• 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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  • Serving Others in the Season of Giving

    By Eric Stoudt

    On November 13th after Rob Turchi spoke at GT, I was standing in the atrium with a friend. We were reflecting on what we had just heard in the day’s message, which had made an immediate impact on both of us. Rob’s talk was powerful and we enjoyed the stories he told about the men who have had their lives changed through the Hope Rescue Mission. Rob brought up the on the stage men who were now equipped with the power of Jesus and they were taking Him with them, wherever they go. They had overcome lifestyles of crime, overcome addictions, overcome a lifetime of poor choices and overcome the pain of broken relationships. God had healed these men emotionally, physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually. He is a good and faithful living God who is working miracles everyday in …

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  • 5 Places You Won’t Find an Elf on the Shelf

    By Eric Stoudt

    Hey GTers, I am Alabaster and I am a Christmas Elf on the Shelf. As many of you already know some of us elves are assigned to help the big guy up north get up to date behavior reports so he can accurately determine if a child belongs on the naughty list or the nice list in real time. It’s an important job however there are some pretty strict rules we have to follow to be successful at it. Generally, every elf adopts a family and we use our Christmas magic to report back to the North Pole and give an update on the kids’ behavior. When we return to the family’s house we find a new spot in the house to spend the day. The kids know that they cannot touch us because we are sensitive and their touch …

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  • Anticipatory Faith & the Rhythm of Heaven

    By Eric Stoudt

    As a child I can remember the anticipation I had for Christmas morning. I always knew that December 25th was always going to be a great day. I remember lying in bed every Christmas Eve, being as still as I could be, with my eyes slammed shut, hoping to fall asleep fast so that morning would come instantly. It didn’t of course. The butterflies in my stomach would painstakingly keep me awake much later than I preferred. Then I would wake up before sunrise and hours before the do-not-wake-us-up-before time I had agreed to the previous night with my parents. I would sit at the top of the stairs, staring at the multicolored lights on our fake tree, decorated with all of its ornaments. I was really looking at the gifts underneath it. I would try to decipher which presents …

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