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Here are our weekly discussion questions from our Sunday sermons. The idea is that you can use these for your personal time with the Lord, or to discuss these questions with a friend, or in a small group in application of the Sunday message. 

 

Posts by Phil Layton

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A Prayer of Praise for the End of Roe v Wade

A prayer of praise for the end of Roe v. Wade Our Father in heaven, you are the infinite Creator who has infinite care for all of life you create in your image, from the unloved to the unborn. Your Word speaks of pregnant Rebekah and Mary and Elizabeth and others as having children inside them. You say in Ps 139 "you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you...

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Law Enforcement Support and Outreach Sunday

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Last Sunday (5/1) I was honored to pray before an an honor ride for fallen Elk Grove PD officer Ty Lenehan, a member of our church killed in the line of duty early this year (click here for some of what I shared before I prayed or click here for more of the back story and testimony). This week there also was the CA Peace Officers Memorial in our State Capitol, and Sunday ...

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Stewardship Update and Praises

Great is Thy Faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me! A couple months ago I shared about God's faithfulness in providing all our needs as a church by His hand and we continue to see new mercies and provision. I also talked about how we need to be faithful in light of His faithfu...

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Praising God for His Love

"Not to us O LORD, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1) Today (3/31/2022) by God's love and grace, I passed my oral examination of my dissertation on God's love in 1 Corinthians 13! There is still some work to do on my final paper but "just a few hours" so I am set to graduate on May 8th with my D. Min. in Expository Preach...

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Pacific Justice Institute Town Hall - February 2

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I am very impressed with Pacific Justice Institute as on organization and Kevin Snider in particular, who wil be speaking Wednesday night. They have don a lot of good working during the pandemic for churches and Christians. This will be helpful info for people concerned about the below topics. Pacific Justice Institute is presenting at a Town Hall on Wednesday, February 2...

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January 16, 2022 Sermon Discussion Guide

Attributes Discussion Guide (1)

God's Attributes, Pt. 3: God's Wrath and Our World...

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Jonathan Edwards on Heaven "A World of Love"

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For the first part of this blog series click here How Heaven Is a World of Love The final sermon of Jonathan Edwards in his series on 1 Corinthians 13 (Charity and Its Fruits) focused on heaven.Hisdiscussion of abiding love in heaven is among the clearest and most compelling sermons I've ever read, and it rejoiced and refreshed my soul. Entitled "Heaven is a World of Lo...

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Jonathan Edwards on Miraculous Gifts in 1 Corinthians 13:8

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In my last Sunday sermon hereI mentioned this message by Jonathan Edwards. For the first part of this series of blogs, click here Jonathan Edwards preached during the revival known as the Great Awakening where the Spirit of God moved mightily in the American colonies in the 1730s-1740s. During that time he preached a series focusing on the fruit of the Spirit of love (cha...

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Jonathan Edwards on 1 Corinthians 13, Part 1

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This past Sunday I introduced the message on 1 Corinthians 13 talking about Jonathan Edwards and his teaching on this passage during the Great Awakening. Here's more on that from a paper I wrote for my D. Min. seminary research project paper (this is part 1, with part 2 to follow). Click here for a more print-friendly version (5 pages in PDF followed by end notes) or cli...

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Love is Patient

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Last Sunday we looked at the first phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is patient ..." Here are a some further reflections to help us continue to meditate and make this our pursuit together, to glorify God, be more Christlike, and grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Phil Ryken explains: 'Children get impatient with their parentsParents get impatient with their childrenAt...

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Loving the Way Jesus Loves

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Yesterday we kicked off the series on "The Supreme Excellence of Christ's Way of Love" and I pray this will study will change us in our families and in our church family. I mentioned this book by Philip Graham Ryken that I'd like to recommend to you all further as a "book of the month" and as a great resource to read along in this series to get even more from this chapt...

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Family Camp - testimonies, video and wrap up

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GCBC Family Camp 2021 was such a blessing, so thankful to Jen and Kiana and Brittany for coordinating and all who helped and served and shared.For pictures of family camp set to videoclick here Below are links to the testimonies shared by Cory and Hannah Freeman and Ethan and Lisa Trepepi, the Beauchamp family (new to our church) and Jerry and Donna Layton. The messages...

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Resources on Woke Movement and Critical Race Theory

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Last Sunday (6/20) I preached on God's wisdom for the woke movement and critical race theory (CRT). Here are links to some of the resources I mentioned. Click here for the link to the audio, video, and full notes, and I've added related links below. For a shorter version of a study I took our Young Adult Group through last June with audio clips from Voddie Baucham (and PD...

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The book of James - a video introduction

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Sunday 5/25 we resumed our series in James where we left off on Sunday evenings last year. I mentioned in the sermon (click here) this may be helpful to watch and reflect on The above gives a visual message of the aim of James for our lives (think James 3:10-14, 1:22-27, etc.). How we speak of and to each other and the consistency of our faith and works is seen by Go...

