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To the Rescue

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We are two weeks into our new Covid-19 reality.

And I think that it is starting to sink in that it may be longer and darker than we had first thought or imagined.

Weighty Matters

Don’t worry…this blog is going to get brighter, but you need to know that the weight of the physical effects and financial effects of the pandemic are felt in our home as well as yours. When I am tempted to focus on the fear, I am hitting my knees in prayer and opening my Bible for words of peace in the storm.

The Apostle Paul was not a stranger to hard times. In fact, he seemed to be a magnet for them. If you wanted to experience an easy life, he was probably someone you should avoid! In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a time when he was under such intense pressure that he wanted to die (2 Corinthians 1:8). That is heavy.

To the Rescue

But then Paul changes his tone, and talks about how God has rescued us (past tense), will continue to rescue us (present tense), and will rescue us again (future tense). God has us covered and he will rescue us, past, present, and future (v. 10). Our hope is in God.

Whatever you are going through today, look up, your hope is in the Lord. Even if you are experiencing stress that feels unbearable, God will get you through. I have no idea what that rescue will look like, but I know he will provide.

Pray, and Move

And remember, God often uses US as a part fo the rescue plan! Part of Paul’s rescue was the prayers of the church in Corinth (v. 11).  Your prayers are necessary right now. Your prayers are powerful and effective. Call out on the Lord on behalf of your family, friends, and our world. Then open your eyes. Not only will God rescue you, but he will also use you to rescue others.

There are needs in our church community and in the community at large that are coming to the surface. If you are willing to help out by making phone calls or dropping off meals, please let us know. You can call our church office at (780) 452-5566 or email patricia@np.church to get involved.

I am thankful to be able to walk with you during this crisis. With God’s help, we are going to get through this. We are going to emerge better and stronger.

*Below is our latest Covid-19 update:

-Our services continue to be online only. We don’t have a timeline but suspect it will be through April at the very least. Services can be watched at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, and 12:30 pm by going to www.np.church and clicking the “Join Us Live” button. You can also view it on our North Pointe Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/

-If you are unable to watch on Sunday, all of our services can be viewed on the North Pointe YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXV2cCNl3nobRPUYl9QNz7w

-Monday-Friday at 10:00am I am doing a Facebook Live daily devotional called AM/PM (A Message from Pastor Michael). Check it out at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/  To receive more content from the North Pointe page, be sure to hit the “Like” button.

This is a 15-20 minute session where we will be studying the daily reading from Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional “My Utmost for His Highest.”

-The Church office remains open from M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. Please use the North Entrance for access. Pastors are available to pray with you or help with the needs you may have. You can also call (780) 452-5566 if you would like to speak to a pastor. We are here for you and will keep our distance. 

-Thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving. We are doing our best to respond to the needs of the church community as they arise, as well as cover our operational expenses and obligations. You can give online at www.np.church or at the Giving Stations during office hours.

-Each ministry is doing its best to contact people in their reach, provide online resources, and stay connected. Ministry rhythms are different, but it certainly isn’t boring!

We are praying every day for the people of North Pointe, including you. Job losses, illness, and isolation are scary. We need one another more than ever. And we need to be led by God. Call out to him, and he will answer. He will lead you and guide you.

Together we are Stronger,

Pastor Michael

Covid-19 Update from North Pointe March 18

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We are doing our best to keep you informed of the latest developments at North Pointe Community Church in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Attached is a video explaining what we are currently up to, but here is a synopsis:

-Gatherings of all sizes have been suspended for an indefinite time period.

-Our church building is still open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Please use the North Entrance (all other entrances will be locked). We have a room set aside for prayer and quiet reflection. Pastors will be available to pray for you and your needs. We will be cautious to keep a safe distance, but we know the power of prayer and communication during times of crisis like this.

-You can call our church during office hours (780) 452-5566 for prayer by a pastor or for someone to talk to. Even in isolation, you are not alone!

-If you have prayer requests, please let us know at hello@np.church  You can also let us know on our North Pointe Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG

-Our Sunday services are all online (we are not meeting together at our church building). We will have our services streamed at 9:30am, 11:00am, and 12:30pm. You can access this on our website www.np.church or on our Facebook Page. As you watch, please chat with us online and let us know what the experience is like. Feel free to take a pic of yourself or your family and share it on social media. We want to know you are with us!

