Story of the soul…soccer tryouts and hope…

SOTS Logo

Our family has survived soccer tryouts. This is no small feat. Hundreds of athletes ascend on multiple soccer fields. It’s hot…stressful…uncertain… and tiring.

Why?

To pursue an opportunity to play with a competitive soccer team.

Every athlete registered for tryouts carries with them a sense of hope.

Hope that they will make the roster of a team…hope that they will play well and impress the coaches…hope that others will see their value. Throughout the course of the week some experienced hope fulfilled…while others were disappointed…nearly everyone at tryouts experiences hope deferred…waiting on pins and needles for a call from the coach.

Hope is a necessary ingredient to a happy life. The absence of hope is path towards discouragement, depression and even death.

So how can we find hope…especially when life seems brutal?

This Sunday, New Life CityChurch is hosting a different type of service at 10:45am. Pastor Dave Robinson and multiple others will be leading a coffee shop experience called, “Story of the Soul.”

Story of the soul is an interactive, coffeehouse experience. Using art, film, music, poetry and other media, we explore the stories the soul of mankind is and has always been telling. This Sunday, we will explore the soul’s longing for hope.

So whether it’s a soccer tryout…a major decision….a tragedy…or a mundane trial of life…if you need a healthy dose of hope, you should come…and bring a friend.

I hope to see you soon,

Troy

Living joyfully…

This past week I was able to meet a person who exudes joy. She is one of the few people that when you get close to her you can actually feel it.

Her name is Pearl. She lives on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood where violence, pain and hopelessness are the typical stories on the 10:00pm news.

Pearl ran away from home and by age 16 was pregnant. For the next 17 years her life was entangled by drugs and prostitution. When she was in her early 30s, she met some faithful followers of Jesus who shared hope, forgiveness and a peace that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Those Christ followers continue to speak in to her life today, nearly thirty years later.

Shortly after beginning her relationship with Jesus, Pearl began inviting her children’s friends into her home and hosting Bible studies. Soon Pearl caught a vision to serve her neighborhood by offering free day-care so mothers can finish school, get a job, or both.

Now, 23 years into ministry, Pearl’s main stipulation to receive the free childcare is that moms attend the weekly Bible study she leads.

Since Roseland Community Good News Daycare began, 41 mothers have graduated from high school, 23 have gone on to college and hundreds of women have been involved.

While visiting with her on Tuesday, she asked for prayer over one of her mothers. She went on to share God’s amazing financial provision as we toured a brand new, absolutely amazing facility. It was the end of another twelve plus hour day, she had papers on her desk and people to contact, but in spite of her exhaustion she was living joyfully.

Her joy was indisputable, but it is not exclusive to her. Pearl would be the first to share how to experience true joy.

This Sunday our service will be a page out of Pearls playbook…we are going to study from Romans 5:2b-4. In these verses Paul writes that since we have been made “right with God” we can rejoice in God’s glory and our sufferings.

Sound interesting? Come out for a visit at 10:45am to 1717 McGee, KCMO 64108 or check it out online at: newlifecity.church

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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!
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New Life CityChurch–WOW, what a day!!!

As we look forward to Easter Sunday, I want to take a moment to look back with gratitude on an incredible Palm Sunday. Nearly two thousand years ago, in another country, I imagine people were sitting down at night after an exciting day…

Multitudes of people lined the streets heading into Jerusalem throwing down palm branches and clothes shouting “Hosanna to the King of the Jews!”

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the   King of Israel!”” (John 12:12–13, ESV)

Normal people were full of hope…the long awaited King of the Jews was in town.

This morning at New Life CityChurch, we didn’t have any palm branches…(that is so first century :)), but we were bursting with hope!

The reason for our hope hasn’t changed…Jesus!

This morning was an incredible morning and we need to celebrate all that God is doing. A huge thanks to Dave and Karen Robinson for their leadership along with so many others who invested so much to make this day phenomenal.

