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THIS IS YOUR YEAR!!!

Are you going to step forth and receive it?

As you start the New Year and set your resolutions I’d like you to think about God’s Word and what He has promised you. Although I’ve only listed a few below, the Bible contains thousands of God’s promises waiting for you to claim in faith.

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When relationships become strained,
when illness robs your days,
when your stomach churns from the stresses of life,
when the unexpected happens…
Do you crumble alone,
or do you turn to Him to find strength and hope?

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good
and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes in life we just need a partner—
we need someone who can be strong when we are weak,
someone who will always believe in us.
Guess what? God is that someone!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10

Every now and then we need a safe place to take refuge.
Jesus accepts us even in our darkest hour.
He takes us in when we are downhearted and worn.
He surrounds us in His peace.
He sees us as we are and comforts us in His kindness and mercy.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but my kindness shall not depart from thee,
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed,
saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. — Isaiah 54:10

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. — Matthew 11:28-29

Joy, peace and hope are being offered to you by God!
These are not just promises to “get by” or survive,
they are promises of overflowing hope,
of being filled with joy and peace!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13

THIS IS YOUR YEAR!!! Are you going to step forth and take it? It is my prayer that your faith and trust in our Heavenly Father will be increased as you seek Him to supply your every need this year. May you be abundantly blessed this year and all those to follow.

Everyone is welcome,

Pastor Tony Hoult

Reaching Out – One Idea at a Time

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But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18

As the new year begins, GFIC Jesus prepares for another year of reaching out to the community, both locally as well as internationally. The team leaders get together monthly and share the many great ideas they hear from the congregation. We encourage everyone who has an idea to bring it forward, so we can determine if we can make it happen.

Would you like to share some of your ideas? What would you do to reach out and help someone? Please come join our congregation and share your ideas and your love for our beloved Lord and Savior! Everyone is welcome!

Share Your Gifts!

GFIC Dec Gifts Article

GFIC Jesus has many gifted and talented people in our congregation. We have singers, greeters, cooks, and security, just to name a few! We are reaching out to children and adults who are gifted in playing any type of musical instrument, or have any other gift they would like to share.

AS GFIC Jesus continues to grow, we would like to include you in our ministry. Do you have a gift or a talent you’d like to share? If so, give us a call, or join us for any of our regular worship sessions or special events. Don’t be shy! Step out and let your light shine! We would love to have you.

GFIC Jesus Christmas Concert & Open House

GFIC Dec Event

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing! – Psalm 100:1-2

The Bible tells us God loves for his children to come before Him with thanksgiving and praise. God loves to hear us lift our voices to glorify Him! This Christmas season, the GFIC Jesus Choir will be performing “A Night to Remember.” Join us on December 11th at 7:30 pm, as we celebrate our beloved Lord and Savior.

On this special evening, we will open our house of worship and welcome everyone to join our congregation for this wonderful night of praise and celebration. Be sure to mark your calendar and join us!

Everyone is welcome!

Make it a Very Merry CHRISTmas

GFIC Jesus Holiday Agreement

Not so long ago I spoke to you about the importance of love for one another, and more specifically, how God created us out of love, and OUR actions towards one another should emulate HIS love for each and every one of us.

Well, the season is upon us, and that means it’s just the beginning of all the holiday parties and family gatherings to come…

Girl with gift

Unfortunately, most people find that what should be a time of joy and relaxation, turns into a long month of frustration and stress. And it’s no wonder, with all the extra activities and commitments interrupting our everyday lives and routines—when the word “miraculous” only comes to mind when we think about surviving the next couple weeks of December, the traffic, the lines, the rude clerk, that infuriating shopping cart and its broken wheel, the family feud of “who gets to host what party, where,” etc., etc., etc.

Grace Fellowship In Christ Jesus invites you to join us in this year’s holiday challenge!

This year we are going to be intentionally and purposefully practicing Dr. Kent M. Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments. Let’s see what kind of difference being an example of Christ will make – in both our own life, and the lives of others. I truly believe that it’s going to work so well, you’ll bring it along with you right into New Year!

