We all need places to belong and people that we can call friends – whether they are in our families, communities, workplaces, schools or clubs.
One of the best “clubs” that Ed and I belong to, here in Australia, is a place called Gateway Baptist Church. Because our faith in God is important to us, we looked for a place where we could be nurtured in our faith – a place where we could find encouragement and spiritual growth and love. The church is large (was an old Expo site), but it has an even bigger heart.
We love the teaching/preaching/worship/prayer/missions/caring for people/training leaders/children’s ministry – all of it. We respect the integrity of the leaders and the commitment of those who serve here.
Some of the very practical and helpful community outreach programs that Gateway runs are:
- Care Centre – practical care to the community through food parcels, clothing, household goods, and OPP Shop.
- Gateway Counselling & Wholeness Centre – professional counseling, massage, creative art and support groups
- CAP – debt counseling and money management skills
- Royal Treatment – connecting with women to let them know that they are valued
- Gateway Beyond (missions) – Investment of people and resources into 14 countries including Africa, India and Asia to bring the love of Christ by providing tangible help into areas such as vocational training for survivors of trafficking, treating medical concerns, teaching, community development, and more.
Thanksgiving Sunday and New Youth/Kid Center Dedication
When we started, Gateway was just beginning a building program to build a facility that would facilitate and encourage the spiritual growth of the many children of all ages that make up the Gateway family. A few Sundays ago was the official opening and also Thanksgiving Sunday, where we brought bags of food that would be given to those in need in the community. The service was held outside on the expansive grounds. We were blessed with wonderful weather.
Jason Elsmore, the Senior Pastor, gave a short but powerful message based on a scripture in Ephesians 3:17-19:
“I pray that you will be filled with love. I pray that you will be able to understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep His (God’s) love is. I pray that you will know the love of Christ. His love goes beyond anything we can understand. I pray that you will be filled with God Himself.”
Good words for all of us.
God loves us.
He is love and He wants us to personally know His love.
He wants to fill us with His love. A love that cannot be measured.
I talk more about spiritual issues on my other website: www.inlightofthis.net
Some final pictures of a day of celebration:
The New KIDLINGS, KIDZONE, and YOUTH Building
This past Sunday was Father’s day (yes, Sept 6, 2015) here in Australia. It was a special service and a good encouragement for men to recognize how important their role as father is. We also have a heavenly Father, who is perfect in His love, and who will not fail us. Pastor Jason likes to use object lessons in his messages – and this week it was a mechanical bull. After the service, Ed had his picture taken. You really are a great dad, Ed.
Go here to listen to this message: My Dad is the Best Dad or to gatewaybaptist.com.au
Addendum: I put this summary of Gateway’s Vision and Values, as published, to record and commemorate a place that I have grown to love and value, as I love and value so many of the people that I have met here. I believe that these values are global to the church at large. Perhaps in reading these, your own faith will be stirred up and you will be reminded what a great privilege it is to be a Christ-follower and to belong to a church, large or small.
Gateway Vision and Values:
- WE GROW DEEPER TO GO WIDER – We grow deeper in our relationship with God to go wider in our influence for good in the world.
“Blessed are those…who delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on his law day and night. They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
- WE PRAY AS IF LIFE DEPENDS ON IT – We are dependent on God in prayer, for in Him we live and move and have our being.
- WE ARE SUPERNATURALLY DOWN TO EARTH – We are real people with real challenges being transformed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
- WE ARE THIRSTY FOR GOD – We seek the life giving presence of God as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
- WE ARE A GROWING FAMILY – We are a growing family where everyone is welcome just as they are.
- WE ARE A REFUGE OF HEALING – We are a community of extravagant grace where broken people find healing in body, mind, and spirit.
- WE TEACH THE BIBLE FOR EVERY DAY – We do everything we can to help everyone discover timeless biblical truth in a fast changing world.
- WE VALUE THE ONES – We believe that everyone is valuable to God and needs to hear the life changing message of Jesus.
- WE RAISE TOMORROW’S LEADERS – We raise generations of Christ-centered leaders to make disciples of all nations.
- WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER – We empower everyone to fulfill their unique role in the Church so that God’s purposes are fulfilled in the world.
- WE GIVE WITH ABUNDANT GENEROSITY – We generously give of ourselves to people in need both locally and globally.
- WE KNOW IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US – We seek to grow the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of