Encouragement From the Elders

Let the Truth Be Told

Truth is in short supply in our world today. Did we used to value truth more? Is it only recently that lying is so prevalent that we need a Truth-O-Meter to parse out every word that our leaders say to determine if they have made factual and fully revealing statements?

Lying is not new to me. Let me illustrate. First by way of justification, before I started school know that my first dog, Mickey, was run over by a truck that he so loved to chase. My next dog was hit by a car as we waited to cross the street to fly kites in an oil field in West Texas. So, be generous when you read this. It was early in the first grade that one afternoon, I walked home the 5 blocks from school. As I approached our house, my Mom and sister came out the front door. Mom saw a blonde cocker spaniel following me that I hadn’t noticed and asked, “Whose dog is that?” Without hesitation, amazing words came out of my mouth. Glibly I lied, “That is Mike’s dog. He asked me to keep it while they are on vacation.” Vacation? Really? In the middle of the school year? Miraculously, Mom bought it! She scolded me for not asking permission, but in Mom fashion she swung into action feeding the dog and giving it a bath before it came in our house. The evening was great. The dog, whose name I invented easily if not creatively, was Cocker. Cocker and I bonded immediately. However, after I was in bed and the lights were out, remorse set in. What about Cocker’s real owner? What if Mom found out that I lied? What a miserable night! First thing in the morning, I confessed to Mom that it was all a fabrication. I was suitably punished. The consequences of lying were forever impressed on my mind.

Jesus valued truth and He said that knowing the truth would set us free. (John 8:32) Paul in Ephesians 4:25 tells us to put off falsehood and speak truthfully. In John 15 we learn that Jesus has sent us the Spirit of Truth. Why is it that people lie so easily? Is it our fallen human nature? Like Paul confesses in Romans 7, we have the desire to do what is good, but we can’t consistently carry it out.

Can we renew our commitment to always speak the truth? If Satan is the Father of Lies, we certainly want no part of lying. Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves about the truth. Let’s give ourselves no latitude to play carelessly with the truth.

The word of the day is “equivocate.” Equivocation is the art of parsing out our words and of being ambiguous - saying truthful statements while concealing the full truth of the matter. For example, do you remember the leader who said, “It depends on what the meaning of the word “Is” is”?

As God’s people, let’s be known for telling the truth on all occasions with grace and love. God knows our hearts and hears our words. He knows every exaggeration, every slant of the truth. He cannot be deceived even if our mothers and others can be. Let’s redouble the value we place on truth and model truthfulness for our families and our community. Ephesians 4:15 is a powerful verse encouraging us to always speak the truth in love. May God’s Spirit of Truth give us grace to be truthful in all we say and do.


Preacher's Thoughts

Recently in a sermon I asked the question Why are you here? Sunday a dear  sister  handed me  this answer:

 * To praise the God of heaven!

* To show my love and gratitude to Him.

* To be an active part of the living, breathing body of Christ.

* To sing to God with all my heart and soul.

* To demonstrate obedience.

* To partake of the Lord’s supper with my brothers and sisters (in remembrance of the gift).

* To remind me who’s side I’m on.

* To hear a portion of the Word.

* To give to encourage.

    That’s why!

Would that everyone examined their hearts in such a thorough fashion. Why are you going to be here Sunday?

Wow - what a Halloween! I’ve already got several reports of members who handed out NW and Faith City information with candy and had some great conversations with neighbors. There was also a lot of bottles of water and cider given out.  What a great use of that holiday!

I look forward to seeing you (and some neighbors from Halloween efforts) Sunday.


Be the Good Slide copy.jpg

Preacher's Thoughts

Be the Good Slide copy.jpg

As we enter the final third of the year we continue to focus on our theme Be the Good.  I am so thankful for how you have put that theme into practice over the past month.  I’ve seen and heard so many stories of how Northwesterners have helped others out in preparing for the storm and afterward cleaning up and helping the ones without electricity to be more comfortable.  I know a number of our members were hit hard financially by the storm, but you gave so generously in a special contribution for those hit the hardest. It reminds me of the Macedonian Christians of the first century: In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity (II Corinthians 8:2). I don’t think any of us are in extreme poverty, that same kind of spirit has been evident…….

Christian Financial Resources has partnered with us in helping us improve our property in so many ways.  They will conduct another Financial Planning Seminar on October 19, beginning at 6:30 pm. If you did not get to participate in the last one, sign up for a time when you hear it announced….

