April 16,2020 UPDATE
March 31, 2020 UPDATE
I hope that you are doing well. I know the sunshine has been encouraging for me over the last couple of days.
I wanted to give an update on a couple of things.
1. While we are all hoping that the restrictions will be lifted soon, we have to be prepared for the possibility that they will not. So I am mentally preparing myself for continuing the livestream service for longer then anticipated. We are trying to have multiple ways for people to connect with the church service. We have been doing an audio recording of the services along side the livestream, so that people can listen to the service if they would prefer that way. Unfortunately the Easter service audio file was not usable.
While some of you do not have a Facebook account, I wanted to let you know that you can still get to the page to watch the livestream or the recording later on. Here is a link that should get you there:
If the link does not work, you can also go scroll to the bottom of the home page. On the right hand side you will see, "Like Gateway Alliance Church on Facebook". If you click on that it will direct you to the page. When it opens up there will be a box that asks you to like the page or create a new account. There will also be a Not Now option that you can click. Once you do that, you should be able to scroll down and find the videos of the services. If you have any trouble, feel free to reach out and we will try to get you connected. We will hopefully be able to have the audio files going again this week. Of course technology is wonderful, it is also temperamental. So we just have to take it a day at a time sometimes.
2. How are you doing? It's a complicated question. I find myself both well and struggling. I'm guessing that could resonate with many of you. The social distancing has reminded us of the importance of human relationship and connection. If you are able to find some time during the week to reach out to a small group of people and check in on them, I know that would mean a lot. None of us are able to reach out to everyone, but hopefully we can cover a lot of people and neighbors by doing a little bit each week.
3. I don't have much clarity on this next piece, but I want to just mention it quickly. I'm receiving many emails from different ministry resources. They are all saying the same thing in slightly different ways: "Things will not return to normal. Prepare for something different." I believe this to be true. In the coming weeks and months the question we have to ask and work toward is this: How must the church change to thrive in this new reality?
Thanks for reading.
March 31, 2020 UPDATE
"If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
Chrissy and I were friends before we began dating in college. Our friendship was forged by being teammates on our college track and field team. I was a sprinter and Chrissy was a distance runner. It was a small team and many beautiful friendships were formed by those years together.
We were at a meet one day and Chrissy was running the 10,000 meter race. If you are not familiar with this race, it is a cruel and unforgiving race. It is cruel and unforgiving because you have to run 25 laps around the track for a total of 6.2 miles. Running 6.2 miles can be invigorating in the forest, but not on an oval. While you will have teammates cheering you on, the mental and physical anguish a runner goes through is incredible.
Stride after same stride with no deviation, chasing and being chased by fellow competitors. Wondering how they are feeling and what do they and you have left. Why did you ever line up at the starting line? When will this be over? Who ever dreamed up such a ridiculous race? My friends ask me why I run and right now I am wondering the same thing....
Chrissy was running lap after lap, I was cheering her on beside her father, my future father-in-law. She came to her last lap and we were cheering her on. She made the last turn, the final 100 meters and she would be finished.
She crossed the finish line.....
The official in charge of the race had lost track of her laps and told her that she had one more lap to go.
There was no time to stop and argue, none of her family or friends could come and rescue her. She began again. Stride after same stride for one last lap she didn't actually have to complete, except she did. If she had walked off the track all her former 25 laps would have been forfeited. She was angry, and rightly so, her father and I looked at each other in dismay and confusion, but we couldn't run for her. She had to do that extra lap.
I wonder if this story resonates with you? Have you felt like you are doing stride and after same stride toward a distant finish line? Only to find out that you have another lap, with no argument that can be made.
I imagine that there is a large variance of emotion and stamina right now. Thankfully Scripture gives us insight into two predominate emotions. Lament and Praise. I invite you to find the template for both of these in Scripture and follow the example of our ancients.
There is an expression used in endurance sports. Hitting the wall. It refers to the crash of physical and mental ability. If you have hit the wall or think it might be close then please reach out. There is no shame in it. If you running well at the moment: The wall will find you.
Jesus has gone before you, follow after him.
May you rest in Christ,
March 27, 2020 UPDATE
As I am sure you are all aware at this point, our Governor has issued a stay-at-home order. The list of essential business that can continue to operate includes places of worship. So we are going to continue to attempt the Facebook Livestream on Sunday mornings. If something changes or gets worse to where that is not an option either we will adjust course and continue on.
I'm sure many of us will be taking advantage of the improving weather and trying to do some walking outside. I would like to provide a condensed version of a guide to prayer-walking for your consideration. Being able to pray while walking is a wonderful spiritual discipline that can have incredible impact. If you have any further questions about this, please feel free to reach out to me and we can talk through it further.
A Guide for Prayer-Walking.
Adapted from Prayerwalking: Praying On Site With Insight
by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick
Prayerwalking can be defined as walking while you pray. Prayerwalking is praying on site with insight. Learning to pray effectively, passionately, with compassion and insight has been the cry of believers since the disciples asked Jesus "teach us to pray." Prayer journeys are always contributory. They always ad to what has been accomplished before and help prepare the way for other ministry. Seek God to grasp what contribution your prayer journey might be able to make.
