New Life Sunday – Helping hands…

This past Monday I took on the project of changing the oil in our van and car. I also washed each vehicle by hand (thanks to Gary’s inspiration).
 
But I’m not writing this to brag…even though I probably could :).
 
I asked Dallas if he would be willing to help me and so off we went to work…MAN TIME!!!
 
I laid out an old piece of carpet and slid some cardboard under the car. Dallas laid down next to me and immediately noticed that it was too dark. So he ran upstairs to find his flashlight from the campout. In a minute, he was next to me shining the light on the oil filter.
 
Since I didn’t have a specialty wrench for the filter, I was doing my best to loosen it by hand. I was using as much strength as I could muster and it wasn’t budging.
 
Then I felt a hand on top of my hand helping me to turn it. As soon as I could tell what was happening, I got the biggest grin on my face.
 
I wanted to freeze time…my little almost 5 year old working buddy noticed that I needed help and then just reached up and started helping…without saying a word.
 
After what seemed like a minute or so, I decided to give it a break and sit up. Dallas rolled out from under the car as well and then he asked, “daddy, did you feel a hand on your hand?”
 
I replied, “I sure did buddy.”
 
And then he said, “that was me. I was trying to help you get it loose.”
 
Wow…I wish I could bottle that moment.
 
I decided that we really needed the right tool for the job, so we took a trip to the store to buy an oil filter wrench. After we came home, the filter came right out and we were able to finish changing the oil.
 
This story relates to my topic for Sunday from the book of Jude. There were false teachers that were attempting to rob sincere Christians of their spiritual identity in Christ.  So Jude writes to his fellow believers and provides them some tools to keep them safe.
 
Similar to my experience changing oil, we need the right people around us encouraging us to use the right tools. When we are properly supported and prepared we will be successful in our faith.
 
Stay safe!
Troy

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New Life Sunday – Cliff hopping…

Maturity is something that grows through experience and over time. For some, it takes longer than others.
 
When I was in college, our football team took a missions trip to Ireland. We had a blast! And if you are reading this and gave sacrificially to this trip, we also served many needs and shared the good news of Jesus…a lot :). Seriously…we did.
 
But we also had fun and did a few things that would border on being immature.
 
I take that back…we were very immature. I remember shortly after we arrived at our home away from home, we took a walk over to the coastline.
 
The views were amazing. Steep cliffs overlooking the Ocean…it seemed so surreal. That is…until my good buddy started climbing down the rocks. I have attached a picture, because there are no words to describe the situation he made for himself. He got stuck on the middle of a cliff about a hundred feet above the ocean. We ended up tying backpacks together to reach down to him and help him back up.

Image

Earlier today, several of us who witnessed this complete lack of judgment shared some laughs over facebook.
 
All I could think of was, “If my kids ever tried something as immature as this and survived, I am not sure they would live to tell about it.
 
I still get a smile on my face every time I think back to this experience. We knew if coach heard about this, we would be sentenced to mandatory conditioning  for the rest of the trip.
 
Looking back over my  lifetime, I have done plenty of ridiculously immature things. Surviving those lapses in judgment is one reason, why I have matured…at least I think I have matured :).
 
This Sunday, we are going to study about a man who did some pretty crazy things…he took on foreign warriors, a giant and even killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day.
 
The courage of Benaiah bordered on stupidity. I am confident that once we have the opportunity to study the entire story, we will begin to understand some challenging reasons for Benaiah’s courage. As a result of Benaiah’s obedience, God blessed him with a spiritual maturity that is a part of his legacy today.
 
Who knows, you may even be inspired to take on your giants. Though, I would still stay away from cliffs overlooking the ocean.
 
I hope to see you tomorrow!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Wal-Mart…

 

Thursday night around 9:00pm, Leigh-Ann and I went to Wal-Mart.

Not impressed?

Well, you should be…along with the rest of Kansas City we went to get final ingredients for school Valentine parties. One of our kids volunteered to bring Cotton Candy…seriously…what happened to chips or soda?

When we walked in the door the lines were already wrapping down the aisles. One aisle of Valentine goods was totally empty. If I didn’t know better, I might have thought it was the eve of Armageddon.

This was no place for amateur shoppers and with five kids and many years of experience Leigh-Ann and I were up for the challenge.

