God is…

Fondue

On Christmas Eve, Leigh-Ann and I and the five kids celebrated the birth of Jesus with a few of our own traditions.

We fired up the fondue pot, along with some of our favorite sides and enjoyed a great meal. We were especially grateful that everyone stayed healthy which is no small achievement when you consider five kids ages 3-14 cooking meat on a fondue fork in boiling broth fueled by an open flame.

Afterwards, we opened some of our gifts.

So.Much.Fun.

The kids even surprised us with gifts…including a new wallet for me…I’m thinking they want me to have a nice holder for all the money they will need in the years to come :).

We ended the night by watching “The Nativity.”

Nativity Movie

nativity movie 2
The reality of Jesus’ birth puts our holiday into perspective.

  • Rome was overbearing and King Herod was downright evil.
  • Mary was so young and Joseph was so average.
  • The unexpected pregnancy created
    quite the stir.
  • The one hundred mile journey to Bethlehem was difficult.
  • The birthplace for Jesus was humble…embarrassingly humble for the Creator of the world.
  • Life was incredibly hard…no running water, electricity, decent transportation or direct long distance communication.

The movie was a great reminder that when we strip away the things that can be bought and the entertainment that can be enjoyed, people who have lived from the first century to the twenty-first century are still wired the same way.

The only way for us to find fulfillment and purpose is to start at the humble manger and end with the empty tomb.

Jesus came to bring hope to the world.

This Sunday, I look forward to sharing the first sermon in a four part series entitled, “God is…” from Isaiah 44:1-5 about the fact that God is louder than you think; but you have to be listening.

As we prepare to take down the Christmas tree and pack up the fondue pot for another year, I am so grateful that the story of Jesus’ birth is meant to be an integral part of our lives forever.

Reflections on life…

Death stings.

The stinging is fresh…a few days ago my Uncle Dave suffered a severe stroke and on Wednesday, he passed away.

My heart goes out to my Aunt Layna (could be a saint) who has lost her soul mate, my cousins who lost their dad and so many others who lost an incredible friend and role model.

Uncle Dave loved to laugh, tell corny jokes, play anything with a ball and ride anything with wheels. He loved to hunt, preach and watch the Packers, Bucks and Brewers.

Uncle Dave could make anyone feel welcomed and comfortable, drain 3-pointers on the Basketball court and preach tirelessly.

Uncle Dave loved God and people dearly.

His passing is painful for sure, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect.

Reflection heals.

Henri Nouwen wrote that life is a preparation for death as a final act of giving.

Uncle Dave spent his life giving…he gave his time and resources to his family and friends. Even in his death, he donated ┬áhis organs so that others could experience life.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave Robinson will be sharing a sermon from Luke 2 entitled, “Jesus the glory of Christmas.” This time of year is a celebration of the coming of Jesus into our world so that he could give His life. Interestingly enough, it was only after Jesus had left His disciples that they began to understand what He truly meant to them.

As I reflect on the life and now death of Uncle Dave, I am reminded of Jesus…and that’s about as good as it gets.

Thanks for joining my reflection of Uncle Dave and please consider joining our reflection of Jesus this Sunday at 10:45am which will include a Children’s Christmas Celebration from around the world.

Merry Christmas!

You are warmly invited to “An Acoustic Christmas” at New Life this Wednesday, December 23 from 6:30-7:30pm.

Grace and generosity…

Mom and boys

As I sit down to write this introduction for my sermon on Sunday, my mom is getting prepped for an emergency surgery more than 500 miles away. She has high levels of infection and inflammation in her colon.

I have many different emotions: worry and fear are high on the list…they are battling to replace gratitude.

So I am going to share some thoughts about my mom who has provided me so much for which to be thankful. If I were to describe mom, I would say she is gracious and generous.

When God was handing out grace, he gave my mom two scoops.

Some of my earliest memories are getting in trouble (imagine that) and mom loving me and understanding my struggle…there was even an occasion when she spanked the teddy bear and told me to cry :). But grace is so much more than understanding me…my mom woke up early to pray for me, cook for me, prepare me for school and life. During my childhood and into my adulthood, mom has occupied her time serving her family and many, many others.

Mom is also an incredibly generous person.

She would give you the shirt off her back if she knew you needed it. Short of that she has always taken pleasure in giving her time, energy, money and abilities to help anyone. Some of my early memories are waking up on a Saturday morning to find out that mom got up early and did my paper route so I could sleep in. She worked as an RN and truly loved her patients and loved to use any money she earned to help her family and many others. Mom generously provided me with a childhood full of friends, laughter, dreams and activity. We never had much money, but we always had enough to share with others.

The reason that mom is gracious and generous is she has learned it from her Father. Though my grandfather was a great man, our Heavenly Father incomparable. Mom has a deep relationship with God and you can tell…she reflects God’s grace and generosity.

This Sunday, we are going to study from John 1:1-14 about the Gift that gives. I am extremely thankful for God’s grace and generosity that I have learned from my mom.

If you think about it, please pray for mom’s complete healing so she can continue her life reflecting Gods grace and generosity.

Troy

 

The gift of life…

The tragedy that took place in San Bernardino this week is an injustice beyond comprehension. I am saddened for the family and friends of the victims. I cannot even imagine their grief.

Children were robbed of their childhood. Parents were robbed of their children. Spouses are now single. Siblings are missing their brothers and sisters. Friends are painfully aware of their loss.

Why?

I will never fully know the motivation of the two killers.

What?

Life, the most valuable asset of humanity was taken! Stolen! Robbed!

A stranger used a weapon and with it ended fourteen lives and injured many, many more.

That extraordinarily selfish act is an extreme example of human depravity, presumption, arrogance and selfishness.

The opposite end of the human spectrum is humble, selfless, unconditional love. And when the spectrum of humanity ends, eternity begins. Eternal love is so unbelievably amazing it is inexpressible.

This Sunday, we are going to study the effect of that eternal, inexpressible love. As opposed to one of the most selfish acts in history, God has given us the greatest gift of all through the most selfless act in history.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims…I am so sorry. As I look ahead, I want to spend my life sharing the gift of eternal life.