Law and Grace

Article by Gary Deddo, President of Grace Communion Seminar Even after centuries of debate, Protestantism does not seem to have settled on how best to speak about the connection between faith in God’s grace in Jesus Christ and the life of obedience. All informed biblically grounded Christian teachers recognize that salvation is God’s work and that it is received by faith. They also recognize that the resulting life with Christ involves obedience to Christ. The problem is how to affirm one without denying—or severely qualifying—the other. How to avoid both works righteousness and antinomianism. Click here for the full article. Read the article

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Making Church a Safe Space

Many in our society live in anxiety and fear—even fear of God. They are looking for a safe environment whose policy is “Do No Harm.” Would our church be considered a safe space? Here are some things to think about. By Elizabeth Mullins, GC Hickory Love Avenue Champion Outside of our consciousness, each of our bodies is constantly making an assessment: am I safe here? For those who have previously had physical, emotional, or spiritual safety ripped from them, their nervous system interprets threat differently. They will have a heightened response to perceived danger. Why does this matter in the context of our worship services? Understanding this framework helps us realize why creating visceral safety is important. Individuals... Read the article

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What is Worship?

By Emmanuel Okai, West Africa Regional Director, National Director, Ghana & Church Pastor Akim-Oda, Ghana Like many who grew up in rural sub-Saharan Africa before the 1960s, I experienced various practices in African Traditional Religion similar to the performances of Baal priests during Elijah’s time.[1] I was raised in my maternal grandfather’s village, where shrines, deities, sacred groves, taboos, and festivals in honour of lesser gods and ancestors were the order of the day. As a child I observed the fervour and spectacle that accompanied the worship of created things—a worship regime based on fear, which often created mistrust even among close family members. The system of worship never promised nor could deliver anything... Read the article

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The Gift of Hospitality

Many of us around the world have been quarantined in our homes due to Covid-19. We are craving relationship, getting together with family and friends, sharing meals—hospitality. Now is the time to prepare to share this gift with others. By Bob Regazzoli, Pastor, Australia During the recent bushfires in Australia, we heard that some people who lost their homes were being invited into the homes of people they didn’t know. This is the gift of hospitality – love and friendliness to guests and visitors. This is something many of us have missed during this ongoing pandemic. One common theme from conversations with church members over the years has been their memory of being not only welcomed at our services, but then being invited... 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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