What Do We Hope To Be?

In January the GBC church family is giving focused attention to our Core Statements which ask and answer the following questions:

  • Why do we exist? (Our Mission)
  • What do we hope to be? (Our Vision)
  • On What will we focus? (Our Values)

If you missed last week you may find the sermon online.  Everyone who attends GBC will want to listen so we are all on this journey together.

This coming Sunday (1/14) we will focus on our vision: what we hope to be.  I’ve included our vision statement below. Please read through it and think about the future God has prepared for us. You can find all of our core statements on our website.


We aspire to be a church who spreads a passion for the glory of God by making disciples who treasure Jesus Christ and love all people. We become his disciples and grow as his disciples through the gospel, which is the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection on behalf of those who trust and treasure him. Practically, we live as his disciples by obeying biblical instruction and depending on God in prayer, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The result is a spiritual family made up of diverse people who stand unified as a gracious, forgiving community. Therefore, as God’s church we become his agent of gospel-restoration and gospel- multiplication in our neighborhoods, cities, and world.

This vision statement clarifies if we are living in accordance with our shared identity as followers of Jesus. Will you pray for this vision to more and more become a reality in us all to the praise of God’s glorious grace?

– Shaun Walker

Top Sermon & Book from 2017

Dear Church Family,

As we anticipate beginning a new year I find myself reflecting on this past year.  Through all of the good, bad, hard, and enjoyable moments God never stopped showing us his faithfulness.  One of the results of my own year end reflection was a reminder of two resources I found particularly helpful to my own spiritual formation.  You might say these are Shaun’s “top two” resources – one an audio sermon the other a book – and they are both by John Piper.

Top Sermon from 2017:

The sermon “Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering” – Meditations on the Life of Charles Simeon was preached by John Piper during the 1989 Bethlehem Conference for pastors.  It is a sermon preached to pastors so it includes some biographical information about Charles Simeon to frame up the topic. But the rich doctrine and Bible truths about suffering, escaping emotional fragility, and the roots of spiritual endurance are pure gold.  God has seen fit to use this sermon to advance my own spiritual formation each time I returned to it.  I heartily recommend you spend the ~90 minutes to listen to it.

Top Book from 2017:

Of all the books I read this year John Piper’s “Future Grace” – The Purifying Power of the Promises of God stands above the rest.  This was a difficult choice because I also read “Desiring God – Meditations of a Christian Hedonist” which nearly won the prize.  Perhaps reading both books in the same year allowed the Bible truth explained in the books to reverberate back and forth and work more deeply into my soul.  Regardless, if I have to choose just one top book it is “Future Grace.”  The book is divided into 31 not-too-long chapters designed to be read each day of a month.  In it you will hear Piper explain how God helps break the power of sins like anxiety, despondency, greed, lust, impatience, etc.  I assure you, if you choose to read this book in 2018 it will do you spiritual good and enable you to do others good.

What about you?

Do you have a top sermon or book from 2017? Go ahead and post it below in the comments.

– Shaun Walker


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Understanding Our Church Vision


Understanding Our Church Vision:

For the past few months your pastors have prayed, discussed, and given careful thought to the future of Grace Baptist Church.  We put the results of this Spirit dependent effort into a document that over time we began to call our “Core Statements.” These core statements ask and answer the questions:

  • Why do we exist?
  • What do we hope to be?
  • On what will we focus?

In other words, these Core Statements declare our mission, vision, and values. We believe these statements reflect the deep doctrines and rich truths of God’s Word about who we are and where we are going. There are links to the Core Statement document at the end of this post. The second link is to the document with biblical passages added as footnotes.  Everyone who attends GBC will want to read and know what the document says.

We plan to work our way through these Core Statements in a series of sermons during our Sunday morning service beginning Sunday, January 7. In addition to the preaching series,  we will engage and discuss these Core Statements in our weekly City Groups.  We believe these occasions of interaction will be vital  to unify our understanding and increase our joy as a church family.

What we ask of you right now is to read the document and pray.  We cannot over-emphasize the importance of prayer.  Here is some of what you might pray for:

  • Ask God to bless us with an eagerness to maintain the unity of his Spirit.
  • Pray for all of us to be clothed with humility and to possess teachable minds and hearts.
  • Ask for courage and confidence as well as wisdom so that the dreams found in these Core Statements become a reality through God’s gracious enablement.
  • Ask God to increase our joy and faith-filled anticipation of the bright future he has for us.

We are glad to journey with you into the future our Good Shepherd has prepared for us.

Your Pastors: Rob, John, and Shaun.

Read Our Core Statements

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Let’s Sing: Let the Nations Be Glad

Let The Nations Be Glad!

On Sunday we plan to sing a new hymn together entitled “Let the Nations Be Glad.”  The text unites us in worship and prayer to see God’s salvation fill the whole earth. Because salvation belongs to our God, let the nations be glad!

Please begin learning the song. Get ready to sing with your forever family!


