As we continue to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, one of the other watchwords of the Reformation is “Sola Gratia,” which means Grace Alone!
In America, we often think that we get what we earn. I earned it; I worked for it; I deserve it. Right?!! That is a mindset in America. Unfortunately, this is often how we relate to God. I earned my salvation; I worked for it; I am basically a good person. I do more good than I do bad, so my ledger sheet is weighted to my good! But God doesn’t relate to us on the basis of our goodness. God relates to us according to His grace.
So, what is “grace?” Grace is UNDESERVED, UNMERITED KINDNESS OR FAVOR. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law – each of these offer a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.
We read in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves – it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
In the movie Saving Private Ryan, a group of Army Rangers receive a mission to go deep into enemy territory to save Private Ryan – all his brothers have been killed in action. They hit battle after battle, and some of them are killed along the way. They finally get to Private Ryan’s company, and they say, “Come with us. We’re here to save you.” He says, “I’m not going. I have to stay here because there’s a big battle coming up, and I’m not going to abandon my fellow soldiers.”
What do the Rangers do? They all stay and fight and almost everyone dies except Private Ryan. At the end, one of the main characters – played by Tom Hanks – is sitting on the ground. He’s been shot and he’s dying. But the battle has been won. Private Ryan leans over to him, and Tom Hanks whispers, “Earn this.” But it’s unlikely that any Ranger would say, “Earn this.” Why; because the Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has been “I chose this.” In other words, I volunteered for this. So, if Tom Hanks was really a Ranger, he would have said, “I chose this. You don’t have to earn this. I give up my life for you. That’s my job.”
And so, when you look at the cross and see Jesus, what you don’t hear is “Earn this.” What Jesus says is “I chose this. You don’t have to pay anything for it.”
Grace can be defined by this acronym:
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. During this season of celebrating the Reformation, may we remember what God has done for us in Christ, and may we thank Him for His AMAZING GRACE!!
The Reverend Dr. Stephanie Black
Dr. Stephanie Black, a missionary we currently support with Serge and the EPC, has returned to the US after 7 months in Ireland and India. She is thankful for the progress made in laying the groundwork for the new position of International Theological Education Specialist with Serge and EPC World Outreach. She will be in the US until God provides the remaining 30% financial support needed – hopefully by March 1, 2018. Please pray to that end. Also pray for her as she readjusts to the US and for her trip to Pasadena, CA, Oct 30-Nov 4 to participate in a new initiative at Fuller Seminary bringing together a group of African Christian scholars.
Stephanie will be with us this Sunday and will share briefly during our worship service about her ongoing ministry.
AND MAKE DISCIPLES
TOMORROW EVENING, Thursday, October 19th, beginning at 6:00 p.m., there will be a “Tabbing Party” at the Doyle’s home in Stuarts Draft, to tab Bibles which will be given to fifth graders in the WRE ministry. Dinner will be served!
THIS SUNDAY Pastor Glen will continue our “Guarding the Truth” sermon series based on 1 Timothy. This Sunday’s sermon, “A Conscientious Witness”- is based on 1 Timothy 6:1-2.
Our new Fall schedule continues this Sunday! Worship 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and Sunday school classes for “all” ages 10:45 – 11:30 a.m. Everyone is encouraged to attend a Sunday School class or assist with one. The nursery for babies and toddlers will be available during worship.
Adult Sunday School – We are studying the book of Colossians and this week will focus on Chapter 1, especially the relationship of Timothy and Paul. We meet in the Chapel on the 2nd floor. Each class has a stand-alone focus and message so join us for one week or the whole series!
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – Ruth Graham is helping to organize an area-wide prayer gathering on November 5th at Expo at 3pm. There will be testimony, guided prayer, video and information to raise awareness. Child care will be provided. Mark your calendars now! More information can be found at: https://www.persecution.com
Jim Heafner Memorial Bible Study –
The study meets Tuesdays at Panera Bread in Waynesboro. Men are encouraged to gather there around 6:45am to purchase breakfast and enjoy fellowship until the study begins at 7:00am.
