Supplying the Needs of Others

Occasionally, when I want to know the meaning of a word or phrase, I will look it up in a dictionary; either the ‘old-fashioned’ printed page in a book or online. So, the other day I looked up the word ‘serve’ to see what they said. With thanks to Merriam-Webster.com, one particular definition stood out to me. The transitive verb offering caught my eye: “to furnish or supply with something needed or desired.” Then, I got to thinking….

There’s an entire economy built around this definition (the service industry). This encompasses things like the hospitality industry (hotels, motels, etc.), the financial services industry (insurance, money management, etc.), and even the restaurant industry (wait staff, hosts, chefs, etc.) and many, many more. Another industry that bears mention is the nonprofit world, of which churches are a part.

Many of these organizations provide valuable benefits to untold numbers of people as they operate. But, there is no way possible that they could do this without the tireless, selfless efforts of a multitude of people-both visible and behind-the-scenes. Here at Gateway, it may surprise you to learn that for weekend services, on average, 150 people per week are serving in the fashion of the definition above...folks, that’s a small army!!

So where do all these people serve? They are Musicians, Vocalists, Tech Team members, Ushers, Greeters, Parking Attendants, Cafe servers, Teachers and Aides, Youth Leaders, Finance folks, Prayer Team, Security and Medical personnel and more; this is just for worship services. There are also roughly as many who serve during the week-Life Group leaders, Meal preparers, and various other posts not mentioned. That’s almost 300 people who God is using or has at the ready, to ‘furnish or supply’ a clear pathway for others to hear the Gospel in some way-each week. And what I just described is repeated over-and-over-again, in churches across the country and even in your backyard.

That’s humbling when you think about it. But, a question comes to mind...have you asked yourself when the last time was that you tirelessly, selflessly ‘furnished or supplied…’ something needed or desired, for someone else? I’m convicted as I write this, because at times I am worried about one person instead of others...yes, that’d be ME. Just as Christ himself came to earth to serve and be a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), I am to have that same attitude. Let’s all strive for tireless, selfless service to and for others, during this year’s Holiday Season.

 

Q&A 12/3/2017

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Why isn't the total attendance marked on the bulletin?

Great question. With figuring things out with two campuses, we realized that it's a little more difficult to get the numbers together each week and in before the next week's bulletin needs to be printed. When we first launched North Main Pastor Ben opted to provide a quarterly report that you can pick up at the What's Next Wall or you can find it on the Giving page of our website. The great thing about this is we are able to include a lot more detail and context like comparisons to the past year and trends for the entire quarter.

In Luke 21:32 Jesus says this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. What does this mean? Isn’t he promising that the end of time will have happened during that generation?

Yeah. Verse 32 can be quite confusing without having the time to get into some of the ways Luke uses language throughout his gospel and Acts. That's the reason why I skipped it during the sermon. Regarding the phrase "this generation," there's quite a bit of debate as to what Luke is intending for us to understand in these words of Jesus. The short answer is that there are two traditional ways to interpret "this generation." First, the phrase refers to the actual generation alive with Jesus. And two, the phrase refers to the generation of those who follow Jesus at the time of His return. Most would agree with the second understanding and interpretation as the best option as it seems obvious that the things Jesus describes did not take place during the time of the apostles.

Worship 1, 2, 3

I, along with the worship leader’s at Gateway, am reading a book called Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper.  In this book, there are several convicting and informative chapters which force us to take a hard look at what worship really is and how we are to lead our congregations in worship. The story of worship is, Cosper explains, “God creates, sin corrupts, but Christ redeems. And all of us get to sing along.”

Worship, in my opinion, has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the church. One group cries out for depth and reverence, another for contextualization, while yet another for stylistic flavor. Cosper rightly asks the question, “Who’s right? Who has the weight of the Bible on their side? What should worship look like among the exiles who enjoy God’s grace here and now, yet suffer with sin and its destructive consequences, all the while eagerly anticipating Christ’s return?”

I want to briefly share with you his attempt to answer this question. He suggests three helpful guardrails for understanding worship in the church.