Life Groups started September 24.  The first set of lessons are on the theme Is My God Big Enough?  These four lessons will also be the topic of the sermons on Sunday mornings…..

Muleball starts its 66th season October 9.  Hope to see you there…...



Preacher's Thoughts

I hope you are spending 2017 (which is halfway gone) being the good. We sing a song God Is So Good.  So in trying to be the good, may we look to God, who IS good as our example.  And that example is best seen in His son, Jesus……

God is doing a lot of good here at Northwest.  Look around and see how many new people are here at every service and also how many Northwesterners are busy working and serving God and just basking in His grace……

We wereso sad to learn of the passing of James Casalino.  It was a great day for Northwest when he and Ruth came to be a part of the Northwest family.  He struggled with cancer for a long time but now is struggling no more.  Arrangements for his memorial service are not   definite at this time……

I’m really enjoying having Greg Hall around this summer.  We knew and loved Greg when he was in high school, but now we see what a fine young college graduate he is as he works as a youth intern.  He has taken our kids to camp this week and we look forward to hearing of successes during the week……

The 4th of July helps us again consider how fortunate we are to enjoy the privileges of freedom, especially of worshiping God without any restraints.  Not everyone has that freedom, so may we not take it for granted…..

I look forward to seeing you.


Joel's Journal


Are your prayers big enough?

We have been trying to teach our son to pray for a while.  He is just a little over 2 years old so his abilities are limited, but we want to teach him what prayer is all about.  We want him to get used to praying.

Right now he can say, “Dear God, thank you for momma, daddy, amen.”  Still working on being thankful for food, and praying in Jesus’ name.

This process of teaching him got me thinking more about how we pray and what we pray for. Right now our son is only capable of small prayers.  This makes sense because his understanding is small. His world is small.  His friend circle is small. His toys are small.  His desires are small… usually “Cheese Its.”  Complex dreams and thoughts are still well beyond his grasp.  

Unfortunately, I’m not always sure that our adult prayers are big enough.  We pray for our food.  Why?  It is a good way to pray often. It is a good way to remember to thank the God that created us and loves us.  It is a time to recognize where good things come from.  Praying at dinner is a wonderful habit, but we know that if you pray for too long the hungrier family members may be thinking, “get on with it, I want to devour this meal already!”  

I want to teach my son to pray often and to pray big. I want his prayers to be big prayers.  In order for that to happen I know my own prayers need to be bigger and deeper.

What is the biggest thing that you have prayed for lately?  Think about it for a second.  Are you concerned with the same things that God is? Are you praying for spiritual things or physical things? Are you praying for things that will happen anyway, or for things that wouldn’t happen without God’s help? Are your prayers for self, food, safe trips, and parking spots? Are your prayers for God’s kingdom, salvation, and the world grasping and accepting this incredible message of God’s grace and forgiveness?  Are you praying for Northwest to accomplish something so large that it could only be explained by God?  Bigger prayers are needed…

The 20th century Norwegian pastor Ole Hallesby likens prayer to mining as he knew it in Norway. Demolition to create mine shafts took two basic kinds of actions. There are long periods of time, he writes, "when the deep holes are being bored with great effort into the hard rock." To bore the holes deeply enough into the most strategic spots for removing the main body of rock was work that took patience, steadiness, and a great deal of skill. Once the holes were finished, however, the "shot" was inserted and connected to a fuse. "To light the fuse and fire the shot is not only easy but also very interesting … . One sees 'results.' … Shots resound, and pieces fly in every direction." He concludes that while the more painstaking work takes both skill and patient strength of character, "anyone can light a fuse." 

One of my favorite authors Tim Keller comments on this illustration:

“This helpful illustration warns us against doing only ‘fuse-lighting’ prayers, the kind that we soon drop if we do not get immediate results. If we believe both in the power of prayer and in the wisdom of God, we will have a patient prayer life of ‘hole-boring.’ Mature believers know that handling the tedium is part of what makes for effective prayers. We must avoid extremes—of either not asking God for things or of thinking we can bend God's will to ours. We must combine tenacious importunity, a ‘striving with God,’ with deep acceptance of God's wise will, whatever it is.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

- Pray Often

Matthew 7: 7-12 says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

- Pray Big


Encouragement from the Elders

As we lament over all the world’s evil that we see regularly in the news, a quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind, The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch without doing anything.  It sounds a little like Edmund Burke’s statement, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  And in a speech in 1963 President Kennedy paraphrased a thought from Dante’s Inferno, The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality.

But even better is a quote from the Book above all books, If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4:17).

