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Sunday Recap (How do the words of Jesus give us peace?)


peaceThis past Sunday at Evident Grace, we looked John 16:15-33.  Those verses include Jesus’ well-known declaration,

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

And while these words include a tremendous promise, Jesus has so much more to say surrounding them.  So, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

How do the words of Jesus give us peace?

And we answered it in this way…

Jesus tells us plainly about the Father.
Jesus knows all things.
Jesus overcomes the world.

As Jesus is speaking to His disciples, He begins to speak plainly, with no metaphors or figurative language.  This was not always Jesus’ way, but at the end, He wanted to make sure the disciples understood Him clearly.  And what does He have to say when He speaks clearly?  He teaches the disciples that the Father loves them.  They will be able to stand before the Father without fear one day.  Jesus will not have to stand between them, and they can stand without fear.  What an incredible promise for them and for us.  Those are words of peace – standing before God with no fear, no guilt, no judgment.

When Jesus says that, the disciples declare, “Now we know you are from God because you know all things.”  What a declaration.  Jesus knows everything.  Jesus is from God.  These are peace-giving words.  When we are confused about our lives, when we don’t understand what God has done or is doing, our only comfort has to be that our loving Savior knows all things.  He makes plans and directs our lives in God-oriented ways that our beyond us at times.  But knowing that He is from God, that He is gracious, gives us a hope and trust to endure. Knowing these words gives us peace.

And finally, Jesus tells them that He has overcome this world.  This world is full of pain, death, and suffering.  We struggle through it.  And while this promise does not say that we will avoid the pain and death and suffering, we know that we are eternally and spiritually protected because Jesus overcame our sin and the sin and the world by His death on the cross.  This is our peace as we move into a hurtful and sin-ridden world.

As the sermon came to an end, we concluded things this way.

Truth:  Jesus’ words give us peace because He teaches us about the Father, because Jesus knows all things, and because Jesus has overcome the world.

Application:  Living knowing Jesus speaks words of peace to you so that you do not have to fear this world and all its pain.

Action:  Pray for peace. 

Now having said that.  Do what God told you to do.  Read the Bible.

Avoiding the harshness of the above action happens when we think about this.  Jesus, our living word, becomes more real and more comforting to us as we study the scriptures, and we often lack peace because of our lack of loving God’s words.

I hope you enjoyed the sermon, and if you missed it or want to explore it deeper, you can find it online now.  I look forward to seeing all of you again this week and on Sunday.

Sunday Recap – (Why is waiting a good thing?)


keep-calm-and-just-wait-25This week’s sermon tackled one of the most difficult topics in our lives:  waiting.  Simply, God commands waiting and promises blessings when we obey.  Yet, we want what we want when we want it, and that wanting makes waiting nearly impossible.  Towards that end, we asked this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is waiting a good thing? 

And we attempted to answer that question in this way.  Waiting is a good thing because when we wait…

We understand God’s purposes.
We understand sorrow.
We understand joy.

Our setting is Jesus’ explaining to His disciples in John 16:16-24 that in a little while, they won’t see Him (His ascension) into Heaven, but in a little while they will see Him again (His return).  The disciples are confused.  They don’t know what Jesus is talking about, and they want Jesus, their Savior, to stay.  They have expectations of their Savior (an earthly kingdom, kicking out the Roman rulers), that Jesus seems uninterested in fulfilling.  Instead, Jesus wants them to know the true nature of His rule and the true nature of what it means to be Savior.  In this, the disciples realize that Jesus, the Savior, is going to unfold God’s purposes before them, and those purposes are higher and better than theirs.  We too learn God’s purposes when we wait.  We may want our purposes now, but waiting teaches us that God’s purposes are the ones that our hearts need.  Waiting teaches us to understand God’s purposes.

Jesus knows they are confused.  So, Jesus gives them a few more details.  Unfortunately, the details aren’t incredibly comforting.  He explains that while He is gone, the disciples are going to suffer, and the world is going to rejoice as they suffer.  Like the disciples, we spend our waiting time wishing away pain and suffering.  Jesus, however, wants the disciples to understand suffering.  Waiting helps us do that.  And the value of understanding suffering is that we, as creatures, understand our Savior’s suffering on our behalf.  Waiting teaches us to understand suffering.

Jesus, however, gives the disciples two pictures.  There is a day when we will see God, the Father, face to face, and we won’t have to ask for a single thing because Heaven will erase all of our needs and suffering.  Additionally, while we wait, Jesus teaches us that if we ask for anything in agreement with His will (in His name), He will give it to us.  We are not left alone.  This picture of present and future joy only comes to us while we wait.  Waiting helps we understand joy.

