God has blessed us!
This letter is my last monthly letter as a GCI employee because I am retiring this month. When I think about my tenure as president of our community of faith, many blessings come to mind that God has given us. One of these blessings has to do with our name - "Grace Communion International". I think it beautifully describes our fundamental change as a community. By grace (Grace) God we are an international, grace-based community of faith (Communion) that participates in the community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have never doubted that our triune God has brought us great blessings in and through this wonderful change. My dear members, friends and employees of the GCI / WKG, thank you for your loyalty on this trip. Your life is 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 hadn't heard sermons about grace in our churches for years. I thank God for starting in 1995 to overcome this deficit. Unfortunately, some members reacted negatively to our new emphasis on God's grace and asked the question: "What is all the Jesus stuff for?" Our answer back then (like today) is: "We preach the good news about 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 and is waiting for his return in glory. As promised, he is preparing a site for us. «Don't frighten your heart! Believe in God and believe in me! There are many apartments in my father's house. If it wasn't, I would have said to you: I'm going to prepare the place for you? And when I go to prepare the place for you, I want to come back and take you so that you too are where I am. And wherever I go, you know the way » (John 14,1: 4). This place is the gift of eternal life with God, a gift made possible by everything that Jesus did and will do. The nature of this gift was revealed to Paul through the Holy Spirit: «We are talking about the wisdom of God, which is hidden in the mystery, which God has predetermined above all for our glory, which no one has recognized by the rulers of this world; because if they had recognized them, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Instead we talk as it is written (Isaiah 64,3): "What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no man's heart has what God has prepared for those who love him." But God revealed it to us through the Spirit; because the Spirit explores all things, including the depths of God » (1 Corinthians 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 of this is done by grace - the grace of God given to us in and through Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.
Although my employment at the GCI will shortly end, I will remain connected to our community. I will continue to serve on the GCI boards of the United States and the UK and on the board of the Grace Communion Seminar (GCS) work 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 none of these tasks sound like retirement. As we know, our ministry is not an ordinary job - it is a calling, 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 past decades, I have wonderful memories of GCI as well as many blessings that have to do with my family. Tammy and I are blessed to see our two children grow up, graduate from college, find good jobs and happily married. Our celebration of these milestones is so overwhelming that we didn't expect to reach them. As many of you know, our community previously taught that there would be no time for such things - Jesus would return soon and we would be taken 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 started serving as the president of our denomination in 1995, I focused on making people aware that Jesus Christ has priority in everything: "He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he is the first in everything » (Colossians 1,18). Even though I am retiring after more than 23 years as GCI President, my focus is still 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 also live.
Carried by love,
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL