• Breaking Free From Selfishness

    By Eric Stoudt

    “I signed up to write a blog about breaking free from selfishness.” I said to my wife. “Bahahahaha! Are you going to tell everyone what not to do?!” she responded. “Yeah, I think so.” I replied while laughing along. This was the conversation heard in my house when I came home from a writer’s team meeting and it has stuck with me. Since then I have been asking myself the question, “Why would I sign up to write about a topic that I continually struggle to overcome?” “If selfishness is a struggle for me than it must be a struggle for others. By casting light on this area of my life in being honest and transparent, maybe it will help someone else too.” In my answer I can find tiny subtleties of selfishness. I signed up to write about selfishness …

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  • GT Stories: Art Vallely

    By Eric Stoudt

    On Sunday mornings you can find Art Vallely at the Missions Hub. Located to the left of the Sacred Grounds Café seating area, he may be answering questions about upcoming GT trips or providing information for local Missions events. From the Missions Hub, Art can sign people up for prayer chain emails, get them information packets about GT Missions or demonstrate how to email a GT-supported missionary from one of the nearby kiosks. Art and his family have been coming to GT for the last two years. His oldest daughter, Danielle, was the first to attend when she came with a friend. After the service she excitedly told her parents and sisters that, “You have to check this place out.” The family followed Danielle’s advice and they have been attending regularly since. They quickly fell in love with GT’s Sunday …

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  • Missions and My Family

    By Eric Stoudt

    The word Missions in my home usually centered on topics like military endeavors, Tom Cruise movies or the frustrating task of finding the hottest new toy for a child’s Christmas present. That has changed drastically over the last four years and it all started when we began attending a “Missions Minded” church. We had an idea of what the Mission of the church looked like, because we heard stories and met people who went on Missions trips. We knew that some people grew up to become missionaries just like any other job, but that is where our impressions of church Missions ended. That was until God got a hold of our hearts and we started seeing Missions in a new way. Our first gifts toward missions started shortly after we began attending GT Church, when we found out about the …

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  • 5 Ways to Appreciate Dad this Father’s Day

    By Eric Stoudt

    Dads are a lot different than moms in the way they relate , understand and communicate with us, so I couldn’t just change all the pronouns in from last month’s Mother’s Day article. (Full disclosure, I considered it, and I did copy and paste a little bit.) These manly suggestions for appreciating dads aren’t based on anything mushy like love languages just the cool stuff we enjoy. 1.) Do something with him that he likes. Men can be more relational when there is a common activity taking place. This is why men enjoy getting together for things like fishing trips and sporting events. Whatever dad’s hobbies or interests are, the companionship of a shared experience with you is something that can really speak into him. 2.) Allow him to teach you something. Dads love to feel like experts and they …

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  • 5 Ways to Appreciate Mom this Mother’s Day

    By Eric Stoudt

    If you’re like me you have a mom, a mother-in-law, a mother to your kids, and a grandmother, maybe Mother’s Day can be a little confusing. Here are some suggestions for appreciating all the moms on their special day based on the 5 love languages. 1 // Serve Her – Do something for your mom. Moms spend years sacrificing their own lives while putting their kids first. They spend countless hours cooking for us, cleaning and caring for us. Take the opportunity to do something for her without the expectation of anything in return. Maybe that looks like cutting her grass, painting her bathroom or cooking her favorite meal (spaghetti works too, if that is the limit of your kitchen skills). 2 // Tell Her – She may not hear it often enough. Often times we get lost in the day …

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  • Help People Take the Next Step

    By Eric Stoudt

    Sometimes when I ask myself “What can I really do to help others take the next step?” there is a lie of the devil hidden inside the question. The lie says, “I can’t really make a difference anyway.” Standing tall with that lie is self doubt, a lack of confidence, and a feeling that I am unqualified. The devil wants me to come up with an excuse to not try. His goal is to get me to talk myself out of it. He tries to get me to convince myself I can’t do it.  He wants me to feel inadequate. He wants me to remain silent. He definitely does not want me passing out church invite cards, dropping GT pens in public places, wearing “We Love Berks” t-shirts or spreading the Good News of Jesus. If we are all called …

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  • Activate Grace & Compassion

    By Eric Stoudt

    There are plenty of examples of biblical grace and compassion in God’s Word. In the Old Testament Joseph demonstrates grace toward his brothers for the horrible way he was treated when he was younger (Gen 50:17). Through Nathan, God shows grace to King David when he repents of his sins (2 Sam 12:13). In the New Testament, Jesus’ compassion for his followers is demonstrated by countless miracles, like raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43). After the crucifixion, the Holy Spirit works through the people of the early church. Peter and John continue demonstrating God’s grace by healing the man outside the temple (Acts 3:6). God’s most precious gift to us is grace. His Word contains story after story about how he delivers us such a priceless gift. There is one story that stands out to me above all the …

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  • Why Everyone Needs a Spiritual Coach

    By Eric Stoudt

    Why do we all need a spiritual coach?  Here are five reasons all beginning with the letter A. (“Why all with letter A?” You ask. Because the first 3 were natural so I expanded it to 5 and it worked.) Answers We’ve all heard Pastor Bryan joke about not emailing him when he says something from the pulpit that may bring some controversy or complaints from those of us sitting in the Worship Center. Imagine how flooded his inbox and voicemail would be if he served as everyone’s go to question master when we need answers to spiritual matters, bible verses, or a recent Sunday morning message. One person can’t handle all of that and even the church staff as a whole would be overwhelmed answering the questions of over 3,000 people every week. We must learn to lean on …

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  • I Was Broke, Now I’m Not

    By Eric Stoudt

    My family’s journey to honor God with our finances started nearly 2 ½ years ago. In the summer of 2014, our family of five was made up of two working parents and three kids aged 8, 4 and almost 1. At the time we developed some seriously bad money habits and we were spending more than we earned every week. Our paychecks were going toward paying all the bills: the mortgage, the car payments, the utilities, the student loans and the credit cards. After meeting all the due dates, there never seemed to be enough money left to cover the regular household expenses. There was no extra money to give generously either let alone tithe. The household expenses like gas, groceries, and sometimes even our cable bill or our car insurance were being paid by supplementing our income with credit …

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  • GT Stories: Greg Hubbard

    By Eric Stoudt

    As my own friendship with Greg developed over the last six months I can see more clearly now than ever, that the tall, sweaty, fast talking, fast walking, head-swinging, pun yielding, peanut butter and jelly connoisseur we all see on the GT stage once in awhile is truly anointed by God and on fire for Jesus. Before I ever had a conversation with Greg Hubbard I saw him as the inspirational, fiery preacher that loved Cracker Barrel who was really good at counting to three. His sermons can make you laugh hysterically and cry five seconds later. My thoughts were that Greg was mostly the fill in guy who would cover for vacations and holidays when the regular speakers were off duty. Or maybe he just fit in the regular rotation, only a little less often than the others. Or …

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