Great coffee…

How would you describe a great coffee shop?

Using words to paint a picture of something can be a challenge. But since the topic is coffee, I am going to give it a shot.

I think a great coffee shop always smells good. When I enter I like to pause and take in a deep breath of the aroma of roasting beans. Then I love to hear the sound of beans grinding, latte’s steaming, and people talking and laughing. When it comes to the décor, the floors, ceilings, and walls should be simple and clean but still, make you wonder what one would learn “if walls could talk.”

Of course, a great coffee shop must serve great coffee…I am a simple guy (and I tend toward cheap) so I typically drink drip coffee. My favorite is smooth, strong and loaded with caffeine.

A few weeks ago, I tasted a special coffee and it flooded my memory with times back in college when I used to ride dirt bikes on trails in the woods of Wisconsin.

A great coffee shop will have comfortable seating to relax and visit or tables where one can get some work done. Wifi is non-negotiable.

In my opinion, the only way to make greatness when it comes to a coffee shop is to boast a nice view of the city, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and freshly baked bread.

I have experienced all of the above at Messenger Coffee which is located just a few blocks from New Life and now I want to keep going back.

Messenger Coffee

So here’s the tie-in…This Sunday we will have good coffee at New Life. I will also continue our sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger” with a sermon from John 1:1-18. Instead of describing coffee, the Apostle John describes Jesus Christ.

In his description, he draws from personal experience with Jesus and uses words like ‘life’, ‘light’ and ‘Word’ to compile a prologue to the book that is absolutely amazing. I look forward to sharing more on Sunday at 10:45 am.

In the meantime, maybe you can find a great coffee shop and read through John 1 to prepare for the service on Sunday. Have a great evening,

Troy

Announcement: Tonight is our Christmas Gathering, at 7pm at New Life. You will not want to miss it :).

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O Christmas Tree…

This past week we loaded up the family and made the trip to Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family. The weather was unseasonably warm and that was especially nice when it came to outdoor activities.

Our traditional trek to cut down a Christmas Tree was no exception.

It took about thirty minutes to drive out to the farm. When we arrived, we went into the shop and loaded up on candy canes, asked for the latest advice on trees and secured a few saws.

It seemed that every time we located one that gave us hope, we found a reason to reject it. Typical reasons would be that it was bare on one side or what looked like one tree was actually two or three growing together or the branches were sparse, etc.

So, we walked around for an hour looking for perfection then we started to get tired and hungry and all those imperfections seemed to melt away and we settled on something nice, but certainly less than perfect.

Ultimately, we got home with our tree and went to work setting it up. We trimmed some branches, put it on the stand, gave it water and then Leigh-Ann brought in her magic that included ribbon, ornaments, and lights.

Christmas Tree

We have worked hard to make our imperfect tree look perfect.

Kind of reminds me of religion.

At times people work hard to hide their imperfection. However, this time of year we celebrate much more than religion, we celebrate substitution.

Jesus, the Son of God came to earth took on flesh, lived a perfect life and then was crucified, buried and rose again victorious over death.

The story that we love to tell is that instead of having to “dress up” our imperfections with good works, we can admit our imperfection and by faith trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus as sufficient to take our place. Jesus is our Perfect Substitute.

We are in the middle of a Christmas sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger.” This Sunday, Pastor James will bring a sermon from John 7:37-39 entitled, Christmas — Drink for our Souls. I know it will be a great reminder of the hope we have been given through Jesus.

I hope to see you soon,

Troy

Announcement: We would love for you to join us on Friday, December 8th at 7:00 pm. There is more information on the New Life Christmas Gathering page online.

Celebration!!!

Last night the KC Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders 21-13. This is a rivalry that has been going on longer than I’ve been alive and certainly longer than the 17 years I’ve been living in Kansas City.

Due to the New Life women’s Christmas party at our house, the boys and I were assigned to the basement….to watch the game. I love it when that happens :).

With the recent demise of my Minnesota Vikings, I have been paying closer attention to our beloved KC Chiefs. That big win in Denver was pretty incredible and now with a win over the conference leading Raiders…the Chiefs are on pace for a first round bye and possible home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

There was one point in the game where I think I got goosebumps. The Chiefs were winning 14-3 and the Raiders had to punt. After a fourth down penalty they were forced to punt again…

Tyreek Hill fielded the punt and it didn’t take long to realize he.could.go.all.the.way. He ran 78 yards for a touchdown.

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Alex Smith had this to say, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen what happened tonight, I’ve never seen a stadium chanting a guy’s name like that and then he houses it (touchdown return). It gave me chills on the sideline. The whole stadium is chanting his name and then he answers. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen, for sure.”

Whether you are the starting quarterback or a dad “stuck” with his kids in the basement, that run-back was a reason for CELEBRATION!

The boys and I exchanged high fives along with the players and probably anyone near KC that had some red on last night.

As awesome as that moment was for the KC Chiefs and fans, this time of year, there is more than football to give us a reason to celebrate. Perhaps the greatest reason for celebration in the history of the world is the Baby that was born in a manger.

This Sunday, James Cottier a Teaching Elder here at New Life will bring a sermon from Luke 2:8-20 about the Shepherds and the Angels and their celebration at the birth of the Messiah. This is our third week in our Advent Series as we prepare to celebrate the Coming of our Savior.

I hope to see you on Sunday so we can celebrate a Chiefs win and more importantly the birth of Jesus together!

