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building a community to reach a community

Monday Memo - July 8 (You'll want to read this one!)

I joined what God was doing among a handful of families in Johnson City almost 33 years ago. While the journey has been "trying" as well as "triumphant," I have, to this day, sensed that God is the prime mover of our church. His style is to invite us to join Him in what He is doing, giving us the dignity of partnership, the delight of influence, the depth of personal growth, and the destiny of eternal rewards.

In fact, our mission is JOINING GOD in building a community to reach a community. No wonder!

As we approach a new ministry year together, there are several initiatives we are taking so that we can more fully engage our mission of JOINING GOD...

One of those will occur on Sunday, August 11, when we begin THREE SUNDAY MORNING SERVICES. There are many reasons for this, the main one is our mission. JOINING GOD... There is a steady growth in our total attendance. Our two service attendance ranges between 1,500-1,700. When we are anywhere near 1,000 in either service, the auditorium feels "full" and getting in and out becomes an intimidating factor. In addition, at our 9:45 service, our preschool and nursery is maxed out. We have no more room, and adding square feet is not an option at this time. We join God in what He is doing by creating empty seats for Him to fill! If we do not act, come August and September we will be limiting our impact on those that God is bringing our way.

The service times will be 9:15, 11:00, and 12:30. At 12:30, the songs will be the same as the other two services, but the style will be simplified and more acoustic, making three services less demanding on volunteer band members. Also at 12:30, starting out, children's ministry will be for elementary age only - no nursery or preschool.


Vertical (grades 5-6) will meet "Upstairs" at 9:15
Middle School (grades 7-8) will also meet "Upstairs" at 11:00.
High School (grades 9-12) will be in the East Auditorium at 11:00.

When GFC started, we had a 2 ½ hour service, with about 90 people, in a grade school auditorium. We have been JOINING GOD from that day to this. Things change, times change, but our mission does not. I am looking forward to what God is going to do as we join Him in this new ministry year. More details on the three services will follow along with specifics on how you can personally join God in what He is doing. There will also be other initiatives coming soon through which we can join with God.

Speaking of joining God, check out the P.S!!!! See you Sunday!

Grace and peace, 

Tom Oyler
Lead Pastor   


P.S. Good Samaritan reports that through our May monthly give, 2000 pairs of pants, 6170 shirts, 909 pairs of shorts, 572 dresses, 158 pairs of shoes, 240 purses, 48 swimsuits, 567 sweaters, 328 coats, 131 skirts, 16 blankets, 8 pairs of gloves, 16 bracelets, 4 pairs of sunglasses, 2 watches, 2 rings, 6 pairs of earrings, 4 necklaces, 21 belts, 23 hats, 42 pairs of underwear, and 54 pairs of socks were donated! 

Looking Back

"Smart Prayers: When I'm weak, I'm strong?"   2 Corinthians 12:7-10

We live in a world where power and strength are admired and praised. However, if we are honest with ourselves more often than not, we feel out of control and weak. How does God view our weakness? The answer may have surprised you as we looked at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 where Paul lays down a framework for a smart prayer in the midst of our weakness. And whether it is the temptation to cover up your weakness or find areas of your own strength to trust in, we must fight the urge to exalt ourselves like King Uzziah. Instead, following the example of Paul, we must “well content with weakness…for Christ’s sake,” focusing on him as our example and enabler.

If you think of God glorifying himself in history and you say, where in all of history has God most glorified himself? He did it at the cross of Jesus Christ, and it wasn’t by delivering Jesus from the cross, though he could have… ~James Boice

For Paul, The Lord Jesus is the controlling center of life in every respect, being both example and enabler throughout. ~J.I. Packer

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  ~Hebrews 12:2-3

Which tendency did you find yourselves prone to, hiding your weakness or finding areas of your own strength to trust in? Take some time this week to have a “real conversation” with God about your reflection, being honest, willing to listen, and open to transformation. Remember God’s power is best displayed against the backdrop of human weakness.

Looking Ahead

"Smart Prayers: This Thing"   1 Kings 3:1-14

The age old scenario actually happened. “If you could ask God for one thing, and know that He would grant it, what would it be”? You may know the “right answer.” After all, Solomon was known worldwide because God gave him what he asked for. But the question is what is this thing and are we persistent in asking God for it?


  1. For an important historical marker to this story, check out 1 Kings 2:10-12 and 46. What is it?
  2. Why do you think God made the offer to Solomon that He did according to 3:5?
  3. What does Solomon reveal about himself and his situation in vs. 6-8?
  4. What does this “awareness” lead him to ask God? (v.7)
  5. What impresses God about his request and what does He do as a result? (vs. 10-13)
  6. What is Solomon’s attitude and advice about wisdom in the following verses? (Proverbs 2:1-11, 3:13-18, 4:5-9)
  7. Where do you perceive you are at regarding the value of wisdom in your life and how can you tell?


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