The Gospel is Good News

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Have you ever watched a TV advertisement for a product that seems so amazing and the price so cheap that it seems just too good to be true? At first you’re probably skeptical, but as you listen to testimonial after testimonial from perfectly credible sounding people, you begin to believe that this might indeed be a miracle product – the very thing you’ve been waiting for, whether you knew it or not.

And it gets better – the price is just a fraction of what you would spend on similar products that don’t work as well. But wait – there’s more! If you call within the next five minutes you’ll get not one – not two – but three bonus gifts that are alone worth the purchase price. Operators are standing by, but supplies are limited, so you MUST ACT NOW!

So you succumb and place an order. But when the item arrives you are deeply disappointed. It looks and works very differently from what you saw displayed under the bright lights of a TV studio. With a sigh you realize you have been tricked by slick advertising that greatly oversold the item. It leaves you feeling foolish and betrayed, and you resolve never to fall for that kind of deception again.

It’s bad enough if that happens with a vacuum cleaner or a piece of jewelry. But it is tragic if untruthful advertising misrepresents something as important as the gospel. But sadly, it does happen.

The gospel is good news, the best possible news anyone can hear. It promises a new life beyond death, a life rich in joy, peace, friendship and real love. It’s the good news of a life in communion with God, who loves you and wants you with him no matter who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done.

The gospel is the best and only hope for humanity. It is the best and only hope for you and me and everyone we care about.

That is why we preach it, calling on all people everywhere, as far as the Spirit gives us opportunity, to turn to Jesus in faith so they can know Jesus and know the Father for who they really are, as well as so they can come to know themselves for the beloved children of the Father they really are in Jesus.

My deepest thanks goes out to all of you for all you do to help spread this best of all good news!

This week we’re pleased to honor Franklin and Cora Guice who recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Franklin is a GCI elder who has served on the Church’s board of directors for many years. He and Cora are active servants at our New Hope Christian Fellowship in Eagle Rock, California. Our thanks to them for their faithful example, and our deepest congratulations to them for their fifty years of marriage!

I’d also like to draw your attention to two reports from two widely separated areas of our worldwide work. Hector Barrero sends us news from our churches in Chile and Argentina. Kalengule Kaoma, our Mission Developer in Africa, brings us news from one of our most remote and inaccessible congregations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I hope you will take the time to download these two stories and share them with your congregations. It is easy for us to think of God’s work only in terms of our local area. These exciting reports from ‘the uttermost parts of the earth are a reminder that the Holy Spirit is at work in our denomination 24/7.

With love, in Christ,

Joseph Tkach

Christians and politics

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Here in the United States, political campaigns are gathering momentum in preparation for the November 2012 presidential election. Churches are tempted to choose sides and get involved in the politicking and infighting. And we all have opinions.

However, it is very important that we remember denominational and congregational leadership within GCI is non-political. This is not just our decision – there are strict laws legislating what non-profit organizations can and cannot do. I have asked our Legal Department to prepare a thorough briefing concerning this policy. Please click here to read an important legal briefing concerning this policy from the GCI Legal Department. Please make a point of reading this without delay.

As Christians, we are expected to be concerned about the way we are governed. But we should express our concerns and opinions in prayer, as several places in the New Testament remind us. There are important political changes happening all around the world at this time. We should ask God to direct these choices so that his agenda to spread the gospel in all nations is advanced. Remember, a quiet word of prayer can accomplish more than hours of angry argument. So let’s pray that God will direct the political process so that the agenda of his Kingdom can be advanced.

In this week’s Update, I have included a report from the Director of our Heartland Summer Camp, and also news of a community outreach in Denver. Daniel Boesch has sent us news about the Annual Festival in Ferrara, Italy. I was encouraged to see how our Italian church is growing slowly but steadily.

After 37 years of ministry, one of our pastors in Montreal, Dennis Lawrence is having to go on Disability leave for the foreseeable future. His congregation held a celebration of his life and work.

To round things out this week we have some tips for developing leaders by Bob Logan, and news of a new Master’s Program in the Philippines.

