November 25, 2022
Hi Grace Vineyard and Friends of Grace Vineyard,
I’m writing this email on Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving Day, but for me Thanksgiving Day is actually a 48 hour day. We had a customary Thanksgiving Feast yesterday with many friends, and we’re doing it all again today at our home with my immediate family, parents, nephew, and more friends. It’s a weekend of feasting with thankful hearts. I suppose that as recipients of Christ’s free gift of Salvation, every day is Thanksgiving Day for us.
This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, which as some of you will know, is the season of preparation for the Nativity of Christ at Christmas. There are 4 Sundays of Advent, each with a particular emphasis: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. I hope you won’t mind if I just quote from the Wikipedia article on Advent:
The name was adopted from Latin adventus “coming; arrival”, translating Greek parousia. In the New Testament, this is the term used for the Second Coming of Christ. Thus, the season of Advent in the Christian calendar anticipates the “coming of Christ” from three different perspectives: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the eschatological Second Coming.
This coming Sunday I’ll be bringing an Advent sermon on Hope called “Hope Is Born” Among the scriptures we’ll be looking at, I plan on discussing this one with you:
19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.
Hope as an anchor – what a powerful metaphor to sustain us when the storms of life batter against us. We’ll explore the Bible for more, but ultimately we’ll be preparing our Hearts for worship in this Advent season as we remind ourselves of the Hope that was born at the birth of Jesus our Messiah.
Remember the Poor
In his letter to the church at Galatia (chapter 2, verse 10), the Apostle Paul is recalling the time he met with James, Peter, and John in Jerusalem to discuss his ministry. He says they affirmed his message and his calling to the Gentiles, adding this one requirement they asked of him: “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Isn’t that remarkable? Of all the things these apostles in Jerusalem might have been concerned about, there was only one thing: remember the poor.
We have a wonderful opportunity to do that here in Oceanside in conjunction with Michael Aplikowsky and Convicted 4 Christ, the nonprofit organization he helps run. They minister to the poor of Oceanside several days each week all year around, and we are always invited to join them. Much of their ministry is done among the homeless population, and there is a special need during the winter months when rain and cold weather can wreak havoc for these neighbors of ours. On their website, Michael writes:
“It may not seem like it folks, but very soon it will be cold and raining. I don’t know if you’ve ever been homeless or not, but the rain does more than just get you wet. It wipes out your living environment and washes away everything, leaving behind a sense of hopelessness and despair. I speak from lived experience!
Last year we were able to provide people with nearly 1,000 blankets and rain tarps. We also provided $7,000 worth of arctic sleeping bags, 300 lunches each week, and hundreds of pairs of socks. On one occasion, we were even able to provide emergency shelter to a 78-year-old woman whose life was literally saved through this act of kindness. Today this woman, Edna Lazarz, has a Section 8 Voucher and is currently looking for permanent housing which she has the financial capabilities to maintain on her own. (This is just one of many testimonies)
It was through the efforts and kindness of all those that stood beside us at Convicted4Christ that made this story, and others like it possible.”
If you’d like to donate a blanket or tarp, please look for the box in the lobby this Sunday where we’ll be collecting these things. You can also make a cash donation. And I would especially encourage you to talk with Michael about when you can join him and his team in bringing the love of Jesus to these neighbors of ours. (Remember the Great Commandment to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.) You can find out more about the C4C winter fundraiser by clicking here: https://www.convicted4christ.org/winter-fundraiser
Praying for The Nations
When we talk about remembering the poor, I also think of our practice of praying for the nations every Sunday when we are together. Last Sunday we prayed for the nation of Iran, and were not able to show you the prayer video. I wanted to share that with you here:
Almost all of our prayer videos for the nations come from a website called prayercast.com. Here’s the link for more info on praying for Iran should you want to go a little deeper: https://www.prayercast.com/iran.html
Decorating Grace Vineyard for Christmas
All are welcome to help us decorate the church for Christmas Sunday December 4th after the service. Pizza and salad will be provided. Please call Kim Ohst if you have questions 760.519.4558.
This year, Christmas falls on Sunday, so we’re going to be celebrating Christmas together on Christmas Eve, and taking Sunday as a day of rest. That’s right, no church on Sunday, December 25th. And this year Ammee Huzil is planning a Christmas Eve service with a place for just about anybody to participate. Here’s the info she’d like you to know:
This Sunday after church is the last opportunity to audtion, so Please email Amy: firstname.lastname@example.org to book your spot for an audition and to sign up to help.
Also, check out these other events from our Worship Community:
Worship Community Small Group
Our Monday Evening Worship Small Group has been going strong and we have been able to work on our voices, and our instruments, and even do some songwriting exercises. We have one more date in November on the 28th.
We will be pausing through the month of December to work on Christmas Eve preparations. No RSVP is required and this is open to All ages and skill levels. If you have any questions please email email@example.com
Vocal Workshop December 3, 1-5 P.M.
Attention singers and those who want to sing!
We are having our (rescheduled from the summer) Vocal Workshop on Saturday, December 3rd, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the church. This vocal training will be led by Jaime Nicolaisen, a professional Voice Instructor and Music Educator since 1986.
You can read more about Jaime on her website: https://www.sing4yourlife.net
Even if you are not on the worship team, but want to learn how to use your voice, this is for you!
The cost is $65/person and scholarships ARE available.
RSVP is required so we can get a headcount for the day, and please note that the workshop is Next Saturday, so it is now time get that RSVP in!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: Vocal Workshop RSVP
Ladies Christmas Luncheon
Ladies, Come celebrate the birth of Jesus with us for our December 10th Women’s Christmas Lunechon. We’ll have Christmas carols, a Christmas message from Jennifer Rowe-Goodwin, soup and salad bar and a white elephant gift exchange ($5 or less). Tickets are $10 and you can sign up to host a table, or bring a soup or dessert.
As we bring our Thanksgiving celebrations to completion this weekend, may our hearts overflow with the joy that comes from “entering His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts.”! I look forward to worshiping with you together this Sunday morning. See you then!
with blessings and love,
Tithes and Offerings Online
THANKS for taking ownership in the life and ministry of Grace Vineyard! And thanks to all of you who are stepping into a lifestyle of generosity with your tithes and offerings. It really does take all of us doing our part with the income God has entrusted to us for His church. If you’d like to give your tithe or offering online, click the donate button below.