New Life Sunday – Cross Fit

  I love watching champion athletes perform. I love the game, the competition, the passion, the work, the intensity, the unknowns, the momentum and I especially love the feeling that comes with winning.
No matter the sport, the road to the ultimate victory is paved with scores of smaller but just as meaningful victories.
These smaller victories are most often personal, mental victories.
One more lap…round…free throw…sprint…attempt…etc.
The rush of victory never comes without grueling work to attain much smaller victories. I was reminded of this while getting hyped up by watching the following youtube video of extreme snowboarder Travis Rice:
If you have 2:23 to watch the video you will hear him say, “while riding a heavy line, the only time it ever works is when you take the whole move and break it down into tiny, little, subtle moves. When you perfect each little move, the bigger move has no other choice but to succeed.”
He goes on to say, “It’s those split second decisions that your  muscles have been training for that make the difference between destruction and success.”
Similarly in our spiritual walk it is the split second decisions that we have been training for that make the difference between destruction and success.
The habits for destruction or success are developed long before the “big test.” When we labor to develop spiritual disciplines we develop an appetite for grace. When we live in light of grace, we will experience the thrill of victory.
This Sunday the sermon will be from Romans 12. As we follow the Apostle Paul’s line of reasoning we will find that our spiritual victory will be certain when we practice spiritual disciplines that will develop our appetite for grace.
At the end of the video, he summarized, “From practice to preparation to execution, every move counts.” Not bad advice for our spiritual life either!
Oh, and wear Degree deodorant :)!
Have a great weekend!

New Life Sunday – Highlight Reel…

This morning Leigh-Ann and I and the boys attended the end of the year school assembly for Lexi and Sophie.
Where has time gone?
We sat in the back to watch with great anticipation…the kids were outstanding…especially ours :).
I was reminded how biased that I am for our children…and that is when my epiphany all started from the back row…
Parents arrived heavily armed with cameras, video cameras, phones and ipads. If I was an alien I would have assumed that they were each a part of a cult-like militia.
But these were not weapons…they were tools to help them remember every movement, song and statement made by their precious offspring.
From my view in the back I was able to see the viewfinder of the recording devices. This is where my observations became very interesting…
I could easily match up the parents to the child because each of the cameras were zoomed in on their kid.
I looked around to test my theory and at one point every camera in sight was zoomed in on one child….and that one child was different for each parent.
The bottom line is that each parent really only cared about one child…their own child. As classes moved up and down on the stage, parents shuffled up and down in the aisles trying to get a better angle to capture their child’s  shining moment.
Then it hit me…what if God could see through the viewfinder of my mind?
He can…
How often do I zoom in on Him throughout the day? If I had to make a highlight reel of my God from the images I focus on throughout the day, would I even have enough footage?
This Sunday our focus is worship. We will look at the topic of worship from Philippians 2:5-16, so I hope you can find a few minutes to read through the Scripture passage in advance and think about your highlight reel of God.
I hope you have a great day!

New Life Sunday – Lessons from a lost wallet…

Earlier this week I lost my wallet!
This is no laughing matter… I first realized it may be missing on Tuesday as I was heading out the door and it was not setting in its usual place. I pacified my fears by telling myself that it was in my closet.
When I got home Tuesday night, I started looking more seriously for it. I searched high and low…in the closet, in the van, in my pockets, in the dryer, in the van again, in the junk drawer, in the van (there is something about the van that attracted me to look there), outside on the deck, in my closet (about 5x) and then I remembered…
The night before we went to the Royals game and I didn’t recall having it after the game. I nearly convinced myself that it had fallen out of my pocket in the seats. I was able to sleep good since I was pretty sure it would be in the Royals lost and found.
Wednesday morning I called the lost and found and waited about 5 minutes…as the seconds ticked by I was pretty sure my chances of it being there were diminishing. Pretty soon the voice returns, “I’m sorry, we don’t  have your wallet in the lost and found.”
Panic strikes…
“Where in the world is my wallet?”
A call to Leigh-Ann (happy Mother’s Day :))to see if she can look more around the house. We conclude together that Z may have taken it…I know…blame the kid who can’t defend himself…lol.
After lunch on Wednesday, I decided to stop home to look…van, closet, pockets, etc. After several minutes of looking, I went out on the deck again just in case…
And there it was!!!
The weather was so nice on Monday that I went out on the deck to finish up some emails before bed. Since the chairs are hard, I took my wallet out of my pocket and set it on the table.
My wallet was alone outside for about 40 hours. The longer it was missing, the  more I thought about it…absence does make the heart grow fonder. I missed my wallet because it held something that was very valuable to me…my identity and my money.
In a sense, I have invested myself into my wallet and when it turned up missing, I became desperate very quickly.
What if we invested as much into our relationships as I do into my wallet?
This Sunday we are going to look closely at 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 as we study the essence of finding and being community. Verse 8 says, “we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves.” Paul experienced community in its deepest form because he invested his identity and sacrificed his most valuable assets for the believers in Thessalonica.
One more great thing about this passage is that Paul uses the love of a mother as metaphor…pretty fitting as we will also celebrate motherhood.
I hope you can be a part!

New Life Sunday – Relationship 101 from Spirit Airlines

For the past week I have been following the story about a veteran with cancer named Jerry Meekins who had to cancel a flight on Spirit Airlines. The reason for his cancellation is that he is dying of cancer and is not healthy enough to travel. As a result he requested a refund.
His request was denied.
A spokesperson for the airline cited company policy and further explained that the reason they were inexpensive was because of policies like this one.
I’m not sure who is in charge of public relations for Spirit Airlines, but I’m pretty sure they are feeling some pressure.
In the past week, the facebook page “Boycott Spirit Airlines” has collected more than 30,000 ‘likes.’ Not exactly a good thing for business.
Until today, the CEO Ben Baldanza was standing strong for principle and had refused to budge on a policy even for a US Veteran dying of cancer.
And then it happened, Ben made an announcement today that he would personally refund the $197 ticket (insert sarcastic comment of your choice here). In addition, the Airline has now offered $5,000 to the charity of Jerry’s choice.
I am confident it will cost the company much more than $197 to reverse the negative press this decision has caused.
Warning: I am going to offer an opinion about something that is really not my business…so  here goes…
In the matter of building relationships with its clients, Spirit Airlines failed to keep their main objectives in focus. They allowed policy to skew their perspective.
My advice for the airline is to humbly admit their fault in the matter and plead for forgiveness.
This is pretty good advice for any relationship that has gone awry.
Last Sunday, our topic in the series, “Taking Root, Bearing Fruit” was forgiveness and we looked at Hebrews 9-10. This week our topic is relationship. We will look closely at Ephesians 2:11-22.
Unfortunately when it comes to my own relationships, I have acted as foolishly as Spirit Airlines more than I want to admit in this email. I am confident that by  looking at Ephesians 2, we will learn that our relationships in this life have a much higher purpose than our own happiness.
Relationships built on Christ provide a dwelling place for God.
Relationship stakes are always high, but they skyrocket when we recognize God’s role in them.
I hope you have a great weekend and are able to come Sunday to hear more on the topic of relationships.