New Life Sunday – Better than Black Friday…

Thanksgiving is near the top of my list for favorite holidays. This year was no exception. Leigh-Ann and I and the kids hosted dinner at our house with family and friends. My parents even made the trip down from Minnesota.

Our celebration really started the night before at New Life where we were able to worship and share with others in our church family the many blessings we have experienced.

Thanksgiving day was another opportunity to thank God for His many blessings in the midst of eating way too much food and watching way too much football (is that even possible?!?).

We probably need to celebrate Thanksgiving every month…and not just for the food and football :).

What is so interesting about thanksgiving is that it is followed by “Black Friday.”

I’m going to say this up front…I am not a fan of Black Friday. If you want my opinion…and if you don’t, I’m going to say this…Black Friday is about as opposite as thanksgiving as you can get.

I love what I read online, “Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”

For those of you who I just offended…too bad….just kidding….I searched online for the best black Friday deals and actually they looked halfway tempting…until I realized most of the stuff that is sold on Black Friday is anything but a necessity.

Ok, the rant is over…what I want to say is that the reason people lose sleep, risk getting trampled and brave the cold weather is that they believe the stores are providing them a value that is worth the effort necessary.

That value is arguable….ok, I said I was done…

Tomorrow, we are going to study from 1 John 4:13-21 about the value of the cross. Don’t worry, the sermon is not about generosity or stewardship…this week :)…so if you were one of “those people” who went out on Black Friday, you should not feel too condemned…lol.

Last week we looked at how the power of the cross has affected us. This week we will look at the value the cross provides for us

There will be no long lines, fear of getting trampled or crabby people at New Life!

See you tomorrow!


New Life Sunday – Let’s get it started…

I have a remote starter on my car that was a gift from a close friend a few years ago. If you haven’t noticed, it’s getting a bit chilly outside, and having a remote starter to warm up the car makes it not so painful.
Unless of course it doesn’t work. Then it just makes me frustrated.
It’s really not a big deal. After all, I am from Minnesota, and complaining about cold temps before it reaches zero is pretty weak.
On the other hand, being cold and then getting into a cold car is THE WORST.
Bottom line: After one cold ride home, I think I’m going to attempt to get the remote fixed.
I’m not certain what  to do to fix it. I can check the battery in the remote. From there…I have no clue…
Something of which I am certain, is that when the remote starter is working properly, I push the button on the remote. That push sends a signal to the receiver on the car, which turns over the engine and ultimately fires up the heater.
So how does this relate to the sermon for Sunday?
For starters (like that? :)), we will study from 1 John 4:7-12. The word “love” is used 13 times in those six verses. So you can probably guess the topic of the sermon…yes, it’s love.
Just as with the remote starter, someone has to initiate the action to get a response. With love, God has always initiated love.  He has expressed His love through the birth, life and death of Jesus, and God has intended for His children to be multipliers of that love. God loves us, which starts love in our hearts to share our love with others.
And the good news? God’s starter is never broken.
Stay warm!

New Life Sunday…”What does the van say?”

A few days ago, our van died. I guess it may be more accurate to say that it went to sleep. This is like in the Bible when Jesus came to see Lazarus and he told all the friends and family that Lazarus was not dead, he was just asleep…kind of…except with the van there was no miracle necessary, just a nice guy who knows a few things about fixing vehicles.
Before you think that the engine blew or something really bad happened, it turned out to be pretty simple…
Leigh-Ann had taken the kids out in the morning and the van worked great. Then in the afternoon when she was headed out again, it was dead. No lights, no chimes and just a click when she turned the key.
When I arrived home at night, I cleaned off the battery posts and tried to jump it with my car.
No go!
Then I put a charger on it all night and in the morning the lights came on when I opened the door so I was thinking the problem was solved. Three clicks later and everything went dead.
So I called a good friend and he offered to come over to the house to take a look. He had the battery tested and it was holding a strong charge, then he decided to replace the connecter (or whatever you call it) on the negative side of the battery.
Varooom … “What does the van say?” (If you get this inside humor you must definitely be a social genius :)).
Anyway…the  van started right up and has been working great ever since.
The point I want to make from this story is that if my buddy had never tested the battery, we could have purchased a new battery and never fixed the problem. In order to test the battery, it had to be evaluated and then approved.
This Sunday we are going to spend our time studying from 1 John 4:1-6 learning about the concept of “testing” or “evaluating.” Too often we accept things that people teach and even our relationships without a process to discern good from not so good.
Imagine how valuable it will be to build processes for evaluation into your life…
I really hope you can attend this Sunday at 10:45am…”what do you say?”
Have a great weekend!

New Life Sunday – Love it…

I am pretty sure you have noticed by now that it is getting dark outside…way to early! The bad news about daylight savings time is that when you lose it, the only value is an extra hour of sleep…unless of course you have kids, then you don’t even get that.
It’s like clockwork, very early on the morning of “fall back” you hear the door crack open and the pitter patter of small feet. We roll over…and they roll in. Someday, we will wish the kids were around so we could miss out on an hour of sleep :).
My point is that it is getting very dark, very early.
A few nights ago, I was driving home just before six and it was already totally dark outside. I was driving along a road that was not well lit and actually was a bit worried about what I couldn’t see. 
Fortunately, the car’s headlights illuminated that path ahead. Without that light, an accident would have been inevitable.
Light is a change agent…and when there is light:
Chaos begins to make sense.
Fear gives way to confidence.
We move faster and accomplish so much more in the light.
There is a particular comparison that I plan to unpack on Sunday from 1 John 1:5 and 1 John 3:11-24:
The absence of love results in death while the presence of love produces energy and authenticity.

There is too much to lose to live without love!
I hope you can make it on Sunday…pretty sure you will love it :).