Youth News


It’s hard to believe we’re already 1/12th of the way through 2019! The NWYG kicked off our new year in grand fashion with several successful events as well as a phenomenal weekend away at Winter Camp! We spent several days at Central Florida Bible Camp with friends from all over the state learning what it really means to “follow” Jesus. Our teens had a wonderful time.

This year, the NWYG will be focusing heavily on involving parents in our students’ spiritual lives. We believe that faith always starts in the home, and no youth ministry can substitute for a student’s family. One of the ways we will be encouraging faith at home this year is through access to parenting resources, giving you concrete, tangible activities to help you foster spiritual growth in your home. One such activity is to create a yearly plan for your family.

Creating a yearly plan for your family can be a tremendous opportunity to set goals and be intentional with your 2019. Planning your year is a great way to take a substantial interest in your Child's spiritual growth. While we are a few weeks into this year, it's not too late to take the time to sit down with your family and decide what you want from your year. Parent Cue has a tremendous resource for setting your family's intention for this year! Check out this website for a free download:

Here's how to participate in this activity: Decide on a time to sit down with your family. Make it a time when distractions will be minimal. Have some snacks and drinks, and tell your kids you want to make an effort to make 2019 a fantastic year for your family! If you have a small whiteboard, notebook, or something else to brainstorm your ideas on, bring it. Then, take an hour (or less!) to go through the planning template and write down your answers. Once you've finished, put your plan somewhere in your house where you'll be reminded of it often. Tape it to the fridge or put it up on the wall!

We hope this will be a meaningful activity for your home. Try it before January ends! You won't regret taking the time to make the most of 2019 for your family. If these types of resources are beneficial to you and you’d like to receive more things like this, sign-up for NWYG’s new bi-weekly email newsletter!

2019 is off to an excellent start for the NWYG, and we can’t wait to see where this year takes us! We hope you’ll be a part of the youth ministry’s year in one way or another.

Preacher's Thoughts

This week I read an article entitled 10 MARKS OF A HAPPY CHURCH  by Chuck Lawless, professor of Evangelism and Missions at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He says he has not found many churches that he would genuinely call happy, but when he has found one, it usually has the following characteristics:

1)  Nothing seems to hinder their worship.

2)  The people actually smile.

3)  The staff have fun together.

4)  The people share burdens through prayer.

5)  They trust each other when they deal with disagreement.

6)  They hang out before and after the service.

7)  They have strong small groups with caring leaders.

8)  The members give sacrificially.

9)  They don’t have a lot of business meetings—and the meetings they have

       are friendly and encouraging.

10) They invite unchurched friends to join them.

I know how I scored Northwest, but I’ll let you come up with your own score.

Due to the score I gave Northwest, I can genuinely say - I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Search Committee Updates

Thank you for assisting us in the survey and by answering questions in the LIFE groups. If you know of someone who is interested in a position at Northwest, please have them submit a resume and a way of viewing their lessons on line. Committee members are seeking verbal input into some of the things important to you as we plan for the future.

Encouragement From the Elders

Scripture tells us, we are all given at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7). These gifts — on top of our interests, abilities, hobbies, likes, and dislikes — join together to form who we are and how we participate in the work God is doing all around us.             

We are not made to be who we are to serve just ourselves (1 Peter 4:10).  God takes whom He has made us to be and matches it with the needs of others. What does it look like to really serve other people with our gifts?

As we allow the Gospel to change our hearts, we will develop a deep care for other people. Our attention will begin to turn away from ourselves and to the needs of others (Galatians 5:13). The church is us: people who love Jesus serving others by parking cars, holding babies, praying, serving coffee, leading classes, opening homes and assisting with needs. Serving in the local church is a vehicle to discover how we are made and how the Lord can use us. God fills in the picture for us. We discover more about ourselves and how He is growing us while He uses us to meet the needs of others. We learn best by doing.

What can I do to serve other people? How can I be the church? Every week, we are given the opportunity to practice putting our attention less on ourselves and more on others. We will not be perfect; however, as the new year begins let us jump in and serve.


I Corinthians 12:7 -  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

I Peter 4:10 -  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms

Galatians 5:13 -  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.


Preacher's Thoughts

As we close out 2018 I ask the question in the final sermon: How much have you grown this past year in “Looking for the Good”?  You may have grown more than you think - I certainly hope I have. I also hope you have thought about some things this year that will stick with you for the rest of your life…….but now onto 2019!


