Communion at Home

By Rick Shallenberger Participating in communion is something that can be done in church and in the home, with family, friends or alone. There is no specific pattern for taking communion, nor is there a specific mood or tone to enter into. Sometimes you are somber, reflecting on the suffering and rejection Jesus experienced throughout his life. At other times you are filled with joy and celebration as you reflect on Jesus continually inviting you to share in his joy and his communion with the Father and Spirit. Communion is about Jesus—his life, death, resurrection, ascension and invitation for you to join him in the communion he shares. Here is one suggested pattern: Prior to beginning, set aside a small amount of bread... Read the article

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Online Church Resources

We are certainly in interesting times and people have strong opinions about the Coronavirus and how to respond. As the body of Christ, we don’t want to make decisions based on strong opinions, but on how best to serve those our Father has given us to serve. Our biggest concern is sharing Jesus’ life and his love with others. Because of our love for others, we in GCI are in agreement to follow the guidelines given by our government leaders in an effort to contain the virus and protect our members. We encourage you to host Worship services via platforms such as Zoom, Facebook Live, etc. The GCI Media team has put together a guide of best practices and potential platforms for our pastors, facilitators and ministry leaders. If you... Read the article

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Sermon for May 31 – Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21 • Psalm 104:25-35, 37 • 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 • John 20:19-23 The theme this week is the Spirit at work. Our sermon, Pentecost: Babel Undone, is based on one of the readings of the day. Pentecost is the story of the giving of the Spirit and the birth of the church—when the confusion of the Tower of Babel is healed. In Numbers 11, the Spirit is at work through Moses and other leaders of the community. Psalm 104 describes the awesome work of the Spirit of God running the world. 1 Corinthians 12 tells about the work of the Spirit in the church community—many gifts given by one Spirit. In John 20, we see Jesus imparting the Spirit to his disciples. In John 7, Jesus tells them about the Spirit who will come like... Read the article

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Sermon for May 24, 2020

Acts 1:6-14 • Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 • 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 • John 17:1-11 This week’s theme is God fills his people. Acts 1 recounts Jesus’ ascension. Jesus tells his disciples that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit” is poured out on them where they will be witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” Psalm 68 praises God who “gives power and strength to his people.” The letter of 1 Peter encourages his exiled readers that as they share in Christ’s sufferings, they will in time be exalted by the “mighty hand of God.” The sermon from John 14 listens in on Jesus’ intimate prayer to the Father, in which eternal life is described as sharing in the oneness of God’s glory. Eternal Life John 17:1-11... Read the article

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Sermon for May 17, 2020

Acts 17:22-31 • Psalm 66:7-18 • 1 Peter 3:13-22 • John 14:15-21 The theme for this week is proclaiming and living by the power of the Spirit. In Acts 17, Paul speaks boldly and respectfully to the officials at Areopagus in the power of the Spirit. In Psalm 66, the poet speaks of God’s power in answering his prayer and renewing his confidence. In 1 Peter 3, the apostle encourages his community to always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks about the hope that is within us. Our sermon, “Still There in the Morning—the Comforter Who Never Leaves Us,” is based on John 14. Here Jesus tells us that he will not leave us orphaned, but will send another Comforter to us, the Holy Spirit. Still There in the Morning—the... Read the article

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Sermon for May 10, 2020

Acts 7:55-60 • Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 • 1 Peter 2:2-10 • John 14:1-14 This week’s theme is victory through suffering. In Acts we find the first Christian martyr, Stephen, entering God’s glory while forgiving those who were stoning him. Psalm 31 is a prayer for refuge from enemies and persecutors, spoken with confidence in the Lord who is the strong rock of salvation. The letter of 1 Peter speaks of Jesus as the stone once rejected but now exalted to encourage those who have been rejected and sent into exile. The sermon from John 14 draws from the words of encouragement Jesus says to his disciples at the table before his crucifixion. Jesus Bypasses Troubled Hearts John 14:1-14 NRSV Have the text read prior to the sermon. Here... Read the article

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Sermon for May 3, 2020

Psalm 23:1-6 • Acts 2:42-47 • 1 Peter 2:19-25 • John 10:1-10 The theme this week is following the Shepherd of life. Following Jesus is the way to the best life. In Acts 2, the early church experiences the miracle of fellowship as they follow the Shepherd and he unifies them. Psalm 23 describes the peace of soul that comes from trusting the Shepherd. In 1 Peter 2, the apostle encourages the young church that they are under the care of “shepherd and guardian of your souls” (v. 25). Our sermon, The Harmony of the Good Shepherd’s Voice, is based on John 10. Here Jesus describes the good Shepherd who brings us into “life abundant.” The Harmony of the Good Shepherd’s Voice John 10:1-10 ESV Have the text read prior to the... Read the article

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Church Hack: Greeter Ministry

Two of GCI’s core values are to be an inclusive and loving fellowship. One way to live out these values is to create a greeting team to welcome and orient guests into our worship services. Visiting a church for the first time can be an intimidating and awkward experience. A well-equipped greeting team can help a guest feel safe and welcome. #GCIchurchhacks Click the graphic below to access and download this month's church hack. Read the article

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The Lord Will Provide

A Palm Sunday Message By Jeff Broadnax, US Associate Regional Director, East “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen…” – Luke 19:37 All four Gospel writers tell the story of what modern Christianity calls “the Triumphal Entry.” Jesus had been on his way to Jerusalem, and when he got near the Mount of Olives in Bethphage, he sent the disciples ahead to the village because the Father had provided a donkey for him there. As they brought the donkey to Jesus, crowds of men, women and children laid their coats and cut branches on the ground as they openly shouted: “Hosanna!” (Save... Read the article

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