Celebrating God's GRACE - 30th Anniversary of GRACE Bible Church

Reflections on GRACE by saints in the GBC family and in the larger church community

Written by Graeme Davidson
In January, 2002, Michelle came up with the idea of having a concert of songs that her mother composed. The projected date of the concert was Sunday, April 14,2002. Planning was well underway when the results of Bev's scan in February revealed terminal cancer, with an estimated 3-5 months left to live. We decided to go ahead with the concert, adding the element of making it a fundraiser for cancer research.
I have a video, a CD, and a scrapbook that enable me to remember with great gratitude the choir director, 36 choir members, eight soloists, and nine instrumentalists who performed 16 original sacred songs and one hymn arrangement. After the wonderful professional-level performances of the music, the most gratifying aspect of that concert was the bringing together that Sunday afternoon of several groups of people. There were the people of GBCl- musicians and congregants. There was the staff of Shaftesbury High School where Graeme taught for 32 years. (The staff bought food, prepared and served it to over forty musicians after church so the choir had time to rehearse before the 2:00 p.m. concert. A third group were Bev's piano and voice students and their families. A fourth group in the audience were Graeme and Michelle's friends and family.

Bev was not able to attend the concert, but the response to her work was sent in 37 cards and letters which arrived in our mailbox for two weeks after the concert. Here are some excerpts from those card and letters that reveal the impact of the concert:

"Every note, every word was God-honoring. Your music is exquisitely beautiful and touches the soul with its haunting melodies... I only wish a CD or video could convey the intensity of what we all experienced that afternoon." (from a GBC musician)
"... my heart was so full that at many times I fought back tears- tears that come from being overwhelmed with beauty. Michelle remained strong during her solos. What a wonderful tribute this was from daughter to mother..."  ( from a GBC musician)
" Your songs were beautiful and expressed your love for God. I can only hope that someday I will feel the presence of God as much as you did when you wrote those songs.  ( from a teen-age voice student)
"I have sung in church and community choirs for many years, but, Bev, I cannot remember being so reminded of the love of God as I was when I heard your music." ( from the parent of a young adult voice student)
"Your concert was so uplifting and impressive...the people I was with were all exclaiming about the beauty of the music.... Your compositions show such reliance on God.”  ( from a Shaftesbury staff member)
"These were powerful pieces for me because of the strength and beauty in the words of the songs and in the voices of the singers… (from a Shaftesbury staff member)
"Could you see and hear the standing ovation in the video? I hope so.  ( from a family friend)

The word "grace" occurs 122 times in the NRSV Bible and the word "remember"159 times. The Dictionary of Old Testament Theology  Volume 1 p.11-2 contains these words: " Remembering God is often a dynamic phenomenon that [can help] to transform the believer or the believing community." That transformation is brought about in part by gratitude. I remember April 14, 2002 with gratitude to God for bringing me to GBC.
Quote by Rachel Held Evans (1981-2019)
The Holy Trinity doesn’t need our permission to carry on in their endlessly resourceful work of making all things new. That we are invited to catch even a glimpse of the splendor is grace. All of it, every breath and every second is grace.
Written by Gineke – submitted by Els Penner 
A fountain of pure joy,
Springs in the depth of my heart.
I dance and I sing,
love songs on joyful melodies.
I fly without wings,
With my feet firm on the ground.
Floating on the wind,
I spread my arms,
And embrace the spring.
I am drunk with joy,
Yet alcohol has not touched my lips.
Looking into Your eyes,
I can see You smile –
Your heart falls in love.
In this fountain of pure joy,
I can see Heaven opening up,
And the rain of Your love,
pours down on my lifted heart.
Quote by Philip Yancey
One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as “those evil people” or “those poor people who need our help”. Nor must we search for “loveworthiness”. Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.
Grace is a free gift of God, but to receive a gift you must have open hands.
Written by Don Kroeker
Gratefulness for Grace
A pastor at Pass-a- Grille, Florida, eloquently explained that gratefulness was only real if expressed in thanksgivng. That struck me and made sense to me.
Acts 11:5 - defines grace – God’s undeserved kindness
Acts 14:3 - But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching broadly about the grace of the Lord.
Acts 5:17(b ) - But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 16:23 - May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
Eph 1:7 - He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son and forgive us our sins.
Eph 2:8 - God saved you by his grace when you believed.
1 Tim. 1:2b - May God the father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
Heb 4:16 - so let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Gratefulness for grace is expressed in thanksgiving and generosity
2 Cor 9:6 - Remember this a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who PLANTS GENEROUSLY will get a generous crop. You must decide in your heart how much to give, and don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure “for God loves a person who GIVES CHEERFULLY” and God will generously provide all you need. Then you’ll always have everything you need and plenty left over to SHARE WITH OTHERS for God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat, the same way he will provide and increase your resources and then PRODUCE A GREAT HARVEST OF GENEROSTIY IN YOU. Yes, you will be in enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving - the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
2 Cor 9:13 - As a result of your ministry, they will GIVE GLORY TO GOD. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

