New Life Sunday- Pool Rescue…

Last week we took our annual family vacation to Branson. The kids had a blast canoeing, hiking, mini-golfing and eating…but their favorite was swimming.
The girls have been able to swim for several years, but the boys are in process. Dallas and Isaiah have learned to swim under water, to tread water and to do a limited “doggy paddle” to get them to the safety at the edge of the pool.
About halfway through our vacation, Dallas was getting pretty brave and was swimming across the pool in water that was over his head.
Leigh-Ann and I were at the opposite end of the pool enjoying our vacation…when we noticed him struggling.
Within seconds, he started to freak out and then quickly began to shout…HELP! HELP!
While quickly moving towards Dallas, I made eye contact with an adult swimming nearby who wasn’t sure what to do, then I glanced over to see a mom ready to jump in until she noticed me coming to be the hero.
It seemed like slow motion as I ripped off my shirt, threw my phone safely on top and jumped in to save my boy. As soon as I reached Dallas, he relaxed. I set him on the edge of the pool and told him he better put on his floaties.
Full disclaimer…the pool was only about twenty feet across and five feet deep and Dallas was treading enough that he never went under water. There were no live news interviews and about 10 seconds after pulling Dallas out of the pool, everyone went back to their lazy afternoon.
But I saved Dallas. Beyond a vacation rescue, salvation is something for everyone. The problem is that unlike my heroic pool rescue (note that is dripping in sarcasm) there are a lot of people who don’t care to accept salvation, they actually want to become the savior.
This Sunday we will be studying about “wannabe saviors” from the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-32. The truth is, you will never be a savior, but you will always need a Savior.
I am very excited to share more this Sunday. Don’t forget to come early around 9:30am for some breakfast, fellowship and discussion with the elders.
Have a great weekend!
Announcement: We have scheduled a baptism celebration for Sunday, September 7th at 5:00pmat Lake Quivira. If you would like to participate, just reply or talk to one of the elders.


New Life Sunday…Painted

We have a problem in our family…we tend to start BIG projects shortly before something major. I can still remember moving in to Kansas City 15 years ago and starting a painting project in our basement the night before my first year of seminary started.
Last year we started the “doll house” project the week of Christmas.
Yesterday, two days before we are scheduled to leave for our family vacation, we started painting and rearranging the bedrooms for our 5 kids. This meant every piece of clothing, every toy…every trace of life from our kids had to be removed from the bedrooms.
Then we had to paint…
I use the word “we” carefully, because Leigh-Ann carried the major part of this load.
Last night at this time I was in an awful mood and for a natural born optimist was feeling pretty defeated. We had one room partially done…everything else was still untouched.
Then we were rescued  by some pretty great guys and a little luck :).
For the moment, we are simply waiting for paint to dry and then we will put all the clothes and toys back in the rooms, load up the minivan and leave.
Last night, I doubted that we would be able to finish by tomorrow…however…as it stands the rooms are painted, the kids are packed and we will be on our way before we know it.
This would never have happened without some incredible friends and a ROCK STAR wife (we celebrated 15 years yesterday). While I was working in the office and meeting people, Leigh-Ann was painting, mothering and moving stuff.
The giant painting project is all but complete…even the paintbrushes are rinsed and clean. Speaking of giants, this Sunday we continue our series on “Facing our Giants.” Dave Robinson will be preaching from 1 Samuel 17 about the story of David and Goliath.
We will also have pastries and coffee at 9:30am and the elders will be hosting week 2 of our vision discussion as we prepare for the best fall ever at New Life.
In the meantime, I need to go watch paint dry,

