New Life Sunday – Controlling or Enjoying

 

Yesterday we went sledding. I must say that I was a bit uncertain about how well the kids would do for a few reasons:
·         The hill was pretty icy
·         It was very cold out
·         They are inexperienced
·         Once you go, there is no stopping till you get to the bottom
 
That whole “loss of control” thing was probably my biggest fear…
 
As soon as we got to the hill, Sophie and Dallas jumped in a sled and before I could even scare them out of going alone, they were off…
 
I watched them narrowly miss the “jump” and held my breath as they raced to the bottom. I was full of anticipation as they walked back up to the top of the hill…
 
“What were they going to think of sledding?”
 
“Would they be scared?”
 
“Will they want to go again?”
 
Before I had time to find answers to my questions they were back in the sled ready to head down again…and again…and again…and again…
 
Sometimes they hit the jump and flew up in the air, sometimes they spun in circles on the way down, sometimes it was just a smooth straight run, however, there was one constant…they loved it every time.
 
They welcomed the variety and uncertainty. They laughed at their loss of control as they skidded down an icy hill on a piece of plastic formed into a sled.
 
I would have to say that the reason they had so much fun was because they simply gave up control and held on for the ride.
 
Hmmmmm, I think we could take a lesson for life.
 
Too often, we fight to keep control. We resist uncertainty and as a result never really enjoy the journey.
 
Life becomes more about planning and performance and less about discovery and experience.
 
This Sunday, we will finish up our study in the book of Daniel. As we look at the final verses in Daniel 12, we will be reminded of the fact that God is in control…He is in charge of the planning and even helping us on our performance. We are called to enjoy the journey from a posture of trust in God.
 
Whether we hit some bumps, spin in circles or have a smooth run…remember that God has promised us perfection in the future and hope for the present.
 
So, I suggest that as you make plans for 2013, you keep your “controlling” to a minimum and your “enjoying” to a maximum.
 
Happy New Year!
Troy
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New Life Sunday – Merry Christmas

 
 
  In the middle of the night, Dallas came into our room and said, “Z won’t stop laying all over me, can I sleep wit’ you guys?” We were away for a few days to Branson, so Dallas and Isaiah were sleeping together on the pull out couch. He came into bed and then I spent the rest of the night on the edge of the bed with feet and knees in my back…
 
Nice…
 
As we were waking up this morning, I got to thinking about how much I love our kids and strangely enough, I actually kind of enjoyed the opportunity to “sacrifice” for my son.
 
Since this is the “Most wonderful time of the year” there are many who are making sacrifices for people they love. It seems to me that the more we love someone the easier and even more enjoyable it is to make a sacrifice.
 
I would have to say that the measure of our sacrifice is in direct proportion to the measure of our love. This Sunday, as we consider the birth of Jesus, it is pretty amazing to reflect on the sacrifice that God made for each one of us.
 
We will take some time to reflect on the birth of Jesus as we sing, pray, read and are reminded of a life that was lived so He could die.
 
It is an amazing story that is unmatched past, present and future.
 
Specifically, the sermon will be from Matthew 2:1-12. We will study the Wise Men who came from the East. Interestingly enough, it ties right into our study of Daniel and it is likely that these wise men were influenced by the testimony of Daniel from more than 500 years before Christ.
 
Leigh-Ann and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Troy

New Life Sunday — beyond a luncheon…

Earlier today, I attended the annual luncheon for the Downtown Council (http://www.downtownkc.org/).

Kansas City is pretty awesome…for a part of the program there was a panel discussion about a downtown arts campus for UMKC.

That conversation was interesting for sure…but I was even more intrigued by the different personalities on the panel:

Mayor Sly James is hilarious…and now a follower of yours truly on twitter :).

Joseph Polisi is the President and CEO of Julliard…and very nice, gracious, etc from what I could tell, but not nearly as funny as our mayor…

The same can be said for Peter Witte who is the Dean of UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance…

While I was at Bartle Hall watching performances, listening to thought leaders and meeting new people…

Hundreds of thousands of people were  watching a tragedy unfold in Connecticut…

Right now, I am sick to my stomach thinking about children who are near the ages of our children who have been faced with some of the grossest realities of humanity.

I can’t even begin to list the questions that come to my mind…why? How could someone….?

But beyond all the questions is the sad, sad reality that many families will endure the Holidays without children, parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles.

