New Life Sunday – Reassurance or exhortation…

This Sunday I want to talk about the difference between reassurance and exhortation. These concepts have the potential to look similar, but in 1 John 2-3 they are very different.
Reassurance is what we do when someone is already doing the right things. Reassurance can take the form of a pat on the back, a note of affirmation or a simple, “keep it up.”
Exhortation on the other hand is a call for someone to start doing the right things. Exhortation can take the form of a kick in the pants, a plea to start moving or a simple, “come on, let’s go.”
As parents, we move between  reassurance and exhortation many times without even realizing it. Here is how it looks:
Reassurance — Hey buddy you’re doing so great cleaning up your toys. You are so smart and strong and wow….you are fast…I am so proud of you. Keep it up!
Exhortation — Hey buddy, you really need to pick up your toys. When you are done, the floor will be clean and I will let you to watch a favorite show.
As a soccer coach, the type of communication typically follows the score of the game. If we are winning, most communication is reassurance. If we are losing, it’s definitely exhortation. Here is how it looks:
Reassurance — You girls are awesome! I am so proud of you! You are hustling and winning the ball!  Keep it up!
Exhortation — (Insert name), you need to pick it up. They are beating you to the ball. Come on, we need you to step it up a bit. Do you want to win? Let’s go! Think about what it will feel like to win…
This week we will study from 1 John 2:28-3:3. John moves from reassurance to exhortation. In 1 John 2:18-27, the Apostle John is assuring the Christians that they have an eternal abiding faith…they have an annointing and need to stay under the apostles teaching. This week, we move into an exhortation. They clearly have eternal security, but they also have a responsibility to “abide in Christ”, and John is clearly communicating what it will look like if they stick with their faith.
I hope you can attend New Life tomorrow, so we can unpack these verses together.
Have a great evening!


New Life Sunday – One of the worst stores…

Yesterday, Leigh Ann discovered what appears to be a virus in her computer. This is something that has been there for a while, but just recently has begun to make her computer inoperable.
We have a service agreement at a certain Big Box electronics retailer so she decided to bring it in yesterday.
I will do nearly anything in my power to stay away from that store because in my opinion they have a reputation for long lines and poor customer service.
Yesterday was no exception!
When Leigh-Ann arrived at the store with 5 kids in tow, they told her the wait would be at least two hours. There are forms of torture that that I would choose before standing in line for two hours in an electronics store with five kids ages 1 -12.
Needless to say, the computer is still out of order and my phobia for this store continues to grow. Based on pretty much every experience I have had, I am pretty sure we are not the target customer.
I am also pretty sure it would take a miracle for me to change my opinion about this stores reputation.
A reputation is built over time through multiple personal experiences.

  • Southwest airlines has a reputation for great customer service
  • The New York Yankees have a reputation as a good baseball team
  • Starbucks has a reputation for providing good coffee
  • Authentic Christians have a reputation for faithfulness

This Sunday we will study from 1 John 2:18-27. There are some people who have claimed to be Christians, but over time have fallen away. There are others who have endured temptations from false teachers and have stayed faithful.  
Authentic Christianity is not something that can be earned over a period of time, however it is revealed over time.
I hope you can plan to attend this Sunday, in the meantime, maybe we’ll give that store another try….

New Life Sunday – Dirty socks…

This morning I stepped out of my car on the way to an appointment at a hip coffee shop downtown KC. I was feeling pretty urban and cool if I do say so myself. I glanced back at my car and then I noticed…there were socks in the back window. Leigh-Ann and I often joke about how having 5 kids somehow tends to meddle with the cool factor…lol. One of the boys decided to take off his socks and throw them in the back window.
I often wonder the thought process that happens before throwing socks in a back window…
I can only guess, but I am thinking the reasoning (if there is any of that going on in 3 and 4 year old boys minds) is that if the socks are out of sight, then they don’t have to worry about putting them back on or bringing them in the house.
I have attached a pic for a Friday morning laugh…. :). Or in my case a reality check…
As crazy as this may sound, sometimes we are more like the boys than we may care to admit. We have memories, regrets and poor decisions that can get in our way, and too often we try to find ways to hide and ignore our deficiencies.
The problem is that from a different perspective, those regrets and poor decisions are obvious.
There is hope!
I am extremely excited for this weekend. We are privileged to have Bernie Carbo with us for a luncheon today at noon ( He will be joining us for our men’s retreat this evening through early afternoon tomorrow (there is still room for a few more men/boys). He will also be speaking at New Life on Sunday morning at 10:45am.
If you want to talk about regrets….Bernie has plenty of them. During a 12 year Major League Baseball career, he has said that he played only one game sober.
Bernie talks openly about regrets from his childhood, his baseball career, personal choices, etc…but here is the GREAT NEWS….Bernie has learned to deal with those regrets and through the power of Jesus, he has moved beyond a life of regret to a life of satisfaction.
Bernie has a message of hope for anyone dealing with regret. If you can make it happen, please come out to hear him speak. Here is a link to an ESPN video of Bernie:
Now I need to go retrieve some socks out of my back window :).

New Life Sunday…drawing blood

This past Sunday night, Isaiah and I took a trip to the emergency room at Children’s Mercy Hospital. To make a long story short, he turned out ok, but before that was confirmed by the hospital staff we had a few anxious moments.
First of all, we had to decide whether or not to take him in…this is not an easy decision. We certainly don’t want to be the parents that bring their kids in for a runny nose, but we also don’t want to overlook some serious symptoms.
Once we decided to take him in, we had to decide which parent would take him. The decision came down  to either bathe, feed and put four kids to bed or bring one into the hospital. It seemed that the best option was for me to take Isaiah into the ER. To be honest, the deciding factor for me was Sunday Night Football. I had visions of relaxing with Isaiah  in a quiet ER room watching the game. 🙂
The reality is that we had to sit in the waiting room surrounded by sick kids with nothing to watch for the first two hours. Once we were brought back, we had multiple tests, x-rays, etc. The toughest moments came when they had to draw blood.
Wow…the nurse was trying so hard to hit his vein, but it kept rolling away. Isaiah was looking up at me with huge eyes and even bigger tears streaming down his face begging me to make them stop. They finally switched to his other arm and it worked. Everyone in the room breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Watching your child endure pain and then listening to him beg you to make it go away is one of the most difficult experiences of life.
At age 3 it is impossible for Isaiah to fully understand the fact that the nurse is hurting him in order to help him.
I think that our heavenly Father feels even stronger affinity for us when we are going through pain in life. There is no doubt that God hates to see us in pain, but when He allows it, He has a reason and God knows best.
This Sunday, we continue our study of 1 John with a sermon jammed with hope for the moment. No matter if your circumstances are favorable or if you are in a world of hurt, there is hope in 1 John 2:12-17. I suggest that you take a few minutes to read through the verses before you come.
I hope to see you tomorrow!