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G'Attitudes - Hospitality and Generosity

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Pastor Ed finished up his current series by giving us a double dose of “G’attitudes”! After a wonderful set of baptisms that officially christened our new “in-stage” baptismal pool (yes, that is correct no more horse trough) and a full praise and worship set (new sound system coming online next week), Ed presented in the last two of his “G’attitudes.” Attitudes that set the stage for Gateway as we engage our community in our new facility.

The first G’attitude, based in part on Deuteronomy 10:19 (“And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt”), was Hospitality.

Something that Gateway, as a church body has long been known for, Ed reminded us that we have always been strangers and “foreigners” from time to time throughout our lives. I know I myself only need to think back on every new school experience, every move, every new church, every new job, etc. It’s not hard to think of times when we have been the “new kid on the block” or the one on the outside looking in. It is also not hard to remember that special person who came along side you and “showed you the ropes” or made you feel welcome in some way.

Ed emphasized that many will come through the door in the days, weeks, months and years to come and as they enter it, part of each of our calling is to be one of those who come alongside and say “Hi, my name is ‘Ray’, welcome to Gateway. Can I show you around our home?”

The last G’attitude, based in part on 2 Corinthians 9:7 (“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”), was Generosity.

Again, something that has been a part of the Gateway DNA, Ed thanked the congregation for their consistent Generosity both financially and in action. Yet, he reminded us that we are just getting started and that now is the time to return to our knees and “give what you have decided in your heart to give.” He also reminded us that if everyone is leaning into God in this way and in this area, that Gateway will never be lacking in Kingdom resources.

Ed didn’t bring this up but, when I hear this text, I remember that the word translated as “cheerful” is the Greek word ἱλαρὸν or hilaron. This where we get our word hilarious from. So, if you want to look at it a little differently, “God loves a hilarious giver!” It always adds some emphasis for me. No matter the form our giving takes; money, deeds, prayer, etc., the joy with which we bring to that giving brings happiness to the heart of God.

Wrapping up the service, Ed noted we no long have to rush out of someone else’s building. We can stay and fellowship … for a while! How nice it is to be in our own home. Have a great week everyone!

  

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.

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