To see any of these stories, just click on the links. If you are having difficulty using this new way of presenting the Weekly Update would you let us know. I want it to be a truly useful vehicle for letting you all know what is going on in our truly International Fellowship.

Until next time, blessings and love from my family to yours.

Joseph Tkach

 

Churches on mission

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I praise God daily for the many ways our churches are actively and creatively participating in the life of God in the world.

In conferences this year, we have been emphasizing how God reaches out in love to all humanity, revealing himself and declaring the salvation that he has secured for all people in Jesus Christ. And the beautiful thing is that God calls us to share in that with him.

Using Bible terminology, we call our part in that work “mission,” and that mission is trinitarian and incarnational. We call it trinitarian because it is from the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit. We call it incarnational because it is being worked out in exciting ways through the Spirit by the Son who is present in his Body, the church. The church is formed, gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in what God is doing to draw all people into Christ and his loving relationship with the Father.

As part of Body of Christ in the world, we are privileged to participate in what God is now doing in the world. In this issue of Weekly Update we take a look at some of the ways our members and congregations are taking part.

  • Our congregation in Kalispell, MT is hosting a community garden that demonstrates God’s love by benefitting a local food bank.
  • Two of our U.S. pastors joined with our Caribbean mission developer on a mission trip to Haiti.
  • One of our U.S. couples led a mission trip to Africa.
  • Several of our Philippine pastors gathered for a conference in Mindanao to learn more about their part in God’s mission.
  • New Heights Summer Camp is taking steps to equip staffers and campers for active participation in the mission of God back home.

My sincere thanks to all our members and congregations for the sacrifices they make every day to participate actively in what God is doing in his mission to our world. That participation always begins with and goes forward in prayer so let us remember that prayer is the battleground where we are fighting the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

Remembering 9/11

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since that awful day we remember as 9/11. All of us old enough to have experienced it remember where we were and what we were doing as the tragic events unfolded. On that fateful morning, the World Trade Center Towers had been destroyed, the Pentagon had been attacked, and another airliner with many passengers had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives in these coordinated and brutal acts of terrorism. And many more thousands were left grieving the loss of their loved ones – emotional scars they still bear to this day.

I didn’t personally lose anyone in the 9/11 tragedy. But I felt as if I had. And even those of us who were far removed from the horror knew that life would never be the same again. And it hasn’t been, has it?

We saw both sides of human nature. In the aftermath of the ruthless cruelty of the terrorists we began to hear many stories of courage and self-sacrifice. Heroism side by side with evil: the contrast and contradiction is hard to understand. But it reminds us that we are, when all is said and done, made in the image of God. And it is through the person and work of Jesus, the Son of God incarnate who has taken our evil upon himself, that ultimate healing will come. So, though evil continues, in faith we look to the day when all this horror will be just a distant memory. And as his followers, we seek to share in what he is doing.

However, this Sunday the horrors of 9/11 will not be a distant memory for many thousands of people. So I want to ask our congregations to be sure to remember them in our prayers this weekend. And if you, personally, know someone who lost a loved one, or whose life was shattered by those events ten years ago, why not call them, or send them a personal note? Let them know that they are not forgotten and that you are praying for them.

In the last Weekly Update, I noted the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene. We learned this week that some of our members in the U.S. experienced significant damage to their homes. Among them were GCI Pastor Al Nelson and his wife Arlene, who live in Vermont. Irene left 17 inches of water standing on the first floor of their home. Also, two of their vehicles were destroyed. Insurance covers the vehicles but not the house. They are seeking financial help through FEMA. Al’s brothers are helping him rebuild. Al figures that the house won’t be back to normal for six months. In the meantime, he presses on in serving the congregation that he pastors. Please pray for Al and Arlene and others affected by this tragedy.

In this issue, we share exciting news about our new church plant in Los Angeles. We also feature a video of a discussion I had with Dan Rogers concerning the importance of church planting for GCI. Also check out reports on the 50th anniversary of our Elkhart, IN congregation, the commissioning of John Pairitz as the new senior pastor in our Michigan City, IN congregation, and the Caribbean Women’s Conference.

