Sermon for March 30, 2018 (Good Friday)

Scripture readings: Isa.52:13-15, 52:1-12; Ps. 22; Heb.10:16-25; John 18:1-40, 19:1-42 Sermon by Ted Johnston (from John 19:16b-42) (drawing on commentary by Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Expository Commentary, Donald Guthrie in The New Bible Commentary, Michael Card in The Parable of Joy, and F.F. Bruce in The Gospel of John) Jesus: Crucified, Dead and Buried Here is a video from GCI Media that would make a good call to worship for this Good Friday service.On Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/257629415. Introduction [You might want to begin by leading the congregation in reciting the Apostle's Creed.] The Apostle’s Creed states it with simplicity: Jesus was “crucified, dead, and buried.” These three events in our Lord's... Read the article

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Sermon for March 29, 2018 (Maundy Thursday)

Scripture readings: Ex. 12:1-4, 5-14; Ps. 116:1-2, 12-19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Sermon by Ted Johnston (from John 13) (drawing on commentary by Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Expository Commentary, Michael Card in The Parable of Joy, and F.F. Bruce in The Gospel of John) Lessons from the Upper Room Introduction Our Gospel reading this evening is from John 13. The events there occurred on Thursday evening during Holy Week in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. There Jesus met with his disciples and conveyed his farewell message. The part of the message in John 13 addresses four progressive topics from the perspective of four relationships. Let's prayerfully examine what the Spirit is saying to the church concerning Jesus and... Read the article

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Sermon for March 25, 2018 (Palm Sunday)

Scripture readings: Isa. 7:10-14; Ps. 118:1-2, 19-29; Heb. 10:4-10; John 12:12-16 Sermon by Ted Johnston (from Hebrews 10:1-25) (drawing on commentary by Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Expository Commentary and F.F. Bruce in The Epistle to the Hebrews) Jesus' Better Sacrifice Here is a video from GCI Media that would make a good call to worship for this Palm/Passion Sunday service. On Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/257629062. Introduction Today is the final Sunday in Lent. It's also Palm Sunday (also called Passion Sunday), which begins Holy Week, culminating next Sunday with Easter. On Palm/Passion Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, prepared to give his life as the sacrifice for our sins. Let's reflect on that... Read the article

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The heart of team-based leadership

By Ted Johnston, CAD Publications Editor [caption id="attachment_7170" align="alignright" width="179"] Ted Johnston[/caption] Given this month's theme of leadership, I thought it might be helpful to share what my experience tells me is a vital aspect of developing leaders---both new ones and veterans. Rather than "flying solo," effective leaders practice team-based leadership. They know how to either lead a team of leaders, or function otherwise as part of a leadership team. An expectation and mandate Team-based leadership has become the expected norm in our modern, post-modern world, which is increasingly collaborative, interactive and flexible. Team-based leadership is also a biblical mandate. As noted by the apostle Paul in 1... Read the article

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Sermon for March 18, 2018

Scripture readings: Jer. 31:31-34; Ps. 51:1-12; Heb. 5:5-10; John 12:20-33 Sermon by Ted Johnston (from Heb. 4:14-5:10) (drawing on commentary by Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Expository Commentary and F.F. Bruce in The Epistle to the Hebrews) Jesus' Better Priesthood Introduction On this, the 5th Sunday in Lent, our reading in the Epistles takes us to Hebrews 4, where we are reminded that Moses did not lead Israel into the "rest" of the Promised Land. Instead, Joshua led God's people across the Jordan, though he was unable to lead them into their promised spiritual rest. But what about Aaron, Israel’s first high priest? Could not the Aaronic priesthood of the old covenant with its sacrifices and ceremonies bring troubled souls... Read the article

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From Greg: Don’t offend or be offended

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, [caption id="attachment_5219" align="alignright" width="182"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] In 2018, our theme for GCI Equipper is A year of transitions. One of those transitions involves our leadership as we seek to identify, equip and appoint new pastors and ministry leaders, while helping existing ones continue to grow. What Spirit-enabled competencies do we want our leaders to develop? We address several in this issue---I encourage you to give each your prayerful consideration. Let's begin by noting that effective leaders avoid offending others and being offended. Though church leaders must lead, skillful ones do so with tact and diplomacy, and they are not thin-skinned (easily... Read the article

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Growing as church leaders

This issue of GCI Equipper focuses on ways church leaders and leadership teams can, through the Spirit, grow in ministry with Jesus. From Greg: Don't offend or be offended Greg Williams addresses an aspect of leadership competency that is exemplified by Andrew Young and addressed in Scripture. [caption id="attachment_7193" align="aligncenter" width="176"] Andrew Young[/caption] On Leadership: Be interested before being interesting Rick Shallenberger reminds leaders of the importance of listening deeply. On being and building a REAL team Greg Williams explores what it means to be truly team-based. The heart of team-based leadership Ted Johnston notes that love is the foundation of team-based leadership. Kid's... Read the article

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Kids Korner: On leading children

By Lance McKinnon [caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="189"] Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Prov. 22:6)[/caption] Shortly after college, I decided to investigate a teaching career in the public school system. I signed up to substitute teach at a nearby middle school to see if this would be a good fit. I got my answer the first week. It was Friday during the last class of the day. The kids were ready to go home, and I quickly realized I had little influence in that room. These kids needed leadership, and I aimed to give it to them. But everything I did only made matters worse. I began with threats of extra work. No response. I carried out... Read the article

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On being and building a REAL team

By Greg Williams, CAD Director Whether it's a team in GCI's Home Office, or the leadership team in one of our congregations, I believe it's vital that we all become what I call a "REAL team"---one that possesses the characteristics listed in this box: A REAL team is made up of real people with diverse personalities, experiences, talents, preferences and even faults. Bringing them together to form a REAL team is not easy, but it's vital to being a healthy church. How is your team? Let me ask you some questions that will help you evaluate your leadership team: Do its members work well together? Do they trust one another? Are there deep relational connections? Do they share the same ministry vision? Do they work in a... Read the article

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Sermon for March 11, 2018

Scripture readings: Num. 21:4-9; Ps. 107:1-3, 17-22; Eph. 2:1-10; John 3:14-21 Sermon by Sheila Graham (from John 3:14-21, Numbers 21:4-9 and Ephesians 2:1-10) Look to Jesus (A Snake Story) Introduction Our Gospel reading on this 4th Sunday of Lent includes a beloved verse of Scripture that has been called the gospel in a nutshell: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16, NRSV) Nicodemus encounters Jesus When Jesus spoke these now familiar words, he was in conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin (ruling council). Unlike most of his fellow Pharisees, Nicodemus seemed truly interested and open... Read the article

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