-We will continue to have financial obligations and will be reaching needs in our city. Thank you for your generosity in giving. You can give online at www.np.church (there is a button on our main page that says “Give Online”). Alternately, during business hours you can use the Giving Stations in the Foyer of the church. Access through the North Doors.

-If you do not currently receive the Weekly Newsletter would you consider signing up for it? It is a primary way that we keep the congregation ‘in the loop’ on our major upcoming events, and it always contains the weekly blog article. Click here to sign up.

Thank you for being a vital part of the North Pointe Family. God is good and he will get us through this. Let’s remain united in our separation!

Pastor Michael

Covid 19 Response

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In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, we have posted a video to all of our social media platforms, as well as on our website and blog. Please watch the video for information on our response as a church to the pandemic.

Here are the highlights:

-We will be suspending our services this Sunday. There will still be a Livestream at 9:30 am, 11:00 am and 12:30 pm, but we will NOT be gathering together at our building. The LiveStream can be accessed at www.np.church or on the North Pointe Facebook page or on the North Pointe YouTube Channel.

-Our smaller programs/classes (under 250) will still be meeting unless otherwise posted. We will be re-evaluating this situation on a daily basis and will be giving pertinent updates on our website and social media platforms.

-We care about the spiritual and physical health of our community and believe we must take the lead to ensure that the spread of the virus is mitigated.

-We are not operating out of a sense of fear but of faith. We believe that even in this uncertain time that God will provide unique and exciting opportunities to reach out and show the love of Jesus to our community.

-During this time we encourage people to reach out to others by phone or in small gatherings (just don’t be touchy!). Encourage one another and let this be an opportunity to show the love of Jesus.

-Giving can still be done electronically by going to www.np.church/giving or by coming to the church office during business hours (M-F 8:30 am-4:30 pm).

May the Lord Bless you. Thank you for being a valued part of the North Pointe Family!

Pastor Michael

Clocks and Coronavirus

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Sometimes things just sneak up on us.

Like birthdays, tax time and work deadlines. Or like a snowstorm in March. We know they are coming but we are rarely ready for them.

Daylight Savings Time

Tomorrow is the dreaded daylight savings time.

Since 1971 Albertans have been “springing forward” around this time each year. Accidents will increase as sleep decreases. You may want to tuck in a bit early tonight!

So remember to set your clock ahead before you go to bed. If your mobile phone is your alarm it will do it for you…but beware, when you wake up you may be confused when your microwave and oven read an hour behind!

This is a public service announcement to ensure you make it to church for the 9:30 service on time, not at 10:30!

Coronavirus

Also, I want to give you an update on the steps North Pointe is taking to provide a safe environment in the shadow of coronavirus. We take your health seriously and as a result, we have sanitizer stations at all three main entrances. We also have sanitizer in all of our classrooms and children’s areas.

We encourage people to wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the washroom and to avoid excessive touching. We have instructed our greeters to smile and wave (we want to be friendly!), and our hosts to avoid asking people to high five or shake hands with the person next to them.

Obviously, touch is an important part of human connection. We know the power of touch to bring comfort. We also want to keep our people safe. If you are experiencing symptoms of sickness, please consider watching the service on our live stream at our web page (www.np.church), or on our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/) or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/NorthPointeCommunity) page.

If you are well, don’t let an hour less sleep, a snowstorm or fears keep you from gathering together. We are better together, and we need one another! 

I hope to see you at North Pointe tomorrow.

Noise-Canceling

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There is a lot of noise in this world.

Peace and Quiet

This reality hit home a few weeks ago when I bought my first pair of noise-canceling earphones. The first time I put them on and pushed the button for the noise-canceling feature, I was stunned at how much background noise dissolved. I thought to myself, “Is it really that loud around me all the time?” The peace and quiet were exceptional, and I find myself wanting to wear my earphones every day, especially when the kids are fighting!

In a world with all sorts of noise and distractions (social media, television, advertising), peace and the ability to hear God’s voice can be an uphill battle. On Sunday I talked about being a part of the family of God, and one of the marks of being a family member is to be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).

Hearing the Spirit

The Holy Spirit longs to teach us and guide our lives. In John 14:26 Jesus promised his disciples, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

I guess the question is, how does the Spirit lead us?

