Pastor Vern's Top Ten

1. The Rummage Sale was a Great Success! Many, many thanks to our Early Birds Small Group for organizing the rummage sale last week.  And many, many thanks to all who donated items, bought items or helped clean up afterwards.  It was a wonderful success and raised $3000 for our Connected Community in Gahanda.  The money will be used to expand and renovate the church in Gahanda which is experiencing growth due to the growth of the school and the improvements in the community.  Thank you all!

2.  Men’s Group The Mens Group has started meeting again on Wednesdays at 7pm.  Led by Mike Marsh this is a wonderful group of guys who help each other continue to grow as Christian men.  All men are invited to attend and the group meets at the North Campus.

3.  Pickleball at South Campus A community Pickleball League for both recreational and competitive players is now underway. The league is designed with all age ranges and ability levels in mind to promote a fun but meaningful program. Northgate Pickleball happens on Wednesdays at 3:00PM and 8:00PM and will take place at our South Campus. All equipment required will be provided and there is no fee for participation. League play will be established in June/July and will run throughout the year. If you have any questions or would like to assist in the construction of the program, please contact Pastor Daniel at daniel@northgatefmc.com.

4.  Celebrate Recovery Our CR group took a little time off so our leaders could rest and refresh, but the meetings are happening again now on Thursday nights at 6pm.  CR is a place where you can find support and encouragement for whatever “hurts, habits or hang-ups” you might have experienced or be experiencing now.  All are welcome and the meetings are at the North Campus in Room 2/3.  

5.  Missions Meeting Coming Up – The Missions Team is getting together again.  We’ll have a meeting on May 16 (this Sunday) after the second service to discuss mission work in Hungary and Rwanda and to pray about future plans.  Everyone is welcome to attend, and we’ll meet at North in Room 2/3.  Blessings!

6. Elections for the Administrative Team/Summit Meeting This weekend (May 15 and 16) we’ll have a special worship service devoted to celebrating what God has been doing around Northgate.  This will serve as our annual meeting, which we call the Summit Meeting.  Also, members will be voting for our Administrative Team members that weekend.  Biographies for nominees can be found at http://northgatefmc.com/elections.  

7. The Birds and The Bees Leah (our Children’s Ministry Director) and Pastor John are planning a special night for parents on May 20 from 6-8pm.  This informative evening will feature three panelists discussing how to have a conversation with your children about sex, addressing shame, and talking about how to help our kids safely navigate the internet.  Sign-up on our website or by calling the church office (343-4011).  Childcare will be provided for the evening.  For more information contact Leah at leah@northgatefmc.com.

8. An Update on the Mission Work in Hungary Our Free Methodist missionary in Hungary, Gerry McNamara, recently sent us an update about some of the work happening there.  We can praise God for how He is using them to spread the gospel!  The ministry is currently at work in four cities in Hungary and they hope to see a fifth location soon.  A European Worship Service was held on April 17 at which Gerry preached, and this summer the church in Gyor will hold a vacation Bible school at the state orphanage there.  Please keep the McNamaras and all of this in prayer, and if you want to interact with the McNamaras you can reach them at g.k.mcnamara@gmail.com.  

9. All Babies Cherished Spring Festival All Babies Cherished will be holding its spring festival on Saturday, May 22 from 10am to 3pm.  This takes place at the Batavia City Centre Mall Concourse and there will be more than 35 vendors including crafters, artists, artisans and others.  There will be games for children and food trucks also.  

10. Genesis Annual Conference Yesterday (Thursday May 13) the Northgate pastors met with other Free Methodist church pastors and leaders for the Genesis Annual Conference.  The Genesis Conference is the group of FM churches spanning an area that roughly covers New York State from the Adirondacks down to Cortland and goes west from there all the way to Niagara Falls down to Jamestown.  During the conference we hear reports, elect leaders and spend time learning and growing together.  In the weeks ahead we’ll be sharing more information about the conference, but the good news is that our conference is in good shape and God is moving among our churches.  Superintendent Pam Braman is leading well, listening to the Holy Spirit and working with pastors and laypeople to provide these churches with support, guidance, direction and encouragement.  I’m grateful to be part of the FM church and the Genesis Conference.

You Can Count on This – Acts 17:27 – God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Read Acts 17:1-34)

What did God do?  Verse 15 of this chapter says that God gave us “life and breath and everything else.”  God gives us our existence, and His desire is that we would then seek him.  God brings us into being and asks that we then form a relationship with him.  Psalm 14:2 says, “The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”  The whole Bible is the story of God’s desire to have that relationship with us, and repeatedly we are told that if we want that relationship and will seek it out we will find it.  “He is not far from any one of us”, Paul says.  

You might read that and respond by saying that God feels far from you.  If that’s the case there are some things you might want to consider.  For example, are you seeking God “with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)?  If you are half-heartedly seeking God (reading the Bible every now and then; praying once in a while; attending worship sometimes) you’re not likely to find him.  Are you turning away from known sin in your life?  Psalm 66:18 says that if we “cherish sin” in our hearts, God won’t listen.  If we seek God while freely indulging in known sin God may wait to respond to us until we reach the place of repenting of that sin.  Or our hearts and ears may become dull to the voice of God.  Jesus repeatedly remarked that whoever has ears to hear needs to use them!  Finally, are you seeking God in community?  Five times in the New Testament we are told to “encourage one another.”  We’re not meant to seek God alone, but in the fellowship of others.  

There are other reasons God might seem far away.  You might be in a season of losses or feel under attack at this time.  This post doesn't address all the ways God might seem far off.  But for many this would be a good place to start if he does seem distant.

Seek God wholeheartedly; turn away from sin; be a part of a community that is seeking to know God well.  God wants you to find him; he is not far away.

When you’re not sure what you can count on in the world around you, know this: You can count on God keeping his word.  So read what God has to say in scripture!  And count on it.


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