Sunday, October 19, 2014


"I'm grateful you're here to worship with us this morning," Pastor Brad began. "What would you like to be known for as a community? One of the things I'd like to be known for is generosity. When our name comes up -- New Life Covenant Church -- what is it that you would like people to say about us? Generosity is important not only because God was generous, but it says something about who we are as a people."

1. First CHIC fundraiser will be the "Stockholders Dinner" November 2. Buy tickets in  the back of the church after the service.
2. Darlene is putting together a church choir. Practice will begin first week of November.
3. Work day yesterday was outstanding. The next two weeks are critical because there's a lot of labor needed to hang walls, etc. Wednesday and Thursday we'll need help, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. plus next Saturday. Thank you to all who have given time to help.
4. Next Sunday will be one of our semi-annual meetings after church.

Darlene's intro featured "As the Deer" and "Holy, Holy, Holy" in a medley of worshipful ascension, a nice entry into our corporate worship time.

There were some painful prayer needs lifted up, and some wonderful expressions of thanks given.


Brad began by commenting on the show Storage Wars. People have storage lockers because they can't fit all their "stuff" in their houses. We accumulate stuff, but then have to maintain it, store it, figure out what to do with it.

We always say our material goods aren't important to us, yet there is an incredible pull to accumulate things.

Jesus said, "Beware, a person's life does not consist of how much stuff he has."

The parable is told about the man who had accumulated so much wealth he decided to build even bigger silos.... and God says, "You fool. Tonight your life will be taken from you."

He then read Acts 4:32-35.

Brad brought up a principle about how certain things that are good lead to other spin-ffs that are also good. Eating meals as a family together has other good consequences. Exercise also.

Generosity is this kind of activity. It leads us into other positive by-products. Relationship-building. Awareness of needs besides our own. And other good that comes of it.

The generosity of the early church was an entirely new thing. And it caught peoples' attention. The result was that they enjoyed the good favor of the people.

Jesus actually talked a lot about money. Of 30 parables that Jesus told, 19 were about money. Money tends to enslave us. It also skews the way we view others. We often measure people by how much money they have.

Do you think today we're more or less inclined toward materialism and consumerism than 2000 years ago? It's more. Based on the world we live in, money is a trap.

Generosity is the core of who we are. Life is not about our stuff. Yet our desires lean in that direction.

In the early church, the attitude was that "All I have is God's." It's not mine. The result is that when you do not "own" your things, you find what you really put your trust in.

The thing about generosity is that it strikes at the heart of our core sin. Adam and Eve's sin was a desire to own, to have, something that didn't belong to them.

The idea of owning more and more, and never being satisfied with what you have, is contagious.

Brad ended with this: "God so loved the world that He gave..." From beginning to end we see that our God is a generous, giving God.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parable of the Talents

A straight up blue sky and sunshine greeted us today, and Pastor Brad welcomed us with the same sonshine.

Next Saturday will be another work day and we're looking for volunteers to help continue the work on the new building.

This summer 2015 our youth have an opportunity to go to CHIC, a Christ-centered youth gathering in Tennessee held every three years. Brooke shared a one minute clip that summarized some of what they will be experiencing. There will some fund raising events to help cover expenses for the dozen or so youth from our church who will be going next summer.

Stockholders Dinner, Saturday, November 1, 5-7 p.m.
Also, bring your shiny magazines to the church to discard instead of recycle center. This kind of paper can be redeemed for cash.

Chuck, Ken and Darlene led worship this morning. He noted that there will be a special children's church today during the service in which they would be sharing about Jonah. The song selection was heart-warming, concluding with "I'd Rather Have Jesus" which we sang during the offering.

After a corporate time of prayer and intercession, Brad led us and we concluded with the words that Jesus taught us.

Parable of the Talents

We began by hearing the reading of Matthew 25:14ff.

