New Life Sunday – Try to guess my topic this week…

What gets your ATTENTION?
 
The answer to that may vary among us…however, I am going to predict that if you live near KC you would agree with this answer:
 
A SNOWSTORM!!!
 
Our house is situated in a location that allows for us to see a lot of traffic. For awhile yesterday it was entertaining to look out from the front window of our warm house and watch cars piling up, sliding around, etc.
 
I just read that again and it sounds pretty sick….however, I knew that if I went out to help the masses, I would never make it back in…so we watched….in case you were wondering, I did help several neighbors (ahhh, now I feel better).
 
Then it was our turn…we tried to get out for some sledding…(yes, that is a good reason to get out on the roads with 6 kids in the van)…and we got stuck. That’s why it’s good to have 6 kids…so they can push :).
 
If you have ever been stuck in the snow, you know that it demands respect. When you’re stuck, the snow does not consider your schedule. The snow finds a way into your head and becomes a consuming thought. The snow effects where you go, when you go, what you eat, what you do…pretty much it takes over your life until it is removed.
 
What if God took over your thoughts and life like a snowstorm?
 
I think we would call that worship…
 
This Sunday, Mike Totta will be sharing about the New Life core value #7: Worship-Celebrate the Person and Power of God.
 
It’s going to be a great day, so make sure you are shoveled out and ready for church.
 
See you then!
Troy

“The Bible” Mini-Series

I want to get right to the point. I have been hearing about the new mini-series “The Bible” airing on the History Channel in March. I have done enough research to be confident in the following:
·         The quality will be excellent
·         The story will be accurate
·         The influence will be global
 
Here is an idea for all disciplers…how about inviting some of your unsaved acquaintances over to watch it together. If you don’t have the History channel, find someone who does and team up with them for the challenge.
 
At the very least, I would love to hear your thoughts on this idea.
 
Here are some links for you to begin your own research:
History Channel: http://www.history.com/the-bible
Great research Site: http://www.bibleseries.tv/
And another great research site: http://bibleseriesresources.com/
Interview with Producer, Mark Burnett: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/Mansbridge+One+on+One/ID/2331769982/
 
Imagine asking a handful of non-believers if they would be willing to watch the series with you and then give you their honest opinion….
 
Talk to you soon!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Mice and Magic

Yesterday we went to Disney with the kids. Wow…
 
The kids have always wanted to meet Mickey Mouse and see the Magic Kingdom. It was pretty fun to watch their expressions as we approached the ultimate tourist attraction. Although I must say, I am quite amazed at the amount of people who make the trek to childhood Mecca, because I don’t know anyone who even likes mice. I also think it’s magic, because they have figured out a way to voluntarily rob people of more money than the average carjacker.
 
We debated on going on the day with rain in the forecast, but ended up giving it a try because we thought there would be less people. One of the first people we met in line told us that it was empty compared to the previous few days…I can’t even imagine. There were people everywhere…I never want to hear anyone complain about church again :).
 
While we were in line for some kind of Buzz Lightyear ride, I began to notice people going right by us on the outside lane. They kept saying they had a fast pass. After a while I started to feel like I was in a sort of purgatory for every person I had ever cut off in traffic in my entire life. Once I felt I had more than paid for those sins (sorry, this is not theologically accurate at all…but it’s how my mind is working after a day at Disney :)), I began to get frustrated.
 
Leigh-Ann…following in her father’s footsteps started asking how much those fast passes cost and where can we buy them? We finally got up to the worker who was charged with letting in all the fast pass holders, while holding up all the lowlifes (aka us) who had been waiting in line…and he was trying to joke with everyone in line.
 
I was not in the mood for a joke…
 
After we got off the ride (which was fun and the kids loved it!) we went to find out about Fast Passes. We learned that anyone can get one, you just have to enter your tickets and then they give you a time to come back for the ride.
 
That was way too easy…they were available to everyone, they were free and when we were the ones holding the Fast Passes, they were a great idea. 😉
 
I felt a little foolish for getting frustrated when the only problem was that I was uninformed…which was my own fault.
 
Sometimes in life there are opportunities that are available to each of us that we either ignore or overlook. I would say that…prayer…is one of those opportunities.
 
