Are there people in there?

Yesterday I went for a run.

It has been way too long and I knew all the food I planned to consume later in the day would sit much better if I did some preventative maintenance.

While running, I decided to listen to a podcast (which was awesome in case you were wondering…you can listen/watch here:

When I finished running, I went upstairs and took out one ear bud and left the other in my ear so that I could finish the podcast.

That is when my two youngest boys came over and sat on my lap. Isaiah asked if he could put the ear bud in his ear…then Ian wanted it in his ear.

By the second or third round of listening, Isaiah pulled the ear bud out and looked at it and asked, “are there people in here?”

I had never considered that before…

I thought about that question and then did my best to answer him…though I don’t think I did so well, because this morning after day 2 of running, Ian our youngest came over to me, put the ear bud in his ear and said, “I have people in my ear.”

Well, kind of, but not really. And how do you explain a recording to a toddler anyway…? Interestingly enough, the boys will continue to think there are people in ear buds until they are successfully taught otherwise.

Hmmm, I wonder what else they have imagined that needs correction?

Communication is a significant part of our lives…but not significant enough. In fact, much of the pain and violence that we witness can be attributed to either a lack of communication or miscommunication.

This Sunday my sermon will be from Jeremiah 29:1-14 and will attempt to answer the question, “What can happen when a church pursues the success of the city?”

Imagine how non-believers would react if they knew we cared about the success of our city. What if we simply asked to listen to their needs, dreams, heartaches and hopes?

What if we asked for clarification instead of assuming we know everything?

The recent reports from Ferguson, MO are evidence that people are desperate to be heard. And whether we know it or not, we are all desperate for the hope that comes from Jesus.

I hope you can join us Sunday. Now off to find the people trapped in my ear buds.


Coffee, refills and a lost wallet…

Yesterday, shortly after I woke up, I noticed an email in my inbox that needed a timely reply. Due to the nature of the email, it also required some thought…which is not always easy at 6am.

Unfortunately for me, that put me a bit behind, so when I finished my reply, I got ready as quickly as I could and ran out the door. Then I noticed that I didn’t have my wallet. So I ran back up stairs to the main level…no wallet. One more flight of stairs…no wallet.

I looked for a few minutes and couldn’t find it…so, I decided to look in Leigh-Ann’s purse for a debit card and bring that with me just in case…and then I was off to a coffee shop.

Fortunately, my good friend bought my coffee. ┬áI didn’t object since I was wallet-less and wasn’t too sure of the debit card with “Leigh-Ann Campbell” on the front.

As I was leaving, I decided to get a refill…and then things got a bit hairy. They wanted to charge me $.64 for a refill, which is not a big deal, but I didn’t have a wallet and all that I did have was my wife’s debit card.

I passed the card over the counter with my game face on.

The card did not go through.

Still no expression….

The barista ran it again…no go.

He then talked to a co-worker and said, “it’s doing it again.”

I successfully resisted the urge to ask, “It’s doing what again?”

Still no expression…

He looked at me and said, just take the coffee.

Phew…that was the hardest $.64 bill I didn’t have to pay in my life.

But strictly speaking, someone had to pay it.

It is likely that the barista just voided out the charge and let me walk out with a free refill. But imagine if he kept running cards all day on a faulty machine…after a while he would have created quite a problem.

He seemed responsible, so I am thinking that he either fixed the machine or stopped accepting cards as a form of payment. To keep running cards on a machine that didn’t work would be foolish.

About as foolish as Jews in the first century who kept trying to use faulty religion as a means to pay for the debt they had accumulated due to their sin. I hope you can attend the service this Sunday at New Life. We will study from Romans 2:17-29, where Paul is referencing the Jews who had become known for their hypocritical religion. It looked good, but it didn’t work.

And in case you were wondering, I did find my wallet :).


It’s time for confession.

Since I don’t have a priest, I will come to you…:). The dirty laundry I am going to air out is in no particular order…just as it comes to mind.

Well, I probably will make a few changes…and I probably won’t tell you everything :).

I have parked in a church parking lot and told the attendant I was attending church to save money on parking (this one caused me so much guilt I ended going to church)
I have moved down to better seats at sporting events
I have run red lights because I got sick of waiting
I have set the phone down because I was tired of listening and then picked it up and the person on the other end never noticed
I have parked in one hour parking for nearly three hours and didn’t get a ticket
I have used a radar detector so that I could speed without getting caught
I have stolen Halloween candy from my kids
I have pretended not to hear Leigh-Ann when I am being summoned to help
I have pretended to be asleep in the middle of the night when the kids are crying/calling for us
I have faked interest in conversations that bored me out of my mind
I could go on…..and on….
This Sunday, I am preaching from Romans 2:1-16 about people who look at sinners and feel superior. Imagine that, talking about hypocrisy in a church.

This is an incredible part of Paul’s letter to the Romans. He moves from talking about admittedly sinful people in chapter one to admittedly religious people in chapter two.

