GCI Update

Mother’s Love

Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Can a parent ever forget their child? In the time of Isaiah, Israel’s literal complaint was that God had forgotten and forsaken them in their Babylonian captivity. “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me’” (Isa. 49:14). I love God’s response: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15).

This most tender and affectionate picture that God gave, describing his love for his people, is one most of us can relate to—the picture of a mother’s love for her newborn child. After carrying a child in her womb for nine months, this new living creature, who is nourished and protected by her own body, is nursing at her breast. You can imagine the longing gaze shared between mother and baby. I can recall this very picture as I remember Susan with each of our three sons (doubly with twins Glenn and Garrett).

The wonder and sense of awe of mother to child are best expressed in the thoughts and response of Mary to her precious baby Jesus. The events of Luke chapter two are grander and greater than words can describe, but I shall give it a try.

At the birth of Jesus, in the humble setting of a stable, a visitation was made by shepherds who had been in the surrounding fields. They brought the tidings of good news—the Messiah had come. This was followed by a heavenly host of angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Can you imagine the conversation between the shepherds and Joseph and Mary as each of them recounted their encounters with angels? They confirmed that each of these angelic meetings and announcements was connected and pointed to the one truth—the incarnation of Jesus is real, and God truly is with us. Glory to God in the highest!

Then Luke 2:19 tells us: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” This became Mary’s private meditation and her treasured storehouse of memories for her son Jesus. Isn’t this what mothers do? Mothers relish the quiet moments with their dear babies; they remember all the details and intricacies, and they have an overflow of positive hope and promise for their dear child. This is the mother’s heart.

Mother’s Day is a special day that pays tribute to our mothers. Appropriately, it is celebrated in many countries around the world at different points during the year. In the United States and Canada, Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday in May (May 12th for 2019). In some other countries, such as Argentina and Ethiopia, mothering is celebrated in the autumn. No matter what specific day or season, let me echo GCI’s deep love and appreciation for all mothers. We celebrate you for who you are and what you do to care for our precious children.

As beautiful a picture as a mother’s love paints, please know that the love that Father, Son, and Spirit have for every human being far surpasses even that. You are beloved by the majestic God of the universe, so on this Mother’s Day and every other day – “Be loved!”

Prayers for Sri Lanka

Last April 21, Easter Sunday, was a time of rejoicing as we celebrated the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death. The promise of our risen Lord is particularly sobering now against the backdrop of the recent bombings in Sri Lanka which took place that morning.

Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to our GCI members, Christian brothers and sisters, and the whole nation as they mourn more than 300 people killed and 500 injured following the blasts in churches and hotels.

Let us pray for comfort in the depths of profound loss, peace in the midst of insecurity, and resilience in the midst of violence and fear. For those in our community who know people from Sri Lanka, I encourage you to reach out to them and be open to other ways we can help.

Psalm 46:1 tells us that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. In the midst of painful circumstances, may this truth be made manifest in tender and personal ways, especially to those most affected by these attacks.

Condolences,
Eugene Guzon
Superintendent for Asia

Talent Show Open Call SE Regional Celebration

GCI – Southeast Region Variety Show. 7:00PM SATURDAY, JUNE 22nd, 2019. DANCERS MAGICIANS MUSICIANS COMEDIANS ACTORS SINGERS PUPPETEERS LIP SYNCERS JUGGLERS. Please submit all entries to Joe & Megan Brannen at GCISEtalent@gmail.com BY JUNE 2nd 2019. Limited Spaces Available.

New District Pastor in Philippines

Standing on The Promises

This article was originally published in GCI Philippines Newsletter, written by Pastor Romy Pusta, Senior Pastor, GC Tagbilaran.

In February, Mrs. Margie Bahinting was commissioned as District Pastor for Central Visayas. As part of her plan to visit the churches she oversees, she visited Grace Communion Tagbilaran on April 6-7.

She delivered an inspiring sermon “Standing on the Promises” to 47 attendees coming from different parts of Bohol. A potluck lunch provided a “love” venue for extended fellowship and bonding among those present. The District Superintendent was also able to meet the Grace Communion Tagbilaran pastoral team on her arrival, April 6.

Margie emphasized that we are all called to be leaders and God has equipped us to be so through our Experiences, Qualifications, Unique spiritual gifts, Interests and Personalities. The visit was a promise fulfilled and much appreciated by the Boholano brethren.

