Building Your Avenue Teams

The Apprenticeship Square and cascading the Healthy Church vision By: Aron and Joyce Tolentino, Pastors, Metro Manila, Philippines Restrictions on physical gatherings due to the pandemic have given rise to unique opportunities for virtual training and equipping. The process of cascading and pursuing the vision of Healthy Church has continued for us in the past year, and part of this has been the building up of our congregation’s Avenue teams. As with any change management exercise, if we are to foster understanding and ownership of the Healthy Church vision in our congregations, it is important to identify and develop people who can champion it. The role of cascading the vision does not belong to the pastor alone. The part to be... Read the article

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Advent Symbols and Readings

The advent symbols are full of significance relating to the Christmas season. Many GCI congregations celebrate Advent by having an Advent wreath on a table in the front of the sanctuary. The wreath encircles three purple (or blue) candles and one rose (or pink) candle. There is a white candle in the middle of the wreath. All are symbolic. Each week a theme is read, followed by a Scripture reading. A new candle is lit each week (along with the previous week’s candle), and a prayer is read. Advent Wreath The advent wreath, which is made of evergreens, points to the hope we have in God and signifies eternity and continuous life. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not end 12 days after Christmas, or at the cross. The Son of God... Read the article

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Advent: The Dark and the Light, the Origin and the Destiny

Advent, which means “coming” – or from the Latin “to come to” – not only illustrates the biblical teaching of trusting in God and waiting for a fulfillment of his promises, but it also offsets the commercial hype and focus of Christmas that is usually not focused on Jesus. I believe all of us would agree we need Jesus to come. “Lord, please return and fix this mess we live in.” Not only is the world messed up, but so are we. We hurt people without meaning to. We are easily offended. We are accused of evils and bad intents. We misjudge and are misjudged. We know we need God to make us right and to make the world right. We pray and watch for signs of his coming… and we wait, and wait, and wait in hope for evil to be... Read the article

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New Curriculum: On Being the Church

On Being is a four-part interactive connect group curriculum, designed for biblically-based, dynamic discussions around being a disciple. We are excited to release, part II of the series On Being the Church. This part of the series would be a great curriculum for your new member or believer Connect Group Being the Church – A six-week series on God’s vision for the Church and invitation for us to participate in the body of Christ. Being the Church Facilitator Guide – Full-color Version – DOWNLOAD HERE Being the Church Facilitator Guide – Grayscale Version – DOWNLOAD HERE Being the Church Participant Workbook – DOWNLOAD HERE Facilitator Best... Read the article

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Sermon for November 28, 2021 – Advent 1

Psalm 25:1-10 • Jeremiah 33:14-16 • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 • Luke 21:25-36 Our theme for this Advent week is hope is the final word. In the call to worship Psalm, the poet reminds himself that God has been keeping his promises since the beginning and will continue. Jeremiah talks about the “Branch to spring up from David” – singing hope as Israel burned around him. In his first Thessalonians letter, Paul reminds them of Jesus’ second coming and their great hope to persevere. In Luke 21, Jesus prophesies about the horrible destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, and how the hope of the Son of Man will triumph even then. On Permanent Sojourn Luke 21:25-36 Begin with a reading of Luke 21:25-36. All scripture quoted here is... Read the article

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Sermon for November 21, 2021

Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18) • 2 Samuel 23:1-7 • Revelation 1:4b-8 • John 18:33-37 This week’s theme is the kingly reign of Christ. This royal theme is given voice by the call to worship Psalm, which recalls God’s act of establishing the Davidic dynasty. 2 Samuel 23 records the last words of King David, which serve as a herald of God’s everlasting covenant. The Gospel reading in John 18 uses irony with the interaction between Pilate and Jesus to indicate who the true king is. The reading from Revelation is more direct by praising Jesus as the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” Jesus Is Not a Co-Pilate John 18:33-37 (NRSV) You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “God is my Co-Pilot!” On the surface this... Read the article

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Sermon for November 14, 2021

1 Samuel 1:4-20 • 1 Samuel 2:1-10 • Hebrews 10:11-25 • Mark 13:1-8 The theme this week is waiting on God. 1 Samuel 1 tells us about Hannah waiting on God for a child. 1 Samuel 2 is Hannah’s song of rejoicing about God keeping his promise. Mark 13 tells about the incoming of God’s kingdom and waiting watchfully for his timing. Hebrews 10 is the basis for our sermon about the culmination of the waiting and promises of Israel: Jesus Christ. To Enter Boldly Hebrews 10:11-25 ESV Read, or have someone read, Hebrews 10:11-25 ESV. The first thing you run into at Fort Knox, Kentucky, home to about half of the U.S. gold reserves, is the steel fence. Make it over that and you must deal with who-knows-how-many landmines in the... Read the article

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Sermon for November 7, 2021

Psalm 127:1-5 · Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 · Hebrews 9:24-28 · Mark 12:38-44 The theme this week is God provides a way without shame and blame. Psalm 127, our call to worship, reminds us that God provides for us, and anxiously working, worrying, or feeling ashamed as we live and move in the world is unnecessary. God provided for Naomi and Ruth, as written in Ruth 3 and 4. By allowing a Moabite woman to be part of Jesus’ lineage, God reveals how social constructs that shame and exclude people are not the way God’s love operates in the world. Mark 12 further illustrates this when Jesus honored the widow who gave her two small coins at the temple. Our sermon text, Hebrews 9, helps us understand that God isn’t interested in shaming or... Read the article

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Year C Sermon Pericope

Intentional Preparation is a critical element for a Healthy Hope Avenue. Click on the image below to download the pericopes for the upcoming year in the Christian calendar. Begin the prayerful process of planning for the seasons and your congregation's spiritual formation in Year C. Read the article

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Church Hack: Adding Internet

One thing we heard a lot just before our 2021 Virtual Celebration was, “We just don’t have internet where we meet.” But what if you did? Having internet during our Celebration would have meant you could have met in a group to share the experience. You could live stream your service so that people who can’t normally attend could worship with you. But isn’t internet expensive? That’s where Mobile Beacon comes in. Click on the image below to download this month's Church Hack. Read the article

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