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

So what do you say… up for the challenge?

I knew you would be! Print a couple copies of this—hang it on your bathroom mirror and look at it when you get ready in the morning. Keep another copy in your purse or wallet. Have a spare by the bed or in the car… The important part is to read it often enough that you’re confident in how to react when He gives you the opportunity to be His vessel. As followers of Christ, it is up to us to share this message—not through words, but by becoming a living testimony of the loving God we serve.

Remember, we’re in this together so if you need some extra support (and I’m not talking about Aunt Edith’s eggnog…) just send me an email at [email protected] or give us a call 214.498.3692

Everyone is welcome,

Pastor Tony Hoult

Ministry Spotlight – GFIC Jesus Choir

GFIC Nov Ministry Spotlight

The GFIC Jesus choir comes together as one voice for the Lord. Our choir has practiced on numerous occasions for the congregation and most importantly for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As they sing together, the sounds their voices create join in harmony to share the beauty they each have in the Lord.

The GFIC Jesus Choir will be performing its Christmas concert in December, so stay tuned for the dates and details and plan to join us for a joyful celebration!

You can experience the beautiful music by joining our regular church choir in early 2016. The love you feel in the choir will amaze you. Everyone is welcome!

A “Thanksgiving” Story

You may not think of stories as a basic survival need, but our brains require them to give structure and meaning to our lives. The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities—they are our personalities, and this plays a large role in who we were in the past, who we are in the present and most importantly, who we can become in the future.

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A life story is written in chalk, not ink, and it can be changed. You are both the narrator and the main character of the story—not just simply living it out, but actually in charge of writing
it.

Is your story a thankful one?
Thankfulness is a prominent Bible theme. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch that? Give thanks in all circumstances. Thankfulness should be a way of life for us, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths.

When we are thankful, our focus moves off of the pain of our current circumstances, and helps us remember that God is in control. Using thankfulness as the base for writing your own story is not only fitting, it’s actually healthy and beneficial to your mind, body and spirit. Utilizing thanksgiving in our everyday lives, in every situation, reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, and truly, we have an abundant life.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17

Is your story one of redemption?
A redemption story starts off negative but ends positively. This means that no matter what life throws at you, no matter what sins you have committed, no matter the tribulations you’ve endured—you have found (or rewritten) new meaning and redemption in all circumstances.

And through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him. – Colossians 1:20-22

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are given a clean slate. For some this comes as a great relief, but many more are still haunted by their past. If you are still living in shame or blame, I urge you to let go. God forgave you―long before you asked, and He is ALWAYS going to love and accept you no matter what! Glorify Him by making your life’s story a redemptive and thankful one.

Your story belongs to you, from beginning to end. It is still evolving. Your past can be retold. And the rest…is still waiting to be written.

Everyone is welcome,

Pastor Tony Hoult

A Message of Hope

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. – Revelations 21:4

Depression. I have dealt with it on many levels—I’ve experienced it personally throughout my life, I’ve watched it encroach upon the lives of family members, friends, and many members of my congregation.

With September being Suicide Awareness month I believe it is important that we as a church start tackling this big and tough topic and start taking a closer look at something most everyone has struggled with: hopelessness.

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Hopelessness is one of the single, most powerful clinical predictors of suicide. You see, most people who commit suicide don’t really want to die, they just want to stop hurting. Hopelessness can leave even the strongest person feeling as if there is no way out, that there is far too much damage to ever be repaired, that death is truly their only means of escape.

I want to challenge my congregation: let’s stand together and fight against hopelessness. We can revive the Spirit of hope within ourselves and our community by uniting as messengers of the Lord and spreading His promises of a better tomorrow.