Worship 1,2,3

  • One object and author
  • Two contexts
  • Three audiences
  1. The Object: God is the center and object of our worship.
    The Author: He created everyone and everything including worship.
  2. Contexts:
    1. Worship Scattered-  “Spirit-filled life of the Christian in the world.”
    2. Worship Gathered- “The meeting of God’s people to remember, encourage and bless one another."
  3. Audiences: God, The Church and the World.

Number three is where I’d like to spend my time in this blog post. It was eye opening to me because I have held positions in the past where I hyper-focused on which audience our corporate worship services should be built for. Yes, God is the object of our worship but that is not what we are talking about in this step. When we focus solely on God as the audience of our corporate worship service, we ignore Scripture which illustrates for us that worship is also to encourage the church and to be a witness for the world to see us in worship of God. Those are our “Audiences.”

Ephesians 5:19 “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Even as we see in the Psalms, Israel was called to worship on top of the wall because it was an encouragement to each other as well as a witness to the surrounding communities. Their worship was heard for miles. When we say, “We shouldn’t sing songs about God, only songs to God” or “All these songs are man-centered and not God-centered,” I would remind us of the words of Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound                                                       That saved a wretch like me 
I once was lost, but now am found
T'was blind but now I see
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Lots of references to “I, Me, My” as well as what God has done for us - “grace.” The Psalms are full of David’s laments and cries to God to save and deliver him as well as proclaiming the goodness of God. Cosper says, “The gathering should be a place where believers are built up and encouraged in the midst of the various trials and circumstances of their lives. So when we gather, we sing to each other. We declare the truths of the gospel to one another. Our presence and our participation is not merely for the sake of our individual relationship with God, demonstrating our confidence and hope, but it’s also for our brother’s and sister’s sake.” When we sing corporately, we are speaking the truth in love to those around us and maybe in some instances, we are the one receiving the truth.

Finally, the World as our audience:“Just as the Psalms declare the wonders of God to all of Israel, they declare them to the nations” (Psalm 96:3).

Pastor Tim Keller says, “... God wants the world to overhear us worshipping Him. God directs His people not to simply worship, but to sing His praises ‘before the nations.’ We are not to simply communicate the gospel to them, but celebrate the gospel before them.”

Read that again, “We are not to simply communicate the gospel to them, but celebrate the gospel before them.” WOW!  What an amazing vision and reminder for us.

"Worship that celebrates the gospel brings all three audiences together: The God who saves by the gospel, the church formed by the gospel and the world in need of the gospel (Cosper)."

My prayer is that we allow this perspective to frame our understanding of corporate worship at Gateway Church. Preaching the Gospel through praise and preaching is designed for 3 different audiences and may that ever be on our mind as we gather together, encourage one another and  proclaim the Gospel.

Amen


 

Worship Sets for 12/09-10/17

CR9

-Before the Throne of God

-Go Tell It On The Mountain / This is Amazing Grace Mash-up

-Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee

-A Day of Glory

-Lamb of God

North Main                                                  

-Go Tell It On The Mountain / This is Amazing Grace Mash-up          

-Joy To The World    

-All The Poor and Powerless

-Angels We Have Heard On High

                        

 

 

Life-Changing Christmas

Do you remember a time when January quickly came upon you and you wondered where December went? The month of December can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.

In Michael Mack’s article, 12 Ideas for a Life-Changing Small Group Christmas, from Small Group Leadership, he shares 12 ideas for Life Groups to get and give the most during the Christmas season.

1. Start New Traditions. For most of us, the holidays are about traditions: eating huge meals together, taking a drive to see the lights, decorating the house, going to local events, and, of course, going to church services. Why not invite those from your group or others who are lonely to join you in some of your traditions? Start new traditions with your small group. Each year several groups at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, help provide holiday meals for families who would otherwise not have a nice meal. They not only buy it, but they deliver it and pray for the families. Your small group tradition can be little or big; what matters is to do something together for the least of these.

2. Study the Gospels (All of Them) Christmas lessons tend to rely on the narratives from Matthew and Luke, but there are many other alternatives, of course. Peter Mead (www.biblicalpreaching.net), a missionary and writer, suggests studying all four Gospel introductions, for instance. Introduce group members to Matthew’s introduction and then Mark’s. Discuss why Mark didn’t use the birth narrative, but jumped directly to the days leading up to the start of Jesus’ ministry. Then summarize the visitations, prophecies, and narrative of Luke 1 and 2. Wrap it up by studying and discussing John 1:1-18, which portrays beautifully the why behind it all.