We ended our sermon in this way.

Truth:  Waiting is a good thing because as we wait, we understand God’s purposes, we understand sorrow, and we understand joy.
Application:  Live knowing, that in the waiting, we are most able to love and trust Jesus.  
Action:  Pray that God would make the waiting in your life sweet and joyful even if you suffer.

I hope you enjoyed the sermon, and if you missed it or want to explore it deeper, you can find it online now.  I look forward to seeing all of you again this week and on Sunday.

Sunday Recap – (How do we bear the weight that burdens us?)


14249115_10155191846612995_568409743_nWow, Labor Day Sunday, the pastor with no voice, and the sermon that nearly ate all of us.

If you weren’t with us, you were greatly missed.  Thankfully, we had lots of EG family returning from vacation and several first time visitors.  By God’s grace, I hoarse-croaked through the songs and sermon (still no idea why I lost my voice).

Why did the sermon nearly eat all of us?  Well, I first began the sermon two weeks ago, and I worked under the idea of a particular Big Picture Question.  Then I changed that question and wrote some more.  Finally, I realized the emphasis of the passage was different than what I was emphasizing, so I rewrote the sermon with the following…

Big Picture Question:  How do we bear the weight that burdens us?

We attempted to answer that question looking at John 16.

John 16:4b “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.  

But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

To understand how we bear the weight that burdens us, we answered the question in this way.  We bear the weights that burden us because…

The Holy Spirit comforts your sorrowful heart.
The Holy Spirit changes this messed up world.
The Holy Spirit helps you bear the hard words of Jesus and the scriptures.

Jesus is leaving.  The disciples are full of sorrow, and Jesus tells them a huge truth.  He says, “Guys, I’ve purposefully kept you in the dark, and I know your hearts are broken.  But, don’t worry, when the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach you all things.  And just like the disciples, our hearts are broken.  We are full of sorrow.  Relationally, financially, and on and on, there are so many things make us sorrowful, and we bear the weight of that sorrow, but the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to meet us in that sorrow.  We must come to this realization before we can enjoy the connection with have of the Holy Spirit.  We have sorrow, we need help, we trust so many other things.  Realize that, recognize your need of the Holy Spirit, and then connect with the help that Jesus has given you to bear the burdens you carry.

Additionally, we bear the weight of the messed up world.  There is so much death.  There is so much bad news.  There is sickness and sorrow.  It is such a weight to bear, but in our passage, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit is going to change this messed world.  As you grow in knowing and being like Jesus, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you help change this world.  Your mere presence will help that happen.  And yes ultimately, the Holy Spirit will help judge this world.  There is hope.

And finally, we looked at Jesus helping us bear the weight of the scriptures.  Jesus told His disciples that He had so much more to tell them (the rest of the NT if you will), but they couldn’t bear it.  But the Holy Spirit would help them bear it.  And this is true for you as well.  We don’t avoid the scriptures because we don’t have time.  We think we can’t bear them.  We are afraid we will be reminded that we are wrong.  We fear feeling guilty.  But friends, return to the scriptures.  The Spirit will help you bear them.

So, there it is.  The sermon that nearly ate us all.  I hope you find with this summary, and on our audio online, a great hope.  If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find it on our website.  I look forward to hearing from you and hearing how the scriptures have affected you this week.

Sunday Recap – (How does Jesus help you?)



As for the sermon, we looked at the end of John 15 and the beginning of chapter 16 where Jesus was prepping the disciples for his departure.

We began with looking at Psalm 121 asking the question, “Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?”  This was the cry of a man who lost his home, his job, his church, and he could no longer care for his family.  Yet, in the midst of all of that, he cried, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

We meditated on that for a while to prepare us for our passage.  John was going to teach us how Jesus personally cares for us, personally offers us help.  So, with that, we tried to answer this Big Picture Question:  How does Jesus help you?

To answer that, we look at these 3 ways that Jesus helps us.  Jesus gives us…

Jesus gives us the gift of the Helper
The Spirit protects us from falling away
The Spirit gives us the memory of Jesus’ words

In the passage, Jesus is prepping His disciples for His death, and He knows that more than anything, what they need is His presence.  And in it, He gives it to them.  He gives them this promise with this purpose:

15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

The Helper teaches Christians about Jesus, and the Helper enables us to tell the world about Jesus.  It is a wonderful promise that we are never alone.  In fact, the Spirit’s presence is more personal that Jesus’ because the Spirit is always with us.  It is a constant and purposeful help from God Himself.