Our theme for 2017 is Be the Good.  It is not enough just not to do evil.  It is our responsibility and privilege to do good – to be the good. This is not a time to sit on the sidelines in neutrality, but for God’s people to be the light in a very dark world and show forth the good. There is not enough darkness in the whole wide world to put out the light of God’s goodness. May we make sure we let that light shine (Matthew 5:14-16).


Preacher's Thoughts

We are so happy to have Greg Hall back with us to serve as our youth intern for the summer. Greg endeared himself to Northwest several years ago when he became a part of our youth group. This month he graduated from Harding University with a degree in Youth Ministry.  His fiancé, Amy, still has a year to go at Harding.  Our youth are in for a great time of growth this summer…..

So many graduations around us serve as evidence that summer is here.  While you and yours are away on vacation this summer remember three things: 1)  Take your Bible so you can continue to commune with God by reading and praying; 2) Please bring me bulletins from the churches you visit; and 3)  Please leave your contribution at Northwest while gone because our teaching, outreach, benevolence, missions, etc. continue in the summer as well as the rest of the year.   We try to BE THE GOOD year round.  Have a super summer!....

Thank you for all your effort in trying to make people feel home at Northwest.  We get evaluations from our first time visitors and those reports have been outstanding over the past couple of months.  Mike Halland Dan Cunningham, deacons over our welcome ministry, and their helpers have been busy from the parking lot to the classrooms to the café, etc.  Those workers in the Spread the Word ministry are also very active in welcoming guests.  And then there are the friendly Northwesterners.  Keep up the good work!....

I look forward to seeing you.


Joel's Journal


Last week Alison and I went away for a 5 day anniversary trip.  We stayed in a cabin in North Carolina that had a creek, or crick if you are actually from North Carolina, that was right across the gravel road from the cabin.  We got there and opened one of the doors and immediately could hear the peaceful sound of the creek flowing in the background.  It was incredibly restful!

How do you rest? Or do you actually rest?

In our culture we don't rest well.  It is difficult to determine all of the reasons why we don't "rest well" in our culture. It may be engrained into the fabric of American culture.  We seem to have assumptions about rest. Many assume rest is for the lazy. I can remember growing up hearing Bible verses about working hard. Verses like 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which was always quoted to me this way, "If a man doesn't work don't let him eat." This verse was written to combat lazy attitudes.  Certainly being lazy is not pleasing to God.  Yet, even from the very beginning after 6 days of creation God rested. God even established a mandatory sabbath day so that Israel would rest.

However, today it is commonplace to hurriedly walk down the corridors of our workplace and get asked "how is it going?"  We say, "busy." Why do we say this?  Sometimes it is because it is true, at other times it is because busyness is valued. We see an acquaintance we haven't seen in a while, and they might greet with a question like "you staying busy?"  We feel obliged to say yes. Many of us wouldn't imagine saying "no" to that question because somehow we think that being busy, working hard, being productive is tied to our worth as a human.  

There is a new study from researchers at Harvard that proves that Americans increasingly perceive busy and overworked people as having high status. In one experiment, a hundred participants were asked to read a fictional letter from a "friend" named Daniel. In one version, he complained about being "crazy busy" and never having time to watch TV. In another, he talked about being relaxed and often watching sports on TV. On a scale of one to seven, participants ranked busy Daniel more than twice as high on a measure of wealth and social status as they ranked leisurely Daniel. The researchers concluded that our new "conspicuous consumption" is no longer about scarce things like jewelry or money or cars. Instead, it's about saying, "'I am the scarce resource, and therefore I am valuable'… Displaying one's busyness at work and lack of leisure time operates as a visible signal of status in the eyes of others."

Our value shouldn't be determined by how much demand we create, or how much time we do or do not have.  Our value shouldn't be affected by how productive we are.  Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  Luckily for us our beholder is God. God is willing to give everything for us.  It is time for us to stop chasing value, and realize we already have it.  It is crucial that we are productive for God, but perhaps more so that we find rest in him.

Matthew 11:28 says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  God set our value at priceless, and offers rest from the rat-race of trying to build up our worth to those around us.  Let's find rest in him, and watch amazing things happen in our relationship with Him.

- Joel


Encouragement From the Elders

Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15

Northwest was richly blessed 35 years ago by the arrival of the     Shannon family. In April, we celebrated our Preacher and Muleskinner, Jim Shannon for 35 years of service, thirty five years of faithful service. Thirty five years of sermons with three points, mule lessons, weddings, funerals, babies, baptisms and Bible classes. Supporting his brothers and sisters in good times and in times of need. We were also blessed with his wonderful wife, Barbara. Together they have demonstrated a love for God and a heart for this congregation. They have touched so many lives and lifted us up in prayer.