Our theme for 2019 is Be the Church (Don’t Just Go to Church).  Since the church is not a place or location, we cannot go to it. We are it - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We want to think about that this year and how it affects every aspect of our lives. This will be played out in activities throughout the year.  For instance in the Seekers Bible class we will carry that theme throughout the four quarters:




Summer - BE THE CHURCH IN TRIALS (II Corinthians)



Try to keep this theme before you and incorporate where you can.


I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Thoughts from the Preacher

Barbara and I would like to send all of you holiday greetings and best wishes for a super 2019! In this our 37th Christmas with you, we would like to thank you for all the words and actions of encouragement you have showered on us this year. You have been especially encouraging with your comments about our fiftieth anniversary. It is a privilege and a joy to be around people like you…..


I know there is so much going on around here in December, but I hope you will join me in trying to appreciate each moment of love and hope that is so much a part of this season…….


I know some ladies who have been putting in a lot of work to make this year’s Christmas party very special. I hope you can be a part of it on December 9…..


We were sorry to lose one of our shut ins, Annette Dobbs and a former member, Geraldine Pucklewartz. It was a privilege to know these kind ladies. Please pray for their families…..


I look forward to seeing you.


Encouragement from the Elders

How wonderful to know we are special in the sight of God. We have been wonderfully made, Psalms 139:14 and "in the image of our God” (Gen. 1: 27). The New Year is soon to be upon us and we will look back and maybe wonder if we accomplished very much.  

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  – Psalm 139:14

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. - Genesis 1:27                                                                                                  

The fact that we are able to reflect is a blessing from our loving God. Think about the gift of choice he gives us, to start the day with his forgiveness of our past, if we sincerely confess our shortcomings, 1 John 1:9 or more importantly, Acts 2:38 and ask him for the strength through Christ to do better, Phil.4: 13. So we can be encouraged because we know that though we struggle with love, our God is Love (1 John 4:16). Thank God for Jesus, and his love of the Father that gives us the ability to become heirs with him (Eph 3:6).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  – I John 1:9

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. – Acts 2:38

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – I John 4:16

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ    Jesus. – Ephesians 3:6

We are to encourage one another, so I encourage you! Phil.2: 1-11. 

 “Now to him who is able to do more than “all“ we ask or “imagine", according to his “power” that is at work "within" us, to him be glory in the “Church" and in Christ  Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!


Preacher's Thoughts

There are a lot of avenues that help us fill that bus that is going to heaven.  We know that God wants it full ( ...He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. II Peter 3:9) Thank you for all you are  doing to help others get on the bus.  Thanks to our Life Groups for  projects like the Fall Carnival to load the bus. Sunday morning I announced about brochures that  were available to go in candy bags for Halloween to tell kids and parents about Northwest. You picked up almost 900 of those to use on Halloween. Super! Keep up the good work…..

 Welcome to Ben Rodriguez who begins serving as one of our shepherds and to David Puckett, our treasurer who now serves as a deacon. Please pray for them, for Fran and Cheryl and their families…….

 Also, please continue to pray for our Search Committee as they do so much work behind the scenes to help us find the ministers God wants for Northwest….

 Remember the family of Jack Bowen as he departed this life recently. Jack was a long time member at Northwest…..

 I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Encouragement From the Elders

Matthew 6:19-21 certainly comes into focus when we see the devastation that hurricane Michael has brought. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This week as I see the before and after satellite photos of Mexico Beach, I have looked around my house with a different attitude. What do we have that is really that important? If all of our things were spread over a 10 mile radius by a storm, in the long run, what difference would it make?

Or does the storm cause you to think about Luke 12:15, where Jesus warned, “Be on your guard for all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” People who just lost their homes, cars and boats are learning what is essentially of value.

Thank you for your generous giving to the Hurricane Michael relief effort. You are a kind hearted, caring people! You know that in the short term, people need food, clothes, temporary shelter and to know that others care about them. We may not replace the antiques and keepsakes, the computers and luxury items that were lost, but we are lending a hand to people in distress.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let’s calibrate the standard by which we measure our blessings. God has blessed us with the ultimate blessing. He has drawn us to Himself. (John 6:44) He counts our faith as righteousness and has adopted us to be brothers and sisters of Jesus, the Messiah. He is building a permanent home for us. We share this hope and the comfort that comes from our fellowship in the church here at Northwest. 

Let’s pray for and support people in our community and in the Panhandle and around the world who need our help. Let us give thanks for the good that we see in the world. Let’s be thankful for Hurricane Michael’s reminder that we cannot count on our possessions to be there always. We can count on God, His love and His promises.

