GCI Update

Compelled by Love: Generosity with Time and Talent

From time to time, I invite a guest writer to share meaningful experiences and information with our church audience. It is my pleasure to have GC Cleveland Pastor, Tamar Gray, as our guest writer this issue. Tamar presented at the Love Avenue workshop in March, and she is uniquely gifted as an educator. Her relational connections in her community are serving her very well in reaching out to new people with the love of Jesus. Tamar has some important words to share about how we use our time and talents to better participate with Jesus in his mission to the world.

–Greg Williams, President

“This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11, The Message)

I was asked to join a prestigious music board and replied “yes” immediately to the honor before knowing the requirements. I was disappointed to learn there was an expectation of a sizeable monetary donation. As I prepared to decline the invitation, the board president explained that it was not the financial contribution they required, but my time and talent.

This epiphany moment poses the question, how often do we allow our preconceived mindsets to limit sharing ourselves because we believe what we have to offer will not be of value? Placing our time and talents into the hands of the Master will be an invaluable resource for work being done here on earth as the compelling love of Jesus overflows in every aspect of our lives.


There are only so many hours in a day, and giving time speaks to what and who we consider important. In scripture, we witness Jesus being generous with time. He would share with those considered the least in society, heal their infirmities, or share the good news that would change their lives.

One example is found in Mark 5: 25-34. Jesus was on his way to heal Jarius’ daughter when he was “interrupted” by the woman with the issue of blood as she reached out to touch his garment. He could have told her he would pray for her as he continued on his way. Instead, Jesus stopped, saw her, and by faith, she was healed. As we move about our busy lives, may the Holy Spirit make us aware of those who are touching our garments.

Taking time for others means something else will not get done at that moment, but it is usually time well spent. As a teacher, I find interruptions occurring every day in the classroom with students and colleagues who need to be seen and heard. Participating as Jesus works in their lives and sharing the time becomes a privilege.

A transformation can take place with a touch, word, or prayer. As the church, we can impact our communities by taking the time to share our personhood and allowing space for others to do the same. It is in our relationships that we encounter Jesus.


We can use our God-given talents to place-share and create relationships that allow us to see Jesus and begin to know each other. Some skills are apparent, while others take some discovery and encouragement. When we share our abilities for God’s glory, they become the conduit for spreading his word and praise.

As I view my life, I can see three talents God has gifted in me:

      • Teaching—the ability to share knowledge that people can use in the classroom, community, and church.
      • Singing—a ministry that brings people together, gives hope, and can bring others closer to God.
      • Administration—the capability to see the big picture, implement details, and gather groups of individuals to put a plan into action.

I am using these skills in the classroom, community, church, and now as a member of the prestigious music board which helped me recognize the value of time and talent.

What about you? Are there any newly developed giftings that you see God growing in you for this specific season? Take time to pray, reflect, and ask God to show you the areas in your life where God may be calling you to share your gifts.

As we continue on this compelling journey of love, may our Lord of generosity continue to bless us, and may we give him the praise so richly deserved.

Tamar Gray

Tamar Gray
Pastor, Cleveland, OH, US



Editor’s Note: Pastor Tamar wrote about using our God-given talents to place-share and create relationships. Want to dig deeper into place-sharing? See this GC Buzz.

Devotional—More to Say

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. John 13:23 KJV

Have you, like me, read this and felt a twinge of jealousy? The disciple John was so close to Jesus as to hear his heartbeat. Don’t we long to look up into Jesus’ face and ask him, “What is the next right thing to do?”

Now we turn our attention to Trinity Sunday, where we recently heard John 16 preached. In our Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) passage, we heard Jesus say, “I’m going to tell you everything you will need to know with certainty.”

No, he didn’t say that. Instead, he promised the guidance of Holy Spirit.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. (John 16:12-15 NIV)

Jesus invited us into the sacred mystery of being taught by Holy Spirit. Even to his first-century disciples who were physically with him, Jesus declared that there was more. Even they needed the promise that there is more to come.

Jesus has called us into a relationship of trust with his Spirit of truth. Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. Do you believe it?

In this season after Pentecost, how are you attuning to Holy Spirit? How are you intentionally practicing being present to Spirit and listening for guidance?

Loving God, we bow our hearts to embrace humility and curiosity to your leading. We open our palms to let go of grasping for certainty and reliance on our own reasoning. We are grateful that you’ve revealed yourself as triune God. We desire to believe that Jesus is the perfect representation of Father, and Spirit only testifies to Son. Help our unbelief. May we be so attuned to Spirit’s leading that we hear the heartbeat of Jesus. Speak, Lord; we’re listening! We love you. Amen.

