Top Ten - July 21

1. Apple Tree  Next week you will see apple trees in the lobbies at North and South. These trees will have apples tags hanging from them and each tag will list the school supplies needed by a child of a particular age. We’d love to have you take a tag, purchase those supplies and return them to either North or Arbor House by Sunday August 21. We’ll then get them over to the Salvation Army which will be distributing the supplies to children who need them. Thank your for participating in the Apple Tree project!

2. Worship Outdoors Mark your calendars for Friday, August 19. That night we are planning to hold an outdoor worship service at our North Campus. This might be a great opportunity to invite a friend to come and see what Northgate is all about.

3. St. Paul’s is Looking for a Teacher St. Paul’s Lutheran school is looking for a 3rd and 4th grade teacher for the upcoming school year. Several of our Northgate families have children who attend St. Paul’s school. If you are interested in teaching there, you can send a resume to Mr. Lynn Eick at 31 Washington Ave., Batavia.

4. Developing Space for Fun and Fellowship There are two things happening in our backyard that you might like to know about. One is that the Disc Golf course is just about ready to go. This will be open to the public and we hope will help people get more familiar with us. The other is that we are starting a new playground project behind the building at North. God has blessed us with all of this land, and we want to use it to its fullest! These projects should just enhance our ability to join together, invite friends and make good use of what we have.

5. Men’s Campout We have a group of men planning a campout to be held in the woods behind our building at North. This is scheduled for September 2-3. This will be a wonderful time of fellowship and worship and we’d love to see a great group of guys participating. For more information please contact Pastor John at John@northgatefmc.com.

6. Grief Share and Divorce Care If you or someone you know has experienced a loss and is walking through the feelings of grief or has experienced a divorce and is coming to terms with that, and would like to know how to handle grief or divorce from a Christian perspective, we have a group for each here at Northgate. New sessions of Grief Share will begin on September 20 at 6pm, meeting at 34 Williams St. in Batavia. And new sessions of Divorce Care will begin on September 24 at 6pm at our North campus building (8160 Bank St. Rd. Batavia). For more information contact Pastor Vern at vern@northgatefmc.com.

7. Meeting for All Interested in Being Part of the “Set Free” Movement Inspired by recent presentations at our church by Free Methodist missionaries Gerry McNamara and Kevin Austin, a Set Free Team has formed at Northgate. This group is considering how to be part of helping people to “live in the direction of freedom" together. If you want to help end human trafficking in our time and in our region, please attend one of the monthly meetings, held on the last Sunday of the month at 12:30p.m. in Meeting Room 2/3, North Campus. For more information, visit setfreemovement.com and/or email Pastor Marsha marsha@northgatefmc.com.

8. Prayer Groups – You are invited to join with others to pray for our church and community on Wednesdays at 1 and Sundays at 9:30. The Wednesday Prayer Group prays for one hour in Meeting Room 1 at North Campus and on Sunday people gather in Room 4 for an hour and pray for our services and congregational needs. Everyone is welcome to either or both of these prayer meetings.

9. More on Prayer We (the staff and our prayer teams) truly do love to pray about the things that are going in your lives, but to do that we need to be made aware of them! Please use the Connect Cards in the Sanctuary or share your prayer concern via email or text (prayer@northgatefmc.com, text 585-204-0645). It’s important to us to hold you up in prayer. And also please let us know how God is answering your prayers, so we can rejoice with you too!

10. Looking for Small Group Leaders I’m beginning to think about the Fall and one of the things I’d like to begin to plan for is resuming small groups. Connecting with others and helping each other to grow in our faith is an important part of what we are to do as a church body, and a small group is a place that can happen. If you are interested in being part of a small group, or if you are interested in leading a small group, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to help with either of those things. You can reach me 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 – 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 - To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (Read 1 Corinthians 9:1-27)

One of the things that we learn to keep in mind as we read the Bible is context, and another is to keep the larger principles in view. Context means we have to consider why a person says what they say and who they are saying it to and what they are seeking to communicate. If I were to say, “I need water” that doesn’t tell you much. But if you know the context (I just ate a hot pepper, or I started a grass fire, or I’m cleaning windows) you have a better understanding why I’ve said, “I need water”. By “keeping the larger principles in mind” I mean, for example, keeping in mind that Paul has said the most important thing he can do is preach the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2). Or keeping in mind that Paul has a saving relationship with Jesus that means everything to him. Or keeping in mind that he is not out to “people-please” (1 Corinthians 4:3). Remembering that helps us to not misunderstand things he might say.

Like, “I have become all things to all people.” Paul is not saying that he goes along with whatever the people are doing in the group he happens to be with. He doesn’t party with the party crowd, act pious when he’s with church folks, celebrate with the worshipers of Artemis, etc. Paul was a follower of Jesus everywhere, all the time.

Where he did adapt was with his approach to people with whom he wanted to share the gospel. When he was with a Jewish audience, he’d speak to things they could relate with. When he was with a Gentile audience, he’d try to preach Jesus in a way that connected with them. His essential message didn’t change; just his way of delivering it, depending on who he was with.

There’s a lesson or two in here for us. First, if we are going to share our faith with people it will help to know something about the culture of those people. If I, for example, a 60-something year old man want to share my faith in Jesus with a 20-something Gen Z, it would be helpful for me to understand something of what it’s like to be a 20-something today, rather than trying to get that young person to understand things like a 60-year-old.

The second lesson is that we need to stay true to the essential message of the gospel. The point of being tactful is to be able to share the gospel in a way that people might hear it. We don’t change the message. As much as some people might like a “Jesus” who makes no requests or demands of us, for example, that’s not the Jesus we know and to preach this false Jesus does no one any good. Jesus does, after all ask us to take up our cross and follow him (Luke 9:23). I’m sure Paul never watered down the gospel, no matter how much he wanted people to trust their lives to Jesus.

So, are we ready to try to understand the people we want to share Jesus with? Are we willing to understand their culture and ways of thinking, struggles and dreams and hopes and needs. The better we listen, the more we’ll be able to find places of connection between others and the gospel.

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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