Additionally, Jesus goes on to tell the disciples how difficult it is going to be for them.  People are going to want to hate them.  In fact, people are going to want to kill them, and they will think that killing them will actually be an offering of worship to God.

Now, our times are not that bad, thankfully.  But we still go through tribulation.  What promise, what care did Jesus give to them and to us?  It is a comforting promise.  Jesus promises that we will never fall away.  We will be held by Jesus forever.  We will never tur4n away.  He says:  16:1“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.

And finally, Jesus cared for us by telling us that the Helper would remind us of His words.  Friends, our goals of studying scripture should include knowledge, but learning the Bible is also about being reassured of the sweet promises of Jesus.  The Spirit will care for you by bringing those words to mind.

We ended our times with these things.

Truth:  Jesus cares for us by giving us the Holy Spirit who will protect us from falling away, and who will remind us of the words of Jesus.

Application:  Live your life knowing that you’re never alone, that you are always protected, and that the words of Jesus are intended to be your comforting reminder of both. 

Action:  Boldly pray that God would make you content with the love of God, the care of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.    

And finally, we spent a few minutes at the end discussing none other than Joshua.  In two weeks, we will launch our (eg)Groups for the Fall, and we will be studying the book of Joshua.

Joshua took over leading the people of God from Moses.  His job was to take them into the Promised Land.  Can you imagine how challenging of a task that might have been?  Moses is a giant of our faith.  But in the daunting task, what did God promises Joshua?  He didn’t promise him that everything was going to be fine.  He didn’t promise Him a life free from worry.  He promised His presence when God said,

“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Friends, you are continually loved by God.  He is always with you.  thanks so much for Sunday.  If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find it on our website.  And I look forward to interacting with you this week.

Sunday Recap – 8/7 (What is the gift of encouragement?)


therefore-encourageHere we are with only one sermon to go in our spiritual gifts series.  I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve enjoyed the follow up conversations even more.  Again, feel free to reach out to me if you want to interact.

This week’s spiritual gift is the gift of encouragement.  While the gift is mentioned in several places, we read Romans 12:

Romans 12:6 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

And we pursued these thoughts…

Big Picture Question:  How does God gift encouragers to the church?  God gifts encouragers to the church who are…

Culturally aware

To find these thoughts, we looked at a passage from Acts 15.  There the Apostles were addressing a concern in the church of Antioch.  Jewish and Gentile Christians were interacting for the first time, and the Jewish Christians were trying to get the Gentiles to begin following the law.

So, they sent some risk-takers to encourage the church.  They send Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas to speak to the church.  The Apostles have to figure how to keep this situation from causing a divide in the church that might never be repaired.  So much is at risk.  Encouragement is always a risk.

Second, these encouragers are culturally aware.  They have to figure out a way for these two cultures to co-exist.  So, they look at the situation, and they place a small burden on the both parties.  The Jewish Christians are going to have to realize that the Gentiles are not going to begin obeying the whole law. And the Gentile Christians are going to need to eat a bit differently around the Jewish believers.  They need to be culturally aware and be careful about eating certain ways.

And then boldly, these 4 go and present this information to the church, and guess what?  The church received it as an encouragement, and they rejoiced.

There was so much more said in the sermon, but we wrapped it up in this way:

Truth:  God gives encouragers to the church who are risk-takers, who are culturally aware, and who are bold so that the people of God would be reminded of the grace, love and call of God in their lives.

Application:  Live knowing that God has placed you in the church to give encouragement, receive encouragement, and to forever learn how to do both in grace and humility.  


One:  Today and this week, pray that God would show you specific people and specific ways in which you can be an encouragement to someone who needs it.   

Two:  Trust that others are doing the same for you. 

Three:  And pray the God would gift encouragers in this church so that we may all be encouraged in the hope that is ours in church.

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find it on our website.  And I look forward to interacting with you this week.

Evident Grace Moves to YMCA on May 1st


IMG_0973_004Evident Grace Fellowship is moving to the YMCA on Smith Station Road on May 1st, and our services will be at 10am.

How is that for a first sentence?  So, why are we moving?

Well, it is not because Courthouse Road Elementary has not been a fantastic host to us.  They are and have been awesome.  Everyone from the administrators, teachers, PTA leaders, the students, and staff have been gracious to us.  The space is nearly perfect, and we love being there.

