From Greg: Worldview Conversion

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_7376" align="alignright" width="156"] Greg Williams[/caption] Because we humans are “prone to wander,” those of us called by God to serve within the church as under-shepherds must join Jesus, the Great Shepherd, in protecting his flock from harm (Acts 20:28). This is a vital calling, given the many forces in our day that threaten our members, including the devil's schemes to undermine a worldview that is solidly Christ-centered. Sadly, an increasing number of Christians view reality (including the Christian faith) through the “lens” of a worldview that is more secular than it is centered on the heart, mind and ways of Jesus. This issue of Equipper begins a new... Read the article

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Worldview Conversion | Healthy Church

This issue of GCI Equipper begins two new series of articles exploring the important topics of Worldview Conversion and Healthy Church. From Greg: Worldview Conversion Greg Williams introduces a series of articles on worldview conversion, which is facilitated by whole-life discipleship. Worldview Conversion: What and Why Ted Johnston defines worldview and shows how it shapes our sense of personal identity and ethics. Healthy Church: Faith, Hope & Love Venues Greg Williams begins a series on healthy church, looking at the three venues where church health emerges. Kid's Korner: Back-to-School Blessing Georgia McKinnon looks at conducting a back-to-school blessing service. Prayer Guide: August 2018 Here are... Read the article

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Sermon for September 30, 2018

Scripture Readings: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Ps. 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50 Sermon by Ted Johnston from James 5:13-20 Drawing from commentary by Warren Wiersbe (Bible Exposition Commentary), Peter H. Davids (New Bible Commentary) and Luke Timothy Johnson (James, Anchor Bible). Let Us Pray! Introduction In today's reading in the Epistles, James, the half-brother of Jesus, is wrapping up his letter to Christians. In doing so, he returns to one of his main themes: the power of the tongue. Having already mentioned that the tongue can be used for evil, he now shows how to use it for good by praying for those who are suffering, for those who are sick, for the nation, and for believers who have wandered. There are, of... Read the article

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Sermon for September 23, 2018

Scripture Readings: Prov. 31:10-11; Ps. 54; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37 Sermon by Martin Manuel from Mark 9: 30-37: Prov. 31:10; Prov. 9:10; James 3:13-16 Restoring Humility to our Humanity Introduction Though we all possess the corrupt, fallen human nature that resulted from Adam and Eve's rejection of God, there is good news: The eternal Son of God, in the person of Jesus, entered into the human condition, assumed our corrupt nature, and through his life of perfect submission to the Father overcame its fallenness, opening to all humans the possibility to be who they truly are in him—their true selves, beloved children of God. Now, through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit, God works to conform believers to... Read the article

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Sermon for September 16, 2018

Scripture Readings: Prov. 1:20-23; Ps. 116:1-9; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38 Sermon by Lance McKinnon from James 3:1-12 A Word Fitly Spoken [caption id="attachment_9589" align="alignright" width="215"] James, the brother of Jesus (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)[/caption] In his epistle, James, the half brother of Jesus, begins by seeking to strengthen the faith of Christians going through difficult trials. Then in the section of the letter covered in today's reading, he warns his readers against relying on their own abilities (including the use of their tongues) during those trials, rather than relying on Jesus. In James 3:1, he tells them to not envy teachers who may be perceived as having more influence. Teachers use... Read the article

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Sermon for September 9, 2018

Scripture Readings: Isa. 35:4-7; Ps. 146; James 2:1-13, 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 Sermon by Linda Rex from Mark 7 and Isaiah 35 Hearing and Speaking the Word Introduction Stories about animals that talk and understand humans are fun and fascinating for children and adults alike. Perhaps that's because God created us for relationship. We see our dog’s tail wagging and wish he could tell us what he is so happy about. We wonder, why does our cat meow loudly every time she gets done eating? Is she saying thank you? Is she praising God? Jesus honors the faith of a Gentile woman Perhaps in the world to come we will have an answer to these questions. In the meantime, we can learn something from the story in today's Gospel reading... Read the article

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Sermon for September 2, 2018

Scripture Readings: Deut. 4:1-2, 6-9; Ps. 15; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Sermon by Sheila Graham from Deuteronomy 4, Mark 7 and James 1 (drawing from the Expositor's Bible Commentary) Embracing True Freedom Introduction According to popular legend, just over 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, German priest and theologian Martin Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, sparking the Protestant Reformation. [caption id="attachment_9390" align="aligncenter" width="539"] (source)[/caption] For many years, Luther had tried hard to be righteous in order to avoid suffering God’s wrath. He fasted so often he permanently damaged his body; he caused himself... Read the article

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Kids Korner: Back-to-School Blessing

Kid's Korner this month is from Georgia 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] It's the time of year when churches may want to offer a "Back-to-School Blessing" event for the kids (children and teens) and teachers in their congregation and target community. If you've never held an event like this, you may wonder what one would look like. Or you may be asking why you would want to hold an event like this. The "why" of having a Back-to-School Blessing is directly tied to the "who" question we often ask: "Who is this God we serve?" The answer is that this God is a blessing... Read the article

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Healthy Church: Faith, Hope & Love Venues

In recent travels visiting GCI conferences and congregations around the world, I've been addressing our vision for Healthy Church. A key aspect of realizing that vision is having in place within each of our congregations what we call the "faith, hope & love venues"---places where, by the Spirit, church health emerges. Below is a "church hack" (click to enlarge) followed by explanatory text that looks at each venue. I ask that you prayerfully study this material and discuss it with your leaders. ---Greg Williams [From the GCI Ministry Toolbox at Resources.gci.org/toolbox] When all three venues are in place and operating well, the members of the congregation, experiencing deep relationships with Christ and each other, will be... Read the article

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