Jim often makes us laugh with his stories and quick wit. He is the coach for the Mules softball team, a community outreach mission. Each week on Tuesday, Jim visits members of the congregation. Jim is an encourager.

We, the Elders, are blessed to serve this church with Jim leading the flock. He always displays a Godly example for us to emulate and truly loves God. We look forward to continuing to learn from him and serve God alongside him. May God continue to bless and keep the Shannon family in His Care as they continue to serve Northwest.


I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1: 16


Preacher's Thoughts

Barb and I are so grateful for the elders’ honoring us last Sunday for our 35 years at Northwest and giving us a trip to Atlanta to thenew Braves stadium.  Thanks to all of you for the many kind remarks and good wishes as we achieved this milestone together.  Most of all, we are thankful to God for the relationships and successes at Northwest over parts of the last four decades……

We have been saddened to learn of the deaths of three of our former members -  Betty Carter, Jean Cottrell, and B.J. Jones.  Betty and her husband Randall, who still lives in Ft. Myers, were so instrumental in the building of our worship center in the late 80’s. The Cottrells were here for over 25 years as Gary served as an elder and Jean worked at GCCS.  Both Geoffrey and Preston grew up here.  B.J. was the wife of Harold Jones, the first full time preacher at Northwest. We are so grateful for what both of them contributed in those beginning years of the church. We offer our deepest sympathy to all three of these wonderful families…..

Let me tell you about a couple of ministries in which you may want to participate. One is the Spread the Word ministry.  We attempt to find visitors on Sunday mornings and invite them to have a personal Bible study. It is really a lot of fun. The other is the Barnabas ministry.  Wehave various opportunities to encourage others throughout the year.  We need people to pray for both of these ministries.  Let me know if you are interested or have questions…..

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Encouragement from the Elders

How bright and dependable is your lantern?

Clearance Coleman, the founder of the Coleman Lantern Company, started building gas lanterns in the 1800’s. He guaranteed them to work or he would replace them free of charge. People came to    depend on the lantern and a business was born that continues as one of the great names in the camping industry.

Christ came into the world and set a standard and challenged his follower to always be the light in a world of darkness filled with Sin.

As we read in Romans 12:1-2

1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy,To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good and pleasing and perfect will.

Our Lord and savior also told us that our future is guaranteed if we will follow Him. In today’s world we have opportunities every day to shine our lantern, by just “doing Good” as our theme for the year suggests. We serve our Lord as we serve others. Mark 9:41 tells us,  “anyone who gives you a cup of water in Jesus name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

We need to strive to be a community of God’s people who are set aside by our actions for “Doing Good” every opportunity we have.

The Elders


Preacher's Thoughts

It’s good to see how many of you as individuals, families and groups are carrying out our 2017 theme of Be the Good.  March 26 is Be the Good Sunday and you will have the opportunity to investigate the many ministries we have at Northwest and sign up for the one you feel most called to.  The same day we will take up a special contribution to conclude the major portion of the More Than We Can Imagine campaign. On April 8-9 Andy Miller will be here for our Spread the Word workshop, which will help train us to reach out and share our faith in showing people Jesus is the Good we try to emulate.  These are just a couple of the opportunities we will have this year to help us truly Be the Good……

A few days ago we lost a dear sister who had been a member of Northwest for forty years - Bertha Kelley. Bertha left a lasting impression on this church and we will miss her so much.  Our deepest sympathy goes out to Carol, Frank, Victoria and all the family…..

Landon Butler passed away Sunday.  After Landon lost his wife Nancy, he lost his home in a fire.  He spent many weeks in the hospital recovering from the fire.  He was doing much better and had been at church earlier Sunday.  We mourn his sudden departure…..

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Joel's Journal

Our first family weekend is behind us, and from all that I had spoken with it was one of the most positive weekends anyone can remember!  Having 700+ people on our property for our fall festival was so exciting!  There was an energy from our 160+ volunteers that were serving.  Many got to see Northwest as the positive place that it is. Many were visibly proud of our church and the faith that we were representing! 

 Last year during our fall festival we were confined to a small space due to our construction.  This year we had room to spread out and it was felt by everyone.  I heard people saying things like… “This doesn’t even look like the same church as last year.”  I also heard someone talking about how positive and helpful our volunteers were and the uplifting mood of the whole event.  There werealso incredible stories of othersrealizing that Northwest is accepting of them.

