Archive for July, 2009

Joe Tkach’s Weekly Update

July 31st, 2009
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A new showing of the art of Basil Wolverton is currently on display in New York’s Barbara Gladstone Gallery until Aug 14. The link is:


The New York Times has posted a nice history (with slideshow) of MAD Magazine’s “grossest and funniest illustrator” to accompany the show. Here is a link to the article:


From Stuart Foster:29 Northern Ireland 11

In Northern Ireland the concept of a “retreat” conjures up images of several days of fasting and walking barefoot – more of a type of penance. But, as the combined Craigavon & Ballymoney congregations discovered, the Ballymoney Summer Retreat, a first for GCI Northern Ireland, was no fast but a veritable physical and spiritual feast!

29 Northern Ireland 22We were all looking forward to getting together – it had been some time. The first day, Saturday June 20, was hosted at Ballymoney’s regular church hall. This enabled members, many of whom are elderly and could only attend one day, to sample the flavor and more relaxed atmosphere of a retreat. The Ballymoney ladies, renowned for their catering skills, enhanced the occasion by preparing a delicious lunchtime spread for the 45 attendees on that day. Over the course of the weekend around 60 people participated in the event.

29 Northern Ireland 33The theme for the weekend, perhaps recognized and recited by us all since childhood, was “The Lord’s Prayer.” Though viewed by Christians as a simple outline or rote mantra, our mentors Messrs. James Henderson and David Stirk, with enlisted helpers – we, the audience – examined and amplified every nuance of each word and verse over the two-day period. By Sunday evening, we had, only just scratched the surface of this profound passage of Scripture. A quote taken from Deacon Will Linton’s Retreat program put it this way, “Rather than a prayer to be repeated, the Lord’s Prayer is more like a magnificent house to explore.”

The whole occasion proved to be more than a lesson in biblical exegesis or how to study the Bible. It was an opportunity to explore and share our own personal understanding with friends and communicate with our loving Father.

Unanimously the Northern Ireland brethren decided to meet again next Spring.

Craigavon member wins bowling competition

by Marlene Foster

29 Annie1My mum, Annie Darlison, arrived home from a Chest Heart & Stroke activity recently with a big smile on her face. She had been presented with 2 trophies, one gold to keep permanently and one silver, her name engraved on them both. We knew she was good at bowling but we didn’t know she was that good! We were pleased for her to have won the CHS bowling competition. She was the first woman in five years to do so.

Mum suffered a severe stroke about 15 years ago. She has had to adapt to using her left hand because she was paralyzed down her right side. Learning to bowl has been a great achievement for her, and her motivation to learn new skills has been encouraging to all the family. No matter our age or disability, we can all try something new. Annie’s two other daughters (my sisters) attend GCI in Liverpool and Ipswich.

Northern Light Summer Camp

Northern Light Camp Director, Todd Fox wrote:

29 camp groupWe have successfully concluded Northern Light Summer Camp in Lanesboro, Minnesota. There were 26 campers and 18 staff members.

Activities included: Oneota Life, Pioneer Life, South Treetops (for the older campers – the facility’s toughest treetops course), East Treetops (for the younger campers), Earth Exploration, Group Challenges, Archery, Minimum Impact Camping, Rock Climbing, Basic Orienteering (for the younger campers), GPS Pathfinders (for the older campers) and canoeing. We also held workshops for the campers in Arts & Crafts, Videography, Photography, Worship Leading and Prayer Journaling.

We started each day with camp devotions led by the campers. It was especially nice to see the depth that developed within the entire group of campers as the devotions were led by the older campers.

A dynamic that contributed to the overall synergy of the camp was the mix of ages for evening workshops. This was the first time in this camp’s history that we mixed campers out of their dorm assignments. We found that the older ones ‘looked out’ for the younger ones and the younger ones looked up to the older ones. The older ones showed more respect in helping the staff members teach the lessons as well.

29-camp-canoe . 29 camp laugh .


From Yasmin Ann D. Maninang:

“Dedicated to the Honor and Glory of God”, was the theme of the Evangelism Explosion (EE) graduation of the GCI North Hills Village Church, held at the Multipurpose Hall in Bangaray Tigbe, Norzagaray, Bulacan July 5. The training was headed by the local church EE Coordinator and Lecturer Pastor Med and Sister Neng Maninang. This is their 11th year of equipping local church leaders and members about friendship, evangelism, discipleship and healthy growth. One hundred and twenty-five people accepted Jesus Christ during the training. One hundred and twelve attended the graduation ceremony.

