GC Hickory Relaunch

The pastoral leaders of GC Hickory (GCI's congregation in Hickory, NC) recently sat down with Joe Brannen of GCI Media to discuss their congregation's relaunch. As you will learn in the recording linked below, though GC Hickory has just begun the relaunch process, they already have experienced both success and challenge in following the Spirit on the road to becoming a healthy expression of church in their target community. [caption id="attachment_11496" align="aligncenter" width="487"] GC Hickory pastoral leaders (L to R): Anthony and Elizabeth Mullins, Emma Lee and Paul David Kurts[/caption] Part 1: [audio mp3="https://equipper.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Hickory-Phase2-Part1.mp3"][/audio] Part 2: [audio... Read the article

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Reflections on Stewardship

This article is from Santiago Lange, GCI elder in Germany. When the word stewardship is mentioned, we likely think of our monetary donations to the church, including giving offerings in worship services. This form of stewardship is both valuable and necessary for the church to fulfill its calling. However, biblical stewardship entails much more than our regular donations to the church. As the old saying goes, "money isn't everything." [caption id="attachment_10690" align="aligncenter" width="348"] (source)[/caption] The basis of stewardship in the Bible is the understanding that God owns all the resources in the universe. In his grace, he allows us to manage some of these resources. We usually think of ourselves as the owners of our... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 30, 2018

Scripture readings for today: 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26 • Ps. 148 • Col. 3:12-17 • Luke 2:41-52 The Most Boring Story in the Gospels (Luke 2:41-51) Introduction Note to preacher: You may want to begin this sermon with an anecdote telling about a time you got lost as a child, or a time you thought you lost your child or grandchild. Share your sense of panic and relief. It's part of life---sometimes kids get lost. Seeing something glittery, or hearing a familiar song, they wander off. Maybe you got lost when you were a kid---it's a terrible feeling when you realize you don't know where you are; when surroundings and faces look strange to you. It’s like a scary dream. But when it's one of your kids who is lost, the scary dream... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 24/25, 2018 (Christmas)

Note: This sermon is for Christmas Eve or Day, which begins the 12 days of the Christmas season (for a Surprising God post about Christmas, click here). A Speaking of Life video and discussion questions are not provided with this sermon. For a Bible Project video exploring Luke's account of Jesus' birth, click here. Scripture readings for today: Isa. 9:2-7 • Ps. 96 • Titus 2:11-14 • Luke 2:1-20 Jesus Shares Our Humanity (Luke 2:1-20) Introduction Here on Christmas Day [or Christmas Eve] our focus turns to the miracle of the incarnation and birth of Jesus. In chapter 2 of his Gospel, Luke gives us a glimpse of the early life of Jesus as a newborn, infant and adolescent. In doing so he intends to help us understand how Jesus... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 23, 2018 (Advent 4)

Note: This sermon is for the last Sunday of the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four GCI-produced videos for Advent, click here. Scripture readings for today: Micah 5:2-5 • Ps. 80:1-7 • Heb. 10:5-10 • Luke 1:39-55) Doing God’s Will (Hebrews 10:5-10) Introduction Note to preacher: You may want to share a personal anecdote that answers one of the introductory questions. Have you ever struggled trying to determine God's will for you life? Have you ever feared that your decisions would lead you out of God’s will? Have you ever struggled trying to figure out how to determine God’s will? Have you ever felt... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 16, 2018 (Advent 3)

Note: This sermon is for the third Sunday of the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four GCI-produced videos for Advent, click here. Scripture readings for today: Zeph. 3:14-20 • Isa. 12:2-6 • Phil. 4:4-7 • Luke 3:7-18 Aggressive Gratitude (Philippians 4:4-9) Several years ago, the book The Count of Monte Cristo was made into a movie that starred Richard Harris and Christian actor Jim Caviezel. The beginning of the film is set in the desolation of a hopeless island prison. Richard Harris plays an older prisoner who has found a way to survive in this dark place. As a spiritual survival technique, each morning... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 9, 2018 (Advent 2)

Note: This sermon is for the second Sunday of Advent, the season that spans the four Sundays preceding Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four GCI-produced videos for Advent, click here. Scripture readings for today: Mal. 3:1-4 • Luke 1:68-79 • Phil. 1:3-11 • Luke 3:1-6 Participants in Christ’s Ministry (Luke 3:1-6; Philippians 1:3-11) Introduction Note to preacher: You might begin with a personal anecdote about anticipation-preparation: expecting the birth of your first child, the wedding of an adult child, the birth of a grandchild. When anticipating something good such as a high school graduation, a wedding, the birth of a child or grandchild, a visit with old... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 2, 2018 (Advent 1)

Note: With this sermon we enter the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four Advent-themed videos from GCI, click here. Scripture readings for today: Jer. 33:14-16 • Ps. 25:1-10 • 1 Thess. 3:9-13 • Luke 21:25-36 The Hope of Hope (Jeremiah 33:14-16, ESV) For some music for the season of Advent, click here. Introduction Note to preacher: Begin with a personal anecdote. Here's a sample: Today is the first Sunday of Advent. In my house, that means eating Thanksgiving leftovers while putting up the Christmas tree. Advent, followed by Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Each year we put out a manger scene... Read the article

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Resources for the Journey Ahead

In this issue we introduce new preaching resources and provide articles on stewardship, evangelism and the relaunch of a GCI congregation. From Greg: Equipping for GCI's Next Chapter GCI President, Greg Williams, looks ahead to the future, noting the role of GCI Equipper in preparing us for what lies ahead. Healthy Church: Receiving the Offering Here is an infographic that addresses receiving offerings in church. Reflections on Stewardship Santiago Lange addresses the important topic of stewardship. GC Hickory Relaunch A conversation addressing the relaunch of GCI's church in Hickory, NC. Whole-Life Discipleship: Evangelism in a Post-Christian World Randy Bloom addresses evangelism---a key aspect of discipleship. Prayer Guide:... Read the article

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