GCI Update

New Wine

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

As Jesus was sharing the good news about the kingdom of God with his disciples, he shared the following:

He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:36-39 NIV)

What Jesus was saying is simple: you can’t take the arrival of Jesus and his kingdom and simply put it on top of the Jewish Pharisaic system and traditions. It won’t fit.

Something new was happening. There was a new covenant. The old covenant paved the way with sacrificial and ceremonial laws constantly pointing toward the need for a Messiah/Savior. And when Jesus the Messiah/Savior came, he referenced the old, and he accomplished what the symbols can only point toward

His classic teaching is the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus didn’t abolish the law, he said he was the fulfillment of the law. (He alone was perfect and without sin.) He reminded the audience of what they were told in the past under Moses, and that now he was moving beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law. The new covenant and law of love that Jesus was bringing couldn’t be absorbed totally by the old. There had to be a new and better agreement – hence the idea of new wine.

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Devotional—Expectation of the Ascension

After his resurrection, Jesus spent another forty days preparing the apostles for his ascension and for Pentecost, when they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:1-5 NRSV

During these forty days of Eastertide, may we focus on the kingdom’s movements in our lives and in the world today. What were Jesus’ instructions to his apostles? Where do you see God’s clear actions in your life through the Holy Spirit?

The Ascension is a crucial step in the incarnation of Jesus! Without the ascension, his incarnation isn’t complete. When he ascended, Jesus took us to the Father’s presence. May 12 is Ascension Sunday — may we spend extra time focusing on Jesus’ teaching to his apostles and the importance of his ascension.

Father, you have received the glorified Jesus into the Godhead as our High Priest, Mediator, and Intercessor. You have seated us in the heavenlies with him. We praise you for such an amazing plan and ask you to increase our understanding of the Ascension. In the name of the ascended Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Glen WeberBy Glen A Weber, GCI Central Region Support Team
Aurora, CO, US

Healthy Church—Easter in Bogotá

We began reading about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in preparation for Holy Week. One of our favorite times of year is Holy Week because we get to spend it with the people we care about. It’s a unique week that always involves deep spiritual reflection in addition to spending time with loved ones and church members.

As part of our holy week celebrations, we read and studied the Gospel stories about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. We also studied his resurrection, which completely altered the course of human history! On Maundy Thursday, we studied its meaning and prayed together. On Good Friday, we gathered for a very special service. There were conversations and Bible readings that complemented the truth of how Jesus loves us with his divine love. In addition, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper, worshiping and pondering the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice.

There was a special feeling this Holy Week as we prepared the songs with the worship team and other activities in different ministries for each gathering. We love how we were able to connect through the preparations. We also shared a meaningful time praying for those who are struggling because of this world’s challenges. We celebrated Jesus’ resurrection and life.

Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia!

By Juan Carlos “Juanka” Barrero, Hope Avenue Champion
Bogotá, Columbia



Healthy Church—Easter in Baguio

During Holy Week (also known as Passion Week) the pastoral team of GC Baguio takes time to be especially intentional in the preparation for the worship and liturgy of our gatherings. Traditionally and culturally, in the Philippines, Holy Week is not just a holiday; it is widely observed by Christians. Thus, we are making the most of the celebrations throughout the week. We hope they will be avenues where our members and the visitors of our church get to be immersed in the gospel message of Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.

We have three special worship celebrations – Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter Sunday. (For Good Friday, we provide a printed devotional of the “Seven Last Words” for our members to use in their personal times of reflection or family gatherings.) These special worship celebrations are anticipated annually. Our worship hall is set up with decorations according to the theme of the service. The songs, prayers, confessions, scripture readings, and sermon are aligned with the Revised Common Lectionary and the worship/liturgical calendar.

It is our prayer as a local congregation that through our expressions of worship and witness, we grow more and more in appreciation of the truth of Jesus being the center of the center of our life and church ministry life.

By Justine Paolo “Jep” Parcasio, Associate Pastor
Baguio, Philippines


Meet Julie Frantz

“As we identify as members of the body of Christ, gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a vital part of who we are and what it means to be a Christian.”

Get to know Julie Frantz, a dedicated GCI Pastor from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Click the image below or here to read her full profile.

Celebrating 25 Years

Celebrating 25 Years of Participation and Service!

On Sunday, March 24, Pastor Timothy Brassell and his wife, Donna Brassell, were honored for their 25 years of devoted service to GCI. The celebration was hosted by their congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. Pastor T (as he is mostly called) and Donna were presented with a plaque and 25-year watches by East Regional Director Jeffrey Broadnax. These gifts serve as tangible symbols of appreciation for unwavering dedication, steadfast leadership, and tireless commitment to God’s ministry in GCI. The celebration included refreshments and fellowship following the Sunday service.

In Tim’s own words, what he enjoys most about being a GCI pastor:

“What I enjoy most is proclaiming the Good News of the relational God-Father-Son-and-Holy-Spirit revealed in Jesus the Christ freely! I enjoy declaring, against the wisdom of the world, that every human being belongs to God in the most profound way in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ alone, before they can think, say, or do anything about it! Therefore, when they hear the proclamation, each should freely repent, receive, and participate in Relationship with the Father through the faith freely given them by Jesus through the Holy Spirit!

