Clarifying Our Theological Vision, part 3

Here is part 3 of an essay titled Clarifying Our Theological Vision by Gary Deddo, with an introduction from Joseph Tkach. The essay is being published serially here in Equipper. To read each part, click on a link: introduction, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. To read the full essay in one article, click here. For the related essay, Covenant, Law and God's Faithfulness, click here. the HOLY spirit's ministry, The Christian life, believers & non-believers By Dr. Gary Deddo Throughout our journey of theological renewal GCI has, appropriately, emphasized the objective aspects of our Lord's Incarnation, vicarious humanity and ministry. Though always acknowledged, less emphasis has been placed on the subjective aspects of Christ's ministry and the... Read the article

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Sermon for July 30, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 29:15-28 and Ps. 105:1-11, 45b or 1 Kings 3:5-12 and Ps. 119:129-136 Rom. 8:26-39; Matt. 13:31-33, 44-52 PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM (Matthew 13:31-33) By Josh McDonald Introduction In defining the exercise of power in the world, some distinguish between "right-handed power" (which tends to be confrontational and even violent) and "left-handed power" (which often is indirect and always non-violent). Though Jesus occasionally exercised right-handed power (as in throwing the money-changers out of the Temple), for the most part he used left-handed power. Though doing so might seem counter-intuitive to us---and it certainly seemed that way to many of his peers, including his followers---no person in history... Read the article

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Sermon for July 23, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 28:10-19a and Ps. 139:1-12, 23-24 or Isa. 44:6-8 and Ps. 86:11-17 Rom. 8:12-25; Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43 LIVING IN THE ALREADY BUT NOT-YET KINGDOM (Matthew 13:24-30) By Josh McDonald Introduction Perhaps you recall the televangelist couple Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. They set out to build heaven-on-earth in a Christian theme park named Heritage USA. It was designed as a refuge from the world, offering the gospel through entertainment. Unfortunately what they built was quite unlike heaven. Grounded in lust for prestige, power and wealth, it came crashing down after only a few years of operation. Jimmy went off to prison and Tammy Faye became the laughingstock of the country. In our gospel passage today, we... Read the article

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Kids Korner: Discipling through storytelling

Parents and others who minister to children have the challenging responsibility and privilege to disciple children, which means teaching them about our triune God and the life that is theirs in union and communion with God, in Jesus, by the Spirit. What is the best way to convey these vital, biblical truths? A Children's Ministry Magazine article recommends storytelling---the method Jesus used in teaching children and adults. To read this helpful article, click here. For some instruction on effective storytelling, click here. Read the article

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Sermon for July 16, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 25:19-34 and Ps. 119:105-112 or Isa. 55:10-13 and Ps. 65:9-13; Rom. 8:1-11; Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23 CULTIVATING GRATITUDE (Matt. 13:3-9; 18-23) By Michelle Fleming Introduction “The kingdom of God is like _________________.” How would you fill in the blank? Jesus gives us clues in his teaching where he compares and contrasts human experience with God's kingdom ways---taking something familiar and adding a surprising twist to reframe how we think of the kingdom. In doing so, he helps us wrap our finite minds around the majesty of an infinite God. An example of such teaching is Jesus' provacative statement to the Pharisees in Luke 17:21: "The kingdom of God is in your midst." This statement was... Read the article

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Retreating to advance the kingdom

The June issue of "Equipper" (articles and sermons linked below) continues our 2017 focus on renewal, noting how the kingdom of God sometimes is advanced by retreating and other counter-intuitive, even counter-cultural tactics. From Greg: Retreating to charge forward Greg Williams encourages pastors to advance renewal in their congregations by going on a spiritual retreat with their leaders. [caption id="attachment_4530" align="aligncenter" width="394"] Greg tells about retreating to the Smoky Mountains (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)[/caption] On Leadership: Navigating through life: the 5 Gears Rick Shallenberger shows how leaders can be more effective by achieving balance in life's "5 gears," including taking time to... Read the article

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On Leadership: Navigating through life: the 5 Gears

This article is from GCI-USA Regional Pastor and Equipper Feature Editor, Rick Shallenberger. This is part 3 of a series on Christian leadership. For other articles in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Do you sometimes suffer from insomnia---unable to put aside the ideas, projects, plans and worries filling your mind as you struggle to go to sleep? That happens to me, and I know I’m not alone. Many pastors and ministry leaders are overachievers, even workaholics. A desire to achieve sometimes gets in the way of what we need most in life---to connect with others. Busyness easily leads to disconnect---or said differently, when work becomes more important than people, disconnect results. One of the reasons for disconnect,... Read the article

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Sermon for July 9, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 and Ps. 45:10-17 (or Song 2:8-13) or Zech. 9:9-12 and Ps. 145:8-14; Rom. 7:15-25a; Matt. 11:16-19, 25-30 THE JOY OF TAKING JESUS' YOKE (Matthew 11:27-30) By Cathy Deddo Introduction Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30) When I was a child, I loved the comfort of these words, even if I didn’t really understand them. When struggling in some way or anxious, I liked the picture they gave me of gentle Jesus wanting to help me when life got overwhelming. I liked the idea that... Read the article

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Sermon for July 2, 2017

Scripture readings: Gen. 22:1-14 and Ps. 13:1-6 or Jer. 28:5-9 and Ps. 89:1-4, 15-18; Rom. 6:12-23; Matt. 10:40-42 RECEIVING AND REPRESENTING JESUS (Matthew 10:40-42) By Martin Manuel Introduction Let's begin with a video that illustrates the power of hospitality. [The video shows the work of a Peace Corps volunteer in the Asian country of Timor-Leste.] [On YouTube at https://youtu.be/NhRIUxsNPIQ . Although the context of this video is not the gospel, per se, it illustrates the kind of welcoming response that Jesus speaks of in the passage covered in this sermon.] Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission to towns in the region of Galilee. He gave them instruction on where to go and what to do when they got there. He told... Read the article

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From Greg: Retreating to charge forward

Dear pastors and ministry leaders: We each have unique "wiring" (personality). One of the personality assessments I've taken identifies me as a "socializing director" with a "pioneer voice." That means I tend to attract people, though I like winning even more. Being wired that way, I tend to work long hours and push others to do likewise. Thus to shut down normal operations to go on retreat with part of the GCI-USA Church Administration and Development (CAD) team for three days was outside the norm for me. Yet that is what I did. Near the end of April a group of CAD leaders (including the U.S. Regional Pastors) retreated to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. In the military, to retreat is to “move back or withdraw” as a tactic of... Read the article

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