God’s Answer to Suffering

By Gary Deddo, President, Grace Communion Seminary Sadly, some Christians embrace the non-biblical belief that if they have sufficient faith, God will not allow them to suffer severe trials. This erroneous belief is part of a false gospel called the "prosperity gospel" or, sometimes, the "health and wealth gospel.” It not only places huge burdens on believers who suffer (sometimes even overthrowing their faith), it badly misrepresents God and his plan for his people. Perhaps there have been times in your life when you were suffering and asked, Why is God allowing this to happen? Where is God? We all relate with the feelings that accompany those challenging questions. To answer them, it’s vital that we understand what God tells... Read the article

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On Leadership: Power Test

By Rick Shallenberger, GCI-USA Regional Pastor This is number 9 in Rick's series on leadership. For other articles in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. [caption id="attachment_158" align="alignright" width="196"] Rick and Cheryl Shallenberger[/caption] I’ve had some great bosses in the many jobs I’ve had over the years. I've also had some not-so-great ones. Some seemed to bend over backwards to help me succeed; others seemed bent on making me look bad. As a result, in some jobs I’ve done well and been given more and more responsibilities, in other jobs I couldn’t wait to leave and spent much of my time looking for work elsewhere. I’ll never forget the time I was called into the office and chewed out for... Read the article

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Challenges in leadership and life

This issue looks at challenges church leaders face at church and in their personal lives. Also included are the July Prayer Guide, articles on leadership and suffering, and RCL-synced sermons for August. From Greg: Mind the Gap GCI Vice President (and Incoming President) Greg Williams urges GCI leaders to take action now to close the gaps between what we say we value and what we actually do. Prayer Guide: July 2018 Here are topics from our GCI family to pray about each day in July. On Leadership: Power Test Rick Shallenberger examines a primary source of a leader's influence. God's Answer to Suffering Gary Deddo addresses the question: Why does God allow us to suffer? Kid's Korner: We Believe Lance McKinnon reviews... Read the article

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Kid’s Korner: We Believe

Kid's Korner this month is from Lance McKinnon. [caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="150"] Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)[/caption] Last month's issue of Equipper highlighted GCI's newly launched website, GCI Resources. This website provides a wide array of discipling tools, including We Believe. This new publication from GCI provides a comprehensive review of the core beliefs of our Christian faith. There is an edition for adults and older teens, and another for youth (younger teens and older children). To download a PDF of the youth edition, click here. If you are in a role where you could use some help in walking children... Read the article

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Sermon for August 26, 2018

Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43; Ps. 34:15-22; Eph.6:10-20; John 6:56-69 Sermon by Lance McKinnon from Ephesians 6:10-18 Take Your Stand Introduction Ever feel up against more than you can handle? You might feel that way when reading what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 concerning formidable "powers of the dark" and "spiritual forces of evil." Though it's a bit of a mystery, we realize that evil is all too real. Thankfully, Jesus tells us of a deeper gospel reality---through his life, death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus has defeated all evil forces, the devil included. So we need not fear, though we should do what Paul exhorts in the second half of Ephesians chapter 6. Let's begin in v. 10. Finally, be... Read the article

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Sermon for August 19, 2018

Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 2:1-12; 3:3-14; Ps. 34:9-14; Eph. 5:15-20; John 6:51-58 Sermon by Linda Rex from John 6:51-58 Our Living Host Introduction I have a relative who spent years studying bats in many different parts of the world. Someone who knows a lot about bats knows that most of them eat only insects and fruit. But some people associate bats with drinking blood, so they are afraid of all kinds of bats. The only bat that drinks the blood of animals is the vampire bat, which apparently got its name from stories about vampires who would transform into bats. The concept of a blood-sucking creature or person developed out of folklore and mythology, as well as fears people had of death and disease epidemics, along with... Read the article

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Sermon for August 12, 2018

Scripture Readings: 2 Sam.18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Ps. 34:1-8; Eph. 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51 Sermon by Sheila Graham from John 6:35-51 and Ephesians 4:25-5:2 The Bread of Life Have you noticed that bread is mentioned a lot in the Bible? That's not a surprise---bread was the main part of daily meals in the Mediterranean world. According to the Anchor Bible Dictionary grain “provided most of the proteins and carbohydrates for humans for centuries and even millennia.” The word "bread" in the Bible can also mean food in general as a sustainer of life. In John 6, Jesus refers to bread symbolically: I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35, NRSV) Here... Read the article

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Sermon for August 5, 2018

Scripture Readings: 2 Sam. 11:26-12:13a; Ps. 78:23-29; Eph. 4:1-16; John 6:24-35 Sermon by Martin Manuel from Ephesians 4:1-16 Living Into Our Calling The indicatives of grace The epistle of Ephesians was sent originally to Christians in Ephesus and surrounding towns. In the first half, Paul declares what theologians call the indicatives of grace---the gospel truths that by grace, in Jesus, we are the adopted children of God and by grace, through the Spirit, we are being transformed into the maturity of Christ. These realities do not become true if we do such and such, but are true, in Christ, by God's grace. [caption id="attachment_9230" align="aligncenter" width="387"] "Paul in Prison" by Rembrandt (public domain via... Read the article

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From Greg: Mind the Gap

Dear ministers of our Lord, Jesus Christ: [caption id="attachment_2353" align="alignright" width="145"] Greg Williams[/caption] If you've visited England and traveled on the London area trains, you've likely noticed the ever-present "Mind the Gap" signs in the city's "underground" (subway, called the "tube"). These warning signs tell travelers to mind their step as they stand nearby or enter and exit the tube, lest they fall into the gap between the platform and train. When these warnings go unheeded, a what seems like a minor gap can lead to a major catastrophe! [caption id="attachment_9194" align="aligncenter" width="463"] (source)[/caption] I want to draw your attention in this letter to a gap in our practice of ministry that... Read the article

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