Game Changer…

Yesterday was a game changer…

I was meeting up with a friend at Chipotle for some lunch and conversation. While in line, we ordered almost an identical bowl.

Then he asked for it to go, even though we were staying to eat in…and he explained that he needed the cover over his bowl.

We paid for our Chipotle bowls and then sat down to eat…and this was the moment…(cue angelic voices singing)…he fastened the top to the bowl, turned it upside down and shook it like a can of paint.

I followed suit…said something about him being my food mentor and then carefully opened the bowl as if it contained a rare jewel.

The glorious mix of meat, vegetables, rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, and salsa was a work of art.

chipotle

However, imagine if that bowl was presented without any context. Imagine if I had never eaten at a Chipotle and I did not have the distinct privilege of watching them make the bowl and then mixing it all together myself…what would I have thought?

Context is super important for many things in life….including our study of the Scriptures. This Sunday, Pastor James will be sharing a sermon from Romans 16. As we finish our series on the book of Romans, he will provide some context to the entire book and specifically the first half of chapter sixteen.which should prove to be very helpful. I hope to see you soon.

Troy

 

Gooooaaaaal!

Last Friday night we loaded the family up into the van and attended a High School Soccer game for our oldest daughter. It was a championship game for a local high school tournament.

Now I must say, that over the past 7 years since our kids have played soccer, we have attended a lot of games. There are times when we leave feeling great and there are other times when we are mad at everyone starting with the ref.

I had watched a part of the semi-final game that took place before our semi-final game. And there was no doubt in my mind that the team we were going to play had the most obnoxious fans we had the pleasure of cheering against all year. I told my daughter and my wife to prepare themselves for the impending conflict.

So the game began…and those fans did not disappoint. Within a few minutes, they had started into the ref…and then my daughter’s team. I kept telling myself…cheer for blue and ignore the fans…

Well after about thirty minutes of hard-fought soccer, our opponents scored.

Worst.Feeling.Ever.

We kept cheering for blue and then just before halftime they scored again.

Moving into the second half, our team continued to play hard and they scored a goal.

The opposing fans quieted down a bit and we cheered a bit louder for blue. Then as the second half was starting to wind down, we scored again.

Tie game!

It was at this point that Leigh-Ann reached over and said, “we have to pray for Alexa to score a goal.”

She didn’t have to tell me twice.

We all paused on our own and prayed for Alexa to score…we kept cheering for blue…and then it happened.

In what seemed like slow motion, she took a few dribbles at the top of the box, saw an opening, took a shot and with what seemed like perfection graced over and past the goalie.

Gooooooaaaal!

It was a dream come true :).

Lexi soccer

So this Sunday the topic of my sermon from Romans 15:30-33 is prayer. I will tell you right now that if you come on Sunday, you too can pray like us and win championship games.

LOLOL!

Prayer to God is so much more than an attempt to win a game or get something great to happen. The point of the sermon is that prayer should be a priority for every Christian and the bulk of what I say will be an attempt to answer “WHY” prayer should be a priority.

I sure hope to see you then,

Troy

Announcement: Tonight, you can still come to New Life for a one-of-a-kind First Friday event, “The Cost of Compassion” held at 8:00 PM.  Watch a video on the event here.

#Jengafail

On Sunday, after Praising Jesus for His Resurrection,  packing in the ham and potatoes and having to unbutton my pants, we went outside to play some giant Jenga.

Jenga is a classic game made up of a tower built with blocks of wood. The object is to take one block of wood from within the tower and place it on the top. Game play continues around to each player until the tower becomes so unstable that it crashes to the ground.

Jenga Pic

Our game was a classic. For starters, we were playing with giant sized wood blocks. Next, the players could have been a who’s who of Jenga. Yours truly was the least of all….and I proved it by ultimately knocking over the tower. But not before we went through at least four rounds each time thinking for sure it was over.

After beating myself up for my loss :), I concluded that the Jenga tower is destined for failure.

And here’s why…

The resources are finite. So they will always run out.

Unfortunately, I think many people run their lives like a Jenga game. They continue to return to themselves for love, comfort, and inspiration. And every person is finite…and on their own, destined for failure. A self-resourced life will always fail.

Christianity, however, is quite different. God has provided Jesus as an eternal resource for love, comfort, and inspiration. When we accept His grace by faith we are given an infinite resource from which to draw our strength for this life.

On Sunday, we will climb back into Romans for one last series. We will start this week in Romans 15:14-21 where Paul begins his conclusion for the book. We will review some characteristics of Jesus (our eternal resource) and we will also look closely at a life dependent on Jesus as our eternal resource contrasted with the Jenga-like life of someone who only draws from themselves as a resource.

I think you will agree with me, Jenga is a great Sunday afternoon game…it’s a horrible strategy for life.

I hope to see you on Sunday,

Troy

Friends forever…

friends1

A relationship is a connection between persons.

Some relationships are limited to social media interactions while others are packed with investment of all sorts.

Last night at the dinner table, one of our kids was getting the bulk of attention (which is perfectly ok). However, after a while, one of the other kids made the observation that they felt ignored. So, we ignored the point that our child felt ignored. 🙂

After everyone pushed away from the table and began to disburse throughout the house, Leigh-Ann made the effort to connect with our child who felt ignored. She discovered that there were a few other events earlier in the day that contributed to our dinner table discussion.

Relationships are simply a connection between persons, but there is nothing simple about relationships.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave, James and I are really looking forward to sharing some concluding thoughts from Romans 14:1-15:13 regarding relationships within the church. Specifically, among fellow Christians, we will have different opinions on matters of preference and we must accept others without forcing them to see it our own way.