I share this every way I can, everywhere I can, beginning with those I am closest to. I love relating, thinking, living, and speaking out of the love and life of the Father-Son- Holy-Spirit-God — with sign religion that points to God but without religiosity, and right in the middle of the deep brokenness Jesus still faithfully and graciously comes to meet us!

I greatly enjoy being in a world-wide fellowship of ever-reforming, loving, humble, accessible, free, God-honoring, and risk-taking people. (They have to be risk-taking, they called, hired, and put up with ME! Ha!)”

We are immensely grateful to you, Pastor T, and Donna for your dedication, wisdom, and guidance in pointing us to Jesus Christ as God’s Good News in Living Person. You have been a relational pastor and under shepherd, guiding us with compassion and courage, inspiring us through God’s steadfast grace and faith, impacting our lives and community for God. As we celebrate this significant milestone, we express our deepest appreciation for Jesus’ sacrificial service and friendship through both of you. We congratulate you and pray for continued blessings and years of fruitful participation in Christ’s ministry ahead.

Your legacy is one of love, unity, and transformation, as you continue to proclaim the good news of the relational God revealed in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. You are leaving an indelible God-honoring mark on our hearts and community here in Baltimore!

From your GCI family in Baltimore, MD


Birth of Nausicaä Meza Barrero

On March 27, we experienced the incredible joy of welcoming our second granddaughter, Nausicaä Meza Barrero, into our family. Our youngest son, Andrés, and his wife, Marcela, feel immensely blessed with this new life. We praise God for his gifts.

Hector & Paulina Barrero
Bogota, Columbia

GCS Summer Semester

Study with us at GCS!

Registration for the 2024 Summer Semester begins soon!
Academic Advising and Registration: April 29 – May 9

Below are the five courses that GCS is offering this semester. Each instructor provided a short summary of his course. Click the title to read the full description.

BI501 — Biblical Interpretation, Michael Morrison

When different people read the Bible, they sometimes come to different conclusions. We need a way to find out which reading is more likely to be right. We need to think about what we are doing when we read, and hopefully that will help us be more open to what the text actually says. BI501 Biblical Interpretation will help us read, study, understand, and explain the Bible in a way that can help others understand what the message means for us today.

CH502 — Church History: The Second Millennium, Steve Dolson-Andrew

Step into the riveting saga of Christianity’s journey through time! Uncover the triumphs, trials, and transformative moments that shaped the world’s largest faith. Gain profound insights from our spiritual forebears that will impact your life and ministry today. From antiquity to contemporary practice, the GCS Church History courses offer a thrilling exploration of faith, power, and resilience. Learn about the ancient roots of your Christian faith, connect with centuries of tradition, and understand the forces that continue to shape our world today. Enroll now and embark on an unforgettable voyage through the rich history of the Christian faith.

CM504 — Practice of Ministry, Ted Johnston

Do you now serve (or feel called to serve) within the church as a pastor or ministry leader (including Avenue champion)? If so, the Practice of Ministry course is for you! This course explores the trinitarian, incarnational roots of all Christian ministry and looks at how to live out that theology in the day-to-day ministries of the church, including worship planning, administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, preaching and teaching, pastoral care, evangelism, discipleship, church administration, and ministry to families.

CM513 — Trinitarian Worship, Lance McKinnon

Everyone has a theology, and everyone worships, from the Christian to the atheist. In Trinitarian Worship, we will pursue distinguishing a Christian worship understood from a biblical, Christ-centered, and historically orthodox theology. From this trinitarian and Christocentric foundation we will engage in shaping liturgical practices that escape the common fixation on the worshiper and move to center on the One whom we worship. In this way the course aims to equip pastors, worship leaders, and others involved in planning and conducting a local church’s worship service. Using a theological-historical framework, and surveying various useful tools, we will seek to discern fitting liturgical practices that aid in renewing worship in a local church resulting in a witness to Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who leads us to share in his worship of the Father by the Spirit.

CM514 — Missional Living, Charles Fleming

Missional Living is designed to help students catch the vision beautifully expressed in one of the class textbooks by Michael Reeves, which says:

Mission is rooted in the Trinity, in the very being and nature and heart of God. And this is something deeply heart-winning and attractive in Him. If there is one thing I really want, above all, to communicate in this book, it is the great truth that God is mission.  As we partake in the Father’s pleasure in His Son, and the Son’s pleasure in His Father, and the Spirit’s enlivening of their mutual love, it causes us to share their love for the world.

If you take Missional Living, you can expect instruction to include video recorded lectures, inspiring reading, discussion forums, spiritual formation practices as well as online meetings with other students to discuss practical ways to implement insights learned.  The course is part of a GCI initiative to better equip pastors pursuing a master’s degree and lay members who serve in GCI’s Love Avenue.


Regional Gatherings in 2024

Registration is now open!

Please join us for a weekend of training, appreciation, and worship. Everyone is invited!

Visit our website here to register and for more information, including details about lodging.

Registration will close on May 19, 2024. No walk-in or onsite registration will be available.