Let us, in prayer, fight together the good fight of faith. Please join me in praying for several mentioned this week (see the links under Prayer and Updates).

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

 

 

Tragedy and Celebration

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Hurricane Irene has left a long trail of destruction and death through the Caribbean and along the U.S. East coast into Canada. Initial reports from Charles Fleming indicate that our members in Haiti and the Bahamas suffered only minimal damage, and so far our U.S. district pastors are reporting that our members along the East Coast were also spared the worst, though some members had to evacuate their homes, and are experiencing continuing power outages.

We are united in support and prayer for all those affected by the storm who are grieving the death of loved ones and enduring the loss of property.

Even in the midst of tragedy and pain, life moves on. This week we celebrate with Scott and Barbara Wertz the birth of their first grandchild (Scott is a long time employee in our Glendora home office) and rejoice in milestone anniversaries of our Exeter, England and Salt Lake City, Utah churches.

Once again we’re reminded that life continually brings both tragedy and celebration. In both, we look to God’s promises to use all of life’s circumstances for our ultimate good.

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

Sharing what God is doing

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We hope you enjoy our new Weekly Update. We continue to make improvements based upon your suggestions, including the new archives feature, which makes it easy to find past articles (see the link above). Thanks for the suggestions.

We email Weekly Update to our pastors in the U.S., and our Mission Developers and National Directors elsewhere. We encourage them individually to forward the email to others. Weekly Update can then be viewed by all at update.gci.org/. You may wish to link that site on your social media (such as FaceBook). Let’s share the good news of what God is doing!

This issue of Weekly Update contains the following:

May you realize God’s blessings! And remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

August 17, 2011

From the President

Report on the Ottawa conferences

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Last week I was in Ottawa, Canada, for two conferences. Pastor Bill Rabey did a super job coordinating both.

First was the International Mission Developers’ Conference, attended by 25 elders and wives from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America (see picture below). We discussed the advance of the gospel through GCI in many nations of the world.

Following that was the Canadian National Conference for pastors and elders and spouses. It was led by Canadian director Gary Moore and included presentations on Trinitarian Theology from Dr. Elmer Colyer (his presentations will eventually be placed on our website). In a church service after the conference, we ordained Fraser Henderson as an elder. It was particularly special because his parents, who had attended the Canadian conference, were present.

Mission Developers’ conference

 

This issue of Weekly Update includes the following:

  • A very moving video that tells the story of the 87 congregations in Mozambique, Africa that have recently affiliated with us.
  • Reports from GCI Generations Ministries camps in North Carolina and Louisiana.
  • Information about the commissioning of a new GCI pastor in the Philippines.
  • The launch of a new website for GCI Church Multiplication Ministries.

We have a number of urgent prayer requests this week. First, please pray for the family and friends of Angelica Recendiz. Her son Hector Espinoza, who committed his life to Christ at our Southern California camp, was killed a few days ago in a gang-related shooting (click here for details). Please also pray for the friends and family of Fred Bailey, one of our retired pastors. I was saddened to learn of his death (click here for details). And please pray for Marj Friddle, wife of retired pastor Jim Friddle. Marj entered the hospital this week to be treated for colon cancer (click here for details). Also click here for a corrected address for Jana (Kissee) Jones (we’re praying for her healing from thyroid cancer).

You’ll note in some of the posts that comments appear from Weekly Update readers. You may comment on any of the posts by using the “ADD A COMMENT” feature below each one. Comments are posted at the discretion of the moderator. To comment on my cover letter, click on the letter heading at the top of the page. That will take you to the Weekly Update blog, where comments may be posted.

Let us join in prayer with those who grieve and suffer, as well as with those who rejoice. And let us pray for God’s direction and power in all aspects of the gospel work to which we are called. Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach


The current version of this update is available online at update.gci.org where you may view and print the update.

You are receiving this email because you subscribe to the Weekly Update from Grace Communion International. If you no longer wish to receive this, please contact church.administration@gci.org. To send articles and photos, write toWeeklyUpdate@gci.org

Copyright © 2011 Grace Communion International

Report on the Ottawa conferences

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Last week I was in Ottawa, Canada, for two conferences. Pastor Bill Rabey did a super job coordinating both.