The story begins with a generous master who gives an immense gift. Brad explains that the "talent" is equivalent to 10,000 denarii. It's an unusually generous gift. But this is not a sermon about money. It's much more than that.

This parable raises the question, what are we supposed to do with these things that have been entrusted to us?

The point of the story is not that these people use these things for themselves, but asks them what they did with these things.

This great gift is given with no instructions. In other words, we are to take the initiative to figure out what to do with what we have been given.

In this story the first two servants are completely moved by what happened, and couldn't wait to do something with what they had been given. The third guy went away, dug a hole and buried it. The tragedy here is that he received this great gift, but from that day till the master returned his life was no different than before.

There's a difference between sins of commission and sins of omission. Since of commission are the things we do in violation of God's law. But sins of omission are equally culpable. The love we didn't share, the failure to encourage others, the failure to be grateful, the failure to help someone in need, the failure to be generous with our time or money.

In this story, there are two people who are overwhelmed with gratitude and their lives are never going to be the same.

What dream keeps you up at night? What dream do you dream of? It doesn't have to be something flashy. In fact, God is not flashy.

Another question: What's keeping you from being a good and faithful servant? In the story, the third man was afraid of failure so he hid it, and failed massively.

What do you want to hear at the end of your life?

The watching world doesn't care how good our worship services are. Rather, when we leave this place, will Jesus' name be lifted up? Will lonely people be visited? Will hungry people be fed?

If we use our gifts instead of burying them, we'll hear Him say those ever so powerful words, "Well done."

* * * *
A few photos showing this week's progress...

Surveying the parking lot.
The siding began going on this week.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Around and Around It Goes

Sunshine filled the sanctuary for today's service. Outside, blustery weather reminded us what season it is. Pastor Brad, as always, welcomed us warmly. "Good morning! I'm grateful you're here today. This morning I will be looking at a subject that is important, that we all face... that is decision making."

Darlene and Chuck were away this weekend, so Ed filled in on the accompaniment for our worship and the traveling music that accompanied taking of the offering.

After a time of prayer, the pastor delivered this important message.

Around and Around It Goes

Brad began by reading Galatian 6:7-8
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

There is a law of consequences, and we ignore it to our own peril. Brad illustrated this with a story about riding down to the corner on an ATV with Brooke on a dirt bike to meet incoming relatives from out of town... knowing it is against the law

God is calling us to make better choices. The book of Judges became our lesson source.

Judges 1:5-7 tells a story about a king who had his thumbs and big toes cut off, As it turns out, he actually had done the same for 70 other kings whom he victimized in the same way and made them eat scraps from under his table.

In short, we reap what we sow. Justice doesn't go unaddressed, though it may seem so for a time.

If you ignore God, if you do what is wrong, if you sin... there are consequences.

Judges 2:11ff explains how the people of Israel stopped obeying God, and how God raised judges when they cried out to God. But when God delivered they got back into worse things. And a cycle begins and continues of peace leading to complacency about evil and each time they fall into the hands of their enemies, the cried out to the Lord again, and He raised up a deliverer.

Deliverance is followed by peace, but then they go back to their old ways, then suffering follows, and they cry out again to God. Some of these experiences are horrors.

For the duration of judges we read about this cycle of peace and followed by bad decisions, then judgment. The cycle repeats itself twelve times in this book. Sin followed by pain.

Ultimately, this verse sums up what was going on: "In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing." ~Judges 17:6

Sounds a lot like our world today.

What are you sowing right now that you don't want to reap in the future? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
If I am a parent am I sowing peace?
If I am dating am I sowing honor and maturity and sexual purity?
In my financial life and I sowing generosity and simplicity?
In my friendships am I sowing loyalty?
In my speech am I sowing truth?
In my habits am I sowing self-control?
In my family am I sowing compassion?

The book of Judges is about cycles that represent the cycles we all go through.
If you ask Jesus to be your savior, he will deliver us  from our own cycles of bondage.

After this, we transitioned into a celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Current status of our new building's interior.