First and foremost, we are led through the Word of God (Bible). God has already revealed so much to us in the 66 books of the Bible. We just need to read and respond to what God has already revealed. Many of our questions for guidance are already answered in the Bible. If you aren’t currently reading on a daily basis, start right now! Read one chapter each day starting in the book of Matthew. You will be glad you did!

Secondly, we are often led by the Spirit through promptings. Have you ever felt like you should call someone or you thought of a person you haven’t in a long time? You likely thought “I wonder how they are doing…?” Perhaps this is a prompting that you need to respond to with a call, text or message? Another way that I have been led but he Spirit is through a check in my spirit. It is almost like a ‘Divine stop sign.’ I have learned that when I feel sick to my stomach about a certain situation, person or place, I need to take it seriously. These are just a few of the ways that the Holy Spirit may guide us.

But are we listening?

Respond

Perhaps the best way to get this started is to respond with the words of the young boy Samuel, who when he heard an unfamiliar voice call out to him three times, finally responded, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

If you want to know more about the Holy Spirit and how he leads our lives, we are having our Holy Spirit Encounter this Saturday from 3-8pm. It is still not too late to join. Just click here to sign up.

Maybe, just maybe, you read this far because you were led to be at the Encounter weekend.

You will be glad you did.

Blessings.

Pastor Michael

Love and Spin Bikes

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! (I hope you made adequate preparations…or you might be at 7-11 buying a heart-shaped Reese Peanut butter cup for your special someone!) In light of this momentous occasion, I have been thinking a lot about love, how we express it, and how we know what love is. As a follower of Jesus, I believe I have the best example of love in God, who himself is love…he is love in perfection (1 John 4:8).

An Unexpected Gift

Sometimes God shows us a glimpse of his unmerited love for us. It can happen in many ways, but today it was quite specific and came in the form of a spin bike.

If you aren’t someone who regularly exercises, a spin bike is a stationary exercise bike that closely resembles the feeling of being on a road bike. And I really like to spin. I watch tv when I spin and it’s how I get my exercise at home when I can’t make it to the gym. I have a spin bike that I purchased from Kijiji last summer, but it never fit me well from day one.  Often I dreamt of a particular bike that would fit me better and help me shed the added weight from all the donuts around the office!

Then I got the call. Someone from our church had a new spin bike that just didn’t fit them. They tried to sell it, but no buyers came out of the woodwork. Curiously, my name kept coming to their mind. They reached out, asked if I wanted it, and I was there! When I picked it up from them I was blown away…it was exactly the kind of bike I wanted, and they were able to get a hot deal on the exact bike they wanted. It was just a glimpse of God’s love…he cares about every aspect of our lives, even little stuff like exercise equipment preferences!

God’s Love for North Pointe

As a church, we have seen God pour his love out on us in many unexpected ways. We have a great location, facility and some of the best people you could ever want to hang around with! We have seen God answer prayers, big and small, and in a day and age when many churches are losing their influence, God has shown us favor and has drawn people who are far from him our way. This is God’s love for us.

His love is amazing.

God’s Love Through North Pointe

Just as I was on the receiving end of an amazing gift today, I want to be the kind of person that pours into the lives of others. I don’t want to only be on the receiving end of blessing, I want to be able to bless people with my time, talent, attention and finances. And as we do this together, I know that God will continue to bless us at North Pointe.

Right now there are many in our church and community that are struggling financially. Layoffs, downsizing and lack of work have put a lot of stress on individuals and families. In times like these, we can hold tight to what we have, or we can look to God who is the source of every good and perfect gift.

We are in the middle of what we call our 3-Month Tithe challenge. If you have never tithed (given 10%) before, I want to encourage you to begin today. There is no better time than now. If you come to the end of three months and determine that it’s not working, we will simply refund your money. No questions asked. You have nothing to lose and a world of blessing to gain. Click here to find out more.

God is love. God gave. Let’s follow his lead and continue to make a difference to those in our reach, near and far.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good News for the Blues

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Monday, January 20 was “Blue Monday,” infamous for being the most depressing day of the year. Whether this is actually based on real scientific evidence, or whether it’s simply a claim that has gained acceptance through repetition, for those of us in northern regions, January can be pretty bleak.

