On stage…

Alexa, Sophia and I had a pretty cool experience this past Sunday evening. A good friend invited us to attend Winter Jam with him and when the girls found out that Matthew West was performing, they were pumped. When they found out that we might be able to meet him, they were beaming.

When we arrived at the Sprint Center there were people everywhere…thousands of them…

lines at winter jam

We made our way to the back side and found a flag that said Guests…and waited.

After several minutes, Pastor Joe West walked out the door and escorted us past all the people in line to a floor level seat.

After a while, he came by to bring us back stage to meet his son, Matthew. He was as kind and gracious as you could imagine.

After chatting for a bit, Pastor West asked Sophia if she would like to go on stage…oh yeah!

Then we waited…

Finally, during his song, “Child of the One True King”, Matthew West brought Sophia and another boy on stage along with Dayton Moore, General Manager for the Kansas City Royals in front of thousands of people to jump and sing.

Matthew West and Sophia

As I reflect on that experience, I am reminded that Sophia did nothing to deserve that opportunity. She showed no special skills….though she did jump pretty nice when she got up there :). She can sing nicely, but she wasn’t chosen because of that…nor was she chosen because she paid a lot of money for the opportunity (we actually got in free :)).

She was given access to the stage and the microphone to speak through a person and not a performance.

The same is true with God…we are promised grace to overcome opposition, justice to overcome condemnation and love to each beyond any separation…through the person of Jesus.

If you have experienced some trials or are in the midst of tough times, then our study from Romans 8:31-39 is going to be just was the Doctor ordered. I hope you can join us at 10:45am for a time of worship and study as well as some encouraging relationships.

I can’t promise you that Matthew West will show up….but I am confident you will experiences Someone even better. Have a great weekend,

Troy

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The life of Zoe…

Zoe 2

We  have a dog named Zoe. She is a Pomeranian / Poodle mix and is about four years old. She is also a bit heavy set and has exploding fur.
Zoe 1
If you were to look at Zoe on any given day you would see a very nice dog with plenty of great qualities. She is really good with kids, eats just about anything dropped from the dinner table, puts up with getting tripped over at night, hit with multiple different balls and on occasion she has even been required to stay alone for hours at a time.

In spite of all her great qualities, Zoe will never be recruited to be a sled dog, or a drug dog or even a professional companion dog.

There is virtually no chance that anyone will every produce a movie or write a book about Zoe.

Her only real chance at dog stardom is to do something heroic…and to be honest, I rarely can get her to come back without having to chase her.

We have made her life too easy.

Every morning she gets up and stretches. Then she works her way downstairs to go outside and do her business. Then she gets a treat and eats breakfast. Then she camps under the kids while they eat breakfast so she can eat the falling crumbs.

After this, it’s time for her morning nap by the fire.

She wakes up in time for lunch and repeats much of her morning routine before going down for an afternoon nap.

Then it’s time for dinner and that routine is also similar to the morning and lunch routine. She usually falls asleep in the living room while the family hangs out and then it’s time for bed so one last trip outdoors to do her business and then the trip back upstairs for the night.

Sound exciting?

Not really, but it is predictable and comes with few difficulties.

Why is it that we are so bent on eliminating difficulties when it comes to our own lives? We seem to think we can enjoy a pain free life and still experience heroic accomplishments. As we return to our study in Romans, Paul makes it clear that the life of a growing Christian will never be pain free.

We know we were made for more and that difficulties make us stronger, but we still resist even the thought of pain.

This Sunday, I hope to provide some solid evidence for the value of difficulties. If you are currently enduring a trial, you will find hope from Romans 8:26-31. Spending time in these verses has me excited about some of my current difficulties, because in the end I know there is a purpose and that purpose results in my good and God’s glory.

I hope you can join in the worship, prayer and Bible study this Sunday at New Life CityChurch at 10:45am…

Troy

Disappointed Vikings Fan

I am a Minnesota Vikings fan…and have been for as long as I can remember.

In case you didn’t know, the Vikings lost on Sunday after their kicker, Blair Walsh missed a 27 yard field goal attempt.

For those of you who are not football fans, missing that short of a field goal is like a pro golfer missing a two foot putt or a Major League baseball player dropping a routine fly ball in the outfield.

I would guess that most high school kickers can consistently make a 27 yard field goal.

Well, no one is more aware of this than Blair Walsh…I can only imagine what went through his mind when he missed it. I am certain, it was not an easy walk to the locker room full of teammates and coaches who were devastated.

Since it happened, I have felt bad for him. As big of a Vikings fan as I claim to be, I have never even painted my face purple much less invested hours and hours into training for that moment.

There were some fans who acted ridiculous…but for the most part Vikings fans have been disappointed, but understanding.

Though none were quite as awesome as a first grade class who wrote letters to Blair Walsh.

I think my favorite is from a first grader named Sophia (I like the name too), “Dear Blair Walsh. I know that it can be hard to get through things that are sad. But you have to try and try again. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. One time I made a mistake when I was doing a cartwheel. I felt embarrassed. You can still help the Vikings win the Super Bowl next year.”

A note that awesome needs no further comment… :).

I will be the first to admit that the trials I have faced this week don’t compare to what Blair Walsh has endured…and he would probably be the first to admit that his trial was not bad at all compared to the trials of those who have children facing terminal cancer or loved ones that are fighting to stay alive or many, many other trials faced by people all over the world.

If you are in the middle of a trial…and you need some hope and direction, I REALLY hope you can plan to attend New Life on Sunday. Pastor Dave will be finishing up our series entitled, “God is…” with part two of his sermon on overcoming trials from Job 40-42 entitled, “God is  Supreme Ruler and Gracious Redeemer.”

If you are unable to attend, but still want to hear the sermon you can listen to it online.

Regarding trials, I think I have learned my lessons from football this year, so GO CHIEFS!!!

Troy

Love and wallets…

This year, the kids pooled their money and bought me a new wallet. It is genuine leather and even has three sections for all my cards.

Since I have a new wallet, I also have an old wallet. So a few nights ago, I realized that Isaiah had some Christmas cash that seemed to be laying all over the house and I offered him my old wallet. You would have thought I gave him a new car. He was beaming.

Dallas already has a wallet, so he is covered in this department.

Ian however seemed to be a bit disappointed that I didn’t have a wallet for him.

He didn’t cry or throw a fit…which is a minor miracle, so I decided to look for one for him as well. I looked high and low and could find anything until I raided the junk drawer. Then I found something that would pass for a wallet for a three year old. He proceeded to put a $20 and a $5 bill in his wallet (he has more cash than I do :)).

Boys and their wallets He was so happy he slept with his wallet and when I woke him this morning, the first thing he said was, “where’s my wallet?”

Yesterday, Leigh-Ann had an appointment so I took the kids to school and then the boys came to church with me for a few minutes until she was done.

As soon as Ian saw someone at church, he pulled out a $20 and offered it to him. He has no clue what a $20 is worth, but I’m pretty sure when he does learn, he won’t be giving it away quite so easily.

He will learn some day that $20 is a currency that represents someone’s hard work and can then be used to purchase something. This Sunday we are going to be talking about a different type of currency.

The currency of love.

Love is amazing, but it’s not free. In fact it is the sum total of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. The greatest example of love cost the life of God’s only begotten son, Jesus.

The more we understand the cost of God’s love, the more we will value it. God’s love is an incredible asset to have when we are going through difficult trials. Tomorrow we will look closely at four different types of trials and we will see what happens when those trials intersect with God’s love.

I hope to see you on Sunday, who knows, maybe Ian will be handing out $20’s :), but if he’s not, God will still be offering love!