GCI Update

Jesus, Irritated?

a street art image of jesus looking to the sky
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

The writer of Hebrews says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than a two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). This verse reminds me to approach the Holy Scriptures with a “yieldedness” to the Spirit and a desire to relate more deeply to the Triune God. When we do this, the stories come alive and penetrate our innermost beings.

In my daily devotion, I am oftentimes surprised by things that never stood out previously. One of the recent surprises was noticing how even Jesus got annoyed and frustrated, especially with faithlessness and perverse thinking. One such example is his reaction after healing a demon-possessed boy.

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:41)

Throughout the gospel accounts, Jesus was downcast by faithless responses. And it seemed to impact him most when his disciples displayed a lack of belief. This story takes place a day after Jesus, Peter, James, and John had come down from the Mount of Transfiguration. A great crowd met Jesus, and a father in the crowd begged that Jesus heal his son. The father tells Jesus, “I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” A key point to this story is found at the beginning of Luke 9.

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal (Luke 9:1-2).

Though these disciples had traveled with Jesus, had seen many miracles, and had been given the power and authority over demons, their lack of faith prevented them from healing the boy. You can understand Jesus’ dismay, which he expressed in his words.

As someone who is challenged on many fronts, I find it encouraging that even though Jesus was 100% God and man, and was filled with grace, truth, and love, he could get a little irritated and disappointed. The expressions of annoyance and frustration are a minor piece of his earthly experience, but these mark the reality of his humanity and it makes him human enough to identify with. He really did take on flesh and blood and he had to wrangle through the daily grind just as we do.

Certainly, crankiness was not the daily demeanor of Jesus. His day-in-day-out earthly ministry shows us that he continued forward no matter the negativity he faced, and his driving purpose was to raise humanity out of the generational cycle of faithlessness. The faithless bystanders—even if they included his disciples—did not deter Jesus from healing the boy and there is nothing that will keep the grace, truth, and love of Jesus from moving through the crowd and reaching us.

Prayer: Jesus, you were both divine and human, and you eternally maintain your connectedness to us humans in your glorified body. We thank you for temporarily setting aside your glory to join us in our mess, fully embracing humanity as one of us, and being the perfect example and perfect sacrifice that saves us. Amen.

So thankful for his humanity,
Greg Williams

Along About Midnight

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners could not believe their ears.
Acts 16:25

Your faith is not yours alone. When you believe, it helps others believe. It helps me believe. This might be most true when the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ is on display in the face of personal adversity.

Paul and Silas were singing their praises at midnight to the astonishment of the other captives. These brothers of the faith had just been beaten with rods, the flesh had been torn on their backs, and if that wasn’t enough, they had been publicly humiliated. The last thing you expect is for gospel karaoke night to break out in the prison! It was remarkable and it had a remarkable effect on others as people came to faith in Jesus, most notably the jailer and his family.

Faith in the face of adversity is liberating. It stands as a powerful witness to the goodness of the Triune God. This does not mean we don’t cry out to God in anguish while we suffer, but it does mean we know suffering is not the final word in our lives. Jesus is the first Word, the final Word and his resurrection is the resounding word that hope abounds. Despair and darkness cannot lay claim to victory, Jesus is the Victorious One!

Sing your song of victory, loved one, and let it be heard because our Lord is in the ongoing work of setting captives free!

Prayer: Lord, by your Spirit, may your praise ever be on our lips, even during the darkest night.

Anthony Mullins headshot


By Anthony Mullins
Southeast Regional Director, USA

We Are GCI Series | Billy Cooley

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, GCI Pastor, Billy Cooley, shares a little about himself and why he likes to serve in GCI and in what ways he connects the most with God.

Disaster Relief – Hurricane Dorian Wreaking Havoc in The Bahamas

hurricane aerial viewThe following is an update from Charles Fleming, Mission Developer, on our members in The Bahamas, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

I spoke with Robert McKinney, National Director for the Caribbean, and his wife Tania, an hour ago.  They are fine as are the brethren on Nassau.  Abaco is a different story.  All communications have been cut so they only have a few details as Dorian continues to inflict damage. Tania says houses there have been flattened.  Not just roofs off, but solid cinder block homes have been leveled.  Relatives of a member lost their home and have been moving from one evacuation center to another as they have been compromised.  In some places, flooding is 10 feet deep.  Freeport is also experiencing the worst of the storm.  Robert spoke to his sister who said all their relatives including Robert’s mother are okay.