I want to challenge my congregation: let’s stand together and fight against hopelessness. We can revive the Spirit of hope within ourselves and our community by uniting as messengers of the Lord and spreading His promises of a better tomorrow.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject, but talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. If you’re struggling with depression don’t let shame or pride keep you from reaching out to the people who love you. And remember, the feelings of hopelessness do not last forever, even when you cannot see hope, God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:24-25

There should be no shame or blame when we talk about depression and thoughts of suicide. Give yourself and the people in your life the gift of unconditional love, just as our Father has. I leave you with one more Scripture, and it is my prayer for you.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13

✦ A Special Note from Pastor Tony ✦

Did you know that over 30,000 people a year commit suicide in the United States alone, and there are 25 attempts at suicide for every one success? Up to 80% of people who have struggled with depression and suicidal ideation in the past were not being treated for their psychiatric condition near the time of their death by suicide. If you suffer from depression and past suicidal thoughts or attempts, it is critical that you seek out care from a mental health professional. Please contact us at 214-498-3692 for additional resources and support. If you are currently thinking about committing suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (open 24 hours a day) at 1-800-273-TALK

Everyone is welcome,

Pastor Tony Hoult

An Extraordinary Life

How to Start Living the Life God Intended You to Have

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
–1 Corinthians 13:13

Last month we talked about God’s love for you and today I will continue on with the subject of love, but more specifically, the importance of love for one another.

The Bible tells us (Isaiah 53:2) that while He walked this earth, Jesus “…had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him”. But people were drawn to Jesus! His loving and compassionate demeanor captivated strangers and spoke louder than any words could.

The same applies to you and me. Whether an acquaintance or loved one, the different kinds of relationships we have are part and parcel of our life in this world. God created us out of love, and our actions towards one another should emulate His love for each and every one of us. As followers of Christ, it is up to us to share this message —not through words, but by becoming a living testimony of the loving God we serve.

But how do we get there?

Imagine your body as a great vessel. How it appears on the outside inconsequential, but the inside holds the substance of what makes you…you.To start living the life God intended you to have, you must first empty your vessel. Why? Because God can only fill us up once we’ve relinquished our own opinions and personal agendas. But watch out! Once He starts pouring, He doesn’t stop!

As God begins to manifest His tender compassion through us, we can literally feel His love coursing through and overflowing outside of ourselves. This phenomenon is exactly what drew the crowds to Jesus, and it also gave Him the strength to fulfill His destiny—His miraculous provision, saving us.

Of course it’s exciting to tell people about our Father and all He’s done for us, and by all means, continue spreading the Good News! But if you’re interested in living an extraordinary life, living at your best and highest purpose, you must quiet your own voice and allow God to speak to the hearts of others.

Everyone is welcome,

Pastor Tony Hoult

God Goes Out of His Way to Love You

Yes, Even You….

God’s love for us is so great, that while we were yet sinners, He went out of His way and sent His only Son to save us.

There’s not much to debate when it comes to the underlying message of God’s Word. The Greek word GFIC JesusAgape is used in the Bible to express the love that God has for us. It is the ultimate and most self-sacrificing love that there is. Agape is what was displayed on the cross by Jesus Christ. In John 3:16 it is written that “God so loved (agapao) the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” You see, God sent Jesus, not to condemn you for your sin, but to save you—His beloved and precious child.

When Jesus came to us, He sought out all people. Good or bad, He went out to all places and never turned anyone away. When He walked this earth, He did so with everyday people. Sinners, the helpless, the harassed and the rejected all found comfort in the compassion of Christ.

Jesus came to earth and lived in a human body just like you do. He understands you. He knows the pressure, the pain and the temptations you face everyday. He hears your cries and pities and every one of your groans. Even in the midst of despair, God is with you. Even when the world isn’t loving you, Jesus is still loving you!

You don’t have to clean up your life before seeking out the Lord. He wants to meet you where you’re at. Our Father goes out of His way to pick you up, (regardless of where you’re at) and guide you to the life He intended you to have. If you’re waiting for acceptance, forgiveness and understanding – you’re waiting for something you already have. He’s already died for your sins. He loved you before, He loves you now and forever. But it’s up to you to let Him in!

Once you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation in Christ! Jesus has given those who believe in Him the Holy Spirit, who enables us to be constantly changing into His image. Who cares who accepts you or rejects you if it’s not Jesus? Stop putting your faith in people, and begin putting it into the One who loved you first. Remember what He is doing in you – cleansing you, refining you, healing you, and above all, loving you.

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