Pastor Vern's Top Ten

1.  Apple Tree - School Supplies This weekend you’ll have an opportunity to help the Salvation Army supply children with what they need to have when they return to school this fall.  (Sorry to bring up “back to school” in July!)  Like the “Angel Tree” that we set up in the lobby at Christmastime, we will have an “Apple Tree” set up this weekend where you can get a tag and then go shopping and return items the following weekend.  Please consider helping some local children by getting a tag off the tree.

2.  Mission Cruise Here’s a great opportunity to get away from things, learn about what God is doing in Europe, and take a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea all at once.  Free Methodist World Missions is offering this cruise which leaves from Spain on October 24 and travels to Italy before returning to Spain.  One of our FM Bishops, Keith Cowart will be on board along with other mission leaders to share about the work of the FM Church in Europe.  For more information on this cruise you can go to https://encountereurope.blogspot.com

3.  Lydia’s Kitchen – Volunteers Welcome! Lydia’s Kitchen is a lunch program being operated out of the basement of the First Baptist Church here in Batavia.  Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11-1.  Approximately 30-40 people are served each day and they are always welcoming volunteers to help serve, clean, etc.  If you are interested in joining some Northgaters there (thank you Robin and Cheryl!) you can email the director Lydia, at lwaministries@yahoo.com.  Or stop by sometime and see what goes on while you enjoy a nice meal!

4.  Blood Drive Coming Up The need for blood has been critical this year, and the next opportunity for you to help meet that need will be on Thursday August 5 at the South Campus.  Thank you for your donation!

5. “Centered” – Time for Worship and Prayer The next “Centered” evening will be this Sunday August 1 at 6pm.  We spend an hour or so singing worship songs and praying for all kinds of needs and offering praise to God.  All are welcome!  Join us in the North Campus sanctuary.

6.  SafeTALK  SafeTALK is a three-hour training that prepares caregivers to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.  This training is going to be taking place at our South Campus on Wednesday September 8 from 1-4pm and is open to anyone 15 or older.  You do not have to be a counselor to take this training – it will be useful to anyone who is concerned about knowing how to help others when they are in distress.  Preregistration is required, so if you are interested in attending, please email Pastor Vern at vern@northgatefmc.com.

7.  Café Help – “When will the café be opened again?”  People have been asking and here’s the answer: the Northgate café will re-open the first weekend in September.  We’re using the time between now and then to do some enhancements to the café and make things a little nicer.  We are also using this time to find some folks who would like to be café leaders!  If you are looking for a way to serve others and get to know a lot more people at Northgate contact anthony@northgatefmc.com.  He’d love to chat!

8.  EMT Class We have the opportunity to offer one person a free spot in a comprehensive EMT training class.  The class will meet at our South Campus and it begins in September.  This is a great opportunity for someone who would like to become an EMT, but there is only one spot available, so if you are interested please contact Allison soon at allison@northgatefmc.com.

9. Habitat Day If you like to swing a hammer or are interested in learning how to swing a hammer, maybe you’d like to be part of a Northgate Habitat for Humanity build day.  Pastor Chris is planning one for Saturday August 21.  We are limited to 8-10 people, so please let him know soon if you are interested.  If there is an abundance of interest we may be able to schedule another one too.  You can contact Chris at chris@northgatefmc.com.

10. Volunteer Help Needed As we approach our launch day in September, we are looking for some volunteer help!  We want to be ready to welcome people well, returning attenders and new guests and visitors too.  To that end we need people to…
•Help Rene and George direct traffic in our parking lot
•Greet at the front doors
•Staff the Information and Volunteer check-in desks
If you are interested in any of these positions, please let Pastor John know at john@northgatefmc.com, and please receive our heart-felt thanks!

You Can Count on This – Acts 23:31 – So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. (Read Acts 23:23-35)

This past week I was talking with a friend and he asked me why I thought Paul willingly traveled to Jerusalem when he had been forewarned that he was going to meet with serious trouble there.  If you go back and read chapters 20-22 it’s clear that Paul was very aware of what awaited him in Jerusalem and could not be talked out of going.  He had put his life in the hands of his Savior Jesus and he believed that Jesus wanted him to go, so he did.  

Of course, trouble did meet him there in Jerusalem and that trouble led to the events in the passage I’m referencing today.  Paul has been arrested and a plot to kill him has been discovered and he is being whisked out of the city to a place of safety.

What struck me in this passage is the sense that Paul’s life was increasingly out of his control.  The soldiers “took Paul” and “brought him” to Antipatris.  Remember, Paul is a prisoner.  What’s happening to him is happening to him – he has no choice in this.  He is dependent upon others to keep him safe and to move him around.

But dependency was something that Paul had been living under for some time now.  Ever since Jesus called him into His service, Paul had been dependent on Christ for his direction and protection, and that never changed.  Even in this instance, it wasn’t the soldiers who were running things.  Not really.  This was God’s plan being put into effect.  Paul was going to Rome to share the gospel, and this is how God was going to get him there.

Learning to be dependent upon Jesus for direction and protection is something most of us must keep growing in.  It requires growing trust and faith and experience with the Lord.  What we can count on is that God will take us where we need to be, even if sometimes His method for getting us there isn’t quite what we’d like it to be.  Still, we can trust that He is with us no matter what.  I believe that Paul did.

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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