GCI Mexico City is a congregation of Grace Communion International. Though going through difficulties in life, Natanael Cruz surrendered to God’s calling on his life to be a pastor. Through his faithfulness, the church is a community that is engaging and making an impact on their neighborhood. The church continues to be the church that lives outside its walls.
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Psalm 69:1-3 NIV
There are days in our life when even putting one foot in front of the other seems too hard. Days when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges life throws at us, when even the well-meaning request of a friend can feel like too much; like the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. What do we do when we are struggling in these moments of darkness? When our lives seem paralyzed by regrets about the past and anxieties about the future?
The scripture above was written by King David in a moment of brutal honesty and is a prayer to which many of us can relate. David bares his soul to God, refusing to hide the emotions, turmoil, despair and anger that he is feeling at his present circumstances. He even acknowledges that the bleakness of his situation is affecting his relationship with God. In his darkest moment, he cannot see God, he cannot see his Savior, but rather than hide this from God, he confesses it to him. As the psalm continues, David finds solace in who he knows God to be—a God of great love, of great mercy, and who answers with a sure salvation (Psalm 69:13,16).
It is worth remembering in these moments that in Jesus Christ, we have a great high priest who knows what it is like to go through dark times. Jesus’ anxiety about his crucifixion was so great that it caused him to sweat “like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). On the cross, the Bible records Jesus’ feelings of separation from God (Mark 15:34). Yet God did not forsake Jesus, and he will not forsake us. In Christ, there is always hope beyond our despair, and like David we must cast ourselves upon God’s great love, great mercy and sure salvation.
Our Father in heaven, in our moments of darkness, your light can seem so far away. Do not abandon us to our sin, to our pain and to our suffering, but let us feel your presence, your love and your comfort. And let us never forget the sure salvation we have through your Son, Jesus Christ. In his name, Amen.
By Gavin Henderson,
Operations Manager of the National Ministry Team
UK and Ireland
We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, Richard Bolner, GCI Pastor of Tipp City, Ohio, shares a little about himself and why he likes to serve in GCI and his love for bluegrass music.
Anyone who has feasted at the griddle of one of the 185 Hard Rock Cafés across the globe, could not help noticing their slogan, “Love All – Serve All” emblazoned across the wall in huge gold letters.
Personally speaking, I prefer the soft tinkle of a baby grand to loud rock music when I’m eating out, but I admire the HRC’s philanthropic aim to “do well by doing good” even though the cynic in me says it’s just a slick marketing ploy.
God, on the other hand, demonstrated true love and service for the whole of mankind when he sent his Son to die in our place. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).
The mission statement on the Hard Rock Café’s website ends with this message: “Thank you for helping us in our goal to make the Earth a safer, healthier and better place.” An ambitious and worthwhile mission, certainly, but Jesus had an even grander plan: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10, MSG).
Jesus’ mission really rocks!
Prayer: Father we thank you that you truly love all and serve all and that you demonstrated this love in the only way that could save us from ourselves; by sending your Son Jesus Christ. In his name, we pray. Amen.
By Peter Mill
Many in this world have experienced horrible, almost unspeakable circumstances. They have been brought on by war, violence, illnesses, loss, and abandonment. These experiences mold us and shape us; we develop defenses in an attempt to avoid being hurt more or forget the pain we currently have. Unfortunately, the defenses don’t seem to “fix” the problem. So what do we need? Maybe the answer is simpler than we realize—maybe we need a “safe place.” But is this safe place a literal location? Or is it a “state of mind”?
Jesus came to this earth with the intention of experiencing all the evil that one could do to another. Why would he do this? Maybe it’s so we could begin to consider that God himself has experienced the worst this world has to offer…and it didn’t affect who or what he is. When he ascended to the Father, he took with him all the horrible experiences one could do to another, and he paid the price for them. He is now offering us an identity that is in his love, which has no conditions attached…It’s a “safe place to be.” This is what he is offering all of mankind. So, we are not what we experienced. It had a profound effect on us, but it is not “who we are.” We are unconditionally loved children of God in Jesus and there is no safer place. (Romans 8:17)
Prayer: Dear Father, Son, and Spirit, let me sense your presence in the midst of times of darkness and sorrow. This is not what I am…I am unconditionally loved by you.
By Mark Mounts
We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted. In this episode, GCI Pastor, Julie Frantz, shares a little about herself and why she likes to serve in GCI and what she likes to do in her personal time.