Pastor Joe served in the assistant Pastor role at Chestnut Grove Independent Church from 2004 to 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Theology from Faith Baptist School of Theology in Seneca, Pennsylvania. He graduated magna Cum Laude with a 3.89 grade point average. Joe and his wife, Paula, have been lifelong residents of Punxsutawney. They have been married since 1989. Together, they have two children. Joe completed ordination in 2009 and has been serving as senior pastor since January 2010.
Who We Are:
We are a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in the Punxsutawney area and we warmly welcome people who desire grow in their faith and serve the Lord in all areas of their lives.
Christian worship has been offered to God at Chestnut Grove for over 130 years. The original church building was built in 1881 which was located along Route 36 in Hudson. The first service was held there on April 20, 1882. The little white church located along Route 36 served the congregation into the mid 1990’s. The congregation out grew the original building and through dedication to God and prayer, land was purchased and a new church facility was built along Lipp Road, not far from the original location.
Our roots go deep, but we are not stuck in the past. We are ordinary people who have been captivated by the message of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. We are learning together to live by God’s good news, grow in faith, and serve in Christ’s name. Come as you are and join us in our journey.
what we believe:
The Holy Trinity – There is but one true and living God, everlasting and of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things visible and invisible. (Isaiah 45:21-22; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalms 90:2). In the unity of this Godhead there are three persons, one in essence and equal in power and eternity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (I John 5:7; II Corinthians 13:14; John 1:1 & 15:26).
God the Father – The Father is the supreme person of the Godhead, to whom the Son and the Holy Spirit, though equal in essence are subordinate in office. The Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world; He also sent the Holy Ghost. To the Father, the Son reconciles the penitent sinner; and to the Father pertains the worship of every believer.
God the Son – The only begotten Son of God was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, a sacrifice for the sins of man to reconcile us unto God. He was resurrected and ascended back to the Father to be a propitiation for our sins. (Luke 1:27-35; John 1:14; John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:10).
God the Holy Ghost – The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son as the true and living God, of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:9-11).
His office work is to:
Convince the world of sin (John 16:8).
Regenerate those who repent (John 3:5-9).
Sanctify believers (Acts 15:8-9).
Guide into all truth (John 16:13).
The Holy Scriptures – By the Holy Scriptures we understand the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and the New Testaments to be the Divine Word of God, given under Divine inspiration (II Timothy 3:16), without error in its original form, and giving all necessary truth for salvation, knowledge and growth in the Christian walk (II Peter 1:20-21).
The Atonement – The Holy Scriptures teach us, that by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and by the shedding of His own blood He made sufficient and full atonement for the sins of man and that this atonement is the only grounds of eternal salvation and that only as we confess our sins and believe on His name in true saving faith.
We further believe that this atonement provides without confession for those who are mentally irresponsible form birth, or saved individual who becomes mentally irresponsible. It also provides without exception for the infants who have not reached the age of accountability.
Free Will – The condition of man, by the fall of Adam, has rendered him incapable of any move toward God until he has been first convicted and convinced of his fallen condition and has been offered salvation by grace, through faith. Man is however, a free moral being by creation; he can and often does reject the atonement provided for his salvation.
Faith – That child-like trust and confidence, is necessary if we are to obtain salvation (John 3:16). Without faith it is impossible to please God for we must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that trust Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith becomes effective as it is exercised by man, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, which aid is assured when the heart has met divine conditions (Hebrews 5:9).
Repentance – Genuine repentance toward God consists in knowledge of, a sorrow for, a confession and forsaking of sins. Such knowledge is brought about by the Holy Spirit and includes a knowledge of the goodness, mercy and severity of God (Matthew 3:2, II Corinthians 7:10; John 16).
Salvation – Consists of at least three different phases:
Regeneration or Justification, a process whereby the Blood of Christ and His office as Mediator, we are legally just in the sight of the Father, and regenerated or brought into newness of life by His blood and the witness of the Spirit, scripturally called the New Birth (John 3).
Sanctification, that act of God whereby the believer is set apart for the work of God, separated from the world and unbelievers to His service and further, made pure by Christ’s Blood and the Holy Spirit, through faith (Hebrews 13:12).
Glorification, that final state of redeemed man after death or the rapture of the saints, whereby we are made like unto His own glorious body never to suffer corruption or see sin, and where we shall ever be with our Lord (John 14:1-3; Romans 8:23).
Growth in Grace – In order to maintain right relationship with God, it is necessary to grow in grace, both before and after sanctification (Ephesians 4:15-16; II Peter 3:18).
The Church – We believe, according to the word of God, that the Church is a divine institution, implanted in the world to carry on the work of Christ after His ascension. The Ecclesia, or Church is made up of two phases:
Mystic, or that body of believers, washed by His blood and sanctified, a peculiar people zealous of good works, known as the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2-9; Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:14).
Visible. This is the local body of believers, having their own place of worship and physically organized to better carry on the work of Christ. Not that such organization is the means of salvation but the results of the means (Revelation Chapters 1-3).
Divine Healing – We believe that it is the privilege of every believer, who has sufficient faith, to be divinely healed. We do not, however, advocate nor believe in commercializing this God-given privilege (James 5:13-14).
