Great coffee…

How would you describe a great coffee shop?

Using words to paint a picture of something can be a challenge. But since the topic is coffee, I am going to give it a shot.

I think a great coffee shop always smells good. When I enter I like to pause and take in a deep breath of the aroma of roasting beans. Then I love to hear the sound of beans grinding, latte’s steaming, and people talking and laughing. When it comes to the décor, the floors, ceilings, and walls should be simple and clean but still, make you wonder what one would learn “if walls could talk.”

Of course, a great coffee shop must serve great coffee…I am a simple guy (and I tend toward cheap) so I typically drink drip coffee. My favorite is smooth, strong and loaded with caffeine.

A few weeks ago, I tasted a special coffee and it flooded my memory with times back in college when I used to ride dirt bikes on trails in the woods of Wisconsin.

A great coffee shop will have comfortable seating to relax and visit or tables where one can get some work done. Wifi is non-negotiable.

In my opinion, the only way to make greatness when it comes to a coffee shop is to boast a nice view of the city, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and freshly baked bread.

I have experienced all of the above at Messenger Coffee which is located just a few blocks from New Life and now I want to keep going back.

Messenger Coffee

So here’s the tie-in…This Sunday we will have good coffee at New Life. I will also continue our sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger” with a sermon from John 1:1-18. Instead of describing coffee, the Apostle John describes Jesus Christ.

In his description, he draws from personal experience with Jesus and uses words like ‘life’, ‘light’ and ‘Word’ to compile a prologue to the book that is absolutely amazing. I look forward to sharing more on Sunday at 10:45 am.

In the meantime, maybe you can find a great coffee shop and read through John 1 to prepare for the service on Sunday. Have a great evening,


Announcement: Tonight is our Christmas Gathering, at 7pm at New Life. You will not want to miss it :).


O Christmas Tree…

This past week we loaded up the family and made the trip to Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family. The weather was unseasonably warm and that was especially nice when it came to outdoor activities.

Our traditional trek to cut down a Christmas Tree was no exception.

It took about thirty minutes to drive out to the farm. When we arrived, we went into the shop and loaded up on candy canes, asked for the latest advice on trees and secured a few saws.

It seemed that every time we located one that gave us hope, we found a reason to reject it. Typical reasons would be that it was bare on one side or what looked like one tree was actually two or three growing together or the branches were sparse, etc.

So, we walked around for an hour looking for perfection then we started to get tired and hungry and all those imperfections seemed to melt away and we settled on something nice, but certainly less than perfect.

Ultimately, we got home with our tree and went to work setting it up. We trimmed some branches, put it on the stand, gave it water and then Leigh-Ann brought in her magic that included ribbon, ornaments, and lights.

Christmas Tree

We have worked hard to make our imperfect tree look perfect.

Kind of reminds me of religion.

At times people work hard to hide their imperfection. However, this time of year we celebrate much more than religion, we celebrate substitution.

Jesus, the Son of God came to earth took on flesh, lived a perfect life and then was crucified, buried and rose again victorious over death.

The story that we love to tell is that instead of having to “dress up” our imperfections with good works, we can admit our imperfection and by faith trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus as sufficient to take our place. Jesus is our Perfect Substitute.

We are in the middle of a Christmas sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger.” This Sunday, Pastor James will bring a sermon from John 7:37-39 entitled, Christmas — Drink for our Souls. I know it will be a great reminder of the hope we have been given through Jesus.

I hope to see you soon,


Announcement: We would love for you to join us on Friday, December 8th at 7:00 pm. There is more information on the New Life Christmas Gathering page online.



Leigh-Ann is a very good cook and recently she made meatballs for dinner. Most of us thought they tasted great. There was one of our boys, however, that did not like them. He took an initial bite and within a few moments, made a sour face and a very bold statement, “I hate this.”

Well, if you know Leigh-Ann and me, you may guess that telling us that you hate dinner is not healthy…at all. And that is certainly not a way to negotiate out of eating what is on the table.

