New Life Sunday – Learning forgiveness from a traffic ticket

This Sunday our topic in the series, “Taking Root, Bearing Fruit” is forgiveness. I invite you to travel back in time with me to my college days for a story on forgiveness.

I was driving late at night on I-94 West from Wisconsin to Minnesota in my trusty Mazda 323. I remember looking down at my dashboard and noticing my battery light had turned on.

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it didn’t seem like a good thing. Long story short, the belt on my alternator had snapped. This affected my cooling system and my battery charge.

It was late and I wanted to make it to a truck stop so in order to conserve battery power I turned off my headlights.

Within a few miles, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw flashing blue and red lights. The officer came to my window and I told him my story. He took it all in and then wrote me a ticket for driving without headlights.

In spite of the ticket, he offered me a ride to the nearest truck stop. In the end, my dad drove over to help me out…thank you dad!

Since I didn’t have much money and didn’t want to pay the ticket, I decided to take it to court. After being sworn in, I took my place for the trial. The judge heard my story, which included a recount of the logic behind driving without headlights. In addition, I shared that I was engaged to be married and that the ticket would be an additional stress on a very thin budget.

The judge asked the officer if he disagreed with any of my story–he didn’t.  He then asked the officer if he felt that it would be ok to dismiss the case. The officer obliged. The judge then shared that he had been presiding over divorce proceedings all day and that I should take some advice from him in regard to my upcoming marriage.

I was all ears as he told me to prioritize the woman to whom I was committing my life and to seek help before divorce became an option.

Then he dismissed the case.

I was free to go with no fine, no points and no worries.

I was forgiven and it felt great…it always does. This Sunday, the sermon comes from Hebrews 9:12-10:18 and Matthew 18:21-35 and is entitled, “Sorry: forgiven to forgive.” As we gather for worship and fellowship, we will look closely at the forgiveness that has been offered to us through Jesus and then take one more step to individually consider our own willingness to forgive those who have offended us.

In the meantime, keep those headlights on…especially at night!

Troy

Resource of the Weekwww.veritas.org — “We seek to inspire the shapers of tomorrow’s culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ.”

Announcements: Women’s breakfast tomorrow, April 28 from 8-10 at First Watch in North KC (409 Armour Rd Kansas City, MO 64116). It’s totally informal, so feel free to roll out of bed and come as you are, and you can leave at anytime too! 

Mick Silvers and Kristen Clements will be hosting “A night in the Dominican Republic” as a fundraiser for their summer internship overseas. The dinner will be held from 6:00-8:00pm and will feature authentic food and traditions.

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New Life Sunday…A lesson from Dog the bounty hunter

A few weeks ago, Leigh-Ann went to bed early and I wasn’t tired yet, so I flipped through the channels to find something to watch. Since we have a few shows that we watch together, I started looking for something else.
 
And then I found my show….
 
Dog, the bounty hunter.
 
Just writing that made me smile…
 
Dog, is (in my humble opinion) a living paradox. He has the father of all mullets. He prays before making an arrest and then during the arrest cusses like a sailor. He acts like he has no heart, then he shows true concern for those he brings into custody.
 
But that is not the point of this email. In each of the two episodes that I have watched, there were people who had been running from the law for several years. In one of the episodes, the criminal was surrounded and after a brief attempt to escape, he gave up.
 
In each episode, the life of the criminals had become more about evading the law than actually living. They were brimming with excuses, they blamed others for their decisions and they were afraid of the consequences. Ultimately, when Dog and his crew tackled and handcuffed the criminals, it seemed to me that they were a little bit relieved.
 
Surprisingly enough, there is something for us to learn from Dog and the criminals…in one way or another each of us has run from the law. The truth is, we cannot keep the law of God.
 
It is impossible!
 
We have all FAILED to be perfect.
 
This Sunday, we move into week two of the series, “Taking Root, Bearing Fruit.” Previously, we looked at the Artist and His art. Simply stated, if we want to understand our purpose in the world, it is absolutely imperative to learn it from God…the Creative One.
 
This week, it is simple again, “Give it up.” We have failed to live up to God’s perfect standard, so we must come to a point where we stop trying to impress Him. We must face the reality of our own failure and stop trying to change God’s standard.
 
We can be free!
 
But first we have to admit we have been in bondage…the great news is that we don’t have to settle up for our own sins…we can’t.
 
Insert Jesus…
 
He can and He has!
 
And that is the Good News!
 
I hope you can spend some time reading Genesis 3 and Romans 3 to prepare for the sermon, “Epic Fail: Someone stopped being perfect.”
Troy

New Life Sunday – The Artist and His art…

A few minutes ago I was walking down Grand Street with a friend. As we passed by an old building with a garage door that was covered by a metal gate (I assume for security purposes), I noticed a uniquely colored, broken bottle with a note on it.
 
The note was what drew my attention and since I am a bit nosy, I decided to stop and read it. To my surprise a verse from Ecclesiastes was all that was written on the paper attached to the bottle. Then I noticed that just a few feet from the bottle was a small candle placed inside of a shell.
 
That was it…
 
That was not the end of me thinking about it though. In fact, now you and I are both thinking about it. Immediately, I wondered who put it there…why did they put it there…why Ecclesiastes…why the broken bottle…are the candle and the bottle related?
 
I could go on…
 
Art has this effect on people…it is a communicable seed that is planted into our minds. Sometimes the seed sown by art is similar to the seed in Jack in the Beanstalk and almost instantaneously it bursts forth with ideas, thoughts and messages. At other times, the seed sown by art is like the seed I planted nearly a year ago that has been forgotten and thrown away.
 