The recovery is going to be very challenging.  Tania mentioned that Abaco is the 3rd largest economic center on the island.

I have seen two heartrending videos on YouTube of people surrounded by water desperately praying as they recorded the carnage. Robert asked me to say thank you for all your continuing prayers.  Tania said that prayers are what has been making a difference for everyone.

In prayer,

Additional update from Robert McKinney:

Family and friends, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and shout a collective Hallelujah as Dorian makes his way out of our waters. I am happy to report that as far as we are aware, all my family members and all our brethren in Freeport, as well as in Moores Island, are well. Now begins the task of picking up the pieces and rebuilding. I encourage us all to assist in whatever way we can. Stay strong in the Lord, and may our faith always rest in His mighty power.


GCI Disaster Relief Fund

If your congregation has a heart to help members impacted by major disasters like the one in The Bahamas, consider donating to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund helps provide members in disaster areas with emergency needs such as food, water, medicine, clothing, temporary housing, home and/or church hall repairs, temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency needs. Monies received into the Fund that are not immediately needed will remain in the Fund to be allocated in future disasters. In previous years, money from this Fund has been used to help members recover from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, storms and flooding in Bangladesh, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, typhoons in the Philippines and an earthquake in Haiti.

Individuals who wish to donate may do so at www.gci.org/disasterrelief

If your congregation would like to donate out of local church funds, you  may do so at www.gci.org/go/chdonate

If your congregation prefers to send a check, make it out to Grace Communion International, indicating on the memo line that the donation is for the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. Send the donation to:

GCI Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28273

Encounter Night at Grace Communion Baguio

This article was originally published on the Grace Communion International – Philippines website.

Grace Communion-Baguio has a story to tell . . . none can compare to The Author. It was a divine proposition that cannot be put aside, a once in a lifetime opportunity of the now in response to longing hearts.

The birthing of the idea and its fruition into reality is another story for the books, a transforming journey in itself for each individual participant, to those who took off their sandals in the Presence of The Holy One.

Hunger and thirst were so evident in the free expression of singing and dancing, hearts in reverence to the Person of each song sang in abandon. Such declaration addressing The One who wakes us, tuning hearts into his beat! And so, “this is living now” as we “wake up knowing there’s a reason.” There is no time to waste, this is the “best time of our lives as we encounter your love again.” We can choose to live kingdom life even here and now. In him, “blind eyes are opened, strongholds are broken” as we live by faith. What sustains us? It is “His love that never fails, never gives up and never runs out” on us.

Along the way, GCI Youth Ministry (GYM) Baguio was officially launched and introduced by Jep Parcasio as a resource for the young people. There were eighty-six invitees and guests. The youngest was four in age who sang and danced and listened with joy. Articulated needs in the connect cards show a significant number wanting to be part of a church, attendance in a Bible Study group, campus ministry and requests for prayer and counseling

Everyone could not get enough from singing incognizant of The “river where goodness flows, fountain that drowns sorrows, ocean deeper than fear” where “we come alive” in his presence. The atmosphere was richly blessed, filling each heart for a personal encounter of his great love. Again and again, we invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit, for where the Lord is, “dry bones awaken.”

During the devotional, Pastor Joseph spoke of Saul’s encounter of Jesus. Choose to heed David’s prayer in Psalm 34:8 (The Passion Translation) saying, “Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.” Jesus brings about transformation and changes lives!

In prayer, we request for enabling so Jesus can be the center of our lives, this is our stand: “With arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the one who gave it all.”

Approaching the end of the activity, it was a lullaby to the soul to be reminded of God’s reckless love, “overwhelming, never-ending, chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found. . .”

Our response: there is only one way and that is J E S U S! We are all living for HIM.

