EMPLOYEE LETTER by JOSEPH TKACH
No matter what your situation is, no matter how bleak things may seem, our merciful God remains faithful and is our omnipresent and loving Savior. As Paul wrote, nothing can separate us from God or isolate us from his love: "So what could separate us from Christ and his love? Suffering and fear perhaps? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger or violent death? We are really dealt with, as already described in the Scriptures: because we belong to you, Lord, we are persecuted and killed everywhere - we are slaughtered like sheep! But…Read more ➜
This letter is my last monthly letter as an employee at GCI because I'm retiring this month. As I reflect on my tenure as President of our faith community, many blessings that God has given us come to mind. One of these blessings has to do with our name - "Grace Communion International". I think he describes our fundamental change as a community in a beautiful way. By the Grace of God, we have become an international, grace-based community (Communion) that ...Read more ➜
Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus gave humanity a value far beyond anything we could ever work for, earn or even imagine. The apostle Paul described it as follows: "Yes, I still think it all for the damage done to the exuberant knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord. For him, all of this has been a damage to me, and I think it's filthy for me to win Christ "(Phil 3,8). Paul knew that a living, deep relationship with God through Christ has an infinite, invaluable value ...Read more ➜
There will always be someone who claims to be a prophet or believes he can calculate the date of Jesus' return. Recently I saw a report about a rabbi who was supposed to associate the predictions of Nostradamus with the Torah. Another person foretold that Jesus' second coming will be at Pentecost 2019. Many prophet-lovers try to connect the current news and biblical prophecies. Kark Barth admonished people to remain firmly rooted in Scripture while striving to ...Read more ➜
Again, a new year has begun. Many people have made good intentions for the new year. Often it is about personal health - especially after the many food and drink during the holidays. People all over the world are committed to doing more sports, eating less sweets and generally want to do a lot better. Although there is nothing wrong with taking such decisions, we Christians lack something in this approach.
These intentions all have something to do with our human willpower, so they often falter. In fact ...Read more ➜
Jesus, the ever living Son of God, became a human. Without this event, there can be no true Christianity. The apostle John put it this way: By this you shall know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come into the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And that is the spirit of Antichrist that you have heard that he will come, and he is already in the world (1, Joh. 4,2-3).
The virgin birth of Jesus declares that the Son of God became fully human while he ...Read more ➜
Although God's wonderful forgiveness is one of my favorite subjects, I have to admit that it's hard to even begin to grasp how real it is. God has planned her from the beginning as his generous gift, a costly act of forgiveness and reconciliation through his Son, culminating in his death on the cross. Not only are we thus acquitted, we are restored - "in tune" with our loving triune God.
In his book "Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ", he has ...Read more ➜
On the 20. In September, the Jews celebrated the New Year, a festival of multiple importance. It celebrates the beginning of the cycle of the year, commemorates the creation of Adam and Eve, and it also recalls the creation of the universe, which includes the beginning of time. While reading about the topic of time, I remembered that time also has several meanings. One of them is that time is an asset that billionaires and beggars alike have. We all have 86.400 seconds a day. Since we can not save them (time can not be covered or take off), ...Read more ➜
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) became known as "the ultimate atheist" due to his derogatory criticism of the Christian faith. He claimed that Christian writing, especially because of its emphasis on love, was a by-product of decadence, corruption, and revenge. Instead of even allowing the existence of God to be possible, he announced with his famous saying "God is dead" that the great idea of a god had died. He intended to change the traditional Christian faith (which he called the old dead faith) through ...Read more ➜
In our culture, the word miracle is often used quite lightly. If, for example, in the extension of a football match, a team still manages to shoot the winning goal surprisingly with a deflected 20-meter shot, then some TV commentators may speak of a miracle. In a circus performance, the director announces a fourfold miracle performance by an artist. Well, it is highly unlikely that these are miracles, but rather spectacular entertainment.
A miracle is a supernatural event that transcends the inherent ...Read more ➜
Among philosophers and theologians, it is called the mind-body problem (also called the mind-body problem). It's not about a problem of fine motor coordination (like swallowing from a cup without spilling anything or missing the dice game). Instead, the question is whether our bodies are physical and our thoughts are spiritual; or in other words, whether humans are purely physical or a combination of the physical and the spiritual.
