Pastor Vern's Top Ten

1. Vintage Christmas is Here! Tonight we’ll hold our second “Vintage Christmas” celebration of the season. This is 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!

2. K24 Movie Night This Saturday It’s time for another movie night! Parents can drop children off beginning at 5:30 Saturday night. For more information please contact Leah at leah@northgatefmc.com.

3. Christmas Eve Celebrations We are planning to hold our regular Christmas Eve services this year at North. We’ll have the “child-friendly” service at 5pm and communion services at 7 and 11pm. There will not be a service on Saturday night (Christmas Day), but we will have one service Sunday morning, the day after Christmas, at 10am. This will be a shorter service than usual, with lots of singing and a brief message. For the following weekend, New Year’s weekend, we will be joining together in the John Wesley Covenant Renewal Service on Saturday (New Year’s Day) at 6pm and Sunday (9:30 and 11am).  If you have any questions about the upcoming schedule of services, check our website, or just ask! You can reach the office at 343-4011, or Pastor Vern at vern@northgatefmc.com.

4. Salvation Army Bell Ringing Our local Salvation Army is looking for additional bell-ringers for their annual Red Kettle Campaign. It’s a great thing to do by yourself, with a partner, or with your children. To find out times and locations call the Salvation Army office at: (585) 343-6284.

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. 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 6:6 – For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin... (Read Romans 6:1-14)

Here’s a great gift to give to yourself this Christmas. Receive the gift that Jesus offers you - the gift of new life! Romans 6:6 tells us that because of what Jesus has done for us, dying in our place to pay for our sins, we not only receive forgiveness, but we receive a whole new “self”! When Jesus died on the cross and we put our faith in Him, we also receive a new self that has been set free from the slavery of sin. Our “body of sin” has been put to death and we can live through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit free from the control of our old sinful nature.

This isn’t always appreciated by those who are in Christ. That is, even though we know we are forgiven for our sin, we can still believe we are under the control of sin and have no choice but to sin and be forgiven. But that’s not the case. Sin does not have control over our new self, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do, and we can realize more and more victory over sin. We need to embrace this truth, and not be victimized by our old sinful nature. Instead, we should seek and expect to win the battles we face with temptation and sin. If we falter, we are forgiven by Jesus. But seek victories with the help of Jesus!

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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