- Directed, intercessory praying
- Intentional praying
- Speaking to God with the phrases of Scripture opens our ears to the whispered prayers of God's Spirit.
- We instinctively draw closer to those for whom we pray.
- Walking engages your entire body, mind and spirit.
- Walking sensitizes you to the sights, sounds, smells, realities of the community.
- Walk with Jesus through community.
- Ask God to draw your attention to what He wants you to observe.
- It is easier to direct our hearts with genuine concern for what fills our eyesight, for what we have personally experienced.
- Ordinary powers of observation teamed with the revealing work of the Holy Spirit form a powerful partnership.
- Ordinary people or scenes take on significance when viewed through the eyes of Jesus.
- View the present moment with the compassionate longings of Jesus.
- Ask God to break your heart for what breaks His heart.
Basics of Prayer-walking:
- Prayer walking is a spiritual battle.
- Prayer-walking requires patience. "Prayer walking is a fairly quiet affair without a lot of hubbub and thrills...Seeds of new life are being planted, germinating beneath the surface of everyday life. Prayerwalkers need to be patient because God is patient."
- Prayer-walking is not magic--it is not a gimmick!
- Prayer-walking helps focus our faith.
- Pray for God's glory to be recognized in your community.
- Most prayer-walking is a balance of worship, warfare, welcoming God's presence and desired blessing on the community.
- Generally pray in a quiet and unobtrusive manner.
- Pray with relevance: allow the community to occupy your prayers.
There could be quite a bit more, but hopefully this will give you a place to start if you are unfamiliar with prayer walking.
Please keep reaching out to the church body. We need one another!
I'm thankful for the Gateway Family.
March 23, 2020 Update
Let me begin by saying thank you for being such a wonderful church family. Yesterday was such a strange experience for me personally, but at the end of it I was so encouraged by your many messages. The worship team and many people who did not make it on camera were amazing and I am both humbled and grateful.
Let me try to give some updates and thoughts that are on my mind this morning.
1. In watching the news and trying to keep up with what is going on, it is easy to speculate about the future. That is what I am about to do. I am guessing that the chance of a lockdown occurring is rising quite rapidly. If that happens then we will have to make adjustments again to deal with the new reality. I encourage us all to be thinking about reaching out to our church family and trying to make sure that no one is left alone. This is merely speculation but it is important for my next point.
2. Given the response and outcome from the Facebook Live service yesterday we are going to continue using that platform into the future. As long as a team can gather legally we will continue to stream the service. However, if a lockdown occurs and a team is not able to gather then it will complicate things. The music is such an encouragement but it may end up that I attempt live streaming a sermon alone. As you can probably guess, I will not be doing any music on my own. Trust me, it is better that way!
3. Watch your pace! What I mean by that is this: We are in a marathon right now, not a sprint. As a former runner, I have learned this lesson the hard way. If you don't know your race and the proper pace in which to run it, the results can be devastating. We can only go so fast and so hard for a certain length of time, and then we need rest. While the technology is wonderful that we have right now, it can drain us at the same time. Watch your pace, slow down when necessary but keep your form. By this I mean: injuries occur to runners when tiredness causing the body to move in an unbalanced way. Keeping proper form in how you plant your feet, move your legs and arms, your breathing and torso position will minimize risk of injury. Running slower but with proper form is better than an early collapse or injury. Keeping our proper form as Christ followers will keep our vision on the founder and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ! Ok, metaphorical hands in the huddle, Team on 3! Break. (Sorry folks, to much sports growing up)
As things change this week I will try to update you. Thank you!
March 21, 2020 UPDATE
I'm sorry to have bothered you all so much this week. As this week has drawn to a close we have been able to catch up on putting some infrastructure in place to operate during this season we find ourselves in. While not everything is in place I am feeling much more comfortable with where we are at.
I do want to share a couple of more things. Thank you for your diligent reading and encouragement through all of this.
1. We have online giving setup now. If you have a PayPal account you can send your offering through that platform. Please use this email address. gatewayallianceplymouth@gmail.
If you are not comfortable with that and would prefer to mail in the offering that is fine too. These are difficult and scary times and we understand the unstable financial situation. We are providing this and communicating it not only for this current season, but also to set us up for the future when things settle down.
2. As mentioned yesterday we will be attempting a Facebook Live service tomorrow. Given the amount of internet traffic and some other factors the live feed may not work very well. If there is trouble, the hope will be that the recording will be available later in the day. While the live feel won't be there, we hope it will still be of encouragement to you. We ask for patience as we experiment with this.
3. Given the growing online presence and need during this season we are aware that not everyone is able to navigate the different technology very easily. If you find yourself struggling with some of the technology and internet use and would like help, then please contact me and I will try to connect someone with you to give help.
4. I am painfully aware that I have a face for radio and am not at all comfortable with the fact my face will be making an appearance on The Internets. Let's all try to smile a lot as we learn new things and move outside of our comfort zones.
