love of Christ to your neighbors all around you.  Right now we all share in a very difficult time together, yet you can bring hope and help through the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As you take a walk around your neighborhood, look for opportunities (at appropriate social distances) to extend practical care, prayer, and good news.  God may open a door for the word; let’s pray for that (Colossians 4.3)!

To reiterate:  your pastors are available to serve you, and – even more importantly – your God is with you in Christ Jesus as our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  He will be caring for us all through this difficult time.

We love you and are trusting God with you,

The Elders of Grace Church

PS – Our Home Group leaders are as follows (contact information can be found on our directory):

  • Steve and Sharon Farrington
  • Eric and Sheryl Lehmkuhl
  • Tim and Linda Liddell
  • Joshua and Dona Morgan
  • Rick and Margie Padelford
  • Tab and Sung Trainor

COVID-19 Concerns Update: 03.17.20

3.17.20 – UPDATE

Dear Grace Church Family,

As of today we are cancelling all in-person meetings and ministries of our church until further notice. As governmental guidelines and restrictions continue to roll out in this fluid and developing situation, we want to respond responsibly – and prioritize your care. And we still believe that caution is the best way to care.

As elders, we will be talking this Thursday about how we plan to move forward and will send you more information on Friday. Until then, we are cancelling all in-person meetings and ministries of this church. We hope they can resume soon, but we must seek to be responsible by taking this further step.

We are working on ways to serve you and connect us as a body through virtual means, because we know how it important it is to stay connected right now. In fact, we believe it is vital that we stay connected. However it is also clear that we should not have any in-person meetings right now.

I realize that if you are healthy, and those around you are healthy, all of these steps and restrictions can appear to be very unnecessary. However, it is good to remind ourselves that we do this so that our community at large can be more protected, and not just ourselves. This is a way we can serve and protect the more vulnerable among us in particular, which I know you would agree is a priority to God (Matt 10.42, James 1.27).

Thank you for your patience and understanding. As elders, we stand ready to serve and care for you in any way that would be helpful. Please don’t hesitate to call or email us. We know these growing restrictions are difficult, and we want to care for you as best as we possibly can.

Most of all, know that we are trusting God with you and sincerely love you,

Tab

Cancelling Our Services: 03.15 Update

3.15.20 UPDATE – Cancelling Our Services

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are cancelling our services until further notice. 

When the county health department believes it’s appropriate to gather again in larger groups, then we will do so.  Currently their guidelines and restrictions are in place through March 31.

As I know you are aware, this is a developing situation so let me explain why we are cancelling and how we plan to proceed from here.

Why Cancel

Since the county issued their restrictions and guidelines on Thursday afternoon, it has taken some time for us to mull over what responsible social distancing looks like for an organization that is built around gathering together.  The conclusion we unanimously came to last night was:  caution is the best way to care right now.

Here are the contributing factors that pushed us in that direction:

  • A number of our members are telling us that they should not be present at a gathering of our size for health-related concerns (and we support them 100%!). Others have health-compromised family close by and would be understandably concerned about gathering.
  • The reality that – out of love for neighbor – we must do our part to serve our members, and our broader community (Galatians 6.10), as we all seek to slow the spread of this virus.
  • Community spread in our immediate area is now known to be occurring (including a situation that affects a couple of our members, and immediate family of our members).
  • When asked for their recommendations, two healthcare professionals in our church both said they would lean toward cancelling. They both cited the high degree of what is unknown right now as the primary reason.

As one of those healthcare professionals put it, “we’ll know a lot more in three weeks.”  If all these precautions seem unnecessary in three weeks, then we will have at least been cautious (and these precautions will probably have been effective too).  Here’s a helpful article from Christianity Today, and another by Andy Crouch; both shaped some of our collective thinking.  The bottom line:  caution is the best way to care right now.

How to Proceed

This situation is a real challenge, as well as an opportunity for us.  The challenge, at a heart level, lies in reminding ourselves that we know and trust a good and sovereign God.  None of this has taken him by surprise.  He has not stepped off the throne of the Universe.  Psalm 115:3 is as true as it ever was:  “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”  The One who did not spare his only Son for us is loving and caring for you right now!

Yet, because of that heart-level challenge, it is vital that we continue to gather for fellowship and worship!  This is not a time to stop gathering with fellow believers (unless health considerations warrant that step).  Instead, it is a great opportunity to gather in small groups to serve and care for one another.

So, here are some specific steps we are implementing and recommending:

  1. Gather with your Home Group. We are asking all Home Groups to continue to meet regularly, if not even more regularly.  Gather with your group to worship our God together, and to care for one another.  How and when that happens is up to each group.  Joshua will be coordinating with each small group leader about that.  Practice appropriate social distancing when you gather, but – if you are healthy and it is safe for you to do so – don’t give up meeting together (Hebrews 10.25).  Gathering together is as important now as ever.

