GraceConnect E-News, No. 87, Week of February 16, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

A Tale of Two Pastors 

It was 8:00 o'clock Monday morning, August 31, 2009, and Dave Knight, children’s pastor at the Grace Brethren Church in Osceola, Ind., walked into his church office. He was looking forward to planning the startup of the fall children’s ministries at Osceola. Senior pastor Greg Serafino stuck his head in the office doorway and asked if he could join him in his office. “As [Greg] began to speak, I immediately understood that this was not a ministry meeting, this was not a church business-type meeting,” recalls Dave. “This meeting…was about me.”
 
He continues, “As he went on, I began to realize that I was being unceremoniously dismissed.”

Stunned, Dave packed up his things and headed home, swimming in grief.
 
Through the following weeks, Dave was encouraged by several of his friends and mentors. Through the recommendation of a friend, he read
A Tale of Three Kings – A Study in Brokenness by Gene Edwards. 
 
“I couldn’t put it down because it was about me and what I was going through from a scriptural prospective,” Dave shares. “As I walked through this amazing book; God tenderized my heart and had begun to teach me the way to handle my situation.”
 
Little did he know that Greg was also reading A Tale of Three Kings, and God was working on his heart too.
 
After several weeks, Greg called Dave and asked to meet with him and his wife, Sue. “He told of how God had used the “Three Kings” book to speak to him and how he had also been speaking to the elders regarding my dismissal. He then, with tears, asked for our forgiveness for how this had all happened,” Dave remembers.
 
“I told him that [my wife and I] had already forgiven both him and the elders prior to this meeting. As Greg left our home that afternoon, I believe we both understood that we were in the middle of an amazing experience with God.”
 
After meeting with the elders and much prayer, Dave Knight was asked in January 2010 to return to the Osceola church in a new role of Care Pastor.
 
"Today I can say that I have a more sensitive heart toward people and a deeper understanding of the struggles that they go through because of the path Christ had us walk,” notes Dave.
 
“I learned the incredible worth of friends; their help, their prayers and support which were invaluable to us as we travel this difficult road. I have a greater respect for the Word of God. I have come to love and appreciate Greg, my dear friend and pastor. My love has deepened for him because of his tender heart, his compassion, his willingness to be led by the Lord. Our relationship is stronger today because of what we walked through together.”
 
“Pastor Dave and I are better friends today than ever before,” agrees Greg. “Our relationship is open and transparent. We have a wonderful time serving together according to how God has gifted us and our families are deeply committed to each other!  God is good.”

This story was an abridged version of one written by Greg and Dave. To request the entire story or to send them a note of encouragement, email Greg at gwserafino@gmail.com or Dave at dknight@ogbc.net.

Learn how their wives responded. Cari Serafino and Sue Knight recently shared their story with Women of Grace USA...read it here.

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Nathan Wells writes on a recent SEEDNet blog post,* "That’s Shannon on the right, a new believer [at Ashland Village Community Church] racked with much pain from his past. So when I grabbed his hand and said, 'God is pleased with you' his eyes didn't leave mine, nor did he blink."

What a powerful picture of "the scandalous message of the gospel of grace!" 

[Your Turn]


[Read:] 
Pastor Greg Serafino related ten principles and lessons learned through the process of God redeeming the relationships at Osceola in the above story. Here are just a few: 
  • Significant time in prayer and fasting before, during and after a major decision are crucial. When praying – listen closely to the prompting of God.
  • Listening with an open mind to other’s opinion and suggestions is essential when you approach major directional changes. Be willing to change approach or course as your leadership team helps you determine it.
  • Listen to the Spirit – truly strive to stay in step with the Spirit each and every moment – when He says stop – STOP.  When He says speak – SPEAK.
  • Forgiveness is a choice and a process.

[Watch:] 
Grace Church (Bath Campus) has launched a new sermon/video series called "My Life Changed When...," highlighting the importance of each person's story. Watch the promo here, browse the sermons and search #mylifechangedwhen for more video stories of life change through Jesus. Also, keep an eye out on mylifechangedwhen.org

[Pray:] 
*Nathan Wells requests in his 
SEEDNet blog post: "Pray for many people to come to know Christ in all of our SEED areas and then to rest in the truth that God is pleased with them -- even if no one else is."
 

Events in the FGBC

March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 20-21 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBC – Grace Brethren Canada
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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