NORTHGATE Blog

Helping Kids Through Difficulty

I confess, I think I had become desensitized to the life stressors kids and families face today.  Divorce, death, depression, health diagnoses, adoption, foster care, bullying…the list could go on. They have become so common place that we don’t think twice about it.  However, those things are anything but common place to those experiencing it.  Especially children and youth, who because of their developmental level, process stress very differently than adults.  Not only that, but kids, even within the same family, can process and react to stress very differently from each other.  My concern is that our kids today are developing a “world view” of despair, isolation and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” rather than a “world view” of hope, love and connectedness that Jesus offers. 

We at Northgate don’t think it needs to be that way.  For a few years now, we have been praying, asking God how we can support hurting kids/kids with various “special needs” and their families.  As a result, beginning on Mondays in the fall, Northgate Church is launching a new program called Confident Kids.

Below is from ConfidentKids.com

Growing up in America today is not easy. Simply surviving can be complicated for children growing up with fractured families, drugs and alcohol in their homes and communities, family and neighborhood violence, foster care – and so much more! Yet few places within our society, and even fewer within our churches, are reaching out to help children deal with the complexities of these high-stress life situations.

Confident Kids is a Bible based support group program offering a life skills curriculum that helps families deal with the stresses of living in today's world. Through games, skits and small group discussions, children learn important life skills while experiencing a safe place to talk about their life experiences. In a concurrent group, parents/caregivers learn to apply these same skills at home, while experiencing a safe place to share their stories, as well. In both groups, participants grow as they discover they are not alone. 

Confident Kids is designed to bring hope, healing and the message of God’s love to hurting kids and struggling parents within our community by providing a safe, supportive Christ centered community.  

Northgate’s Confident Kids program will have a place for everyone in the family, from childcare for infants and toddlers to support groups for kids and youth ages 4 to 18 as well as a group for parents/caregivers.   No one needs to be left home on Monday nights this fall.  A meal will be provided as well.  

Even more important than providing strategies for dealing with life’s stressors, we hope that Northgate’s Confident Kids program will connect kids and families…to each other, to others going through something similar, to loving, well trained volunteers who are cheering them on and to Jesus who came so that we could live differently.   

Registration for participation in Confident Kids will open in August.  For more information on opportunities to serve on the Confident Kids team visit http://ngatechurch.org/kids-1/  

From Northgate’s Vision

Compassion-loving
We envision a Christ-centered, radically-loving, excessively-compassionate church who serves rather than be served, who gives rather than takes, and who blesses rather than curses.

Wendy Walton

Kids’ Ministry Director

Last weekend, we launched our 2018 giving emphasis: HIDDEN POTENTIAL. Together, we discovered that you and I have hidden potential that God calls us to uncover each and every day. In the same way, our building has hidden potential. When fully unleashed, we’ll enhance our building environment, wow our guests, and help people all the more become who God purposed them  to be. 

The goal is ambitious. That’s okay. As I said this past weekend, when God calls us to do something:

We don’t have to be afraid.                                                         
We need to remember that it’s not about us. It’s about God.

We never do it alone.

So, let’s review the specifics of this campaign.

THE GOAL?
Together, let’s raise $100,000 over and above our current tithes and offerings.

THE NEED?
Some current obstacles have been identified:

1.    Auditorium seating
More aisles are needed in our stadium section. People like to sit on aisles. Guests come in and can’t find a seat! That needs to change.

2.    Lobby experience
Northgate has a bright lobby. A little too bright! Our guests can’t see us and we can’t see them! Let’s revamp the lobby, darken the windows a little, and create a more welcoming atmosphere.

3.    Youth
Due North youth ministry is hopping! Let’s make Northgate a destination location for tweens and teens! Games, engaging activities, and hands on fun!

4.    A center screen
If you’ve attended Northgate on Christmas or Easter, you’ve seen it. An already solid worship environment gets dialed up with the presence of another screen. Let’s put it in the center and get our worship on!

These unique and fun opportunities will enhance the overall experience at Northgate and make our guests feel all the more welcome.

THE HOW?
The truth is we all have the potential to see this vision become a reality. Will you help us makes it happen?

