Responding to Gabriel

A comparison of Zechariah's and Mary's response to the Angel Gabriel Written by Daphne Sidney, Church Administration GCI-Australia The Gospel of Luke seems best placed to explore this comparison. Luke was a highly educated man, trained as a doctor (Col. 4:14) and most probably a Greek. With Luke being a Gentile, he understood what it was like to be alienated and writes from an understanding of God’s love for all peoples and often details accounts of women, children, the poor and oppressed. It’s a Gospel with a message for everybody…[1]. With giving women and children more prominence, this Gospel contains the most detailed narratives of the birth of two very important babies, John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. In the... Read the article

Read the article

Venue Resources: Advent PowerPoint

Advent PowerPoint with a graphic for each candle lighting and the accompanying scripture. Many GCI congregations celebrate Advent by having an Advent wreath on a table in the front of the sanctuary. The wreath encircles three purple candles and one pink candle. There is a white candle at the center of the wreath, representing Christ and the light he brings to the world. Each week a candle is lit; all are symbolic. This month, our church hack is a collection of PowerPoint slides to accompany the Advent candle-lighting portion of your Sunday service. Click on the image or here to access and download the Advent PowerPoint. Read the article

Read the article

Faith, Hope, & Love Venue Videos

Throughout 2019 we have focused on the Team Based - Pastor Led model for GCI churches. Pastors can set the pace through this overview by helping their congregations achieve health through what we refer to as the three venues of ministry: Faith venue (discipleship)—discipling people in the faith—small groups, discipleship classes,. Bible studies, missionary activities and events. Hope venue (worship)—the Sunday worship service—intentional preparation, inclusive gathering, inspirational worship. Love venue (witness)—mission and outreach—identifying a target community, building relationships, missional events. Click on the link to view videos from our workshops are Regional Celebrations outlining the purpose... Read the article

Read the article

The Significance of Christmas

Written by Danny Zachariah, Regional Director of the Indian Subcontinent One common reason that some are against celebrating Christmas is: “it’s not in the Bible!” If this reasoning is taken to its logical extreme, there are many things we could not do because “it’s not in the Bible!” Is it vital for believers in Jesus Christ to remember and commemorate his birth as a human being? Does it make a difference to our theological understanding when we consciously recognize and acknowledge the incarnation? Would this understanding improve our relational dimension with our Triune God? Here are three reasons that it does. It’s the only way to know and understand God As human beings, we are limited in our capacity to... Read the article

Read the article

A Light to Follow

By Lance McKinnon, Grace Communion Seminary The birth of Jesus, accompanied by the visit of the Magi, is an epiphany for us. It opens our eyes to see that the Father sent his Son to draw all people to himself. No matter the distance and darkness that lie between us and the Father, Jesus is the Light of the World leading us home. We read about the Epiphany story in Matthew 2:1-12. In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all... Read the article

Read the article

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

Read the article

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

Read the article

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

Read the article

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

Read the article

A Reason for the Hope You Have

By Rick Shallenberger, Equipper Editor For most of my life I wasn’t sure how to deal with Peter’s admonition, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” The sad reality is no one asked me for the reason of my hope because I never gave them reason to ask. I didn’t talk about my hope, and people didn’t see that hope in me. Part of the reason is because my hope wasn’t on the right thing. Another reason was because I attended a church that believed and taught that sharing the gospel was the responsibility of only a few. As I grew in my faith, I was still not sure how to give a reason of the hope in me. I wasn’t sure how to explain my faith to others; I... Read the article

Read the article