New Life Sunday – Mega Millions…$640M

What would you do with $640 MILLION DOLLARS?
If you take the lump sum and pay your taxes you will clear about $347 MILLION DOLLARS!
Well, for starters I would tithe….and give an offering . (By the way, if you’re reading this, and you have prayed the simple promise of tithing to God while picking your numbers, you don’t have to wait until you win to give back to God).  I would help a lot of friends and probably even a few enemies. I would be so much better at spending the money than most people.
Yes I would…I think…do you seriously think I would be dumb enough to let it ruin my life?
Ok, I really don’t know what I would do and I really don’t know if I would pass the test…but I think that’s a test I’m ready to take.
Ok, full disclosure, I would have to have a ticket to win and I don’t. I also don’t recommend it…HOWEVER let’s be clear…if you win, I’m ready to negotiate :).
CBS news had an article interviewing Mike Catalano, chairman of the mathematics department at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Here is what he said,
 “You are about 50 times as likely to get struck by lightning as to win the lottery, based on the 90 people a year getting struck by lightning…based on other U.S. averages, you’re about 8,000 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery, and about 20,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than hit the lucky numbers.”
David Kramer, a lawyer in Lincoln, Neb., said that buying his Mega Millions ticket wasn’t about “the realistic opportunity to win…It’s the fact that for three days, the daydreaming time about what I would do if I won is great entertainment and, frankly, a very nice release from a normal day.”
Yeah Dave…way to be honest…maybe I should go get a ticket…
I have a better idea!
How about daydreaming about having something worth more the $640 MILLION with chances much greater than 1 in 176 million?
That’s what I’m talking about…a realistic opportunity worth more than Mega Millions.
It’s called HEAVEN!!!
And this Sunday that’s our topic from Revelation 21…the more we daydream about something better, the more discontent we become with what we have.
So for now, I would like to ask you to be discontent…discontent with this world, its temptations and short lived pleasures.
Spend your time daydreaming about Heaven and pretty soon you will become discontent with this old world…and that’s a good thing!
See you Sunday…especially if you win :)!
Announcement: We would love to have you join us in distributing 50 meals to our neighbors. All you need to do is show up at 10:00am and be ready to be blessed by being a blessing.


New Life Sunday – A 3 year old, a bike and Revelation 20

Dallas turned 3 this past week and for that remarkable accomplishment Grammie bought him a bike. Turning 3 is no small feat…
·         He eats, sleeps and plays
·         He is potty trained
·         He shares his toys (sometimes voluntarily)
·         He tags along with the family wherever we drag him
·         He laughs a lot
And now to add yet another accomplishment to his growing resume:
·         He rides a bike
I got to thinking about my first bike and if I recall correctly, it was a hand me down from my sister featuring a slightly worn banana seat.
The bike became a pretty dependable mode of transportation for me as a kid. But it was not without its risks…
I will never forget the day that I was riding home through the alley ways and drove out into the street in front of a car. Fortunately the car was not going to fast, so the driver was able to slam on the brakes and merely knock me off balance. I remember laying on the street unharmed, with the grille of the car looking me square in the eyes…not good.
After exchanging insurance cards….just kidding! It took me a while to tell my parents about this one, but eventually it came out.
I had several other “protected by an angel” experiences that I remember and several more I plan to learn about in Heaven.
I also remember learning how to ride the bike without training wheels….that was a pain. Dad pushed me down the alley and then let go for a bit and I freaked out and fell…and then we did it again….and pretty soon I learned how to ride a bike.
These are the thoughts that flood my mind when it comes to my three year old riding a bike.
So….why in the world would we let him have a bike if we know some of the pain that he will go through?
Because we also know that beyond that pain is a lot of fun and usefulness. We know that he will feel the wind in his face cruising down the alley. He will  maybe even carry on the tradition as a paperboy or ride his bike to mow lawns. Someday he may even ride in the Tour de France….I digress :)!
We willingly allow Dallas to learn how to ride a bike which means he will fall off and cry. It also means that he will have a lot of fun and learn about life.
We have weighed the options and like most parents (at least the cool one’s who aren’t overprotective :)) we encourage him to ride a bike.
As we look closely at Revelation 20 this Sunday, we will recognize that there are certain truths about the future that are revealed to us in the present.
We will experience pain and disappointment…but in the end we will experience the vulnerability of Satan, faithfulness of God, end of wars and presentation of justice. So if our Christian life was like riding a bike, my advice would be to hop on for the ride.
Have a great day!

