“LIVING AND SHARING THE GOSPEL”
January 21, 2018
“Thou Art Worthy”
“The Potter’s Hand”
“There’s Something About That Name”
Prayers of Intercession
SERMON – Pastor David Perry
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness“
Worship God in Spirit and Truth
Grow in His Grace and Knowledge
Share the Love and Hope we have in Christ.
By Joseph Tkach – GCI President
GCI Vice President Greg Williams rightly calls 2018 a year of transitions. One of the biggest comes in April with the move of our Home Office from Glendora, CA, to Charlotte, NC. It’s a transition we have talked about for several years, but the timing never seemed right until recently.
In purchasing a building for our new Home Office just outside Charlotte, and in the sale of our building in Glendora (just completed), there have been several “blessed coincidences”—ones GCI Treasurer Mat Morgan and I view as God’s guiding hand. Our Triune God has blessed us with a beautiful building in Charlotte that is partially furnished (with furnishings nicer than those in Glendora), saving us on furnishings and moving costs. Here are some pictures of the Charlotte building (click to enlarge):
Another transition for us in 2018 involves the retirement of several long-time denominational leaders and pastors. We’ll be sharing information about those retirements during the year, but you’re probably already aware that I’ll be retiring at the end of 2018, and Greg Williams will take my place as GCI president. My decision to retire was made with much prayer and counsel. When I retire, I won’t stop doing ministry—Tammy and I plan to continue participating in what Jesus is doing, and that keeps us looking forward expectantly to what lies ahead.
Joseph W. Tkach, Sr.
As I began planning my final year as GCI President, I recalled how I came into this ministry position in the first place. I was director of Church Administration and my father (Joseph W. Tkach, Sr.) realized he was losing his battle with cancer. We spent many hours talking about the transformation God was bringing about within Worldwide Church of God (WCG), and how that transformation was not complete. Dad shared that just before WCG founder Herbert W Armstrong (HWA) died, he told Dad there were changes that were needed, including looking at some of our doctrines. But because of his ill health, HWA did not have the time or energy to mentor my dad, nor did he give him a lot of details concerning the changes HWA felt were needed. However, he did tell Dad to follow the lead of the Spirit. That is just what Dad did, leading WCG through many changes during his tenure as president. It was during those changes that Dad became ill and named me as his successor. Like HWA before him, he told me that WCG needed to continue on the path of transformation. However, he also said that he would not determine what those changes should be. You may recall that Dad’s health deteriorated quickly, so there wasn’t a lot of time for him to mentor me. Dad told me to surround myself with reliable, wise counselors, and never forget that it is Jesus who is the real leader of his church. I’ve tried to follow that advice throughout my 21 years as president of WCG, which became GCI.
It gives me joy knowing that God has given me ample time to mentor Greg Williams as he prepares to become GCI’s next president. I gave Greg the same challenge Dad gave me—to surround himself with wise counselors, and to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. I also told him that I do not believe GCI’s transformation is complete, and reminded him that we are to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18), heeding God’s challenge given through Isaiah:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isa 43:18-19a)
God continues to do new things in GCI. Our challenge is to discern what those are, embrace them, then live them out. I know Greg is committed to doing so.
Various changes have already been made in GCI administration in anticipation of the transitions ahead. Under Greg’s leadership, the Church Administration and Development (CAD) team in the US has been restructured. We now have five regional pastors serving as administrators/supervisors over their respective regions.
Alongside Greg in the Home Office is Pam Morgan (CAD operations coordinator) and Michelle Fleming (CAD communications and training coordinator). The CAD team also includes Anthony Mullins (coordinator of Ministry Coaching, the Intern Program and the Pastoral Resident Program), Heber Ticas (coordinator of Church Multiplication Ministries), and Jeff Broadnax (coordinator of Generations Ministries). Ted Johnston (who, like me, is retiring at the end of this year), serves as CAD publications editor and assists Greg with special projects related to our ongoing transitions.
This restructured CAD team works beautifully, in a highly collaborative way!
Internationally, Greg is already working with our denominational leaders around the world, helping them form working groups to maximize the effective use of resources and talents. We’re also refining and enhancing Grace Communion Seminary (GCS) and Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM). These two educational arms of GCI are of great importance to our current and future transitions as we identify, equip and send a new generation of leadership for our denominational ministries and congregations. In these ways and more, it’s clear that God is doing something new that will benefit GCI for many years to come.
Though the realization that 2018 will be a year of transitions in GCI will excite many of us, some will be apprehensive. Throughout my 21 years as GCI president, there have been many challenges and uncertainties, yet God has led us through them all. For that I give him, and you, my thanks and I encourage you to look forward with hope and expectancy. I see 2018 as an exciting year, and throughout the year I plan to share some of the lessons I’ve learned as GCI president, along with insights and dreams concerning GCI’s future. I ask that you join all of us here in the Home Office in praying for smooth and successful transitions.
