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Archive for April, 2011

Lord’s Supper and the Holy Spirit (11)

April 30th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: Philippians 2:6-8

6 Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross! (NIV)

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of books published about leadership styles.

I think intuitively we know something is just not right. The model of the ruthless, capitalist CEO, the lone ranger at the top of the heap is a model that is being called into question by more than a few thinking people. Yet even the best of the books on leadership focus on skills and techniques without giving the proper attention to the transformation of the one who is in leadership.

Too often, we give verbal credence to a belief in the incarnation without considering the ramifications of this radical sign of God‟s presence everywhere in the world. In human history, everything changed because of the incarnation. Jesus came to reveal God‟s love for us and did so in a most striking and unexpected way: as a baby and in relative poverty!

We cannot see Christ present in people and situations unless we know him and something about how he reveals himself. We need to be open to Christ’s transforming love. No self-help program or positive thinking method can do it; only Christ’s love can bring about change in us. This, of course, does not happen like magic. We need to cooperate with the grace of transformation, yielding to the work of the Spirit within us.

If we are serious about our own transformation, we will learn that being a Christian is fundamentally always an act of foot-washing. In order to be an effective foot-washer we must be convinced of the vision, mission and fundamental values of God’s Kingdom as expounded explicitly in the Beatitudes.

This brings us to appreciate what we said about communion; it is a mutual giving and receiving. Giving thanks for the gifts of others and creating a safe and free environment for those gifts to grow. A community or organization will only prosper if individual gifts are developed for the common good and put at the service of the mission of the group.

Message for the Day

Lord’s Supper and the Holy Spirit (10)

April 29th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 5:7-10

7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

Although Jesus was Son of God, he was destined as man to accept fully the human condition, to experience suffering and to learn obedience. Divesting himself of divine prerogatives, the Son of God assumed the role of a servant. He lived a truly human existence. Though he was himself sinless, he allied himself with the whole human race, identified with the human predicament, and experienced the same tests.

Message for the Day

New Churches in Mozambique

April 28th, 2011
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Tim Maguire (National Director in South Africa), Caleb Makhela (one of our South African pastors) and Daniel Fernandez (a deacon from our Portuguese congregation) are in Mozambique for a conference with about 55 pastors of the group that has now become part of GCI. Your prayers for a very successful and encouraging time of learning and fellowship would be greatly appreciated. The deacon from Portugal will provide translation into Portuguese. He was born in one of the Mozambiquan towns in which we now have a congregation.

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Photo captions: 1. Board representing the 55 congregations in Mozambique 2. Pastor Mariano Binzi (regional pastor) and Tim Maguire (National Ministry Leader in South Africa) 3. Mozambique Congregation 4. The Late Pastor Domingos, his wife and the youngest of their three children. (Domingos was the initial contact between GCI and their group.) 5. Local church building 6. Pastor Mariano Binzi visits congregations on bicycle.

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