Although the Bible does not directly address the mind-body problem, it does contain clear evidence of a ...Read more ➜
While Tammy and I were waiting in the lobby of an airport to make our home flight shortly, I noticed a young man sitting two seats down and looking repeatedly at me. After a few minutes, he asked me, "Excuse me, are you Mr. Joseph Tkach?" He was glad to talk to me, and he told me that he had recently been expelled from a Sabbath community. In our conversation, it was soon about the law of God - he found my statement very interesting that the Christians would understand that God ...Read more ➜
I occasionally talk to believers who find it hard to understand why the Holy Ghost, as well as the Father and the Son, is God - one of the three persons of the Trinity. I usually use examples from Scripture to show the qualities and actions that identify the Father and the Son as persons, and that the Holy Ghost is described in the same way as a person. Then I name the many titles used to refer to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. And finally, I'll talk about what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit. In this…Read more ➜
Intending to offer her the best, I went with Tammy (my wife) for lunch to Burger King (to your liking), then to Dairy Queen for dessert (something different). You may think I should be embarrassed by the flashy use of corporate slogans, but as McDonalds puts it, "I love it." Now I have to ask you (and especially Tammy!) For forgiveness and set aside the stupid joke. Forgiveness is key in building and consolidating relationships that are enduring and invigorating. This applies to relationships between ...Read more ➜
The book Nehemiah, one of the 66 books of the Bible, is probably one of the least noticed. It contains no heartfelt prayers and songs like the Psalter, no grandiose account of creation like the Book of Genesis (1, Moses) nor a biography of Jesus or the theology of Paul. However, as an inspired word of God, it is just as important to us. While leafing through the Old Testament it is easily overlooked, but we can learn much from this book - especially true cohesion and exemplary living.
The book Nehemiah becomes one of the ...Read more ➜
In English, the line "The Lady, as I seem, praises too much" quoted from Shakespeare's Hamlet, describing someone who tries to convince others of something that is not true. That phrase comes to mind when I hear of atheists protesting that atheism is a religion. Some atheists support their protest with the following syllogistic comparisons:
- If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color. Although this may sound almost profound, but only one ...
I address you with an important question: How do you feel about non-believers? I think that's a question we should all think about! Chuck Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowship and the Breakpoint Radio program in the US, once answered this question with an analogy: If a blind man steps on you or pours hot coffee over your shirt, would you be mad at him? He answers himself that we probably are not, just because a blind man can not see what is in front of him.
Please also keep in mind that people who have not yet ...Read more ➜
Every year at the 25. December, Christianity celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. The Bible does not contain any information about the exact date of birth. The birth of Jesus probably did not take place in winter when we celebrate it. Luke reports that Emperor Augustus ordered that the inhabitants of the whole Roman world had to register in tax lists (Lk 2,1) and "everyone went to get enrolled, everyone in his city," including Joseph and Maria, the pregnant was (Lk 2,3-5). Some scholars have remembered Jesus' actual birthday in ...Read more ➜
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a great admirer of the cult figure of Sherlock Holmes. I own more Holmes fan merchandise than I would like to admit to myself. Many times I have visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum on 221b Baker Street in London. And of course I like watching the many films that were filmed about this interesting character. Expectantly, I am particularly excited about the new episodes of the latest BBC production, in which the movie star Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of the famous detective, a fictional character of the ...Read more ➜
For many years I fasted on the Yom Kippur (German: Reconciliation Day), the highest Jewish holiday. I did this in the false belief that reconciliation with God was the strict renunciation of food and fluidity that day. Many of us still remember that wrong way of thinking. However, as we have been told, the purpose of fasting at Yom Kippur has been to attain our reconciliation (sonship) with God through our own works. We practiced a religious system of grace plus works - and overlooked the ...Read more ➜
In September (exceptionally on 3 October this year), the Jews celebrate New Year's Day, "Rosh Hashanah", which in Hebrew means "head of the year". Part of the tradition of the Jews is that they eat a piece of a fish head, symbolic of the head of the year, and greet each other with "Leschana towa," meaning "a good year!". According to tradition, the feast of Rosh Hashanah is linked to the sixth day of the Creation Week, when God created man.