The Bible is clear on what we should give. So, I challenge you to put God first in your finances in 2018 by giving at least 10% of your income to the church and give above and beyond to HIDDEN POTENTIAL.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. —Malachi 3

An easy way to establish the regular habit of tithing and to give over and above to HIDDEN POTENTIAL is to take advantage of electronic giving.  It’s easy to set up. Just go to http://ngatechurch.org/give and follow the instructions.

THE WIN?
Northgate Church is passionate about helping people become who God purposed them to be. Just imagine what will happen when we unleash this HIDDEN POTENTIAL. More and more people finding their purpose! Thank you in advance!

UPDATE! As of March 18, Northgaters have given or pledged $126,220 to HIDDEN POTENTIAL! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Northgate!

Have Yourself a Sacramental Christmas

A sacrament is a visible image of God’s grace, a physical representation of a spiritual reality. In the Lutheran tradition we recognize two Sacraments, baptism and communion. Baptism is a tangible, visual, ritual that represents a believer’s participation in Christ’s death and resurrection. Communion is a visible, and edible, reminder of Jesus’ body and blood given to us for the forgiveness of sin. These sacraments have been ritualized with much pomp and circumstance, and our tradition can sometimes take away from the profound truth that these sacraments were originally very common things!

Washing and ritual cleansing were a daily Jewish practice. Baptism, therefore, wasn’t a new idea in the day of Jesus, but rather a common practice that was given a new meaning. The same is true with Communion. Jesus used bread and wine, both of which were consumed every day, to represent the New Covenant. When Jesus said, “Whenever you eat of this, and drink of this, remember me”, he wasn’t thinking of church services where we have a sip of grape juice and a nibble of bread. It was in the context that they would be eating bread and drinking wine every day! Whenever you eat and drink, remember me.

God is still in the sacramental business, He uses all sorts of physical, tangible, everyday things, to remind us of His love, purpose, and grace. I want to point out two Christmas sacraments for us to think about this holiday season; two normal, everyday things that can point us to Jesus, to remind us of what Christmas is all about.

GIFTS

First, presents! Everybody loves giving and receiving gifts at Christmas time, yet too often the Christian message looks down on presents, claiming they are a distraction or even an idol! In other words, presents are given a ‘bad wrap’, ha! What if, instead of seeing them as a distraction, presents could be seen as sacrament, a physical reminder of a spiritual truth?

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11)!”

God loves to give gifts! He doesn’t give bad gifts, but good gifts! Gifts of joy, peace, love, and eternal life!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).”

Our gift giving at Christmas time can be a symbol of our generous heavenly Father who gives good gifts us. We can use this Christmas tradition in our families to point to the greatest gift of all time, Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son....(John 3:16).”

Instead of rejecting presents as a distraction from Christmas, let’s use them as a way to point to its true meaning! Talk to your kids about it, meditate on it, and reflect on your own excitement and enthusiasm as a reflection of God’s own excitement in giving us Jesus!

FAMILY

Our second Christmas sacrament revolves around another tradition, being with those we love. You might look forward to being with your family because you love each other and get along. Maybe that’s not your situation; you might have a broken family, and even though you do get together for Christmas, you wish those relationships could be different, healthier, and more loving. Or, maybe you don’t have family to gather with, and Christmas is a time of sorrow and longing. No matter what position you are in, whether being with family in a healthy way is possible or not, there is one thing we have in common. There is a desire, a longing, to be with our loved ones.

"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel" (which means "God with us") (Matthew 1:23).”

Christmas is about God’s deep desire, his longing, to be with us. Our family celebrations, our desire for healthy relationships, and even our sorrow over lost loved ones, can remind us of God’s heart for us! God loves us and wants to be with us! Thanks to Jesus we can be with Him!

This next week, whenever you give or receive a gift, remember Him. Remember your Heavenly Father who loves to give you good gifts, and who has given the greatest gift of all, Jesus. When you feel that excitement, longing, or sorrow about being with family, remember Him. Remember that Christmas is the celebration of Emmanuel, God with us.

Blessings to you all as you celebrate the coming of God into this world. Praying you have a very merry, sacramental Christmas!

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