Elizabeth Mullins
Media Publications Assistant, Update Editor

Neighborhood Camp—Jacksonville, FL, US

On June 9-11, we hosted our second annual neighborhood youth camp. The day camp took place at our church-owned facility that provided a nice, outdoor playing field and a basketball and volleyball court. We chose the name Grace Camp, and our stated purpose is: “To enjoy life together in the grace and love of God through fun, friendships, and faith in Jesus.” Our chapel theme was “Jesus’ Words are Good News.”

Campers ages six through 17 enjoyed a safe, fun, and inspirational time together. Participation increased to 25 campers this year from 18 last year. Eleven campers were first-time participants, over half of whom came from the nearby neighborhoods. Our volunteer staff of 20+ adults worked hard and did a great job. Each day began at 9:00 a.m. and ended around 7:00 p.m. The campers and staff returned to their homes each night.

We provided the campers breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. In addition to a daily chapel worship service, activities included: arts and crafts, water balloon battle, volleyball, basketball, block party, a Christian movie, dance lessons and dance, dodge ball, and a talent show. The camp also included offsite outings to the zoo and to a water park. The weather was good, although hot, and no activities were rained out—for which we’re thankful to the Lord!

On the last day, we ended with a very nice dinner for everyone, including the families of the campers. At least two of the families who came expressed their intention to worship with us in the near future. As we connect more with our neighbors around the church facility, we want them to know that we care about them and their children and are here for them. We would be pleased to be a part of their lives along their path of discipleship with Jesus. In any case, we have already succeeded in showing them the love of Christ and the joy that comes through serving him!

Visit our Facebook page to view more photos.
Watch a video slideshow of our camp: Grace Camp 2022

Marty and Yvonne Davey

Marty Davey
Pastor, Jacksonville, FL, US

Pentecost—Glendora, CA, US

Pentecost 2022 was uniquely meaningful for GCI Glendora in a few ways. First, it was very special to have our worship team play and sing together for the first time since March 2020! Because of this, Pentecost was another “historical moment” in the life of our congregation. Including a pianist, a bassist, a drummer, and two vocalists, our worship team had a blast practicing together again after over two years. It was a refreshing and uplifting experience for our congregation to have live music again as we worshiped together.

We were pleasantly surprised to have more people attend in person on Pentecost than even on Easter. During the service, a few members recited a litany called “A Prayer for Pentecost,” adapted from a couple passages in Acts 1-2. This litany helped illustrate Christ’s great promise of the Holy Spirit and to receive him with hope and thanksgiving. I gave the main message, emphasizing that each of us is more powerful than we dare to realize. What we believe about ourselves has very real and powerful ramifications in every aspect of our lives. As the Church of Christ, we must choose to believe the truth of who we are in Christ, believe what he says about us, and through the Holy Spirit represent the kingdom of God.

After the worship service we proceeded with our monthly potluck, with outdoor seating, on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. Last year, GCI Glendora celebrated Pentecost by also celebrating three high school graduations. This Pentecost, we celebrated two graduates: Gian from high school and Ava Rae from elementary school. The pastoral team prayed over the graduates during the potluck.

Finally, our Love Avenue Champion, Marianne Maninang, facilitated a raffle. She gave away five prizes relating to the themes of the last two sermons. We’ve found that since we started up our potlucks again last fall, having a raffle or games during the potluck is a fun way to get everyone involved, whether they’re a guest or a longtime member.

We praise God for seeing us through so much change and difficulty during this pandemic. We continually look to him as we seek to love God, love others, and serve the world—starting with our neighborhood.

Jillian Morrison
Associate Pastor, Glendora, CA, US


Prayer Update—Cella Olive

Below is a post-operation update from our beloved sister, Celestine Olive of Lancaster, CA, US.

Good news! I had a seven-week, follow-up appointment on June 8 with the Kaiser neurosurgeon. The x-rays showed the C3/C4 spinal fusion looks clean with signs of fusing already beginning, and the surgeon was pleased with the outcome. After wearing a neck collar for five weeks, I’m happy to now be planning for physical therapy for the painful, tight, and weakened muscles in the shoulders and neck. There is still no improvement of the tingling and pain in my right hand, but the doctor tells me to give it time! I’m truly looking forward to getting out and about again.

Thanks everybody for the many ways you have expressed your thoughts and prayers and loving concern! I appreciate all of you!


60 Second Sermon—Reading the Epistles

There is no shortage of books, podcasts, and other resources that provide insight into scripture. This month, our 60 Second Sermon provides a guide for reading through the Epistles.

To read and download the #sixtysecsermon, click the image or link below.