Story of the Soul

Over the past several month’s much work has been invested into Story of the Soul. This Sunday, when you arrive at New Life, things will be a bit different.

We will have the chairs in the auditorium set up in groups of 5-6. There will be pastries and even more coffee than usual. It will feel a bit like an oversized coffee shop.
SOTS Crowd Wide Shot
During our actual service time there will be two movie clips and one poem presented. A presenter will introduce some context for each piece and then afterward introduce a short discussion.

At the end of our service, Pastor Dave (who began this outreach overseas more than twenty years ago) will close out our time by turning to the Bible for answers.

Many people have worked very hard to provide an environment where non-churched people will feel comfortable and safe to explore Christianity.

We really hope and pray that you will be able to attend tomorrow at 10:45 am.

See you at 10:45 am,



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.


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.




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.


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.


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.


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,


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.


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,


Good Friday…even better Sunday!!!

Today is a day of reflection for millions of people around the world. It is our privilege to remember the most incredible death of Jesus, the Son of God.

Jesus endured agony beyond our wildest imaginations during the crucifixion process. While on the cross, He made seven short statements that reveal His heart:

            Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23:34)

            Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

            Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. (John 19:26-27)

            My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

            I thirst. (John 19:28)

            It is finished. (John 19:30)

            Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

And then there was silence!

And darkness!

Hope seemed to be gone…it was the darkest of days.

The Sabbath came and went.

And then very early on Sunday morning, His close friends began to journey to the grave.

And it was empty…

Jesus was alive, just as He said.

Easter 2017.png

This Sunday, I hope you can join us for a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. I will bring a sermon from John 20:1-18 in response to the question, “How does the Resurrection provide hope in the midst of the pain and tragedy of this life?”

I hope to see you there!


Big Pancake…

Earlier today,  I took our youngest with me to the Apple store. My phone was having problems. The Apple Store Genius told me that when a phone starts to run out of memory it starts acting crazy. He told me it’s like coming home from work on a nice day and opening your front door to see a house packed with boxes. And then squeezing by some of them to open the door to another room and that is also full of boxes. He said when that happens, the phone doesn’t know what to do so it starts throwing boxes around.

Makes sense…

So, while we were waiting for the Apply Store Genius to help give the phone a therapy session, Ian and I had to kill some time.

We stared at the big screen, found an Apple TV and then moved on to some other gadgets like a part of the table that moved up and down by motion sensors.

He could move his hand like a magician and a bar of outlets and plug-ins would appear. And then he would move it again and they would be hidden in the table.

After he performed his trick a few times, I leaned over and whispered, “how did you get so strong?”

He looked at me, and thought for a second and then said, “because I ate a big pancake this morning.”

Ian Pancake

There is no way I could have predicted his response…it was completely random and hilarious.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave, James and I are planning to tag team on the sermon about how to respond to the needs in our world with love and in turn point people to Jesus.

Similar to my story about Ian, it is nearly impossible for us to predict what someone is thinking. Which means we have to become great listeners…it also means we have to build relationships with people who are different from us.

I am really looking forward to Sunday…but first, we are gearing up for a great time this evening during First Fridays. If you have some time, come on down to New Life CityChurch.

Have a great weekend,



Sports teach us a lot about life. Sports provide a platform for athletes to learn that life is bigger than winning and losing. Sports teach us the value of discipline and hard work and grit. Sports make us jump up and shout they can also make us want to cuss (notice I said, “want to” :)).

Last night after 111 straight wins, the UCONN women’s team lost. Cheers to Mississippi State and their hard work. Today, the men’s tournament will be whittled down to the final two teams standing. And no, I didn’t pick either of them…maybe next year.

Several weeks ago, in the spirit of March Madness, I started following the #lavarballsays saga…and it has been quite entertaining.


In case you have had more important things to worry about…Lavar Ball is the father of UCLA star basketball player Lonzo Ball and two High School Basketball stars, LiAngelo and LaMelo.

There is no question, he has some incredibly talented boys, however, he could be a bit biased about his own career and the future of his sons.

He has made the claim that he could have beat Michael Jordan 1v1. Pause for a moment and let that sink in……ok…..he has also made the claim that his son Lonzo is a better player than Steph Curry.

But it doesn’t stop there…he decided to go after LeBron James son and of course found some way to involve Charles Barkley.

Now, he could end up being right about a lot of those claims…I doubt it….but we shall see. No matter what, he has successfully found a way to get the attention of the media and many other people including myself.

It takes guts to make a big claim….it takes much more to fulfill a big claim.

This Sunday, we are going to talk about the biggest claim ever made. We will study from Luke 4:16-31 about a time when Jesus of Nazareth walked into the Synagogue, read from the prophet Isaiah about the coming Messiah and then told the crowd, “today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

A difference (and there are many) between LaVar and Jesus is that Jesus made the biggest claim in the history of ever…and then He fulfilled it ENTIRELY.


So what does this mean for a devoted follower of Jesus?

I hope to answer that question tomorrow :)!

Have a great day,

Announcement: Tomorrow morning at 9:30 am, the elders will begin our discovery course. If you have been wanting to explore the Scriptures at a deeper level, then you will not want to miss. Class notes will be provided tomorrow.