Top Ten - January 27

1. Communion We participate in communion the first weekend of each month at the North Campus of Northgate. Arbor House has a communion service every week. Communion reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and reminds us that He has promised to return one day. Through partaking in communion, we recognize our unity with Jesus and with one another. We are encouraged to take communion regularly, and the next opportunity at North will be February 5-6. If you are joining us online, you’ll want to have your elements ready for Sunday!

2. Centered Centered is the name we give to our 1st Wednesday time of prayer and worship that takes place at 6pm at the North Campus. We meet for about an hour and enjoy some worship music and a time of prayer that helps us “center” ourselves on God in the middle of the week. All are welcome to attend this beautiful time of worship.

3. Grief Share There’s a new Grief Share group forming. It begins on February 17 and runs from 6-8:30 at 34 Williams Street in Batavia. Contact John Chadwick at 585-297-3009 or Patti Chadwick at patti.chadwick@juno.com for more information.

4. Connecting We are always interested in helping attenders of our church to connect with others who may share a similar interest or experience. This is one of the ways we grow stronger. For example, we have a Caregivers group for people who provide care to an elderly adult. We have a Pickleball group that meets to play pickleball midweek. These are just two examples, and if you want to know more about them or other gatherings, just contact the church office at 343-4011.

We are also looking to expand our ability to help people connect. This is where you can help us. Perhaps you’ve been through something in life (raising a strong-willed child, wrestling through a difficult faith question, e.g.) and God taught you some valuable things during that time, and you’d be willing to share that experience with others. Or maybe you have an interest that you’d like to be able to engage in with others (gardening, quilting, e.g.). Pastor Marsha is seeking to help link people up in these ways. Please contact her to share your thoughts on this or to find out more about it. You can reach her at marsha@northgatefmc.com.

5. Blood Drive There is a critical need for blood in our area. If you’d like to help meet that need the Red Cross will be holding a blood drive at our South Campus all day on February 3.

6. Gahanda Sanctuary – Have you heard? Thanks to the generous giving of our church at the “Great Day of Giving” and a generous gift from one of our attenders, we are over the amount needed to see that new sanctuary built in Rwanda! This is such a wonderful thing, and we can’t wait to see our friends in Gahanda worshiping in their new space!

7. PerspectivesPerspectives is a Biblical worldview course that is being offered on-line through Zoom. The course takes place on Monday nights from 6:30-9:30 and registration is required. You can learn more here: https://www.perspectives.org.

8. Parenting Adult Children Debbie Vick will facilitate a second rendition of the small group for parents based on the book Doing Life with Your Adult Children by Jim Burns. People who participated in this the first time found it really helpful.  If you’d like to be part of this one, the group will meet in Room 2/3 from 8:30-9:30am starting the first Sunday of February.

9. Women’s group/Men’s group If you are looking to meet other people and learn and grow together, we have a women’s group and a men’s group meeting on Wednesday nights at 7.

The Women’s group (Women's Journey) just started a new 8-week study called "Starting Point: A Conversation About Faith" by Andy Stanley. Beth Beale will facilitate. Women at all ages and stages of faith and life are encouraged to join us at North Campus on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30pm. Contact Pastor Marsha for information about this small group – and others, including the one you feel led to start: marsha@northgatefmc.com

The Men’s group is planning a special event on February 19th – a men's breakfast at Cartwrights Maple Tree Inn near Angelica NY. Meet at Northgate/North at 7:45am and carpool at 8:00am from there. Mike (the group leader) is looking into getting a 12 passenger van for that day.

10. Care Team Would you like to be part of a group that ministers to people through prayer and meeting practical needs? This really terrific group of people make sure that every prayer request that comes in is prayed over, cards are sent out to people who can’t get out or who need encouragement and practical needs are addressed whenever possible. If you’d like to be a part of this vital ministry please contact Pastor Marsha at marsha@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 7:4 – So, my brothers and sisters you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Read Romans 7:1-6)

Reading through Romans can be quite challenging. Take just one verse like this one. We really need to take time to think about what Paul is saying here. Of course, it helps to keep reading and seeking to understand the teaching he is laying out, and I would encourage you to get a good commentary (The Believer’s Bible Commentary is a good one-volume commentary, but there are other good ones as well). And don’t forget to pray and ask God to help you understand and to meet with other Christians to talk about what you’re reading; that’s a helpful thing to do!

In a nutshell what Paul is saying is that before we knew Jesus we were under the beholding to the law, all that God requires. Of course, we couldn’t keep the law perfectly; the law was intended to help us not only know what God requires but to reveal to us our inability to keep it, and our need to trust in God’s grace. Now that God has come to us through Jesus, and died for us, paying the penalty of our failure to keep God’s law, we are no longer under the law’s condemnation. We have been freed from that in the same way we are “freed” from a human relationship if we die. Being freed from the law we are free to unite fully with Jesus, and to trust in His grace and the forgiveness He bought for us on the grace. The law cannot condemn us any longer!

But that doesn’t mean the law has no place in our lives. We still understand that God has expectations for how His people live, and we want to do our best with the help of the Holy Spirit to live God’s way. When we fail to, we are still forgiven - the law doesn’t condemn us. And we don’t try to live according to the law in order to please God. We please God by trusting in and having a relationship with His Son Jesus. We seek to keep the law now out of gratitude to God for what He’s done for us. That’s our motivation now. Now “we serve in the new way of the Spirit”!

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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