In the Hebrew text of the 3. Book of Moses 23,24 is given the day as "Sikron Terua", ...Read more ➜
I assume that you have also experienced times of despair in which you have implored God to intervene. Maybe you prayed for a miracle, but obviously in vain; the miracle did not happen. Likewise, I assume that you were very pleased to learn that the prayers for healing a person were answered. I know a lady who has grown a rib after praying for her healing. The doctor had advised her, "Whatever you do, carry on!" Many of us, I'm sure, are comforted and encouraged because we know that ...Read more ➜
In one of his early films, John Wayne tells another cowboy, "I do not like working with the branding iron - it hurts when you're in the wrong place!" I found his remark quite funny, but it also made me to reflect on how churches can harm the gospel through inappropriate use of marketing techniques, such as the intensive promotion of branded products. In our past, our founder was looking for a strong selling point and made us the "only true church". This approach affected the biblical ...Read more ➜
Motherhood is one of the greatest works in the creation of God. That came back to my mind when I recently thought about what I could give my mother and mother-in-law to my wife and mother-in-law. I like to remember the words of my mother, who often told my sisters and me how happy she was to be our mother. Having given birth to us, she would have completely redefined the love and greatness of God. I could only begin to understand that when our own children were born. I still remember how it surprised me when my wife Tammy was in pain ...Read more ➜
Last month, several GCI pastors participated in a practical evangelization training called Outside the Walls. It was led by Heber Ticas, the national coordinator of the Gospel Ministry of Grace Communion International. This was done in collaboration with Pathways of Grace, one of our communities near Dallas, Texas. The training started with lessons on Friday and continued on Saturday morning. Pastors met with church members to go door-to-door around the church meeting point and ...Read more ➜
Every year in February in the United States, the Black History Month (Month of the Culture and History of African-American Citizens) is celebrated. During this time, we celebrate the many accomplishments that African Americans have contributed to the good of our nation. Likewise, we commemorate intergenerational suffering, from slavery, racial segregation, to persistent racism. This month, I realize that there is a history in the church that has often been overlooked - the important role that the early African American churches played in the ...Read more ➜
Happy New Year! I hope you had a blessed holiday together with your loved ones. Now that the Christmas season is behind us and we are back in the office at work again in the New Year, I have, as is customary in such cases, exchanged with our staff for the holidays that have been spent. We talked about family traditions and the fact that older generations can often teach us something about gratitude. In a conversation, an employee mentioned an inspirational story.
This started with her grandparents, who ...Read more ➜
I find it amusing when people declare, "If I can not see it, I will not believe it." I often hear people say that God exists or that He includes all people in His grace and mercy. In order not to offend, I point out that we see neither magnetism nor electricity, but know by their effects that they exist. The same applies to wind, gravity, sound and even thought. In this way we experience what is called "imageless knowledge". I like it, on such a knowledge ...Read more ➜
Every year on Easter Sunday, Christians gather around the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some people greet each other with a traditional greeting. This saying reads: "He has risen!" In response, the answer is: "He has truly risen!" I love that we celebrate the good news in this way, but our response to this greeting can seem a little superficial. It's almost like having a "So what?" would append. That made me think.
Many years ago when I asked myself the question, I take the resurrection ...Read more ➜
We see spellbound how the magician, wrapped in chains and secured with padlocks, is lowered into a large water tank. Then the top is closed and the magician's assistant stands on top of it and wraps around the tank with a cloth that lifts her over her head. After a few moments, the cloth falls and to our surprise and joy is now the wizard on the tank and his assistant, secured by chains, is inside. This sudden and mysterious "exchange" happens right in front of our eyes. We know that it is a ...Read more ➜
Theology is important to us because it provides a framework for our faith. However, there are many theological currents, even within the Christian community. A feature that applies to the WKG / GCI as a denomination is our commitment to what can be described as "trinitarian theology". Although the Trinity doctrine has been widely acknowledged in church history, some have referred to it as the "forgotten doctrine" because it can be so often overlooked. Nevertheless, we believe in the WKG / GCI that the reality, that is the ...Read more ➜
Many of you know when I travel, I want to express my greetings in the local language. I'm happy to go beyond a simple "hello". Sometimes, however, a nuance or subtlety of the language confuses me. Although I have learned a few words in different languages over the years and some Greek and Hebrew in my studies, English remains the language of my heart. So it is also the language in which I pray.
