NORTHGATE Blog

SATURDAYS - WELCOME BACK!

THE NEED.

Last spring, after prayerful consideration, our staff made the decision to discontinue Saturday night services for a season. Attendance fluctuated dramatically and didn’t leave the best first impression for our guests.

We set apart a deliberate time to rethink and retool during the fall. As I wrote in May, “we may reevaluate and restart Saturday night services or even add a third Sunday service at some point in the future, depending on attendance trends and needs.”

CONCLUSION?

Saturdays are coming back! They have value and they serve a purpose! Some people just can’t make it on Sundays, and Saturdays provide another option for them and anyone who has a Sunday conflict.

WHEN?

We start SATURDAY, JANUARY 6 at 5 pm!
KIDNECTION and NURSERY provided.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!

Right now, a LAUNCH team is being pulled together with people who are committed to attending SATURDAY night services throughout the year. This team will have its first meeting at 10 am on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19 in the auditorium. ALL are welcome! In DECEMBER, this launch team will meet for worship and planning on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 9, and 16 at 5 pm to get ready to welcome guests in the New Year!

Please consider joining our Saturday night LAUNCH TEAM! We need people like you who are willing to serve in First Impressions, KIDNECTION, etc. to make this service a success and we can’t do it without you and the Holy Spirit!

If you’re in, CLICK HERE to let us know!

In the meantime, move heaven and earth to join us on Sundays and invite a friend to Northgate!

Northgate Church is passionate about helping people become who God purposed them to be.

“We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:4

A few years back I was reading a book that really spoke encouragement into a situation I was going through. I carried it with me everywhere I went. Any time I heard someone mention something that pertained to the topic I would interject this book into the conversation. “I’m reading this book. It talks about just what you’re going through. I’ve found it to be so helpful. You might find it helpful as well.”

It’s so easy to tell someone about the latest book I’ve read, movie I’ve seen or product I’ve found, but tell someone about my relationship with Jesus? That’s another story.

The Apostle John explains, however, that telling others about Jesus doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, whatever fear you may think you will experience will actually be overwhelmed with joy. And not just any joy, but complete joy.

John writes to make His joy complete and in doing so, lets us in on a few ways we can experience this joy as well.

1. Share Jesus and invite.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

More often than I’d like to admit, conversations touch on topics that speak to God’s work in my life and yet, I stay closed lipped. Jesus is my greatest joy. Just as I share other experiences with people, John says to do the same thing regarding Jesus. One of the best ways to tell others about Him is to share what I’ve seen, heard and felt. I can tell them how my life has changed because I’ve encountered Him. I can share what I love most and what I know to be true about Him. He is more than helpful; He is everything good. Why would I want to stay quiet about Him?

At the same time, no one wants to be told what to do, but everyone wants to be loved, included, and know they have a place to belong. My hope is that others would join me, so we can follow Christ together. That means I need to not only tell, but invite. It’s easy to invite people to our game nights, barbecues, concerts and other fun events. Why is it so hard to invite people to church, to a Bible study or some other Jesus-centered activity? I know I too often take their hesitation, uncertainty or out-right rejection of Jesus personally. I also know, however, that my desire for others to know Jesus as their greatest joy is an indicator of my love for them. What does it say about my heart for people if I don’t care if they know Him or not?

2. Live in the Light.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

John says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” He knows and sees all and as we step into a relationship with Him, His light shines into all the dark crevasses of our beings.

I admit there are times when I want to hide. I fear criticism, judgement and rejection. I fear being called out on all the things I’ve done wrong. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be hurt again. This attitude thrives in the dark, but in Jesus there is no darkness. Not one shadow. His light reveals everything that causes me to want to hide, but with Him there is nothing I need to hide.

My sin separates me from God. My not believing and acting on His command to not be afraid keeps me separated from God. When I acknowledge my sin, give it to Him and ask for His help to think, live and love differently, I begin to live in His light. If I think I’ve already got it altogether and don’t need His help, I’m fooling myself and I’m calling Him a liar. The light of Jesus requires me to be honest and vulnerable if I truly want a relationship with Him and relationships with others.

3. Walk the way of Jesus.

“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:5b-6

Or as one version says, “ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” How did Jesus live or walk? He walked in love and I’m called to do the same. I need to walk in agreement with what He says is true.

I embrace His love for me and I embrace His love for others. I trust that when He says His love is perfect and casts out fear, I can let it go. And when I still hold tight to my fear, I’m not walking in His love. I’m trying to stay hidden in the dark. When I hold grudges, sit in resentment and bitterness, or am judging and criticizing, unwilling to share His love with others, I’m living from a heart of hate, not love.