3. Experience Christmas Anew. This is one of the most wonderful times of the year to grow together in your understanding of the gospel story.

Kyle Idleman has a Christmas video called The Christmas Experience that tells the story of Jesus’ birth. He begins and ends the video with a devotion that could be used for family and friends. Another way to shine the spotlight on the gospel story with your families is through the tradition of Advent. Embrace it for what it was intended and put the real meaning of Christmas back in the season. Advent can be a great time of personal retrospect and growth for your Life Group members and their families.

4. Celebrate Immanuel. This Christmas, move past the historical Jesus who was born and lived 2,000 years ago. Consider the living Christ who is still Immanuel, God with us … the One who is with us whenever we gather together in his name. As a group, discuss and prepare to celebrate the Event of events when the Creator of the universe made himself nothing and took the form of human flesh, a baby, a humble servant, a sacrifice for our sins. Don’t reserve worship for your Christmas-eve services at the church building. Build up to that celebration by singing worshipful hymns together as a group and finding other ways to praise God for what he did by lovingly sending his only Son into the world.

5. Invite Friends to Christmas Services. According to a recent LifeWay Research study, 61 percent of Americans attend church services at Christmastime. Which means, of course, that 4 out of 10 people do not attend. Yet, among those who don’t attend church at Christmas, 57 percent said that if someone they knew invited them to church at Christmastime, they would go. Commit as a group to invite your neighbors, friends, and co-workers to Christmas services. Encourage and spur one another on along the way.

At Gateway, our goal is to make sure there is always room for others. Don’t forget to sign up for your Christmas Eve service ticket, so we know how many to expect at each service in order for us to make room. Knowing that 57 percent said they would come to a Christmas service if invited, then WE MUST take advantage of this Christmas and invest in and invite others to church!

6. Love Those Who Are Struggling. Remember the folks in your circles who struggle this time of year. Many people—inside your group and among your group members’ friends—are vulnerable during the holidays. Many hurting people come into the Christmas season feeling like God is far away. They desperately want to know Immanuel—God with them—but he seems more like Emmanuel: God used to be with me, but now I feel like he’s left me … or, I feel like he is so external to my current experience.

This is one of the best times of year for a small group to reach out to these folks and love them, invite them into your celebrations, and invite them to know more than the “baby Jesus”—to develop a relationship with him who died for them and lives today. People are not only vulnerable, they are open to an invitation to connect during the holidays.

7. Give Gifts to the Least of These. Years ago, I read Pastor Dick Alexander’s sage advice about gift giving that I’ve never forgotten. “Gifts are an integral part of Christmas,” he said, “but they can either express or distort its meaning.” He suggested limiting our gift giving to one another (in the family or small group). Your family or group may usually exchange gifts with one another (even though is Jesus’ birth we’re celebrating!). Instead, give gifts to the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40, 45).

At Gateway, there are always opportunities to give. Salvation Army seeks volunteers to ring the bells so they may provide for families in the community. Open Arms has many families that need to be adopted for Christmas and provide gifts for mothers who may have suffered abuse and gifts for their children. Angel Tree has volunteers help to provide gifts to children with a parent who is in prison. Gateway hosts a party for these children.  Contact the church office to see how you can help a family or child this Christmas.

8. Throw a Party. The holidays are an excellent time for a party with a purpose. Be creative: make it a story party, where each person comes prepared to share a short story about a Christmas past; or have a birthday party of Jesus with the kids. Or make it a Christmas-movie party. The main thing is to make this a party to which everyone can invite friends, especially those who don’t fully understand the meaning of Christmas. As Jesus did with Matthew’s friends in Matthew 9, simply enjoy the opportunity to connect with one another, and see what God will do.

9. Serve Together. Most churches need lots of volunteers during Christmas services. Plan to serve together, if possible at one service in a specific ministry or area. Just ask church leaders what is needed and how you can serve together.

At Gateway, Family Go & Serve Night is not just for the children. It is a great way to bring all generations together. We saw many generations gather to pack shoeboxes in November. Two of our Life groups helped check and label the boxes that the families packed. This month everyone has an opportunity to go Christmas carolling together through Family Go & Serve Night in December.

10. Build Deeper Community. Spend an entire day together as a group. A Sunday may be best. (If you can’t do this in December, move it to January.) Go to church services together in the morning and then go out to eat. Go Christmas shopping together at the mall. Plan a party for the evening; ask folks to bring food to munch on throughout the evening, and watch family-friendly Christmas movies together or play games. Or go to a Christmas pageant together. Invite spouses, family, and friends of members.

At Gateway, we see many Life Groups come up with creative ways to connect not only with those in their own group, but with other groups so that they can get to know more people. For example, two Life Groups hosted three young adult groups, providing a meal for them at someone’s home. The evening ended with all 53 people singing worship songs.  

11. Adopt a Family. Ask your church or a community organization for the contact information for a local family in need. Find out what the family needs and then shop together for gifts. Schedule a time to greet the family and drop off the gifts. If possible, keep in touch after the holiday season and continue to serve. (Imagine the impact if every group, class, and team in your church did this!)

At Gateway, we have Life Groups who have adopted a family or couple within the church. They make visits and help meet needs that the couple may be unable to do, such as mow the lawn, rake leaves, wash windows, clean the home or organize the garage, get groceries, etc. You may know someone who would benefit from your group walking alongside them in their journey.

12. Plan for a New Year. Sometime in December or early January, gather group members for a fun gathering that you use to plan for next year. Start thinking and preparing for this planning party now. For many of us, the holidays are the biz, biz, busiest time of the year. Talk to your group members now to discuss some of the things you won’t do this year so that you can experience Immanuel—God with us—and be an Incarnational small group by taking the message of Jesus into the world around you.

 

Missions Trips 2018

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Have you signed up for a 2018 Mission Trip yet???

Hello everyone!

It's time to sign up for the 2018 Mission Trips! Don’t delay! Reserve your spot now before they fill up. Mission trips are a great way to fill the “Go” part of our values here at Gateway. By going on a trip, you will have the opportunity to share the Gospel, help people in need, use your gifts and talents that God has given you and allow God to work in you and through you.

So what's holding you back? Most people say “fear." Don’t let fear hold you back from what God is calling you to do. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

So check out the the 2018 Mission Trips, and sign up today!

Dominican Republic - March 24th - March 30th. The primary action for this trip is to help local pastors in leadership and training, VBS, and evangelism, and possibly some light construction.

Pikeville, KY -  July 8th - 13th The primary action for this trip is to host a VBS, distribute shoes and do light construction. This is a great trip for families looking to serve together this summer.

Panama - October 6th - 13th This will be primarily a medical trip. We are looking for doctors, nurses, PA’s, pharmacists, dentists and anyone else I’m maybe leaving out. If you have no medical experience, that is ok, we need you, also. There will be plenty of opportunities on this trip to serve and share Jesus with the people of Panama.

Panama is located between Costa Rica and Columbia and forms the narrowest and lowest portion of the isthmus that links North and South America. The population is approximately 3.3 million. Chepo, Chagres, La Paz, and Nuevo Paraiso are areas in Panama. Some of these areas are more urban and can be reached by bus, others are more rural and must be accessed by boat or canoe. People groups in Panama include Kuna, Embera, and Wounon. Spanish is the official language of the country, but there are many tribal dialects spoken in the rural regions.

Dominican Republic - November 10th - 16th  This is a men’s mission trip. On this tri, we will conduct baseball clinics in different cities throughout the week working with hundreds of young men. We will also feed a village, visit a girls orphanage and be challenged as men. This is a great trip for baseball lovers and non-baseball lovers. There is something to do for everyone.

To sign up, go to Gateway's web page and click on the "GO" tab. This will direct you to the mission's page where there is a black button that says "Mission Trip Application". By clicking on that button, you will be able to fill out the form that will get you signed up for a mission trip.

