New Life Sunday – Tuesday, Friday and Sunday


Today is “Good Friday.” A time for us to remember and reflect on the death of our Savior. Leading up to that most incredible day in history, several Gospel writers share a touching story that likely occurred on the Tuesday before the crucifixion. Mary, a close friend of Jesus who had recently experienced the resurrection of her brother Lazarus, wanted to anoint Jesus in a special way. It was a beautiful scene.
Leigh-Ann wrote this beautiful insight as a follow up to the sermon about Mary anointing Jesus from this past Sunday…

During that scene, a few disciples said among themselves: “Why was the ointment wasted like that? ‘For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred (days wages) and given to the poor.’ And they scolded her…” They missed it, but Jesus did not.  He rebuked them openly for it…defending her act of love.

What fascinated me was the very next verse, “Then Judas went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.” 

It never occurred to me…Judas had made up his mind about Jesus then and there in that room…when the ointment was wasted.
You see, Judas was the “keeper of the money” for Jesus and His disciples. So he felt that keeping the finances was his gifting. When he saw this morbid “waste” of money, everything he’d been wrongly thinking about Jesus was confirmed. That was enough for Judas- it was over, and he sought to rid the fellow disciples of this “fake”- he felt as if he were on some sort of crusade for right. But here’s the problem:
1) He’d already lost trust for Jesus on the way, and because he never went to Jesus to try to understand, he only could see the worst in Him.
2) He never asked Jesus to help him understand- he didn’t want to admit the doubts he’d been carrying for quite some time.
3) He couldn’t see Jesus’ heart- and he didn’t want to see his heart.
4) He justified doing wrong to someone in order to “make things right”, and hey, it would put money back in the treasury, right? So he felt he was protecting the guys…and crowds…around him. His way was way better.

The crazy part is that after he did that, Judas still was around Jesus and the other disciples, waiting, striving for his opportunity to prove he was right. He was so confident that he was right and that he was, in a sense, a sort of “savior” for this group, he eagerly awaited his chance to prove to them how he could see what others couldn’t see. In fact, even when Jesus called him out, and told the entire group that one would betray Him, it didn’t shake Judas! He played right along! But, he was FULLY persuaded that what he perceived and what he felt about someone was 100% accurate!

Wow…am I Judas? How many times do I see what I want to see, being blinded by my own righteous indignation? And are there times I actually choose to sin in order to do right? Whether it’s sin of pride, by looking down on someone else; or the sin of gossip; or the sin of hatred? Have I ever not seen the beam in my own eye, while trying to expose a splinter in another’s?

Unfortunately,  the error of Judas took lives, but my errors don’t have to….May God grant me the ability to see Christ for who He is, me for who I am, and others the way that Jesus did: with compassion and love. May I be able to see beyond this world and see how my actions impact eternity.
As a result of God’s grace which planned and allowed the crucifixion of Jesus, I am forgiven and saved. I am so excited to continue this story and application this Sunday. We have planned some special times of worship, prayer and meditation to go along with the sermon to help us praise and glorify our Savior, Jesus Christ.
He is Risen!


New Life Sunday – Easter updates…

Our sermon series “Journey to the Cross” ran into a bit of a snow storm this past Sunday (if you hadn’t noticed). If you haven’t had a chance to see the webcast, we studied from Mark 14:1-11, the story of Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper. Jesus displays “Grace” throughout the entire passage.
Leigh-Ann and I were discussing it later in the day and she shared that Judas was the opposite. Maybe what put him over the edge and drove him to seek out the Jewish leaders in order to betray Jesus was the act of love by Mary towards Jesus.
It is likely that Judas had questioned the motives of Jesus for a long time, and then when he (the money-guy) saw that Jesus was willing to accept such lavish generosity, Judas was convinced that Jesus was a fake. With this in mind, it makes sense that Judas realized his “history-changing” mistake and went out and killed himself.
There is a good chance that this event took place on the Tuesday prior to Easter Sunday which is where we sit today…so my question for the day is, “who in your life needs grace?”
This Sunday, we will close out our series with the story of the Resurrection from Matthew 28:1-18…”How to change the world with love.” I challenge you to think of at least 3 people you can invite to join you this Sunday.
I also want to invite you to “adopt and Easter Lilly.” We have found them for $8 from Hyvee and so if you would be willing to purchase a Lilly, just reply to let me know and we will have it/them set up as a decoration at church on Sunday. After service, you can take it with you to enjoy for days to come. Please let me know how many you would like and then drop an extra $8/per Lilly in the offering box at the back of the auditorium.
Finally, please join me in prayer for God to use our service together on Sunday for His glory and the growth of His Kingdom. If you have any specific requests, please let me know and I will make sure they get included for our prayer meeting tomorrow at 7:00pm.
He is Risen!