The bottom line is that art always communicates. The irony though is that art never fully communicates. I have learned this from my kids…they love to draw. Long ago, before they were accomplished 3, 7 and 10 year old artists, they would hand me a picture and I would look at it…turn it from side to side…pray for the gift of interpretation and finally just ask them, “What is it?”
 
I was always pleasantly surprised to find out what it was…
 
Similarly, I will never fully be able to interpret the bottle, candle and verse from Ecclesiastes without speaking to the artist. Even then, I will not fully comprehend what the artist had in mind.
 
In addition, each of us could look at the display of art independent of each other and at some point we will have a difference of opinion in regard to the meaning of the art. Imagine if we had the option to poll hundreds of people regarding their interpretation of the art and then come to our own individual conclusion about the meaning of the art OR simply go to the artist to learn the meaning of the art…
 
This Sunday we begin an 8 week series about the basics of Christianity. The title for the sermon is Ex Nihilo: The story of the Artist and His art. We will look closely at the Genesis 1 and John 1 in order to clarify where we can go for the best interpretation of the meaning of life. I will also have a picture of the bottle, candle and verse from Ecclesiastes…I’m pretty sure the picture will differ from your imagination.
 
I really hope you can come….
 
Troy
 
Announcement:
Next Friday we will be hosting an event at New Life called, “Ask an Atheist // Ask a Christian. Look here for more information: https://askanatheist.eventbrite.com/
 
 

New Life Sunday – Easter and our 5 Year Anniversary

This Sunday is Easter and it is also the 5 year anniversary of New Life. In celebration of this milestone I would like to ask you to join me in the following exercise. Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind:
 
Jesus is _______________.
 
Jesus has ________________.
 
Jesus will _________________.
 
Jesus _________________.
 
Jesus is the _________________.
 
Jesus loves _________________.
 
Jesus provides _________________.
 
Jesus offers __________________.
 
Jesus came to __________________.
 
Jesus promises __________________.
 
Jesus forgives __________________.
 
Jesus accepted ________________.
 
Jesus gave _________________.
 
Jesus is my __________________.
 
If you took the time to complete this exercise, there is one name that should be fresh in your mind…JESUS. If you need some help on the blanks, try watching this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTwkQXOTLA.
 
This is what Easter is about…this is also what New Life is about!
 
I hope you can join in the celebration this Sunday at 10:45am for our conclusion to Revelation 22 that will provide practical hope because He lives!
 
In Christ,
Troy
 

In case you missed the blog I posted on Wednesday, I suggest you take a few minutes a day to look a the following Scriptures, watch the video links and intentionally convey a message of gratitude to God.

Thursday – This is the day that the disciples gathered together for the last supper. After this was ended, they walked the road to the Garden of Gethsemane. I hope you can find a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of life to meditate on Matthew 26 and even watch this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcURbkjXOA

Friday – This is the day that changed the course of history and provided hope for the world. What difference does this make for you? The reading for today is Matthew 27 and the video link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMJox5-K5jU&feature=related. We will also be gathering at New Life at 7:30pm to distribute invitations for the Easter service on Sunday. At 8:00pm we will meet back in the parking lot with the worship team to remember the death of Christ.

Saturday – This is the day of darkness and pain for the disciples and followers of Jesus. He was with them…and He was gone. It all happened so fast. Spend some time reading from Isaiah 53 and prayerfully watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CGwJMPyqCw.

Sunday – This morning we will finish out the last chapter in revelation. We will celebrate the most amazing miracle in history. As you prayerfully prepare for this service, I suggest that you read from Matthew 28, Revelation 22 and then take a few minutes to watch this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2e5H-LSzkU&feature=relmfu&noredirect=1

 
 

New Life prayer, Good Friday and Easter thoughts….

This is the week in which we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. On the Wednesday prior to the crucifixion, I imagine the atmosphere was a bit eerie. Jesus had cleansed the Temple and been to Bethany where He was anointed in the house of Simon. The next day the disciples would celebrate the Passover. Jesus knew His time was near…

In an effort to encourage you to prepare your hearts this week, I am suggesting that you find a few minutes a day to read the scriptures, watch the video links and intentionally convey a message of gratitude to God.

Wednesday – Tonight you are welcome to come to New Life to pray and read from 1 Corinthians 15 as we prepare our hearts together for this Easter weekend. We will watch a video by John Piper on prayer. If you can take a few minutes to watch this video proclaiming truth about Jesus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTwkQXOTLA I am sure you will be glad you did.

Thursday – This is the day that the disciples gathered together for the last supper. After this was ended, they walked the road to the Garden of Gethsemane. I hope you can find a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of life to meditate on Matthew 26 and even watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcURbkjXOA

Friday – This is the day that changed the course of history and provided hope for the world. What difference does this make for you? The reading for today is Matthew 27 and the video link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMJox5-K5jU&feature=related. We will also be gathering at New Life at 7:30pm to distribute invitations for the Easter service on Sunday. At 8:00pm we will meet back in the parking lot with the worship team to remember the death of Christ.

Saturday – This is the day of darkness and pain for the disciples and followers of Jesus. He was with them…and He was gone. It all happened so fast. Spend some time reading from Isaiah 53 and prayerfully watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CGwJMPyqCw.

Sunday – This morning we will finish out the last chapter in revelation. We will celebrate the most amazing miracle in history. As you prayerfully prepare for this service, I suggest that you read from Matthew 28, Revelation 22 and then take a few minutes to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2e5H-LSzkU&feature=relmfu&noredirect=1

This is an amazing life…following Jesus!
Troy