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Legacy of the Saints - Katie Luther

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Last Sunday Jaime and I visited Church at the Cross in Pine Grove, where I was a guest preacher to help out their pastor who has had some health struggles and was taking a break from the pulpit. It was such a blessing to be with these sweet saints and also to watch this video in their service that was put together by our sister in Christ there, Holly Franco. It was moving ...

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Pray for our brethren in Canada - UPDATE

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CLICK BELOW FOR SOME OF THE FACES OF CANADIAN PASTORS TO PRAY FOR The weekend of May 2nd another church building in Canada (this time in Ontario, Trinity Bible Chapel) was seized by the government for gathering to worship according to their biblical convictions rather than man's restrictions. Their pastor is a graduate of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentuck...

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“Wokeness” and our Witness

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In last week's message, the "woke movement" was mentioned by Pastor Corey briefly in relation to our witness for the gospel (I also referenced the "woke mob" in the prior week on why people rage against oppression in Psalm 2). For those unfamiliar with the term, the slang term "woke" arose in popular culture with the Black Lives Matter movement and describes those who are ...

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The Church Can’t Be Stopped - Canada UPDATE

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Let's keep praying for my seminary classmate and fellow soldier in the spiritual war zone up north! Putting him behind bars for 35 days didn't stop his church, so on April 7 they've put the church building behind bars - 3 layers of steel security fencing! Sad to see a church building taken over, but glad the church is not a building and that the story is not over for Chri...

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Practical Helps For Prayer

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We all need the Lord's help to enjoy and be more faithful in prayer. Here are some practical helps to assist us. Click here for a print-friendly 1 page version of below and Click here for the audio or video of the message on Colossians 4:2 where this was shared For Personal Prayer (A.C.T.S.): A Adoration of God (His attributes, who He is) C Confession of sin T...

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It's Sunday, but Friday's Coming (Palm Sunday to Good Friday)

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It's Palm Sunday But Friday's Coming Poem by Pastor Phil Layton It's Palm Sunday. A donkey is borrowed, a fig tree will be cursed tomorrow. Jesus will weep over Jerusalem in sorrow for what's coming for its sin. It's Palm Sunday. The first day of the week. All Israel is there for the feast. The city is filled with sheep, as the Lamb of God is coming ...

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UPDATE: Moving appeal from wife of jailed pastor James Coates

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Here is a follow up tothis earlier post about my former classmate at Masters Seminary now in jail for leading and meeting with his church according to his conscience and convictions from God's Word.Be sure to scroll down to read the appeal of Erin Coates for her husband where she explains his convictions and the impact on her and their family. PRAYER UPDATE: On Friday 3...

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Updates on My Former Classmate in Jail for Church Gathering

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Today let's soberly obey Hebrews 13:3 "Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body." Scroll to the bottom for updated prayer requests for Pastor James Coates from his elders and updates from his wife. This hits close to home as this pastor is a classmate of mine in my seminary program at...

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Sunday follow-up and fellowship lunch invitation for Sunday 2/7

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Church family, I wanted to to remind you of the challenge from last Sunday AM to memorize Colossians 3:16-17 to help treasure His word:Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in t...

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How to Pray for Your Church and Its Leaders

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Below is the prayer list referenced in today's sermon. Click here for a print-friendly bookmark size version of this you can keep in your Bible or prayer journal. How to Pray for Your Church, Shepherds and Teachers Humility - that we would be constantly fighting personal pride and cultivating humility, and striving to spread a high view of God and low view of self. ...

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Resources for Racism and Growing in Understanding (follow up to 12/6 sermon)

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Here are some the links pastor Phil mentioned in his sermon here on racism, divisions, and how Christ is sufficient Each of these in different ways I found helpful to hear conversations with our black brethren and to have compassion and sensitivity to their perspectives. Article by Shai Linne to a white friend on how he processes protests and prejudice Link to pod...

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How Coming to Worship Changes Us (And a Great Video for Sunday’s New Song)

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Our last Lord's Day's message (click here) considered the Word of the Lord that calls us to come to worship corporately as His people, in psalms like this: "Oh come, let us sing to the LORD ...Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving ...Oh come, let us worship..." - Psalm 95:1-6 As we come to worship and sing with thanksgiving, we transition to the Christmas seaso...

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Men’s Conference Audio and Video from last week

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A bunch of our men were blessed and refreshed in person by these messages and we wanted to share with all and encourage you to share far and wide (not just for men, good for all believers!) Click herefor the audio from last weekend at the Man of God Conference, shared by our friends at Grace Bible Church Fair Oaks. I was so blessed to be with men of God and to hear t...

