GCT Weekly Newsletter

We Grieve with Hope

Hello church family: This week I have to start out this letter with some bad news but I promise, as God also promises, there is always good news coming. You know that this world that we live in is difficult. It is broken. We are living in a world that is not operating the way it was designed to operate. And the difficult truth about our lives is that we will not escape life’s realities. None of us will escape disappointment, none of us will successfully avoid pain and none of us will escape loss. We cannot escape these while living in this fallen world. As a result of disappointment, pain and loss we experience a very strong emotion. This emotion may be the strongest emotion we will ever experience on this earth. This emotion is the emotion of grief.
 
Grief is an all-encompassing emotion that visits us for some time after we experience loss. Grief is a normal emotion to experience. There is no time-table or even constant order of how it works in each of our lives. Grief is as individual as our own fingerprint. Even as grief is a natural reaction to loss we must understand that grief can also be an emotion that can lead us away from the truths of the gospel. Grief can make us run from God. Grief can paralyze us and isolate us from the people of God. Grief can lie to us that God just does not care, or that He is punishing us, or that he is mad at us.
 
The great news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has come to understand our grief so that He can minister to us in that grief. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus shares our grief. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to intercede for us in our grief with groaning too deep for words (Romans 8:26) and to give us great peace in our grief (John 14:26). The story of the Bible makes great promises to us during our times of loss and grief. Our God is a God of hope so that we may abound in hope during our grief (Romans 15:13). The promise of the gospel is that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet he shall live and everyone who believes in Him shall never die. This means that Jesus is always conquering loss and death in the lives of those who believe. Jesus has come to put to death – death and loss. Not just physical death but also the death of relationships, or the death of of a job, the loss of trust, the loss of friendships, or even the precious things we thought we would have but never did. Jesus has come to bring life to each one of the places in our lives where death has come near. Even in physical death Jesus promises newness of life with Him in eternity. As believers we have the promise that everything that is bad is going to become untrue, undone, made new, redeemed. As Jesus asks in John 11:26, “Do you believe this?”
 
Remind your grief that God knows it. He cares for your grief. He puts all of your grieving tears in His bottle, He knows every one of your tears that have been shed (Psalm 56:8). Tell your grief that God is going to make all things new. Tell your grief that you will not let it define you, because God has promised us, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11. The gospel is for us to navigate grief with the understanding that we are a child of God and He is resurrecting us now even in our loss and grief. Get up, trust God and embrace the life that God has given you today.
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday: – Steve
 
Psalm 42:5 What are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, may salvation and my God.

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Fear wants to be your boss. God says, “Nope…”

Happy rainy Friday church family! So far we have covered three hindrances to enjoying the Gospel changing us. These three so far have been guilt, shame, and anger. This Sunday we will add another great hindrance to life change through the Gospel, FEAR AND WORRY. Our fear dwells in the present telling us that this world is dangerous. Worry lives in the future and continually says, “What if this happens, what if that happens, what if this does not happen, what if, what if. Worry is rooted in the future but reaches back to our present lives robbing us of all joy and peace in the Lord and happiness in our families. Fear and worry team up and says right now may be OK but I know things are going to get worse soon. Fear can become the norm of everyday life. Fear can result in misery, depression, anger, overprotection, anxiety. What about my children, their driving, their schooling, what about my health, economic collapse, investments failing, being broke, being forgotten, my hair, my figure, cancer, Alzheimer disease, sharks, spiders and our next president? There is an endless list of things to fear and be worried about. There is no real limit to our fears. Pause for a moment and take your top three fears and ask what they say about yourself? What do they say that you really desire, what you value, what you love?

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What does your anger look like? What is your anger saying?

Hello Church Family: Great news Friday… The Gospel is the power of God to kill your anger. Everybody knows anger. Anger is everywhere. Anger is a destroyer. Anger destroys unity. Anger destroys people. Anger is blind to itself. Anger says, I am right and you are wrong. Anger sees the speck in everybody’s eye and yet does not see the plank in its own eye. Anger tends to be atheistic with God and prayer not being part of our anger.
Do you seek love and unity in your anger? Does your anger seek reasoning? What is your anger rooted in? Is your anger saying, “I am right and you are wrong!” “I am not getting what I want!” “I am not getting what I demand!” Most of our anger is rooted in our own selfish desires. We are focused on our own desires more than the desires of others. We desire our desires more strongly than desiring that others would have their desires realized. The Lord has called us out of that selfish mindset commanding us to put the desires of other’s first (Philippians 2:3-6).

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An Escape from Enslaving Shame – The Gospel

Hello Church Family! Do you ever struggle with feelings of worthlessness that are accompanied with thoughts of rejection and a general gloomy glum attitude that you are always falling short of your community’s expectations of yourself or even your own individual expectations of yourself?
 
Welcome to your own personal world of “Shame.” Most likely you know this world all to well. We all struggle with shame. Shame is the painful emotion that is caused by a thoughts of guilt, failure, or indecency, that often results in the paralyzing belief that we are worthless, that we are of no value to others or to God, that we are unacceptable, and altogether deserving of disdain and rejection. .

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Now for the rest of the story… Get busy IN your salvation = Sanctification

Hello Church Family: As we continue in our series, “How the Gospel Changes Us”, we have been reminded that the God of the Bible, the Triune God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine, has known us before the creation of the world. His love has set a destiny upon us since before there was any time. That is the kind of love He loves us with a foreknowing and predestining love. That love results in us being declared righteous when God justifies us at our earthly calling and at the same moment in time He adopts us as His children and makes us fellow heirs with Christ. Throughout Scripture God shows us that He always works first in salvation. God moves first in performing the miracle of salvation in us and those whom we love. We have been declared righteous and are known by God as righteous because of Jesus Christ, this is known as positional holiness. We are positionally holy in Jesus Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

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Foreknew = To know beforehand = A beautiful promise of God for you today

Dear Church Family: Here we are in our fourth week of our series, “How the Gospel Changes Us.” Last week we discussed the fruit of faith that is our repentance. Our response to the gospel is a delightful, happy repentance from all of our sin that so easily separates us from the love of Christ.
 
Well, the weight of repentance can be heavy. Have you ever felt like this statement, “I feel like my repentance is not enough to please God. I know that I don’t repent enough and then the weight of my limited repentance gets me discouraged enough to think that God is not pleased with me.”

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