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Gateway Attitudes: Hold Things Loosely

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Pastor Ed began Sunday's sermon speaking about the deeply disturbing events in Charlottesville.  Beyond denouncing the horrific chain of events there, Pastor Ed strongly denounced the actions of supremacists and Nazis and their efforts to divide the community.  We all prayed that the church might be a voice of reason, standing up for the downtrodden and the disenfranchised -- keeping our eyes and hearts on those who are truly in need. 

Pastor Ed then elaborated on Gateway's profoundly blessed journey from its start as Rachel Carson Middle School's first church partner (a miracle in its own right) to the unique circumstances that enabled Gateway to move to Mercer Middle School, one week after a new (and supportive) Principal took over at the school.

From the beginning, Gateway has been blessed, and it is hard to view any of the many blessings the congregation has received as mere coincidence.  Now, as we move into our new facilities, we pray that God will continue to bless us as we seek to serve the community. 

In today's sermon we added a fifth G-attitude to our growing list of things we will do as we make our transition into our new building. 

In quick review, the first four G-attiitudes are outlined below. in our efforts to promote solidarity, and serve others with excellence we will

- Connect in full -- that is, we want to feel the weight of everyone -- with everyone playing the part that they can play.

- Express our Gratitude by saying "It's my pleasure" when people thank us for helping them.

- Take personal responsibility.  Problems can only be resolved by individuals so, "when I see a problem, I own it."

- Grow closer as a community.  We will actively plan to interact with others and make new friends so that "Nobody eats alone!"

Our 5th G-attitude is based upon a lesson from Ephesians 4:1-6.  In this passage, Paul is asking us to live a life that is worthy of our calling.  He doesn't ask us to be good -- but rather to be unified.  -- and that we make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit. 

At Gateway, we recognize how difficult that this is to do... after all, each of us has plenty of flaws -- and each of us needs to give as well as receive a lot of grace from those around us if we are to succeed.

In this light, we should be careful to "hold things loosely," so that we can easily give and receive the grace that each of us so deeply needs. 

We need to carefully assess where we are challenged with holding things loosely.  Are we people who need for things to be deeply organized or fully under control?  Are we the opposite, wanting flexibility in all things? 

We need to realize that for the sake of spiritual unity, we may need to hold these desires loosely so that they do not become an obstacle that keeps us from working together.

Baptism and Belonging to Christ

This morning, Sunday, August 6, 2017, we had one of our last few services at Mercer Middle School - celebrating the baptisms of five young people - a middle school student, a high school student, two starting their first year of college and one in her last year of college.

First, we heard all five of their testimonies.  It's lovely to hear how each one came to decide to give their lives to Christ.  Hearts and lives are what it's all about!  And we prayed over them.

Then Pastor Ed Allen spoke about what baptism means, using Colossians 2:6-15.

Biblical faith is about stepping in, putting your lives on the line.  Baptism starts a pattern - and we're asked to live like that.

The spiritual life is not a static experience.  As verse 7 points out, we're "rooted," "built up," and "strengthened" - we should be always growing.

Something essential for us happened in Christ.

Everything rises and falls in Christ (verse 9).

Self-ruled life was removed (verse 11).

In Christ, we becoe our fullest selves, by faith.

Baptism says:  I belong!  I'm in!

When we were in our sins, it's like we were dead (verse 13).

Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities against us (verse 15).

After that, we went out front to celebrate our last baptisms at Mercer Middle School!

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