Familial justice…

Every now and then our kids get into a situation that calls for an unbiased arbiter. Mom and Dad have many roles in a family and judge is one of them.

When I am called on to fulfill this role, I typically pray for the wisdom of Solomon and then begin to gather information. I call for each child in question to describe the situation from his/her perspective.

From the bare facts, those stories are usually pretty similar.

The next step is to discover motive. This is where stories typically become quite different.

Its actually quite entertaining at times to hear the differences…

“He wouldn’t listen.”

“She was bossing me around.”

“He broke (insert one of thousands of cheap toys and trinkets here).”

The next step is to call for witnesses…this is when it gets even more entertaining/difficult. Actually calling the witnesses is easy, deciphering whether they are staying loyal to alliances or actually telling the truth is never easy…especially if the star witness in the case is a two year old who can be bought off with a single piece of candy.

The plot thickens…now Mom or Dad have to consider extortion, coercion and even blackmail. As difficult as this sounds, in the end, the familial justice system typically works pretty good, punishment is served, prayers are offered and life gets back to normal.

This Sunday, we will study from Romans 4:1-8, where Paul is working though a situation with similarities to our family court. In these verses, we are to the part where the witnesses are called.

As opposed to my example of a two year old who can be bought off, the Apostle Paul calls two star witnesses to the stand: the patriarch Abraham and King David.

From a Jewish perspective, they are the best. And they each testify through their lives and writings that the only way for people to become “right” with God is through faith.

11008482_10152739238436589_2131081993180645089_n gavel on white background


New Life Sunday – Granite ice scraper…

Yesterday afternoon it became very cold and started snowing pretty hard. The result was that by late afternoon I looked out my 4th story office window and nearly all that I could see was a line of headlights and taillights. As a result, I kept postponing my drive home…even though it is only one mile.

Call me crazy, but I don’t like sitting in traffic in a cold car.

I finally got the call that dinner was ready, so I packed up my laptop and books and braved the elements as I walked across the parking lot to my car.

When I stepped outside, I could see that my car was covered in snice (snow and ice). Since I am from Minnesota and this wasn’t my first snow storm, I could tell from a distance that the ice on my windshield was going to take more than my wipers and fluid.

Living in Kansas City and having a garage (at least until a few days ago…another story for another day :)), I haven’t really needed to stock my car with an ice scraper. Which presented a pretty  significant problem for me as I walked through the wind and snow to my car yesterday evening.

And then I saw the solution to my problem…

A granite sample from our church relocation project. It was much sturdier than the piece of cardboard sitting next to it. So without any further thought, I used the smooth sided, straight cut of granite to scrape off the ice.

It worked great…the ice and snow were no match for the granite.

Satisfied, I sat in my car, turned my wipers on to clear the loose snow and ice from my windshield…and then it occurred to me that granite it much harder than glass…and that is when I noticed the scratches in my windshield.

My NEW windshield by the way…I replaced it less than a month ago, and now it has some fine “art” scratched into the surface.

The granite vs. windshield occurred after a day of studying from Romans 3:27-31. In these verses, Paul is responding to some questions he was anticipating after dropping the bomb that every person is guilty of breaking God’s law…furthermore, there is nothing we can do to solve this problem on our own.

Our most valiant attempts to fix our dilemma fall very short of perfection. No matter how hard we try to make up for our sin, we only  make matters worse.

Similar to what I did with my granite sample turned ice scraper. Our innocent attempts to make our lives better only leave us worse off…

This Sunday, we will celebrate the fact that we are justified by the grace of God through Jesus and as a result we can:

  • Boast…but our boasting should be in God
  • Include everyone…Jew and Gentile alike deserve this message of hope
  • Fulfill the law by faith in Jesus…don’t avoid, ignore or change it

I hope you can join me for more great news this Sunday at 10:45am!

Announcement: We still need volunteers to help with the work day tomorrow. We will paint walls and stain the concrete floor. Only a few more Saturdays to help…so please join us.

New Web Site: http://www.newlifecity.church


God Loves You

God Loves You!god-is-love-1-john-4-verses-7-8

When you wake up, go through your day and go to bed…

God Loves You!

When you forget about Him and choose to ignore Him…

God Loves You!

When you fail…again…and again…and again…

God Loves You!

When you don’t respect yourself enough to make good decisions…

God Loves You…and He ALWAYS will!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37–39, ESV)

Happy Valentines Weekend,



Fender benders and friendships…

This morning I dropped the kids off at school and headed back downtown. I merged into traffic from the on-ramp and then heard this LOUD, BOOMING, SCRAPING sound. I looked to my left and immediately beside me was the source of the noise.

It was a fender bender…or more like a bumper crusher for the two cars involved. Since we were in heavy traffic  the cars were only travelling 15-20 mph but the damage was significant.

In the split second I had to observe everything going on in the lane next to me, I noticed quite a bit.

  • The damage was probably enough to total at least one car.
  • Based on the profile of the driver, and the fact that I don’t remember hearing any brakes, I am guessing a cell phone was involved
  • The driver at fault had an incredibly surprised and scared look on his face (and some of you thought it was going to be “her” face….shame on you :)).
  • The morning schedule of the two drivers, emergency workers and thousands of cars commuting in to work was impacted

Fender benders and relationship problems seem to have a lot in common.

  • They always affect more people than you expect
  • They often are a surprise to one or more of the people involved
  • They each seem to cause an incredible amount of anxiety and fear
  • Often they are caused by a small fault or oversight and were never intended to cause pain to anyone

Relationships are an integral part of our lives and the book of Romans has much to say about experiencing and sharing in healthy constructive relationships. This Sunday, I am sharing a sermon on relationships from Romans 1-3. Although we have no shortage of accidents when it comes to relationships and life, the good news is that God restores brokenness, forgives failures and has a perfect plan for our future.

So far the study has been enlightening and challenging for me and I pray it will be the same for you.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how fender benders affect friendships, you may want to watch this: Brady Bunch-Fender Bender Episode 🙂