Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us this morning and noted that the Shannons are at camp this week on family vacation. Our service would be comprised of testimonies by three members of our congregation, John Peyto, Kelly Smith and Kristina Vanderscheuren. The service was quite special as we learned more about the moving, real life stories behind some of our members.

The most important announcement had to do with the survey we're being asked to fill out at the bottom of our church website, NewLifeCov.net.

The intro to worship was by our quartet, which included a new face, singing Worthy of Worship. After a word of prayer we sang several songs from the blue songbook. The offering was taken and we entered into a time of prayer.

A passage of Scripture preceded each testimony, the first being I Peter 3:15.

John Peyton was asked a couple weeks ago to respond to the question "What has God done in my life?" He began his early childhood in Catholic school, and after plenty of misbehaving he was sent to public school. He continued this same path, hurt a lot of people and after a failed marriage and being inconsiderate toward others he began to experience a depression that indicated he needed to change his life. Eventually he returned to the church, a Methodist church, and began to see changes in his life and attitudes.

He shared how Nancy became part of his life, how God's hand brought them together.

John had 2 children by his first marriage, children whom he stayed in touch with as they grew. When his son was old enough he entered the navy, but after a year abroad he was killed overseas in a traffic accident. This hit John hard. Five years later he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. It was a time when only 12 of a hundred were surviving this kind of prognosis. He shared how God's mercy brought him through.

Nancy and John became very intentional about their faith and committed to helping others, both exhibiting a humble and genuine faith.

Kelly Smith shared what God is doing in her life, one with difficulties that have challenged their faith and their family. Kelly said she always felt growing up that she was called to be a mom. Her son was born with a disability and was told he would never walk on his own, never breathe on his own and never smile. He has lived to do all three, though not an easy road to get there.

They adopted a girl who was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and she shared the host of issues they have had to deal with. She shared her hurt, fear, pain in a moving manner. The ongoing struggle with incident after incident, things never dreamed of, yet God is a God of hope. It's been hard on their marriage, hard on their children... but they are trusting God in the midst of it.

Pam read from II Timothy 1:5 as an intro to Kristina Vanderscheuren's story. Kristina grew up in the church, went to church with her dad. The services were long and boring. But she looked forward to going out to eat with her father afterwards and this was meaningful.

When her family moved to Ashland they were the only colored people in a white school. This led to her acting up and getting in trouble. When her father died early, she became angry at God and hating God. These were hard times.

One day she met a pastor who was very real and down to earth, and went to his church, and ultimately encountered God. After this she began going to church every Sunday and became hungry to do more. As a result of this she met John and has a beautiful child.

* * * *
It was a very special service as we got to see unvarnished some of the realities in some of the lives of our church family, and God's part in bringing people through. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kindness Isn't Rocket Science

"Good morning. I'm grateful you're here today." Brad welcomed us warmly and stated today's theme regarding kindness. We want to be a community that brings life through the things we say.


Tuesday council meeting will be Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
September 13 is Rally Day, but we especially want to to celebrate a House Warming for the new church building.
Brooke shared that there is a survey on our church website. Go to newlifecov.net, scroll down and fill out the survey. Our aim is to have use this information in the new church directory. We also want to help everyone to connect with church ministries and our community.
Brooke then changed personalities to thank us on behalf of all who went to the MUUUCE Kids event. (MUUUCE stands for Most Unbelievable Ultimate Urban Camping Experience.)
Embridge Energy is donating five houses to Habitat for Humanity. They will need to be moved but are good homes for five needy families, If you know of a family in need, contact Norm.

After a time of worship an offering was taken, and we spent time in prayer.

Kindness Isn't Rocket Science

How do we give words of life to each other?

Brad shared several examples of how words can make a difference.

What if this coming week each time we interact with someone we would ask God to speak through us. It's sometimes amazing what words will come out.

Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Everyday in a thousand small little ways we use words. And every word carries a little bit of life, or death.

I want to build a culture here where marriages can flourish. The words we use in our marriages create life. "I will never stop loving you."

The life of the church doesn't start with programs. It's about what comes out of our mouths. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Bear one another's burdens.

Our tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 10:14 states, "The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin."

What you know about indicates what you care about. Whatever you care about, you're going to think about. Whatever you know about shows what you care about. How well do you know your spouse?

The reverse is also true. By getting to know more about someone will care more. When you learn about people, you care about them.

How we greet each other after being apart

Proverbs 12:18 says, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." It is important how we talk with one another.

Proverbs 15:4 states, "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit."

Proverbs 18:2 has further advice, especially for married couples. "Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions."

Here's yet another: "Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." (Proverbs 15:30)

Write down a quality that you find special about your spouse or good friend and then tell them about it. Practice saying thank you, too.

