Mom is…

Sixteen and a half years ago, Leigh-Ann and I experienced the most amazing moment when our first daughter, Alexa-Marie was born. I will never forget the anxious anticipation that led up to the moment when she came into this world, crying and gunky.

Not much has changed….just kidding :).

I must say that it is impossible for me to express the overwhelming joy that I felt meeting her for the first time. And to be honest, that moment has been just as powerful for each of our children, biological or adopted.

Having a baby and raising children are two very different responsibilities. Obviously, there is pain (trust me, it was hard supporting Leigh-Ann while she was in labor :)) and joy during the stages of life, however raising children is something that demands full attention for the long haul.

And this is one reason why I am incredibly grateful for the two mothers in my life, my wife, and my mom.

mom and grandma

My mom has always been my number one fan, whether it was on the wrestling mat, sports field or family game night, she has faithfully cheered me on. Mom instilled in me a love for Jesus and a commitment to doing the right thing. And even though she spoke much into my life, she has always walked the walk and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

As I consider my wife and the mother of our children, I am so blessed to have married Leigh-Ann who also loves Jesus and walks the walk. As much as I would like to think I have influenced my children, Leigh-Ann tirelessly speaks truth into them, leads by example and passionately fights for justice.

Over the past nearly nineteen years of marriage I am amazed as I have watched Leigh-Ann live out her calling as a mother. She was made to raise children…and she is top-shelf. She can whip up a meal or help with a school project and organize an entire household with ease. She can dig deep conversations out of our kids like an award-winning therapist and also make the entire family double over in laughter from her quick wit.

Each of these incredible traits is backed by one overarching passion…and that is her faith. And beyond her many God-given skills, I believe her love for Jesus will have the greatest impact on our family. I know this has been the reality for my own mom.

Well, this Sunday is Mother’s Day and I am super excited to look closely at the lives of a mother and a grandmother in the Bible, Lois and Eunice. These gals did not have an easy life, however, in spite of their own hurdles, they raised Timothy who became best friends with the Apostle Paul. And believe it or not, they have an incredibly powerful piece of advice for parents that want to raise successful children…always remain faithful to the Scriptures.

I look forward to sharing more from 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and also sharing in the celebration of some new babies at New Life during our baby dedication. Rumor also has it that there will be a video from KidCity. I hope to see you soon.

Troy

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Light for disappointing times…

This weekend, Kansas City plays host to the Big 12 basketball tournament. There are people all over downtown sporting their favorite game day gear, full of anticipation that their team will play well and win basketball games.
NCAA Basketball: Missouri vs. Baylor

Coming into this weekend, ten teams of players, coaches and fans are full of hope…dreaming about the possibility of winning the 2016 Big Twelve Basketball Tournament. And with that win, they have an even bigger hope of advancing into the final stages of the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.

At the end of this weekend…only one team will still be cheering…nine will be struggling with disappointment.

Unfortunately, disappointment doesn’t just happen after losing basketball games…there are many different circumstances that make us feel the pain that results from missed expectations.

Fortunately, we have been given a Guide that is especially good at walking us through these times in life.

This Sunday, we continue our Easter Series with a sermon from John 8:12. Jesus is the light of the world. He is literally (in my best Chris Traeger voice :)) the most superior guide for life.

So whether its a disappointing loss, a disappointing day at the office or even at home…Jesus is the light of the world and longs to be your guide.

Love and wallets…

This year, the kids pooled their money and bought me a new wallet. It is genuine leather and even has three sections for all my cards.

Since I have a new wallet, I also have an old wallet. So a few nights ago, I realized that Isaiah had some Christmas cash that seemed to be laying all over the house and I offered him my old wallet. You would have thought I gave him a new car. He was beaming.

Dallas already has a wallet, so he is covered in this department.

Ian however seemed to be a bit disappointed that I didn’t have a wallet for him.

He didn’t cry or throw a fit…which is a minor miracle, so I decided to look for one for him as well. I looked high and low and could find anything until I raided the junk drawer. Then I found something that would pass for a wallet for a three year old. He proceeded to put a $20 and a $5 bill in his wallet (he has more cash than I do :)).

Boys and their wallets He was so happy he slept with his wallet and when I woke him this morning, the first thing he said was, “where’s my wallet?”

Yesterday, Leigh-Ann had an appointment so I took the kids to school and then the boys came to church with me for a few minutes until she was done.

As soon as Ian saw someone at church, he pulled out a $20 and offered it to him. He has no clue what a $20 is worth, but I’m pretty sure when he does learn, he won’t be giving it away quite so easily.

He will learn some day that $20 is a currency that represents someone’s hard work and can then be used to purchase something. This Sunday we are going to be talking about a different type of currency.

The currency of love.

Love is amazing, but it’s not free. In fact it is the sum total of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. The greatest example of love cost the life of God’s only begotten son, Jesus.

The more we understand the cost of God’s love, the more we will value it. God’s love is an incredible asset to have when we are going through difficult trials. Tomorrow we will look closely at four different types of trials and we will see what happens when those trials intersect with God’s love.

I hope to see you on Sunday, who knows, maybe Ian will be handing out $20’s :), but if he’s not, God will still be offering love!

God is…

Fondue

On Christmas Eve, Leigh-Ann and I and the five kids celebrated the birth of Jesus with a few of our own traditions.

We fired up the fondue pot, along with some of our favorite sides and enjoyed a great meal. We were especially grateful that everyone stayed healthy which is no small achievement when you consider five kids ages 3-14 cooking meat on a fondue fork in boiling broth fueled by an open flame.

Afterwards, we opened some of our gifts.

So.Much.Fun.

The kids even surprised us with gifts…including a new wallet for me…I’m thinking they want me to have a nice holder for all the money they will need in the years to come :).

