“Where is Your Faith?”

Many sincere questions have been asked by Christians during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Have we failed to trust God to protect us?” “Didn’t Jesus promise the gates of hell would not prevail against his church?” “Why did we allow government to shut our church down?” “Aren’t we going overboard with safety concerns—requiring masks and gloves, and not hugging each other? There is a lot of information in the news and on social media about Covid-19. Depending on where you are in the mix, you can believe this pandemic is a conspiracy from a foreign country to show our weaknesses, that the pandemic is being used as a political tool, that we are treating the disease wrong, that masks cause more danger than good, that wearing a mask... Read the article

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Sermon for July 26, 2020

Psalm 105:1-11, 45b • Genesis 29:15-28 • Romans 8:26-39 • Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 The theme this week is God’s promise story. Our God has entered our story and keeps his promises through to the end. Genesis 29 tells the story of a broken promise by a person and a kept promise by God that brought Jacob and Rachel together, continuing the lineage of Israel (and Christ). Psalm 105 is a hymn of praise reiterating God’s covenant with his people. Matthew 13 talks about the in-breaking of God’s promised kingdom into the world through Christ. Our sermon, “All Things Together” looks at the promises of Romans 8. The crescendo promise is that God works all things together to make us like Christ. “All Things Together” Romans... Read the article

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Sermon for July 19, 2020

Genesis 28:10-19a • Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 • Romans 8:12-25 • Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 The theme for this week is “Where is God?” In Genesis 28, we read the story of Jacob and how he found God where he least expected it. Psalm 139 affirms that God is within us always. Our sermon outline titled “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” features Romans 8, where it discusses how God has chosen us and that suffering is not an indication that we’ve lost that “chosenness.” Last, Matthew 13 uses the parable of the wheat and the tares to show us that God can still be in the midst of a situation even where there is suffering. Signed, Sealed, Delivered Romans 8:12-25 If I say the phrase “Signed, sealed, delivered,” you probably will... Read the article

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Sermon for July 12, 2020

Psalm 119:105-112 • Genesis 25:19-34 • Romans 8:1-11 • Matthew 13:1-9. 18-23 This week we talk about God the unrelenting storyteller—he makes his promises and keeps them. First, Genesis 25–the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob the heel-grabber hustler who God still makes the father of Israel and ancestor of Jesus. Psalm 119 is a hymn to the Law—the keeper of Israel that prepared them for the Messiah. Matthew 13 talks about the dissemination of the gospel message—it won’t always be easy, but it will take root! Romans 8, on which the sermon is based, tells about the un-condemnation of all of us in Christ and the promise that even our imperfect bodies will be resurrected on a day like Christ himself. “We, the Uncondemned” ... Read the article

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Sermon for July 5, 2020

Psalm 45:10-17 • Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 • Romans 7:15-25a • Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 This week’s theme is Discerning God’s provision and salvation. Genesis recounts the story of Abraham’s servant trusting the Lord to reveal to him the provision of Isaac’s wife. Psalm 45 invites a daughter to pay careful attention to what the Lord is providing. Romans 7 sees Jesus as the perfect provision for the conflict of sin. In Matthew Jesus shares how God used John the Baptist to introduce God’s ultimate provision, Jesus himself. Inner Conflict Romans 7:15-25a (NRSV) When we think of conflict, we usually picture two people arguing or fighting. Or maybe we will picture a battle scene where many soldiers are battling one... Read the article

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GCI Creative Community Best Practices

GCI Creative Community Best Practices One opportunity we have during this pandemic is to reflect Christ’s love for the world and make decisions with our neighbors in mind. Here are some Best Practices shared in our GCI Creative Community Facebook Page for being the church during these novel circumstances. We hope to share best practices from this Facebook page quarterly. While gathering virtually: Make time for fellowship creating watch parties through Facebook or going into breakout rooms in Zoom. Consider pre-recording and streaming software. This helps create smooth transitions and avoid internet issues. There are free options like OBS or Restream. Incorporate your children’s ministry, create videos, share... Read the article

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The Gift of Decentering

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 By Elizabeth Mullins, GC Hickory Love Avenue Champion Anthony and I love inviting people into our home. Whether they are old friends, or people we’ve just met and want to get to know better, we both value building friendships. He and I will discuss what we know about our guests’ preferences and plan in advance to serve their favorite foods and discuss topics that matter to them. We enjoy preparing the table together, greeting our guests and making them feel welcome, and then the best part, sitting around the... Read the article

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The Focus of Our Worship

Whether worship is individual, collective, or in our GCI Worship Calendar, it’s all focused on one thing—Jesus. By Hector Barrero, Pastor Bogota, Columbia “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Col 3:16-17. The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Colossae to respond to the many heresies the church members were exposed to at that time. Paul does not describe in detail what those heresies were because he is focused on telling the church how to... Read the article

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Hope In Three Movements

By Charlotte Rakestraw, GCI Social Media and Graphics Coordinator For almost two years, we have been emphasizing the three Avenues of our Team-Based, Pastor-Led ministry at Grace Communion International. The Love Avenue embodies external outreach; the Faith Avenue encompasses our internal life groups; the Hope Avenue focuses on gathering together as a church through worship services. This year’s focus is the Hope Avenue with our motto: Focused on Hope. We are all probably thinking it, so I am just going to say it, how ironic is it that our focus this year happens to be the worship service, which we cannot physically attend because we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic? How are we supposed to focus on the Hope Avenue, when it... Read the article

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