Too often, we travel through life unaware or unwilling to make contact with our Creator through prayer. As a result we get frustrated and confused trying to make sense of the meaning of life.
 
This Sunday, we will be back in town and I will be sharing a sermon on Core Value #6, Prayer: Individual and with each other. It seems that when life becomes frustrating and confusing, prayer is seldom our first option.
 
I am excited to share some thoughts from the New Testament on individual prayer as well some stories about the early church and how prayer was foundational for their existence.
 
I hope you can make it…there is Free Parking, Free Coffee and no Admission Fee :).
Troy

New Life Sunday – Authenticity…

Several years ago a friend gave me the book, “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymballa, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

The book began with Pastor Jim filling in the pulpit for his father in law at a small dying church….that expanded to helping with two churches in New York….after working hard and becoming very discouraged, he and his family took a trip to Florida and while on that trip he came to the conclusion that if the church was going to survive, it would have to be because of prayer.

When he made it back to New York, he told the little church that the prayer meeting was going to become the most important meeting of the week.

The rest of the book is filled with stories of God doing incredible miracles in the lives of drug dealers, prostitutes and business people.

He told about his daughter running away and staying on the streets of New York….they prayed and prayed and one night at the exact time that they were praying in the middle of the night, God got a hold of her heart and she decided to come home.

I love the book because it provides a window into the lives of real people. There is not churchy schmurchy stuff…the stories are honest and authentic.

A lot like the Bible….

The Bible is authentic…the firstborn of Adam and Eve killed his brother, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were deceivers, David was an adulterer (and a murderer), Solomon was a womanizer, Elijah struggled with self-esteem…I could go on…

I am not underestimating the need for us to live spirit-filled lives, just stating that God uses broken people that are honest about their brokenness.

I can tell you who He doesn’t use: selfish, self-righteous, holier than thou’s with a condescending attitude.

AMEN!!!

That’s my mini-sermon on Core Value #5, ” Authentic life – Honesty with God and each other.” The main sermon will be on Sunday. One of our elders, Mike Chirveno will be adding much more to this topic from a Biblical perspective.

This value of “Authenticity” plays a significant role in the development of our New Life culture. I REALLY hope you can attend.

 Have a great day!

Troy

Announcement: Real Life is a ministry that is all about authenticity. If you can come on Tuesday from 12:00-1:00pm, PLEEEEEEAAASE sign up now. There is only a charge to attend if you want a lunch. You will hear from a very authentic speaker on the topic of Marriage. You really need to come. For more info you can go to: http://www.reallifedowntown.org/

New Life Sunday – Fallen bread…

This morning the kids were all hungry when they got up…surprise.
 
Some days they all have to eat the same thing and we do the whole, “teach them how to eat…obey…build character…etc.”
 
On other days…like today…they have a lazy morning. One had cereal, the other had a bagel, one had apple sauce and Isaiah wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
 
He and I walked over to the pantry and I took out the loaf of bread and peanut butter. I then handed the bread to him to carry over to the counter.
 
He was being such a good helper…until…somehow he was holding it upside down and there was no twisty tie on the end. In an instant, the loaf of bread fell out of the beg (that’s how we say it in Minnesota :)).
 
Amazingly, it landed intact, so only one piece was touching the floor (and I beat the 5 second rule anyway :)) and the rest was free standing in a vertical loaf.
 
It was then that Isaiah said something profound….”uh oh”…as he stood next to the loaf as if he was frozen.
 
Super dad (ahem…that’s me in case you’re not following the story) moved with lightening speed, picked up the loaf and fit it back into the bread bag.
 
Crowd goes wild!
 
Just kidding…almost immediately I thought about my sermon topic for this Sunday. Core value #4, Dependence on the Holy Spirit: Listen and Obey.
 
Think about how many time we as humans “drop the loaf of bread” in life. We may have really good intentions and try our hardest, but still fail in some of the simplest chores of life. The awesomeness of the Holy Spirit is that he is right by our side to let us know when  we “drop the bread”, He then helps us get it back together, and finally teaches us how to avoid the same mistake.
 
Tomorrow, should be a great day of worship, serving and learning together. Don’t forget your memory verse for the week, Philippians 3:10-11…there could be a test :).
 
See you soon!
Troy