Pastor Jon invited guest pastors Al and Debbie Warner to preach on the fact that we serve a God that goes beyond generations. They both illustrated the generational concept by explaining how beautiful old church buildings would be started by a grandfather and may not be completed until after his death by his grandson. Al mentioned that the most dangerous aspect of a building expansion project is when it becomes more about drywall and bricks than reaching people. He also wove in many uplifting stories about all of the expansion that is taking place around the city of Buffalo. However, Al warned us that just like the story of Nehemiah, there will always be someone mocking the vision that God has given us. He concluded his message with a challenge, proclaiming that the goal that we have at Northgate is not to complete the building expansion project, the goal is to reach out to a community.
Pastor Jon and his daughter Julie illustrated the fact that our dependence on God brings us closer to Him. Julie mentioned stories of her experience with the Younglife ministry and how God has been able to use her in the lives of students despite her overwhelming schedule. One specific example involved her attending a volleyball game where she felt like the only fan in the stands and knew that a football game with all of the student fans was going on outside. She kept her promise to the volleyball player she wanted to see and was very surprised when all of the students from the football game rushed into the gym after the football game to support the volleyball team. This serves as an example of how God is creative in the ways he can use us if we display a willingness to serve him. Jon concluded his message with list of five pieces of encouragement when we experience stress: ensure that we communicate with God in the face of stress, we can receive the most help from God in the midst of our most demanding days, be patient when we encounter times when we need to wait on God, learn to be content in every situation, and worship God during difficult times by beginning your prayers with thanksgiving. As we allow the Lord to work through us and guide us through difficulties in life, He will build His house in us and we will experience His blessings in new ways.
Pastor Jon and Yolande each shared stories of how God has remained faithful throughout this exciting time of transition in the life of Northgate. Yolande explained that she had been spending time this week studying the book of Hebrews and made reference to the encouraging words found in Hebrews 11 that served as encouragement to those that had remained faithful to God during difficult times. Pastor Jon explained how God wants for us to live in the currency of faith, placing our trust in Him that he will provide for our needs on a daily basis. Hebrews 11:39 summarizes the faithfulness of many of the faithful followers of Christ: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Pastor Jon concluded his message by exclaiming the fact that our future is so much brighter than our past and that our past experiences help to mold the people we are in Christ but they by no means define us.
Let the walls come down Building dedication!
Bishop Tommy Reid and Pastor Jerry Gillis join us to bless the new building, honor the leaders that went before us, and teach about vision and how we can seek it.
Pastors Tommy Reid and Jerry Gillis both spoke about the past experiences they have had with Northgate church and explained how they are both dedicated to the future of our church. They both echoed the sentiment that it is the church of Buffalo’s call to reduce the darkness in the world, a calling that is both geographical and generational in nature. Pastor Jerry shared that in order to discern whether a vision is from God it must have three components: it will contain all of the elements of purity, it will align with God’s word and His purposes for your life, and it will provide the right perspective of the future. He also wove in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction.” Pastor Jerry also mentioned the fact that Jesus is not a polygamist; he only has one bride that is the church. He illustrated how the church has an insurmountable amount of power when different denominations band together in the name of Christ.
Undoubtedly, many if not all of us have experienced a time in which (often difficult) circumstances or life decisions have led us to a revelation of Jesus. It is in these times where we decide whether to be self reliant and hang on to what we know, or choose to “cross over” by identifying ourselves with Christ and by faith move into the promised land. Pastor Jon urges us to build stones of remembrance for these times where God’s faithfulness lead us through the obstacles that stand between us and the fulfillment of God’s will for us. God uses all of our experiences for his glory, just as we heard from the testimonies made by Ting, Ewee, and Pastor Jon himself – nothing is wasted.