New Life Sunday….more than surviving

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to spend several hours with Jaan Heinmets. He shared his testimony about growing up in Sweden. His grandfather was a leader in the Baptist Union in Sweden during communist occupation.
When he was a boy, the soldiers took his grandfather into the front yard of their house, forced him to his knees…
…and shot him for being a Christian.
Shortly after that tragic shooting, Jaan’s family came to America by boat. They landed in New York when Jaan was 9 years old.
The day after landing in America, Jaan went to school in New York. He didn’t know any English and didn’t have any familiar classmates.
His dad started a drywall company since jobs were scarce. Over time it grew and his company won the contract to install the drywall in the twin towers.
After graduation, Jaan attended NYU and was then drafted into the military to work with US intelligence because he was bi-lingual.
While he was in his 20’s he had set a goal to become a millionaire by age 30, then he heard Norm Evans from the Miami Dolphins speak to the business school he attended. Norm shared how Jesus had changed his life.
God used that testimony to draw Jaan to salvation.
His life changed and together with his wife Shirley they moved back to Sweden as missionaries. Over the past 40 + years Jaan has served God in many capacities including his present role as a leader for a ministry called, “Here’s Life Inner City” (
I have thought about Jaan’s story many time’s this week and while studying for the sermon this Sunday from Daniel 5 I was reminded that there are similarities in this story and that of Daniel.
These guys were put through very difficult circumstances…so difficult that the average person would probably not have survived.
The lesson from Jaan and especially from Daniel 5 is that with God’s help we can thrive when others don’t even survive. I have been so inspired by the role Daniel was given in the Babylonian Empire and I am so thankful that he has left us with a blueprint for his success.
We’ll discuss that blueprint on Sunday.
God Bless!


New Life Sunday – Losing value…

Earlier today a friend texted me to tell me that he set a new record: he purchased an Austin Reed suit with no flaws and that needed no tailoring for….drum roll….
50 cents…
I would guess that an Austin Reed tailored suit from Dillards would likely cost $250 or more…
This leads me to surmise that the owner of that suit either:
1. Had no more use for it
2. He didn’t know his wife donated it to the thrift store 🙂
Either way, the suit which at some point was worth enough to someone that they were willing to spend several hundred dollars, had lost nearly all value.
Unfortunately, we probably all have a closet full of clothes that cost us a lot and are now worthless.
I am not a fan of things that lose value.
There is something worse than our clothes losing value…when people lose value. If you were to be honest, you can probably think of relationships that at one time were very valuable and now they are not even close.
It is never a pleasant experience to realize that someone you really care for could care less.
However, there is something even worse than a human relationship that has lost value…
The greatest tragedy of all is when God has lost value in our lives.
This Sunday we continue our study in Daniel. We will look at chapter four where Nebuchadnezzar who at one time thought God was King of kings and Lord of lords communicates that he has more regard for the gods than the one true God.
As we study Daniel 4 it will be evident that Nebuchadnezzar changed his personal valuation of God.
As the story goes, God clearly communicates to Neb that He will not be an optional feature for life. In fact, Neb spends 7 years eating grass like a beast of the field before he realizes the folly of undervaluing God.
God is sovereign.
I hope you can join in the study this Sunday at 10:45, because our clothes and sometimes even our friends may lose value…but God never does!
For His glory!

New Life Sunday – Ninja


A few nights ago Leigh-Ann was at worship practice and I so I drove the kids home from prayer meeting and JUMP recovery.
Since the weather was so nice, I asked them if they wanted to eat ice cream cones outside.
Dallas was like, “yessss!”
It was one of those moments when life seemed near perfect. We were wearing sweatshirts and sitting on the front porch with an incredible view of the city lights while we ate our ice cream cones. We decided to listen to our daily keys for kids podcast and were pretty much rocking life.
Then, we noticed a helicopter with a spotlight and I was pretty sure it was the police searching for someone.
My mind wondered…what if they are looking for a fugitive? What if the fugitive is in our neighborhood? We are sitting outside… my mind was now racing…
I would tell the kids to run upstairs to our closet…hit the panic button on the alarm….dial 911…beat up the fugitive.
This was getting fun….I envisioned myself taking on the criminal with my bare hands and pounding him into submission as the police arrived with sirens blaring. Just thinking this now makes my adrenaline start to pump which seems to empty into my ego and makes me think I am a special forces trained mercenary ready to take on any criminal.
I am the only super-hero missing in Avengers :).
While I was in this dreamy trance, I felt like I could take on the world. Nobody is going to touch my kids and get away with it…
This somewhat humorous story makes me wonder what it would take for me to defy my life in the face of death.
This Sunday, we are going to study from Daniel 3, the story of the 3 Hebrews in the fiery furnace. This is a great chapter with a lot to unpack…maybe even a few surprises. Ultimately, we will wrestle through what, if anything in our own lives would prompt us to stand in the face of potential death.
When our values are tested by the potential of death, what becomes important? In other words, if we knew we had one year to live, what would we prioritize?
For one, I wouldn’t need to take ninja classes :).

I hope you have a great weekend and I really hope to see you on Sunday!
Tomorrow morning is our second leadership class in the 4 part series, “Strengthening your Grip” at New Life from 8:00-9:30am.
As a group of elders we really want to invest in you as a person…a Continental Breakfast and plenty of Coffee will be included for your entrance fee of $0 :). Use this link to complete the personality profile (which includes the values index that you need for this Saturday’s class), then email me back and I’ll get you the information we covered last month that goes along with the personality profile material.  Then come to class Saturday, 10/13 or to the alternate session next Wednesday 10/16.

Before this Saturday, would you complete this survey –

New Life Sunday – Milestone’s

Today is a milestone…
Leigh-Ann and I have a child who is 11 years old. For some of you reading this, that statistic borders on ridiculous. You wish you were as young as me :). For others (especially you millennials) you have just tossed me into the box of middle aged people who have left the party.
Nearly every day I am faced with the fact that life is racing by…VERY FAST! A birthday for our oldest child who is turning 11 is hard to ignore.
Alexa is truly a gift from God. She is moving into adolescence and well on her way to being a respectable, confident and pretty stinkin awesome woman.
From the moment she was conceived, she has been on a path toward maturity. Each birthday has been a milestone to reflect on her journey.
As a baby we celebrated crawling, walking and potty training.
As a toddler we celebrated her first words, sentences and communication.
As a child we celebrated reading and writing, social interaction and continued physical and spiritual development.
As a pre-teen we celebrate her sweet personality, heart to serve and overall awesome factor (like her mom…just needed to score a few points since I’m running late :).
Time will not be slowing down any time soon, our birthday celebrations will come and go and the trajectory of our lives will continue to be marked by milestones like birthdays and anniversaries.
No matter what path God has placed us on, it always leads to His Glory.
So if you are a super-awesome 11 year old or a middle aged dad or even older…when you reach a milestone in life, remember that it is just a check point that leads to God’s glory.
This Sunday, I hope you will be able to join in our study of Daniel 2:24-49. These verses make a clear case for our path leading to God’s glory. Daniel is quite possibly the best  example of someone who lived by faith, grew through his life and brought glory to God. As we gather this Sunday, I am pretty confident that you will be reminded of God’s glory and your destination.
And now, off to pick up a birthday cake….
Have a great weekend!