New Life Sunday…thing one and thing two…

Today I am watching Dallas and Ian while Leigh-Ann is with Isaiah who is having his tonsils taken out. As I attempt to write this I am in the process of blowing up a balloon and then watching Ian (our 18 month old) hold it for a few seconds and then let the air out.
 
This is a never ending game….I have tried to tie a knot, but He loses interest in it. He simply loves holding the balloon and then watching it fly around until it is empty. Then he runs it back to me with a silly grin and says….”bwooo.” Again….and again…and again…and again….
 
Finally, after multiple attempts he has moved on to the next item of interest from the junk drawer. It is a “pet bottle.” I have no idea why we have that since we don’t have any plans for baby pets or babies in general for that matter.
 
Now he has a paper weight…that is pretty boring and only occupied about 10 seconds. And now he is trying to open a spackle container…that should keep him for a bit. This is one that I better keep an eye on because if he does happen to break in….it could get ugly.
 
Now he has climbed up on to the middle of the table where I am typing and is hurling the paper weight and the spackle over the chairs.
 
Leigh-Ann will read this after the fact and I can already hear her saying, “try parenting!
 
But this is actually quite entertaining…and now he has my phone which I hope he doesn’t throw into the toilet like he did with my iPod. I think this is why my mom used to tell me that idle hands are the devils workshop.
 
I could go on…but it doesn’t take much to destroy the house…so I better wrap this up.  
 
This Sunday, the sermon is entitled, “Generous life-pursue the kingdom” from Matthew 6:19-34. Too often our lives resemble that of Ian…moving from temporary pleasure to temporary pleasure. Randomly going after whatever catches our eye…leaving a trail of empty wrappers and broken toys along the way.
 
WE WERE MADE FOR MORE THAN THIS!!!!
 
It’s time to submit our heart to Christ, solidify our God-given purpose and stop wasting resources at the expense of the Kingdom.
 
See you soon!
Troy

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New Life Sunday…life is meant for mission

This past week we packed up some suitcases, stuffed our family of seven into our van and drove 500 miles to St. Cloud, MN. We stopped at the Mall of America, played scrabble with my grandmother, went sledding and built a snow fort (yes, it snowed 8 inches while we were there). We even built a bonfire, roasted marshmallows and made smores while sitting in the snow fort.
 
We also ate, laughed and talked….a lot!
 
We built some great memories on this trip. The kids LOVED spending time with grandpa and grandma and playing with their cousins. We heard hunting and wrestling stories and shared plenty of our own experiences from the past year.
 
A trip is really a great metaphor for life.
 
Imagine how boring our lives would be if we never left the house…never tried anything different…never sampled new food…never left our comfort zone…
 
Pretty unfulfilling…
 
Perhaps this is why God has chosen to use the metaphor of a journey to describe our life with Christ. This Sunday we will study the teaching of Jesus from Mark 8:27-38. We were made for mission. God gave us life to spend and not to keep.
 
Beyond the fact that we are commanded to live on “mission” we will discover that serving the needs of others in the name of Jesus will prove to be exciting, challenging and memorable.
 
I hope you can attend on Sunday…it will be worth the trip!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Prayer is like a car wash…

This past week I broke down and drove through a tunnel car wash. It feels like a bit of a relapse since I have recently committed myself to changing my own oil and washing my own vehicles.
 
Ahhh…I feel the grace washing over me (haven’t taken the time to think through the theological implications of that statement so I’m not sure if the pun is intended :)).
 
One thing about a tunnel car wash is that once you drive up on the track you can place the car in neutral, take your hands off of the steering wheel and enjoy the ride.
 
At the risk of sounding a bit crazy, I find a car wash to be very therapeutic. A few minutes in the middle of the day where I simply enjoy the sounds of water, scrubbing brushes and finally a rinse and an air dryer.
 
And then it’s over…but the effects of the wash continue for several days. Unless, of course you live in Missouri and it’s 70 degrees one day and snowing the next.
 
Speaking of theological implications…my experience with the tunnel car wash and prayer is actually quite comparable.
 
Prayer requires that I give up control and put my life in neutral. Prayer also allows for me to relax from the demands of controlling my destiny. In addition, prayer provides an opportunity to experience forgiveness which is like washing away all the crud that gets attached to my life through my choices.
 
This Sunday we are going to look at prayer through the metaphor of sheep and our Shepherd found in Jon 10:22-30. This message on prayer is more about learning the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep than it is about how to figure out a prayer list, say grace before meals and bed and falling on our knees at the first sign of difficulty or pain.
 
Ultimately prayer is much better for you and me than a car wash is for our vehicles, so if you must choose…choose prayer. I promise I won’t judge you for having a dirty car :).
 
I hope to see you on Sunday!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Opossum…

This evening, I took four of the kids to the park to release some energy. After playing on the swings and slides for a while, I looked out into the distance and noticed several geese and some kind of an animal on all fours.
 
At first we thought it was a skunk…but as we got closer, it became apparent it was an opossum.
 
Opossums gross me out…I’m not sure if it’s their tail, their nose or the fact that several years ago I ran over one turning it into road kill. I can still feel the …thump…..thump at 55mph.
 
Sophie was intent on getting a photo of our new friend. So we just kept getting closer and closer. We followed that little guy around for about 20 minutes and ultimately got within about 10 feet. I have attached a photo to the email for your viewing pleasure :).
 
I will admit, that during our game of “chase down the opossum” I found myself beginning to like the little guy. I was initially worried about the kids getting attacked or something crazy… so I kept trying to think back to anything I have ever learned about opossums. All I could remember is that their defense mechanism is to play dead. At one point, the idea crossed my mind to throw a stick at the opossum, but I concluded that would be pointless and probably not a good example to three boys who were watching me.
 
After finishing our photo shoot we started to head back to the van. On the way home, I asked the kids to share their favorite part of the day.
 
Their answers were unanimous…seeing the opossum.
Image 
As parents, Leigh-Ann and I have taught our kids the value of moving out of our comfort zones and pursuing adventure. Obviously there is more to this than chasing opossums. We believe they need to learn to build relationships with people who are different than themselves. They need to experience the power of the Gospel in their life and in lives of people they meet. We know God has called each of us to make disciples and not to simply be disciples.
 
This Sunday, Dave Robinson will be preaching from the book of Nehemiah about becoming a person of legacy. I know Nehemiah did not leave a legacy by sitting on the sidelines.
 
Nehemiah moved out of his comfort zone by faith and God used him incredibly.
 
Just think about it…God may have something incredible for you to witness this weekend. It all starts with taking that first step.
 
I hope you say yes to your next God-given adventure!
 
Troy
 
Announcements: This Sunday EVERYONE is invited to a church pot-luck and relocation update meeting. You can sign up to bring something here: link: http://www.perfectpotluck.com/meals.php?t=ETYJ8974   password: 816421pray

This Tuesday you are invited to have lunch and hear a great speaker at New Life from 12-1:00pm. For more info go to: www.reallifedowntown.org