Dear Grace Family,

There’s an old song that Southern Gospel family group, The Whisnants, made popular. It says:

High upon the mountain, the sun is shining bright

My heart is filled with gladness here above the cares of life

But I’ve just come through the valley of trouble fear and pain

It was there I came to know my God enough to stand and say

Even in the valley God is good

Even in the valley He is faithful and true

He carries His children through like He said He would

Even in the valley God is good

     I think we’re learning so much during this season of struggle. I’ve never known a time, even in the worst moments of my life, when things seemed quite so uncertain -- supplies, finances, our very way of life. But even in the middle of this upheaval I’m also seeing many little kindnesses and blessings.

     After the earthquake of 1989, during 9-11, in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires of the last several years, and the financial crash of 2008 -- we saw folks pulling together and pulling themselves up by the bootstraps. At least in those horrific events, once the damage was done, we could begin to rebuild.

     That’s not to say the mourning and the pain didn’t last long beyond the initial incident, but there was a bottom where we could land and start looking up for a way out. And we had an enemy we could name.

     This time, we’re facing a siege. The answer may not come in a day or a week. Who do we blame? A germ, the Government, a supply chain, another country? Not only is our faith being stretched, but also our stamina.

     These are pivotal times, and I’m beginning to understand what faith is really all about. It’s not about problem solving, or even in believing that God will come to our rescue and our aid. Those are things that most of us have already embraced, and God has proven Himself faithful over and over. But there must be another lesson that He is trying to teach us in all of this, because this time IS different.

     We’re seeing an unprecedented number of churches streaming their services, individual people worshiping and sharing on Facebook or Instagram or other platforms. Stories, both little and huge, of people doing the right thing and stretching out a helping hand to those around them -- practicing generosity. I’m so blessed by the prevailing attitude folks have of sharing and reaching out (hoarders and politics aside).

     But I’m especially moved by the depth of longing I see in everyone around me to congregate with one another – particularly Believers. There’s nothing like having something restricted to make us crave it even more. It’s evident when we’re trying to diet, when someone we love is distanced from us, when our children leave home and go off to college or into the military, and when we’re told we can’t meet to have a church service. I can’t help but wonder if that craving won’t make us more appreciative of the privileges we were taking for granted.

     Psalm 34:1 says “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Even during this long time of uncertainty, we must continually praise Him. Whether our struggle lasts for a moment, or lasts for a lifetime, our relief will be found in lifting our voices in worship. Not for just for this time, but with every thought and every word. The rest of that song says:

This road of life has led you to a valley of defeat

You wonder if the Father has heard your desperate plea

There is hope in that rugged place where tears of sorrow dwell

Can’t you hear Him gently whispering

“I’m here and all is well?”

All is well! It may not be what we’re used to, but even in the valley God is good.


Be blessed my Grace family. God is on the throne!

Bobbie


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

While services are still suspended, please like and follow our Grace Community Church Faceboo​k page to see streamed worship and preaching. And please continue to be faithful in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online  via our DONATION link on the Home Page or our Tithes & Offerings page, or mail your checks to 

Grace Community Church

3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 

Merced, CA 95340


THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS!


Some of these may change, but let's still keep these opportunities and plans in our prayers:


SPECIAL REMINDERS:


- Saturday, April 17th Outreach & Youth Re-launch

- June 27 – Battle of the Worship Bands Outreach

- Saturday, August 22nd – Church barbeque and baptism

- October 31 – Harvest Festival

- New Members: Have you filled out your forms? Be sure and return them to Bobbie. They are on the table in the Café area.

- Look for the Time-Talent-Treasure cards on the back table: What is your special gifting? Will you share it with your Grace family? We need your help to keep our house running smooth. Please grab a card and let us know where you might feel God’s prompting to step into a church ministry.

- We are still fund-raising for our Church Van. Can you help? Please consider a monthly pledge, or a one-time donation. Mark your offering envelope “Church Van” so we know to designate the funds appropriately.

- We are looking for additional Children’s Church teachers. Please see Misty or Anthony if you feel God leading you in this direction. Our youth are our most valuable resource.

- When planning an event, please contact Bobbie with the date so she can make sure there isn’t any conflict with other church activities.

  



Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has been in ministry for more than 15 years, having worked as an assisting Pastor and Youth Pastor at Victory Life Center in Merced prior to coming to Grace. He was recently honored with Ordination through the ICFG, and has made a smooth transition into his position as Senior Pastor. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.

Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.