Winning….

Last Saturday evening, our oldest daughters soccer team enjoyed an awesome come from behind win. They were playing hard and in my unbiased opinion, better than their opponent, but were losing 2-1 with only minutes to play in the second half.

To add to the drama, one player on the other team had already earned a yellow card for her unruly play. The parents from the opposing team were pretty obnoxious (unlike our parents of course who are always calm and kind :)). In addition, one of the opposing players was getting pretty mouthy with the referee and even some of our parents.

As time expired, tensions grew.

I could tell everyone, including me, really wanted this win. So, when we scored the tying goal our sideline erupted in cheers.

For the next few minutes, the momentum went back and forth…and then it happened, like it was out of a movie script, a slim opening in the box, a shot and a goooooaaaaaaal!

I came out of my seat like a rocket…one parent even fell backwards to the grass.

It was pandemonium….high fives…hugs…congratulations….and a few glances toward the opposing parents (still working on my sanctification). In less than a minute the final whistle blew and the game was over.

We won!

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Winning has been hard wired into our American culture. Whether it is our favorite sports team, a business deal or a political race, winning can be pursued at nearly any cost.

So, how should Christians approach the political competition that will unravel over the next few weeks? Do we pick a candidate and seek to win at all costs…mowing over anyone or anything that may come into our path?

This Sunday, we will study what the Apostle Paul has to say about governing authorities which includes politicians, police officers and even referees…we will study from Romans 13:1-7. I hope you take some time to read these verses and then join the New Life CityChurch family for a study about our Christian responsibilities in our relationships with government authorities.

Have a great Friday,

Troy

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Extraordinary Relationships…

The word extraordinary means unusually great or remarkable.

Extraordinary is used to describe people, brands, accomplishments, food and many other things.

When I think of extraordinary accomplishments, I think of the invention of the printing press, athletes who scale Mount Everest, entrepreneurs who build powerful companies and families that are healthy.

When I think of extraordinary people, I think of multiple characters in the Bible such as Moses, Abraham, David, Esther and Paul. I would certainly include Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Billy Graham and Bill Bright to name a few.

I also think of inner city teachers and pastors who work tirelessly. I think of coaches and parents and humble volunteers.

When it comes to extraordinary food, Chipotle immediately comes to mind….AMEN? Simply saying that brand puts a smile on my face :).
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To be honest, I must say that most of the meals we enjoy around our family dinner table are truly extraordinary. The food is always good…but I really love the peeps :).

This Sunday we begin a seven week sermon series from Romans 12-13 on the topic of relationships. I am excited to teach from Romans 12:14-16 about extraordinary relationships. The truth is that as Christians our relationships should be extraordinary…and Paul has some great things to help us in that pursuit.

I sure hope to see you Sunday,

Troy

Fender benders and friendships…

This morning I dropped the kids off at school and headed back downtown. I merged into traffic from the on-ramp and then heard this LOUD, BOOMING, SCRAPING sound. I looked to my left and immediately beside me was the source of the noise.

It was a fender bender…or more like a bumper crusher for the two cars involved. Since we were in heavy traffic  the cars were only travelling 15-20 mph but the damage was significant.

In the split second I had to observe everything going on in the lane next to me, I noticed quite a bit.

  • The damage was probably enough to total at least one car.
  • Based on the profile of the driver, and the fact that I don’t remember hearing any brakes, I am guessing a cell phone was involved
  • The driver at fault had an incredibly surprised and scared look on his face (and some of you thought it was going to be “her” face….shame on you :)).
  • The morning schedule of the two drivers, emergency workers and thousands of cars commuting in to work was impacted

Fender benders and relationship problems seem to have a lot in common.

  • They always affect more people than you expect
  • They often are a surprise to one or more of the people involved
  • They each seem to cause an incredible amount of anxiety and fear
  • Often they are caused by a small fault or oversight and were never intended to cause pain to anyone

Relationships are an integral part of our lives and the book of Romans has much to say about experiencing and sharing in healthy constructive relationships. This Sunday, I am sharing a sermon on relationships from Romans 1-3. Although we have no shortage of accidents when it comes to relationships and life, the good news is that God restores brokenness, forgives failures and has a perfect plan for our future.

So far the study has been enlightening and challenging for me and I pray it will be the same for you.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how fender benders affect friendships, you may want to watch this: Brady Bunch-Fender Bender Episode 🙂

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New Life Sunday – Bob

We have a new pet in our household.

His name is Bob and he is a cricket.

Bob has had a tough life.

Sophie found him in our garage. Upon examination, she discovered that Bob has lost two legs…her best guess is that they were amputated by the garage door.

If this is true, then Bob endured the trauma of an object thousands of times his weight crush his legs, he then endured the trauma of a ten year old girl picking him up, putting him in a jar with grass, lettuce, grapes and sticks.