While I was in my own little world at the luncheon…there was something horrendous happening that I was oblivious to…

This is similar to what we studied from Daniel 10. In this chapter Daniel pulls back the curtain and gives us a glimpse into  a spiritual world beyond our dimension. There is spiritual battling going on as I write…While we go about preparing for Christmas, enjoying festivities and planning for our immediate future, there is spiritual activity beyond our line of sight.

With this in mind, this Sunday, we will look closely at the actual vision recorded in Daniel 11. The bottom line for us is that we “need the right presence in our lives.”

In the midst of tragedy or celebration or both, we can be confident in the presence of Jesus. Apart from Him, we are hopeless…

Merry Christmas!
Troy

New Life Sunday — That guy…

This morning I had an experience with……that guy!

·         That guy that talks SUPER LOUD so everyone within the block can hear him
·         That guy that has three stories and can tell all of them multiple times an hour
·         That guy that will do anything for anyone to watch him
·         That guy who thinks EVERYONE else’s world revolves around his
·         That guy who can’t stop talking about how busy his schedule is, yet he still has time to tell the same story over and over again…loud enough for everyone in the same zip code to hear it
·         That guy who thinks I am actually interested in his stories because I keep looking at him

Ahhh…now I feel better.

This morning I was early for a meeting at a coffee shop so I was working on my sermon schedule for 2013 when…THAT GUY…walked in. After praying for clear focus and trying my hardest to concentrate for 30 minutes, it was finally time for my meeting. I gathered my things and went upstairs, sat down, sipped some coffee and then heard someone else coming up the stairs….

….THAT GUY….with a different guy and the same stories.

AHHHHHHH….

Stop judging me…. :).

I am laughing now just trying to write this out…God certainly has a sense of humor.

But this is where it gets pretty serious for me…as I have considered the details about THAT GUY…it has occurred to me, that my prayer life resembles THAT GUY way to closely.

When I talk to God, too often my prayers are about me and my busy life and how I want God to fix my problems and make me successful. I want him to take away all my pain and difficulties without giving God’s bigger plan a second thought….and it seems I save my best prayers for the times when everyone can hear me.

Now you really better stop judging :).

This Sunday is a follow up to the sermon on prayer from last week. We will look mostly at Daniel 10 which is a glimpse behind the spiritual curtain. The bottom line is that life is not a game…the stakes are high, our responsibility is significant and success is not defined by the culture around me.

I HOPE YOU CAN COME….did I say that too loud?
Troy

New Life Sunday – Smart phone prayers…

Early this morning Isaiah (age 2) climbed into bed with us. He has an uncanny ability to wake up early and he loves snuggling under the warm covers.
 
…for at least a few seconds.
 
And then he is on to something else…always looking for things to look at, touch, squeeze, hit…you get the point.
 
This morning he found my phone and started dragging his fingers across the screen, pushing buttons and navigating from app to app.
 
He had no idea what he was doing…he snapped a few pictures…opened an email…and even got on facebook.
 
I watched for a few minutes just to make sure that he didn’t ruin anything or send someone a crazy email. I know I am probably in trouble because it was not good parenting at all for me to let him play with my phone.
 
We tell him “no” all the time, and then this morning I (not Leigh-Ann :)) allowed it. Shame on me…bad dad…:).
 
I can still see his big eyes looking up at me from time to time as he played on the phone. They seemed to say, “I can’t believe you are letting me do this….but  I’m glad you are.”
 
Unfortunately, when it comes to my prayer life, I relate to this. Too often, I ask God to keep me from messing up too bad, but I don’t ask Him to direct my life.
 
Even though I don’t know what I’m doing, I still want God to let ME direct my life.  I also want Him to make sure I don’t mess it up too bad…and…if and when I do mess it up…I want Him to fix it for me.
 
God is not our life repairman, genie, insurance or safety net. God is our Designer, Sustainer and Sovereign Lord.
 
This Sunday we will study from Daniel 9. In this chapter Daniel prays one of the most significant prayers in history. A prayer seeking mercy, pursuing God’s glory and acknowledging His love.
 
Perhaps most significant though is that it is a proactive prayer and not a reactive one. Daniel understood that God was his steering wheel and not his spare tire.
 
Speaking of steering wheel…I hope you can plan to ride on down for service on Sunday at 10:45am.
 
Have a great weekend!
Troy
 
Announcement: Our list of disciplers is growing…and if you are not on it yet…you should be!!! Let me know if you are willing to take up the challenge to disciple one person in 2013.