If we are grateful for God’s grace, we will follow Christ’s teaching and be generous.
Needs will be met and God will be glorified.
That is my goal; God has been, and still is, very gracious to me.

How to live
Matth 6:33 - Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matt. 7:12 - “The Golden Rule”    Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is talked in the law and the prophets.
Matt. 5:13,14, 16 - You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.
Matt. 5:48 - You are to be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect!
Matt 5 - The beatitudes summarized.  - We are poor and need God. We are to be humble, and are to hunger and thirst for justice. We should be merciful and our hearts pure. We should work for peace and do right. Then the Kingdom of Heaven is ours.
Matt. 6:19 - …Don’t store up treasures here on earth; store your treasures in heaven. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.  NB: Sell and give!
 Written by Bonnie Ireton
                                                        A compass that shows The Way
                                              Healing arms that hold the pieces together
                                                     A light shining amidst twisted paths
                                                                  and broken branches
                                                         It is what lifts you, carries you
                                                   And it is what forgives and helps you
                                                                        begin again
                                                                GRACE - GOD’S GRACE
 Written by John of the Cross, “The Spiritual Canticle”, stanzas 32, 36
When you looked at me
 your eyes imprinted your grace in me;
 for this you loved me ardently;
 and thus my eyes deserved
 to adore what they beheld in you. . . .
 Let us go forth to behold ourselves in your beauty.
Written by Edith Fast (1943-2015) in 2002
In the calm
 Miracle of twilight
 I have heard you whisper
 The language of my heart.
 LOVE, the deliverer,
 Has laid its hand on me,
 I have been enticed by the mystery of God,
 And I am utterly content.
Written by Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC
Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth. . .

A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace.
There’s nothing you have to do.
There’s nothing you have to do.
There’s nothing you have to do.

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Her is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.

There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.
Written by Wilma Wiens
A friend of mind struggles with alcohol. Normally, and after lengthy communication with God about this, she lives with freedom around it and can enjoy a glass of wine or not, no worries one way or the other. But sometimes, in times of rage or rebellion she HAS to drink. On one such night when the need for wine was greater than the freedom she normally knows she set out to the local Liquor Mart. On her way there she decided to stop at the Tim Horton’s drive-thru for a tea. Driving up to the window to get her tea and pay, the fellow inside told her, “It’s already been paid for by the guy ahead of you. This cup of tea is free!” My friend was overwhelmed with the surprising act of generosity.  So overwhelmed by the generosity that her hardened rebellious heart softened, she found herself back in the embrace of freedom, she felt no need for wine and she headed home enjoying her free cup of tea. “It’s already been paid for”. That was grace. I suppose she could have refused the free tea and insisted on paying for it, but grace doesn’t usually work that way. Grace overwhelms us with its surprising, sometimes shocking generosity. I mean, really, who would refuse a free cup of tea?
Written by Wilma Wiens
While my mom was dying this past July, my sisters and I were given 2 1-hour,1-person visits with her a day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. For the other 22 hours of the day she was alone. She died while my sister was with her in an evening visit. Ingrid was able to bless her, release her and be present while she passed. That was grace – an undeserved gift from God to all of us, my sisters, me and our mom.
Written by Laura Murphy, Dedicated to the “Exploring our Landscape at the Confluence of Spirituality and Aging” class at CMU, Oct-Nov 2014
Dear God,
We are subject to death.
We are the clay you molded,
breathed in to.
We are the ancient of days.
Our landscape is silent, tranquil, awaiting.
Keep us in your grace
until that time when our aged voice is stilled in death…
and mortality has taken on immortality
and we will view the “landscape” of heaven, our eternal home.
To the triune God
be praise forever more.
Written by Carolee Neufeld
 Gratitude for Grace Bible Church
 The joy of God’s presence on a Sunday morning
                          warm smiles and caring people
Front steps and solid front doors
                           that welcome us as we arrive for worship

