New Life Sunday…m​issing friends…

This morning I woke up thinking about what it was going to be like to be away from the kids for 10 days. I am not excited about that…

The truth is that they will hardly notice that Leigh-Ann and I are gone and we will talk about them constantly…actually, at least one of them is already having a hard time with the “out of the country for 10 days” deal.

Separation can be so painful…

These thoughts remind me of the time when my parents dropped me off at college as a freshman. I remember our final lunch together at Ponderosa and then moving into my dorm room with their help.

I remember looking over my shoulder and watching them leave as I was heading off to practice with a lump in my throat. My mind was racing through all the ways that they had shown me love while growing up. I remember wishing that I had taken more opportunities to share my gratitude.

This is 17 years later, I am the parent that is leaving and am so glad it’s not college…yet. I don’t even want to think about that…

As I consider how difficult it is to leave those we love, I am reminded that as Christians and members of a church, it should be just as difficult to leave our friends.

If you don’t feel a deep tugging at your heart at the thought of leaving your friends, then maybe you have not invested appropriately into relationships. The writer of Proverbs said, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” We have the opportunity to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are that true friend that sticks by our friends like family.

Imagine the strength that comes as a result of deep, Gospel centered relationships. When we do life together with a focus on the Kingdom, there is no limit to what God can do through us. The only bad news is that it will be very hard to move on if and when God calls us to go else ware.

Leigh-Ann and I are confident that God has opened the doors for us to go overseas for 10 days. We are not looking forward to saying good bye to so many family and friends, but we are very excited about coming back with more relationships overseas and stronger ones here at home.

Take a few minutes to send a text or email to a good friend thanking them for their friendship. You’ll be glad you did…

This Sunday, another Elder, Mike Chirveno will continue the study in Revelation by taking a closer look at the church in Thyatira found in Revelation 2:18-29. I hope you can come…and make a friend…and maybe even bring a friend.

Living the way Life is meant to be!



Budapest, Rust and Truth…

Last night Leigh-Ann and I attended an information meeting for our trip to Budapest, Hungary. God has provided us with an awesome opportunity to join about 40 other Americans (10 from Kansas City) in Budapest for a time to encourage missionaries, evangelize high school and university students and participate in educational forums.

We all found it quite entertaining to learn about traditions that we have in America that could be offensive in Hungary. For instance, we learned that we shouldn’t smile at them. The logic goes, “since you don’t know them, why would you smile at them?”

We also learned that Hungarians are brutally honest. For instance, don’t ask for their opinion without being prepared for the raw truth. If I asked what they thought about my sermon, I should be prepared to hear that I could have had better illustrations, some points didn’t seem to correlate well and it was boring. It seems they willingly tell you to your face what Americans are only comfortable sharing behind your back =).

In addition to these examples, there are some words that are very normal, everyday language to us that would mean something totally different and be very offensive to Hungarians.

Though we would never offend on purpose, we were told that if we ignore these little things we could make some people pretty angry.

Life is like this many times…we may never consider killing someone (at least I hope =)) but we may harbor anger that has identical roots.

This Sunday, we are planning to study the 3rd letter in Revelation addressed to the church in Pergamum. The bottom line is that they had overlooked some basic sins and over time their major doctrines were at risk.

It reminds me of my college car…a Mazda 323. It had some rust that I was able to ignore for a while, however within time it broke through the paint and even wore through my floor boards. Leigh-Ann has a good story about snow blowing in one time when she borrowed my car.

The point is that when the small issues are left unchecked they become a threat to the truth. So my question for Sunday is, “what if the church identified and battled the corrosion of truth?”

I hope to see you there!

FYI – This is one of the best blogs that I have read in a while…you will love it. It is written by fellow New Lifers, Tim and Ira McMahon:

Faith or Fear

One thing I have learned as a parent is that kids are fearless…until…they learn how to fear.

Leigh-Ann loves to throw our babies over to me…and so far we have not dropped one of them :). Think about it…even if they are just a few feet away, a baby that is 2 foot tall travelling through mid-air reaching a height of six feet is passing at a height that is 3x his own height. That would be like me being thrown at the height of 18 feet.

Um…yeah…not so sure I’m ready for that….but the kiddos Loooove it!

As kids get older we let (make) them participate in activities that are FUN…like tubing on the water or riding on a jet ski. I have found that the younger the kids are, the easier it is to get them to take the risk. As they get older, they hear horror stories and begin to imagine all the creatures swimming beneath the surface. After awhile, they have a bad experience and become deathly afraid…until of course they push through the fear.

This happened to one of our children a few years ago…she was made for speed. One hot summer day she and I were on a jet ski…and loving it! I slowed down for a corner and it happened in slow motion…we tipped over. That became a turning point where she learned that we could actually fall into the lake while riding (or at least attempting to ride) a jet ski.

We were of course wearing our life preservers and popped right back up…but ever since that experience, it has taken quite a bit more coaxing and prodding to get her back on the water.


It is really the opposite of faith. When my trust is high my fear is low and vice versa…

This Sunday at New Life we continue our study of the seven churches in Revelation. We will look closely at the church located in the city of Smyrna (Izmir) from 2:8-11. This was a church that had plenty to fear, but instead the people lived by faith.

Living in the middle of a large population that was wealthy and educated, the Christians in Smyrna were poor and persecuted…however, they are the only church out of the seven whose letter was entirely positive.

Looking in the mirror, besides noticing that my hair is thinning :), I am evaluating my own ratio of faith to fear.

Even though I have some experiences that give me a good reason to fear…I have an even better reason for strong faith…and that is where we will start Sunday.

Living by faith and not in fear!