New Life Sunday – The giant of walking by sight…

This past week has been filled with inspiration and encouragement as well as a few surprises. Leigh-Ann and I came to MN, dropped our kids off at my parent house on Monday, and then left for a conference on creating options for discipleship in the urban core.

We stayed on a college campus which brought  back quite a few memories :). Dorm mattresses…flat carpet…dining hall food…a lot of walking…and a chance to date Leigh-Ann again.

We had a few surprises, such as a raccoon jumping out in the trail in front of us and Leigh-Ann had a wild turkey almost land on her shoulder. We shared a lot of laughs and received a lot of information.

The conference was pretty much amazing.

We heard excellent speakers share on the topics of  racism, discipleship, re-distribution, reconciliation, redemption and urban ministry. We also learned the difference between a Latino and Anglo birthday party–you can check it out here: 

We were moved with the worship and inspired by so much commitment that was exemplified. One pastor from New York who left a career as an electrical engineer to become a pastor of a struggling city church shared with a smile on his face and tears running down his cheeks that this was his reasonable service.

Another pastor from Detroit challenged us to keep the main thing the main thing in the shadow of blighted neighborhoods and angry teenagers.

Another woman with a graduate degree in drama from Yale shared poetically and powerfully about the history and international impact of discrimination on the church.

There are far too many others to describe in this email, however my favorite was an 84 year old, son of a sharecropper, who fired off truth observed from a lifetime of ministry experience. He shared a curriculum for discipleship in an urban context. He was incredibly authentic and brought the house down when he said he didn’t care what any of us thought of him…he said, “I’m 84!”

He also made this point, “Faith is born somewhere between hearing the word and obeying it…obedience makes faith come alive.”

Which brings me to my point…this Sunday Pastor Dave Robinson will be sharing a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4 about the giant of walking by sight.

There is much more to come on this topic of faith, and you will definitely want to be at New Life at10:45am on Sunday to hear more.

I hope you have a great evening!



New Life Sunday – Facebook and my flesh…

I like to get “likes” on facebook
I like to control my destiny (as opposed to being in an airport waiting for someone else to control it)
I like being in the crowd in a stadium that is excited and loud
I like thermostats
I like an occasional pat on the back
I like freedom of speech
Life is full of options to control and gratification to experience. A glance at your Smartphone will reveal thousands of apps, tools and programs for you to control. A moment to reflect on the past 24 hours will reveal opportunities for personal gratification such as the menu at Burger King, your post on facebook or the catalog with the new fall fashions.
The feeling that you experience following your brush with gratification or control is neutral. It is not wrong to feel good when you receive a thank you note, or flip the channel on TV, pick out a good movie or hear someone tell you how much they appreciate you (even if it is a simple “like” online). God made us to feel good and as a result to worship Him.
There is a fine line between feeling good and worshiping God and feeling good and worshiping the feeling.
When we worship the feeling, our next step will be to compromise our morals to get more of the feeling and as a result we will exercise the “works of the flesh.”
This Sunday, we will attempt to tackle this issue in the series, Facing our Giants.” The giant for this week is the giant of our flesh: I don’t need to keep my eyes on God. We will study from Matthew 14:22-33 about Jesus and Peter walking on water and then Peter falling. The good news is that even after a fall into the water, Jesus is still there for the rescue. I know I have been encouraged by this sermon and I hope you will be encouraged also. 

Have a great weekend!


New Life Sunday – My City Matters

This past week has been pretty amazing. With close to sixty teens plus sponsors and volunteers living at New Life there has been no shortage of activity. As I am writing this, I can hear teens talking, laughing and someone is beating on a drum and maybe even the wall…not sure.
Imagine a 10,000 square foot bedroom for a typical teenager and you will have a pretty good idea about what things look like here on the 4th floor.
I love the mess…because I love what this mess represents.
The teens have been insanely busy working at ReStart, hosting soccer clinics for the KC Parks and Rec and the Guadalupe Center, sharing flowers and stories with people on the street, visiting homeless camps and touring multiple ministries in the urban core.
This afternoon they are preparing to provide dinner for 300-400 people in the park across from ReStart. We will end the evening with a Christian band and a message of hope through Jesus. In addition, we will have a handful of people that have spent the night in this park, share about how Jesus has restored them and given them a new purpose.
There are way too many blessings to count in an email, however I was particularly moved by one of our homeless guides. He shared his story one year ago during the My City  Matter trip: and this year he served as a guide into the homeless camps.
Another person who was on the streets one year ago has been an incredible help throughout the week. In addition to those who were on the streets, there are four teens on the trip this year that live in one of the Housing Authority neighborhoods where we served one year ago.
The message this week has been clear, God uses us in our weakness!
This Sunday, we will have an update from our My City Matters week and I will be sharing the second sermon in our series, “Facing our Giants.” This week we will look at the Giant of Perfectionism “I must be strong before I can serve.”
We will study from 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 where the Apostle Paul writes about how God has used him through his own weakness, so that the power of God will be evidenced as opposed to Paul’s skills.
I know I have needed the sermon I have observed from our teens as well as the sermon from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.
I hope to see you on Sunday!

New Life Sunday – Facing your giants…

On Thursday Sinue and Felipe arrived in Kansas City. Each of them are soccer players from Brazil and their main language is Portuguese. Each of them also speaks English well…much better than I speak Portuguese :).

So this morning, Sinue and I were talking and I was trying to understand the word that he was attempting to communicate.

The word was…..climb.

This may seem like a simple word, but it took some hand gestures and some other similar and familiar words for me to understand what Sinue was trying to communicate.

During the exchange, before we arrived at a point of understanding, we were on the verge of frustration because we could tell it was a common word, yet we couldn’t quite figure it out.

As I have reflected on the use of language to communicate experiences, feelings, information, etc. I have realized how important it is to be understood.

Imagine what it would be like to go through life without being able to communicate…

After a while, I think I would lose hope and become miserable.

This Sunday, we begin a new series at New Life called, “Facing your giants.” Our first giant is the giant of loneliness…when it feels like no one understands how I feel.

We will look closely at the life of Ezekiel…an incredible prophet who experienced amazing miracles and acts of God and at the same time dealt with depression because no one seemed to understand how he was feeling.

It is common to be around people, hold conversations and even speak the same language, but still become very frustrated in life because we struggle to communicate how we feel or others fail to understand what we are communicating.

If you have some time, you may want to read from 1 Kings 17-19 to prepare for the sermon.

Tenha um ótimo dia (Have a great day)!