Looking forward with anticipation, Joseph Tkach
PS: Next week’s cover letter here in GCI Update will be from Greg Williams. Throughout this year, Greg and I will be sharing this duty as part of our transition plan. See you in two weeks!
From the President
This “From the President” letter is from GCI Vice President Greg Williams.
Shortly after our Denominational Conference in Orlando, GCI President Joseph Tkach and I were on what we call a “field trip”—an extended lunch to talk and share. On the drive to the restaurant, Joe looked over at me and said the time had come for him to decrease and for me to increase. His plan is that I “ride shotgun” alongside him throughout 2018, gradually taking on the duties of GCI President. This transition plan calls for me to write half of the GCI Updatecover letters (like this one) and to be a guest presenter on our Speaking of Life program. It is humbling and exciting to be on this journey, and I am thankful for Joe’s guiding hand. In this letter, I want to share some of the details of what lies ahead.
A major focus for us in the Home Office over the next few months is our move to Charlotte, the “Queen City” of North Carolina. After being in California for 70 years, we’re relocating 2,400 miles to the east, where we’ll be housed in the office building pictured below. We refer to the move as MOCHA (short for MOve to CHArlotte), and since it will be completed in April (only three months away!), we’re calling it MOCHA express! MOCHA express involves a good deal of physical and mental exertion as we reconfigure Home Office operations to fit the new location: Is the server working? Where is the copy room? How do I get a cup of coffee around here? Then there are the many personal adjustments related to setting up new homes in Charlotte: Where is the post office? What’s the best grocery store? Who can I trust to work on my car? What’s the best route to the office?
Reconfiguring the Home Office team
The move also brings the emotional challenge of saying good-bye to California friends, family and some long-time GCI employees who are retiring or not making the move for other reasons (Joe will share details in a future issue of GCI Update). These changes in the Home Office team will leave some big holes that will need to be filled by adding new responsibilities to the employees who are relocating and by adding some new faces to the team. While it will be exciting to bring in some younger employees, it will also be a challenge to find our new “operational balance” as we land in North Carolina. Strengthening international connections.
A big challenge I face in preparing to take on the mantle of GCI President, is to gain greater insight into GCI’s international operations. I’m grateful that over the last four years I’ve been able to attend Joseph Tkach’s annual planning meeting with our international Mission Developers and National Leaders. These fine men and women have graciously accepted me, and I feel like I already have a strong, collegial connection with most of them. I look forward to getting to know all of them better as we partner together in the gospel work of Jesus.
I’m already laying the groundwork for what lies ahead. I’m surveying the international leaders to gain their insights and knowledge related to needed modifications to structures and working rhythms. I’m also making plans for the 2018 international planning meeting to be held in Charlotte in October. During this year, I’ll be making three strategic international trips to help me understand more clearly how the Lord is moving within GCI around the globe. I’m tremendously excited to have a direct part in all of this.
Passing the Baton
In my work as Director of GCI-USA Church Administration and Development (CAD), I’ve greatly enjoyed making deep investments into the CAD team. I have great confidence in these trusted brothers and sisters, and can easily brag about the good job each is doing in serving our U.S. pastors and churches. Though I will still be available to the CAD team, what we’ve achieved together over the past three years makes it possible for me to focus more of my time within what Joe calls the exchange zone—the area on the track where, in a relay race, one runner passes the baton onto the next.
As I write, what lies ahead feels a bit weighty. Yet, because of Joe’s guidance, and the assistance of the other good people surrounding me, it also feels like a good fit. I have the peace of God that truly does pass human understanding. Thank you, Holy Spirit!
I solicit your prayers for Joe and for me as we traverse through our exchange zone, preparing to pass the leadership baton between us at the end of this year. I ask that you be in prayer concerning the many transitions that will be happening throughout 2018. Joe and I deeply appreciate those prayers, feeling in a tangible way the energy and comfort they provide.
With great appreciation,
Greg Williams, GCI Vice President
WHERE WILL WE GO?
A daily devotion
From your friends at RayStedman.org
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)
Here is the mark of the true believer: He cannot quit! When Jesus said to them, “Will you go away also?” it is clear that he would have let them go if they had wanted to. He does not hold anybody against his will. Responding to our Lord’s words, Peter says three wonderful things:
First, he says, in effect, “Lord, we have been thinking about it. We have investigated the alternatives. You’re not easy to live with. You embarrass us. You frighten us. We don’t understand you at times. We see and hear you do things that simply blow our minds. You offend people who we think are important. We have looked at some alternatives, but I want to tell you this, Lord: we have never found anyone who can do what you can do. “To whom shall we go?” You have two things that hold us, two things we cannot deny, and the first is your words. What you say to us has met our deepest need, has delivered us from our sins and freed us from our fears. Your words, Lord, are the most remarkable words we have ever heard. They explain us and they explain life to us. They satisfy us. Nobody speaks like you do, nobody understands life like you do. That holds us.”
