Sermon for February 28, 2021

Psalm 22:23-31 • Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 • Romans 4:13-25 • Mark 8:31-38 This week’s theme is Following in faith. The call to worship Psalm points to the promise of all nations eventually turning to follow the Lord and worship him. Both the Old Testament reading and the text in Romans positions Abraham as a paradigm of faith in following God for all believers in every age. The Gospel reading in Mark records Jesus’ instructions concerning discipleship. Redefined Discipleship Mark 8:31-38 The season of Easter preparation (Lent) has a way of keeping any fairytale illusions of the Christian life at bay. After celebrating Advent and Christmas with all the festivities involved, we may be tempted to think the Christian faith is just... Read the article

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Sermon for Sunday, February 21, 2021 First Week of Easter Preparation

Psalm 25:1-10 • Genesis 9:8-17 • 1 Peter 3:18-22 • Mark 1:9-15 The theme this week is the God who can be trusted. In the call to worship Psalm, the poet pleads with God for his help, appealing to his trustworthy character. Genesis 9 tells us about God’s promise to never destroy the world again—signified by the rainbow. 1 Peter 3 tells us about Jesus completing God’s epic, trustworthy plan of redemption. Our sermon is about Jesus’ temptation in Mark 1, where Jesus’ trust in the Father is tested in the wilderness. Mark 1: Wild Animals and Angels Mark 1:9-15 ESV Read Mark 1:9-15 ESV With Mark’s usual bullet-point brevity, Jesus appears, is baptized, starts his ministry, wrestles with the devil, and calls his first... Read the article

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Sermon for February 14, 2021 (Transfiguration Sunday)

Psalm 50:1-6 • 2 Kings 2:1-12 • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 • Mark 9:2-9 This week’s theme is the transcendent power of God. God’s power is beyond our imagination, and he has no rival or equal. The call to worship Psalm sings praises to the “mighty one.” In 2 Kings 2:1-12, God shows his power through the miraculous last days of Elijah. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Paul explains God’s power to shine the light of the gospel through the darkness of this world. In Mark 9:2-9, we see God revealing Jesus’ power and divinity through the transfiguration. Underestimating God Mark 9:2-9 If you have any familiarity with Superman, you will know that his alter ego is Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. Working... Read the article

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Sermon for February 7, 2021

Psalm 147:1-11, 20c • Isaiah 40:21-31 • 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 • Mark 1:29-39 The theme this week is God’s great care. The call to worship Psalm tells us of God’s tenderness toward Israel through the centuries, and also his loving care for the natural world. Isaiah 40 gives us a vivid poem about God’s greatness and power, and then provides a tender image of him lifting up those who wait in him. Mark 1 gives us a touching story of Jesus taking gentle care of an elderly person and others who might have easily been overlooked in that society, and ours. Our sermon comes from 1 Corinthians 9, part of a longer discussion in which Paul calls us to reach out with God’s great care, putting relationships before our personal rights and... Read the article

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Book: A Giant Step Forward

A Giant Step Forward: Toward an Emerging Culture of Liberation The next chapter of Grace Communion International By Greg Williams, Rick Shallenberger and Tom Nebel We’ve titled this book A Giant Step Forward because it describes our journey – first into doctrinal reformation, then into a greater understanding of our personal relationship with God, and now into leadership reformation. Our slogan in leadership development is healthy church. Our goal for GCI churches to be the healthiest expression of churches we can be. Believing healthy church requires healthy leadership, we wrote this book to lay out a plan for developing leaders. The book includes many tools that we have presented in Equipper articles and GCI Church Hacks.... Read the article

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Children are the Now

The statement “children are the future” has become so common that it is a cliché. As someone who works with young people, I have said the phrase more than a few times. I always said it with the best intentions to audiences of well-meaning adults who sagely nodded their heads with me. My desire was to convey how children are precious and worth our care and investment. I wanted my audience to understand that children will one day grow up to fill the shoes of the leaders, thinkers, and makers of our time. While these statements are true to some extent, they are incomplete. In an effort to paint a picture of the future, I overlooked the present. I inadvertently was sending the message that children were valuable only because they... Read the article

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My Christmas Epiphany

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is more than a song, it’s a reaction to good news. By Tim Sitterley, U.S. Regional Director West I must admit up front that it took me some time to warm up to many of the songs of the Christmas season. Since they were not a part of my childhood, it was easy to lump carols with a deep scriptural heritage in with secular songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” And then I had an epiphany one day. Walking through a crowded shopping mall muttering “humbug” under my breath, I caught the words to “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” playing softly over the PA system. I stepped out of the flow of foot traffic and began seeing the crush of men, women and children frantically moving from store to... Read the article

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The Need for Discipleship

The Faith avenue creates the most spaces for disciple-making environments. By Heber Ticas, Superintendent of South America I recently had an encounter with a young man who desired to go deeper in his faith. He was brought up by parents who professed to be Catholic, but rarely expressed their faith. He felt that he knew about God but was not sure who God was for him. I could sense a heartfelt desire in this young man to embark on a journey of faith. He was longing for greater understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Christ. In other words, he was longing to be discipled. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ, and discipleship is the process of maturing in Christ—learning how to live in and share his life and his love... Read the article

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Epiphany: Who Was Jesus?

By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada Who is this Jesus? That’s a question that has echoed through the centuries ever since the son of Mary and Joseph walked on this earth. Perhaps you recall this question being asked by Jesus’ disciples during that fateful boat journey where the disciples feared for their lives: And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying,... Read the article

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Faith Avenue: Intentional Disciplemaking

The key focus of the Faith Avenue is to help people grow as disciples of Jesus. By Randy Bloom, GCI Board Vice Chair How were you discipled? Reflecting back on your life, how did the church of Jesus help you grow closer to him, participate more with him, and grow deeper into the community of believers – his church? Perhaps you can clearly identify and describe various ways your local church has helped you grow as a disciple of Jesus. Sadly, some (many?) Christians aren’t sure how they were discipled. Upon reflection, they realize that while they have grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the process of growing closer to Jesus and into more active participation in his church and its mission was more of a process of... Read the article

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