First was the International Mission Developers’ Conference, attended by 25 elders and wives from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America (see picture below). We discussed the advance of the gospel through GCI in many nations of the world.

Following that was the Canadian National Conference for pastors and elders and spouses. It was led by Canadian director Gary Moore and included presentations on Trinitarian Theology from Dr. Elmer Colyer (his presentations will eventually be placed on our website). In a church service after the conference, we ordained Fraser Henderson as an elder. It was particularly special because his parents, who had attended the Canadian conference, were present.

Mission Developers’ Conference

This issue of Weekly Update includes the following:

  • A very moving video that tells the story of the 87 congregations in Mozambique, Africa that have recently affiliated with us.
  • Reports from GCI Generations Ministries camps in North Carolina and Louisiana.
  • Information about the commissioning of a new GCI pastor in the Philippines.
  • The launch of a new website for GCI Church Multiplication Ministries.

We have a number of urgent prayer requests this week. First, please pray for the family and friends of Angelica Recendiz. Her son Hector Espinoza, who committed his life to Christ at our Southern California camp, was killed a few days ago in a gang-related shooting (click here for details). Please also pray for the friends and family of Fred Bailey, one of our retired pastors. I was saddened to learn of his death (click here for details). And please pray for Marj Friddle, wife of retired pastor Jim Friddle. Marj entered the hospital this week to be treated for colon cancer (click here for details). Also click here for a corrected address for Jana (Kissee) Jones (we’re praying for her healing from thyroid cancer).

You’ll note in some of the posts that comments appear from Weekly Update readers. You may comment on any of the posts by using the “ADD A COMMENT” feature below each one. Comments are posted at the discretion of the moderator. To comment on my cover letter, click on the letter heading at the top of the page. That will take you to the Weekly Update blog, where comments may be posted.

Let us join in prayer with those who grieve and suffer, as well as with those who rejoice. And let us pray for God’s direction and power in all aspects of the gospel work to which we are called. Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

On mission with God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I greatly enjoyed our recent U.S. regional conferences held in Dallas and Orlando. The theme of these conferences is “On Mission with God.” Many mentioned that the training provided is starting to ‘click’ for them. They are excited about applying what they are learning.

This week I am in Ottawa, Canada for a conference of our International Directors and Mission Developers. Please pray for God’s guidance as we seek his will for our journey forward as a fellowship on mission with God around the world.

In this issue of Weekly Update (click on the links at left), you’ll find reports on the recent regional conferences, on our SEP Florida camp, on the awarding of diplomas from Grace Communion Seminary, on Gary Moore’s recent trip to South Africa, and on the ministry coach training provided by U.S. Church Administration and Development.

In all of these denominational ministries, our goal is to equip our churches for their sharing in God’s mission to the world. Thanks for all that you are doing! And may we all remember that prayer, both individually and together, is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

 

August 10, 2011

From the President

On mission with God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I greatly enjoyed our recent U.S. regional conferences held in Dallas and Orlando. The theme of these conferences is “On Mission with God.” Many mentioned that the training provided is starting to ‘click’ for them. They are excited about applying what they are learning.

This week I am in Ottawa, Canada for a conference of our International Directors and Mission Developers. Please pray for God’s guidance as we seek his will for our journey forward as a fellowship on mission with God around the world.

In this issue of Weekly Update (click on the links at left), you’ll find reports on the recent regional conferences, on our SEP Florida camp, on the awarding of diplomas from Grace Communion Seminary, on Gary Moore’s recent trip to South Africa, and on the ministry coach training provided by U.S. Church Administration and Development.

In all of these denominational ministries, our goal is to equip our churches for their sharing in God’s mission to the world. Thanks for all that you are doing! And may we all remember that prayer, both individually and together, is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

 


The current version of this update is available online at update.gci.org where you may view and print the update.

You are receiving this email because you subscribe to the Weekly Update from Grace Communion International. If you no longer wish to receive this, please contact church.administration@gci.org. To send articles and photos, write toWeeklyUpdate@gci.org

Copyright © 2011 Grace Communion International