Grace Notes for August 13
Dear Grace Family,
The ladies and I are enjoying Pricilla Shirer’s study of Jonah. I was especially touched this past week by her devotional that talks about how we approach God. She draws the parallel between how we should pray, and the progression of how Jonah prayed from the belly of the great fish that had swallowed him up. She breaks it into three pieces: the PATTERN of prayer, the PASSION of prayer and the POSTURE of prayer.
In the second chapter of Jonah, much of the language written is Jonah crying out to God. It mirrors language from the Psalms. These words that he’s calling out must have been memorized and imprinted on his heart. When we don’t know what to say to God, we can cry out from an arsenal of scripture – if we have already learned it (imprinted it’s pattern) on our hearts. That’s why we must make sure our children are learning bible verses. Who knows when they may need to cry out to God and have nothing else to draw from? The same is true for us. Pricilla says “there is power in praying the scriptures.” She’s absolutely right!
When a baby wants something, they don’t generally quietly request it. They scream, make noise, ball up their little fists, wave their arms and feet and let you know something is up. The scripture tells us Jonah “cried out to the Lord … and He answered (Verse 2).” The Hebrew form of the word “cried”, in the context that Jonah used it, is Qara’, meaning “to call, cry, utter a loud sound, summon, invite, give name to.” God wants to see our Passion when we pray. Sometimes that crying out is just a wail of pain or grief. We may not even have words, but God wants us to approach Him with all the passion and fury we have. He responds to our pain with healing – to our grief with comfort – to our fear with strength. While we may start praying by memorization or rote, God needs to hear that our hearts are engaged.
And finally, while there is no special prayer formula, how we approach God is important. Pricilla says “Jonah’s prayer was not for deliverance, it was a prayer of deliverance. We need to be thankful to God, not necessarily for what we’re going through, but for what He can bring us through. We must pray with thanksgiving, even in the midst of our storm. Even when he was in the belly of a stinky fish, Jonah’s posture was one of thanksgiving. He acknowledged that he was out of God’s will for his life, and he thanked Him for deliverance before being delivered.
Our prayer muscles need to be exercised daily, just as our physical muscles need to be. If we don’t practice a time of daily prayer, only crying out to God in our distress, we won’t know how to pray when we really need to. Will God still hear us? Of course! God is always listening to His children. But I want to be one of those warriors that know, deep in my knower, that God hears every little muttering. And I want to know how to approach Him in a way that honors the position He holds in my heart. I find the more I pray, the more I long to pray. Finding sanctuary within God’s presence becomes an integral part of your life when you start placing yourself there. That’s where true peace is, even in the midst of the storm.
‘And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm’
Casting Crowns… from the album, Lifesong
Be blessed, my Grace family!
PLEASE NOTE!! All Sunday School classes will be held upstairs for the coming weeks as we begin renovation on the downstairs area for our new Youth of the Nation Sanctuary. AND>>>> tomorrow the ladies are bringing in home-baked goods for our bake sale in support of the trip to see Beth Moore.
- TUESDAY’S, 6:30 – 8:00 pm: Men & Women’s Bible Study.
- THURSDAY’S, 5:30 – 6:30: Worship Team practice. If you are interested in participating on the Worship team, please talk to Bobbie.
- THURSDAY’S, 6:30 – 8 pm, Youth of the Nation weekly worship service and bible study.
- Beginning Monday, August 14, Pastor Eric will be holding a “Fighters Fitness” class. Join him at 6:30 – 8:30 pm, every Monday night to get fit while flexing your spiritual muscles as well. F.I.G.H.T = Faithfully Igniting God’s Holy Truth!
- BAKE SALE THIS SUNDAY! The ladies will be bringing in home baked goods for sale before and after church. They are raising funds for the October trip to see Beth Moore. Please come with your offerings and your appetite. AND.. we are selling tickets for our Drive By Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, September 16th. Tickets are $10 each, 2 for $15, or dinner for 5 for $25!
- August 19, Noon – 4 pm… Youth of the Nation swim party at the Bowman’s!
- Friday, August 25th, 6 PM -- Family night at Grace. Come enjoy a meal, board games, fun and fellowship. Bring your favorite finger food or dessert to share!
- Parents with students in 6th Grade and up should have their children remain in service. Sunday School is Nursery age through 5th grade only. If older students (Junior and Senior High age) want to help in Sunday School, they can talk to Pastor Bobbie to be placed on a rotation.
- All Sunday School classes will be upstairs as the lower fellowship area will be closed for renovation.
- Look for the Time-Talent-Treasure cards on the back table: What is your special gifting? Will you share it with your Grace family? We need your help to keep our house running smooth. Please grab a card and let us know where you might feel God’s prompting to step into a church ministry.
- When planning an event, please contact Bobbie with the date so she can make sure there isn’t any conflict with other church activities. She can be reached at 615-939-5164. Text works!
Welcome to our new Senior Pastor, Eric Domen, his wife, Raquel, and their sweet family. We feel especially blessed to have this amazing man leading our congregation. It is going to be a great season of renewal and revival and we are looking forward to a mighty move of God!
We are also pleased to announce the addition of Pastor Bobbie Frye to our ministry staff. She has been named Administrative Pastor of Grace. She will be helping us in getting organized and active in Merced and beyond! Welcome, Bobbie!