 On Sunday we had great uplifting worship thanks to Barry Jones.  Trent Burket did a fantastic job during scripture reading!  Our kids on stage had such thoughtful answers to the 3 questions.

 These are some of the paraphrase answers from Sunday!

 1. What is the coolest thing about your family?

That my mom and dad live and I live in the front house and my grandpa and grandma live in the back house and I just walk back and forth between the two as much as I want.

The coolest thing about my family is that my foster mom Beulah loves me, and would doanything for me, and makes me feel like I am a part of her and her family.

My family loves me no matter what.

 2. What is the coolest thing about God?

He loves us when we mess up. 

He knows everything, even before I do it! 

He loves everyone. 

He is never going to hate me. 

He loves us no matter what we do.

 3. What is the coolest thing about Church?

We can all be friends. 

We all want to praise God. 

Here at Northwest we don't stay at church past 1pm like we did in my old church!

 Thanks you to all who made this past weekend such a positive experience!



Encouragement from the Elders



 As we approach the end of another year, let’s look at Psalm 90 which includes the word “year” more than any other Psalm. In the Hebrew text of Psalm 90, the word translated as “year” (shena) appears seven times.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—they are like the new grass   of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.

7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.

 Psalm 90’s theme speaks to us as we wrap up another calendar year. It notes that God has been our home “through all generations,” from year to year, “before the mountains were born,” God is God. God is always there for us.

 Though we tend to make a big deal out of the change of years, from God’s perspective, “a thousand years are as a passing day”. This fact reminds us of God’s unmatched majesty. It also suggests that all the hype surrounding New Year’s doesn’t really matter in the long run. When the big crystal ball falls in Times Square, what will really be different, other than the number of the year?

 Does this mean we should not rejoice in the passing of another year? Hardly, verse 12 offers this prayer to the Lord: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom”. Accepting the limit of our lives will help us to use well every minute God gives us.

 Psalm 90 underscores the fact that fulfillment in life isn’t a matter of how much we have or how much we accomplish, rather, what gives life purpose and meaning is a living relationship with the living God. “Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” What a great thought with which to end this year and begin a new one. If we live each day in the satisfaction of God’s love, we will be empowered to live for Him, to love Him through serving our neighbors. We won’t fret about the passing years, but will accept the gift of each day as a new opportunity for love and service.


Preacher's Thoughts

A lot has happened at Northwest since Christmas in 2015.  A new classroom building has been completedand the worship center has been remodeled, but the real growth has not been     inside brick and mortar buildings but inside the hearts of those who call Northwest home.  What changes have occurred in your spiritual growth since last Christmas?   How have we all grown closer to God and to each other?  Our theme for the year has been Awakening.  How have you been awakened this year?  

 As we continue in the holiday season with anticipation of a new year, I want to thank each one of you for your continued faithfulness and generosity in serving ourgracious and loving God.  2016 has been such a blessing, but I believe 2017 will be even better…..

 Merry Christmas from the Shannons and may you all have a Happy New Year!

I look forward to seeing you.




Preacher's Thoughts

As these pictures show, eighteen months can make a lot of difference.  We’re not quite finished with our facilities, but we’re almost there. What an encouraging time we had Sunday at the Open House and potluck.  How blessed we are to be a part of such a wonderful fellowship!

 Thanks to Christian Financial Resources and Jim Myers and his team for leading the More Than We Can Imagine campaign to help us get the needed funds.  Thanks to Tom Burket and the P J Callaghan crew for the construction, to Lori Todsen for design, furnishings, etc., to Joel Singleton foroverseeing and coordinating the various parts of the construction, to all the sub contractors, to our office staffand cleaning crew and to all the members who prayed, gave and worked to bring us to where we are today.   Thanks to the elders and the church for the vision, but most of all praise be to GOD who is the giver of the vision, the resources, and every good thing. He is the one who will change the hearts of people who will be added to Northwest in the future.  Now we can put to use all God has given us for the building up of the kingdom!

 I look forward to seeing you Sunday.


Joel's Journal

Finding Community


Community is a loaded word.  It can mean so much in our lives.  If you have a community, you have people that accept you unconditionally.  If you have community, you have a group to share your inner thoughts with. If you have community, you have friends to share the highs and lows of your life. If you have community, you have a group to help you get your hands dirty and make a difference.