“Secondly, Lord, we have seen your character.” Notice how Peter puts it: “We have believed, and have come to know.” That implies a process which has perhaps gone on over the course of months and years. Peter is saying, “We have watched you, and we have come to see that there is nothing wrong in you. “You are the Holy One of God,” you are the Sinless One. You fit the prophecies; you fulfill the predictions. You have drawn us and compelled us. You are the incomparable Christ, thus there is no place to go.”
I have found this to be true of real Christians. Those who steadfastly continue on always feel this way about Jesus. They know their own failures, their own weaknesses. They know that despite the many times they do not understand what is happening to them, yet they cannot leave. This is the testimony of those who walk faithfully with him and follow him. I have often said that the best definition of a Christian is “someone who cannot quit.” I had a phone call once from a young man, a relatively new Christian who said to me, “I can’t make it. I can’t continue to be a Christian. It’s too hard. I blow it all the time. I’m going to hang it up.” I had heard that kind of thing before, so I said to him, “That’s a good idea. Why don’t you do that? I think you’re right. Hang it up.” There was a pause on the line, and then he said to me, “You know I can’t do that.” I said, “I know it. Of course you can’t. You can’t quit. Who can you go to? Where can you find answers and resources such as you have drawn on?” This is what Peter is saying to Jesus.
Lord, there is nowhere else to go because only you have the words of eternal life. Help me to cling to your words, to search them out and understand them and obey them and believe that they alone are the words that give life.
†† Pastor’s Corner ††
Pastor David Perry & Jonnie
Probably one of the hardest things I face, and you also face, as Christians, is getting our priorities in proper order. Life has a way of distracting us from nurturing our relationship with our Lord, with His Body the Church, and with each other. One of the most encouraging scriptures God has given us is found in 2 Peter 1:3 “God’s Divine Power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” How great and loving is our God – He must be the priority in our lives. Love The Lord, Live His Life & Share Him With Others. Here’s an article about priorities in our lives.
Sometimes we forget what’s really important in life. We get so caught up in things that are good while neglecting the things that are truly necessary. We’ve got to provide the family with a nice house. And of course, we’ve got to have at least two cars. And to make everybody truly happy, we need the latest smart phone. But, if we’re not careful, we’ll make the mistake of thinking those (and many other such “things”) are the things that bring us satisfaction and meaning.
The prophet Haggai had a lot to say about priorities. The Jews were spending plenty of time and energy taking care of their own needs, building their own houses, planting their own fields, but they were neglecting the things of God. They were too “busy” for God, but the things that were keeping them busy were not things which should have been of highest priority. “Is it time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4).
We can easily determine what our true priorities are by looking at (1) what we spend our money on, (2) what we spend our time doing, and (3) what we talk about. Jesus said, “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33, NCV). Take a moment to do a “priority check”, and strive for what is *most* important today. …..Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ, Fayetteville, North Carolina (firstname.lastname@example.org) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net)
Our lives are to be lived out in the power of the Spirit, as a grateful & loving response to what Jesus has done, is doing and will do through us. What a Great God we have! – Pastor David
Prayers for our Country and Pres. Trump
Prayers for the Body of Christ World Wide
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers & Sisters Around The World
Local Prayer Requests
JW Holmes-(friend of Vicki Auxier) has leukemia Dr’s say two years to live.
Mary Coffey, prayers for healing, strength & encouragement.
Jerry Hudson, PRAISE new med. is helping him. Pray for complete healing
Anita – (niece of Barb Hudson) – very serious illness needs treatment & healing
Other Prayer Requests
Janis Beck – (Laf) Is doing better, prayers for complete healing of cellulitis
Dara Johnson (Chuck Davision’s Son-in-law who lives in Georgia) Back Pain
Kathy Ennis – Healing of her foot
Essie (Anita Franz’s sister) Recovery from a fall
Doug Whitlock – Prayers for recovery from and answers to his health issues. Prayers for his wife Connie and her family.
Jim Ray (Hope) Knee pain
Al Talison (GCI Indy) He has cataract surgery scheduled for his left eye on 1/19 and the right Feb 2
Peggy Perry She has her 6th and final chemo this coming Friday…radiation will follow. Thanks for your continued prayers as all is going well.
Joseph & Georgette Franklin, Our Haiti Church & School– Prayers for safety & blessing & provision.
Joe & Tammy Tkach – Protection, safety, wisdom & encouragement
Our Persecuted Christian Brothers and Sisters Around The World
For Divine Appointments To Touch Others With Jesus’ Life & Love