Weather Woes

In the Edmonton region, we have just come through an extended cold snap. While it shouldn’t catch us by surprise (we experience -30C temperatures 3 days each year on average), when it arrives we never seem prepared. Couple these temperatures with the short amount of daylight and long, dark nights as well as mounting bills from the Christmas season…

Is it any wonder we have the blues?

I periodically get the blues and have wrestled with some clinical depression in my life. In those times I have seen counselors have received medical care, and I have people I can call on. Thankfully, through the years I’ve built a network of guys that I trust and that have my best interest in mind. They encourage me, and sometimes all I need is to have a listening ear and some godly wisdom to clear up the fog I’m experiencing.

Made to Reach Out

Humans were made for social engagement. God himself is triune, Father, Son, and Spirit in perfect harmony and relationship. In the New Testament, the words “one another” are used one hundred times in 94 verses.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another.”

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens.”

James 5:16 “Pray for one another.”

We were created to reach out to one another. From infancy, we learn basic movements such as pulling, grasping and reaching in an effort to bring objects, and people closer to us. Unfortunately, now we frequently grasp our phones but don’t reach out and bring people closer when we are in need. We are more isolated from one another in our digitally connected age.

And the effects are scary.

Healthy Relationships are Worth the Effort

Long before Bell came up with the awesome “Let’s Talk” campaign, followers of Jesus were encouraged to meet together and help one another live healthy and whole lives. But healthy relationships aren’t built overnight, and they take some effort.

If you are looking for ways to connect, consider these options:

Eat Like a Wildman-Jan 27, 6:00pm. Guys are notorious for bottling up and for keeping to themselves. Men, come out to eat some wild meat and hear some great stories. Guaranteed you will meet someone and start up a conversation that just might lead to a lifelong friendship. Sign up here: np.church/men

Same Page Initiative-Feb 23-Mar 29-We are encouraging small groups to form to meet and study the topic “Life-Changing Prayer.” Not only will you meet people, but you will also learn how to have a deeper relationship with Jesus. What a deal! Sign up here: np.church/groups

Let me encourage you that you are not alone. Whatever you are going through, there are others who are going through it as well, or who have gone through it. They can be guides to get you through your tough spot. So reach out. Ask for help. Go to a counselor. And go to God. He shouldn’t be our last resort, but our first call.

Feasting, Food Banks, and Fasting

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2020, a time when we were supposed to be driving hover-mobiles, living to age 150, and even sending our laundry to be done for us by robots. I guess predictions aren’t always to be trusted!

Make a Change

Whatever the case may be, a new year is here, and each day is a chance for you to make a positive difference in this world, whether in a big way or in many small ways. Either way, it all starts with one step.

Christmas is a time of feasting, with turkey dinners and all sorts of tempting sweets at every turn. However, as we know, for many families, it is difficult to make rent, let alone pay for groceries. In the month of December, as we were preparing for the arrival of Jesus at Christmas, we did a “Reverse Advent.” We encouraged our church family to put an item in a box for the food bank each day and return it to the church right around Christmas Eve.

Surprise!

We were happily overwhelmed by the response.

So was the Edmonton Food Bank.

When they arrived to pick up the items, they had to come back for a second trip with a bigger truck. We donated 1142 kgs of food to the Edmonton Food Bank. They let us know that we were one of the largest contributors to the food bank over the Christmas Season. Wow! What a privilege to help!

Getting Hungry

Feasting. Food Banks. And Fasting. This week we have been going through a week of prayer at the church. Each night we are meeting from 6:30-7:30 pm (you still have Friday and Saturday-check it out!). One of the principles of prayer is to take seasons/times to fast or give up something in order to focus on God and for his hand to move on our behalf. We can choose to abstain from eating a meal or two, or give up social media or maybe even coffee (gasp!) in order to realize our need for God, and dependence on him. There is nothing like giving up coffee to know you need prayer!

I am believing for great things for 2020. We have an awesome church family who feast, fast and even contributes to the Food Bank.

May God continue to guide us, give us favour in the community, and help us to go to those who need Jesus’ love the most.

Blessings.

Our Thanks to You

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Merry Christmas!

At Christmas, we naturally take time to thank God for the blessings in our lives. It is God who is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and the greatest gift the world has ever received is Jesus (John 3:16).

Impact

It is amazing the huge impact a tiny baby has had on our world. And Jesus continues to change lives today.

