GCI Update

Faith Forward

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

I have started traveling again within the US. In a recent trip, I was dumbstruck when my bag was the first up on the luggage carousel. Only the second time in my years of travel. Was the Lord shining favor on me?

My neighbor is an avid wild turkey hunter. For the past three years, he hasn’t “bagged a bird.” Fast forward to this year, and he has already bagged two turkeys. He shared with me about being out in the field at Sandy Mush, NC, and sitting, waiting and praying. While he was talking to God, the turkey appeared and he successfully took it. When this happened again a few weeks later, he was even more enthusiastic. He believes the Lord favored him, and who am I to say otherwise?

What is faith in God all about? As believers, do we go through life expecting all phases of travel to go well, and for turkeys to magically appear when we hunt them? Is God our genie in a bottle or good luck charm?

Notice how, in the Mirror Study Bible by Commentator Francois du Toit, he translates a passage in Hebrews:

Persuasion confirms confident expectation and proves the unseen world to be more real than the seen. Faith celebrates as certain what hope visualizes as future. (Hebrews 11:1)  

Faith celebrates what hope visualizes as future – Wow! So much more than luggage being the first on the belt or a turkey presenting itself to an expectant hunter.

Francois adds this comment,

The shadow no longer substitutes the substance. Jesus is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of everything the prophets foretold. The unveiling of Christ in human life completes man’s every expectation. (Colossians 1:27)

Faith is about the reality of Jesus, the Redeemer who redeems wholly and the Savior who saves completely. He is the one who draws all humanity to himself and is preparing the splendid, perfect, eternal Kingdom that we will inhabit with him.

He (Jesus) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 RSV). This perfect world with perfect relationships is for you, for me and for all of God’s children. Hallelujah!

This faith is a sure faith because of who Jesus is. If you continue reading through Hebrews 11 you will resonate with the biblical characters, their struggles, their triumphs and their expectations even when circumstances are dire. Many of these men and women lost their lives but did not lose their faith.

I pray for our churches and members scattered across the 66 countries where we have people who meet in the name of Jesus under the banner of GCI. I know a lot of your names and even more of your faces. I think of you as characters the Lord is adding to his biblical “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.

Many of you have suffered greatly through the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss of health, loss of jobs and loss of loved ones. My prayer for you is that through this global struggle your faith in Jesus has been strengthened, that your hope and vision for the fullness of the kingdom has been reinforced and that your unrelenting faith in Jesus will boldly go forward as we emerge from the pandemic!

Onward in Jesus!
Greg Williams

P.S. Please join me over the weekend of July 23-25 for the GCI Virtual Celebration. I shall be speaking more about the fullness of the kingdom of God and how our hope is built on Jesus.

Devotional: Abide With Me

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,

help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Abide with Me is a familiar hymn that Henry Francis Lyte penned while battling tuberculosis. What a thrilling prayer request: for God to abide with us always, and even more so when the “darkness deepens” or “other helpers fail.” But what does it mean for God to abide with us?

It says in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” To abide in Jesus’ love means to abide in Jesus because Jesus is love. In the gospel, Jesus lays out three benefits of abiding in him. First, abiding in Jesus means that the love of God is present in us, and, as a result, we can love like Jesus. Like most things, this is much harder than it sounds. Jesus loved unconditionally and without judgment.

Second, abiding in Jesus and loving like Jesus creates the byproduct of joy. We become joyful and joy is present when Jesus abides with us and when we abide in Jesus’ love.

Later in “Abide with Me,” Lyte mentions the dimming of earth’s joys:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

In life, sometimes joy is hard to find, especially when disappointments and setbacks are the order of the day and God seems far or prayers seem unanswered. It is difficult to keep one’s joy when there is no hope, or the walls seem to be caving in all around us.

Nehemiah 8:10, however, reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Third, abiding in Jesus means that we are anointed to bear fruit that will last. Jesus says, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name” (John 15:16).

The proof is in the pudding. What fruits are you bearing? A good tree does not bear bad fruit. Jesus is serious about his disciples bearing fruit. Good fruit. Fruit that will last.

Like Lyte, if we acknowledge our helpless state and ask Jesus to abide with us, teaching us to love like him, we can joyfully sing out in confidence:

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.



Linda Sitterley
Eugene, Oregon

June Prayer Guide

“Prayer turns theology into experience.” ― Timothy Keller

Join us in corporate prayer this month as we thank God for the good work he includes us in. Click the image below to download and print the June Prayer Guide, celebrating how God is working in and among our fellowships around the world.

Celebrating Grace Community Kitchen

On May 17, members of the Pikeville Kentucky congregation celebrated the six-year anniversary of our community outreach, Grace Community Kitchen. Dedicated church members and community involvement through word-of-mouth and materials donated, have made it possible for this part of our Love Avenue to continue to provide meals for those in need throughout the pandemic.

A Reunion Worth Rejoicing

Voice of Hope Church in Ohio has found a way to have potlucks again! The church has been back in person since February. Potlucks have been revived by using physical distancing with seating and finding ways to provide refreshments in a safe manner.

It is such a blessing to be fellowshipping in person again.

Carrie Osborne
Pastor, Voice of Hope Church of God (GCI)
Chillicothe, OH

Good News from India

Joshila & Nelson Philips

I am happy to report that Nelson Philips, our team leader in Hyderabad, was discharged from the hospital last night. I can only explain it as nothing short of a miracle. To have been given a hospital bed with a steady oxygen supply was providential. He had lung damage of 65% and was surviving on 20 liters of oxygen a day. He is immunosuppressed and may need a bit of time to recover.  

Nelson and his wife Joshila take a moment to celebrate life and wanted to extend their sincere thanks to our GCI family for their prayers.  

Danny Zachariah
Pastor & Regional Director India Sub-Continent

GCI Denominational Celebration

Celebration Registration

Registration for the virtual 2021 Denominational Celebration is open!  We will be focusing on the Hope Venue, shaping our worship services to be inspirational experiences that center around our hope in the person of Jesus.

Individual Registration for members and Watch Party Registration for leadership teams to participate and debrief together are both available. Make the Celebration a retreat for your congregation, click here for ideas on how to host a watch party.

Our Main Session Speakers

We are excited to present our GCI Superintendents & 2021 speakers! Each Superintendent will share stories of hope, revealing how the Spirit is moving in their regions. The Main Sessions will also feature a live interview by GCI President Greg Williams with each Superintendent. Click here to visit our events page and read the Superintendents’ bios.

Death of James I. Boone

Jimmy and Malou are seated, surrounded by their family.

It is with deep sadness that we must announce the death of our beloved Elder and friend, Mr. James I. Boone (Jimmy). He passed away May 26, at the age of 62, due to cancer. He was ordained November 9, 2007, and served faithfully in the church for many years.

Brother Jimmy is survived by his wife Maria Lourdes (Malou), 4 daughters – Gayle, Tricia, Kerri, and Maddy, 2 sons-in-law, 2 grandsons, and siblings – Mrs. June Taniajura, Mrs. Janet Alvaran, Mr. Jesse Boone and John Boone.

We thank the Lord for the life of Brother Jimmy.  He will surely be missed.

Belinda Natividad
Office Staff, GCI Manila East Mission

Cards and condolences may be sent to his wife:

Mrs. Maria Lourdes Boone
Deiparine St. (former Uldog St), Paez Subdivision(former Sitio Garden),
Poblacion, Talisay City, Cebu 6045