GraceConnect E-News, No. 28, Week of December 30, 2013

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

Farewell to 2013

It's been a significant year for us at GraceConnect. We launched a new brand that included re-designed websites (graceconnect.us and bmhbooks.com), magazine (GraceConnect), and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest). It also meant the beginning of a brand new platform -- the GraceConnect eNews. It's all part of our commitment at the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, the parent organization of GraceConnect, to build bridges of communication between the people and churches of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

In 2014, we'll be looking for more ways to construct those bridges. Applying Hebrews 10:24-25 to the Grace Brethren network, we'll tell how Grace Brethren people and churches are encouraging love, helping one another, and worshiping together.

For daily news in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, watch GraceConnect.us. If you see breaking news or have a story to share, email lcgates@bmhbooks.com.

If you enjoy this newsletter, would you forward it to one friend within your church and encourage them to subscribe? It's the best way to stay connected with news, ministries, and events within congregations of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC). -- Liz Cutler Gates, editor
 
 
As 2013 winds down, the staff of GraceConnect would like to wish you a Happy New Year. As we do, we give a nod to our predecessor publication, the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine. Written in a very different era, this editorial by Dr. Louis S. Bauman, from the January 6, 1945 issue, still rings true. “Thanks be unto the God who hath given unto us of His Spirit, we can be happy.” We are grateful for your support over the past year and trust that you’ll continue to follow the news of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches through GraceConnect eNews in the future. May you find hope and happiness in a relationship with Jesus Christ until it is time to cry with the Psalmist, “It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken.” (Psalm 119:126 ESV).

Many, many millions have been wishing each other a “Merry Christmas” as these editorials were being written. As for the editor, it is hard to see how this Christmas season can be merry “except in the heart of an innocent child.”

From every nook and corner of this habitable globe comes a story of human (or, inhuman) hate, human cruelty, human misery, and human suffering, until the heart sickens and we cry out, “How long,’ O Lord, how long?” How much longer can a just and merciful God look down upon these earth scenes, and withhold from action His mighty arm? Human failure on all sides we see. Every device that man has ever created, every panacea that man has ever concocted, every scheme for human betterment, have proven themselves utterly worthless to stay the avalanche of extreme wickedness that threatens to engulf the whole world and destroy the last vestiges of civilization. There is no hope left the world so far as man’s efforts are concerned. It seems the more man moves, the deeper he sinks into the mire. It is surely time to cry with the Psalmist as of old: “It is time for Thee, O Lord, to work!”

But, let us not despair. It is the declared purpose of God to let man come to a full end of himself, and realize that apart from God, he is vanity. “Without Me, ye can do nothing!” When man gets to that place, help will come from above.

Click here to read the complete editorial.

People

Jeff Bogue, senior pastor at Grace Church, a Grace Brethren church in Akron, Ohio, has received a doctor of Biblical studies in pastoral ministry degree from Master's International School of Divinity, Evansville, Ind.

Christmas Gift Follow-up

Last week, eNews featured Sam Mylin and his Twelve Days of Christmas paintings at Grace Church at Willow Valley in Lancaster, Pa. (John Smith, pastor). On Christmas Eve, the final piece in the series was unveiled. John and Dawn Heffley and their boys received "Twelve Drummers Drumming." In addition, the first in the series, â€œA Partridge in a Pear Tree,” was passed along to another "loved one." Dorothy Kern, who received the painting with her late husband, Bob, in 2002, decided to give the painting to Pastor Alec Millen, who followed Bob as associate pastor at the church.

"I am currently giving daily tours of the series, and am finishing up putting together my notes, sketches, and studies together to give to the church on Sunday, January 5, the 'Twelfth Day of Christmas!'" reports Mylin.

From Around the Web

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that you might find of interest…
 

News

The annual Kalahari Winter Retreat will be held this weekend (January 3-5, 2014) in Sandusky, Ohio. Zach Pinkerton, who coordinates the event reports, "Currently we have about 2,200 people signed up from 26 churches. We have completely filled the retreat and cannot accept anymore registrations." He stresses that there will be hundreds of students who do NOT know Christ coming. Pray that they start a relationship with Him," he says. 
 

Leadership Development

The Grace Brethren Church in Greenville, Ohio (Danny Wright, pastor), is offering their Elder Leadership Class. While it's required for men in their congregation who would like to be elders, all men are encouraged to take the class. If you are in southwestern Ohio, you might want to check it out. You don't have to attend Greenville Grace to partipate.
 

Integrated Ministries

An update from Africa… Water for Good (formerly known as ICDI) provided an update on their ministry this week, along with a link to a French news broadcast about Christmas Eve in Bangui. Jim Hocking, founder and executive director at Water for Good, pointed us to this story in French, Bangui : Une situation humanitaire déplorable des infants déplacés, that references the Castor Brethren Church, one of the many Grace Brethren congregations in the Central African Republic.
 

Church Planting

Interesting Church Statistics… "the numbers of people seeing a small gathering in the home as their main spiritual family is much larger" -- Neil Cole, a Grace Brethren pastor who is a leader in the organic church movement.
How to Start a Kingdom Conversation
This week's featured book
 

How to Start a Kingdom Conversation

Sharing Christ With Those Closest to You

by Alfred "Duke" Heller

Dr. Heller gives encouragement and helpful instruction to those who wish to share Christ with others, particularly those closest to them—their relatives. Zig Ziglar, in his foreword, says, “I believe there is a critical need for this book. It is the work of a man who knows and loves Christ and wants to share His grace, glory, love, and promises with others.”

Regularly $11.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code "eternity" in your shopping cart at bmhbooks.com. (Price is good only until midnight, January 7, 2014.)

One Last Thing…

Your support helps fund the communications platforms of GraceConnect and the Brethren Missionary Herald Company! If you'd like to make a tax-deductible gift and still have it count in 2013, go to graceconnect.us to click on the orange "Donate Now" button in the top right corner. Thanks, in advance, for partnering with us in this ministry!

Events in the FGBC

January 1, 2014 â€“ Global Prayer Walk Begins (EWP)
January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat, Oaks Conference Center (FGBC)
January 24-25, 2014 â€“ Biblical Foundations of Leadership, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council Meeting, Seal Beach, Calif. (FGBC)
March 16, 2014 â€“ Prayer Sprint Begins (EWP)
March 17-19, 2014 â€“ South Focus Retreat, location to be announced, (FGBC)
April 25-26, 2014 â€“ Women's Leadership Studies: Equipping Others (WGUSA)
May 19-21, 2014 – Northwest Focus Retreat, Camp Clear Lake, Wash. (FGBC)
June 27-July 3, 2014 – Encounter ATL (EWP)
July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
October 28-November 9, 2014 â€“ Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA
____
Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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