Community seems to be a fading concept.  Most of those that I encounter are starving for community, but don't know how to find it.  Our world seems to think they don't have time for it.  Our world doesn't seem to know how to form it or how to contribute to it.  I'm not sure why, but our world seems to be letting go of community. Over the last 50 years, while society has been growing more and more prosperous and individualistic, our social connections have been dissolving.


Emily Esfahni Smith from The Atlantic describes the price for our social disconnection:

"We volunteer less. We entertain guests at our homes less often. We are getting married less. We are having fewer children. And we have fewer and fewer close friends with whom we'd share the intimate details of our lives. We are denying our social nature, and paying a price for it. Over the same period of time that social isolation has increased, our levels of happiness have gone down, while rates of suicide and depression have multiplied."


I have never been great at sitting still. After our grand opening I paused to consider what was next for Northwest. It was clear to me that this will be a year of community. On Sept 11th, Northwest kicks off Life Groups after our summer break.  We have a few new groups and opportunities for community. If you feel like you haven't found your community, we hope you will give some thought and prayer to joining a life group.


Encouragement From the Elders



Are we ready to authentically welcome those who come our way? Does my welcome go beyond a smile and hello?  It helps to remember there was a time when we came for the first time. The following was condensed from an article by Dorothy Little.

After being part of the same church community for more than 15 years, my husband and I found ourselves looking for a new church home last year. Prior to this year, I’ve never had the uncomfortable experience of walking in, sitting by myself, and then leaving without speaking to anyone.

Until this year, I took for granted how relationships enrich Sunday morning. I was primed and eager to find new friendships, or at least not be invisible. However, week after week, as soon as the benediction was given, folks scattered and soon became engaged with their friends, leaving me very much alone.

My experiences are not isolated. One of the top reasons visitors do not return to a church is that they don’t feel welcome. Many of the churches we attended over the past year have been friendly—offering cheerful hellos and smiles—but that won’t convince people to return. We need to intentionally engage with our visitors and go beyond opening the door and handing them a bulletin.

Treating Sunday morning visitors as we do those who come to our homes makes a difference.  Certainly, none of us would greet someone who just walked in our front door and then turn and walk away—yet that happens in far too many churches on Sunday morning. The basics—making eye contact, offering a warm handshake, asking if they need help finding kids’ ministry—go a long way in easing the anxiety that many of us feel as we enter an unfamiliar space, but there’s more we can do.

Obviously, not everyone comes to church with the same set of relational needs. Do they come in just as the service has started and sit in the last row? They may need space. Do they go directly into the cafe? That’s a great time to casually greet them and ask a few non-threatening questions. After the service, being genuinely curious about others will often help visitors feel like someone actually cares that they show up. Try asking non-threatening, non-status questions such as “Do you have plans to watch the Oscars/ local sporting event this afternoon?” or “How do you spend your days?” (versus “What do you do for work?” which can make some folks feel cornered).

Listen without an agenda and watch their body language. It will be obvious when they are done. If discernment is not one of your gifts, watch their eyes. If they search furtively for the exit or can’t stop checking their handheld, offer a simple “Thanks for coming and hope to see you again.” There’s no need to pressure them to return next week or check out a small group. Here’s an important tip: Look for that person next week, if only to say, “Hi! Good to see you” as you head for a bagel. Continuity raises the possibility of friendship, which ultimately all of us are hoping for.

Consider the five-minute rule. Everyone looks for someone they don't know for five minutes once the service ends. The goal is not to swarm visitors but to avoid what has happened to me so many times in the past year—no eye contact, no conversation. So view Sunday morning through the eyes of the newcomer. If we mean it when we say, “I’m glad you came. I hope to see you again,” chances are, we will.


Youth News

We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (NLT) ( Romans 5:3 ) 


We tend to become sad or frustrated when we receive bad news. Always remember that God wants us to appreciate life even when we're going through tough situations. Next time you're in one of those situations, whether a family member is sick, you're out of work, or things just aren't falling into place, remember that God has a bigger plan for you.

If you have not picked up a fall calendar they are available in the Teen Center.  At the meeting Sunday we asked for your help as parents with upcoming events.  After SonQuest we will have sign up sheets for volunteering to help with upcoming events in the Teen Center.  Please watch for those and check your calendars and see when you can assist.   As always we thank you all for your support and your continued prayers for our youth group and parents.  

 Upcoming Events:

 October 9 - Service 4:12 - meet in the Café directly after worship for lunch and go together to serve.

 October 18 - TNT - 6:30– 8:30 - Dinner provided.