Look forward to hearing from you,
Kevin Grubinski

 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

The season is upon us. The season of “the hustle”. Our
calendars are filled with work parties, shopping trips,
volunteering at local organizations, ridiculously long
Christmas programs in stifling school gyms with unbearable
bench seating…It really is the most wonderful time of the
year, isn’t it? In the midst of this chaos it can be easy to lose
sight of the reason we celebrate! Advent is a time of
preparation and anticipation of not just the physical gifts we
give one another but also a time to ready our hearts for the
gift we have received through Jesus Christ.
As we begin this first Sunday of Advent, we (the worship
leadership team) would like to invite you to step away from
the hustle for a moment and reflect on a song from our set
list each week that focuses on Christ’s entrance into this
world. This first Sunday of Advent we will be singing Charles
Wesley’s, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. This familiar
hymn is a prayer of supplication, pleading with the Lord to
return and set us free from pain, suffering, fear, sin and the
bondage it creates. It’s a song that reminds us that we are
waiting for our King! Just as Israel awaited their redemption,
so we patiently and expectantly wait for the Second Coming
of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a child that eagerly and
joyously anticipates opening those gifts on Christmas
morning, so we should look forward to our King’s return to
rule and reign for eternity.
“Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people
free”. Let this be your prayer this Advent season.


Come thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Operation Christmas Child

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This month at our Family Go & Serve event, Kidway partnered with Liberty Benton’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes to pack 233 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! This shattered our record of 100 boxes packed last year and was a fun evening for all who attended. We collaborated with the Connect ministry to have some adult Life Groups assemble and check the boxes while families worked together to prepare and pack boxes. It was a beautiful thing to see children, youth, college students, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents all connecting and serving together.

Operation Christmas Child has been a part of Samaritan’s Purse ministries since 1993 and volunteers take boxes to over 100 countries around the world each year. Shoebox outreach events are incredible opportunities for local church leaders to share the Gospel with children, and many children participate in follow-up discipleship programs at local churches in their area after receiving their gifts. Visit Samaritan's Purse for more information about Operation Christmas Child and the shoebox ministry.

Thank you to everyone from both campuses who donated items or came and served so that kids all over the world have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus this Christmas!

11/19/2017 Q&A Thirsting for God

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Are your services on television?

No, our services are not on television, but our sermons can be found midweek at our website under Sermon Media.

Is there an app that you could suggest as a devotional for kids?

I'm sure there are several good ones out there, but one that I know a lot of our families here like is the YouVersion Bible app for Kids. With this app, you are able to download certain Bible stories that either your kids can read through themselves, you can read to them, or you can set a narrator to read it. Once the kids have listened to the story, there are activities they can do based on the story. Another possibility is an app that ties in with the Sunday school curriculum that we use here at Gateway. We use The Gospel Project, and they have an app called The Gospel Project for Kids. I believe they just revamped this app, so I'm not 100% sure what all is on it, but if you search for Lifeway Kids in the app store and download that, the Gospel Project for Kids should be a choice to download from there. 

I know you asked specifically about apps, but another resource that I highly recommend for families with boys about your boys' ages is the Action Bible. It reads like a comic book which is pretty appealing to a lot of kids. We are also planning to launch a family resource in January that we will send home each weekend. Part of this resource will be letting parents know what is coming up the next week in Kidway so you can read and study it ahead of time with your kids. There will be a 5 day reading plan, so if family devotions are something you do (or hope to start doing), there will be a short passage suggestion for you each night. 

I hope that helps, and thanks again for asking! We're always excited when families want to help get their kids in God's Word more!

Who God Blesses

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This prayer from Pastor Scotty Smith really frames well the themes we are are seeing in our Psalms sermon series. Whether it’s “God Will Not Abandon You” (Psalm 16), “Counting Your Days” (Psalm 39), “Thirsting For God” (Psalm 143) or “Who God Blesses” (Psalm 24), we cannot overlook God’s commitment to love us and love us well. Let this prayer bless you as it sinks in and may it become your prayer this week as you prepare for giving thanks.

Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1 NIV

“Lord Jesus, when you stripped and stooped to wash the apostles’ feet, you opened the curtains on the kind of Savior you really are. It wasn’t primarily dirty feet, but sinful hearts you came to wash, yet you do care about every aspect of our lives. There’s not one arena of lives, or chapter in our stories, that’s beyond your interest and engagement. Whatever and wherever, you remain committed to show us the full extent of your love.

When our hearts break with sadness and loss, you come close with compassion and kindness. When we are prone to wander, you are even more prone to pursue us and find us. When we are vexed and angry, you enter our confusion and welcome our passion.

