Family Notes 10/08/2016



Sometime tomorrow, August 11, God willing, sixty young leaders from 15 countries stressed by ethnic, racial, national, religious and political conflict will assemble for two-and-one-half weeks in the picturesque town of Fuzine, Croatia.

The occasion is the 2016 Renewing Our Minds (ROM) Gathering, an international leadership movement created and run by gracEmail subscriber and veteran peacemaker Tihomir Kukolja. Mr. Kukolja’s own experiences during and after years of bloody conflict in the Balkans convinced him that peace is obtainable but that it requires a renewing of the minds–of one leader after another.

Empowered by that conviction, Mr. Kukolja created ROM to bring together young leaders from different sides of conflicts currently raging around the world, then teach them how to embrace each other across their various divides while, as often as not, their neighbors are taking up arms.

At its core, ROM aims to refine the characters of leaders young and old according to the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. To that end, ROM freely challenges usual paradigms and assumptions. For example, its curricula advocates service, peace building and reconciliation, principles not commonly assigned high value in conventional leadership training.

Today, hundreds of young leaders from fifty countries say they consider their ROM training to be a defining and life transforming experience. Over the past seventeen years, many ROM alumni have emerged as influential political, social, humanitarian and religious leaders in their home countries.

A recent ROM participant no doubt spoke for many in stating: “I am excited to be in relationship with world changers, people who long and participate in creating a world that transcends a history of brokeness, fatalism and despair.”

Most participants in the 2016 Gathering live in countries that are economically challenged and are unable to cover their conference expenses. A special scholarship fund of $10,000 has been set aside to enable outstanding candidates who lack funding to attend. To donate to the scholarship fund, go to:


In this fascinating and most informative article, Dr. David B. Capes, Academic Dean at Houston Graduate School of Theology, general editor of “The Voice” Bible translation (Thomas Nelson) and a gracEmail subscriber, reconstructs the history of sabbath-keeping during the first four centuries. It is no spoiler to say that his findings transcend the usual arguments in the Sabbath-or-Sunday discussion and provide a tantalizing path to ending the whole debate.
To read “The Eighth Day” go to:
As a supplement to the above, have a look at Capes’ article on “The Lord’s Day” at:


For 65 years, I had read Jesus’ commission that his disciples teach all nations, but never expected to see one man doing it all. That is almost the case with gracEmail subscriber Douglas Jacoby, whose International Teaching Ministry has taken him, so far this year, to Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Kitts & Nevis, Turkey, France, Belgium, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Israel, and Bolivia.

You can receive reports of Douglas’ past teaching trips, schedule of future trips, plus teachings and devotional meditations, upon request to:


Complete data is lacking but I can comfortably surmise that gracEmail subscribers reside in at least twenty-five countries on six continents. Many subscribers are clergy; most are not. The gracEmail family, like the body of Christ, includes people associated with most major Christian denominations, but also people at home within a wide variety of nondenominational fellowships and movements.

A considerable number of gracEmail subscribers operate or work in ministries that are international in scope. One brother has evangelized thousands in “closed” non-Christian nations via Bible correspondence courses. Others maintain worldwide websites. Others plant churches, teach in schools and seminaries, serve as medical missionaries, preach in prisons and do all sorts of other things in Christ’s name and to His glory. And many others serve God in the towns and cities where they reside, without special ordination or title, daily as God enables and prompts. God sees it all and He will reward.