New Life Sunday – Madness…

March Madness…or shall I say, March Maddening?
If you are a Missouri fan…and this just in…Duke fans, you may want to make sure you read this one all the way to the bottom. 98.8% of people filling out brackets on Yahoo (several million) predicted that the Tigers would win in the first round.
In case you haven’t heard, they were beaten by Norfolk State…or something like that =).
Now if you are a KU fan, and have begun to take a bit of enjoyment from the MU upset, I have one word… “Bucknell.” I understand it was a 14 v. 3 seed, but remember how that felt a few years ago and have a little mercy. And if you are a Mizzou fan, consider how I feel as a Minnesota Gophers fan….nuff said.
So, how do you think it feels if you happen to be a Norfolk State fan? I am thinking it feels amazing…especially if you are looking for cheap tickets for the game Saturday.
When it comes to basketball games and other trivial matters, we don’t seem to have a difficult time planning ahead. At times, we may even risk time and money under the assumption that our team will make it to the next game.
So why is it so difficult for us to plan ahead when it comes to our spiritual life?
It seems that too often when it comes to our eternal future, we struggle with taking even simple steps of faith.
This Sunday we are going to study from Revelation 19 and be challenged to worship God for what He will do, before He has done it.
Simply put, we should plan the party now for what He will do in the future.
And with this party, there will be no upsets!
Brag on God Topic: Attributes of God that come to mind as a result of the study of Revelation.

New Life Sunday – RIP Jeans

Imagine life without your:
-Cell phone
-Favorite pair of jeans
-Ice Cream
-Favorite sweats
Not cool!
Earlier I was thinking about my absolute favorite pair of jeans. They fit perfect and have aged well in every place but the knees. I stopped wearing them several months ago, but refuse to throw them away.
I wish I could use them as shorts, but for some reason a 35 year old guy with white legs in cut offs is a bit disturbing.
Much to Leigh-Ann’s chagrin, I have dedicated a place for them on the shelf. Every time I see them, I get a bit nostalgic, silently wishing that things were as they used to be before the large hole developed around my knee.
Although they are retired, there is something in me that refuses to let those jeans go. It is pretty easy to allow ourselves to become attached to things in our personal lives.
Our text for this week is Revelation 18 and it starts off by telling us that Babylon is fallen. The world system will be destroyed…including my jeans, cell phone and Rocky Road ice cream.
As we follow the contour of the chapter we will be faced with a reality check, a view of separation anxiety and a new normal. This is all a part of the journey for Christians that ends with perfect justice and fulfillment in a new Heaven and a new earth.
I hope you can join in the study and worship…and feel free to wear your favorite jeans.



New Life Sunday – Cyst removal…

Today I had 4 cysts removed from my head ranging in size from very small to nearly the size of a quarter. I have a family history of cysts so I have concluded that they are simply genetic.
When you combine thinning hair with a growing cyst, the probability for embarrassment rises. Not that I am running from a dose of humility every so often (ok, maybe I am…).
It goes like this…an innocent, kind person, notices a rather large bump on my head and assuming that I have bumped my head shows concern by asking about my bump.
Now it gets awkward…this is a classic “I wish I hadn’t said anything moment.”
I am sure that the person had no idea that they noticed a cyst and so I play it off by saying, “no, I’m ok, it’s actually a cyst. It’s a genetic thing. I get them all the time.”
Then it’s time to wait…I feel like I need to sit in a circle and quietly introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Troy and I have a cyst.”
So, I asked a kind Doctor to remove my cyst and he obliged.
While I was sitting in the chair waiting for the anesthesia to take effect, the Doctor asked if I needed any reading material and I told him I would be fine, knowing I had an email to write.
As he was working, I couldn’t help but think about the clash of scalpel and cyst. In case you were wondering, the scalpel won.
For several years, the cyst grew slowly and then it met the Doctor’s scalpel and within seconds it was over.
There are some parallels to the clash of kingdoms that we are going to study on Sunday from Revelation 17.
It seems like the kingdom of this world continues to grow and become more and more noticeable, but there will come a time when God’s justice will take control and the Kingdom of God will defeat the world.  It will be fast, efficient and decisive.
Sunday, we are going to study a clash in Kingdoms that will culminate with a true war to end all wars…meanwhile as we live in 2012 we get glimpses of that coming clash and at the same time have an opportunity to provide glimpses of a future perfect kingdom.
I hope you can come to find out more about those glimpses…but not my cysts :).