New Life Sunday – Some assembly required…

Leigh-Ann is a rock star.
We have been looking for some additional outdoor seating and on Monday she found two outdoor rocking chairs (see what I did there) for 75% off.
Since I am a pretty typical guy, I looked at the directions for a few seconds and then went for it.
The first chair went pretty smooth, although I must admit that I did stop a few times to figure some things out. The second chair was a breeze. It was so easy because I had just experienced everything necessary for assembly. I knew exactly what it was going to look like and I knew exactly what was necessary to put the chair together.
Whether it is a walk down an unknown path, the plan for our life or assembling rocking chairs, things go much better when we know what the end result will look like.
For some reason, God does not give us the ability to look ahead and see the destiny of our life.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to go back to high school?
I know I would be a better student, athlete, friend, etc., the second time through.
In case you’re wondering….that’s not an option.
The only option we have is to trust the one Person who can see down the road to our destiny–God.
This Sunday we continue our sermon series entitled, “Facing our giants.” Over the past four weeks we have studied some of the giants that we tend to encounter in life. This week we are going to transition to a playbook on how to face our giants…our play for Sunday comes from Genesis 22:1-19. This is the story about Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice. The challenge we are given from Abraham is to trust in the Lord, because He sees ahead of me.
In fact, after Abraham completes this test from God and experiences success, he named the place, “Yahweh Yirah” which means, “the Lord who sees ahead of me.”
I am very excited for this study, because our God sees ahead of us and as a result there is no giant that we cannot defeat.
I hope to see you on Sunday!
Announcement: Happy Hour starts this Sunday at 9:30am. We will have waffles and coffee and then at 9:45am the elders are planning to open a 30 minute discussion about how to develop meaningful relationships within our New Life church family.

New Life Sunday – The giant of walking by sight…

This past week has been filled with inspiration and encouragement as well as a few surprises. Leigh-Ann and I came to MN, dropped our kids off at my parent house on Monday, and then left for a conference on creating options for discipleship in the urban core.

We stayed on a college campus which brought  back quite a few memories :). Dorm mattresses…flat carpet…dining hall food…a lot of walking…and a chance to date Leigh-Ann again.

We had a few surprises, such as a raccoon jumping out in the trail in front of us and Leigh-Ann had a wild turkey almost land on her shoulder. We shared a lot of laughs and received a lot of information.

The conference was pretty much amazing.

We heard excellent speakers share on the topics of  racism, discipleship, re-distribution, reconciliation, redemption and urban ministry. We also learned the difference between a Latino and Anglo birthday party–you can check it out here: 

We were moved with the worship and inspired by so much commitment that was exemplified. One pastor from New York who left a career as an electrical engineer to become a pastor of a struggling city church shared with a smile on his face and tears running down his cheeks that this was his reasonable service.

Another pastor from Detroit challenged us to keep the main thing the main thing in the shadow of blighted neighborhoods and angry teenagers.

Another woman with a graduate degree in drama from Yale shared poetically and powerfully about the history and international impact of discrimination on the church.

There are far too many others to describe in this email, however my favorite was an 84 year old, son of a sharecropper, who fired off truth observed from a lifetime of ministry experience. He shared a curriculum for discipleship in an urban context. He was incredibly authentic and brought the house down when he said he didn’t care what any of us thought of him…he said, “I’m 84!”

He also made this point, “Faith is born somewhere between hearing the word and obeying it…obedience makes faith come alive.”

Which brings me to my point…this Sunday Pastor Dave Robinson will be sharing a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4 about the giant of walking by sight.

There is much more to come on this topic of faith, and you will definitely want to be at New Life at10:45am on Sunday to hear more.

I hope you have a great evening!


New Life Sunday – Facebook and my flesh…

I like to get “likes” on facebook
I like to control my destiny (as opposed to being in an airport waiting for someone else to control it)
I like being in the crowd in a stadium that is excited and loud
I like thermostats
I like an occasional pat on the back
I like freedom of speech
Life is full of options to control and gratification to experience. A glance at your Smartphone will reveal thousands of apps, tools and programs for you to control. A moment to reflect on the past 24 hours will reveal opportunities for personal gratification such as the menu at Burger King, your post on facebook or the catalog with the new fall fashions.
The feeling that you experience following your brush with gratification or control is neutral. It is not wrong to feel good when you receive a thank you note, or flip the channel on TV, pick out a good movie or hear someone tell you how much they appreciate you (even if it is a simple “like” online). God made us to feel good and as a result to worship Him.
There is a fine line between feeling good and worshiping God and feeling good and worshiping the feeling.
When we worship the feeling, our next step will be to compromise our morals to get more of the feeling and as a result we will exercise the “works of the flesh.”
This Sunday, we will attempt to tackle this issue in the series, Facing our Giants.” The giant for this week is the giant of our flesh: I don’t need to keep my eyes on God. We will study from Matthew 14:22-33 about Jesus and Peter walking on water and then Peter falling. The good news is that even after a fall into the water, Jesus is still there for the rescue. I know I have been encouraged by this sermon and I hope you will be encouraged also. 

Have a great weekend!


New Life Sunday – My City Matters

This past week has been pretty amazing. With close to sixty teens plus sponsors and volunteers living at New Life there has been no shortage of activity. As I am writing this, I can hear teens talking, laughing and someone is beating on a drum and maybe even the wall…not sure.
Imagine a 10,000 square foot bedroom for a typical teenager and you will have a pretty good idea about what things look like here on the 4th floor.
I love the mess…because I love what this mess represents.
The teens have been insanely busy working at ReStart, hosting soccer clinics for the KC Parks and Rec and the Guadalupe Center, sharing flowers and stories with people on the street, visiting homeless camps and touring multiple ministries in the urban core.
This afternoon they are preparing to provide dinner for 300-400 people in the park across from ReStart. We will end the evening with a Christian band and a message of hope through Jesus. In addition, we will have a handful of people that have spent the night in this park, share about how Jesus has restored them and given them a new purpose.
There are way too many blessings to count in an email, however I was particularly moved by one of our homeless guides. He shared his story one year ago during the My City  Matter trip: and this year he served as a guide into the homeless camps.
Another person who was on the streets one year ago has been an incredible help throughout the week. In addition to those who were on the streets, there are four teens on the trip this year that live in one of the Housing Authority neighborhoods where we served one year ago.
The message this week has been clear, God uses us in our weakness!
This Sunday, we will have an update from our My City Matters week and I will be sharing the second sermon in our series, “Facing our Giants.” This week we will look at the Giant of Perfectionism “I must be strong before I can serve.”
We will study from 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 where the Apostle Paul writes about how God has used him through his own weakness, so that the power of God will be evidenced as opposed to Paul’s skills.
I know I have needed the sermon I have observed from our teens as well as the sermon from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth.
I hope to see you on Sunday!

New Life Sunday – Facing your giants…

On Thursday Sinue and Felipe arrived in Kansas City. Each of them are soccer players from Brazil and their main language is Portuguese. Each of them also speaks English well…much better than I speak Portuguese :).

So this morning, Sinue and I were talking and I was trying to understand the word that he was attempting to communicate.

The word was…..climb.

This may seem like a simple word, but it took some hand gestures and some other similar and familiar words for me to understand what Sinue was trying to communicate.

During the exchange, before we arrived at a point of understanding, we were on the verge of frustration because we could tell it was a common word, yet we couldn’t quite figure it out.

As I have reflected on the use of language to communicate experiences, feelings, information, etc. I have realized how important it is to be understood.

Imagine what it would be like to go through life without being able to communicate…

After a while, I think I would lose hope and become miserable.

This Sunday, we begin a new series at New Life called, “Facing your giants.” Our first giant is the giant of loneliness…when it feels like no one understands how I feel.

We will look closely at the life of Ezekiel…an incredible prophet who experienced amazing miracles and acts of God and at the same time dealt with depression because no one seemed to understand how he was feeling.

It is common to be around people, hold conversations and even speak the same language, but still become very frustrated in life because we struggle to communicate how we feel or others fail to understand what we are communicating.

If you have some time, you may want to read from 1 Kings 17-19 to prepare for the sermon.

Tenha um ótimo dia (Have a great day)!