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Monday Memo - August 19

Friday night football, race week, public school is rolling, ETSU students returning.

It is all happening this week. No matter what the issue, most of us feel a shifting of gears, a changing of pace. Things are ramping up. How relevant is the timing of our current STALLED series? As we engage our “world” and “responsibilities,” let’s not neglect the condition of our own heart and life. It is easy to substitute activity for actual connection with people, or sheer drivenness for a quiet place within where we are resting in God. Do more, be more. I’ll never forget when someone told me, “Tom, you are frantic and desperate inside.” I had to admit, I had never been anything else. It was a life changing moment!  I pray that our current series and your choices will lead to some significant changes in your life, too.

One of the values of a church is to help us interrupt our own pursuits long enough to see what we are becoming…and our need for God. I hope that is your reality at GFC. It was wonderful that nearly 1,500 people from our church and community had the opportunity to take in the artistry and message of Joe Castillo!  How refreshing and encouraging. I never see an event take place like this in our facilities without giving thanks for those who have given and continue to make this ministry possible!

Another great opportunity awaits the men in our church and community as Inky Johnson comes to town to share his incredible story as a young boy raised in the ghettos of Atlanta who made it to the University of Tennessee where he played football. However, a career ending injury would test his perseverance like nothing else. Bring another football fan with you to the Men’s Breakfast of Champions event this Saturday morning from 8:00-10:00 am here at GFC. You can reserve your spot by visiting our Grace Men’s webpage and clicking ‘register here’ at the bottom of the page.

Shifting gears can be a good thing, if we have figured our where we are going. I look forward to an exciting fall season doing just that!

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace, 

Tom Oyler
Lead Pastor   


Looking Back

"Stalled? get moving again:  Isolation"   Hebrews 10:24-25

Getting moving again will almost always require resisting isolation, and embracing significant and intentional connections with others. A lot of things can get in the way. If you are feeling isolated, there is a reason. Discovering it may take some pretty honest soul searching. Please remember, it is not only you who are missing out, but others are missing you, too! They really are.


The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.

                    ~Thomas Wolf

The church is equal parts mystery and mess.

                    ~Eugene Peterson

We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.

                    ~C.S. Lewis


1.      Do you believe you need intentional community with others in a spiritual context – why or why not? Be honest now.

2.      Is it more natural or unnatural for you to seek out healthy relationships and why?

3.      Have you considered joining a “group at Grace”? You can find out more by visiting our GROW webpage or come to the Café next Sunday!

Looking Ahead

"Stalled? get moving again:  Shame"   James 5:14-16

We learned to play hide and seek as kids – and loved it. But as we grow, hiding becomes much more sophisticated, and there is something very scary about “being found” and thus becoming “stalled” and not knowing why. James has a marvelous plan for getting moving again, but we will have to come out of hiding to experience it.


1.    What kinds of “things” has James been talking about in 5:7-12? (see also 1:2-18)

2.    What kind of personal life conditions are mentioned in vs. 13-14 and what is the “prescription” for each?

3.    Who is responsible for taking the “prescription” given? Look carefully.  How significant is this and why?

4.    The term for “sick” in v. 14 is also used in a similar context in Romans 14:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 8:11-12. How is it translated there?

5.    In Hebrews 12:3-4, the word used for “sick” in James 5:16 is found. Fill in the blank, “so that you may not _________ _________.” What is the emphasis here and how does it fit the Stalled series?

6.    The word for “healed” in v. 16 is used in what kind of context in Hebrews 12:12-13?  In what ways is James 5:16 a prescription for getting moving again when you are stalled?


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