God has blessed us!

527 God has blessed usThis 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 communion that participates in the communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have never doubted that our Triune God has led us to great blessings in and through this wonderful change. My dear members, friends and co-workers of the GCI / WKG, I thank you for your loyalty on this journey. Your life is the living proof of our change.

Another blessing I can think of is the one many of our longtime members can report about. For many years we have often prayed in our services for God to reveal more of His truth to us. God has answered this prayer - in a dramatic way! He opened our hearts and minds to understand the great depth of his love for all mankind. He showed us that he is always with us and that by his grace our eternal future is secure.

Many had told me that they had not heard sermons on the subject of grace in our churches for years. I thank God that we have started to overcome this deficit starting with 1995. Unfortunately, some members reacted negatively to our new emphasis on the grace of God and asked, "What's the whole Jesus stuff for?". Our answer then (as now) is the following: "We preach the good news of the one who created us, who came for us, who died and rose for us and who saved us!"

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ, our resurrected Lord, is now in heaven as our High Priest awaiting His return in glory. As promised, he is preparing a place for us. "Do not frighten your heart! Believe in God and believe in me! There are many apartments in my father's house. If it were not so, then I would have said to you: I am going to prepare the place for you? And when I go to prepare the place for you, I will come again and take you to me, so that you too may be where I am. And where I go, you know the way "(Joh 14,1-4). This site is the gift of eternal life with God, a gift made possible by all that Jesus has done and will do. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul was revealed the nature of this gift: "But we speak of the wisdom of God, hidden in the mystery that God foreordained before all time to our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has recognized; for if they had known them, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But we speak, as it is written (Isaiah 64,3): "What no eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no man's heart has come, which God has prepared for those who love him." But God revealed it to us through him Ghost; for the mind explores all things, including the depths of God "(1, Kor 2,7-10). I thank God for revealing to us the mystery of our salvation in Jesus - a salvation secured by birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the promised return of our Lord. All this is done by grace - the grace of God given to us in and by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

Although my employment relationship with GCI will soon end, I remain connected to our community. I will continue to serve on the GCI boards of the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as on the board of the Grace Communion Seminar (GCS) and give sermons in my home church. Pastor Bermie Dizon asked me if I could give a sermon every month. I joked with him that all these tasks do not sound like retirement. As we know, our ministry is not an ordinary job - it is a vocation, a way of life. As long as God gives me strength, I will not stop serving others in the name of our Lord.

Looking back over the last decades, besides wonderful memories of GCI, I also have many blessings to do with my family. Tammy and I are blessed because we saw our two children growing up, graduating from college, finding good jobs, and happily married. Our celebration of these milestones is so overwhelming because we did not expect to reach them. As many of you know, our community taught earlier that there was no time for such things - Jesus would return soon and we would be brought to a "place of security" in the Middle East before his second coming. Fortunately, God had other plans, although there is a place of security that is prepared for all of us - it is His eternal kingdom.

When I first started serving 1995 as president of our faith community, I focused on pointing out to people that Jesus Christ had precedence over everything: "He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn of the dead, that he may be the first in all things "(Kol 1,18). Even though I am retiring after more than 23 years as GCI President, my focus is still on it and will continue to be. By the grace of God, I will not stop pointing people to Jesus! He lives, and because he lives, we too live.

Carried by love,

Joseph Tkach