I will try to make future correspondence shorter. Thanks for hanging there.
March 20, 2020 UPDATE
Some of you will already be aware of the information shared here, but we are trying to be diligent in sharing information about our current situation. I would appreciate your help in sharing this information with anyone who might not be connected in the different ways we are communicating.
We are going to attempt a Facebook Live service on Sunday March 22nd. The church Facebook page can be found by typing the search bar on Facebook: Gateway Alliance Church. Or clicking the link at the bottom of the website.
The service will start around 11am. We will be starting the stream before 11 and I advise attempting to join before 11. I am saying attempt because there are several factors that could lead to problems with the live stream.
We will be working for some other options in the future, but we wanted to go ahead and start here for this weekend. Your Worship Team and Governing Board have been working very hard this week to respond to the current circumstances. I am grateful to all of them and you can be proud of them.
If the experiment with Facebook Live does not work well, we will hopefully be able to provide some sort of recording of the service to have in different locations.
The second big announcement is that we have been working towards setting up online giving this week. While we do not have it in place yet, I want to share where we are in the process. The Governing Board has decided to set up online giving through PayPal. When we have it set up and ready to go we will let you know. I want to make clear that we are setting this up as another option in giving. It will not be the exclusive way to give.
If you would prefer to mail your offering to the church during this disruptive time, that is more than acceptable. We simply are trying to provide extra options in this increasingly online world.
Thank you for your patience and prayers. So many things are changing so fast that it is challenging to keep up. As things change, develop, and get put in place I will communicate it as best I can. If you have any questions feel free to send them along.
March 19, 2020 UPDATE
I wanted to send a couple of updates about our weekend plan.
We do not have everything in place right now, so all of this could change.
We are hoping to have a livestream "service", however that may not be possible this weekend. There are some factors complicating that hope at the moment. If we are not able to livestream then we will try our best to record a "service" that will be available to watch on Sunday morning. If we are not able to put these things in place for this weekend, the hope will be that we can have something up and running in the near future.
I also hope to start offering some sort of online connection for Bible study or reflection in the near future. How can you connect?
The church facebook page name is Gateway Alliance Church
If you are on Instagram you can search for: gatewayallianceplymouth
this is a new page, so there is nothing there yet. I'm looking into how to start utilizing that in the near future.
The church youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfplYeB67Ssqag1op94jXeA?view_as=subscriber
There is nothing much on this either, but it may be something that we use in the future.
Thank you for your patience as we try to figure out a good plan for moving forward. When I have more details I will send them along. In the meantime, please share this information with those who may not be able to see it easily. Please keep praying and reaching out to friends and neighbors.
Gateway Alliance Family,
The current global events are forcing us to make some temporary changes to stay safe and be responsible.
We will have no service at the building on March 22nd or 29th. We are beginning to look at online options for some sort of gathering capabilities for the foreseeable future. If you do not have a Zoom account, I would like to invite you to create a free account. Here is the link: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing
This is a very fluid situation and things are changing very fast. I cannot promise that we will use Zoom as our platform, however, by creating an account it could speed things up if we do.
We will try to update in a timely manner as we can. If you have questions please feel free to call the church or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also like to ask that our church family be intentional about reaching out to one another over the coming weeks. We also have a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our neighbors and share the love of Christ with them. While we cannot meet in person, we have many ways to be in touch with one another. Let's utilize everything we can to be the church wherever we are.
This is an incredible moment in our lives as many stories are being forged. Thankfully we know the greatest story of all, which brings us hope because it connects us with our Savior Jesus Christ. Let us find our hope in Him!
In the spirit of C.S. Lewis let this current trial find us doing sensible and human things-praying, reading, connecting with friends and neighbors.
The Lord is our Shepherd,
Here is a link to an article on prayer. (Copy and paste link into new tab.)
Here is a link to a sermon by C. S. Lewis
Here is a link you might find interesting reading:
Here is a new link to explore:
Here is the link to the Christian and Missionary Alliance web page:
Here is another link you may find interesting and useful:
Suggestion: You can set either of the above as your web browser home page! You can have two home pages displayed, setting one as your primary page. The primary page will come up when you open your browser.
Here are two excellent Bible study aids. They are both very feature rich and it will take a little exploration to discover and learn how to use all the features. It would take far too much time to provide a detailed list of the features of each. Explore them both to see which you prefer. Translations can be downloaded so you don't need to have internet access to use the apps! You can use these apps anywhere you would carry a printed bible. Hint: Please turn your device on before you enter a church. Most devices generate sound when booting up, resulting in a lot of "noise".
You Version: www.youversion.com
The app for your device is located here: https://www.bible.com/app
Blue Letter Bible: www.blueletterbible.org
The app for your device is located here: iPhone- http://www.blueletterbible.org/iPhone/
The only option presently available for Windows devices is a smaller version of the web site. It is located here: m.blb.org We will update should an app become available for Windows products.
Local Christian Camp
Camp Berea www.berea.org