Monday, January 24, 2011

Dominican Recap Video

Here is a portion of the highlight video from our latest trip to the Dominican Republic with the students and adults of Greenville Christian School

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reflections From Sunday

We are in the middle of a series called Authentic Church at Gateway Fellowship We are walking through the letter of 1st Thessalonians and looking at the church in Thessalonica. The church there seemed to be doing a lot of things right and we are applying those truths to the life of our church and all that the Lord has for us. It is an exciting time in the life of @GFchurch. Our worship times have been great and our people are engaging the Father. Scott Finch ,our worship leader has been doing a great job ushering us to the throne weekly with the help of his team. Our Children's Ministry Team is doing am amazing job weekly, in The Yard , sharing the Gospel with all of our children, not only through the lessons that are being taught but also through the way they model the gospel with their lives.

As a church, we are praying about a couple of mission trips in and out of the state and some other opportunities as well which will allow us to serve the very community in which we live. My recent trip to the Dominican Republic has once again stirred my affection for that country and what we can do to make a difference there

If you have not been able to be with us Gateway Fellowship the past few weeks, you can catch the services in their entirety here on GatewayTV

Here are a few ways to stay connected with our church::
Gateway Fellowship Facebook
Gateway Fellowship Twitter

Here are a few things coming up in the life of our church::

...Family Worship on Sunday, January 30th
...Men's Breakfast on Saturday, February 19th @ 8am
...GF Ladies Jammies and Java
...Sunday Nite Live 630pm

ConnectGroup Schedule::

TuesNite @ 7pm @ The Snow's
WedNite @ 7pm @ The Brown's
SunMorn @ 930am @ GFchurch (Youth)

I love our church
I love our people
I love our team
I love what He is doing in us
I love what He is doing to us
I love what He is doing through us

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reflections From Sunday

As a church, we are walking through 1st Thessalonians during a series we are calling "Authentic Church". While in Corinth, Paul receives word about how the church in Thessalonica is doing and writes this letter to them that we find in 1 Thessalonians. Last week we looked at chapter 1 where Paul is encouraged about the fact that:

(1) their good works where produced by faith
(2) their labor was prompted by love
(3) their endurance was inspired by hope.

We picked up this week in chapter 2

1 Thessalonians 2: 1-16

1For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Here are the notes form the sermon this past Sunday:

How do we model the Gospel of Christ to those around us?

* do what God asks you to do (verses 1-4)
* ...... even if you have to suffer
* ...... even if you have to endure conflict
* ...... you have been entrusted with the Gospel and approved to share it!
* do it with pure motives (verses 5-6)
* ...... not with flattery words
* ...... not out of greed
* do it in love (verses 7-8)
* ...... be gentle
* ...... be affectionately desirous
* ...... share not only the Gospel but your life

How are we charged to model the Gospel with our lives?

* by walking in a manner worthy of God (verses 9-11)

What should our response be?

* receive and accept the Word for what it is (verse 13)
* become imitators of The Gospel (verse 14)

If you have not been able to be with us @GFchurch the past few weeks, you can catch the services in their entirety here GatewayTV

Here are a few things coming up in the life of our church::
...Men's Breakfast on Saturday, January 15th @ Soulmans in Royse City @ 8am
...GFchurch Ladies night on Saturday, January 22nd @ GFchurch @ 630pm
...Family Worship on Sunday, January 30th

ConnectGroup Schedule::

TuesNite @ 7pm @ The Snow's
WedNite @ 7pm @ The Brown's
SunMorn @ 930am @ GFchurch (Youth)

I love our church
I love our people
I love our team
I love what He is doing in us
I love what He is doing to us
I love what He is doing through us

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dominican Recap #6

This is Jenny Schumann's response after our amazing trip to the Dominican Republic. I hope that these words will help give you an idea of how amazing our trip was and how much of an impact it had on everyone who was on the team. Here is what she said,

As we were on the trip and even before we left, Coach B, and Mr. Bowers told us that when we got to the DR, we would be in shock by the things we saw. Well, I was just thinking "Yeah OK, we will deal with all that, it wont be so bad". Wow, was I wrong. It broke my heart. Seeing all those kids, compared to the children we see everyday in America, it's just like what happened? How does it get so bad like this? And how can we help? I am so thankful that we were able to go on a trip like this. It has changed my life. One of the biggest things, that was really hard on me was just realizing things about myself. Like for instance, how selfish I can really be or rude, or how I said I can be in a bad mood or act like a brat over not getting my way, when I have SO MUCH. The children in the Batays made there own toys, they made them out of trash they found laying around, like the kites we saw. One of the things that shocked me the most was how happy they are. They're probably the most happiest, sweetest kids you will ever meet, and they have close to nothing. I didn't think I would be able to build any type of relationship with these children because after all... We can really speak to them. Once again, I was so wrong. We spent time with the kids and got to know what they like, how old they were, how many siblings they had, but even if no words were spoken, just by the little kids taking your hand just wanting to sit with you or look at your story board, just being so into what you were doing there, just amazed me. I miss them all so much. I find myself wondering what they're doing right now as I'm sitting in my safe, nice house. It hurts. But it was amazing to see God work through each and every one of us. It truly was an amazing trip that I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to attend. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011:: Worthy Of The Gospel

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

~Philippians 1:21-30

This is where the Lord took me at the start of this year. Coming off of the heels of an amazing trip to the Dominican Republic and walking through the holiday season, The Lord has continued to stir my affections of Him. I have been praying specifically for what 2011 will look like in my life as a husband, as a father, as a pastor and in the life of GFchurch.