Disaster Relief Fund

Because of the generosity of several of our U.S. Congregations and individual members, here are some of the ways we have been able to provide help to fellow members in times of disaster.

  • 2006: $20,000 to Bangladesh to build a disaster shelter
  • 2006: $11,400 to the Philippine church members for typhoon damage
  • 2007: $4,000 to Solomon Islands church members for earthquake damage
  • 2007: $5,000 to the Philippine church members for typhoon flooding damage
  • 2007: $4,000 to Bangladesh church members for monsoon flooding damage
  • 2007: $10,000 to Bangladesh church members for monsoon and typhoon flooding damage
  • 2008: $9,000 to the Philippine church members for typhoon flooding damage
  • 2008: $1,000 to Baton Rouge, LA church members for hurricane damage
  • 2008: $1,000 to Beaumont, TX church members for hurricane damage
  • 2008: $3,300 to Houston, TX church members for hurricane damage
  • 2009: $5,000 to the Honduras church members for earthquake damage


Participation in God’s Life (9)

July 31st, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: Acts 4:32-35

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.(NIV)

Elmer Colyer:You know, sometimes what happens to happen in our Christian life and in the Church, you know, we have to utterly fail so miserably on our own, with our vision of what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a church – that we begin to go back and ask what God’s vision is of the church and what it means to be a Christian. So everyone listening to this, I hope all of you fail, and fail miserably as churches, as pastors, as laity – if that’s what it takes to get you to step out of the world in which Christian faith is about the kind of programs we provide in order to attract people to the church into the raw character of genuine Trinitarian Christian faith, where Christian faith in the church is all about what the Triune God longs to do in and through us, both in our life together in the Church and in our outreach.

When the church begins to manifest something of the miracle, the mystery and the freedom of the gospel, in our life together in the church, we’ll not have any problem bearing witness to our faith in the world around us. It will come spontaneously as an overflow of the power of the gospel. It’s because we’re trying to substitute something else for what only God can provide us – the actual miraculous character of Christian faith, then all these programs, you know, they don’t work. They don’t work. We try and we pray, we ask God to bless them, and like you said, we get two or three people as a result of it.

When you look at Acts, look at Acts chapters 2 and 4 when it describes the early church. They so encounter the power of the gospel that they couldn’t help but gather together for fellowship, for the breaking of bread and for prayer. There were no needy persons among them. You know, people sold their properties, they laid the money at the apostles’ feet, they manifested the kind of love towards one another that they encountered in the gospel and it was entirely spontaneous, not that there isn’t a place for planning – but that kind of spontaneous power of the gospel that only comes when we look away from our programs to the power of God in the gospel – that’s the only time it really happens.

Message for the Day

Participation in God’s Life (8)

July 30th, 2009
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Scripture of the Day: Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)

Elmer Colyer: It’s interesting, in the early church when you look at Acts, the early church of Acts had no program of evangelism. No program of being culturally relevant. But what it did have, is it had such a profound community of love that people wanted to become a part of it. It had a compelling witness all of its own without having to try to be relevant on the culture’s terms.

So I think the church today would do well before it attempts to export its consumer culture and draw people in, that it would develop that kind of creative, profound sense of love and community, that people would actually want to be a part and maybe then the whole question of relevance would be less crying than it is today in the church.

The other part of it is the individualism. It’s not coincidental that in American Evangelicalism, in the Presbyterian Church, in Methodism, the doctrine of the Trinity has not been the primary doctrine of God in those traditions – it’s been the doctrine of the One God – the solitary individual who is all-sufficient, all-knowing, in control of everything outside of God, you know, kind of like a supermodel of the American individual – that doctrine of God has played a far more pivotal role of influence in the church in this culture than the doctrine of the Triune God is.

The problem is that our individualism is really an abstract concept. There are no individuals. All persons are already persons in relations. The question is what kind of relations constitute them. And if it’s relation of consuming goods and services of individuals, it’s ultimately de-humanizing. It doesn’t manifest the kind of community that people really long for. That’s why I don’t think it’s coincidental in our culture that people are lonely. Consuming goods and services as individuals leads precisely to the loneliness that’s so characteristic of our culture.

Message for the Day