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Friday, November 28, 2008

From Gateway friend, Andrew Mann’s Jr. relative to our Board Chairman’s (Rev. Michael Westbrook) ministries, Greater Life Church and Greater Life Community Outreach Center


“Last night, as many were celebrating Thanksgiving with family, extended family and friends, senseless gang gun violence in Newark claimed the life of one of the "first sons" of the Greater Life Ministry. His life ended sometime late evening at UMDNJ Trauma Unit.

Duke surrendered his heart and soul several years ago as a teenager while attending the Greater Life Community Outreach Center. As a young adult he was working and continued to walk with the Lord. His untimely death leaves a huge gap among the many family and friends that knew Duke and were touched by his personal ministry.

Several friends were at the community center until 4 am praying for the family and each other. I am asking for prayer at this time for this situation. There are many problems because this was a gang shooting.

There is much pain in the hearts of his friends that were with him when he was shot. This is much anguish over the loss of this powerful warrior for the Cause of Christ.

So please keep Duke's family in your prayers, his friends and most definitely his Pastor and Wife (Duke was an "adopted" son to them).

This is a very difficult time for this beloved community in Newark that Duke was a part of. His parting is deeply, deeply felt. We need prayer. Thank you.
Andrew
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Man is shot to death in Newark
Friday November 28, 2008 - Star Ledger (New Jersey)

Reports of shots fired led authorities to a Newark apartment where they found a 25 year-old man suffering from a gunshot wounds Thanksgiving night, police said today.
The victim, Duquan Wimberly, was taken to University Hospital and later died, police spokesman Detective Todd McClendon said.

Calls about the incident came in at 10:43 p.m. and by the time police arrived Wimberly was laying wounded in front of his home at on Bergen St, he said adding at the moment there is neither a motive nor a suspect in the shooting

Monday, November 10, 2008


Gloria Gaynor
at Gateway's Annual Banquet

Thursday October 16, 2008
Calvary Tabernacle's Harvest Center
Cranford, New Jersey

Friday, November 7, 2008









Change We Can Believe In was the campaign theme of one of the presidential candidates. President-elect Barack Obama has said:

‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time.’ We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.’

Spoken in the political arena, this is a powerful statement of confidence in change, something our country desperately seeks while enduring a long war, high gas prices, high food prices, soaring medical costs and the like.

If said from a church pulpit, this statement would border on blasphemy. Why? Listen again to those words:

‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time.’ We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.’

That statement would not be appropriate from the pulpit, because, as believers in Jesus Christ, the only change that we should believe in is that change which is external (coming from God Himself) with results that are internal (those made in our heart)

To change is to be transformed

The Scriptures tell us that we can’t change our self

Jeremiah 13:23 – “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

The Bible tells us that the Lord doesn’t change

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Malachi 3:6 "I the LORD do not change”

We shall all be changed one day In I Cor. 15:51-52 we read these exciting and comforting words:

‘Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Change you can believe in - change that leads to a victorious Christian life, requires that we change in three unique areas:

I. We need to have a change of where we’re headed
II. We need to have a change of heart
III. We need to have a change of habits

I. We need to have a change of direction, a change of where we’re headed –an issue of heaven or hell (this is an external issue)

God has said of man in Genesis 8:21- “..every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood’ .. and so it is today.

What keeps man from salvation? It’s sin and mans unwillingness to believe in what God has already done in Christ.

John 3:16-18 (heaven or hell) –

“"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.“

Paul, in I Corinthians 2:14 said – “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Corrupt evil hearts lead to evil deeds, which lead to eternal separation from God

Dead men and women can’t change by themselves.
They need some other person’s help to change.
They need God’s help.

That’s why the first step to change is being ‘born again’.

Matthew 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Once we are born again, salvation is shown in a changed life.

Does your life show a change since you were saved? Does it show recent change? Not just in a knowledge of the scripture and an ability to pray, but a desire for unity, a desire to see people come to Christ .

Not only do we need to have an initial change of direction, a change of where we’re headed – but…

I. We need to have a change of heart – a desire for worship, a compassion for the lost, a desire to see our church grow spiritually not just numerically
The first thing we should say is that…

(a) God never needs to have a change of heart

Numbers 23:19 - God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

God always says what He means and means what He says


(b) Men and women though – you and I - need to be
open to constant and regular change

Psalm 55:19 speaks of ..” men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.”

One commentator (JFB) says that ‘prosperity hardens them. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.’ Wesley says that ‘Their success makes them go on securely’

The desire to change is evidence of our fear or reverence of God.

Howard Hendricks has spoken about 5 Kinds of Attitudes About Change within the local church

1. He’s said about 3% are “Early innovators” – those who run with
new ideas

2. About 13% are “Early adaptors” (13.4%), influenced by those
who run with new ideas, but they’re not initiators

3. 34% are the “Slow Majority”, the herd-followers

4. Another 34% are the “Reluctant Majority”, finally

5. 16% are “The Antagonistic: - they will never change

The majority of ministers, Hendricks says, are being nibbled at by the last group. They focus on the minority opinion. This group is basically carnal.“

Which one of these most closely resembles you? Innovator, Adaptor, Slow Majority, Reluctant Majority, Antagonistic?

Are you burdened by the condition of the lost? They are eternally separated from God.

God wants us to be His ambassadors. Are we concerned that we may fail Him in this great task?

Are we willing to make changes so that people may come to Christ? Are we willing to admit mistakes?

