Church Blog

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

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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…

Risk-takers
Culturally aware
Bold

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.  

Actions: 

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

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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

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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”

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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 www.evidentgrace.com, and you can also contact us at [email protected].

EG Christmas series, “Christmas For You”

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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 www.evidentgrace.com.

Evident Grace Partners for South Carolina Flood Relief

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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 www.evidentgrace.com.

Help Evident Grace assist South Carolina flood victims

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SC Charleston floodThe flooding devastation in SC has been described as a “Once in a 1,000 year” event, and some newscasters have been so bold as to declare it as, “Biblical in scope”.  The bottom line is that the cost is in the 100’s of millions, and the loss of life and effects on people’s lives will be felt for generations.

Evident Grace wants to help, and we want to invite the church and the community to partner with us.  Our denomination’s disaster response branch is heading up a bucket brigade.  These are 5 gallon buckets with specific supplies that are needed for cleanup.  You can find those supplies listed here.

While generosity is always appreciated, the bucket’s contents are incredibly specific, so please follow their guidelines.

Evident Grace is going to be gathering these buckets with cleaning supplies over the next few weeks, and we will announce a deadline soon.  Our desire is to bring them to worship one Sunday and pray for how God is going to use them for the people and the structures that have been affected by all the damage in SC.  If you want to learn more about the efforts our denomination is doing, you can find that information at here.

If you want to help, email the church at [email protected] or you can call the church at 919-412-8161.  If you know us, contact Gordon, Matt, or Jeremy directly.

Additionally, many of our sister churches have been affected as well.  One church, www.watershedfellow.org is detailing their efforts on their Facebook page.  Check them out to be encouraged by their effort for the community and the efforts in rebuilding their worship space.

Evident Grace Town Hall Meeting After Worship Service 07.22.18

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twn_hll_mtgThis Sunday (07/22), Evident Grace Fellowship will hold our Summer Town Hall Meeting directly following the worship service.   We will have an abbreviated time of worship (10:00 am – 10:45 am), and then our Town Hall will be from 10:45 am until 11:30 am.

What’s a Town Hall Meeting?  Let me tell you.  Our Town Hall Meetings are a time where the church interacts with all that’s happened in the past few months while dreaming about the future.

Pastor Gordon and the Elders will recount all the amazing things that God has done with us including our children’s worker training, our communicant’s class, the relaunch of our men’s ministry, and many more things.   They will also talk about some of the things that they hope to see happen before the end of the year,  and we will even peak into what next year might look like.

The highlight is your interaction.  This is a time for questions and feedback.  It is not merely an information meeting.  Everyone is encouraged to be thankful and dream along with the leadership.

This is not just a member event.  Members, regular attendees, and guests are encouraged to attend.

Rarely do churches get to interact this openly and honestly, so please join us.

Evident Grace meets at the Ron Rosner YMCA at 10 am each Sunday.  Please join us.

Evident Grace Announces Membership Class 9/19

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Evident Grace Fellowship is excited to announce a fall membership class on September 19th at 9am.  connect_puzzle-300x225Among the topics covered will be:

  • How EG came to be (How and why did EG start?)
  • How we do life at EG (What’s our mission?  Who is in charge here?)
  • How you can get connected at EG (Do we have small groups?  Men’s and Women’s Groups?)
  • How you can serve at EG (Where do the church’s needs meet my gifts?)

We will kick off at 9 am at 6311 Prospect St Fredericksburg, VA and end somewhere around noon.  Coffee, fruit, and some carbs will be provided, but the goal is to end by lunchtime.  Nursing babies are welcome.

If you can’t make this membership class, there will be a repeat in a few weeks on a different day other than a Saturday to help folks with conflicting schedules.

If you are planning on attending, please RSVP to Amy Duncan at [email protected].  Be prepared to learn, laugh, and ask lots of questions.  If you have ever wondered about why you should consider joining a church, read a post we wrote that addresses that very question.

See you then.

Pastor and Author Randy Nabors to Speak at Evident Grace Fellowship’s Particularization Service

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1401304358Evident Grace Fellowship (PCA) is excited to announce that national speaker and author, Randy Nabors, will be speaking at their particularization service on August 2nd.  A particularization service is when a new church recognizes and ordains its first elders.

Nabors is pastor emeritus of New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He presently serves as Urban and Mercy Ministries Coordinator for Mission to North America for the Presbyterian Church in America. A graduate of Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary, he has more than 40 years of experience in ministry to people in need and is the recent author of the book “Merciful:  The Opportunity and Challenge of Discipling the Poor Out of Poverty”.

The particularization service will be held at Hope Presbyterian Church (EPC) on11121 Leavells Rd. Fredericksburg, VA 22407 at 6:00pm, and a reception will be held onsite afterward.

Pastor Gordon Duncan says, “A particularization service is a milestone for every young church.  We began with the gracious help of New Life in Christ and Hope of Christ Church along with the support of over a dozen other churches.  This is the moment where we celebrate so many changes.  We are no longer a church plant, and I am no longer the church planter.  We are a church that has its own in-house leadership, and I am their pastor.  But we know this is not the moment to exhale and relax.  This is the moment when we launch into the area with energy to demonstrate what our community, worship, and service look like.  Please come join us.”

This service coincides with another milestone in the life of Evident Grace.  August 2nd is also the day that they have their first worship service at Courthouse Road Elementary School.  They will meet there each Sunday morning for worship at 10:30am.

You can find out more about Evident Grace by visiting their website, www.evidentgrace.com or contacting them at [email protected].

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