Pastor Vern's Top Ten

1. Vintage Christmas is Here! Tomorrow night we are holding the first of our “Vintage Christmas” celebrations – our community-minded festival held in our “backyard” from 6-8pm. We’ll have a bonfire, some good food, a guided walk on our Prayer Walk, animals, singing and the Christmas tree lighting. This is a “come and go” event, meaning come anytime between 6 and 8pm and stay as long as you like. We hope to see you there and hope you’ll think about inviting a friend to join you! And if you can’t make it this week, we’ll be doing it all over again next Friday, December 10.

2. Can’t Get Enough of the Christmas Hymns? Our Caregivers group is sponsoring another hymn sing, focusing on Christmas hymns, on Tuesday 12/7 at 6pm at the South Campus. If you enjoy singing the Christmas songs and enjoy times of good fellowship, please plan to join in!

3. Women’s Craft Night Wednesday, December 8, all women of the church and their friends are invited to a women’s craft night. This will begin at 6pm and will be held in our Northgate North Campus café.

4. PrimeTimers Christmas Gathering Next Thursday Our 55+ fellowship group, the PrimeTimers, will be meeting for lunch next week Thursday, December 9. All are welcome! The meal will be provided, and Anthony will be here to lead us in singing some Christmas carols. Also, we’ll be collecting items to give to the Salvation Army for their Christmas gift distribution program. Specifically, they are looking for coloring books, crayons/pencils, small toys, kids’ socks, hand-held games, and children’s card games. No food items please. The lunch begins at noon. Please join us and invite a friend too!

5. Angel Tree and Virtual Shoebox There’s still time to stop by the Angel Tree in the lobbies at North and South and pick up a tag which you can use to shop for some items to give to a child this Christmas. This is a program we assist the Salvation Army with each year. Also, at the Angel Tree table there will be tags which you can use to guide you in making a donation to a Virtual Shoebox program which is run by our missionaries in Bulgaria. Consider being a blessing to a local child, and a child in Bulgaria through these opportunities!  And thank you!

6. Another Way to Help Others This Christmas Again this year our South Campus will be the go-to location for the Salvation Army gift distribution. They expect several hundred families to come and pick up donated gifts on Wednesday, December 22, from 2-4pm. Volunteer help would be appreciated that day, and on the “packing days” which are December 13-17 and 20-21. If you can help, please let Pastor Chris know. You can reach him at chris@northgatefmc.com.

7. MOPS Volunteers Needed Mothers of Pre-Schoolers is a wonderful program lending support to all moms of young children, and it meets at our North Campus. One of the essential features of MOPS is that childcare is offered to moms who attend the program, to give them a little break and to allow them a chance to fellowship and learn and grow spiritually with other moms. Those who provide the childcare are, therefore, serving in valuable way! We need some volunteers who can watch pre-school age children once a month, either on Wednesday morning or Wednesday evening, for a couple of hours. If you can help, please contact Pastor Marsha at marsha@northgatefmc.com and from all the moms at MOPS... thank you!

8. “Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty” That’s the subtitle of a book by Joni Eareckson Tada called A Place of Healing. Pastor Vern and Pastor Marsha are starting a new group using this book to help us explore the topics of suffering and healing and the questions we have around these topics. You are welcome to join us on Sundays at 9:30am in Room 1 at North. And if you have any questions, just ask! This study will begin on November 28. For more information, please contact Pastor Marsha or Pastor Vern. You can reach us at vern@northgatefmc.com or marsha@northgatefmc.com.

9. Christmas Wish List – Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern The Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern is holding their annual Christmas Program again this year. This program allows families to fill out Christmas Wish Lists for each child of possible gifts for the holiday season. All gifts are provided via donations from organizations and individuals in the community. If you’d like to donate, they will accept clothing, winter apparel, shoes/boots, books, toys, games, gift cards, wrapping paper, bows, and much more! Electronics are not accepted. And if you could benefit from this program, or know someone who could, please know that it is open to all children up to age 18. Families may come in and fill out a Wish List or call to be added to the list. Last year gifts were distributed to 279 children and the hope is to be just as successful this year! Thank you for any support you can offer. Their phone number is 585-589-9210.

10. Curious About Life After Death? – Pastor Vern has just started a new group where we’ll be talking about things like near death experiences, heaven, hell, reincarnation and so on. We’ll meet for an hour beginning at about 12:30 (after second service) in Room 1 and people are invited to bring a bag lunch if they like!  We’ll be using a new book by Lee Strobel titled The Case for Heaven. If you’d like one ordered for you please contact Pastor Vern at vern@northgatefmc.com.

To learn more about these opportunities, or to suggest an idea for a group or a gathering, or to inquire about reserving space at the church or the pavilion you can always email the office (office@northgatefmc.com) or call 343-4011. You can check out our website too (northgatefmc.com).

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You Can Count on This – Romans 5:17 – For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Read Romans 5:12-21)

We’re really walking through some theology here! Paul is telling us that because of Adam’s sin, death entered the world, and all of us have been impacted by that reality. All of us are born with a sinful nature, and all of us will die as a result (unless Jesus returns first!). Death reigns.

But that’s not the end of the story! Because another man, the God-man Jesus Christ, came to the world, paid for our sins by his death on the cross and was raised to life again. If we will “receive God’s abundant provision of grace and… the gift of righteousness” we will overcome death as well, and we will “reign in life.” That’s good news! I hope you have accepted the gift of God’s grace and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll do that today! It’ll make your Christmas a far more wonderful one!

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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