Here are some of the comments Pastor Dave shared with the team and thought you would also be excited to hear them:

I  read all the comment cards, praying as I went along.  Praise God – there was not one negative comment.  There were too many comments to write down but here are some of them:

  • “This is a great way to engage post-modern culture and worldview – provided good tools to engage others!”
  • “I enjoyed the concept a lot!  I could see it really being a regular, enjoyable outlet for the non-believer.”
  • “A great way to share the gospel.”
  •  “A beautiful way to unfold the cry of the human heart, then bring the truth of Jesus’ love as our only hope!”
  •  “The most innovative way to present the hope of Jesus Christ!  Thank you all!  Everyone did a wonderful job of presenting. Praise God!”
  • “Thank you!  For too long the Church has been polarized from the arts.  This was the most reconciliatory thing I have ever participated in!  This is our 3rd visit, and we were amazed and blessed!  BRAVEST. SERVICE. EVER!”
  • “I loved that we were in discussion with others. A very fresh way to explore our faith.  I also love using the arts in the church! So many churches try so hard to cut out anything that is not ‘Church’!”
  • “I heard great things from my table mates!  It was a great time of sharing – one man at my table regretted not being a better son before his mom died.  Now his hope is in God, and Scripture.”
  •  “I thought the story of the soul was amazing. It helped many to rethink where they want to go in their faith.”
  • “It was super cool.  Awesome. Amazing!”
  • “I am a Christian artist, but still finding my path in that.  Thank you for today!”
  • “It opened my eyes and showed me why I’m here and that I can make a difference!”
  • “Great!  Very thought provoking and a reminder of everyone’s need for Christ.  I would definitely do this again!  Thank you for pointing it back to Christ as our only hope!”
  • “It was a great way to be reminded of the needs around me and in my own life in a non-threatening way in an engaging environment.”
  • “It was good to have this chance for meaningful fellowship.”
  • “Awesome.  It’s important to bring reality to people – we can’t biblically exist only in our Christian bubble.  We are given the great commission to reach out to the world!!!”
  • “I was proud to have a friend here!”
  • “What a great way to build community and minister to others.”
  • “It was wonderful! I learned so much and enjoyed talking with others.”
  • “I enjoyed the deep conversation with friends. It allowed me to connect with them on a different level.”
  • “Very inspiring! Wonderful presentation – want to come again.”
  • “…it really made me think!”
  • “This was very uplifting.  It allowed me to open up to my group which is extremely hard for me to do.”
  • “The stories were eye opening!”
  • “Loved it.  So creative and powerful.  I look forward to the next time.”
  • “Powerful! Stirred up feelings! … exceeded my expectations!”
  • “…allowed the audience to be interactive and it kept me intrigued!”
  • “…thought provoking; very meaningful!”
  • “Inspiring, deep. It made me think and realize that I want to change some things in my life. I am very happy I attended.”
  • “Very honest, open!  It was put together very well.”
  • “Excellent! The best service at New Life. But not enough talk time.”
  • “Good to do something like this for small groups.”
  • “Thank you for your expression of ministry together! I am only a pixel in the body of Christ but my work soul – work and play is compatible with your ministry and SOTS.  You all are wellness-weavers!  How can we best serve together?”
  • Short comments like this were made, too: “Excellent.  Awesome.  Loved it!  FANTASTIC! Lovely. Moving.  Great change of pace. Touched my soul. Very cool and outside the box! A great experience. Stirred my soul.”

On this note…our work is not completed. There are many more that need to hear this same message of hope that only comes through Jesus. Please invite friends and family to join us for Easter Sunday.

Have a great week!

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Hope again…

This Sunday is going to be a great day…for many reasons:

  • It’s Sunday-duh 🙂
  • We are studying from the life of Abraham
  • The point of the passage is that Abraham expressed incredible, optimistic, faith-drenched hope that defied logic.

At age 75, the time when most people are retiring and settling down for a predictable (borderline boring) life, Abraham packed up his family to live in a tent, to move to an unfamiliar territory and prepare to start a family.

