On Tuesday Governor Cuomo signed the “Reproductive Health Act” which strengthens abortion rights in New York State. (You can read about the implications of this here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/new-york-shows-where-the-fight-against-abortion-is-headed/). In light of this I have been asked where the Free Methodist Church stands on abortion. I can’t do better than share with you what our 2015 Book of Discipline says in the section on the Sanctity of Life, subheading “Abortion”:
The intentional abortion of a person’s life, from conception on, must be judged to be a violation of God’s command, “You shall not commit murder,” except when extreme circumstances require the termination of a pregnancy to save the life of the pregnant woman. (2015 Book of Discipline section 3222, part B.)
The section goes on to say that as Free Methodist Christians we believe life is sacred because “it exists in relation to God.” We believe that abortion should be rare, is always tragic, and should be limited to what is described above.
So how do we respond to this new law? We can certainly, as citizens with a concern for our state and country, write to our representatives and express our concerns. We can be actively involved in those things that promote the sanctity of life. We can support financially and with our time and energy agencies that seek to give women alternatives to abortion, such as All Babies Cherished here in Batavia. We can pray for women who are considering abortion for reasons other than saving their lives, and seek to help them find their hope and help in Christ. We should also pray for the women who have had an abortion when it was not to save the life of the mother, and pray for the men who may have been a part of or impacted by that decision, and help them find forgiveness and healing through Christ. And we can support those who have chosen, through foster care and adoption, to provide a home for children when their biological parents have been unable to care for them.
However we respond, we should do everything in love and compassion and with the hope that more people will come to appreciate that life is sacred, because life is given to us by God.
Top Ten –
- Mission Life: Puerto Rico Team– Please pray for Rosalina, Angelo, Rich, Dan, Brian, Chip, Sierra and Michelle who are serving as short-term missionaries this week in Puerto Rico. Pray for health, safety, a good witness of Jesus’ love and the ability to accomplish their work in good shape. The team returns next Tuesday, 1/29.
- Community Life: Women’s Night of Worship– Ladies – You are invited to the next women’s night of worship at Northgate (North Campus) on January 30that 7pm.
- Salvation Army Food Pantry– The Salvation Army is in need of more donations than usual, due to the government shutdown and the impact on those who receive food stamps and other kinds of government assistance. They are seeking donations of grocery items for their pantry, especially canned goods with protein like canned ravioli, canned spaghetti, tuna, etc. If you can help you can take items to the Salvation Army, or bring them to our church and leave them in the entry way – there is a basket labeled for Salvation Army donations. Thank you!
- Digging Deeper– The Monday night discipleship group will begin meeting again on February 4that 6:30pm(North campus; Room #3). We will be studying the books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rdJohn. These are short letters found near the end of the Bible, that are packed with important messages about our relationship with God. Everyone is welcome to attend this group. If you’d like to be able to get the book that we’ll be using, it is in the Christ-Centered Expositionseries (1, 2, 3 John) and is available at Amazon and Christianbook.com.
- Financial Peace University– The next FPU course starts on Wednesday, February 6th. A lot of Northgaters have found financial peace by attending the course and following through on the teaching. If you’d like more information about FPU look for FPU on our website (northgatefmc.com) under the “Build” section or contact Pastor John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Coffee Talk on Addictions/Mental Health– The next “Coffee Talk” takes place on Thursday, February 7that 6pm.This is an opportunity to get support and information on addictions and mental health issues, especially if you are someone who cares about a person who is experiencing difficulties in these areas. For more information contact Brandon Switzer at email@example.com.
- Food/Exploration/Dialogue– On Thursday, February 21st, the next FED Talk will be held at Arbor House at 6pm. The topic to be discussed is “The LGBTQ Community and the Church” and the presenter will be Doug Cullum, Vice President and Dean at Northeastern Seminary. Come and enjoy a light meal and a meaningful conversation on a contemporary topic.
- Mission Support Team– Did you know that Northgate has an active Missions Planning Team that meets monthly to discuss how we are involved in local and international missions, and to pray and plan for the future? The next meeting is Sunday, February 24th, at about 12:15pm in Meeting Room #3 at the North Campus. Everyone with an interest in missions is welcome to attend. And if you can’t make the meeting but would like to be a “Mission Support” person, there’s a place for you also. We need people to be in regular prayer about our mission work. If you are interested in being part of prayer team, contact our Mission Team Leader, Angelo Dispenza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Community Life: Wednesday Prayer Groups– You are invited to join with others to pray for our church and community on Wednesdays at 1 and 6 p.m. The 1 p.m. Prayer Group prays for one hour in Meeting Room 3 at North Campus. The 6 p.m. Prayer Group meets at North Campus also. If weather allows, this group often goes on a prayer walk as well. We’d love to include you in either of these prayer opportunities!
- Membership Classes Coming Up– The next series of Membership classes begin on Sunday March 3rdat 9:30am. The class meets for three consecutive weeks, and if you are interested in learning more about Northgate, or in becoming a member, please plan to attend. You can sign up at the Information Desk. For more information just contact one of the pastors.
You Can Count on This – Luke 3:15 – The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. (Read Luke 3:1-20)
John the Baptist is the kind of person I really look up to. He was a man who knew his purpose, was filled with humility, spoke the truth regardless of the consequences, didn’t seek to take a position that didn’t belong to him, and stayed true to his mission. He was brought into the world to prepare people for the coming of Jesus and he did that faithfully. He called people to live selfless, generous, honest lives. He refused to let people think he was something he wasn’t (the Messiah) even when he could have pretended to be. He knew his place and his purpose and that gave him security and strength. He wasn’t concerned with being a “people-pleaser” – only with doing what God had designed him to do. John paid a price for his integrity and his unwillingness to look the other way when it came to sin, no matter how “important” the sinner was. He ended up having his life taken from him by Herod (Matthew 14:1-12), but he received his eternal rest with God, and the praise of Jesus (see Luke 7:28). I can learn a lot from John.
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.