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We Are GCI – Dishon Mills

The We Are GCI series is a collection of videos highlighting various GCI leaders and members.

In this episode, get to know GCI Pastor Dishon Mills, how he experiences Christ, and why he genuinely enjoys bad sci-fi.

You can view other We Are GCI episodes here: We Are GCI
Facebook: Facebook We Are GCI

Copyright 2022 – Grace Communion International All Rights Reserved

Devotional – Not I But Christ

The apostle Paul was a remarkable man of God and his posture of complete reliance on Jesus speaks to us today.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

This is a case where the King James Version really got it right. The life found in Christ is also sustained by the faith of Jesus in the believer. It is not a self-sustaining life, rather a Jesus-dependent life. His faith, his hope, his love imparted to us, are moving us closer to being more like him.

Compared to our lives, Paul’s life seems spectacular. Yet Paul eagerly wants us to know that Jesus is just as real to us as he was to him.

It was Jesus who found Saul and transformed him into Paul, who became the prolific apostle. Let me suggest it is always Jesus who finds us. It his goodness and kindness that leads us to repentance, not human-engineered goodness (Romans 2:4).

It is important to note that Paul never forgot where he came from and what his former life was like.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)

Paul saw himself as the chief of all sinners. In this personal letter to Timothy, he is assuring Timothy that the focused purpose of Jesus is to save sinners (all of us). And, if Paul himself could be saved, everybody else is salvageable too. This brings us back to the “Not I, but Christ theme.”

As I continue to read through Paul’s writings, I am continually reminded just how Christ-centric Paul is. Consider how many times Paul uses the phrase, “in Christ.”

Being in Christ may seem like something beyond our physical comprehension. The Bible speaks to this concept in several descriptive ways. Jesus tells Nicodemus you must be born again (John 3:3, 5). Paul speaks to becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then in his letter to the Ephesians he talks about being redeemed and adopted as sons and daughters.

When Christ saves us, by the Spirit, he places us within his own sphere and joins us to him. We belong to him. As the praise song says, “I am yours, and you are mine.” There is a closeness and a union that is not fragile nor dependent on our daily emotions or good works. We are united with him because of him. We are “in Christ.” Hallelujah!

During this month when we show our appreciation to our pastors, it is fitting to conclude with Paul’s words, “Follow me, as I follow Jesus.” And it is his good pleasure to be doing his good work in us. This gives assurance beyond assurance.

Prayer:

Lord, be with the pastors around the world. Give them peace, resting on the truth that Christ is alive in us. Bless them with wisdom and discernment as they follow you, Jesus. In your strong name, you are our assurance. Amen!

By Greg Williams, President

 

 

 

Devotional—Listening for Encouragement

Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.

    • As “sent” people, we are invited to…
  • bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
  • eat with others hospitably (August),
  • listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
  • learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
  • and, sent people share the good news with others (November)

Silent battles are being fought every day. Many people daily are tripping over every obstacle of doubt and frustration. We have seen how many people faced seemingly insurmountable challenges during the past two years. And we have been encouraged to be kind to one another because we are not aware of the silent battles that the next person is facing. How are you? Are you almost at the end of your rope? Are you feeling lost and barely hanging on to the hope that is being eaten up by wave upon wave of discouragement?

Can we listen to the Holy Spirit for encouragement? And can we share encouragement as we listen to our friends and neighbors express their frustrations and troubles? Read Paul’s encouragement.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV)

Paul urges us “therefore, we do not lose heart…” stemming from a faith conviction, not merely a positive courageous attitude. Notice the contrasts in the words of the apostle. We’re wasting away outwardly, yet inwardly being renewed. Though our troubles seem to go on forever, are but momentary. While the weight of our troubles may seem heavy, he declares them as light – and they are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs all. The wasting away of our outer self corresponds to our mortal frame going through the hardships mentioned in verses 7 -12 of the previous chapter. God who has shaped us assures that we do not simply walk alongside him, but in him we live, move, and have our being. We are being renewed within the reality of his love.Our joy in this life is not contingent upon our circumstances. He can make our heart to sing even in time of difficulty. He can give us joy that is deeper than our suffering. We can trust our God. We can learn to enjoy this journey through the freedom of faith-filled expectation.Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for carrying us through our difficulties. We surrender everything in your hands. We may not see everything nor understand all these painful challenges, but we trust your heart. Use these difficult experiences to renew us from the inside out. Empower us to listen for your voice. And equip us to be good listeners to others, sharing your voice of hope as they need it. Amen.

By Rex Dela Pena
Pastor and The Philippines Leadership Development Coordinator

 

Meet Jen Gregory

“Not everyone receives love expressed to them in the same way. Our congregations and individual members work hard to learn how to best express that love to their neighbors in a way that is most meaningful to them. Some people might need help with food, others with clothing, while still others might need childcare. Some people simply need an ear to listen to them.”—Jen Gregory

Check out this month’s GCI profile to get to know Jen Gregory, Elder and GCI Board Member.

To read her full profile, click the link below. #WeAreGCI

Devotional—Listening to the Spirit of Truth

Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.