Thank you for your love and your generous giving. Thank you for your kindnesses to the people in Michael’s wake. I thank God for you and pray that He will bless you and keep you all close to Him and to each other and give you joy and peace. May this be a very special Thanksgiving for us all.


Search Committee Updates

January 8, 2019

After a short break for the holidays, the committee is getting back in the groove. The processes we will use have been completed, and the elders have finalized the job descriptions that we are sharing with advisors around the country who will help us find some great candidates, in addition to the applicants who have already contacted us. We are now working on a church profile to share with those candidates so they know more about us.

December 11, 2018

Next Sunday, December 16, morning Bible classes will be asked to complete a survey. It will also be available in the Welcome Center during service. Everyone is encouraged to complete it. Results will help us to know more about what you, our members, are wanting.

December 4, 2018

The Search Committee asks for your prayers for wisdom to make decisions that God wants us to make and as we conduct a survey of our membership this month.  Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

November 20, 2018

The Search Committee asks for your prayers for wisdom to make decisions that God wants us to make and as we work to develop a church survey for our membership, as well as work on a church profile to share with applicants. Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

October 29, 2018

We ask for your prayers as we work to develop a church profile to share with potential applicants. Please continue to be praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

October 22, 2018

The Search Committee is now working on job profiles and on the processes and procedures we are using.  Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring to us.

Youth News

September is over, October has come, and fall has made its first appearance (although, I’m learning that doesn’t mean much in Florida). We hope you’ve had a fantastic end to your summer and have found healthy, meaningful routines to carry you through the end of the year.

The youth group had a fantastic month! One of the highlights of our year is      SonQuest, which took place a few weeks ago in Orlando, and this was an exceptional year. We learned about God’s overflow in our lives, and we grew much closer with one another as a group. We even had the privilege of celebrating Zander Morse’s baptism! It was quite the experience, and it’s one many of us will remember for years to come.

SonQuest, along with all of NWYG’s regular activities, help us become a close, tight-knight community. If you were in worship for my lesson at the end of September, you know that the youth group takes this idea of community very seriously. The teens love when we get to be together, and that’s an encouragement to me. However, one of the things I love most is seeing how our teens are an inspiration to our adult volunteers. I  often talk about how my life is better because I regularly engage with young people, but I’m not the only one who feels that way! Ask any of our volunteers, and you’re likely to hear the same.

Many of you have approached me recently about asking how you can be a part of the NWYG community, and I love that. Of course, there are several ways. One immediate need is for adult volunteers to sit in on our Sunday morning class. This is a low-key      responsibility that allows you to take part in our activities while also being a big help. If you’re interested in this opportunity and would like to be put in rotation, email me at

                             -Casey and the NWYG Team


Encouragement From the Elders


Prayer and How It Can Change Our Lives

Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual rut? Who hasn’t? life gets busy, church feels like one more thing on your to do list and prayer feels both cumbersome and ineffective. Beyond the fact that life itself can become overwhelming, even sapping your spirituality.

Make no mistake Satan is at war to derail our pray life because he knows the further we move from God and His Son the closer we move to him. Make no mistake  - we are in a fight for our souls.

The good news is Satan’s reign terror stops here and now. He will keep coming but he won’t have victory because prayer will keep us close to the Lord, which puts a boundary around us.

Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us, and looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, it has never been more important for God’s people to be on our knees. Knowing how to pray is not always as easy as we would like. Even the disciples felt the same confusion. They were familiar with the often-repeated prayers of the Torah. But Jesus prayed with a kind of authority and power they had never seen before. In Matthew 6 they did not say, “Teach us another prayer.” They said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

The following are things that will help us to develop a more powerful prayer life

1. Know whom you are speaking to; Prayer is a conversation with God, “Our Father who art in heaven.” God is three distinct persons in one: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

2. Thank him; God loves to see we have thankful hearts. We are so fortunate to the avenue of prayer. We need to be thankful every day.

3. God’s will; Jesus prayed “not my will, but your will be done”. We need to always allow God’s will to be done through our receiving hearts to the Holy Spirit.

4. Say what you need: In Jesus time bread was a staple, one of the most basic needs of life, and he did not hesitate to ask God to provide. We should always realize that God will provide even the most basic needs and far beyond to the big issues of life that we all have or will have at some point on this earth.

5. Ask for forgiveness: James 5:16 reminds us that if we want to have our prayer heard our hearts need to be right with God and one another. Always take time to check the health of your heart.