Here in the chapter 1 on Philippians, we have Paul addressing the saint in Philippi. Paul speaks about his imprisonment and the fact that most have found confidence in Christ, even because of His imprisonment. He goes on to speak about the fact that many preach from envy and rivalry but he does so out of love and in defense of the gospel.
Paul then says that "To live is Christ and to die is gain". He walks through the reason for his returning to them so that they may all glory in Christ Jesus.

Here is where, I believe, The Lord was speaking to me very loudly and clearly. In verse 27, Paul says, "let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ". This is what my life is to look like in 2011. Not that it hasn't and wasn't supposed to look the same way in 2010 but this year's cry will be "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ". As a husband, as a father, as a pastor, and in the life of our church; we must do everything in a "manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ".

Continue reading in verse 27 and you see that Paul says, "I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,". How awesome is it to know and understand that the scriptures teach us and compel us to stand firm in one spirit and strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. As a father, as a husband, and as a pastor, I am called to stand firm in one spirit and one mind side by side with my family for the cause of the gospel of Christ.

As a church, we must remain focused and centered on Jesus and His teachings. We must stand firm. We must stand side by side. We must be in one spirit. We must do it all, for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

May our prayer for 2011 be this. May we live our lives in such a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dominican Recap #5

This is what Morgan Jones had to say about her recent trip to the Dominican Republic.

"All throughout the trip we were told, "when you leave the DR you will leave a part of you're heart here", and I always kinda laughed it off when they said it and never took it seriously but now that I am home and have been for a while, I've started to realize that I really did leave part of my heart there. I miss all of the children so much. Sometimes when we were playing with them I would get so annoyed with them crawling all over me but now I honestly miss it. Although I couldn't communicate with the children all that much because of the language barrier, relationships formed between me and several of the children that I thought would never happen. Since I've returned home, I often find myself pulling out my camera or going to Facebook to look at pictures from the trip. It kind of helps me relive the memories from the trip and gives me the motivation to help the children in the Monte Largo and Dos Hermanas bateys by prayer and also by giving money once a month to a child there. This trip to the DR really changed my life in ways I didn't think were possible and I am so blessed to have been provided with an opportunity to go and spread the gospel with many people in the DR"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dominican Recap #4

Here is what Josh Evans said about his recent trip to the Dominican Republic.

"I got money a video camera and a broken heart for Christmas this year. The lives of the kids in the Dominican Republic have broken me. The living conditions of the People there touched me and the power of God working in Pastor Manny and the church there has moved me. I wish that we could go back now."

Dominican Recap #3

This is one of the responses I received for one of our students that went to the Dominican Republic with us this past month. His name is John Parker and he is a senior this year. He is what John had to say about the trip,

"It was certainly nice to be back home with all the comforts that come with it this Christmas, but, at the same time, it was harder to enjoy all the Ho Ho-ing and Holly Jollying when I reflected on all those in need this year (and I think that was a good thing). After our family took Communion after Christmas dinner, like we always do, I shared with them some of the things I saw while in the Dominican and i truly think, as a family, we all REALLY understood how blessed we are this year (which is often a foreign concept among many of us). As I promised, I tithed for the first time in a long time this morning and I hope to continue putting my money (and time) where my mouth is. In the coming weeks, I will request the Student Council put forth a contribution towards mission work in the DR and I personally will be giving towards the cause. This trip certainly opened my eyes to world I had previously ignored and now that they're open, I hope to never close them again. Best wishes to Mercy and Julio as well as to Pastor Manny and to all my Dominican friends. Happy New Year and God bless.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dominican Recap #2

I have asked some of our team members to share what the Lord did on our journey to the Dominican Republic. For many of them, it was there first time to be in that country. I wanted to share with you today the response I received from Beth Nelson, a fellow teacher and team member. I pray that as you read her words, it will help give you a glimpse of what HE was doing in us, to us, and through us.

"It's really funny....I thought I wouldn't be able to stop the flood of words describing my experiences when I got home, but I find that I still can't verbalize everything I felt. I still can't think about the kids I met.....let alone look at pictures of their faces....without tearing up! But the words aren't there. Maybe God is still doing a work in my heart, so I'm waiting. I'm especially waiting to hear what my role is to be in the future concerning the people in the villages of Monte Largo and Dos Hermanas. God has laid it on my heart to give financially, but I feel like it doesn't stop there.

One thing I can communicate, though, is the overwhelming sense I had in the D.R. of fellowship with believers in other parts of the world. I first felt it in our group devotions at night, when the two precious, Godly women who cooked our food each day joined us, even though neither one of them understood any English. I noticed that while we sang our praise songs in English, they worshipped the same God we were worshipping, even though they had no idea what we were singing! Graciela later verbalized, through a translation via Julio, that her spirit bore witness with our spirits that we were worshipping the one true God. Later in the week, when we had the opportunity to attend a worship service in Santo Domingo, we had the chance to join fellow believers as they praised God in Spanish. As we sang "Santo, santo, santo.....quiero te veo" ("Holy, holy, holy....I want to see you), I wondered if it was a glimpse of what heaven will be like--voices raised in many languages, praising the one true God!"