New Life Sunday – It’s not about me….

 

Today is dreary!
 
If I had my choice, I would choose 70 degrees and sunny…but I don’t have a choice. I do, however, have a choice to complain or not to complain.
 
That’s a pretty tough choice…
 
I know there are people who will sleep outside tonight with very little food, there are some who a freezing right now while I am in a warm office typing away…
 
But…I had plans to play basketball and go for a bike ride with the kids. All spring I have been looking on Craigs List for a B-Ball goal and a bike.
 
This past week we set up the B-Ball goal (which was free by the way) and last night I picked up a nice Diamondback Aluminum X-L Frame Mountain Bike for $50. Now I can save money on gas :).
 
Typically, I’m not overcome with consumerism…I feel pretty content most often. But when I get something that I’ve wanted for a while, I really like to try it out.
 
I had visions of a family bike ride and now it’s raining!!!!
 
Ahhhhhh!
 
I feel better now…
 
This little rant reminds me of how I can be in relationships. I like things to go my way…and I’m pretty good at working it so they do.
 
This is called manipulation…not a the best skill to possess. I don’t like it when people try to manipulate me, so why do I try to manipulate them?
 
Because, I can see it better…I have more experience…I know what is best…
 
Guess what word each of these statements started with???
 
“I”
 
That’s the problem…there is too much “I” in my thoughts, dreams and conversations.
 
What happens when I start looking beyond myself to consider others? I am definitely taking a step in the right direction….but there is something even greater than looking out for the good of another person.
 
I can begin by looking at what God wants from me.
 
This Sunday we are studying from Ephesians 2:11-22. Did you know that Paul tells us that Christ followers are being built up into a dwelling place for God?
 
The picture is that Jesus is the corner stone, the message of the apostles and prophets make up the foundation and Christ followers are the bricks to the building where God is going to dwell.
 
So, it’s really not about me…or my bike…or my basketball hoop…
 
And that’s a good thing :)!
 
I hope you can come on Sunday for the rest of the story.
 
Troy

New Life Sunday – Amazing dolls and Amazing grace…

Our girls love to play with dolls. This may seem like a simple thing…but it’s not. It’s expensive and complicated.
 
It’s expensive because you can easily spend more on accessories for one doll than I spend on clothes in a year.
 
It’s complicated because of how the female mind works…and…since simply making that statement puts me on thin ice….I will slowly type away and change the subject…
 
…backing away from the topic…
 
Boys are different. They love to build and destroy. They collect sticks and imagine they are guns. They can be occupied by one stick for hours. They can spend time building a tower, but their favorite part of building the tower is knocking it down.
 
Girls, not so much.
 
They don’t play “dress up” with sticks…they play dress up with dolls that cost some serious dough. They also can’t play dress up with one outfit. They “need” different colors, styles, accessories, shoes, beds, dressers, swings, strollers…I think you get the point.
 
The girls can play for hours in their bedroom with their dolls.
 
They imagine the very best for their dolls…they dream up scenarios…they “talk their dolls”…and when they are done, they put them on display as a reflection of themselves.
 
God does that for us…He dreams the very best for us…He provides us with lavish blessings…He promises us hope…He fulfills His best for us…no doubt, we go through pain and suffering, but that is temporary in light of eternity.
 
God is fashioning us so that He can display us as a reflection of Himself!
 
This Sunday, we will have a study in contrasts from Ephesians 2:1-10. The difference between life before Christ and life after being saved by Christ is amazing.
 
I guess you could say it is amazing grace.
 
Looking forward to celebrating on Sunday!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Amazing dolls and Amazing grace…

Our girls love to play with dolls. This may seem like a simple thing…but it’s not. It’s expensive and complicated.
 
It’s expensive because you can easily spend more on accessories for one doll than I spend on clothes in a year.
 
It’s complicated because of how the female mind works…and…since simply making that statement puts me on thin ice….I will slowly type away and change the subject…
 
…backing away from the topic…
 
Boys are different. They love to build and destroy. They collect sticks and imagine they are guns. They can be occupied by one stick for hours. They can spend time building a tower, but their favorite part of building the tower is knocking it down.
 
Girls, not so much.
 
They don’t play “dress up” with sticks…they play dress up with dolls that cost some serious dough. They also can’t play dress up with one outfit. They “need” different colors, styles, accessories, shoes, beds, dressers, swings, strollers…I think you get the point.
 
The girls can play for hours in their bedroom with their dolls.
 
They imagine the very best for their dolls…they dream up scenarios…they “talk their dolls”…and when they are done, they put them on display as a reflection of themselves.
 
God does that for us…He dreams the very best for us…He provides us with lavish blessings…He promises us hope…He fulfills His best for us…no doubt, we go through pain and suffering, but that is temporary in light of eternity.
 
God is fashioning us so that He can display us as a reflection of Himself!
 
This Sunday, we will have a study in contrasts from Ephesians 2:1-10. The difference between life before Christ and life after being saved by Christ is amazing.
 
I guess you could say it is amazing grace.
 
Looking forward to celebrating on Sunday!
Troy

New Life Sunday — Surgery, recovery and relationships…

On Wednesday of this week, Leigh-Ann had a full hysterectomy. We were both a bit nervous as we drove over to the hospital early in the morning. As soon as we arrived, we completed some paperwork and shortly thereafter Leigh-Ann was called back…behind the mystery door.
 
