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Archive for January, 2015

Ghana Youth Educational Program Camp Report

January 29th, 2015
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The 2014 edition of YEP camp started from 20th December 2014 and ended on the 3rd of January 2015. The theme for camp was ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven’ – Matthew 5:16.

The total turnout of campers was 60 youths (40 boys and 20 girls) from different parts of the country and about 30 adult full-time staff. Many others volunteered some hours to support the core group of facilitators at the camp, which, once again, was directed by Pastor and Mrs. Francis and Margaret Ablordeppey. They were supported by a youth team which is being prepared to lead camp in the near future. Activities included swimming, music appreciation, soccer, soft-ball, fireside–chat, volley ball, hiking, Christian living, Bible study etc. Some of the evening activities included dance etiquette and dance, film show, Bible act, lecture, Ice-breaker, debate, variety entertainment, Bible quiz, prayer and exaltation Night, crossover service and many more etc.

One of the highlights of this year’s camp was an educational trip to the juvenile prison at Accra, where the campers met, prayed, worshiped and shared a word of encouragement with the inmates of the prison and made some donation of food items. The impact on the kids was phenomenon. It gave them a different perspective to life and a lot of them reported later that they were very grateful for the opportunity. Another highlight on this camp was the fact that nearly a third of campers came from outside the fellowship of GCI, Ghana.

On the night of 31st December 2014, a watch-night service was organized to usher all of us into the new year of 2015.The main message was to thank God and for us to draw closer to Him in order to tap into His numerous blessings. The youth danced, prayed and a lot of them renewed their relationship with God. The New Year was welcomed amidst cheers, hugs, handshakes and tears of joy. Throughout the period, the youth were encouraged to build a relationship with God through Christ and to continually tap into the power of the Holy Spirit.

The camp ended with a beautiful banquet and dance. The overall best boy camper was Master Stanley Avadu from the Hohoe congregation of GCI, and the overall best girl camper was Miss Amanda Amanfo from the Kumasi Congregation of GCI.

Many campers expressed their appreciation for the experience at camp because YEP camp had helped them to do many things they did not know, such as:

Learning more about Christ
How to mingle with guys / talk to girls / how to socialize
Swim, hike, play softball, play acoustic guitar
How to speak in public
The campers left this year’s YEP feeling fulfilled, ready to face the world with a renewed vision of Godly ways to encounter the world based on the spiritual guidance that they had received and looking forward to the next YEP camp with many expectations. 13 years old Constance had this to share: “I have learnt that my focus should be on God only.” Claudia, 11 years concluded as follows: “Camp is a very good experience … if you come, your life will never be the same”.

The next camps are scheduled for the first two weeks of August 2015 and the last two weeks of December 2015.

 

News

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

January 27th, 2015
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In  our Christian story we all had the same words said to us: all of us were baptized with the following: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And specifically it was said not into a denomination or organization of men. This means that we were baptized into a profound reality that is above anything on this earth.

 Did we ever really stop to think about those words? Perhaps we were uncomfortable because they are used in all churches, especially the Catholic church when they make the sign of the cross.

 What are they telling us about God and our relationship to him?

 The church was following Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 28:16-20

 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

 So have no doubts about who is telling you this. He has all authority.

 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

 This was probably needed to be said because the church at the beginning was locked in to a Jewish centred view of the world. The expectations from their understanding of the prophets was that the nations would have to come up to Jerusalem to learn how to become Jewish.In fact the opposite is true. The church would go in to all the world, making disciples where people lived in all their diversity: from every nation, tribe, people and language.

 The authority of the risen Jesus gives this permission. It is a change in understanding the scriptures and how the Messiah would deal with the nations.This revealed the non discrimination of the good news. It is inclusive: meant for all mankind.

 But what is the common experience?

 baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 One name (singular) belonging to three persons. It implies equal authority, divinity.

 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 And at the centre of living in this name is Jesus: his teaching and his presence.

 As we have said before: it is Jesus who reveals and leads us to the Father and it is Jesus who sends forth the Holy Spirit from the Father.

 One way of describing this: the Holy Spirit is the light that shines on the face of Jesus revealing the true knowledge of the Father.

 How vital it is to have true knowledge of God. This underscored by the horrific things people do in the name of their God.

 But what is important to acknowledge is that the church is responding to a reality that comes down to us from heaven. It is not a product of our religious imagination, to satisfy our needs.

 In our understanding of this name most would say I have heard a lot about the Father and the Son, but my knowledge of the Holy Spirit is rather fragmentary.

 Should we be giving more time to the Spirit? And why does the Holy Spirit seem to be in the background?

 It is interesting to study Christian movements as they seek to rectify what they perceive as an imbalance in their theology.

 Some will become a Father God movement : there are actually books, one from a Catholic Abba Father and Protestant The Forgotten Father. I would say in the early years our church we had a Father God focus.

 Then there are the Jesus movements, rediscovering the radical challenge of Jesus in this world and how central he is to everything: the Jesus and emerging church movement. I would say we have rediscovered recently the centrality of Jesus in our theology.

 And then there is the Holy Spirit movement seen in charismatic or pentecostal circles. This tends to focus on the leadership of the Holy Spirit, particularly from the book of Acts. They feel his power and gifts have been neglected. This attracted a number of people who used to attend our church.

 I have a key point to take from this message. In fact it is a vital point to understand as we proceed over the next few weeks with sermons based on a series by Gary Deddo on the Holy Spirit.

 The key point:

 But we are not baptized separately into each. We are baptized into the name of all three. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot be separated into some independent will or work. In other words you cannot talk about Father, Son or Holy Spirit without including the other. We have revealed to us a Father -Son – Holy Spirit God.

 Keep that in mind as we read what Jesus said in John 14 before he died. Notice how all three relate.

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Message for the Day ,

Rod Mathhew’s Regional Update

January 17th, 2015
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Rod’s latest update includes a report from  India: Annual Gatherings Celebrate God’s Grace; New Zealand – Celebrates 200 Years of Christianity  and Thanks for Falam Chin Literature.

To view please click Regional Update – 20Nov14.

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