GCI Worship Calendar

Each week, as we gather in our GCI congregations around the world, most of our pastors are preaching from the Revised Common Lectionary. Using these same passages, and often the same sermon outlines published in Equipper is incredibly unifying. Reading and responding to the same truth about our Triune God is a wonderful way to create connection within our global fellowship. The scriptures chosen week to week align with each season of the Christian calendar. As the graphic below illustrates, during each season we celebrate and remember the good news of Jesus. In Advent we celebrate, Jesus is coming; in Christmas, we rejoice, Jesus is born; during Epiphany we commemorate, Jesus is ministering; during Lent, we remember, Jesus is saving;... Read the article

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Venue Resources: Christmas Invitations

Joy to the world! Christ is born! During Christmas we celebrate the incarnation, when God became flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood. A gift immeasurable, a love incomprehensible. Reflect on the love of Christ this season and invite your neighbors to your Christmas service. Extending an invitation shows your investment in and care for your neighborhood. Click the link below to view the October Church Hack and downloadable Microsoft Word Christmas Service Invitations. #GCIChurchHacks Read the article

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Sermon for December 29, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 • Psalm 148 • Hebrews 2:10-18 • Matthew 2:13-22 This week’s theme is God always with us. Isaiah speaks of the steadfast love of the Lord who became our Savior, took on our afflictions, redeemed us and lifted us up. The author of Hebrews reminds us Jesus is the one who sanctifies and became the atonement for our sins. He is our help. The psalmist reminds us this is why we praise the Lord: he has raised up a horn (a symbol of strength) for his people. Matthew reminds us that Jesus is the one who was prophesied—even going to Egypt to fulfill a scripture reminding us that God’s plan was to be with us. The sermon reminds us we are never alone—God is always with us. Never Alone Hebrews 2:10-18 NRSV ... Read the article

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Sermon for December 24 or 25, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7 • Luke 2:1-20 • John 1:1-14 This week’s theme is Christmas—the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This message may be used either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It is recommended you give extra time for singing Christmas hymns. One method would be to alternate Christmas hymns with Scripture readings, or simply telling the story in your own words. There are numerous Christmas videos that will enhance your special service. Do a search but be sure to use only those allowed under your copyright license. The sermon is text heavy; you may want to assign different people to read different parts. Have them practice ahead of time for smooth transitions. Celebrating Jesus Luke 2:1-20 NRSV Read with enthusiasm... Read the article

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Sermon for December 22, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-16 • Psalm 80:1-7 • Romans 1:1-7 • Matthew 1:18-25 This week’s theme is the intervention of God. As God’s people, we believe that he not only makes sense of history, he also intervened in it. Isaiah 7:10-16 discusses the intervention of God in the strange, multi-meaning words about a virgin that will one day bear a child. Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 is a lament asking for God’s intervention on Israel’s behalf. In Romans 1:1-7, Paul introduces the gospel as God’s great narrative history throughout history that culminated in God Himself entering history. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story of God's intervention in the lives of two young people to change history forever. The sermon is based on this Matthew passage... Read the article

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Sermon for December 15, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10 • Psalm 146:5-10 • Luke 1:46-55 • James 5:7-10 • Matthew 11:2-11 This week’s theme is Jesus brought the kingdom of God. The prophet Isaiah said the kingdom is coming and you will see people healed, the blind will see, the mute will sing praises. The Psalmist looked forward to the time when God gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free and gives sight to the blind. Matthew recounts Jesus telling John’s disciples to describe what they see, “the blind receive sight, the lame wall… the deaf hear, the dead are raised…” Mary sings of this kingdom in her song. The sermon is from Mary’s song in Luke 1 and reminds us that a significant part of the kingdom message is that God has chosen us to... Read the article

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Sermon for December 8, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10 • Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 • Romans 15:4-13 • Matthew 3:1-12 The theme of these passages is the arrival of the kingdom. The kingdom, which arrived with Christ, is discussed or hinted at in these passages. Isaiah 11:1-10 describes the kind of supernatural peace and joy of the kingdom. Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 shares a vision of a kingdom well-ruled which points to the wholeness of the kingdom. In Romans 15:4-13, Paul rings out the call of the gospel to the Gentiles—the unity of the kingdom in that now all people are God’s chosen people. Matthew 3:1-12, on which the sermon is based, tells of John the Baptist heralding the arrival of the rightful king—God himself. Prepare the way of the Lord! John the Baptist:... Read the article

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Sermon for December 1, 2019

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5 • Psalm 122:1-9 • Romans 13:11-14 • Matthew 24:36-44 This week’s theme is The Lord is coming. This first week of Advent looks to the future return of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. The prophet Isaiah talks about God’s kingdom being established and there will be no more war. The Psalmist talks about the peace that comes when we go to the house of the Lord. Matthew reminds us that Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, but the Lord is coming. The sermon focuses on Romans 13, where we are reminded that salvation is near and we want to put our hope in Jesus. Putting on Jesus Romans 13:11-14 (NRSV) For most churches in the Western tradition, today marks the beginning of the new church year,... Read the article

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Advent Themes and Symbols

Advent encompasses God’s story from the garden of Eden in Genesis to the establishment of the New Jerusalem in Revelation. Bobby Gross, author of Living the Christian Year, says this: “The biblical scope of Advent stretches from the garden in Genesis to the New Jerusalem in Revelation… In one sense, the whole of the Old Testament is text for Advent: the creation of the world and the fall of humankind, the choosing of one family to bless all families and one nation to bless all nations, the exodus of that nation from captivity, the giving of the law and settling of the land, the choosing of kings and building of a temple, the sins of the people and cries of the prophets, the exile in Babylon, and the return to live under Persians,... Read the article

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The Christian Calendar: Ordering our Days

Written by Eugene Guzon, Superintendent of Asia Have you ever noticed how easy it is for life to go unnoticed due to the busyness, noise, and clutter of each day? If we are not careful, we miss many opportunities to enjoy God’s presence and the deeper revelations of his glory. A couple of weeks ago I was driving up to the mountain city of Baguio in the Philippines and I pulled over to enjoy a particularly beautiful sunset. More recently, I watched the sunrise beyond the mountains of Yangon during a quiet, early morning flight to Myanmar. These two events reminded me of the faithfulness of God. He set the sun to rise and set every single day. It is because of the rising and setting of the sun that we have days— days that turn into... Read the article

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