Living and walking like Jesus isn’t just about what I do outwardly with people, it’s also about what I let live in my heart towards people. If I claim to know Jesus, if I claim to be a “good Christian”, then I need to love like He does. I love without judgement, forgiving and offering grace. I support and encourage people in whatever way I can and trust that God is at work in their lives as well as my own. I step into the messy places and relationships He calls me to trusting that I have nothing to fear in His perfect love.

As we step into a relationship with Jesus, we acknowledge the truth of who He is and who we are. We let ourselves be seen and trust His love to help us think, live and love His way. We love one another when we are willing to be seen and known, strengths, weaknesses, flaws and all. We love one another when we are willing to see and know the struggles of others and go through it with them so that they can know the love of Jesus themselves. In Jesus, we form relationships that are unbroken by time and the conditions of our hearts and world. We come into agreement with God and in this, together we can experience full and complete joy.

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Want to dig deeper into the book of 1 John?

Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk this Way is available at the Welcome Desk or at MariKeisling.com.

Leading Kids to a Life of Prayer

I didn’t pray as a kid except maybe when I wanted something. The truth is I didn’t develop a life of prayer until I was 38 years old. I was taught about Jesus but I wasn’t shown how to build a relationship with Him or told that He even wanted a relationship with me. Through experience, I have discovered prayer to be the single most important thing that I do.  It’s the most important thing I do for myself, for my family, for my job, for my community. I wouldn’t have believed or even understood that statement 10 years ago but that’s because my prayers didn’t change God, they changed me. 

We can’t be with our kids at all times but God can and is. That seems like reason enough to lead them to a life of prayer, a habit of communing with God, now. Here are 5 simple ways to help lead kids into a life of prayer:

1. Start with yourself. You can’t lead what you don’t know. Ask yourself if you would be satisfied if your children had your prayer life. If the answer is, “no”, start to develop a life of prayer today. Pray for God’s help and guidance. 

2. Use everyday opportunities. I can’t tell you how many lost items I have found right after I have prayed to find them or how many tummy aches felt better after prayer. There are opportunities all around us to model how to turn to God. Opportunities to thank Him, to tell Him how we are feeling, or to ask for help. The more you do it, the more likely it will become a habit. For instance, for a scraped knee: “God please comfort Wendy, take away the pain and let her heal quickly”; a scary dream or thought: “Lord give peace and comfort to Wendy and chase away the scary thoughts and fill her thoughts with funny memories”; a lost item: “Lord, remind us that we can come to you with the small things and the large things.  “Help us find Wendy’s car keys”; an illness: “Lord, heal Wendy and restore her to full health.” I could go on and on. Use simple, easy prayers that can lead kids to a habit of going to God. After you have a history of praying for everyday opportunities with your children, begin encouraging and coaching them to do it. 

3. Empower kids to use their personalities. God made us all uniquely and he loves and interacts with us uniquely. He delights in our uniqueness and intends for us to use our personalities, likes, gifts and interests when interacting with Him and His word. What does your child enjoy? Music, dance, art, puzzles? How does your child learn? Hands on, by reading, listening, talking, moving? Use what you know about your child to help them find enjoyable ways to interact with God. Are they theatrical?  Challenge them to “act out” a Bible story as you read it or put together a skit showing how a scripture could be applied to our world. Do they love music? Use your smart phone to pull up some instrumental music to play while you talk to God together or encourage them to write their own worship song. Draw pictures, develop hand motions to scripture, sing, dance, etc. Help kids see how they can use what they love and who they are when interacting with God.  

4. Pray scripture. Read a scripture and then help your child pray it back to God in their own words and apply it to what is going on in their life. For example: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Pray it back: “God I am worried about the upcoming speech I have to give in English and I am afraid that I will forget what I want to say and the kids will laugh at me. Please take these worries from me and let me rest in you. Be with me as I give my speech. I love you. Amen.” 

5. Bless your kids.  Build a tradition of blessing your kids each day. Do it when they go off to school or when you tuck them into bed. Make the sign of the cross on their forehead and pray God’s favor and/or protection over them. Examples: “May you experience God’s love in a new and special way today, or may you always remember how much God loves and cherishes you,” etc. You can even encourage your kids to bless you.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;   turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6

 If you are looking for resources with ideas on building faith in kids visit homefrontmag.com.

 

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