We moved flawlessly through the produce and grocery aisles, splitting up when it became an advantage. We conquered the diapers and shaving cream. We literally weaved in and out of people who didn’t seem to care at all about the fact that it was after 9:00pm and they still had to make it through the checkout lines.

The checkout lines…why do they build 40 checkout lanes and only open 8 of them? I have been to Wal-Mart hundreds (I hope not thousands) of times and have NEVER witnessed every line open…just sayin’.

If I were reading this email, I would be thinking, why would they willingly attempt something so painful?

We were actually happy to endure the torture of Wal-Mart with joy.

Why?

Because we were doing it for our daughters. I’m going to be honest, we love them like crazy and if we can help it we don’t want to disappoint them.

We knew the Valentine Day parties were really important to them and the least we could do was to brave the crowds at Wal-Mart…fearlessly.

In case you’re wondering, there is no Wal-Mart in the Bible. However, there is a whole chapter about people who did incredibly risky and daring things because they wanted to please their God. The feats we are going discuss on Sunday are out of this world amazing.

Stories about leaving everything and moving to somewhere unknown. Covering for spy’s, battling massive odds and facing giants and lions head on.

I hope you can read through Hebrews 11 and then come out for our service at 10:45am. And if you do need to get something from Wal-Mart…good luck.

Have a great day!

Troy

New life Sunday – Shovel or rake?

Earlier this week, just before the snow storm was scheduled to hit, I decided to clear some of the ice off of the driveway and sidewalks.

Yes, I am that smart…LOL.

From the word “shovel” Dallas was by my side. He loves to help…especially outside.

He noticed me looking at the red plastic rake he was holding and immediately began to explain….

“I decided to use this rake because my shovel might be broken.”

So I replied, “Might be broken???”

“Yeah, I guess it is broken, but I like my rake better…my rake will work better anyway.”

I didn’t know whether to be proud for having an optimist on my hands or to be worried that he is growing up with a jilted view of reality.

I looked at his shovel and sure enough, it had snapped. And to be honest, the rake actually worked pretty good at pulling chunks of ice away.

So, all in all, I think we have a little optimist on our hands :).

Snow can change life and create a lot of work. I find snow to be very therapeutic and speaking of optimism, it can also provide work that when completed is very fulfilling.

I love…absolutely love clearing out the driveway and sidewalks and then taking a minute to rest on my shovel and feel an incredible sense of satisfaction from clearing out a way to drive and walk.

This Sunday, we will study the life of the Apostle Paul. He was a man that God used to clear many paths for the Gospel. His life was committed to shoveling so that the beautiful message of Jesus could be communicated accross the known world. 

If you have a few minutes, I suggest you read through the book of 1 Thessalonians in preparation for the sermon this Sunday.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of our snow…it hopefully won’t be here too long.

Have a great weekend!

Troy

New Life Sunday – Humbled by a 9 year old….

This Sunday we will be studying from the book of Esther and contrasting what it means to be a consumer versus a contributor. As we follow her story, we will discover that Esther could have kicked back and enjoyed the perks of being queen. I imagine this would have included lavish comforts, popularity and power.
 
Esther is remarkable though, because when her time came to take her step of faith, she moved with confidence and conviction. She seemingly had no fear. She moved from consuming all that her world had to offer her and boldly contributed to the rescue of her people the Jews.
 
Opportunities to contribute still surface today…and often, kids have much to teach us on this subject.
 
For instance, earlier this week I was driving Sophie to school after dropping off Alexa. We were talking back and forth and then after a short silence, Sophie blurted out, “sometimes when I pray I ask God to give Gary a hug for us.”
 
In case you don’t know, Gary is our dear friend who passed away from cancer recently. His life is the inspiration for our current sermon series entitled, “Building our Legacy, live a life that counts.”
 
When I heard Sophie bring that up out of the blue, I was humbled and rebuked. I have much to learn from a 9 year old. As a dad, I wanted to be proud of her.
 
But I couldn’t be….
 
She didn’t receive her soft heart for others from me. God not only made her to be sensitive to the needs of others, God presence in her life protects her from some of the power of sin. Left to herself, she would be mostly worried about her own needs and focus in on what she could consume from the world around her.
 
Since God’s Spirit lives in her, she was prompted to think of Gary and then to act boldly and contribute with the resources that she has, so she prayed.
 
I am pretty sure our topic for Sunday will reveal a battle that each of us face on a regular basis. I can’t wait to discuss it more.
 
I hope you have a great weekend!
Troy