I waited for several minutes and then they invited me back to wait before they wheeled her back to the operating room. We each deal with our nerves by laughing so we passed the time by trying to be lighthearted.
 
Within a short time, her doctor arrived, asked what kind of surgery she was having….we both looked at each other hoping that was a safety precaution and not a serious question.
 
After a few more minutes of joking about how bad the surgery could be if he didn’t know what he was doing, the nurses came to wheel her off.
 
Then it was time to wait….it seemed to go pretty fast until the time the surgery was estimated to be complete…then it went another hour….and during that hour the time seemed to slow down.
 
I thought about everything that could go wrong and prayed that everything was ok. Finally the doctor came out and told me everything was successful and that Leigh-Ann would be in recovery for a while and I would be able to see her later when she was sent to a room.
 
She was pretty groggy when I first saw her, but as time went on she started to wake up. We decided it would be best for me to go home to see the kids and sleep in our own bed…yep, we decided….
 
I went to bed early and woke up a few minutes after 5am and looked at my phone and noticed that I had missed several calls and even more text messages from her. As I looked through the messages, I realized that while I was sound asleep, Leigh-Ann was going through quite the ordeal. Her blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and she was transferred to the Cardiology department.
 
I must say, I felt really bad that she had to go through all the stress alone in a hospital with no one she knew. I certainly didn’t mean to, but I failed to be there for her when she needed it.
 
Unfortunately this is not the first time in our marriage that this has happened. Unfortunately, it occurs far more often than it should…
 
I know you may find this hard to believe….but….too often I choose to make bad decisions and as a result fall short of her expectations in a relationship.
 
That is bad news….but…there is good news. This Sunday, we will study from Ephesians 1:15-23. This is a teaching-prayer from Paul that gives hope for our relationships. Paul communicates that for Christians, the Holy Spirit is an integral part of our lives and should be an integral part of our relationships.
 
AND WHEN HE IS, our relationships are always successful.
 
So whether you are married or single, old or young, nice or mean…with the help of the Holy Spirit you can be a success in your relationships.
 
I would consider the Holy Spirit “Relational Collateral” and with Him, our relational investments are always safe.
 
Now I better get home or I’ll have to add to this email…
 
Troy

New Life Sunday — 3 Boys in a Cart…

Last Friday night, Leigh-Ann had music practice, so I took the kids on an expedition that included soccer practice, clothes shopping and then we ended up at Target for the final odds and ends.
 
I was already feeling some pressure for Easter Sunday, so I must admit, I began the night on edge. We ran into a long line at Gordman’s and so we were late to pick up Alexa from soccer practice.
 
By now, my shoulders were tense and then Ian began to cry/whine…
 
Getting everyone out of the van at Target sounded like a vacation…yeah, you probably need to be a parent with a lot of small children to get that.
 
Of course we had to get the “Limo-cart” with seats for the two boys and the baby…problem…it wasEXTREMELY LOUD…so loud that people were staring as we drove by down the aisle.
 
Five kids…one dad…and every rotation of the shopping cart wheel was a loud obnoxious…THUMP…THUMP…THUMP…THUMP…
 
I tried lifting the cart, putting weight on the cart…I tried everything except exchanging the cart…by the time I was really annoyed, we were at the back of the store…
 
We found everything we needed and made it to the checkout…that’s when the girls realized they needed to swap out a pair of shoes, so I paid for everything else and waited for them to come.
 
I was a bit pre-occupied by “3 boys in a cart” and was probably dreaming about what it was going to feel like to get everyone in bed and plop down on the couch…my ‘dream’ was interrupted when the girls came and couldn’t find the right size. Just as we started to move toward the exit, Alexa asked where our bags of groceries/items were…
 
I looked and our cart was empty…the boys couldn’t have eaten them….I asked the cashier and the bags weren’t near the register.
 
Only one party, a pregnant woman and her husband had come through after us…I quickly told Alexa to watch the boys and ran out in the parking lot with the hopes of finding our purchases.
 
The only thing I found out there was that KU had just lost in overtime…not good!
 
Long story short…the kind and generous Target employees offered to replace everything. They even called an associate to run around the store to pick up our items. It felt like we were at the Ritz Carlton (at least until the boys started fighting in the cart).
 
Just as we were loading up into the van, my phone rang…it was Leigh-Ann...hmmmm…what should I do? I was hoping it wasn’t the call to “please pick up one more thing…” so…I let it ring and promised my conscience I would call her as soon as I got back on the highway.
 
And I kept my promise to myself…she just wanted to chit chat…tell me about music practice…talk about what we had planned for Saturday…
 
I was in no mood….
 
Well, this may not be a typical night…(usually it’s Leigh-Ann with the kids on the edge of surviving a stressful day…I don’t know how she does it)…but the reality of two people in a relationship not seeing eye-to-eye is pretty common.
 
In fact, I would bet that you may have a relationship in your life now that is needing a bit of a tune up.
 
If so, you really should consider coming out to New Life for the start of a 10 week series from the book of Ephesians called, “Better Together.”
 
This week we will study from Ephesians 1:1-14 and draw up an appraisal of God. I am VERYexcited about this series and am confident you will be glad you came.
 
But wait, there’s more…if you have some time, please read from Ephesians 1:1-14 and be prepared to share during our brag on God time about how you have experienced one of God’s characteristics applied to your own life.
 
Well, that’s it for now, I hope you have a great evening!
Troy