At first, we gave him the benefit of the doubt. We thought that maybe he had too many snacks before dinner and simply was not hungry. However, as Leigh-Ann and I began to raise the threat level, we could tell he had made up his mind that he flat out hated the meatballs.

Dinner time drama…

Not to be deterred, we made it clear that these meatballs were the only option, so if he didn’t finish them, he couldn’t attend soccer practice or eat anything else and he certainly wouldn’t get ice cream before bed.

Eventually, he ate parts of the meatballs and then spread the other parts out over the plate (potentially scraping a few off into the salivating mouth of our dog Zoe) so that our food boundaries were fulfilled for the evening.

He was able to go to practice and even have some snacks before bed, but not without shedding a few tears while forcing down bites of his meatballs. I would have to say that if Dallas is faced with eating those meatballs again, he will immediately look for ways to get out of it.

Hate is a strong emotion that is extremely difficult and at times impossible to overcome.
So I understand hating food or even certain activities, but what do we do if God hates something?

This Sunday, we will wrap up our sermon series, Wisdom for everyday life, with a sermon from Proverbs 6:16-19 entitled, “Things God hates.”

In case you are wondering, it will include a simple application, don’t do what God hates. Seems easy enough…however if you are interested in hearing more about what God hates and how to steer clear of these sins, you should join us for our service on Sunday at 10:45 am.

And now it’s time to head home for dinner….hmmm…I wonder what’s on the menu tonight :)…

Have a great weekend,

Announcements: This Sunday we are hosting our New to New Life class for anyone interested in learning more about church membership. If you would like to attend, you can RSVP HERE.

Baptism – Also, everyone is invited to our Baptism celebration on Sunday at 5:00 pm at Lake Quivira. You can RSVP HERE.

Kickball proficiency…


Our boys love to play kickball and once they get started, it seems like they can play forever.

Last night after a soccer practice, they talked several of their teammates into sticking around for a pickup game.

I helped them set up the field and then they divided and started to play. All but one of the boys knew how to kick the ball and then go to first base and then to second and then to third and finally to home plate.

One little guy, however, seemed to think you could go from first to third…and he paid for it until he learned. He was thrown out every time with no mercy.

Our boys, on the other hand, are aggressive in a different sort of way. They like to take extra bases whenever possible. Whether they stretch a single into a double or triple; or simply steal a base, they are always looking to outwit and outrun the defense.

Their skill as base runners has improved in proportion to their experience. I remember times when they ran to third base after kicking the ball. When they were younger, they simply did not understand the game.

Through a mix of coaching and learning by experience, they have become quite proficient…which makes me smile.

Much of life requires coaching and experience…and parenting is no exception.

Looking back on our early years of parenting, we made plenty of mistakes…and we still do. However, with good coaching and life experience our proficiency has improved.

This Sunday, I am really looking forward to hearing Pastor Dave bring a sermon from Proverbs 22:6 entitled, “A parents aim and hope.” This is part of our sermon series from Proverbs entitled, Wisdom for everyday life. No matter what stage of life you are in, this sermon will provide practical and challenging teaching that will apply to you as a child, parent, future parent, grandparent, etc. There may even be some humor along the way :).

I hope you have a great weekend,


True friends…

Ian Campbell

Our four soon to be five year old has a birthday coming up towards the end of the month. Since we have a large family, we alternate years for large birthday celebrations and small celebrations. This year, Ian gets a small one…two friends.

So at the dinner table last night we discussed the upcoming birthday and the friends that he was hoping to invite. He rattled off a few names and one of them was younger. I asked why he wanted to invite this little guy over and Ian replied, “he’s my friend.” Leigh-Ann filled in that they are such good friends that the younger guy started crying when Ian got hurt recently.

I’m not so sure that reflects on Ian as much as his friend…but either way, it sounds like he is already experiencing the value of a good friend.

I have thought of that story several times today while preparing Sunday’s sermon entitled, “Building Rock Solid Friendships” in our series from Proverbs, Wisdom for everyday life.