Yep, age 75…

And for 11 years he and his wife Sarah listened to naysayers telling them they were crazy to think they would have a baby…so he folded.

…Hagar was called, Ishmael was born and the drama in the household of Abraham reached an all time high.

Tack on another 13 years and God affirms His promise and calls for Abraham to put some serious skin in the game (pun intended).

Finally, when Abraham reaches the century mark and Sarah lands her 90th birthday…Isaac is born.

Isaac grows through childhood, and then God calls Abraham to offer him as a sacrifice.

Can you imagine?

What would people have said about him now?

His faith was incomprehensible.

Abraham was fearless, courageous and obedient to God…reminds me of a clip from the movie “Troy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpB5oLYlQmI

I am afraid that the hope and faith exemplified by the life of Abraham is rarely practiced today… But it can be…and it should be! The faith and hope of Abraham is grounded in the sacrifice of Jesus.

Abraham looked forward to it….we look back at it….every Sunday.

I hope you can join us this Sunday at 10:45am. We will meet in “The Monarch Room” located at 1701 McGee, Kansas City, MO for one final week before our grand opening at our new location, 1717 McGee on March 22nd.

If your life needs some hope…you need to come :).

Announcement: We would be honored if you would help us to spread the word about New Life CityChurch and this is the perfect time. If you can navigate to this page: (http://newlifecity.church/invite/) you can simply click and post.

New Life Sunday – Granite ice scraper…

Yesterday afternoon it became very cold and started snowing pretty hard. The result was that by late afternoon I looked out my 4th story office window and nearly all that I could see was a line of headlights and taillights. As a result, I kept postponing my drive home…even though it is only one mile.

Call me crazy, but I don’t like sitting in traffic in a cold car.

I finally got the call that dinner was ready, so I packed up my laptop and books and braved the elements as I walked across the parking lot to my car.

When I stepped outside, I could see that my car was covered in snice (snow and ice). Since I am from Minnesota and this wasn’t my first snow storm, I could tell from a distance that the ice on my windshield was going to take more than my wipers and fluid.

Living in Kansas City and having a garage (at least until a few days ago…another story for another day :)), I haven’t really needed to stock my car with an ice scraper. Which presented a pretty  significant problem for me as I walked through the wind and snow to my car yesterday evening.

And then I saw the solution to my problem…

A granite sample from our church relocation project. It was much sturdier than the piece of cardboard sitting next to it. So without any further thought, I used the smooth sided, straight cut of granite to scrape off the ice.

It worked great…the ice and snow were no match for the granite.

Satisfied, I sat in my car, turned my wipers on to clear the loose snow and ice from my windshield…and then it occurred to me that granite it much harder than glass…and that is when I noticed the scratches in my windshield.

My NEW windshield by the way…I replaced it less than a month ago, and now it has some fine “art” scratched into the surface.

The granite vs. windshield occurred after a day of studying from Romans 3:27-31. In these verses, Paul is responding to some questions he was anticipating after dropping the bomb that every person is guilty of breaking God’s law…furthermore, there is nothing we can do to solve this problem on our own.

Our most valiant attempts to fix our dilemma fall very short of perfection. No matter how hard we try to make up for our sin, we only  make matters worse.

Similar to what I did with my granite sample turned ice scraper. Our innocent attempts to make our lives better only leave us worse off…

This Sunday, we will celebrate the fact that we are justified by the grace of God through Jesus and as a result we can:

  • Boast…but our boasting should be in God
  • Include everyone…Jew and Gentile alike deserve this message of hope
  • Fulfill the law by faith in Jesus…don’t avoid, ignore or change it

I hope you can join me for more great news this Sunday at 10:45am!

Announcement: We still need volunteers to help with the work day tomorrow. We will paint walls and stain the concrete floor. Only a few more Saturdays to help…so please join us.

New Web Site: http://www.newlifecity.church

Granite

#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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