Verse 1
Let the glory of the Lord forever be a joy, may redemption be the theme of our song
For by grace we have been saved, and by grace we shall proclaim
To the corners of the earth that Christ has come
Let the nations be glad, let the people rejoice
For salvation belongs to our God
Let the whole earth be filled, with the praises of the Lord
For salvation belongs to our God, let the nations be glad
Verse 2
Through the ages gone before, through the trial and the sword
Many saints and martyrs conquered though they died
Still we’re holding out the cross, crossing ocean suffering loss
Shall endure all things to win the crown of life
Verse 3
As your holy church goes forth, in the Holy Spirit’s power, with the glories of the Gospel to explain
Now we pray Your kingdom come, and we pray Your will be done
For the honor and the glory of Your name
by, Aaron Boswell, Matt Boswell, Matt Papa
2010 Dayspring Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) Love Your Enemies Publishing

2017 Women’s Bible Study: Proverbs

In the midst of life’s chaos and noise, we all desperately need God’s wisdom for daily living.  The book of Proverbs is a feast of wisdom laid before us.  No matter our place in life, Proverbs is a call and a guide for us to live well.

This year, will you join together with the women of Grace Baptist Church to soak in God’s instruction from the book of Proverbs?

Beginning in March, we will meet on the first Saturday of each month from 2-4 PM to study and discuss a section of Proverbs. Our first meeting with be on March 4 (Location TBD).

To help us prepare, would you commit to reading through the book of Proverbs over the next 31 days? Beginning tomorrow, February 1, read a chapter of Proverbs each day.  By our gathering on March 4, you will have read through all of Proverbs.

31 chapters. 31 days.

As you read, slow down and prayerfully think through what you are reading. Pay special attention to the key concepts: Wisdom, the fear of the Lord, the fool/scoffer, and the simple.

Pray that as we read and study together we would grow in wisdom and the knowledge of God.

As always, friends, family, and neighbors are welcome additions to our Women’s Bible Study. We would love you to invite them to join us!


“’Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice’ (Proverbs 1:20). The Wisdom of God does not stand aloof, as if she were too good for us. She graciously moves toward us, into our real world where we live and struggle day by day. She offers us her very best, if we will only listen…

…As we come to the book of Proverbs, God does not intend to crush us with layer upon layer of demand. He intends to help us. The book of Proverbs is practical help from God for weak people like us stumbling through daily life. It is his counsel for the perplexed, his strength for the defeated, his warning to the proud, his mercy for the broken. The book of Proverbs is the gospel—good news for the inept through the wisdom of Another. We have every reason to receive it with a whole heart.”

Proverbs: Wisdom that Works, Preface, p.13, Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.

Diapers for Foster Families


The Grace Baptist Church family will be collecting diapers on Sunday to give to 5 foster families in Hillsborough County.  The diapers will be delivered to Florida Baptist Children’s Home who will then distribute them to the individual families.

If you are able to participate please pick up a package or two of diapers and bring them with you to our Sunday morning services this coming Sunday, December 20, 2015.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child Image


We will be collecting all boxes and supplies for Operation Christmas Child on Sunday, November 15. Please be sure to bring all your items with you to our morning gathering.

graphics_gallery2There are helpful ideas for items to put in your box available on the Operation Christmas Child website.  Each box will include a colorful presentation of the gospel in their own language.  Pray for spiritual fruit!



Knowing God: Read a Modern-Day Classic


You are invited to join the Grace Baptist Church family as we participate with the Tim Challies blog and read through an enduring Christian classic together – J.I. Packer’s Knowing God.  This is a book worthy of reading and re-reading.  Every Christian should read this book at some point in their life.  The publisher says this:

“Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God. Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God and the third to the benefits enjoyed by those who know him intimately. This guide leads readers into a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gaining a closer relationship with him as a result.”

The plan will be to read 2 chapters each week.  The chapters are not lengthy.  You can find a copy of the book in many formats including paperback, hardcover, and kindle or iBooks.

Go ahead and get yourself a copy. Read chapters 1 and 2 prior to August 20.  Next week Thursday, August 20, Tim Challies will post the first summary article about the first 2 chapters.  You might want to subscribe to his blog (even temporarily) via email or RSS reader so you don’t miss the weekly articles.  Each week you will be able to interact with many others who are also reading the book.

Of course, be ready to share the spiritual growth and grace from God with one another in our church community. As we receive the blessing of knowing God better let’s help each other grow in grace and in the knowledge of God.  Whatever profit God grants your individual walk with him is intended for the building up of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 14:26).

Let’s read, grow, and stir one another to know God better and love him more!

New Hymn: "Behold Our God"




New Hymn: "Behold Our God" from the album "Risen"In the month of June the Grace Baptist Church family will learn a hymn entitled, “Behold Our God.”  The hymn relates the mighty works of God as Creator and recounts his infinite wisdom. The final stanza tells of the great saving acts of God accomplished through Jesus. The chorus calls us to behold and adore this mighty, wise, rescuing God.

Please begin listening to the melody and meditating on the words of this hymn in your private worship to help prepare us for our time of corporate worship.

 Behold Our God

Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His Words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

Who has felt the nails upon His hands
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior risen now to reign!

Men: You will reign forever!
Women: Let Your glory fill the earth

© 2011 Sovereigns Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).