New Life Sunday – Watch out for the cones…

This afternoon I got in my car to drive to meet another urban pastor. I was running a few minutes behind and was on the phone while attempting to back out of a very tight parking situation.
 
I didn’t hit any cars, but I did back over a bright orange cone. I didn’t notice it until I saw some guy in my rearview mirror signaling me. I’m pretty sure if I could have heard the adjectives running through his mind, it would not have been a boost to my confidence.
 
In my defense, the cones are not typically in that location and they were not high enough to see in my rear view mirror.
 
Part of me wanted to run over them again…but the mature part of me decided it would be best to humbly admit my fault and ask for his forgiveness.
 
I am pretty certain if I had decided to run over them again, I wouldn’t be writing about this in my email :).
 
Like a good pastor, I ignored the condescension that I was feeling from this guy, parked my car and apologized.
 
He changed his demeanor (at least in my opinion) and waved me on as he gathered up the cones.
 
When I infringed on the cones, I accidently started a bit of a “turf war.”
 
A “turf war” is a struggle for territory, power, control, or rights.
 
This Sunday we will study from 3 John 9-14 about a different “turf war.” This “turf war” was intentional and it was within the church.
 
Unfortunately, it took much longer to reconcile and had more damaging effects than  my little run-in in the parking lot. I am confident that we can learn from this example and avoid damaging “turf wars” in our own church.
 
In the meantime, I’ll pay more attention to where I’m going.
 
Troy

New Life Sunday…like riding a bike

Over the past few weeks Dallas has learned to ride his bike. It has been a bit of a process. Some kids get on the bike and ride off into the sunset…others it is more of a process.
 
This process has not been without bumps and bruises…everything from falling over in the alley, to a ride down a steep embankment, to a crash into the retaining wall. I remember one evening a few weeks ago while I was outside helping him after a few spills, Dallas just walked his bike into the garage.
 
He didn’t say a word.
 
He had decided he was done.
 
Well, I am happy to say that he is now racing up and down the alley without any help from anyone. He loves to be able to ride.
 
In the midst of this, Isaiah noticed that he was riding without training wheels and begged me to take them off. Several weeks ago, we took a few runs at it and then decided we better spend a bit more time with the training wheels. Well, this past week after Dallas became a bit of a  bicycle master in his own rite, Isaiah was ready for another run on two wheels.
 
I helped him for a while and then decided to mow the lawn.
 
And then it happened….
 
While mowing the lawn, I noticed something amazing out of the corner of my eye. Dallas had stepped off of his bike and was holding the back of Isaiah’s bike helping him to ride.
 
When I saw this, I immediately thought of the lesson in discipleship from a 3 and a 5 year old. Dallas willingly gave up his right to ride his bike and reached out to help Isaiah.
 
While I was mowing the lawn, the boys were not only behaving, one was learning a new skill and the other was teaching.
 
Imagine if this happened in your spiritual walk…learning from a mentor and then sharing with a mentee.
 
God planned it this way for Christians and He certainly desires this for New Life. With this in mind,this Sunday is going to be a great service. Victor Irving will be sharing from Romans 8 about grace and hope that is available in any circumstance of life. Whether you crash on your bike, in your career or even in some of your closest relationships, there is hope.
 
I hope (pun intended) you can make it!
Troy

New Life Sunday – True story…

Last night and again today, Cru (www.cru.org)  provided the means to bring Josh McDowell to New Life for two different talks. I was incredibly moved by Josh’s story last night (www.josh.org/video-2/joshs-testimony/).
 
For 40 minutes he shared the raw truth of what it felt like to grow up in an abusive home. He was physically beaten by his alcoholic father. He was also sexually abused by a man staying in his home.
 
Josh McDowell’s childhood was filled with overwhelming pain and suffering which resulted in incredible anger.
 
Fortunately, his story does not end with pain and suffering. Through Christ Josh found forgiveness and hope and through his mentors at church he found healing and growth. The love that Josh has for his children and grandchildren is unmistakable. The power of God has allowed him to break the cycle and raise children and grandchildren that love God and love people.
 
As I look ahead to this Fathers day weekend, I am very grateful that I have a father who was loving. He enjoyed spending time with me and teaching me so many lessons about life.
 
One of my favorite stories as a kid was when I drove the car up on the oil ramps for the first time and hit the gas a bit too hard. I drove the car right over the top…dad walked out of the house as I was getting out of the car that was now awkwardly resting on the ramp. Dad never really said much at all except, “we better get the jack out so we can try it again.” One reaction that I will never forget!
 
Fatherhood is a privilege and a responsibility.
 
This Sunday, we will celebrate Fathers day with a challenge from 3 John to develop cooperative relationships. We will discover that love, hospitality and generosity are non-negotiables for a successful home.
 
I hope you can attend the service this Sunday at 10:45am as we celebrate fathers and learn the power of cooperation.
 
God Bless!
Troy

New Life Sunday…the pursuit of hope!

This afternoon I received a surprise visit from a young man that I had a mentoring relationship with more than a year ago. He came off the elevator…walked into the bathroom…and then walked towards the coffee shop where I was seated.
 
It wasn’t until he was just a few feet away that I began to recognize him.
 
The affect of Meth was undeniable. All I could think of was the “faces of Meth” video I have watched on You Tube.
 
He had been on the street for a while and was hungry and thirsty, so I found him some pizza and a can of coke in the fridge.
 
For thirty minutes I listened to his story about the last 12 months roll off his tongue. Nearly unbelievable stories of almost anything you could imagine.
 
In my mind I could see what he looked like as a healthy 23 year old…but now he looked 2x his current age. He was in pain…he was without hope…he was pathetic.
 
I wanted to give him a 5 step plan to getting his life back together…I didn’t want to ever have to look at him like this again.
 
I just wanted to fix him!
 
He couldn’t see it…unfortunately, he is probably the only person in the world who couldn’t see his own path to destruction. I backed off from giving advice this afternoon and decided to listen and love on him.
 
I don’t know if he will accept hope found in a relationship with Jesus or not…but I know I can say or do will be enough. He needs Jesus!
 
Too often, we are like this friend…we fail to see our own bad decisions…we refuse to accept help from those who love us and care for us…we continue to drive our life toward destruction.
 
THERE IS HOPE!
 
I was reading this week from Romans 15 and was moved by this statement, “The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”
 
This Sunday, Dave Robinson (our newest New Life Elder) is going to take us to the Scriptures and will be sharing a sermon entitled, “Why keep the faith when defeat seems sure?”
 
It is going to be AWESOME!!! I think every person in the world needs a fresh dose of hope.
 
In the meantime, come on down this evening to New Life for First Fridays….we will have a band, art from the students at Pitcher Elementary and opportunities to share the hope of Jesus.
 
And if you can’t make it down tonight, come on over to Mount Pisgah Baptist Church tomorrow for our “What if the Church” work day from 8:30am – 12:30pm. Bring yard tools, paint brushes and work gloves if you have them.
 
Have a great evening!
Troy