In this last year at North Pointe, we have had 68 people make first-time decisions to follow Jesus. And 43 people have been baptized. This is exciting! In a culture that often says that Christianity is outdated and irrelevant, the Good News continues to make a tangible difference in lives in Edmonton and around the globe. In our January series titled “Jesus Skeptic,” we will look at the credibility and impact of Christianity through the years and into today. It will definitely be a series that you will want a friend or family member who has doubts/questions to experience.

There is not an area in our church family that has not seen growth in the last year. Children, Youth, Young Adults, Care, 60+, Men’s and Women’s ministries…you get the point! God has helped us to creatively reach people where they are at. “Come as you are” continues to be alive at North Pointe thanks to some exceptional Pastors, Ministry leaders and Team Members (volunteers).

Investment

As a staff, we want to thank you for your support. You invest many hours each week with us to share God’s love with those who need it most. Our mission is to Reach up and Reach out with God’s love. You make that possible. And in the generous offering last week you showed your love for our staff at this Christmas season. We are very grateful and pray that you feel our appreciation for you.

Melissa and I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for the way that you have embraced our family as we transitioned into the Lead Pastor role in March. The support, encouragement, and love have been overwhelming in the very best way possible. We are honoured to serve a healthy church that reaches the community around us.

Over the Christmas season take a few minutes to write down some things that you are thankful for. Often I will write down 10 things I am thankful for as rapidly as possible…and then I have a hard time stopping at ten! When we do this, we become aware of the greatness and generosity of God, the ultimate Gift Giver.

Have a very Merry Christmas. And may 2020 be our best year ever!

Year-End Giving Reminder

*Just a friendly reminder that year-end is quickly approaching. In order to be receipted for the 2019 year, all donations must be received by December 31st. If you would like an update as to where you are in terms of giving for 2019, please email our accountant Colleen Nicolajsen at colleen@np.church. We thank you for your faithfulness and generosity in giving. We are able to reach into the community because of your financial commitments throughout the year.

Jesus Others You

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One of the strongest longings that humans have is for joy. In the Christmas season, we do all we can to manufacture a sense of joy. We decorate with bright lights, festive ornamentation and even give and receive presents to bring a smile to a friend or loved one.

The Problem of Happiness

These are all valid and I wholeheartedly embrace the traditions of Christmas-especially lights on our houses when the days are short and the nights are dark. LED lights, for as insignificant as they may be, can produce fuzzy feelings on the most ardent Scrooge.

The problem is that we easily forget the source of joy. Joy is not something that can be manufactured. That is happiness. And happiness is most often circumstantial. If we get a piece of coal for Christmas we aren’t very happy, but if we get a car, we describe it as one of the “happiest days of our life.” It’s a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.

The Source of Joy

Jesus is the source of joy.  His mere presence while still in Mary’s womb caused John the Baptist (also in his mom’s womb) to leap with joy (Luke 1:44). Joy is not found in presents, because ultimately they will wear out, need replacing, or lose their lustre. Joy is found in the presence of Jesus in our lives. He was, and is, the greatest gift that the world has ever received.

When we receive Jesus and experience the true joy he brings, our natural reaction is to want to share the news. That is what the Shepherd’s did. They told everyone they came across about the experience they had of meeting the baby, the Saviour of the world (Luke 2:17-18).

Does knowing Jesus still fill you with joy that can’t be contained? If not, perhaps this is the time to ask God to restore the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12). He will.

Refocus on Joy

When I get down and start to lose joy I am reminded of a very simple acrostic:

Jesus

Others

You

When I focus on Jesus first I lift my eyes out of my current situation and fix them on God, who is mighty to save in all the circumstances. When joy is fading, look up.

Then I focus on others. It is our self-focus that most often gets us into trouble. Try helping or encouraging someone in your reach today. Invite them to the Christmas Eve Service. What a fantastic way to share the Good news of Jesus and the joy he brings all year long.

This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the joy of giving. Give gifts to people who would never dream or expect something from you. It will not only make their day, but it will also make yours! It is the year-end, and at North Pointe, all of our reaching out into the community through programs and services are funded by the generosity of our people. Consider giving to North Pointe this month over and above your regular tithe. We are so very thankful for your generosity.

When we focus on Jesus and others, our own struggles are put into perspective. And God will take care of us.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!