6. Pray the Word: When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-12) He was the Son of God but he did not use his divine authority. Instead he used the authority of Scriptures.

The Elders pray for you all every time we meet and in our individual prayers. We asked that we all pray for us to always allow God’s will to be done.


Preacher's Thoughts

I was so glad to hear Casey’s sermon Sunday morning as he talked about  our teens’ summer. When Casey talks you can see how much he loves our kids. And I have seen from the teens how much they love him. RELATIONSHIPS are key to the success of any group of people. Casey also talked about staff relationships. I feel so fortunate to be a part of an awesome Northwest staff. I look forward everyday to coming to the office and being welcomed by the smiling faces of such capable people. I think about numerous ministries here and how the people in those ministries work with  each other with respect to accomplish their missions. And this same kind of respect in relationships will work for success in the home or even on the job…..


As October approaches, Halloween, kids and candy are just around the corner. Our Fall Carnival is October 28 and is a mission our Life Groups have taken on. No Life Groups that night, but we will have a great night with kids!....


We will have a new theme for 2019, but let’s fill the last three months of 2018 focusing on our theme of Looking for the Good. There’s a lot of good out there if we will just make the effort to look for it…..


I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Youth News

Youth News

           It’s difficult to believe that we’ve already reached the end of summer, but we have. And wow, what an amazing summer it has been! The NWYG has been extremely active these past 3 months, travelling all over the city (and even the country) for one activity or another, and we’ve grown closer to God and each other in the process.

We’ve had a lot of fun in this season. We’ve bowled like champs, dominated at mini-golf, and eaten our weight in snow cones on Wednesday nights. We’ve welcomed new 6th graders, grown closer with our friends from Bay Area Church, and eaten more pizza than you could imagine at our Tuesday Night Hangouts. We’ve taken over movie theaters, the beach, and even the Thee’s backyard, and we’ve had a blast doing it. Yet, for all the fun we’ve had this summer, it’s the growth in our relationship with our Lord we’re most thrilled about.

You see, summers can be times of great growth or unfortunate stagnation in our faith. We can be intentional about spending time with God, or we can spend a whole bunch of time doing nothing. However, the Youth Group has done everything we can to make sure we put God first in our summer. From growing deep during a week of camp, to serving well on a week of mission in Nashville, and at every class, lesson, and devotional in between, we’ve worked to put God first. Yes, we have a lot of fun together, and praise God for that. But it’s all for nothing if Christ isn’t at the front of our activities!

We hope to carry this mindset and momentum into the new school year. Parents, as you get back into routines and life goes back to normal, take the time to ask, “How can we put God before everything else at home?” In return, know that our youth ministry will be asking “How can we put God first in everything we do?” Together, we can lead our teens to Christ in big and bold ways. I’m so thankful for what we’ve learned this summer and for the ways we’ve grown, both with God and with each other. But the work isn’t finished yet, so let’s keep it going!

-Alia, Casey, and the NWYG


Encouragement from the Elders

One of the points in Jim’s sermon Sunday was: After all is said and done, there is usually more said than done. The lesson was from Acts 1:1-2 where we learn that Jesus not only taught, but he also put action to His words. That is our desire for Northwest – that we put wings on our words and legs on our prayers. We also saw in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went around doing good.

Next Sunday in the order of worship there will be a handout listing more than fifty ways Northwest folks went about doing good in the last year. This is not an exhaustive list, but it has enough in it to help everyone see what kind of ways the church is putting our teaching into action. Maybe you will find an area in which you would really like to be involved. We want every member at Northwest to feel valuable, involved and making a real difference in the world. God bless each one of you as you serve others and in so doing serve our Lord.

NORTHWEST DOING GOOD 2017  - Acts 10:38

Thousands given for good causes in addition to regular contribution

Feeding needy in our community weekly from pantry

Providing volunteers for local pantry downtown

Distributing meals for Thanksgiving

Helping needy families at Christmas

Special efforts to invite visitors for Christmas and Easter

Giving away water and bags with candy and info cards at Halloween

Faith City collection of backpacks and supplies for students in fall

Faith City make and send cards of encouragement each Wednesday

Faith City Milk and Cookies Night, paint and spread kindness rocks

Faith City Valentine Heart Attacks, invite cards in Halloween candy, Thanksgiving food drive

Speaking at local schools (One member helped start a Bible club on campus.)

Cleaning yards and making repairs for those needing help

Temple Maintenance Team – monthly checking of blood pressure, flu shots, etc.