(c) God wants us to continually be open to having a
‘change of heart’ – Are you open to a change of heart

1 Kings 8 :47-50 –“… and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly';

48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name;

49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you,

This passage is reminiscent of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

What keeps us from a ‘change of heart’ from turning from ourways to His ways? One reason is..

Fear For those gripped by fear of the future or tied down by the successes of the past, God wants you to change your focus.

Someone has said, “ The two greatest sources of worry and fear are the past and the future--remorse (and I’d add pride) over the past and fear of the future - God's Word forbids worry about either!

Someone else has said, ‘ When you have faith, you can't have fear: Faith is the opposite of fear.’

Another reason we’re kept from a ‘change of heart is Pride - We don’t fear displeasing God.

We say and do what we think is right for us.

We forgot who owns us and who owns our church.

God wants us to fear sin, but not to fear change.

Another reason we don’t change is that we dwell on the past instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to control us today.

Phil. 3:13b-14 – ‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’

Yet another reason we are kept from a ‘change of heart’ is…
Conformity to the world

Romans 12:2 ‘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, pleasing and perfect will.’

1 John 5:15-17: ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.’

We are kept from making the bold changes that God often has for us by conformity to the fleeting things of this world (money, status, personal pleasure)

We fight against the transformation that God calls us to. In the end we lose our joy and we displease the Lord. This doesn’t have to be.

Finally, we are kept from a ‘change of heart’ by..

Complacency
Rev. 3:15-16 – (being neither hot nor cold) “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Someone has made this profound statement -

“Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are.

The second is rejection of things as they might be. “Good enough” becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new.

Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course—downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.”

Change must begin personally, and then it can become corporate:

Someone has said ‘God blesses individuals’ – God also changes individuals.

‘It’s not what you know or what you do, but whom you know intimately’

For some who have been believers for a long time the question in Galatians 5:7 may be appropriate “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?”

What changed? How did you lose your joy? Have you soured? Are you afraid of change? What happened?

We need to have a change of direction. We need to have a change of heart, lastly

II. We need to have a change of habits – personal habits as well as church habits: criticism, bitterness, we need to have faith rather than fear

Ephesians 4:22-32 (put off / put on) - ‘.put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23. to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

24. and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27. and do not give the devil a foothold.

28. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

30. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

32. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

James 4:8 - draw near to God / cleanse your hands – ‘ Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’

I’m reminded of a phrase from the song - Midnight train to Georgia – ‘Id rather live in his world, than live without him in mine’. So we compromise and we end up with nothing.

Which world are you living in? Which world do you want to live in? You can’t live in both.A changed heart shows itself in changed habits.

So what does change involve?

Change involves trials – see the Book of James

Change requires perseverance, which is developed through trials - James 1:2-4

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’

Change takes effort – we don’t like change

We never should change our core beliefs, but we can and sometimes should change our methods, especially when the eternal destiny of so many is at stake. Do we see this?

Change involves risk. We prefer ‘risk management’ { Risk management is a structured approach to managing uncertainty related to a threat.}– we fight change because we fear change when that change is personal .


Change involves faith in the working of God, not in our achievement
Do you allow God to ‘Create in you a clean heart’?


Change involves commitment: ‘Are we committed to our comfort or to change?’


When we grumble against change, and when we fear change, we really doubt God’s ability to provide for us.


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened - everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger.

"God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.


Are you living like that lone survivor of a shipwreck? Alone, afraid, doubtful, hording what little you have?

Can you see the bigger picture?

God wants to change your life and the future of this church. But there first needs to be a change in our hearts. Will you let Him?

Exodus 16: verses 8, 18 and 20.
16:8 Moses also said, "You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord."

16:18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did
not have too much and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.

16:20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

God wanted His people to trust in Him. He took care of them on a daily basis. When they did things His way, they had just enough. When they horded what He had provided, it turned to maggots. Their doubt was evident.

They doubted that God would supply. They needed faith not fear.. and so do we.

As we see the emptiness in our hearts, we ask God for a change of direction.

As He directs us and we allow Him to change our hearts, we see changes in our habits.

For those of you who know Christ personally, we need to see change in hearts, not in the political arena

As our hearts change, our focus will change:

Ø From things to people
Ø From fear to faith
Ø From the past to the present need
Ø From ourselves to others from complaining to real joy

As our focus changes, our church will see new habits:
ü Praise instead of predictability
ü Compassion instead of complaining
ü Joy rather than jaundice
ü A focus on souls rather than on structures


YES, we do need some other person’s help to change where we’re headed

YES, we do need some other person’s help to change our habits

YES, we do need some other person’s help to change our hearts

No, we can’t change by ourselves. Only He can give us the power to change and become the people he created us to be

Are we open to change for the sake of the gospel and for our personal growth in Christ?

Our motto should be - Yes, He Can change us .. if we let Him

If you’ve never made a personal decision to trust Christ for salvation, 2 Corinthians 6:2 is appropriate for you: ‘..now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.’

Power To Change, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, shares this prayer:

"Jesus, I want to know you. I want you to come into my life. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that have broken my relationship with God. Thank you for dying on the cross so that this relationship could be made right.

I believe You are the only One who can do this. Only You can give me the power to change and become the person You created me to be. Thank you for forgiving my past mistakes and for giving me eternal life with God. I give my life to You. Please do with it as You wish. Amen."

If you already have trusted Christ for salvation, there may be need in your life for changes.

The Living Bible rendition of Ecclesiastes 11:4 is very appropriate: "Do it now… Don't delay for better circumstances"

As the hymn writer has written:

Revive me again; Fill my heart with Thy love;
May my soul be rekindled with fire from above.

And He will do it!