Northside in the New Year
Northside in the new year…
2021… here we go!! Northside in the New YEAR!!! Some things I’d wish for you…
Sandal metal detector… on second thought, I think people might think this is something else.
Tray pants… so helpful… but seem like velcro might have been the way to go?
Covid umbrella… EAT THAT COVID… and RAIN.
Butter glue stick… just don’t get them mixed up… butter on your paperwork… not a good look. Hair on the hand…
Nose stylus… revolutionary… now I can read a book, drink coffee… and check all the scores.
Shoe umbrella… I have no idea
Baby nose sucker… I thought this was originally to blow air into the baby's nose for some reason… no… its a snot sucker… and… its on hannah’s registry
Umbrella tie… please! That is all I am gonna say. I have been relatively good this year.
Covid hand shaker… seems like carrying this around… might be a bummer and really, isn’t only good for the two people who use it the first time?
Desk napper… oh my gosh… if you use this around me you are likely to wake up spray painted.
I was going to put together some pictures and talk about our adventure so far… but I am going to have that… write February 7th down on your calendar… we will be celebrating Northside's first birthday… and I will have more details about that soon, but you won't want to miss it…
At that time I will talk about the miracles that God did that led Brandi and I to planting a Church… and all of the amazing things that God has done between there and here… I think it will be an incredible day to celebrate God’s faithfulness in what has been less than ideal circumstances.
It’s been a year… and one of the things the management team talked about at our last meeting is just how encouraged they are about how all of you have stuck with us through all of this. We really are encouraged… and I would tell you that one of the things that kept the staff going… was that right there… seeing you guys week in and out… knowing those of you who have faithfully been following us online… has really been so encouraging.
So.. what will Northside look like in the new year? You can guess that a lot of that is up in the air… and will be. There is only so much we can do… but we really do think 2021 will see us moving in the right direction in terms of so many of the things we have missed out on.
For example… I am sure you all have heard the change in language front of the governor and I hear it even from within the school district. I don’t think we are out of the woods yet, but I do think we are moving toward it fairly quickly.
I do think 2021 is the year we will finally see small groups become a thing at Northside! I know Dana and Robyn have worked their hearts out to make it happen, even recently… only to be bombarded with changing restrictions.
Here is another example… one of my personal goals… is to lead Northside toward the purchase of land and or a facility for the future… or possibly even a long term rental space. I’d love to have that acquired in 2021… but if not, at least making large strides in that direction.
There are several key volunteer positions that we will fill in 2021… stuff regarding video work, set up/takedown captains, outreach, men’s ministry… and more.
As we phase back into meeting with kids ministry… We will need a lot of volunteers to step up there as well.
2021 will be a year of moving forward… and just like its so encouraging to have so many of you sticking with us through this all… it gives me incredible confidence in moving forward… but if I were to give a theme for what I believe 2021 holds for Northside, something like that would be something like that… a Christ centered version of moving forward… I think 2021 is going to be a really great year for Northside Church.
One of the things that I think is incredibly important for us to talk about fairly often is what we… as a Church, are really all about.
Northside is a Church that is centered on Jesus and on God’s Word.
We are a church that longs to see people come to know the reality of God’s love and grace over them… and we want to see people experience all that it is that God has for each and every one of you. And we believe that these values should be apparent in everything that we do.
We really do believe that what God desires for you is far greater than anything you can produce on your own. Sometimes it looks and even feels a little different than you’d think, but the impact those things have on us over the long run are powerful.
God desires FULLNESS:
John 10:10 (ESV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus came to give life in the full… life the way God intended… full of life giving things… like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control…
God desires FREEDOM:
Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Later in vs. 13 it says that we don't use this freedom to do whatever we want… but to honor God and serve others…
Jesus came to give us freedom from those things that rob us of real life… like taking things that are most often anchored in selfishness. Things like pride, hate, ency, maliciousness, gossip, lying…
And I would take God up on what he says in Ps. 34:8… Taste and see for yourself if this fullness and freedom is the real deal. God longs to give you life and free you from those things that rob you of it.
It reminds us that our relationship with God is a process… a journey.
… the work that God desires to do and does in our life is a process… it’s a journey… with all kinds of twists and turns… and God has given us all kinds of resources to know Him… and to grow in Him.
That's something that we’ve put a lot of thought into… and… we’ve found some interesting things…
I thought it would be fun for you to hear from some other folks tonight… as to what it is that has impacted their faith the most… So, Elizabeth, Chad, Bill… why don’t you guys come up. 6ft a part for safety… from covid and punching.
Give people some time to ask questions…
I had no idea what they were going to say… I didn't ask to hear about it or see it… mostly because over the years I have realized that even though our journey’s look different… they are all unique, the things that help induce spiritual growth really haven’t changed.
And that is the thinking that we have used to help shape the ministry strategy at Northside. One gift I really do want for each and every one of you in 2021 is for you to come to know the reality of God’d love and grace over you… and to grow in your relationship with Him… and God will always leave room for you to step into that with faith…
Growing involves taking steps or having seasons where we intentionally focus in on one of these areas…
It’s incredibly relational… we call them the 3C’s… and I deeply desire to get to the point where you can all tell me what they are…
Super proud dad moment, as I was preparing this week my daughter came into my office to visit and she was able to tell me what they were. So glad she knows that.
And each one of the C’s have two things below it that help us realize what steps might look like… and this week our daily (in the bulletin and online) is going to help us dive into these areas more).
Our relationship with Christ:
Living with intentionality when it comes to our relationship with Jesus is so important. How are you investing in your relationship with Jesus right now? There are several ways you can do this… but we have found that even here there are some that seem to bear more fruit than others…
Spiritual habits… or disciplines.
