December 2, 2022
Hello Grace Vineyard and Friends of Grace,
Welcome to December, 2022! A very special month filled with Christmas as well as the final month of another year. I think it’s a good time to take some moments to contemplate how we’re spending our lives and make any adjustments that are called for. For me, I like to ask myself a few questions: am I spending my time on that which has eternal value (loving God and loving my neighbor as myself)? Am I living from a foundation of experiencing the Father’s love (cuz “we love because He first loved us”)? Am I living in the peace-filled truth of Psalm 23 – that the Lord is my shepherd and I don’t lack anything, and He “makes me lie down in green pastures, beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.”? Last Sunday we gave everyone who came to church a daily devotional booklet for the 4 weeks of Advent. If you didn’t get your copy, or you’d like to use an online version, you can find it right here: https://vineyardusa.org/advent/. Check it out, it’s really well done, and a great way to begin each day leading up to Christmas.
Well, it is Friday and time for another one of my weekly update emails, and I’ve got lots of stuff to share with you today, so let’s dive right in…
Special Guest Nick Ostby
In September Dustin Nelson invited me to join him at an event at Sur Coffee in San Clemente where a bunch of church planters would be sharing stories. It was awesome! These weren’t quite your traditional church plant folks, they are building communities of Jesus followers in parks, coffee shops, beaches, in homeless encampments, pretty much everywhere, and they were on fire for Jesus! I met one guy named Dana Ostby who had been a missionary in Indonesia for years, using the Discovery Bible Study method (if you’re unfamiliar with that term, check out https://discoverybiblestudy.org/) to build a church network that now has 525,000 new believers in Jesus! I also met his son Nicko, who shared stories of his passion to tell people about Jesus, and I immediately knew I wanted to invite him to speak to all of us at Grace Vineyard. I grabbed a couple of pictures from his instagram account that capture his enthusiasm for life, and that’s what you see above. His love for Jesus and love for telling people about Jesus was infectious. Nicko is coming to Oceanside today and will be with us Sunday morning. Please come and get inspired with me!
Dustin let me know that both Nicko and another friend Kevin Desmond will be at Jesus Party tonight, and if anyone needs healing or a touch from God, come join them! Jesus Party starts at 6:22 on the beach just north of the pier by Lifeguard tower #2. I’m gonna try to be there, and I hope you’ll come on out too. It’s gonna be GREAT!
Of course December is probably best known for Christmas, and we’ve got a lot of Christmas related happenings to tell you about. The first thing that comes to mind is Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve is always a special time at Grace Vineyard for family and friends to gather. This year Christmas Day falls on Sunday, so we won’t be meeting Sunday morning, December 25; instead, our weekend service will be our Christmas Eve service on Saturday, December 24th at 5pm. We always keep the service short – about an hour – so people have the rest of their evening free to spend time with family and friends. We have a special program for Christmas Eve with some acting, singing, and the traditional lighting of candles while we sing Silent Night by candlelight. It’s always beautiful to see our theater lit by candlelight. After the service we’ll have hot apple cider and Christmas goodies (watch for an invite for you to bring your baked goods) for some sweet fellowship time. We’ll start at 5pm and plan on being finished with the service by about 6pm.
Christmas Party Potluck
We’ve been really enjoying our monthly potlucks this year. For December we’re moving our potluck to Sunday evening, December 18th, at 5pm. This Sunday we’ll have a little signup sheet for everybody to say what they’re bringing. It’s always fun to be together, sharing a meal, and especially during Christmas time. We’ll enjoy each other’s great company and great food. We’ll plan on singing some Christmas carols together, and who knows what other fun things we’ll come up with. In any case, please put this down on your calendar so you can be sure to join us!
Christmas Benevolence Offering
For the Christmas season we’re receiving donations to help families locally and around the world. Some our Grace Families are facing financial challenges, plus we have some requests from friends both in Africa and Haiti to help provide food for needy families at Christmas, and we also have a local Iranian refugee family now living in our county that we want to bless. If you’re able, I’d encourage you to give a generous donation by clicking here – https://gracevcf.org/christmas-giving/ – or giving it in the offering on Sunday (write “Christmas Benevolence” on the envelope or on the memo field of a check). Do you think we could together come up with $5,000 for these families? That would be awesome. Whatever we come up with, know that 100% of it will go to families at Christmas.
Ladies Christmas Luncheon
Ladies, Come celebrate the birth of Jesus with us for our December 10th Women’s Christmas Luncheon. 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. There will be a sign up table in the lobby at church this Sunday. We’ll be setting up for the luncheon at the church from 1-4pm on Friday, December 9th. Please call Kim (760.519.4558) if you have any questions or are able to help.
Decorating the Building for Christmas This Sunday
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.
Blankets and Tarps for Our Unsheltered Neighbors
Last week I noted how Paul was encouraged by the apostles in Jerusalem to do just one thing in his ministry to the Gentiles: remember the poor. (Galatians 2:8-10) 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. 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.) The best day to join the team is on Wednesday mornings, but Michael is also planning on picking a couple of nights and a Saturday this month to go out and minister on the streets, so text/call him at 760-473-9177 to make your plans. You can find out more about the C4C winter fundraiser by clicking here: https://www.convicted4christ.org/winter-fundraiser.
Vocal Workshop Saturday 1-5pm
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 learn 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 Saturday (tomorrow, Dec 3), so today is the day to get that RSVP in! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: Vocal Workshop RSVP.
Ladies Walk at Guajome Park Saturday December 17th
Ladies, our next Saturday walk is at Guajome Park on Saturday, December 17th, at 9am. We’ll meet at the main entrance on Guajome Lake Road (off Hwy 76). When you turn into the park, the entrance is the first right. Free parking is past the entrance on the left side and on Old Ranch Road. Please let Kathy Green know if you plan to attend 760.583.1779.
Whew – That was a lot of info this update! I’ll sign off for now. Don’t forget the invite to Jesus Party tonight (Friday) at 6:22pm, and don’t forget that you need to sign up by today for the vocal workshop tomorrow. God bless you each abundantly this special month!
I hope to see some of you tonight at Jesus party with special guests Nicko Ostby and Kevin Dedmon. I’ll the see the rest of you Sunday morning. It’s going to be great! (I’d especially love to see you join us when we start worshiping at 9:30!)
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.