Missional Discipleship w/ Jon Ritner Part 1 & 2

Check out part one of our bonus video episodes of the GC Podcast with author and church planter, Jon Ritner. In 2023 we will be sharing content around the process of discipling and developing our ministry workers, and our hope is that these episodes will lay the foundation for our denominational focus next year. Jon will also be the keynote speaker at the GCI Denominational Celebration in July 2023, and this is a great opportunity to get to know him a little better. Listen in as Cara and John discuss best practices for team-based ministry in a post-Christian culture. Resources: Check out John’s book, Positively Irritating  Follow us on Spotify, Google Podcast, and Apple Podcasts. Check out part two of our bonus video... Read the article

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Sermon for December 25, 2022 – Christmas

Psalm 96 · Isaiah 9:2-7 · Titus 2:11-14 · Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) The theme for this week is finding ourselves in the hope of the nativity. Our call to worship in Psalm 96 praises God’s righteousness, evident in the created world and our participation in it. Isaiah 9 promises that the Son given to us will free us from oppression and bring endless peace. In Titus 2, Paul writes of Jesus’ willingness to give himself so we might pursue goodness, kindness, and mercy. Our sermon text is Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) where we’ll explore how we can identify with the shepherds who were the first recipients of the good news of Jesus’s birth. The Divine Touch: The Shepherds and Us Luke 2:1-20 (NRSVUE) Let’s test your knowledge of Christmas... Read the article

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Sermon for December 18, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 • Isaiah 7:10-16 • Romans 1:1-7 • Matthew 1:18-25 This week’s theme is the light of love comes and dwells among us. The call to worship Psalm presents a petition for help with a reference to Joseph, anticipating the need of salvation that Jesus comes to provide. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah recounts the sign of a young woman who will give birth to a son named Immanuel. The Gospel reading from Matthew quotes the sign given in our Isaiah reading and tells the story of Joseph’s marriage to Mary who is pregnant with Jesus. The epistolary text comes from the opening of Romans with its Christological confession that relates the coming of Christ in the context of God’s saving activity in history. A... Read the article

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Sermon for December 11, 2022 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

Psalm 146:5-10 or Luke 1:46b-55 • Isaiah 35:1-10 • James 5:7-10 • Matthew 11:2-11 This week’s theme is songs of joy for who Jesus is. The call to worship Psalm praises God who frees captives and heals blindness pointing to the salvation that comes in Jesus. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah celebrates the wilderness being transformed into fertile land, the healing of those who are blind, deaf, lame, and dumb, along with the restoration of Zion. The text from James affirms Jesus’ soon coming return while encouraging patience. The Gospel reading from Matthew presents John the Baptist as the one preparing the way for Jesus while also confirming Jesus as the Messiah through healings and proclaiming good news to the poor. The... Read the article

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Sermon for December 4, 2022 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 • Isaiah 11:1-10 • Romans 15:4-13 • Matthew 3:1-12 This week’s theme is Jesus brings peace and we are to be his peacemakers. The call to worship Psalm petitions God to give to the king the righteousness and justice that leads to peace. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah is a classic announcement of the future king, from the line of David, who will bring a reign characterized by justice and peace. The text from Romans offers encouragement from the scriptures to glorify God by living in harmonious relationships with one another. The Gospel reading from Matthew accounts John the Baptist’s announcement of the coming of Jesus who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Welcoming God’s Welcome Romans... Read the article

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Church Hack: Advent

Advent is a season of waiting. But not like waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting for a test result. It is not a passive waiting but an active waiting, like a toddler being picked up from daycare or an airport reunion with a loved one. We are waiting with anticipation – with great hope for Jesus’ ultimate return and fulfillment of his promises. We are on the lookout, ready to run toward him when we catch a glimpse of him. Before we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, we remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past. And we celebrate the promises for the future, including Christ’s ultimate return, when all will be well. For Advent Resources to inspire your worship this season, check out this month’s Church... Read the article

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Showing Up

One of the most important things you can do to reflect the image of Christ is show up. I have attended many awkward events. Some of them could be considered cringeworthy. I was an honored guest at a Quinceañera (a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday), where I was one of only a handful of attendees who spoke English. Sadly, I have yet to learn Spanish, so for two hours, I did a lot polite smiling and muttering, “Lo siento, no hablo Español” (Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish). I went to a football game where the player I came to see looked like he was being used by the other team as a practice dummy. I still shake my head when I think about how badly the game went for him — 2 fumbles, 3 dropped passes, and a net 0 yards gained... Read the article

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Longing for Christ

Spiritual formation ideas for the Advent season. By Jillian Morrison, Associate Pastor, Glendora, CA Out of all the Christmas songs I loved to listen to growing up, there was one whose melody and lyrics haunted me: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” I wondered how this somber Christmas song had its place amongst the many “merry and bright” ones. Traditionally, Christmas carols were not to be sung until Christmas Day, since “Advent is not a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the manger but a time to long for the coming of the Savior.”[1] Ultimately, the meaning of Advent has its origins in waiting and longing, and for many people, the Advent season is already filled with waiting and longing. However, this yearning is... Read the article

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