As I reflect on prayer, I remember a story. There was a man who wished, so ...Read more ➜
Recently I saw a video that parodied a TV commercial. In this case, it was about a fictional Christian worship CD titled "It's All About Me". The CD contained the songs: "Lord I Lift My Name on High", "I Exalt Me" and "There is No Like Me". (Nobody is like me). Strange? Yes, but it illustrates the sad truth. We humans tend to worship ourselves rather than God. As I mentioned last, this affinity causes a short circuit in our spiritual education, ...Read more ➜
As a young teenager, I sat in a movie theater when the power went out. In the darkness, the murmur of the audience grew louder every second. I noticed how I tried suspiciously to look for an exit as soon as someone opened a door to the outside. Light streamed into the movie theater and the murmuring and my suspicious search were quickly over.
Until we are confronted with darkness, most of us consider light as something we take for granted. However, there is nothing to see without light. We only see something when light illuminates a room. Where this ...Read more ➜
Sometimes we go with so much enthusiasm to the Christmas celebration of the Incarnation of God's Son, that we let it over the Advent in the background, the time with which the Christian church year begins. The four Sundays Advent season begins this year at 29. November and heralds Christmas, the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ. The term "Advent" derives from the Latin adventus and means something like "coming" or "arrival". In Advent the three times "coming" of Jesus is celebrated (typically in reverse order): the ...Read more ➜
When I found this scientific formula in an article Psychology Today 1 saw, I laughed out loud:
Although this absurd formula produced momentary happiness, it produced no lasting joy. Please, do not get it wrong; I enjoy good laughter just like everyone else. That's why I appreciate the statement by Karl Barth: "Laughter; is the obvious thing about God's grace. "Although both happiness and joy can make us laugh, there is a significant difference between the two. A difference that I experienced many years ago when my ...Read more ➜
Toward the end of his gospel, these fascinating comments of the apostle John are to be read: "Jesus did many other signs before his disciples, which are not written in this book ... But if one after the other should be written down, then I mean, the world does not grasp the books that should be written "(Joh 20,30, 21,25). Based on these remarks and taking into account the differences between the four Gospels, it can be concluded that the mentioned accounts are not written as complete tracings of Jesus' life ...Read more ➜
When asked about the oldest creature, some may refer to the 10.000-year-old pines of Tasmania or to a 40.000-year-old shrub there. Others might think of the 200.000 year old seagrass on the coast of the Spanish Balearic Islands. As old as these plants may be, there is something much older - and that is the eternal God revealed in Scripture as living love. Love manifests the essence of God. The love ruling between the persons of the Trinity (Trinity), has already existed before the creation of the ...Read more ➜
The Scriptures tell us that our high priest Jesus was "tempted in all things like us, yet without sin" (Hebr 4,15). This meaningful truth is reflected in the historical, Christian doctrine according to which Jesus, with his incarnation as vicar, assumed a representative function.
The Latin word vicarius means "to serve as a deputy or governor for someone". With his incarnation, the eternal Son of God became man while preserving his divinity. Calvin spoke in this context of "miraculous exchange." ...Read more ➜
Often, when I travel, I will be asked to speak at Grace Communion International Civic Services, conferences and board meetings. Sometimes people ask me to say the final blessing. I often resort to the blessing of Aaron, whom he offered to the children of Israel (the year after their flight from Egypt and long before their entry into the Promised Land) in the wilderness. At that time, God instructed Israel on the implementation of the law. The people were unsteady and rather passive (after all, they were slaves for life ...Read more ➜
The Advent and Christmas season is a reflective time. A time of reflection on Jesus and his incarnation, a time of joy, hope and promise. People around the world are announcing their birth. A carol after the other sounds over the air. In the churches, the festival is solemnly celebrated with nativity plays, cantatas and choral singing. It is the time of year that one would think the whole world would know the truth about Jesus, the Messiah.
But unfortunately many do not understand the full meaning of the Christmas season and they celebrate the festival ...Read more ➜