Saturday, October 26, Grace Communion Big Sandy hosted its annual Fun ‘n Fall festival. Pastor Jerome, Helen, and the congregation spent weeks preparing the church grounds for games and activities to bless the families in their community with wholesome fun.
It was a successful day spent connecting the church and community through fun seasonal activities. Saturday morning, the Rotary Club held its popular Waffle Breakfast at our church building. Then, after many hours of preparation and set-up, the Fun ‘N Fall carnival started. The event featured a Pecan Festival, Kid Zone, train rides, a bounce house, games and more.
Key helpers in the church and community included Rick Peterson and his team, along with the volunteers from Big Sandy High School and Elementary School, the Lions Club, Sally Allen and SFG, our Big Sandy Police Department and Mayor Parsons. It was a joyful time of fun and togetherness.
Sunday worship was led by Carlos Gutierrez and his team. They sang hymns and songs from the 17th century to the 21st century, showing the great continuity of praise and thankfulness that is a hallmark of the Body of Christ. To celebrate Pastor Appreciation month, all the pastors were honored for their service to our congregation. The Sunday service featured a heartfelt message from retired Pastor Sonny Parsons on God’s continued blessings upon us. It was a big weekend of thankfulness at Grace Communion Big Sandy.
Pastor Anthony Gachanja, regional director for East Africa, shared the following in his monthly church report.
Our GCI conference this year was held in the outskirts of Nairobi. The attendees were invited from all congregations across Kenya. We were blessed to have two attendees from our neighboring country, Uganda. The height of the conference was the commissioning of the church building in Nairobi. Both events were conducted by Kalengule Kaoma, Superintendent of Missions in Africa.
GCI Ottawa is a congregation of Grace Communion International. This church saw an influx of immigrants coming to Canada and recognized the need to help the new immigrants become integrated into society. The church walks alongside the immigrants helping them settle into their new home country as permanent Canadian citizens.
I have never played much golf. And when I did, it showed. My friend called my approach the “hit and hope method.” And he was almost right. He thought I just hit the ball, and hoped it went in the right direction. Actually, I just hoped to hit the ball.
Much of life can be this way. What passes for hope is often wishful thinking. We hope our team wins, that tomorrow is better than today. Let’s face it – these hopes often let us down. Hence the old saying, hope makes a good breakfast, but a poor supper.
Have you ever had hopes that were disappointed? That’s something we all share.
Yet this is not the biblical notion of hope. The hope of the gospel is something far more robust, lasting and life-changing – and eternal. The hope of the gospel is grounded in the person of Jesus. Paul can succinctly say that Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1).
This is a hope not dependent on circumstances, external situations, pressures and outcomes. This is a hope that transcends all situations. It is not the absence of trials, pressures or stresses, but the assurance of Jesus’ presence in the midst of these things, and indeed every part of life. It’s a hope that never disappoints. It’s participating in the life of the “God of hope” through the power of the Spirit, a hope that inspires us, and through the Spirit creates joy and peace in our innermost being. It’s the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ that enables us to endure patiently and work energetically in love for others.
May the hope of Jesus encourage, empower and guide you.
Prayer: And may we share Paul’s prayer: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
By now you have likely viewed my video update inviting you to come together in the keeping of the annual cycle of worship that we call “GCI Worship Calendar.” Our denominational calendar is designed to guide and direct our worship out of the seasonal flow of celebrating the life and salvific work of Jesus. We are not simply borrowing or importing another calendar. We are endeavoring to design a calendar that our church family around the world can embrace.
The initial diagram of the annual calendar that we sent out rightly displays Jesus in the center. I especially like the outer ring that shows the progression of our Lord’s coming, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and the continual building of his church. Is there anything greater, that we can rally around and make the focus of our praise and worship? A Christ-centered church is “Healthy Church.”
I just completed an outstanding week of meeting and planning with the GCI Superintendents. They are all enthusiastic and supportive of having a GCI Worship Calendar. However, through their wisdom and experience, they have convinced me that some of the wording of our initial design deserves reconsideration. So, we will take the necessary time to provide a revision that will allow us to move forward together.
Keep in mind, the calendar is a framework that guides us through the seasons of the life and work of Jesus. Living out of this calendar and ordering our worship must be done nation by nation, and literally congregation by congregation. There is more education to come and much more practice as we seek to make Jesus the center of our center. This is a long journey in the right direction, and I solicit your prayers as we attempt to craft a calendar that rightly represents who we are.
Please know that our desire for a GCI Worship Calendar is not a step into legalism or ancient rituals of the historical church. Pure and simple, this is a step toward Jesus, the true object of our worship. I am convicted that our GCI Worship Calendar can be unifying and life-giving to our global church, and I especially believe it will be a blessing to our children and grandchildren.
GCI’s Cape Town south church had a very busy Pastor Appreciation weekend. They started off the Sunday service with a blessing of children. Next, Grant Erasmus was commissioned to lead the worship ministry. The service was concluded by honoring the pastor couples in appreciation for their service.
The Solid Rock congregation presented Regional Director Takalani Musekwa and Elder Johan Retief with a certificate of appreciation and an after-service feast as a thank you for their good and faithful work with the local church and GCI as a whole.
At GC Baguio, the team of pastors was honored by being called to the front of the service to speak about their months, years, or in some cases, decades of leadership within the church. They were presented with gifts from the youth and honored through word and song from members of the congregation.