When sin crouches at our doors and temptation rages, you remind us you own the whole house and provide a way of escape. When we fail, you don’t cross your arms with disgust; you show us your cross with joy.

When we are weary and heavy laden, you don’t tell us to buck up and be strong; you bid us come and find rest. When we are indifferent towards you, you remain impassioned towards us. Every care we cast in your direction, you catch. Every burden we offload on you, you shoulder under with gladness.

Though we have no plans to try, we’ll never out sin your grace, out run your reach, or outlast your patience. When you convict us, it’s for our freedom and joy. When you discipline us, you do so with mercy and love, not contempt and shame.

Jesus, you aren’t ashamed to call us yours. Thank you. You love us with the delight of a Bridegroom. Thank you. You’re working in all things for our good. Thank you. You’re coming back, and all will be right. Thank you. So very Amen we pray, in your magnificent and merciful name.”

Worship Set for This Weekend:
*CR9:     
Beautiful Scandalous Night  (Sojourn Music)
The Lion and The Lamb   (Leeland)
O, This God   (Matt Redman)
Great Are You Lord   (All Sons & Daughters)                      

*North Main:
How Great You Are (Sovereign Grace Worship)

Day By Day   (Citizens)
King of My Heart   (Sarah McMillan)
O Come To The Altar  (Elevation Worship)
Jesus, Thank You  (Sovereign Grace Worship)

 

The Grace of Hospitality

Just a couple weeks ago, I remember talking with a Jacobs School 1st grader at lunch. She showed me what she brought for lunch: a small bag of chips and a candy bar. I said, “Is that all you have for lunch?” She proudly replied, “Yep, and I packed it myself.” I said, “I see. Does your mom or dad usually pack your lunch?” She said, “No, my dad isn’t around and my mom needs to sleep when I get ready for school.” As much as my conversation with this girl both shocked me and broke my heart, I know there are many other kids like her at Jacobs, who don’t know what it’s like to be served with grace.

At the time of this conversation, Thanksgiving was only a month away, so when Krista Miller, the principal at Jacobs School, invited Gateway to help with the school’s first ever Thanksgiving dinner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Just last Friday, dozens of Gateway attenders rallied to provide turkeys, side dishes, and desserts, while many others showed up at the school to help teachers and school staff set up tables, lay out table coverings, and serve the meal.

As the tables lining the main hallway were prepared and the students congregated, I stopped for a moment to reflect on what was occurring. Over 260 students sat in their seats, anxiously waiting to dig in and experience the food that was set before them. I even heard several students share that they had never eaten a home-cooked turkey or had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I could see the awe on the kids’ faces. It quickly became obvious to me that this meal was more than just a meal. This Thanksgiving dinner proved to be a gift to these kids. It was a gift of the grace of hospitality.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this grace of hospitality in his letter to the Romans. He said:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

And so, as the students ate, I silently prayed for them. I prayed that they would trust and know Jesus. I asked God to make His wonderful grace known to them through this simple act of hospitality; that they would experience the everlasting hope of Christ.

Although it took many generous hands and hours to prepare this meal (which lasted less than an hour), we can still pray today that God would use this ordinary meal for His extraordinary purpose. Will you join me in prayer for the kids who attend Jacobs School and for their families? Pray that, through experiencing the grace of hospitality, they would know the love of Christ, which would call them to live in the hope of the Gospel. Let’s pray that God would not only fill their stomachs, but that He would fill their souls with grace..the grace of Christ, expressed through hospitality.

 

Serving How You're Wired

There was a phrase I used, during the very first post for the Serve blog, that bears repeating. I mentioned that we talk about serving at church A LOT-which we do. And, that if you hear it enough, you may be thinking, “Sure, you just need a warm body to fill a role”...which is emphatically not the case.

