Sermon for May 26, 2019

Readings: Acts 16:9-15 • Psalm 67:1-7 • Revelation 21:10, 10:22-22:5 • John 5:1-9 This week’s theme is God makes us whole. Acts shares the story of Lydia’s conversion. Lydia, from Thyatira, is regarded as the first baptized convert in Europe. In Psalm 67 we are reminded that all are invited to praise God for his universal mercy. He brings us to perfection as all are ruled with equity. Revelation reminds us that Jesus is the temple. Through him God restores our heath and makes us clean. All are given access to the water of life. The sermon is developed from the story of the healing at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus tells us to stand up before God and receive the blessings he provides. Stood Up by Jesus Read John 5:1-9, NRSV,... Read the article

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Magdala and Capernaum

The location for the Sermon on the Mount---the Beatitudes---is between the ancient cities of Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene and Capernaum, the fishing town on the northern shore of Lake Gennesaret. Magdala is a recent archeological find that has great significance. The population of the town was around 10,000 people and it was the place where archeologists believe most of the fish caught in the Sea of Galilee was processed for consumption and/or salted for storage. It is reasonable to consider that this was a town of some affluence. This site also contains the remains of one of the few undisturbed synagogues from the first century. It is very likely that Jesus himself taught and studied at this synagogue. [caption... Read the article

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Kid’s Korner

  This issue of Kid's Korner is written by Jeffrey Broadnax, GCI Generations Ministry coordinator. In this month’s issue of Kid’s Korner, we would like to make you aware of a fantastic Children’s church resource shared with us by Pastor Mike Urmie of Crosswalk Community Church (our Grace Communion congregation in Surrey Hills, OK). You will find that the items on this website work hand in hand with the RCL-based sermons shared in GCI-Equipper. The site is called www.sermons4kids.com You will find coloring pages, word-finders, mazes and other activities for children to complete that can offer an age-appropriate connection to the same message being giving in the sanctuary to the adults. Imagine the... Read the article

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The Beatitudes

This article is written by GCI pastor Mark Mounts. My wife, Debra, and I recently had the opportunity to visit the “Holy Land” with a group of GCI church leaders. It was a life-changing journey we will never forget. The geography and the sites we visited gave us a new perspective into the ministry of Jesus Christ. We were particularly moved by the place where Jesus shared the Beatitudes with his disciples. (For a bit more on the geography, see my accompanying short feature: “Magdala and Capernaum.” For the record, the speculation I will make in the remainder of this article is based on ideas expressed by our guide, and what I have personally considered since returning from the trip. So, for the sake of this article, please... Read the article

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Sermon for May 19, 2019

Readings: Acts 11:1-18 • Psalm 148:1-14 • Revelation 21:1-6 • John 13:31-35 This week’s theme is God removes barriers. The story in Acts reminds to not put up barriers, which can prevent people from relationship with God. Psalm 148 talks about all creation praising God without barriers or limitations. John reminds us of the new commandment to love as Jesus loves---this is the opposite of putting up barriers or stumbling blocks. In Revelation we are reminded that God became flesh to remove the dreaded barriers of sickness, worry, fear and death. This sermon will use two passages of Scripture to show that God wants us to build bridges, not barriers. Bridges Before Barriers Note: This sermon builds off the Speaking of Life video... Read the article

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Sermon for May 12, 2019

Readings: Acts 9:36-43 • Psalm 23:1-6 • Revelation 7:9-17 • John 10:22-30 This week’s theme is The Shepherd gives life. Psalm 23 is the Shepherd’s psalm, he leads us to still waters, we dwell in his house forever. In Acts 9 we see life restored as Peter prays for Tabitha (Dorcas) – who is raised from the dead. In Revelation we see that the Lamb of God is our shepherd. The sermon focuses on the passage in John where we see Jesus identifying his sheep as those who hear his voice and follow him. God with Half the Heart Suggestion: Have someone read John 10:22-30 prior to the sermon. Introduction: Some of you may have seen the necklaces girls sometimes share. Each necklace is half a heart. One necklace says “Best,” and the... Read the article

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Sermon for May 5, 2019

Readings: Acts 9:1-6, 7-20 • Psalm 30:1-12 • Revelation 5:11-14 • John 21:1-19 This week’s theme is A Higher Calling. Psalm 30 is a parallel between David praying, "I will extol you no matter what I face," and Jesus in the Garden praying, "Not my will, but yours be done." Jesus became the worthy lamb who was slain (Revelation 5), fulfilling that calling. John shares the story of Peter being redeemed by Jesus' calling, "Feed my lambs." The sermon focuses on Ananias' response to his higher calling. Pick Me! Introduction: Share a time when you (or perhaps your child) were chosen for something and how good it made you feel. Who doesn’t love the enthusiasm of a child, who, when the teacher asks for a volunteer, shoots their hand... Read the article

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Missional or Missionary

Churches often use the terms mission, commission, missional and missionary. While the words are related, we need to know the difference between missional and missionary as we participate in the Great Commission. The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus commissioning the 11 disciples. Have you ever noticed that Matthew begins his Gospel in a similar fashion that he ends it? In the first chapter we find the angel of the Lord telling Mary that Jesus was being sent to be the Savior. He is the missio dei (mission of God). Then, at the end of Matthew we find that Jesus, by sending the 11 and the church, is inviting (sending) us to participate in that mission. (For more on this, see Rick Shallenberger’s article “Missio Dei.”) The Gospel... Read the article

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Behind the Missio Dei

When people talk about the church’s mission, they refer to what is called the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20 ESV). I used to read this with more than a bit of apprehension. How was I to go and make disciples? How was I to go teach others to observe all Jesus commanded? I didn’t know where to start, and the whole concept of a Great Commission seemed ominous---a huge amount of work I didn’t feel qualified for. I’ve since learned I am not alone in how I viewed this passage. Like you, I’ve been taught this is the Missio Dei---the mission of... Read the article

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