New Life Sunday…vacation traditions…

For nearly a month we have been counting down to being able to go on vacation…and now it’s over. We spent a lot of time in Branson swimming, lounging, canoeing, hiking and we even did some geocaching for the first time.

We have a few family traditions that we look forward to every year:

·         Roasting Marshmallows
·         Watching a family movie every night
·         Collecting shampoo, conditioner and coffee samples (we don’t steal towels though :))
·         Grilling out every night
·         Building with Lincoln Logs
·         And now we’ve gone canoeing three years in a row, so that must be a tradition too…

Family traditions are great for many reasons:

·         They provide stability
·         The develop a sense of ownership
·         They provide good memories
·         They give us a healthy anticipation

As I have reflected on some of the great traditions that I experienced in my childhood (Norwegian cookies, family devotions, sports together, etc.) and some of the traditions we have established as a family, I have been reminded of the opportunity we have as a church to establish our own traditions.

Our New Life family has been focusing on the goal of integration this year.  There is no doubt in my mind that God has been answering that prayer. As a result, I believe we have begun to establish Gospel-centered traditions that exalt Jesus and provide a deep sense of community with each other.

With this in mind, one of the New Life elders, Gary McClintock will be preaching from Colossians 4:5 and Ephesians 5:15-17 this Sunday. I must say that every time I hear Gary speak, he brings out clear practical truth from the Bible and he communicates very effectively (no pressure Gary :)).

As you prepare your heart for the service tomorrow, I suggest that you ask God to speak into your life. As we make the right choices which encourage spiritual growth, we will develop a growing community with our own traditions and memories. Just don’t steal the soap from the church bathroom :).

Have a great day!


New Life Sunday — Get Real

This past Tuesday we held a training session for an addictions recovery program that we are hoping to launch soon at New Life. The name of the ministry is the acronym J.U.M.P. ( which is short for, “Jesus Understands My Problems.”
In its simplest and alliterated (of course) form, the program uses truth, tools and testimony to share Jesus with people in need.
So how does one go about finding people in need for an addictions recovery program? I mean, we all have our issues….but we certainly don’t need an addictions recovery program, do we? That’s for people who live on the street and rob convenience stores for drug money, right?
(Note sarcasm :))
Several weeks ago we were meeting with the director of the program, Jeff Baird and he shared that one of their most successful meetings was centered around the topic, “My friend has a problem.”People are comfortable as long as they can attend in anonymity.
Why isn’t the church the first place where people can come to for grace and healing? Why do we all feel the incredible urge to “get our lives together” before we can be authentic around other Christians?
Earlier today, I had a friend stop by my office to thank me for treating him like a human. Based on his past, that was not normal. I am not making this up. You would think that we should treat everyone “like a human.”
Especially as Christians…
Now, I will quickly admit that I am not perfect, I still need a regular reminder from James 2 (teaching about showing favoritism to the rich man) and I constantly battle my own “mental caste system” based on my selfish preferences.
With that said, there is plenty of room at New Life for more authentic people who are willing to admit their own inadequacies and sinfulness and celebrate the transformational power of the Gospel. In fact, you would probably love to learn more about J.U.M.P. as well.
This Sunday we continue our study of “Modeling” from Paul found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. We are called to battle for authentic Christianity. And that is more than learning and memorizing orthodox doctrine.
Simply put, it means we need to be real.
Real people, with real problems that have found real hope in Jesus.
That is how Life is meant to be!

I hope to see you Sunday!

New Life Sunday…My City Matters

This past week I have thought to myself many times, “if this 4th floor could talk, it would certainly have a story to tell.”
I have been watching 50+ teens and sponsors living in the middle of Kansas City while participating in a missions trip called “My City Matters” (
Their temporary home began as a beautiful, showcase event space, in case you haven’t seen it check it out:!home/mainPage. Over the past several days it has been packed with sleeping bags, dirty laundry and energetic teens.
So imagine how the 4th floor must feel to have been transformed from a place of beauty to a functioning locker room that holds a week’s worth of laundry from people who have been working outside in the sun and rain…
If buildings had caste system, this one would certainly be on a downward spiral.
And that is a good thing….actually it’s GREAT!
The space may be aching from usage, but it has held teens and sponsors that love Jesus and have been sharing that love with our city since Sunday night.
A cluttered building is a small price to pay for changed lives. More than 10 people have prayed to accept Jesus as their Savior. Many people have taken the time to tell their story…because it matters. Memories that will last a lifetime have been made. To put it simply, this building has become a temporary home for LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN CHANGED!!!
I would say that we could learn a thing or two from this building. While the floors may not be as shiny (not that you can really see them because of all the stuff here) and the aroma may not be as pleasant (though at dinner time, it smells great), this building has become incredibly functional.
As Christians, it seems that sometimes we work very hard to be a showcase…we look good, act good and even smell good, but if we were to consider our impact for Jesus, the results may not be good at all.
At the end of  my life, I would rather people say that I was a functioning Christian who impacted people for Jesus, than for them to conclude that I look and sounded good.
This Sunday we will pick up this thought as we look closely at 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13. I hope you can take some time to read through the book of 1 Thessalonians. In the meantime, say a few prayers for the missions trip here that is winding down and ends tomorrow afternoon.
Loving Life!

New Life Sunday – Living the dream…

This Sunday is going to be a great day to worship and learn. We will remember the Lord’s Supper, worship, pray, brag on God and study from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:5. Paul shares his heart for his disciples from Thessalonica.
At the time of this writing, Paul had been separated from his dear friends, he had endured months of serious persecution and yet he was still living the dream (in my opinion :)).
Here’s why…
Paul had adjusted his expectation for fulfillment. Instead of simply following the culture blindly and caring about stuff, thrills and brands (not sure what the best brands were in the first century), Paul simply engaged with people.
If Paul were alive today, his success would not be defined by the amount or quality of things that would fit in the U-haul, or the pics and stories he could post online or even the Rolex watch on his wrist. Paul was totally engaged with his disciples.
He went so far as to say, “For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” Here is the good news, any Christian is eligible to live the dream.
God made you and I to find our satisfaction in Him…not in ourselves, ourstuff, ourfun or ourfashion (yes, I made those words up :)).
Learn it, share it, live it!
Have a great weekend!