Time the word: Radically impactful in my life to this day. God has a lot to
say about the importance of the Word in our lives…
1 Peter 1:25 God’s Word endures forever.
1 Thess 2:13 God’s word is at work in all who believe
Colossians 3:16 It teaches and admonishes/corrects us.
Hebrews 4:12 It’s living and active (at work in us) and it judges the thoughts and motives of our heart.
Isaiah 55:11 It always accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent out.
Matthew 4:4 says that real life is found in God’s Word.
Romans 10:17 says faith if born and encouraged in it.
Ps. 119:105 God’s word helps us see clearly and lights shows us the path God has for us.
Ps. 119:9 Obeying it keeps or way pure.
Ps. 119:11 Hiding it in your heart keeps you from sinning against God.
These are literally just a few… google it. God’s word is incredibly powerful… and making room to take it seriously matter. I’ve never met anyone that has regretted it. I have met hundreds whose life has been dramatically changed by it.
Time in Prayer:
Prayer is such a powerful way to connect with God…Jesus Himself modeled this incredible prayer life…
Luke 5:16 Jesus often withdrew to pray by Himself.
Matthew 14:23 after crowds left Him, Jesus often went to pray.
Luke 6:12 He prayed through the night
Again, google it. Very small sample.
1 Thess. 5 talks about praying without ceasing…
Phil 4 talks about not working about anything, but praying about everything…
Prayer is clearly intended to be an important part of our relationship with God.
Alone, after spending time with people, when worries
Giving: Super uncomfortable… but it is something God asks us to do. It is a game changer or at least it was for me.
Northside wouldn’t exist without it… couldn’t. There is some Biblical president for a 10% tithe (OT… the NT I would say challenges that) … but largely I believe it’s between you and the Lord.
Names the Bible uses…
Eph 1 call us His body
Rev 21 calls us His bride
Acts 20 His flock
1 Tim 3 His household
Eph 3 His family
Several places refer to us as his dwelling place… 1 Peter 2:5
Several places refer to us as His children
Ordained by God for you… and it matters. One of the studies we used in developing the ministry strategy says this… it's not just that these 3 areas matter… it's that consistency in them also matters… and that has been my experience.
Regular Church attendance is often a sign of health… So many times when people begin to fade… it's either a sign things aren’t good or… eventually… they are heading to a place that isn't great. It’s actually been a fairly faithful indicator.
Our relationship with His Church
Acts 4 talks about the importance of meeting together as a Chruch, but also gathering in homes. Every story… or close to it… that I have ever heard about people growing in their faith has some form of this… some form of others encouraging them in their faith journey.
Once groups are up at running… if your group is NOT doing that… get out and come talk to me.
Our groups are geared at fellowship and discussion. Not long drawn out teaching times… again… consistency matters.
The bible talks about spiritual gifts… these gifts that God has given us… entrusted to us… as a way of blessing us through playing an important and irreplaceable role in building His church…
Romans 12:4–8 (NLT)
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Right now… our needs are pretty big. As we begin thinking about re engaging with kids ministry, we will need help…. And lots of it.
Youth, worship, set up, outreach, admin, video and tech… you name it we need it and we aren’t afraid to teach ya.
Serving matters and there are ways we grow that are unique to serving.
Our Relationship with our Community:
This has become an area of increased passion for me.
Serving in our community: So huge… I believe that serving the community is a part of what the Church is intended to do. I also believe that engaging in serving the community is one of the ways we grow in our relationship with Jesus… because inside of it… we are acting like Him… doing what He did… living out one of his most tangible values.
Northside WILL be a church that serves its community… and anyone that serves in any sort of leadership here… will be involved in it.
In all seriousness, I am not as familiar even still with Albany. What are the needs? Text me right now!! I really want to know what you think and what you see!! What ministry or thing might you do that we can support?
The bible talks about always having a reason for our faith (1 Peter 3:15)… and bearing prepared at all times with it. You never know when the opportunity will come… If you're not prepared for it or praying toward it… man, that doesn’t feel right to me.
In your home, extended family, work, neighborhood.... When we are authentically living out our faith… and serving… caring for others it will lead to opportunities for us to share why we believe… as well as the difference that God has made in our life.
I’d encourage you to come up with two or three names of folks you know that need Jesus and commit to praying for them daily this year… Put their initials somewhere you'll see it everyday.
These things matter… and finding balance in them is huge. There are many out there that need another bible study like they need another cavity or something… but what the really need is an opportunity to engage in serving the community.
Others, need the encouragement of a small group more than anything…
So here is my challenge for you. Spiritually speaking… what step do you need to take next? What area or two do you feel would make a great “next step” or area of focus for you? Growing… drawing near to God takes intentionality… and… even though the journey is different for all of us, the tools are often similar if not the same. Does that next step look like?
Northside in the new year… what will it look like for us? What will it look like for you?
Live intentionally…. Draw near to God intentionally.
He will meet you there… and I cannot wait to hear about what He does in you this year!
Every week we have the opportunity to take communion, to pause and reflect on the life, the death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is one of the ways we draw near to God intentionally… and it really is a set apart kind of thing.
1 Corinthians 11:23–29 (NIV)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
In communion we are proclaiming not just the death of Jesus… but the hope of Jesus. The power of Jesus not just over creation… but in me and in you… and the work that He has done and is doing in you. Remembering… reflecting… drawing near intentionally… and doing it in the right way… is an incredibly powerful time with God each week.
I would encourage you to meet Him there today. As we sing the next couple of songs, it's on the back table… Please grab one… spread out and take it whenever your ready.