New Life Sunday – Selection Sunday…

A few days ago I received an email blast from Carey Casey who is the President of the National Center for Fathering encouraging dads to fill out a bracket with their kids. I figured that would be simple and fun….so this year we entered two brackets on ESPN.
I am happy to announce to you that my bracket is ranking in the 29th percentile…meaning that 71% of all brackets are BETTER THAN MINE….
The girls on the other hand are presently ranked in the 98th percentile…less than 2% of brackets are better than the combined efforts of an 8 and 11 year old girl. If only they were old enough to gamble…..totally kidding….seriously, that was a joke….:).
I did very little to help them beyond explaining that the lower the number, the better the team and I told them to make sure to pick a few upsets. The “Lex n Soph” team selections sounded something like this: “Temple or UNC…Temple is in the Bible so let’s pick that…Wichita St. is closer to us so let’s pick that…”
Last night they rooted for Colorado St to beat MU and then found out this morning when they woke up that they had picked MU after all. If only they had been rooting for MU, maybe, just maybe they would still be in it :).
Making choices for teams in the big dance isn’t even a drop in the bucket. Choices are made all day, every day. Our priorities help to direct our choices. So as we head into Holy Week, it is significant for us to study some of the choices made by Jesus.
This Sunday, the sermon will be coming from Mark 14:1-11 which is the story of Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper. The events likely take place on the Tuesday in between Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion.
This is one of the final days that Jesus has on earth, so it is significant to note the people with whom  Jesus chooses to spend his time and also the activities on which Jesus chooses to spend His time. In a nutshell, we will see how Jesus chooses and defines his priorities.
Ultimately, we will be faced with one word that seems to permeate all of His choices: Grace. And that is something I need for my bracket…
Stay warm!
We are planning to livestream the service this Sunday. Watch your inbox and the New Life Facebook page: for details.
The parents meeting for Kid’s City scheduled for Sunday will be postponed due to weather. 

New Life Sunday – A dead lawn…

A green lush lawn is something that makes me smile. I love seeing grass that is like a carpet, especially if it’s our lawn.
But I have to be honest, as of today our lawn has taken a beating from last summer’s draught. There are some places that look good, there are some places that look dead and there are some places that look like they have potential.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a perfect lawn, I would say that ours is about a 4. Ouch…that was painful to type the number 4…I really wanted to put down 6, and knew I couldn’t put down 5 so, 4 it is.
Last Monday, I purchased a “de-thatcher” attachment for my lawn mower for $20 that is supposed to dig up all the old, dead grass and leave good soil where I can overseed and fertilize and then pray that the new grass actually grows.
So when (not if) the lawn starts looking good again, I believe I will have a deep sense of satisfaction over being a part of the improvement. However, in order for the lawn to develop according to my vision for it, I will need to invest some significant amounts of time and energy before I see much progress.
This Sunday, we are on the 2nd of 4 sermons in the series entitled, “Journey to the Cross” We will look closely at how Jesus developed unlikely leaders. There are some helpful correlations between developing a lawn and developing leaders:
·         It takes a lot of work
·         Progress is slow
·         Supernatural help is needed
I would say that Jesus took men who were 3 or 4’s on the scale of 1-10 and turned them into 10’s. It was much more about development than selection. Jesus invested his time and energy into a few guys who were a key part of changing the world.
I hope you can take a few minutes to read from Luke 5:1-11 in preparation for Sunday and then do everything in your power to come early to meet a few new friends, prepare your heart for worship and listen to all that God has prepared for you.
God delights in turning “nobodies” into “somebodies” through the leadership of “nobodies” for the Kingdom!  
I hope you enjoy the beautiful day!

New Life Sunday – Trampolines and friendships

Tonight our family met up with some good friends who introduced us to the sea of trampolines at Sky Zone. It was pretty incredible, though I must say by now I am starting to feel the effects of my age.
Sky Zone is a space larger than a gym floor that is one super sized trampoline. It is divided into squares and you can bounce all over the place.
I had no idea what it felt like to fly high into the air spinning and twisting in perfect double and triple axel turns…
…I still don’t.
I pretty much perfected the jump…jump…jump…land on my rear…jump…jump…you get the point.
 It was so much fun watching the kids bounce around. It was also tons of fun to learn about a new way to get sore in my old age.
The rules are pretty simple:
-Only one person per square
-Don’t lay down
-Have fun
There is similarity between learning a new activity and making new friendships. It takes a desire to learn and grow, a willingness to take a risk and a reason to do it.
This Sunday we begin the first of a four week series entitled, Journey to the Cross. We will spend our time in John three and four observing how Jesus developed friendships. This will  be a simple sermon with practical application for today.
Before we can share the good news of Jesus with people, we must start by developing friendships which in a strange way can be like jumping on a trampoline….or something like that.
I hope to see you on Sunday!
Announcement: This Tuesday, if you can make it at lunch time you are invited and encouraged to attend the Real Life luncheon:

New Life Sunday – Church Community Building

Earlier this week I learned a good lesson in building community from my neighbors. During the first snow, my neighbor across the alley bought a new snow blower and asked me if he could store it in my garage and then we could share it.
I know, some people get all the luck :).
So this week when “snowmageddon” (yes, it is an official word: ) was forecasted, instead of being filled with anxiety, I was pretty excited.
We planned for me to make breakfast in the morning and then I knew I was going to attack the snow. There ended up being 4 of us neighbors who went around the neighborhood cleaning out driveways, sidewalks and alleys.
When we were done, we stood around and talked for quite a while. In fact, we even began planning a neighborhood BBQ and movie night…when it warms up of course :).
Since we had just spent a couple of hours working together for a common goal, we broke through some of the awkward barriers. In fact, we were all chatting so much, at one point I began to question if we were going to use up our male quota of words for the day.
This Sunday we will study the 8th and final core value for New Life, Community: People committing together to know, love and serve God.”  We will study from Romans 1:1-17 and discover from Paul how to find our personal identity, contribution and objective for a healthy Gospel community.
I must admit that at times, New Life has fallen short of being an ideal Gospel community. The good news is that you have permission to become the best community possible this side of heaven.
And for some more good news, we don’t need snow to make it happen, so now I’m ready for it to be 60 degrees by next Friday.
I hope to see you Sunday!
Announcement and Survey:
This Sunday we will be hosting a pot-luck for everyone immediately after church. Please bring a hot-dish, salad or dessert to pass. Following the meal, we will be sharing about some opportunities to help with the youth.

Please take 5 minutes to complete this New Life survey: