Good Friday…even better Sunday!!!

Today is a day of reflection for millions of people around the world. It is our privilege to remember the most incredible death of Jesus, the Son of God.

Jesus endured agony beyond our wildest imaginations during the crucifixion process. While on the cross, He made seven short statements that reveal His heart:

            Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23:34)

            Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

            Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. (John 19:26-27)

            My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

            I thirst. (John 19:28)

            It is finished. (John 19:30)

            Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

And then there was silence!

And darkness!

Hope seemed to be gone…it was the darkest of days.

The Sabbath came and went.

And then very early on Sunday morning, His close friends began to journey to the grave.

And it was empty…

Jesus was alive, just as He said.

Easter 2017.png

This Sunday, I hope you can join us for a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. I will bring a sermon from John 20:1-18 in response to the question, “How does the Resurrection provide hope in the midst of the pain and tragedy of this life?”

I hope to see you there!

Troy

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Easter Sunday…

Easter 2016 Pic

This Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. As a part of your personal preparation, I invite you to read some thoughts below…

A few thousand years ago, a certain leader called out a dozen friends and together they shared life. At times they grew weary of each other’s company, but most often they enjoyed life as a group. There were long days of walking from city to city, arriving late in the day with no plan for overnight accommodations. There were certain highlights that became forever etched in their memories.

One day they traveled several miles to be a part of a wedding celebration and their leader’s mom became desperate because they were running out of wine. A group of servants went to the well and filled the pots with water and then in an instant the water was transformed into wine. (John 2:1-11)

Another time the crew entered into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day and met a guy who had a withered hand. This leader healed him, even though it was against the Jewish law. (Matthew 12:9-14)

These guys lived during the time of the Roman occupation. The Roman soldiers were the private, tough guys…they were not into relationships or sharing their feelings. There was one time though when a Roman Centurion told these guys about a servant who had become paralyzed. The leader simply spoke and the servant was healed. (Matthew 8:5-13)

These miracles frustrated the Jewish leaders and they puzzled the Romans, but they inspired the average citizen.

The guys traveled and their leader taught them many things on the road. He spoke plainly at times and He spoke in parables at times. One thing was always true, his teaching was unmatched by any other teacher.

People started to congregate into groups of hundreds and even thousands.

One day several thousand gathered out on the hillside to hear the teachings of this leader. Everything was going great until people started to get hungry. There was no budget for food and even worse there was no plan to gather and distribute food. Within minutes everyone was fed and they were picking up leftovers.

There  were many more miracles. There were lessons taught and lessons learned. Experiences became memories that forged relationships. There was suspense, laughter, anger, tears, hopes and dreams.

There were some intense moments with religious leaders…tempers flared…deals were made…and Jesus was betrayed…an illegal trial…a guilty verdict…a sentence to crucifixion…

Shouting was silenced as Jesus hung on the cross…everything grew dark…and then it was over.

Jesus accepted the sin of the whole world on Himself.

The Saturday sun rose and set…and then it happened…Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the dead!

Jesus has conquered sin and death and is alive forevermore.

Let.that.sink.in!

Ahhh…mazing!

This Sunday at New Life CityChurch we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. We would love for you to join us. If you have questions regarding the service, you may find some answers here.

Whether or not you celebrate with us at New Life, I hope you celebrate. The Resurrection is the greatest event in the history of the world.

He is Risen,
Troy

The Amazing Race and The Good Shepherd

Amazing Race

As a family, one of our favorite television shows is “The Amazing Race.” Typically we set up the DVR to record it and then when we get an evening at home, we gather in the living room and watch it together.

This is “big doings” for the Campbell family…we play out scenario’s and give our opinion on whether or not we could handle a certain challenge.

We also turn in to social critics, often pausing the show to explain why we like or don’t like a particular team. We have observed quite a bit:

  • When a team is “two-faced” they lose popularity with both sides
  • When a team’s focus changes from being their best to defeating a different team, they often lose
  • Internal fighting is lethal
  • Cutting corners usually results in a detour

Beyond the team dynamics, there is the race itself. There are clues that teams follow that end up taking them around the world. Some of the common roadblocks along the way are foreign languages, rough terrain, difficult challenges and of course the unpredictable taxi driver, poor weather and overall fatigue.

While on the Amazing Race the participants are expected to fend for themselves and cannot enlist the services of a guide. The lack of a guide makes for an interesting Reality TV Show, but for a miserable life.

Unfortunately, too many people are attempting to maneuver life and all of its uncertainties without a proper guide. As a result when difficulties such as health concerns or financial issues, relationship problems and questions about meaning or purpose in life come up, many people simply do not have a clue…(see what I did there? :)).

This Sunday, we continue our “I Am” Easter series with a close look at John 10:11-18 where Jesus makes the statement, “I am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus stakes a claim to being the best leader to navigate our unpredictable life. I look forward to sharing why Jesus is the greatest guide for life.

I hope to see you on Sunday,

Troy

Preparation for Easter

As we prepare our hearts for this most incredible weekend for the Christian faith, I can think of no better commentary to prepare us for an incredible Easter service at New Life CityChurch than something Leigh-Ann wrote yesterday.

In John 13 and 14, we read about Jesus and the disciples enjoying the Passover feast and what would become Jesus’ “Last Supper” with his friends. Jesus did some pretty crazy things, including washing their feet, pointing out which friend wasn’t a true friend at all, and telling one of them, while this friend claimed to be his ultimate BFF, that later that night, self-claimed-BFF would deny Jesus as well!

Jesus’ friends are confused, frustrated and hurt. They don’t understand what is happening- at all. They want to be close to Him. They want to understand. They want to remain faithful to Him. So one bravely demands “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied!” Jesus looks at the brave one and says “Seriously? I’ve been with you this whole time and you didn’t see God the Father?!”

How did they miss seeing God?

Now before I adjust my saddle, I need to climb down off my high horse here. I am a disciple of Christ, and how often do I miss seeing God in my life? How often do I see only what my eyes want to see and not what He wants me to see? How often do I doubt Him, His leading, His love, His promises? How often do I look at His plan and say “God, can you just show up here?”

Jesus goes on and gives them guidance, that most likely will be internalized long after He’s gone- “If you love me, obey my commandments, and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, Who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

Another one of Jesus’ disciples at this point asks Jesus “Why are you only telling us this? Why just this room? Why not tell the world?” So Jesus gives them more hope (notice He’s giving HOPE while facing an overwhelming devastation to His very life) and tells them “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

That must have been a relief! Have you ever heard news or instructions that you had to remember, but you weren’t quite prepared for them so you didn’t write them all down? I know that especially when something traumatic is happening, as was here (they were losing a loved one), my brain just can’t focus. All details I want to remember blurs under stress. I can imagine the relief, when Jesus lets them know that an Advocate will be with them to remind them of everything Jesus has said to them.

“My representative will remind you of everything I have told you.” Phew! Relief!

Jesus goes on and explains why He told them all these things before any of it happened: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.”

So that you will believe.

So that YOU will believe.

So that you will BELIEVE.

Jesus left them with the best gift- peace of mind and heart like nothing they’d ever experienced! If they just remembered what He said and BELIEVED what Jesus said.

Jesus closes the conversation: “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.”

Notice that one part: “He has NO power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me.” Why? “So that the world will know that I love the Father.”

Beautiful one, that is our calling as well. We don’t obey out of duty but out of LOVE for our Father. We don’t obey, because it’s easy but out of LOVE for our Father.

Rest in that peace that passes all understanding during Good Friday and Passover.

Jesus did!
Passover