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More on BLM and CDC from last Sunday’s message (9/6)

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Some have asked about the BLM and CDC source information mentioned in last Sundays sermon here. Below are some of the statements from the message with the website data for reference: I would argue biblically "unborn lives matters" (Psalm 139:13-14). I said in the message "Black lives matteris a profoundly true argument. They matter to God and don't miss the cry behind t...

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Questions and Answers audio from Sunday night

Click here for the Questions and Answers from Sunday night. Topics include: County health updates, children's ministry, civil disobedience, upcoming election, Grace Community Church and John MacArthur update, Marxism, Black Lives Matter, keeping our focus on Christ https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=97201432497096target=safari ...

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Care, Community and Communication - Application Questions

These are the application questions from Sunday's message on the back of your song sheet. I would encourage you to use this for those you are in relationship with from our church to help interact about things of the Word, or use in your personal or family devotions. If this is helpful for you or your family or something you'd see valuable for small group or discipleship ti...

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A Tribute To My Friend Cliff

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In February, Pastor Cliff announced to the church his plan to transition away from his staff pastor role at the end of June. We are thankful he's continuing to serve as an elder. In his words, he's not stopping or retiring from ministry, he's just stepping away from office tasks and redirecting his gifts to serve outside the office. He's also refocusing on family in this s...

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A Counter-Cultural Conversation on Social Justice, Race, the Gospel, and Movements like BLM

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Last night our Young Adult Group met as the first part of our Counter-Culture study, introducing the topic of justice biblically, what scripture has said on this subject and what social justice movements like Black Lives Matters have said (among other related topics). Click here for the handout, including perspectives on the movement from Al Mohler, John Piper, Voddie Bau...

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More Encouragement from a Sister in Christ

I'm so thankful for our sisters in Christ, how they have ministered to me and so many in these times. Their contribution and creative gifts and insights in serving are an inspiration and encouragement to me. Earlier this month I shared this blog (click herefor Encouragements from Sisters in Christ). Another sister in Christ later shared her reflections and recollection of ...

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Moving to One Service Outside & Update On State Guidance

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Many of you have been asking when we can all be together again in one place and we're excited those plans are coming together for this Lord's Day at 9:00 AM! This will be the first time our body has gathered at the same time since March 8th and we have longed for this day like many of you have and hope you can make it! We're moving to one service with the revised State gu...

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Encouragements from sisters in Christ

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Here are some encouragements from four GCBC sisters in Christ in four different stages of life, answering the question "how has God grown you or encouraged you in these times?" One wrote: "As for the blessings during this time, seeing more of my husband ... as well as not having so many commitments and slowing down. The quiet pace suits my lazy nature, I like not being "b...

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A Pastor’s Prayer for Minneapolis and our Nation

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Last week I was out of town so I recorded Sunday's sermon early in the week before the grievous footage and fate of George Floyd played out in the streets of Minnesota, and the grievous aftermath unfolded last weekend in streets across America. If I was doing the service live, I would have mentioned these events in the message and/or in my opening prayer after reading the ...

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Personal or family worship as we await church family worship

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Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You --Psalm 119:11 (NASB). In our fight against sin, we need to treasure God's Word in our heart, that's the heart behind fighter verses being hidden or stored up in our heart like treasure or riches for ourselves and to be shared with others. Below is the next "fighter verse": Let the word of Christ dwell...

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Don’t Waste this Time - Pray for What Matters Most Globally (With a Tribute to Joyce Lin)

The one thing I wanted to take time to write this week is much bigger than our church and what's on our minds. There are great concerns about our nation, but let's keep the Great Commission on our mind, and the Glorious Christ's concern for all nations. It's been my burden in these times to keep missions before us, as a pastor but also as a person who grew up on the missio...

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Questions on Meeting at God’s House and in Our Homes or Other Places, Part 1

What are the current guidelines for gathering in homes? What is the church’s plan going forward? Will we be able to meet in small groups or come together in larger groups (outdoors)? How should we handle those who respond to the laws differently within the church?...

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Church and State, Part 2: Civil Disobedience and Constitutional Rights Questions

Click here for Part 1with biblical and historical perspectives from Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and American pastors during the 1918 Spanish Flu (closest parallel). Part 2 below considers modern respected pastors and proponents of religious liberty who weigh in on the 2020 pandemic's restriction of church assemblies. Note: GCBC has participated in a series of meeting...

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Church and State in a Health Crisis, Part 1: Biblical and Historical Notes

Martin Luther practiced civil disobedience by illegally preaching, but saw black plague health restrictions differently...

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Joining In A Week of Prayer Together

Praying together from Colossians 1, and for our community and leaders...

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Waiting for the Lord

Lamentations 3:25-26, this weekend's fighter verse says "The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly..." The Lamentations 3 passage goes on to say there can be good in bearing a yoke, or sitting alone in silence at times (v. 27-28), as we hope in God as our portion, our sufficiency (v. 24). "Let us test an...

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