December 23, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May God grant you a blessed and merry Christmas as you celebrate the Incarnation of the Son of God!

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During the holiday period, Grace Communion International administrative offices will be closed December 24 – 31. Offices will officially reopen at 8:00 a.m. PST on Monday, January 4, 2010.


Training Seminar

The Southern California districts hosted a Ministry Development Training conference with Dan Rogers, US Superintendent of Ministers, at Community Life Fellowship in Altadena, California, on December 5. District Pastoral Leaders Eric Shaw, Bermie Dizon and Glen Weber invited elders and ministry leaders as well as interested members to participate in this three-District event.

Dan Rogers gave an overview of Christian ethics from a Trinitarian theological perspective in the morning. The focus was about understanding the moral principles revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus and how to apply the principles in everyday life decisions. In the afternoon Dr. Rogers gave a workshop titled Into the Bible for Maximum Impact and Fun and encouraged the study of Scripture in interesting new ways. We ended the afternoon with everyone breaking into small group discussions on selected scriptures.

The attendees enjoyed the fellowship and mealtime with those from other Southern California congregations. Many commented that they enjoyed the inspirational study and the time reconnecting with friends from other congregations. That evening at the Community Life Fellowship worship service, Dr. Rogers continued the day’s learning experience with a sermon titled: “It’s Not What You Have, It’s Who Has You” based on Luke 9:1-6 and 10-17.


Africa

From Gary Moore:

Wendy got a note this morning from Candida Millar, wife of the lay pastor of the Johannesburg Central congregation. Candida has three small children and gifts and passion for ministry to young people. She directs a VBS program which runs for several days at the youth summer camp (which is going on this week; remember, their summer is our winter). We were able to offer some help from our Africa Missions Fund to purchase supplies for the program (about $150 total), including a small gift for each child.

Here are excerpts from Candida’s note:

I wish you could have seen the children’s faces when they saw their presents from Canada. They were giddy with excitement. I gave them the stuff as they left so that their parents would be able to experience it with them… I’m so very humbled by your generous hearts for these little people. And let me tell you, it’s working! …Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Prayer Requests and Updates

I just talked with Peter Whitting and am delighted to report that he is now back home. His collapsed lung has been reversed and the physical therapy is going well. This week will be his first time in church for nearly three months. Peter and Charlotte thank all for their prayers.


National Director for Spain, Pedro Rufian, asked that we pray for the Madrid congregation’s outreach work. They seek especially to support senior citizens who are experiencing loneliness. He wrote, “Please pray for God to give us the courage and the faith to carry out the project. We know we are working in stony ground.”

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach