Jon and Yolande shared their personal experiences with handling disagreement; something none of us have ever had to deal with. Lucky for them, an issue that had been sizzling for months finally came to a boil this past week. They explained how they worked through their disagreement and how they came to a solution that was better than one they could have produced on their own.
Core to the issue is staying rooted in love (Ephesians 3:14-20). We should be able to love those we agree with as well as those we disagree with. Often times the need to be right gets in the way of properly expressing that love. In fact, the need to be right can lead us to leave love at the door because we are “right” and we need to fight to prove that. Most of us are prone to one of three things in disagreements. Fight, Flight, or Freezing. None of which help us move towards love. Jon shared a story of a people in search of a new town to live in. As they come to the gates of a new place they discover that “wherever you go you bring yourself with you”. In other words, we often think that leaving (flight) will fix the problem, while in reality we are the problem. This is why it is wise to work through things as they happen so you don’t bring your baggage with you (Hebrews 12:15). At the end of the day, as Jesus prayed in John 17, our goal should be to get closer and more unified then further and more segregated.
Chris explained the purpose behind naming the youth group ministry “Borderland”. He describes “Borderland” as a place, or space, between places. In nature, this is best described as an ecotone, where it represents a transition area between two communities. This is especially indicative of the teenage years, where middle and high school students transition from childhood to adulthood in a short few years. Chris also mentioned that God’s Kingdom is all about love. Living in God’s Kingdom means living in the will and the way of God. Mark 12:30-31 states: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Chris described the fact that a diagram of a triangle between God, us, and others is short-sighted because it neglects the truth that we need to love ourselves if we are to successfully love others.
"Biblical Creation - Removing the Confusion"
Society often considers science and faith to be at odds with one another. However, this need not be the case. Chris Rupe makes a case for both science and faith, providing specific examples in which science supports of the Bible. Chris also highlights conflicting ideologies society has adopted despite a “lack of scientifically rigorous support.” Drawing from biology, paleoanthropology and genetics, we see both new scientific evidence and reinterpretations of old scientific evidence point to the validity of the Bible, revealing God’s handprint across history. For detailed information regarding the material Chris presented this Sunday, visit back2genesis.org or the Northgate Facebook group.
*Technical difficulites occured while recording audio for this message. Please check out our live Facebook feed to see more!*
Sometimes active participation in God’s mission looks like a recent mission trip Pastor Jon and Yolande took to Sierra Leone. They served the community in very practical ways (painting buildings, handing out shoes, washing children’s feet), lived with them in their context, proclaimed the gospel, and loved on the people they met. But most of the time, being fully on mission looks like normal people encountering Jesus in ways that lead to transformation. The Samaritan woman in John 4 (the most unlikely missionary) encountered Jesus at a well and led a community-wide revival as she brought the men and women from her home town to meet Jesus. Kate Vacanti encountered Jesus in a dream one night after asking why he wasn’t doing something about the people suffering in Sierra Leone. Jesus asked her, “Kate, why aren’t you doing something about the people suffering in Sierra Leone? From that point on, Kate was on mission and founded Let Them LOL, a ministry that is now bringing hope and healing to over 35,000 men, women and children. After the sudden loss of his father, Brandon Stenzel encountered Jesus who gave him a vision to start a grief support ministry at Northgate, which has become a significant place of healing in our community. Being on mission involves normal people who have encountered Jesus and who are willing to take the next step on the same love-focused, spirit-led work the Father sent Jesus on.
To start the message Jon interviewed Sue Cervi who works at the City Mission. Through her story, he introduced the message concerning “How to Love People and God. He emphasized that all people are a treasure to God and therefore should be a treasure to us. He read from John 4, the story of the Samaritan women at the well and shared that it is often forgotten or unbeknownst to us the animosity that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. Jews often thought of Samaritans as “beneath dogs”. On the other hand, Jesus saw “them” “as real people”. They disagreed on much (verse 20), but Jesus sought to unify the two groups. Jon related their differences to ours. Can you drive a car or do you need to drive a horse and buggy? Should the carpets be blue or red? Can women preach or not? Is speaking in tongues a necessary part of being a Christian? Are we allowed to drink alcohol or not? No matter where we find ourselves on any of these spectrums Jesus’ goal is to unify. He was talking to a woman and not just any woman, but a Samaritan woman. To make matters worse, she wasn’t “married” but had been several times, which is probably why she was at the well at such a hot hour. This would have been shocking to a Jewish audience. But Jesus saw her as a treasure. He validated her worth, she took her “wealth” and spread the news of the messiah to the rest of her people. Jon ended his message by concluding how he often feels like the Samaritan woman and that receiving God’s love has been his greatest joy and struggle.