The truth is…I can fake out the parking attendant, the stadium usher, the police and even my kids and my wife.

But I can’t fake out God!

And that is a problem…but have no fear. At the very end of verse 16, we are given the solution.


Can’t wait for Sunday…now I have to get home, because I told Leigh-Ann I would be there by 5pm.


I hear something…

Last week I shared about the hike that Leigh-Ann and I took into the mountains in Vermont. I didn’t take the time to share about the lives that we saved…yep, you read that right.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call ourselves heroes…but we did walk right into an opportunity to help a couple who was stranded…on their balcony.

So…we arrived at our resort after our curfew…it was like 1:00am. We picked up our keys that were left sitting in the lodge and then made the attempt to find our home away from home.

It was a dark and stormy night as we attempted to read the map and then we heard something…above the noise of the engine and the one radio station that we could get with only a little static.

It sounded like someone yelling.

We rolled down our windows and drove toward the sound.

There it was again…it sounded like someone yelling.

We finally spotted two people up on a second story balcony frantically yelling and waving their hands at us. We drove closer and they began to yell that they were locked out. They had walked out onto the balcony without coats or cell phones, the door shut and locked behind them and they had been out there in 40 degree temps for an hour and a half.

And they were glad to see us.

I immediately called the front desk and since it was closed was routed to the emergency security office and went to voicemail…2x. I told the stranded couple we would drive over to look for someone that could help us and that is when I dialed the security office for the third time.

I walked into the office to find one lone officer with his cell phone in his hand watching a movie…he quickly told me that he didn’t get good reception in the office.

No comment…lol.

In spite of his epic fail, he was a nice guy who immediately followed us over to the stranded couple and they were rescued.

They were so grateful. They even told the front desk about our heroic rescue ­čÖé the next day.

One moral of this story is to pay attention when you hear someone shouting…or… when they write you an email…like this one.

Here are some things I would like to communicate:

  • This Sunday we continue our study in Romans. Pastor Dave will be preaching from Romans 1:28-32.
  • Tomorrow (Saturday) you are invited to our hangout at the farm. Bring your own hot dogs, marshmallows and side dishes. New Life will provide hot cider and cocoa.
  • Sunday, we continue our New Life Community┬á gatherings from 9:30-10:30. Here are the offerings:
    • Kids – Choir practice for the Christmas program
    • Teens – Meet on the 8th floor for laughter and learning
    • Adults – Bible classes or community fellowship

I really hope you can be here for the 9:30am community gathering and the 10:45am worship service. But first, we have some hot dogs and marshmallows to roast.

Have a great weekend!

Mountain Hike…

This past week Leigh-Ann and I were able to take a trip out to the North East to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We really had a great time together exploring God’s beautiful creation. We drove through northern Vermont and saw Lake Champlain, then we went into Montreal and visited the city. On Tuesday we went to New Hampshire and took a trip down memory lane to the places we met, had our first kiss and where we were engaged. On Wednesday we decided to take a hike up a mountain.

The trail guide said that is was “more difficult” which is easier than “most difficult” or “expert.”

So we gave it a try….

At first it was pretty easy…a few mud puddles to watch out for and a few rocks to navigate. It started to get steeper and steeper. The trail guide said that it was two and a half miles and we kept thinking that was round trip, but we found out it was one way.

About 30 minutes into it, we started thinking we were getting close…um, yeah…

We kept on walking…and really did enjoy the journey.

All of a sudden we looked back and saw what appeared to be a wild dog and a wolf…all visions of being the next Bear Grillis vanished…as did the blood from my face and my sense of adventure.

All I could think about was finding a stick for protection…I lost all desire to be heroic and could only think of survival.

Then…we heard the tags jingling and saw the dog owner walking up behind them. They were just friendly dogs…but for┬á a moment, our lives flashed before my eyes.

Finally after thinking we were at the top more times than I want to admit…we made it to the summit of the mountain (I have attached a panoramic picture).

It felt amazing!

The trip down was uneventful and took only a fraction of the time it took us to get to the top. When we finally collapsed into the front seat of our car, Leigh-Ann and I shared an incredible sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

We had made it!!!

As we drove off into the sunset, we each commented on the similarities of our mountain hike with our life:

  • Life is full of surprises that can scare the courage right out of us
  • The journey of life is usually longer, more difficult and less certain than we think
  • There will be people that God puts into our life at just the right time to encourage us to keep going
  • Even though our journey of life is difficult, the exhilaration we experience from the summit will always overwhelm the memory of the trail

This Sunday, we continue our study in Romans, “The greatest letter ever written.” Pastor Dave will share a powerful message from Romans 1:21-25 about ‘God, His rivals and sexuality.”

I hope you can fit this time into your journey of life…it will be worth it.


Announcement: This Sunday, we begin our early morning community hour at 9:30am. We will have a light breakfast, childcare and a choice of classes for you to attend. In addition, it is daylight savings weekend, so you can spend the hour you save in church :).