So, why again are we moving to the YMCA?  There are several reasons.  Primarily, meeting at any county owned facility is cost-prohibitive.  We knew this going in, but now is the time to make a change.  The Y is that change.

Additionally, and most importantly, the Y gives us, day to day, more access and the opportunity to meet people.  We look forward to being around the facility on a regular basis, and several of our members have been and are going to become members.  We hope to love and serve them and all the people who use Patriot Park on a regular basis.

Another benefit of using the YMCA is that they have a top-notch pre-school program, and we are going to be able to use those facilities for our children’s programs.  All of our children’s programs in our other meeting placings have been situations where we had to create a children’s area.  No longer.  Now our children’s programs will take place in fantastic spaces designed for children.

The biggest change is that we are moving our meeting times up 30 minutes.  Our services are going to begin at 10:00am instead of 10:30am.  This is to accommodate the 12 noon usage of the members of the Y.  So, our services will begin at 10am.  Following, we will have a post-church fellowship time from 11:30am until 12:30am in a designated spot in the Y.  This will insure that all of our folks and first-time attenders get to spend time together and get to know each other.

If you have any questions about our move, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].  And please join us May 1st at 10am for our first Sunday.  The YMCA on Smith Station is located at 5700 Smith Station Rd, Fredericksburg, VA 22407, and you can find directions by clicking here.

We can’t wait to see you.

Evident Grace Launches Pastor’s Breakfast


pastors-breakfast-graphicExcitedly, Evident Grace Fellowship announces our first Pastor’s Breakfast for this past Sunday’s First Time Attenders and recent Guests.  It will be at 9:15am (04/3) prior to our worship service at Courthouse Road Elementary.

The goal of the Pastor’s Breakfast is to give our First Time Attenders and recent Guests an opportunity to meet Pastor Gordon Duncan, his wife, Amy, and our elders and their wives.  Additionally, we want to create an opportunity where you can ask questions, learn about the goals of the church, and find out how you can get more involved.

Want to learn about our children’s programs?  This is the place to do it.
What is the vision of the church?  We’ll cover it.
Hungry?  We will have coffee, pasties, and fruit.

If you have children, Evident Grace provides Sunday School for children in the K-5 age group during that time.  The breakfast will be casual enough for younger children to be comfortable.  We’ll provide some activities for them to keep them entertained during the breakfast.

Even if you visited Evident Grace weeks ago, please attend the Pastor’s Breakfast this Sunday (04/3).  We would love to see you again and give you an opportunity to learn more about the church.

As always, our worship service will be at 10:30am following the breakfast.  We hope to see you then.

Evident Grace launches Easter series, “Jesus Finds Us”


The end of March is going to be a time of celebration for Evident Grace, and we inviteyou, your family, and all guests to be a part of it.  In a series of services and sermons entitled “Jesus Finds Us”, we are celebrating the last week of Jesus’ life leading up to Easter Sunday.

We have 4 services in our “Jesus Finds Us” celebration:

March 20th Palm Sunday – 10:30am
March 24th Maundy Thursday – 6pm
March 25th Tenebrae Good Friday – 6pm
March 27th Resurrection Day Easter Sunday – 10:30am

Allow us a moment to explain what we hope to do with each of these.

Palm Sunday March 20th 10:30am

On the Sunday prior to Jesus’ resurrection, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and the crowd praised Him as king.  Taking palm branches off the trees, they waved them, shouting, “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest”.  On this Sunday, we will celebrate Jesus as king and add our voices to the “Hosannas” throughout the ages.

This service will be at our normal meeting space at Courthouse Road Elementary School.  As per our usual services, we will have childcare provided.

Maundy Thursday March 24th

The church celebrates Maundy Thursday as a remembrance to the Lord’s example on the night before He was crucified.  On that night, He gathered His disciples and said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for commandment.  So as Jesus gave the commandment to love one another, He gave them the Lord’s Supper which Evident Grace now celebrates each week.

So on this Maundy Thursday, we will gather to celebrate God’s love for us and pray that He will inspire us to love others.  We will have a festive meal followed by the Lord’s Supper that Jesus and the disciples took praying that God would use it to cause us to love greater and in the same Spirit that Jesus loved.

This service will be at the Fox Point Clubhouse on 6120 Blackstone Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA 22407.  There will be no childcare for this service.

Tenebrae Good Friday March 25th 6pm

The word ‘tenebrae’ is Latin for shadows.  The purpose of the Tenebrae Service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story.  In light of that, this service is not supposed to be a happy service because the occasion is a cause for mourning.