If you have not been attending a Home Group, now is a great time!  Just show up and introduce yourself.  They will be so glad to see you and to worship God with you!  Contact one of these Home Group leaders for meeting times and locations (contact information for each can be found in our directory):

  • Steve and Sharon Farrington (La Mesa / Mt. Helix)
  • Tim and Linda Liddell (North Park)
  • Joshua and Dona Morgan (El Cajon)
  • Rick and Margie Padelford (Crest)
  • Eric and Sheryl Lehmkuhl (Point Loma)
  • Tab and Sung Trainor (Lemon Grove)
  1. Stay in touch with each other through the means of your Home Group on a regular basis. In particular, stay in touch with any members of your Home Group who are self-quarantining or, for health reasons, are a shut-in during this time.  Get the email or text chain going in your group, and help us make sure practical needs are being met in the body.  This truly is an important opportunity to care for and support each other in real and tangible ways.
  2. Seize this opportunity to care for those around you, showing the love of Christ. As Andy Crouch put it, “We have an unprecedented chance to act redemptively in the midst of crisis and fear.”  People are acting out of fear because they don’t know our God who rules and reigns over all with his wisdom, goodness, and love.  You and I have an opportunity to be his ambassadors, as we reflect his love and demonstrate his peace.  God may give you great opportunities to show and to share the love of Christ.  Pray for that.
  3. Pray for our church, our city and our world. I’m finding that, though this crisis is real and challenging, it is an opportunity to remind my soul of what really matters in life and in relationship.  What matters most is that we know our God, he has given us his Son, and he has graciously given us each other.  So lift up each other in prayer, giving thanks for one another – and for the gracious gift of salvation in Christ.  Let us also pray for our country and the nations.  God may very well use this difficult time to draw many to himself.  In addition, let us pray for his comfort for those who are sick right now, and for those who may have lost loved ones.
  4. Continue to cultivate your trust in our trustworthy God. I list this last, but it is first in importance and flows out of all the above.  I will send out a simple worship guide tomorrow in case you’d like to use that with your small group or with your family.  It will be designed to help you trust God in the midst of this uncertain time.  The main text will be:

Psalm 46:1–3
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Finally, we recognize that the spiritual and emotional impact of COVID-19 is very real.  The elders are available to serve you during this time and will continue to stay in touch with communications like this one.  If you need any assistance, counsel, or care, please contact us and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible. The contact information for each of the elders can be found in our directory.  I will check my email regularly:  tabtrainor@gmail.com.  And Joshua can be reached directly at joshua.david.morgan@gmail.com.  Feel free to call us on our cell phones at any time as well.

May our Lord continue to shepherd us as we walk through this challenging time – and may it be an opportunity for his gospel to shine through us!

On behalf of Steve, Marshall, and Joshua – and with our sincere love for you,

Tab

PS – though we are not gathering in person at the moment, you can continue to worship God through your financial giving by going to our website, or by sending a check to the church’s mailing address:  P.O Box 247, La Mesa, CA 91944.

PPS – here’s a song list you might enjoy, which may serve your soul during this time.

 

Sunday Service Preparation: 03.08.20

SUNDAY SERVICE PREPARATION

The goal of this post is to help you prayerfully and thoughtfully prepare for gathering together as the church this Sunday. Take some time to read the selected sermon text, listen to some of the songs, and pray for the pastor and those who will gather.

SERMON:
Tab Trainor
Genesis: Stairway from Heaven

SCRIPTURE TEXT
Genesis 28:10-22 (click to read online)

SUNDAY’S LITURGY (click each song to listen on YouTube)
Call to Worship
Is He Worthy
In Tenderness
Corporate Confession
He Will Hold Me Fast
Lord, I Need You
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Sermon
The Lord’s Supper
Cornerstone
Benediction

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

Consider joining us this Sunday morning for our pre-service prayer from 8:45-9:45 a.m. in the Rec. Room Kitchen. Pray with us as long as you’re able, even if you can’t stay the entire time.

If you’re unable to gather with us in prayer Sunday mornings, below is a prayer of preparation you can pray to ready your heart to be met by God in our service this Sunday.

Almighty God,
As we prepare to gather in Your presence this Sunday,
let us be a people who remembers the promises obtained
for us through the obedience and sacrifice of our dear
Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us not take lightly the community
in which you have placed us, but let us realize that we’re
unified through Your Son, which is an immense privilege.
As Your Spirit moves in our midst, let us respond to the
encounters we have with You with a resounding
“YES, Lord!” and believe you are with us, will keep us,
give us bread to eat, and clothing to wear, just as You
did for Jacob, as we press forward in the tasks You have
called us to care for. All glory and honor to Your Name. Amen
(Based on Genesis 28:10-22)