The Christian Sunday – Since the early Church met regularly on the first day of the week, we continue to observe the same. We also need to remember that we are to live holy lives everyday of the week. As much as possible we are to attend the services provided by the church. We are to support the church with our financial means, talents such as music, teaching, or any other way that will bring honor to God (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10).
Baptism – Water baptism in itself has no saving efficacy (Acts 10:47-48; I John 1:7) but it is a visible sign of an inward work of grace. To have been baptized in the apostles day really meant something, even martyrdom. While no mode of baptism is mentioned in the Bible, we believe there is sufficient evidence therein to substantiate baptism by immersion.
The Lord’s Supper – Commonly called the communion service, has been and will continue to be practiced so long as the church shall stand. It consists in the partaking of the bread, symbol of Christ’s own broken body, and the wine a symbol of His own blood. No number of times is designated by Christ, saying, as oft as ye do this ye do shew forth the Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Matthew 26:26-29).
The Second Coming of Christ – Sufficient proof has been given that Jesus will come again (Acts 1:10-11; John 14:1-3). Scripture also teaches that His coming will be in two parts namely:
Rapture of the saints before the Great Tribulation
His Revelation or coming back with His saints after the tribulation at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 20:6-15).
Paul also teaches us these same truths as does Matthew (I Corinthians 15:51-58; Matthew 24).
Resurrection of the Saints – Conclusive evidence has been given that the saints who sleep shall be resurrected (I Corinthians 15:51-58; Revelation 20:5-6; John 11:24) and be caught up together with those who remain at His coming (I Thessalonians 4:14-18). Let us comfort one another with these words.
Judgment – The Bible teaches clearly that all men must stand before God, either at the judgment seat of Christ, (for Christians – Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10) or the great white throne judgment (for those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ – Revelation 20:11). Death is man’s last appointment with God in this life and the judgment the first in the future life (Hebrews 9:27). John speaks of the judgment and saw all men both small and great there.
Destiny – The Bible clearly teaches that this present life marks the boundary of the soul’s probationary period. Moral character is unchangeable in eternity. It further teaches that heaven is a real place (John 6:38; Luke 24:51; Matthew 6:20) and that hell is a real place (Matthew 5:29; Matthew 10:28; Luke 16:23). Every soul will make his eternal abode in one place or the other, depending upon his decision in this probationary age.
We believe becoming a member of a church body helps to grow an individual in their relationship with Christ as well as keep them connected to other believers. As believers in Christ, we are all members of the family of God and through mirroring this family mindset in the church we can stay accountable and love one another the way we are called to.
If you are interested in becoming a member of Chestnut Grove, reach out to one of our pastors or leaders for more info!
Things you may be wondering...
What should I expect?
Every Sunday we gather together to learn about God, hear his Word from the Bible, and discover how to apply it to our daily lives. Our services include music, a time of prayer, and a message from one of our pastors. (We also take an offering, but this is only for church members and those committed to Chestnut Grove so don’t feel any pressure to put anything in.)
When should I get there?
Our main worship service begins at 09:30 a.m. We recommend getting here 15 to 20 minutes early to account for parking and to find a seat.
What should I wear?
Come as you are! Dress varies from suits to short and sandals. Most people dress casually, but we encourage you to wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
Where do I park?
We have several large parking lots located right near the church building. Several handicap spaces are also available. If you have mobility challenges, feel free to pull up to the main doors and ask one of our greeters to park your car for you.
I Don't Know what to do when i get there
If this is your first time to Chestnut Grove, please visit our welcome desk in the foyer that sits straight ahead when you walk in the main doors. One of our greeters will be happy to help you figure out where to go and what to do. We also ask you please fill out one of our visitor cards so our pastors can call or email you to thank you for visiting and introduce themselves. (We promise, we won’t annoy you!)
I don’t have a Bible.
Not a problem! We have some for you to borrow in the pews where you sit.
Do you have a nursery?
We sure do! We have a nurseries for infants and toddlers that is run by loving, qualified church members each week. Each adult worker in our children’s ministry is background checked for your child’s protection.
How about my older children?
We have a Junior Church for children age 4 through 5th grade. Children will experience and learn God’s truth on their level through Bible lessons, crafts, videos, and lots of fun. The children will join you for the music and worship time at the beginning of the service, then will be dismissed for Junior Church at the appropriate time. (We make an announcement when it is time.) You will escort your children down the large hallway off the foyer and go all the way through the Fellowship Hall and to the back of the second large hall. (If you can’t find it, just follow the other parents and kids!) You will pick them up in their classroom after service.
What do you have for teens?
Our youth group is designed for grades 6-12 and is held downstairs Sunday evenings from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Students get to be a part of an engaging environment where they will be challenged to grow closer to Jesus through relevant teaching, food, games, sports, connecting with other students, and small groups.
Do You Have Sunday School?
Yes! Each week our Sunday school hour follows our church service taking place from 11:00-11:45am. We host several different Sunday school groups including adult mixed group, women's group, young adult group, youth small group, and children's group. Feel free to ask our greeters at the welcome desk about where to find and how to get involved in the Sunday school group you are interested in!
I have some More questions.
If you want to know more about what the pastor talked about or if you have questions about the church, fill out one of our visitor cards and turn it in to the welcome desk on your way out. We also have qualified ledars and deacons available to speak to in a private space following services weekly. Our pastors will also be in the foyer to greet you when you leave. Feel free to tell them you have questions.