I am often amazed that young kids have much to offer when it comes to building and maintaining friendships. They also have much to learn…put three boys together in the back seat of a car and friendship goes away pretty fast.

Whether we are four, forty or eighty…friendships are unavoidable. They determine our success in life.

I look forward to sharing some personal experiences, practical Proverbs and most importantly Gospel truth about developing successful friendships. I hope to see you on Sunday.


Broken Glass 1, Dallas 0

A few days ago Dallas was riding his scooter and while clipping along, he pushed off on what happened to be a piece of glass. In an instant the glass met the foot and pierced through the bottom of his shoe and stuck.

Since he was a few blocks away, his younger brother Isaiah ran back to the house telling mom there was an emergency and “Dallas is bleeding everywhere!”

Leigh-Ann is the best when it comes to emergencies. She thinks clearly at Mach speed and moves with the perfect mix of experience and practicality.

After bringing him home and cleaning him up, she sent me a pic of his sock and shoe  with the text: “So this just happened.”

Dallas Glass

They went in to the ER to make sure there were no pieces of glass still lodged in the foot and to get it deep-cleaned and bandaged up to avoid an infection.

Another day with kids…honestly not that big of a deal…unless you’re Dallas :). He is supposed to stay off his foot for a week and be cautious for another while it heals.

As tough as he is…there was still a moment when Dallas needed a parent to be with him and guide him through a tough time.

I would say, we never outgrow our need for a parent to be with us and guide us…although as we mature and grow in our Christian faith, the parent we need most is a Heavenly Father.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave will continue our teaching series from Proverbs, “Wisdom for Everyday Life” with a sermon from Proverbs 3:5-6 entitled, “The way to wisdom and well-being.” It is a sermon about our faith in our loving Father.

So even if you are not at risk for an injury while riding a scooter, there is a constant threat of tough times, and we need a loving Father who is always there for us.

I hope to see you Sunday,


Announcement: This Sunday at 9:30am, you are invited to a class entitled, “Navigating the Dangers of the Digital Age.” Join us, as we take a deeper dive into the dangers that our children face while using technology on a daily basis.  In the digital age, parents must be observant, engaged, and informed.  We will use stats, stories, science, and solutions to enlighten, equip, and encourage parents who want to teach their children how to use technology responsibly.

Simple Driving…

Last night, I voluntarily put my life on the line and took our oldest daughter out driving for the second time.

Lexi Driving

Let’s just say, she is steadily improving, but letting her out on the open road could be hazardous to one’s health :).

Last night, she backed out of the garage…ever so s l o w l y and proceeded down the alley to the street. After one lesson, her turns were much improved. She is learning to stop without the threat of whiplash and can now stay in her lane for the most part.

A few blocks away from our house, as she approached an intersection there was a woman in the middle of the street holding up her hand for us to stop.

So we did….phew…it just so happened that a tree (possibly struck by lightning) had fallen in the middle of the street taking an electrical line with it. The woman was protecting us from something dangerous…so we backed up and eventually, I swapped places to help navigate around the impending danger.

We detoured through a few streets and after a bit more practice driving made it home and into the garage safely.

There is no doubt my blood pressure was higher when we returned than when we started, however, she did great driving.

Imagine what would have happened if we had approached the downed power line and Alexa had ignored the warning and kept driving. Or even worse, if she laughed at my instruction, stepped on the gas and blasted into the danger zone?

This Sunday, we begin a new sermon series from the book of Proverbs entitled, “Wisdom for everyday life” and we will look specifically at four personality profiles: simple, fool, scoffer and wise.

To relate this to my story, since Alexa is learning to drive she is automatically in the ‘simple’ category…she lacks experience. But if she had ignored the warning about the downed power line she would have moved into the ‘fool’ category…and furthermore, if she had laughed at my instruction as she sped into the power line she would have moved into the ‘scorner’ category.

Good thing she listened and is moving toward the ‘wise’ category. And since she is becoming wise, we are alive to tell about it. I look forward to much more from Proverbs on Sunday.

I hope to see you then,