A Note from Pastor Kenneth
The other day a close friend posted an opinion on social media. The subject matter was divisive and some folks were passionate, but the approach my friend took was gentle and insightful. It didn’t add fuel to an emotional fire but simply offered another perspective. Then came a comment that was very unnecessary. Someone my friend didn’t know made the comment, “That’s easy to say coming from an ugly woman.” What?!?! 

I think most of us can agree that this comment is both insulting and incendiary. It certainly didn’t add substance to the conversation.
I believe Christians should set the standard for how to tackle difficult conversations. We can express our opinion, highlight a perspective, and stand for Biblical truth. All of these things can be done in a winsome, wholesome way that reflects the beauty of Christ.

Many times, these conversations shouldn’t be happening on social media. Why? We lack the benefit of hearing someone’s voice and seeing their face and, as such, begin to make assumptions that may not be rooted in fact.

However, the reality is, these conversations and disagreements will pop up online. Political arguments, sports debates, half-time show opinions, theological differences, COVID-19 issues, racial tension, people with an axe to grind, or good, God-loving people who allow their emotions to get the best of them – all of these and more will appear in our feeds. So, when the mud starts flying (and there’s plenty of mud out there), don’t let it stick to you and certainly DON’T throw it back.

How we choose to respond (or perhaps, how we choose not to engage) will communicate so much more about us than what we say.
As Christ-followers, we’re given a standard to follow – a way of living and interacting with people. So, let’s keep a few things in mind when engaging in this thing we call social media:

  • Guard your heart and watch your emotional levels. If anger, disappointment, or disgust are boiling over, it’s not the right time to post on social media. 
  • If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t post it on their wall. Period.
  • If you don’t have a personal relationship with someone, don’t get into a debate with them.
  • If you disagree strongly about something a brother or sister has posted, have a private conversation with them in a spirit of love. It’s much more effective to send a private message or text and say, “Hey, I’m struggling with something you posted, could you help me understand what you meant?” That goes much further than giving your opinion without understanding the context.
  • Don’t write off a relationship based on what was post on social media. That’s not the way of Jesus. We unfollow and unfriend far to easily.
  • You don’t have to respond to something you don’t like. Sometimes there’s great value in giving your opinion. Oftentimes, there’s great value in keeping it to yourself.
  • Reflect Christ in all you do.

Journalist and social media etiquette expert Germany Kent wrote, “You are responsible for everything you post and everything you post will be a reflection you.” It’s a great quote but as Christians, I would add something else: what you post is not just a reflection of you, but of Your King. Reflect Him well!
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” - Proverbs 4:23
This is my opinion and if you disagree, that’s ok. Let’s have a conversation about it.

You are loved!

Pastor Kenneth

THIS SUNDAY:
Interrupted by God
Exodus 13:17-22
Important Information for Sunday
Other Updates
The Exodus Challenge
We are nearly 3 weeks into our summer teaching series on the book of Exodus. Have you ever read it? Has it been a long time? Start now!

Between now and August 9, having the Exodus Challenge: reading all 40 chapters within the next 52 days.

Break it up however you want. Each chapter will take no more than 5 minutes to read. Are you in? Contact Pastor Jim!
IMPACT Summer Trip: July 21 - 23
In case you have not heard, we have officially announced our summer student trip! Our Dallas Road Trip will be taking place from July 21-23. We'll be heading up to New Vida Church to join with Pastor Malcom Tyree and his youth to participate in a
youth rally/community outreach event! There will be games, worship, and some pretty amazing opportunities to grow in Christ. The cost of the trip will only be $30 due to funds raised for the canceled IYC 2020 trip. Learn more here.
KiX Curbside Pick-Up: July 1 & 2
Hey Families! We are working away on our next batch of KiX Kits. If you thought the June kits were cool, well, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Learn more about next week's KiX Curbside Pick-Up and RSVP for your kits here.
Contribute to Vacation Bible School
In order to purchase the necessary supplies for VBS and to help streamline the shipping process, we're simply asking for folks to donate Amazon gift cards, in any amount, to the church. You can mail one in, addressed to Pastor Chelsea, or place yours in an envelope and write, "For VBS" on the outside and drop it in an offering box.
Wilderness Escape VBS: July 15 - 19
While we're having to make some changes to how we have it, Vacation Bible School is STILL happening this summer! And we're still traveling back in time to Bible times, just like we've done the past couple years. Only this year, you'll be traveling from home, alongside your family and whomever else you choose to invite. We’re hosting Wilderness Escape, a hybrid backyard/online Vacation Bible School, Wednesday, July 15 – Sunday, July 19. Every evening, you can join us at 6:30 p.m. for a live premiere of our program. We’ll guide you through interactive Bible storytelling from Moses and tons of fun activities. All the regular Vacation Bible School favorites will be there – games, Tribe Time, the Marketplace – as well as some cool new additions.
Before VBS starts, we'll have a drive-through pick up where you can come and get a Wilderness Trek Pack for your family, which will include almost all of the supplies you need for the week. At the end of VBS, you'll drive-through again to drop off your missions project offering and to pick up a bag of prizes.
If you can’t do a 5-day VBS, we’ll have information on how to consolidate everything into a 3-day, weekend VBS as well, for July 17 – 19. As a bonus, because this is being hosted at home, kids of ALL AGES can participate! Yep, even toddlers!

We STRONGLY encourage you to invite family and friends to join you for VBS. Grab the neighbor kids, invite your cousins over, you name it. Again, we are doing everything we can to make this experience as FUN and EASY for your family as possible. Remember, many people will be far more comfortable letting their kids come over to your house than to a big church building in this season. Take advantage of this and invite away! Anyone who wants to participate just needs to register at www.parkgate.church/vbs .
Birthdays & Anniversaries
July Birthdays
2 Otis Jackson • 5 Arik Aschenbrener • 7 Abby Feirtag • 9 Tyesha Locklear •
10 Amanda Johnson, Noah Barber, Anasofia Locklear, Jarrett Browning •
11 Kim Lawson • 12 Haley Smith • 13 JoAnne Hale • 18 Mary Sue Hosmer •
19 Isaak Smith • 24 Dolores Robinson, Sofia Romo • 25 Jessa Aschenbrener, Julie Deshotel • 26 Helen Murray • 27 Heaven Morales • 31 Edward Garcia
July Anniversaries
6 Steven & Cherilyn Keeney • 13 Ted & Suzy Thompson
22 John & Mary Ann Braswell • 27 Larry & Regina Mosley
28 Michael & Kristin Harrington, Brad & Lisa Phenix