    • As “sent” people, we are invited to…
  • bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
  • eat with others hospitably (August),
  • listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
  • learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
  • and, sent people share the good news with others (November)

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. John 16:13 (NIV)

Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he ascended to the Father, gave us this magnificent, lovely parting gift– the gift of the Holy Spirit. The verse above instructs us on one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit – to guide us into all truth. Whatever we hear from the Spirit guides us and lets us know what is yet to come. As children of the Most High, we know the mind of God through the Holy Spirit’s leading. In missions, we are out and about walking in his truth, letting the world know about his kingdom. The best companion to have, trust, and listen to is the Holy Spirit. He knows the mind of the Father, and he is the one directing us as we speak about God’s kingdom. Not listening to him would be like telling your parents that you are of age and do not need their guidance anymore.

Missional practices, journeys, or events are our way of telling God that we are privileged to be telling the world about who he is and obeying his commandments. We are grateful to be carrying his presence. It will be very unwise of us to say that we will not listen to the one who is to teach us how to speak, walk, who to talk to, what to say, how to say it, when to say it, to whom to say it, and where to say it. The missional field is a dynamic field, and we need to listen to the Spirit, not only because he is God and knows the mind of Christ, but he also knows the minds of those we are being sent to. It is the Spirit’s ministry to convict the individual being spoken to. It should be a deliberate action. He should be our best friend, helping us navigate through life in our personal and missional lives.

Prayer:
Our Father, the great God of heavens and earth, we pray, oh Lord, that we will trust you enough to let you lead as we share your word with others through our lives, actions, and words. May we have a listening ear and be sensitive to your promptings as you direct us in this world to let the world know about you. May we be like the sheep who know your voice and follow where you lead. May we never go astray from you because you are the way-maker and the road map to our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

By Brenda Asare-Akoto
National Youth Pastor, Ghana

 

From Equipper—Place-Sharing

Watch this interview with Cara Garrity to hear her stories about how place-sharing has transformed her participation in Jesus’ ministry.

Resources


Do you have any questions about place-sharing?
Please send them to us at gci.org/psurvey.


Devotional—Hospitality & Sharing Meals

Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.

    • As “sent” people, we are invited to…
  • bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
  • eat with others hospitably (August),
  • listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
  • learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
  • and, sent people share the good news with others (November)

We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that all share in his death. He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for him who died and was raised to life for their sake. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 GNT

How great it is to be welcomed in a home where the love of Christ is obvious. You can see it but also smell it in the food prepared by the host and the warm simplicity that makes us feel at home. I have deep memories of the joy, the comfort, and the love I experienced around tables. They were real divine appointments.

In some of our French translations, this passage says, “We are pushed, squeezed by the love of God.” The Message says, “Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.” Hospitality is one of the products or fruits of this love. It helps strengthen bonds between brothers and sisters but also with the spiritually homeless around us. During Jesus’ ministry, many major events took place during meals, and miracles were performed. He showed us a wonderful way to relate with others and touch hearts.

The COVID-19 pandemic made us more suspicious about having people in our homes. Fear took root and affected our relationships.

Yet hospitality can still be shared in different ways in today’s context: at home with the required precautions or at outdoor gatherings and in our workplaces. For those who have mobility limitations, we can visit them in their homes. Hospitality can also be sharing pizza on a park bench or a drink after sport activities. Food brings people together. Let’s be intentional and innovative!

Meal-sharing blesses guests and hosts and is an ideal setting to share the bread of life in us. Just listen to the divine appointments Jesus has already taken for us, and we will be able to live for him and not for ourselves. Bon Appétit!

Jesus, as a sent church, we desperately need to experience and share YOU with our fellow neighbors. Holy Spirit, please squeeze our hearts by God’s love and open our eyes to see the tables you have already set for all of us! Amen.

By Betty Brunet
Women’s ministry coordinator and Faith Avenue assistant, Martinique

Devotional—Eating Together

Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.

    • As “sent” people, we are invited to…
  • bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
  • eat with others hospitably (August),
  • listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
  • learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
  • and, sent people share the good news with others (November).

In many African cultures, there are various occasions and customs where communities are encouraged to share meals together. Traditionally in Kikuyu culture [Kenya’s largest ethnic tribe and a central Bantu community], after preparing a meal for her family, a woman would take some of the food to a designated place to be eaten by anyone who was traveling through that area. Sadly, this tradition is no longer in place because a few people stopped working their own farms and instead took advantage of the food meant for travelers.

In most communities, there are occasions when people share communal meals. Occasionally, failure to attend can result in being treated as an outcast. In Kenya, we have a wise saying that discourages people from being selfish. Loosely translated it means, he who eats alone dies alone.

We read of a very good practice in the early church.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… Acts 2:46 NIV

Eating together is one way we demonstrate the love of Christ in us and among us. We are encouraged to open our homes in hospitality and to help provide for others’ needs, like food. Food brings people together, and we get a chance to understand others better when we share a meal with them. Shared life is better than one lived in isolation. Sharing meals is a demonstration of the shared life we are called to.

Prayer:

Our Father, we thank you for the gift of life and the gift of one another. Thank you for teaching us the importance of sharing our blessings with one another, especially food. Amongst us are those who are challenged to have enough food to eat. Help us, Lord, to identify them and share our food with them. Let us experience you as we participate with others in the blessings that you have bestowed on us. Remind us always Lord that you are the great giver, and we only share from the many blessings that you have given us. May what we share with others be a key to open their eyes to see your goodness through us. May all glory be unto you. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

By Anthony Gachanja
Regional Director Western Africa