Have a great weekend,

Troy

The most wonderful time of the year…

This past week we began preparing for Christmas at the Campbell house. This means we have to transport  all the tubs full of decorations from the garage to the house. Then we unfold and unravel everything, and reinstall it.

We have some basic responsibilities:

Troy: Move boxes upstairs, set up Christmas tree, hang exterior lights.
Leigh-Ann: Everything else.
Kids: Decorate your own tree…and stay away from ours :).

I have tried to have a good attitude…really, I have. But in my defense, I’ve been sick (man cold) and it seems like we just took down the Christmas decorations from last year.

So why do we spend so much time preparing for Christmas?

Easy answer….it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

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But maybe not for the reasons that come to mind such as….traditions, baking, gifts (giving and receiving), holiday cheer, etc.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year because it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Yep, I’m a Pastor…and you expected me to say this…but you and I each know it’s true :).

This Sunday is the second week of Advent. At New Life this week we will study from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke about the preparation for the birth of Jesus. We will look closely at the Angel’s message to Zechariah, Mary and Joseph to prepare them for the coming Messiah.

When we consider the Old Testament prophesies, Angelic messages, the gathering of shepherds and wise men and so many other events surrounding this “most wonderful time of the year”, there is no doubt that God thought of everything.

So in the midst of our own Christmas plans…let’s not forget God’s plans.

I hope to see you Sunday,
Troy

Announcement: Justice Fair Tonight — We are hosting vendors from many different non-profits. Come for some Christmas shopping and cheer and support some incredible causes…its a WIN-WIN!!!

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

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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.

#NewLifeNewYear

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My oldest daughter and I have started running together. It seems like only a few days ago that we were taking her home from the hospital, now we are running around the hospital.

Distance running has much to teach us about life:

  • No matter how far we intend to run, we can only take one step at a time
  • If we never start, we never get anywhere
  • It always seems to be better with a partner

Over the past four years, I have run the route around the hospital easily more than one hundred times. As a result, I have memorized every curb, hill and stop sign. I have felt the pain of a side stitch, being winded on hills and wanting to quit.

As a result, during our first run, I talked my daughter through the route. As we jogged away from the house, I told her about pacing and breathing. From time to time, I slipped in some motivation and made sure to stay very positive.

The farther we ran, the more it became apparent that my daughter was going to be able to keep right up with  me.

I was/am so proud of her…

Towards the end of our run, there are three pretty big hills.

“Lean into the hill.”

“As soon as we get to the top, you can catch your breath on the way down.”

“You will feel so good when we get home.”

Since I had run the route many times before, it was natural for me to draw on my experiences and share hope.

Hope is in demand far beyond a running route.

Our world is full of:

  • Sickness and sadness
  • Poverty and hunger
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Questions and doubts

Jesus came to earth and “dwelt among us” to provide hope and healing. Jesus knows every up and down of life…He has felt pain and exhilaration. Jesus is our ultimate running partner for life. This Sunday, we conclude our Advent series, “A weary world rejoices” with a sermon from John 1:1-18.

Jesus is the light that cannot be overcome by darkness and He brings bottomless grace and truth for a world that needs hope, healing and forgiveness.

I can’t wait to talk more about Jesus on Sunday, in the meantime, I think it’s about time for another run.

Troy

Fresh idea for Sunday worship: If you tweet, it would be totally awesome if you would use the hashtag #Newlifenewyear to share your wishes for 2015. We may share your tweets during worship. Here are some examples:

I wish for us to see beauty in redemption #Newlifenewyear
I wish we would know and experience God’s grace for ourselves and extend it to others #Newlifenewyear
I wish we would see God give victory over addictions and bad habits #Newlifenewyear
I wish we would love God’s word over our agenda and do-to list #Newlifenewyear
I wish for a thankful heart #Newlifenewyear
I wish for us to rest in God’s sovereign and loving care for us #Newlifenewyear

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New Life Sunday – Timeout…

This morning our 2 year old earned a time-out. The crime was that he and his 4 year old brother decided to wake up their oldest brother.

Christmas morning is the annual mulligan in our household for waking up siblings. Otherwise it is off limits.

When you have five kids, time in bed is invaluable. For kids, it seems there is a direct correlation between plenty of sleep and good behavior. The most important reason for this rule though is that dad and mom get to sleep when the kids are asleep.

SO, back to the timeout…

I put our 2 year old in a large chair for his five minute time-out. In hockey, five minutes is a major penalty, in our household, it’s a minor penalty.

After he sat down, he fully extended each of his hands to the chair arms, put a grumpy look on his face, looked me square in the eyes and said, “I’m bored.”

Uh huh…that’s kind of the point. I told him to think about his choice to wake up his brother.

As his father, it is predictable for me to analyze his behavior and call it selfish. Granted, it’s a good sign he wants to play with his brother, but he failed to realize that while attempting to improve his own life, he actually took advantage of the many others lives. Such as:

  • His brother, who needed more sleep
  • His sisters, who woke up after hearing the three of them up
  • His parents, who really needed the sleep 🙂
  • His grandparents…I could go on…

Unfortunately, self-centered behavior is not isolated to two year olds. More often than I want to admit, adults make self-centered decisions and live self-centered lives.

This Sunday, we are going to take another look at the selflessness of Jesus as well as His earthly mother. Mary, was chosen by God to deliver His Son Jesus and after receiving this news from the angel, she broke out in a song. Pastor Dave will share part two of his sermon on the Magnificat.

In the meantime, make sure you don’t wake up your family and do your best to live selflessly like your Savior.

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