Bob has travelled to school and been introduced to an entire 4th grade class. Bob is regularly handled by five kids ages 2-12. Bob sees hands touch his jar, he hears voices and laughter, he smells people and has even been dropped a few times.

Bobs first night in the jar at our house was pretty awesome.

Leigh-Ann and I had put the kids to bed and were relaxing on the couch when all of a sudden, we started to hear Bob chirp…

Leigh-Ann heard it first and exclaimed, “Bob is singing.” And then she was so excited she ran up stairs and woke up  Sophie so that she could tell her that Bob was singing.

Ever since that magical moment, Bob has not lost his song. Even though he has lost two legs, is living in an unknown jar with greasy fingered caretakers and eating strange food, Bob is happy.

Maybe we can take a few lessons from our new chirping pet:

  • Be grateful for the moment
  • Sing in the midst of tough times
  • Adapt and adjust to a new normal

This Sunday we continue our study of Romans. Pastor Dave Robinson will preach from Romans 1:1-7 about exalting the Gospel.

If Bob were a person, I would swear his life has been influence by the Gospel. Every indication communicates that Bob is not living in the regret of his past, but rather he is excited about his future. I have attached a picture, and it kind of looks like he is even smiling.

I hope you have a great weekend, and I hope you can join us for the service on Sunday at 10:45am.

Troy

New Life Sunday – Backyard Ball…

Our boys love to play sports…especially football and baseball. This is the time of year that it gets really fun to throw on a sweatshirt and run some passing routes outside.

Unless you are age 5, 3 (almost 4) and 2…then it is more like running for a pass and watching the ball hit you in the head…shoulder….chest…or even miss you completely.

I have started to teach the boys some of the positions in football.

I have one of them line up behind me as the quarterback to hand off to the running back and then if we have Ian playing, one of them will line up on defense. Our other formation is for one to be the center and hike the ball to me at quarterback and then I throw to the wide receiver.

Since we have started learning the game of football, they have been much more interested in watching it on TV with me…which gives me a majority when it comes to picking the channel….oh yeah!!!

Life is good.

Just thinking about our boys makes me smile…

As I reflect on the time I get to spend playing ball with my boys, I am reminded of how God feels about spending time with me. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter much if they catch the ball or run the right way, as long as there is laughter and smiles, it is a successful outing.

God doesn’t love to spend time with  me because I perform perfectly…in fact, that is impossible. God loves to spend time with me because I am his child.

This Sunday we continue into our second week of our study in Romans. Dave Robinson will be sharing a true story about a life that was radically changed as he unpacks his message on “Romans – a letter that transforms.”

I have been so encouraged by the power of the Gospel to transform my life and know that there is much more good news ahead.

And speaking of football, I think the Chiefs are going to need all the prayers that they can get to help them with the Broncos, so I suggest making it a priority to come to church first :).

Have a great evening!
Troy

New Life Sunday – Passing Game

This weekend my oldest daughter is participating in a soccer tournament. After driving her to games for several years, I have volunteered to assist with the coaching. There are several reasons:

  • I want to spend time with her
  • I want to learn more about the game from the head coach
  • I want to save some soccer fees
  • I want to help them get better and win games

So far I have accomplished three out of four. I don’t like to lose…but for some reason we keep losing. There have been a few moments when I wanted to run out there and score on twelve year old girls. And then I realize that I am thirty-eight and that would be equivalent to streaking at a Chiefs game.
 
Not a pleasant thought…sorry.
 
Ahhh…so amidst the frustration of being 0-2 so far in the tournament, there have been a few highlights. One of them came at half-time today.
 
The head coach was explaining that part of the reason for being down 1-0 is that the girls lacked trust in their teammates. As a result they were moving out of their own particular position and trying to play someone else’s position. He went on to say that the girls need to stay in their positions and pass the ball to each other.
 
Sounds kind of basic, but to be honest it worked pretty well when applied appropriately. The problem today was that it wasn’t applied enough.
 
As I consider my sermon for tomorrow, we will be studying a different type of passing game.
 
I will preach from Acts 9:1-22 about passing control from ourselves to Jesus Christ. Pretty basic concept, and it works very well when applied appropriately. Too often the reason we don’t transfer control to Christ is because we do not trust that He can handle it.
 
That sounds pretty preposterous as I type it out, but the reality is that we have invested far too much control in ourselves and we are attempting to play life on our own.
 
That never works!
 
So tomorrow is a new day….and we will have a new game and hopefully another opportunity to put a win on the board, but far more important than that is the fact that we will spend time studying the conversion of a control freak. We will learn from Saul how important it is for us to transfer control to Jesus.
 
Have a great evening and hope to see you tomorrow,
Troy

Announcement: Don’t forget to come early for some breakfast and our final discussion about our future including a potential change of name.All the fun starts at 9:30am.

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!
Troy
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.