GCF Leadership Retreat

Below is a report written by Hazel Tabin about a leaders retreat for her local congregation, Grace Communion Fellowship.

Last March 15-17, fifteen leaders from our church reserved time to enjoy the Spirit’s presence with one another. We went to Pine Mountain Club, a great place to retreat from the busyness of the city. Turning off our phones and intentionally being present allowed us to see the beauty of community.

On the first night, we focused on praising God through prayer, Scripture reading, and singing songs. It was a sacred and honest space to come just as we are and worship God with our whole beings.

The next day, we feasted during breakfast, which helped us become ready for the whole day. We started with worship and a devotional from 1 Peter 5:1-10, then we took the 5 voices assessment, which helped us understand one another’s strengths. We then discussed how we could implement scriptural reading in our church as well as strategies in which we could connect with our communities. Next, we washed each other’s feet and heard a message about humility and serving like Christ. Lastly, we had communion and each prayed in the process of taking the bread and the wine. At the end of the day, we laid hands for each other and lifted them up along with their families, their work, and any prayer requests they had.

This retreat was a refreshing time for the leaders of our church as we rested and were reminded why we are serving—because of the immense love we have tasted and seen from our Triune God, which we are compelled to share with others.

Australasia Pastor’s Conference

The following article was originally published in Life Together, a GCI Australasia, newsletter written by John McLean, Superintendent of Australasia.

Earlier this year we had another wonderfully constructive and successful national—now Australasian—pastors conference. We are blessed with an outstanding group of pastors and ministry leaders in our region. It was a delight to share fellowship, friendship, learning and discussion together.

Shehana and Peter Edalere, and Phil Van Djik

We welcomed Dennis and Sue Richards and Rex Morgan from New Zealand to the group. We also celebrated Mohan Jayasekera’s retirement, honouring and thanking Mohan and Nihara for their many years of faithful, dedicated service across several different countries, and often in trying and difficult times. Peter Edalere will take the reins as pastor of Perth, and Peter and his wife Shehana attended their first conference with us.

The theme of the conference was “Healthy Church,” and we spent considerable time in discussions around themes that both feed and implement this vision, seeking to further develop congregational environments of faith, hope and love.

We also discussed dealing with change, and followed up on child safety matters and pastoral supervision. These latter two were recommendations coming out of the recent Royal Commission in Australia. Daphne Sidney is already doing excellent work with the child safety policies and protocols, and has the role of ministry supervision as well.

Regional Celebration Registration

Harvest Your Blessings! Don’t miss out on registration for the North Central Celebration.

In 2019, GCI will host Regional Celebrations in the USA:

  • June 7 – 9: Central – Dallas, TX
  • June 21 – 23: Southeast – Charlotte, NC
  • September 27 – 29: North Central – Noblesville, IN
  • October 25 – 27:  East – Ocean City, MD

Click the image below to for more information and registration options.
Regional Celebrations 2019 Banner

 

Devotional – Weathering Storms

And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. Matthew 14:25

Venturing out to sea can be an uncertain prospect. The weather can change quickly. In a small boat, the disciples of Jesus knew this all too well when they were caught in a storm for many hours. It must have been terrifying. When Jesus came to the disciples walking on water, it was around the fourth watch of the night. Though his friends had been in the storm for 6-10 hours, they were not lost to the depths; he was not too late. We can take encouragement from this passage that Jesus sees us in the storms of our lives, he is not distant, and disinterested. He is Emmanuel—“God with us.”  Jesus not only has a solution he is the solution, and when revealed it will not be too late for us and we will not be lost!

Prayer: Father please help us rest in your faithful embrace. Jesus, it is awfully hard not to panic in the storm. Help us trust you for who you are and that you have rescued us already. And Holy Spirit, it is difficult to show love to others as we frantically bail water from our fragile boats. Please tutor us in the ways of love.

 

By Bill Winn

We Are GCI Series – Mike Urmie

Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nommILBWLE

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, GCI Pastor, Mike Urmie, shares a little about himself with why he likes to serve in GCI and how he sets aside 30 minutes every day for his guilty pleasure.

 

Al Barr Celebration of Life Ceremony

The Celebration of Life memorial service for Pastor Allan Barr, will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2019, 11:00 a.m. at:

Liberty Baptist Church
1077 Highway 314
Fayetteville, GA 30214