Bible study/small group opportunity-Are you a person who would like to join a group of women and study God’s Word, pray and fellowship? We are always open to new folks, women or men. We are using The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Genesis 12 – 25: Be Obedient: Learning The Secret of Living By Faith. It is an exciting examination of the foundational truths of faith, sin and relationships through in-depth and practical study. We meet the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 11-12:30 at the home of Beth Laughlin, 525 Bader Ave., Waynesboro. For any further information or questions please call Beth at 943-0971.
HOME GROUPS – if you are not currently in a small home group and are interested in being in one, please contact Pastor Glen or Lynn Scott, our Small Group Coordinator. Please see other information about groups already meeting.
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
Children’s Ministry –Please see the information table in the back, on Sunday morning, to view the current volunteer schedule and see if you can fill in on any of the Sundays we need help. We appreciate our volunteers and know you’ll be blessed by your time with these amazing little people! Members are encouraged to contact Kelly King at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are available to help.
PRAYERS OF HCC
Colossians 4:2 – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Bill Hamilton – Please pray for Bill’s upcoming cochlea implant surgery on October 31.
Helen Wilson-May we keep her in prayer for increased strength and endurance following a recent fall.
Deborah Kleinschuster-Healing is proceeding nicely from recent foot surgery and she thanks all for their prayers.
Paige Holder-Paige is scheduled for an MRA test on his shoulder October 20 which will hopefully lead to surgery of his left rotator cuff on October 25. Please pray that surgery will be completed as planned with an excellent outcome. Let’s also keep Sherry in our prayers as she takes on more home duties while Paige’s shoulder heals.
Paul Childers-Let’s continue to keep Paul in our prayers as he is thankfully scheduled for an orthopedic surgery appointment October 19.
Rose Parler – Rose would like prayer for her autoimmune disease to be in remission or in control so she can have a needed surgery on her hip.
Massie and Shirley Wright – Pray for strength and balance while walking for Massie.
Don Acker (brother of Debby Ray) – Please pray for Don whose leukemia has returned. He is being admitted again to start the very first month long procedure again. He is much weaker and they cannot do a transplant unless he is in total remission.
Sandy King (Sam King’s mother) – Pray for healing of a broken wrist.
David Windsor’s Father – Please pray for David’s dad who has cancer.
Walter Sass (Marge’s son)– Pray for Walter with various personal challenges at this time.
Jay & Dede Hamilton – Please pray for Jay who is scheduled for a cochlear implant 12/5, pending the last complete physical exam and tests in November. Pray for new friends, a church they can call home, and encouragement.
PEOPLE WHO ARE UNCHURCHED in our community; there are people all around us who need the Lord! Pray that we will truly be salt and light in Waynesboro and beyond!
Communities devastated by the recent hurricanes– Continue to pray for those who have been displaced to receive the life-giving message of the hope we have in Jesus Christ along with material and physical support.
HOPE COMMUNITY CHURCH – Please pray for God’s guidance as we discern the possible next location for our church family. Keep Larry Roberts in your ongoing prayers as he completes his training in becoming an Elder in our church. His term will begin January 2018.
Ruth Graham – Please continue to pray for persecuted Christians around the world. Pray also for Ruth in working to raise awareness in the Valley of our persecuted sisters and brothers.
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Brunson – EPC teaching elder Andrew Brunson has been imprisoned in Turkey for over a year. Please continue to pray for his release!
Other Prayer Requests:
Las Vegas –Please pray for all those effected by the recent shootings in Las Vegas.
Dan Conyers (Friend of Blake & Marty Porter) – Please continue to keep Dan in your prayers. He has been moved to a nursing rehabilitation facility.
Tammy Lipscomb (friend of Candi Brown) – Praise for the report of ongoing healing of her torn retina. Please pray for continued improvement of the redness in both of her eyes.
Joan Bundy-She sends her thanks for our prayers as she has undergone radiation treatments for breast cancer. Dan Woodworth reported that she is improving in her recovery.
If you would like to add someone to the prayer list or would like to update a prayer concern, please contact Beth Laughlin at 943-0971 or Wink Brown at 540-241-5531.