Top Ten - April 25

1. Celebrating Baptisms, Dedications, and New Members This Weekend This coming weekend we will have the opportunity to do a lot of celebrating in our worship services! We have a number of people getting baptized, a dedication and many people becoming members of Northgate. Please come ready to rejoice in these good things and if you have a “This Changes Everything” shirt, this is a great weekend to wear it.

2. Centered Next Wednesday On the first Wednesday of the month we hold a service of prayer and worship at 6pm in our sanctuary at North. That’s coming up next week, May 1, and everyone is welcome to come and take some time in the middle of the week to get “centered” on God’s presence and power.

3. Family Photos with a Purpose On May 11 and 12, the weekend of Mother’s Day, we will be offering a chance to have a photo taken by a Northgate volunteer photographer. Donations for this will be accepted which will be used to support a women’s farm in Gahanda – one of the new missions activities taking place in our Connected Community there.
  • Please note: We could use a few more people willing to take photos on that Sunday, May 12, in particular. If you would be willing to donate your services to this, please contact Allison at And thank you!

4. Early Birds Rummage Sale People have started to ask if the rummage sale is happening this year… and the answer is yes! The dates for the rummage sale that benefits missions work are as follows:

Set up/Unloading cars/Moving furniture boxes:
  • Monday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 8 – 10am-1 pm and 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Thursday, May 9 – 10am-1pm

Sales help:
Friday, May 10 – 8am-4 pm
  • Saturday, May 11 – 8 am-2pm

For more information contact Linda or Tom Schmidt at 585-615-6501

5. Northgate Workday It’s time for a spring cleanup around our campuses and the staff will be getting at it on Wednesday, May 15. This work usually entails raking, spreading mulch, cleaning up stones from the snowplowing over the winter, cleaning out closets, etc. We’d be more than happy to have anyone join us that day if you have some time to spare and would like to help out. For questions, contact Mark at Thanks!

6. Costa Rica Missions Team Car WashThe next fundraiser for the group going to Costa Rica this summer is going to be a car wash on Sunday, May 19. Donations will be accepted. Please keep the team in prayer as they get closer to their mission trip this summer.

7. Service Opportunity A person at Northgate has been connected with a woman in need, and we have a great opportunity to show up and love her well! Her yard fell into disrepair, and she is being cited and fined for it, unless she can get it all cleaned up. The reason this happened is that she was fighting some medical issues and didn’t want to let anyone know. She doesn’t stand a chance of doing this on her own, it’s too big of a job, but if we get a good crew, we could knock it out with a good Saturday of work. We are planning a workday on Saturday, May 4 at 9:00 to get this taken care of.

Please email Pastor John ( if you are interested in joining this crew or to get more details.

8. The Summit This is our annual church meeting (Society meeting for you long-time Free Methodists!) and we will hold this during our worship services over the weekend of May 18/19. We’ll take some time to celebrate the things that God has been doing around Northgate and what we envision God doing here as we move forward. We also take votes for our administrative team (the A-Team) and the Nominating Team. Only members can vote, and if you’re not sure whether or not you are a member you can check through the church office, or 343-4011.

9. Father’s Day Ice Cream Father’s Day this year comes on Sunday, June 16. We know dads like ice cream, so that weekend we will be providing it. Saturday night we’ll have ice cream treats available, and Sunday there will be an ice cream truck. This is an opportunity to invite dads that you know to come and worship with us and have an ice cream on us too.

10. Baseball Night in Batavia On Wednesday, June 19 we are inviting everyone to come out to the ballpark in Batavia and enjoy a baseball game. What makes this a special night is that one of our young people will be singing the National Anthem and our K-4 kids will be singing God Bless America. Tickets are $8 a piece and you’ll be able to register for this soon on our website or our app.

You Can Count on This – James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (Read James 1:1-27)

This is an example of verses that may make no sense to someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus. For that matter, they may cause a Christian to stop and think as well. What does James mean when it says we should consider it pure joy when we face troubles? That seems counterintuitive to the normal way we go about life. Most of us are focused on eliminating or reducing the trouble we face, not embracing it as something to rejoice in.

Well for starters let’s be clear. James is not saying that we should go out and look for trouble. He’s not saying that if our lives happen to be in a calm place right now that we should see if we can stir things up a bit. James is writing to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.” It’s important to get that context as we think about what James means in these verses.

The recipients of James’ letter were Christians who, due to persecution, may have been driven from their homes and their families and communities. Many of them may have been Jewish people who were ostracized by their communities when they became followers of Jesus. This letter was likely written after the martyrdoms of Stephen and James, the brother of John, leading to a fear of their own deaths. The “trials” they were experiencing were significant.

Yet James encourages them to rejoice in their trials. He wants these Christians to stand up straight, be strong, face whatever comes with the assurance that Jesus is with them in it. And he wants them to know that when they go through these trials and the testing of their faith, God is using that to grow them even stronger.

The fact is, we can’t really know how strong we are until we are tested. I may think that my faith is strong, but is it? How can I know? One way to know is when it gets tested. Someone tells me that science has proven there is no God. Does that make me doubt everything I have believed? Someone else laughs when I tell them I am a Christian. Does that shake me and make me want to hide my faith? I’m asked to do something at work that I know is opposed to the word and will of God. Am I willing to stand firm with God at the risk of losing my job or being reprimanded?

The trials we face for our faith generally do not compare to the trials of the Christians reading James’ letter. But they are trials none-the-less. And they are opportunities to grow in perseverance – the ability to keep going when it’s hard or challenging. As James goes on to say, when we persevere in our faith despite the trials we experience, we are on our way to becoming “mature and complete.”

I like to exercise. But there are times when I’m working out that I think to myself, “This is just too hard. Why am I doing this?” Yet, I want to be healthy and as strong and fit as I can be and I know that I have to persevere with exercise if I am going to reach my goals. If I don’t push through the trial, if I quit as soon as it’s a bit difficult, I won’t develop the way I want to. Honestly, sometimes during exercise I think about how much more I’d like to be sitting in my chair, reading or watching something on television. There isn’t much that’s challenging about that. And then I call to mind that it’s only by doing the hard work, facing the trial of exercise and persevering with it, that I’ll make progress in my health.

In most of life this principle is true. We need to persevere if we are going to develop. James is saying that we need to persevere in our faith if we are going to develop as mature and complete Christians. And perseverance is most needed when staying true to our faith is most challenging. But with God’s help, we can keep going, and growing.

Pastor Vern

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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