Chris Sullivan served as a guest speaker for the church on Sunday and posed an interesting question: what are we created for? He offered scripture from Psalms that explained how all of creation worships the Lord. He showed a compelling video that portrayed the importance of our work as a form of worship. Chris added that many humans work with the goal of having time off (the weekend, vacation, retirement). However, he mentioned that Jesus worked and had a full time job for the majority of his life on earth. He also offered encouragement to those in the congregation that are having difficulty in their work, whether it is at school or in our careers. Chris explained that our jobs and tasks in the renewed world will be the best jobs of our lives. He concluded his message by explaining the fact that worship is that which cares for and cultivates God’s creation, as He is the Creator.

Pastor Jon offered encouraging news to the congregation on Sunday that we are entering a new season of expectation for the church. He mentioned that he is expecting the Holy Spirit to move in the congregation, expecting to reach college students and allow them to find a home away from home, expecting Northgate to grow in numbers and for God’s hand to be on the people of Northgate and cause great things to happen in our lives. During his message, Jon asked for a show of hands of people who have been attending Northgate since the AMC theater, and again for the past two years. An overwhelming majority of the congregation have come to Northgate within the past two years, which serves as a testament to the prayers that were extended for people that were yet to come to Northgate. Pastor Jon shared the vision that he received to reach the hearts of college students and was personally touched by a statistic he heard that between 70 and 80 percent of high school students that were raised in the church will turn away when they go to college. This vision that Jon received has influenced the vision and the heart of Northgate. He also explained a story of a Muslim family that received a vision from the Lord in the form of a picture of Jesus and attended a Christian church in Buffalo that following Sunday and committed their lives to Christ. Pastor Jon concluded his message by explaining how encouraged he was by the hearts of those who attend Northgate and explained how we can all share in the responsibility of carrying out God’s vision for the future of Northgate and the broader Buffalo community as a whole.

It's just a phase, so don't miss it.

Chris Parker and Laura Stiffler shared their hearts for the children’s ministry at Northgate and offered each of their visions for the youth that are currently attending Northgate as well as the children who have yet to come. Laura shared the three truths that her ministry team works to instill into the lives of the children at Northgate: we are messy, we are loved, and we are called. She mentioned that you grow closer to God when your mistakes are revealed and that being messy is not something that should be discouraged, but rather it is in the nature of all of us as humans. She also wants children to know that they have a purpose in life and that kids truly can make a difference in the world. Chris and Laura offered insight as to the four phases of life each child will experience before they graduate high school: preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school. They emphasized and encouraged parents not to fast forward through phases or place a child in a phase in their development that they are not ready for, the most important phase is the phase that the child is in right then. They illustrated how fast the time to graduation goes by through marble jars, where one marble represented one week in a child’s life. They also showed an emotional video that displayed all of the joys, struggles, and experiences each child will encounter through each phase of life. They concluded their message with goals that they have for the children at Northgate. Laura and Chris want each child to own their faith, their values, their decisions, their relationships, and their future.

* Unfortunately, there were problems recording this audio.  We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Each marble represents 1 week in a child's life before they graduate from high school.  Each jar represents the phases of childhood, starting with Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, and High School (left to right).  It's just a phase, so don't miss it. 

Chris drew this illustration to show how the current generation is taught to seek Jesus.  He says we approach it linearly, meaning our good deeds move us 1 step forward, but our sin moves us 2 steps back.  Reaching Jesus is unattainable.

Instead, we should look at it like a bullseye.  We don't need to attain these high levels of expectations because Jesus already hit the mark for us when he died for our sins.  It's okay to be a dot outside the bullseye because of Grace.