Leaving is difficult when there is more to anticipate. Guests were given lanyards as a memento. His promise is to bring us from glory to glory! Church members who came to support alongside the worship team and worked behind the scenes had their fill and went home in abundance. Also, there were silent forces who gave for the cause of the Lord and are known and will be rewarded.

The event was held August 2, 2019 at the Function Hall of Gestdan Centrum, Baguio City.

All praise and honor belong to our Triune God!!! – Auey Parcasio

Eagle Rock Second Annual VBS

This summer, Grace Communion Fellowship in Eagle Rock, California hosted our second annual Vacation Bible School. What a blessing it was to see new and familiar faces-both for the staff and kids!

Our theme this year was “Into the Wild” accompanied by the motto, “Zoom in-Focus on Jesus!” The kids dove deeper into knowing who Jesus is by reenacting stories in the Bible. They wore costumes and were given scripts to read. Their joy in doing this allowed them to remember what God has done for us. Our church hall was transformed into a jungle, and we felt the Spirit’s presence and love throughout.

Our church will always be grateful for God’s blessings over the week of VBS. We have witnessed his hands move and provide for everything that we need. We have seen the Spirit’s leading and guidance ever since the preparation stage. We thank God for the people who have been praying with us, who have supported and given their resources, time, and gifts. We thank God for the staff who volunteered to serve the children in multiple ways for a whole week. God used their presence to reach out to the children in our community. We thank God for the parents, grandparents, and friends who invited the children to come. It takes a whole village to have a VBS and we thank God for the people he brought this year.

A normal day in VBS looked like: worshipping through dancing and singing, making animal crafts, playing jungle- related games, eating, hearing the stories of Jesus’ life, and a lot of laughing and playing with balloons. Some of the week’s highlights included: watching a series about knowing who we are in Christ and encountering God in this wild world, dancing, and being interviewed. In the interview, the kids were asked what their favorite animal was, their favorite part of VBS, and something they have learned throughout the week. The kids also had a photoshoot with their chosen stuffed animal and they had the chance to take photos for the other kids. The photos they took were used to enter into a contest to win two free tickets to San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

Sunday, culminated for the kids with a celebration of the week. We heard testimonies from both campers and staff. We sang worship with our parents, grandparents, and friends. We then shared with the congregation the awards they were given throughout the week, like being the most energetic worshipper, best hugger, and best in crafts, among many others. The congregation also voted for the best photo and we revealed the top three photographers. Throughout the worship service and the week of VBS, we were celebrating and feasting to proclaim our gratefulness to God’s faithfulness, which was evident this year.

Glory to God alone,
Hazel Tabin

Church on Staten Island Recognized for ASL Service

Image courtesy of Annalise Knudson/Staten Island Advance
Image courtesy of Annalise Knudson/Staten Island Advance

Congratulations to our congregation on Staten Island, Hands for Christ Community Church. They have been catching media attention and praise for their Sunday services which are led fully in American Sign Language (ASL), with a voice translator. The following is a write up from Pastor Mary Bacheller.

Spectrum News NY1 (the local TV station) called to ask if we could be interviewed for their show. We agreed and they came and loved our services. They would like to come back another time as well.  They captured the essence of our services. Even though attendance was down a bit, we did have a new family join us.  I am asking the station to provide a link or DVD /CD with closed captioning on it so that I can send it to all of the deaf on the island as a promo piece and invite them to services.

For the video and accompanying article by the local news station, please view this link: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2019/08/06/staten-island-church-is-a-sign-of-faith

September 2019 Prayer Guide

Click the image below to view and download the September Prayer Guide.

Come & Drink Crusade – Nassau, Bahamas

Register Now!

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”

You are invited to join us for four days of celebration, fellowship and Christian outreach at our 12th annual Come & Drink Crusade.
It takes place at Courtyard by Marriott, Junkanoo Beach, downtown Nassau, Bahamas, October 11-14, 2019. This hotel is the ideal site for a fall get-together for the entire family. Rooms rates are $160.00 per night double occupancy, all taxes included. Space is limited, so register today.
For more information, email Robert.Mckinney@gci.org  or call (242) 424-4062.

Regional Celebration Registration

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

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

  • October 25 – 27:  East – Ocean City, MD

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