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Spring is In the Air…

Spring is in the air here at Grace Baptist Church and many people’s thoughts are turning to graduations and summer plans.  I too am hoping to graduate this May 18th from Shepherd’s Theological Seminary in Cary, NC, where I have been traveling to (first from Richmond and now from Stuart) for the last four years.  And, in my attempts to finish up my final classes and complete my Thesis, I have had the opportunity to do a great deal of thinking about the concept of graduation.

It occurred to me, that on this side of eternity, there is no graduation from God’s school of sanctification.  Every day, every season of life, every new experience, and every truth that we finally begin to grasp from God’s Scriptures transforms us ever so slightly more into the image of His glorious Son.  But, here on earth, our Christian education never ends. As Jesus’ disciples or pupils, we must never feel like we have “arrived” or finished our process of growth.

It is why Paul told his beloved church in Thessalonica, “excel still more” (1 Thess. 4:1 & 10).  They were a church well known for their walk of faith and love, but Paul still felt compelled to exhort them on to greater victories over their sin and the entanglements of this world. And, I believe our body of Christ is very similar in that we have emerged from struggles and hardships that have hardened our resolve to live like Christ; but, like the Thessalonians, our journey is also still far from over.

So this Spring, Beloved, as we watch the flowers bloom, the grass turn green, and the days grow longer and longer, let’s remember that we have not arrived…that we are still awaiting the glory of our graduation day, when we will join our Lord and God forevermore.  Therefore, until our graduation day comes, let our rally cry continue to be to ourselves and to each other, “excel still more”!!!

–Pastor Mark Elkins

He is Risen Indeed!

In just a few weeks we will be celebrating the miracle of the empty tomb, with the declaration He is Risen…He is Risen Indeed!!!  But, before that wonderful Sunday, we have to journey through the final week of Jesus’ earthly life.  When we consider that over 40% of the Gospel’s chapters are dedicated to this final week and that Mark devotes 70% of his chapters to it, it is certainly worthy of special attention.

So, this year we are going to focus the entire week on prayerfully preparing ourselves for Resurrection Sunday.  Therefore, the church will be open Monday through Thursday from Noon to 1:00pm for all those who are interested in joining together for a special time of quiet prayer.  We may sing a few a cappella hymns together and then settle into a time of quiet prayer for our church, our community, our nation, our world and the lost.

On Wednesday evening at 6:15pm, we will have short service in the sanctuary in place of normal Bible Study time.  It will include singing some hymns and a reading and reflection on the events of Holy Week up that point.  On Thursday evening at 6:30pm we will have a special Maundy Thursday service that will include music, the Lord’s Supper, a sermon, and a ceremonial foot washing.  Please invite your friends and family for this special evening of prayer and reflection.  As is traditional we will end the evening by leaving the church silently.

On Friday and Saturday, I ask you to pray earnestly on your own and with your families, while we remember the sacrifice of our Lord and the loneliness and separation of his disciples.  But on Sunday we will join together again to proclaim the miracle of the empty tomb.  We will be having a 30 minute Sunrise Service at 6:30am (outside, weather permitting), and then we will return to church again at our normal time 9:45am for Sunday School and our Easter Sunday worship service at 11:00am…In His Grace!

–Pastor Mark Elkins

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