In addition to some shared sermon time, we are planning to spend time answering tough questions on the topic of relationships within a church.

I hope to see you on Sunday!

Troy

Welcome each other…

More than twenty years ago I was in college. Wow…I don’t feel that old, but based on the age of my kids and my receding hairline, there is no escaping reality. During that time, I was blessed with some incredible friends. Yesterday, I was able to spend time with one of them.

phil-and-troy

Phil is really like a brother. We spent four years as college roommates and experienced everything from sports to social life to competition over almost anything to studying together…though we certainly could have improved on that :).

It had been several years since we have spent time together, so prior to our meeting up, we each experienced a growing anticipation.

As soon as I landed, I knew it was going to be a great time…it was 70 degrees and sunny….in Detroit.

The moment we saw each other, it was like nothing had even changed…I mean, I may have put on a few pounds and added a few wrinkles, but within seconds we were laughing and sharing memories.

There was the time we ran out of gas late at night and woke up a farmer to ask for help…and the Sunday morning we ended up in the ditch after a tight country corner…dorm room Christmas parties…highs and lows as youth leaders…meeting our future wives…a time capsule…Monday night football between the Packers and Vikings…I could go on…

Phil is a friend for life…there is no doubt that if either of us had a need, we would do whatever necessary to welcome the other.

This Sunday we will finish up our series from Romans 14-15:13 with a call for us to welcome our Christian brothers and sisters. We have been studying Paul’s admonition for strong and weak Christians, Jews and Gentiles to seek the good of the other. In spite of differences, we must prioritize our unity.

I look forward to sharing more from Romans 15:7-13 regarding our call to welcome each other even if we disagree. And before you conclude that our relationship has always been easy, I want you to know, I drank my coffee out of a Green Bay Packers mug this morning…and I’m pretty sure that was an example of seeking my friends good above my freedom…:).

Can’t wait to see you on Sunday,

Troy

Zoe’s Boundaries…

zoe

We have a dog that struggles with boundaries. She loves to eat food that’s not hers and run away to trespass around the neighborhood.

When it comes to eating, she settles down underneath the table in a perfect location to inhale scraps that are inadvertently dropped from the forks (or fingers) of our boys.

When it comes to geographical boundaries, she waits for the first sign of a door opening to squeeze through and then runs off ignoring our shouts and whistles.

Zoe, our naughty poof-ball, has always made it back home. Sometimes a neighbor will have her in tow, sometimes-before we’ve even noticed she sneaked out- she just shows up scratching at the back door,  and sometimes we have to go get her on foot, bike, squealing van- you get the idea.

Our boundaries for our dog are more than fair and easy to oblige.

Zoe has an easy life! She gets treats for being good and typically gets away with being naughty- sometimes even getting a treat to entice her back into our yard that she has disobediently left! (Don’t judge-we spank our kids and spoil our dog.)  She has a nice house with several favorite spots for her to hang out. She has her own bed-2 actually, a basket full of toys, gets plenty of food and water and even gets her belly rubbed on demand!

Unfortunately, there is something inside her that still is not satisfied. At the first crack in the door, she will inevitably try to sneak out. When you have five kids that, this happens quite often.

To be honest, there are many similarities between Zoe and followers of Christ.

God has established His Kingdom (the domain of His reign) and within that Kingdom, we have been promised peace, joy, and happiness. However, it doesn’t take much for us to ignore God’s boundaries and attempt to find something better. At any time we live or act apart from faith, we have chosen to go beyond the domain of God’s reign.

This Sunday, we are studying from Romans 14:19-23. Paul is in the middle of teaching that the Kingdom of God is more important than our personal preferences. The bottom line is when we pursue anything beyond God’s reign, we are not living by faith. And unlike Zoe, those decisions leave us with some undesirable consequences.

I hope you have a great weekend, enjoying this beautiful weather! See you Sunday at New Life CityChurch!

Troy

Super Bowl Sunday…

In two days more than 100 million people will turn on the TV to watch the Super Bowl. This year the New England Patriots will play the Atlanta Falcons in Houston.

Tickets are starting at around $3,000 each. A thirty-second commercial will set you back about $5,000,000. Each member of the winning team will earn more than $100,000 bonus in addition to their $36,000 ring. The rest of us will watch commercials, eat food…( the National Chicken Council predicts that 1.23 billion chicken wings will be consumed)…and maybe even see some of the game.

Football is a sport that combines strategy, athleticism, and passion into a competition played out on a field where grown men lay it all out to move a properly inflated pigskin into the end zone of the opposing team.

The winning team gets the Vince Lombardi trophy and bragging rights for a full year when it comes to football.

I have no idea what that’s like…I must admit, my team from birth, the Minnesota Vikings may have a new stadium, but still no trophy.

Sad.
vikings-super-bowl
I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a football kingdom…the Chiefs ruined that in the beginning :). However, I do know what it’s like to be a part of the Kingdom of God. Two thousand years ago, the battle took place on a cross. In the midst of the mundane, Jesus battled sin to the death and won.

Each Sunday, Christians around the globe, gather together to celebrate the victory that towers far above every other championship in the history of the world combined.

Before you settle in for the big game, I hope you take some time to celebrate the greatest victory ever…the death and resurrection of Jesus.

At New Life, we’ve been studying from Romans fourteen and this Sunday,  James Cottier will be sharing a sermon about the Kingdom of God. If you have ever had questions about the Kingdom of God…and the significance for you, I hope you will plan to attend.

I sure hope to see you there,
Troy