Corresponding with persecuted Christians overseas

Supporting Dino Roussos in Greece and in other countries in that area

Supporting individuals in mission efforts in other countries

Youth group mission efforts

Camp scholarships for youth

Donations to Free Clinic for homeless

Free tutoring for students

Helping Northwest members with life sustaining needs

Providing temporary shelter

Providing budget and financial counseling

Jobs for Life training

No Debt No Sweat class

Parenting class

Free classes to the public by a trained professional on emotional needs

Free martial arts class to community

Weekly meetings for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health)

Meetings for Healthy Start (Parents as Teachers)

Helping with disaster relief at Northwest

Helping with disaster relief in United States

Helping with disaster relief in other countries

Spanish church meets on our property

Monthly support for biannual Equip seminar in Orlando

Support Mt. Dora Children’s Home

Support Christian Family Services in Gainesville

Volunteers for Ronald McDonald House

Volunteer painting at Northwest and other locations

Care packages to college students

Visitation to shut-ins

Food prepared for sick and bereaved

Community block party

Sending cards of encouragement

Evangelism through Mules softball team with prayer after games

Lunch for visitors

Helping people move

Providing transportation to doctors

Providing transportation to Northwest

Free marital and other types of counseling

Spread the Word outreach to visitors

Assistance in planning weddings and funerals

Baby and wedding showers

Prison visitation and correspondence

Preacher's Thoughts

We miss you when you are gone.  Thanks to all who have been bringing me church bulletins from your summer adventures in travel.  Whether you are home or traveling, let’s keep in mind our mission of getting as many on the bus to heaven as possible. Remember: Wherever you go, there you are.  God can work mightily wherever you are……

Bob Samek has donated hours and hours and hours into renovating the old youth house on the corner of our lot. Thanks to Bob and  his helpers Steve Adye,  Al Fisch and Ben Rodriguez who have donated time and skill to help him improve that house…….

As I announced Sunday a search committee has been commissioned by the elders to look for two ministers to join out team here at Northwest. They will be involved in networking and would appreciate your input. The committee members are: Will Broyles, Tom Burket, Beulah Cumberbatch, Al Duren, Kevin Garner, Melissa Myers and Linda Smock. I also requested your prayers each day at 2:02 pm (from II Tim 2:2) for the success of this effort…….

I look forward to seeing you.


Preacher's Thoughts

Let’s look for some good:

Casey, Alia and the youth group had a great week at camp, but that’s just part of a full summer - much more to come!

You gave a total of $5,000 for the summer youth program - over $2,000 of it went to scholarships for camp. As a matter of fact, our giving has been super this year!  We  entered the summer without a deficit, and that has not happened in a long time. The summer is tough with so many gone, so please remember that expenses continue through vacation time. Thank you for your generosity.

June has been wedding month with two weddings here and lessons on marriage. A large number of NW couples recommitted their vows this month. Next month’s theme is Thank God for Freedom.

Our  live streaming of the Sunday worship is running without too many problems now. People are actually worshipping with us in other places via live stream. Give it a look on Facebook - Go to Northwest Church of Christ.

I look forward to seeing you


Youth News

Youth News

Summer is almost halfway over! Can you believe it? The youth group had a fantastic June, full of fun events and lessons. We had lots of fun at our weekly WAC (Wednesday After Church) events, initiated the new 6th graders, went to see the Rays play with the San Jose youth group, and had an amazing week of Camp at CFBC! We’ve already had a full summer’s worth of fun, but we have plenty more to come!

Our big event for July is our mission trip to Nashville! We’ve been planning this since before I even arrived at Northwest, so we’re excited that it’s nearly here! While we’re all sure this will be a fantastic opportunity for our teens, there are a few more things we could use from the congregation. First, please be in prayer for this trip. Our ministry wants everything we do to be initiated by God, and as such, it must be deeply rooted in prayer. We need your help for this to happen. Second, we would love if you would consider donating to a teen’s fundraising cost. Each teen is responsible for raising $400 for transportation and expenses, and many of them could use your help. In addition, we have a fundraiser dinner coming up on Wednesday, July 11th. More details will follow in the weekly order of worship and the Sunday morning announcements, but please plan on eating with us that Wednesday night. This trip is going to be a life-changing event for each of our teenagers, and we would love for every member at northwest to have some type of hand in the process.

But that’s not all we have planned for July! From hangouts to beach devos and everything in between, July is going to be quite the month. Make sure you check the NWYG Facebook page regularly for updates and details.