We ended the night by watching “The Nativity.”

Nativity Movie

nativity movie 2
The reality of Jesus’ birth puts our holiday into perspective.

  • Rome was overbearing and King Herod was downright evil.
  • Mary was so young and Joseph was so average.
  • The unexpected pregnancy created
    quite the stir.
  • The one hundred mile journey to Bethlehem was difficult.
  • The birthplace for Jesus was humble…embarrassingly humble for the Creator of the world.
  • Life was incredibly hard…no running water, electricity, decent transportation or direct long distance communication.

The movie was a great reminder that when we strip away the things that can be bought and the entertainment that can be enjoyed, people who have lived from the first century to the twenty-first century are still wired the same way.

The only way for us to find fulfillment and purpose is to start at the humble manger and end with the empty tomb.

Jesus came to bring hope to the world.

This Sunday, I look forward to sharing the first sermon in a four part series entitled, “God is…” from Isaiah 44:1-5 about the fact that God is louder than you think; but you have to be listening.

As we prepare to take down the Christmas tree and pack up the fondue pot for another year, I am so grateful that the story of Jesus’ birth is meant to be an integral part of our lives forever.

Reflections on life…

Death stings.

The stinging is fresh…a few days ago my Uncle Dave suffered a severe stroke and on Wednesday, he passed away.

My heart goes out to my Aunt Layna (could be a saint) who has lost her soul mate, my cousins who lost their dad and so many others who lost an incredible friend and role model.

Uncle Dave loved to laugh, tell corny jokes, play anything with a ball and ride anything with wheels. He loved to hunt, preach and watch the Packers, Bucks and Brewers.

Uncle Dave could make anyone feel welcomed and comfortable, drain 3-pointers on the Basketball court and preach tirelessly.

Uncle Dave loved God and people dearly.

His passing is painful for sure, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect.

Reflection heals.

Henri Nouwen wrote that life is a preparation for death as a final act of giving.

Uncle Dave spent his life giving…he gave his time and resources to his family and friends. Even in his death, he donated  his organs so that others could experience life.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave Robinson will be sharing a sermon from Luke 2 entitled, “Jesus the glory of Christmas.” This time of year is a celebration of the coming of Jesus into our world so that he could give His life. Interestingly enough, it was only after Jesus had left His disciples that they began to understand what He truly meant to them.

As I reflect on the life and now death of Uncle Dave, I am reminded of Jesus…and that’s about as good as it gets.

Thanks for joining my reflection of Uncle Dave and please consider joining our reflection of Jesus this Sunday at 10:45am which will include a Children’s Christmas Celebration from around the world.

Merry Christmas!

You are warmly invited to “An Acoustic Christmas” at New Life this Wednesday, December 23 from 6:30-7:30pm.

Starting right, ending well and everything in between

This past week my dad had a heart attack and then a few days later went under the knife for open heart surgery. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to be there with my dad, mom and siblings for this crucial life event.

Dad is in great shape and as a result was resilient in surgery and has recovered remarkably well.

The entire process has been an education for me. Once dad was taken into the hospital and the tests revealed a heart attack, the doctors, staff and family began a process of planning and then executing a strategy to treat the problem.

The surgery was scheduled. The family was educated. And the tools, products and staff were prepped.

Throughout the process I have learned a lot about the heart:

  • The first heart cell beats as early as four weeks.
  • There are more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels/arteries in each human body. That is enough to go around the world two times.
  • The heart beats 100,000 times per day…and never takes a break.
  • Your heart pumps 1.5 gallons per minute which adds up to 2,160 gallons per day.
  • Blood always finds its way back to the heart…fascinating.

So far, the process has been a success, but Dad still has a long road to recover. During the surgery the staff cut through his sternum, opened up his chest cavity, harvested healthy veins, turned his heart and lungs off, sewed healthy veins to bypass the blocked veins, re-started the heart, put everything back and sewed him up.

All in a day’s work.

Though the surgery started right and ended well, there was much that happened in between.

Sounds a lot like life…

This Sunday we will continue our “Life Management” series at New Life CityChurch. I will bring a sermon from Philippians 1:6 about starting right, ending well…and everything in between.

When it comes to life, most of us are “in between.”

We are in the grind of life. Within any given week we likely worry about relationships, money, career, family, etc. We experience wins…some of them big and we endure losses…some of them big as well.

We need truth to help us navigate. We need hope to motivate. We need discipline to captivate our fears.

There is help for the journey and we will study it this Sunday at 10:45am @newlifekc (www.newlifecity.church).

In the meantime, thanks for your prayers for my dad and his recovery during this time between. I am confident he will finish well.
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What if the Church?

New Life CityChurch has been a part of : http://whatifthechurch.org/for two years. This movement is designed to bring area churches together for the purpose of building their relationships with one another as well as the greater Kansas city community.

There are two parts to What if the Church?. The first is a three week message series. The 33 participating churches are divided into groups of three called triads. the teaching pastors of each church rotate over the series to teach at each other’s churches. This year New Life CityChurch is grouped again with Covenant Chapel and Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist church.

The second part of What If The Church? is called Serve Day. The people of the participating churches will come together and spend the morning of June 6, to serve at hundreds of community projects around the city. Our triad will serve at the Hope Center: http://hopecenterkc.org/. There will be multiple different projects in which you can participate…so whether you are skilled at a trade or are afraid of a hammer, there will be plenty to do.

This Sunday, one of the pastors in our group had a death in the family so Pastor Dave, from New Life is filling in to preach a sermon entitled: The Gospel Lifestyle :: What do SEX, HUMOR, SUFFERING and SELF-ESTEEM have to do with the Gospel?

It’s going to be a great start to a great opportunity to serve Jesus by serving the needs in our city.

I hope you can attend,

Troy

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