As a service of ‘shadow,’ the tenebrae makes use of little light.  Throughout the service, light will gradually be extinguished until only one candle will remain lit.  This light, the Christ candle, remains lit to remind us that even on this darkest of days, “It was the LORD’s will to crush Him.”

The purpose of this service is that you meditate on the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and upon the reason for His death and the cost for your salvation.  Stay as long as you wish after the service in silent meditation, but we ask that you leave in as much silence as possible so as to respect others still meditating and to maintain the somber mood of the evening.

This service will be at the Fox Point Clubhouse on 6120 Blackstone Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA 22407.  There will be no childcare for this service.

This is not the end, however.  You are invited Sunday morning to shout for joy to the resurrected Savior for then we will celebrate the rest of the story!

Resurrection Day/Easter Sunday March 27th 10:30am

On this day, we will celebrate the completed work of Jesus on behalf of all of His children.  By faith in Jesus, not only is a person forgiven, they are transformed from a slave into a child and given the very righteousness of Jesus.  Jesus is risen from the dead.  We will celebrate well on Sunday.

This service will be at our normal meeting space at Courthouse Road Elementary School.  As for our usual services, we will have childcare provided.

Ultimately, throughout all of these services, we want to better understand how Jesus found us.

He found us in our loneliness.
He found us in our sin.
He found us when we weren’t even looking for Him.

Please come join us. If you have any questions, feel free to found out more about Evident Grace Fellowship at, and you can also contact us at [email protected].

EG Christmas series, “Christmas For You”


christmasThanksgiving has come and gone, and the Christmas season is in full swing.  And while we decorate our homes and purchase presents, we always hear the exhortations from “The Charlie Brown Christmas” reminding us of the true meaning of the day.  So many of us love Linus’ speech telling us that it isn’t the tree that matters.  With so many things to distract us, we always need to take a moment to remind ourselves the importance of the season.

That is why our Christmas series at Evident Grace is entitled “Christmas For You” and our goal is to seek to understand the application of Jesus’ birth to each and every one of us.  We will apply it in this way.

11/29 – Christmas for the Church
12/06 – Christmas for You
12/13 – Christmas for Spouses
12/20 – Christmas for Parents
12/27 – What to do now that Christmas has come and gone

You can find the hyperlink to Christmas for the Church above, and in that message you will hear, not only an application to the church in general but additionally, an application geared specifically to Evident Grace.

Please join us this Christmas season.  We would love to host you and your family and friends.  You will find us primarily enjoying selections of traditional Christmas hymns along with a few contemporary versions of those classic themes as well.

Evident Grace meets each Sunday at 10:30am at Courthouse Road Elementary School, and you can find out more about us at

Evident Grace Partners for South Carolina Flood Relief


20151115_095100Mere weeks ago, South Carolina suffered from what many called a “thousand year” event.  Heavy rains flooded the rivers and banks, and devastation overran much of the area leaving many with damaged homes and even more homeless.  Business and government buildings were not spared either.  Sadly, in our minute by minute culture the events a month ago have been long forgotten while the need ever increases.  Just this past week, rains once again flooded much of the SC.

Evident Grace, like many of you, sat wondering what could be done.  Thankfully, our denomination, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), mobilized our Mission to North America Disaster Response teams, not only to send relief worker on-site but to create a flood bucket effort as well.  The flood buckets are 5 gallon buckets filled with specific cleaning supplies to enable and hasten the cleaning process.

20151115_110032When Evident Grace heard this, we sent a call out to our folks and local churches to partner in prepping and send 50 buckets to SC.  This Sunday, we sent the first 48, and next week, we should send another 10 more.  Our friends at Hope Presbyterian (EPC) contributed as well.

Yesterday, in the middle of our service, we lined up our buckets at the front of our worship space, and the two churches prayed for the people on the ground serving and for the people in need of care.  We also prayed that God would fan the flames of such service in our church, in our area, and in our denomination.  We thanked for God for church partnerships, specifically thanking God that our partnership is even cross-denomination.  We are slowly and prayerfully looking towards 20151115_110326sending some people to SC in the New Year as the work will continue for months to come.

If you would like to find out more ways to help SC, visit our denomination’s website, and if you would like to partner with us in more efforts both locally nationally, contact us here.

We are humbled and thankful to have played a small part in demonstrating the mercy of Jesus, and we pray that God gives us more opportunities in the future.

Evident Grace meets each Sunday at Courthouse Elementary at 10:30am.  You can find out more about us at

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