The rich, resonant music –
             singing of the congregation
             powerful organ
                          piano, trumpet and tambourine
                          string ensembles     
                          songs by the choir        
                                       solos, duets and quartets    
                          inspiring preludes and postludes            

All who practice and prepare
            to make a joyful sound to the Lord

The Word of God, read each Sunday by different voices
               preached and taught by leaders and teaching pastors

Good food, spread out abundantly
               at concerts, breakfasts, funerals, celebrations

Gathering in homes
               to study God’s Word
                             to shower a new bride or a new mother
                                           to enjoy coffee or a meal together

The old brick church with a rooster on top
               sunlight through stained glass
               communion table
               richness of oak in pews and pulpit
                            a cross, reminding us of Jesus love for us

The pastors’ office a place of serenity and warmth
                           the fellowship hall and the kitchen
                                         the youth room and the choir room
                                                        each space reminding us of being with each other

Many nooks and crannies and rooms throughout the building
                          that hold memories and treasures and useful items

Bound together in Christ
                          as we receive the bread and the wine
                                        as membership commitments are made
                                                    as babies and young children are dedicated to God

Caring for each other
             and praying for each other
             through life’s ups and downs

Memorable events
                            the choir concerts, kids and youth Christmas program
                                      the church picnic, Songs and Sweets, VBS
                                                  the annual church retreat in fall, monthly breakfasts

A church website that tells who we are and what we are doing        
             the weekly bulletin and emails that connect us to each other

Caring leaders with patience, love and creativity
                            who give much thought and time
                                        to serving God and the people of GBC

Prayers spoken from the pulpit each Sunday,
                            and poured out by congregants for each other
                                        prayer gathering in homes and in the church
                                                     prayer requests in the pastor’s weekly email

Baptisms and testimonies
                            a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ
                            the water symbolic of sins washed away

The minister of music
                            prayerfully and thoughtfully choosing songs
                                         inspiring singers and musicians
                            melding the choir into a caring family
                                         concluding the service with praise on the organ

Missionaries and Christian organizations
              supported by the church, reaching out into the world
                            telling us stories of how God is at work

The neighbourhood around the church
                            with its tree-lined streets and old homes

The front yard where we pause in summer after the service
                            to have cookies and iced tea and to visit with friends

Youth gatherings
             young people and their leaders
                            having fun, building wholesome friendships, growing in faith

All who have been part of GBC and left their imprint
                            but have felt called elsewhere
                                          or have been promoted to glory

The outreach of the church into the community
                            through the love and the provisions of Oakwood Table  
                                          people of the church caring for refugees

The children who are so loved and appreciated
                            running up the aisle for Kid’s Korner
                                         eagerly heading off to Sunday School
                                                       joyfully participating in the life of the church
                                                                     playing in the Veggie Tales room and the gym

Ushers who greet us warmly
              and make us feel at home as they give us the bulletin

The generous giving – cheques, bills, loonies and quarters
                            as the offering baskets are passed along each Sunday

The balcony, with its expansive view of the sanctuary
                            lit up by a beautiful round stained glass window
                                          people faithfully managing the sound system
                                                        a place where children love to run and hide

People at work
              preparing refreshments, helping in the nursery
                            taking care of the church library
                                         mowing the grass, cleaning, painting and repairing
                                                       office work and accounting, managing the heating system
                                                                     committees meeting to plan
                                                                                     much more that makes GBC a special place

Sunday School, with Bible stories, memory verses, singing
                        crafts and colouring, eager children, faithful teachers
                                         youth discussions and learning
                                                       adults gathering to study and be inspired by God’s Word

Pastors over the years
                        leading, praying, preaching, visiting congregants
                                        planning, encouraging and wisely supporting

Banners and flowers and candles
                        that bring beauty and meaning as we gather

A foundational truth from the Bible
                        displayed on a banner at the front of the sanctuary
                        and outside on the church sign
                                       “By grace we are saved, it is a gift of God”

All this and more, is the rich tapestry of Grace Bible Church
All this and more, is God’s people 

                         worshipping, loving and serving.

Thank you God for Grace Bible Church!

Grace Bible Church on Oakwood
is a community of followers of Jesus Christ
who seek to know and reflect God’s love and grace.
We are Bible-centered in our teaching, letting scripture shape our lives.
We strive to be a community in which all are loved,
              cared for, encouraged, forgiven, prayed for, taught,
              nurtured, listened to, and equipped for service.
We are committed to worshiping and working together
               with integrity, compassion, and humility,
               to responding to needs of others outside of our community,
               and to encouraging all to know and follow Jesus Christ.

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