The truth is, our desire for those who serve here at Gateway is simply for people to serve in the church, in a role consistent with their spiritual giftedness, talents and skills. When you do this, you will enjoy it, grow, and tell others about it! I’ve already discussed tools we have to help you figure that out, but here are some great examples of how this is playing out at Gateway:

  • A Security Team serving area that is led by a 25+-year veteran of local law enforcement; longtime Gateway member, including several other like professionals and laypersons.
  • A Medical Team serving area that is led by two, career Certified Nurse Practitioners; longtime Gateway members. Not to mention, a multitude of medical professionals across a variety of disciplines who participate.
  • Several schoolteachers, current and former, who serve within various Kidway (children’s/youth ministry) areas.
  • Construction, Interior decorators, florists who serve with set building and design, holiday setup and in other ways.
  • Former professional sound/tech people who serve with our current worship/tech teams.

These are just a few examples of many who are serving in areas where, professionally and otherwise, God has most definitely wired them. So, how are you wired? Are you serving where God has planted you, according to that wiring? If so, that’s wonderful! But, if not, maybe it’s time to consider it. May God richly bless you as you seek to serve Him!

 

Testimony from Costa Rica Trip

By: Kristi St. Amour

The mission of Gateway Church is to connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. We can join in this mission through four areas: Worship, Connect, Serve, and GO.

As a member of Gateway, I have been involved in the first three areas (Worship, Connect, and Serve). If I am being honest, I wasn’t giving enough attention to the last area: GO. As I kept reading Scripture, praying, and listening to sermons, it became evident to me that God was leading me to grow in this area. Yet, even as I felt the pull to GO, I didn’t jump into it right away. Each year as I looked at the list of mission trips, I knew I should sign up, but I always came up with an excuse as to why it wasn’t the right time for me to do so.

The time came when I needed to stop making excuses and just sign up to GO. Before I knew it, I was on my first mission trip to Costa Rica, along with 10 other members of our team.

While in Costa Rica, we had several opportunities to connect people to Jesus Christ. We taught  VBS to over 200 kids at several schools and communities throughout the week. In one community, we were teaching and doing crafts in a shack with mud floors while random dogs were roaming around, yet it was the same Gospel message that is shared in comfortable churches here at home. The schools flood easily but are places where the love of Jesus is taught to children that may not hear it in their homes. We heard story after story of the rough circumstances kids are in when they return home from school each day. In spite of this, they were full of smiles and hugs as we sang, made crafts, played games, and learned about Jesus. We were also able to help with the maintenance of one school by painting some exterior walls.

We visited an orphanage to play with kids and heard heartbreaking stories about their pasts. We delivered some much needed medicine to the home of a very sick child. We prayed over this child and gave hugs to the family, with tears in both their eyes and in ours. We went into the community and distributed food to families in their homes. While in each home, we learned their story and prayed with them over many hard situations. We met several fellow believers, and we could see that the common hope we have in Jesus is stronger than any circumstance, language barrier, or cultural difference.

Not only were we connecting people to Jesus Christ, we were connecting to one another. Our team was full of different ages, personalities, professions, and backgrounds. Each member brought with them their unique spiritual gifts that were used throughout the week. Together, we attended worship services that were in both English and Spanish. We gathered each evening to discuss our day and dig into God’s Word. We spent hours each night learning, sharing, laughing, crying, and growing closer to God in the process. It was a gift to spend a week with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ away from the distractions of daily life at home.

I will forever be thankful that I finally listened to the tug of my heart, stopped making excuses, and followed the call to GO. We were only in a few communities, but it made me realize more than ever before there is much work to be done in spreading the Gospel. There are opportunities to be a part of a team both in the United States and abroad this upcoming year. You won’t regret joining in the mission to GO and connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. (Visit Gateway's Missions Page for more information.)

 

11/12/2017 Q&A Count Your Days

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Are the Christmas Eve service times posted yet?

The service times are not posted yet. We will be announcing the times on the weekend of Nov 25/26. With Christmas Eve being on a Sunday, know that we will be having services at all of our regularly scheduled worship times at both campuses. More details will be coming soon.

 

Where have the attendance and giving numbers gone that used to be on the bulletin each week? I really appreciated seeing how things were going on a bigger scale.

Great question. With figuring things out with two campuses, we realized that its a little more difficult to get the numbers together each week and in before the next week's bulletin needs to be printed. For now, we have opted to provide a quarterly report that you can pick up at the What's Next Wall or you can find it on the Giving page of our website.  The great thing about this is we are able to include a lot more detail and context like comparisons to the past year and trends for the entire quarter.