And never get tired of saying, "I love you."

The truth is, that's why we are on this planet.

Jesus said, "I must do the work of the one who sent me while it is day." In other ords, life is short. Now is the time to love, to act, to give. Your continuing debt to this world is to lvoe.

Don't end your life saying "I wish I had loved like I could have loved."

This week, ask God to speak through you.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Regarding Prayer

Today is the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost. During the sound check Pastor Brad's microphone was not working and he slipped to the back to find a fresh battery. The grey skies and technology failed to dampen the mood and two minutes later Brad re-emerged to welcome us warmly. "I'm grateful you'e here this morning. It's always good to see you."

"Worship is an act of participation. We come with our wills, minds. bodies and spirits to enter into worship together. Today is crowd participation day.... as we sing some wonderful hymns of the faith which we do not always sing...

We have a Bloodmobile after church. Sign up after the service if you have not
Sign up sheet for after church for providing sweets and treats in future services.

We enjoyed a different kind of service this morning as various members of the congregation stood and shared prescribed readings from the hymnal interspersed with classic hymns, an offering and our times of prayer.

Regarding Prayer

Brad began by stating we'll be looking at Matthew 6. There's a cost to praying because it involves risk. Prayer involves risk. We risk being disappointed.

Prayer isn't easy to talk about because we've heard so many sermons growing up that make us feel guilty because we're not praying enough or not sure what to say or our minds wander or we have doubts about whether it is real. Does God even listen? If He cares, why haven't I seen it? Is it worth my time to pray? Is prayer a waste of time?

So many of us move prayer tot he margins of our lives, praying only when we're in a desperate straits.

If we look at the Bible it's a continuous story of people who walked and talked with God. Even Jesus, the one thing He did, no matter how busy, took time to pull away from the crowds to be alone with the Father. He called the Temple a house of prayer. Prayer mattered.

In the four Gospel, the one thing that is recorded in all four, is "Jesus, teach us to pray." They didn't say, "Teach us to heal," or "Teach us to preach." They said, "Teach us to pray."

Jesus taught them what has been called The Lord's Prayer, though it is really our prayer.

Matthew 6:5-15

Many of us have recited so many times we can say them without thinking, which is exactly the opposite of what Jesus wanted.

But Jesus said, "This is how you pray." Not "this is what you pray."

Even when we cry out, "God, why is this happening?" Even that is a kind of prayer.

1. Pray genuinely.
Don't worry about the words you are using. This is not a performance for others. Don't get hung up on using the right words.

Jesus didn't teach His followers to pray religiously. He asked them to pray authentically.

The way you get to meaningfully prayer is to start where you're at. Begin where you are and He will lead us into the broader things, to that which matters.

2. Remember who we're talking to.
Sometimes we speak conceptually about a God we suspect that we can't know personally. But Jesus says pray to our Father. The word reminds us that God is a being that can be known. You get to be a child again, a kid who can always approach his father and talk with him.

The word Father reminds us that we're not in control of the outcome when we pray. Too often we pray superstitiously, like it's some magic chant we have to say by rote.

3. We need to pray bigger.
Too often our prayers revolve around our small things, but Jesus teaches us to pray like this: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven." Jesus teaches us to pray in significant ways. "Father, bring justice. Father, protect children. Father, end the violence, end the abuse."

When we pray bigger it puts thinigs back into a broader context. We need a kingdom-sized vision. We can't settle for anything less. We're called on to ask for more than we can even imagine.

4. We can't be afraid to ask.
Sometimes we censor our requests before asking because we think God doesn't care. But in Scripture we see Jacob asking God for blessing, and others made requests for themselves.

Do we get what we want? This doesn't happen because some prayers are at odds with each other.

But when something is really important, don't stop praying just because you fear being disappointed. Our faith means we have to be willing to keep asking.

Jesus taught us to do this. He tells the parable of the widow who keeps returning to the judge, asking and asking and asking. When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on earth? Ask, and keep asking. In another place He said, "You don't have because you don't ask."

Our prayers matter.

What really amazes is that how God does answer. Sometimes God shows up and in ways we never expected.

5. We need to be willing to wait on God.
He was teaching us to pause, to listen. We don't like to wait. We're in a hurry. Even when we pray, we finish and get up to get on with the next thing.

God's desire is that we wait, make space for God to speak back to us.

It happens all the time, we get impatient and fail to experience how God wants to answer us.

"Ask and you will receive," Jesus said.

Instead of trying to control the outcome, let God speak and act. Trust, have faith. Expect big things.

God is not asking you to pretend or use special language. God knows what's best for you. God is up to so much more than we can imagine.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Following Jesus

Today was Communion Sunday
"This is the day that the Lord has made... let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Brad welcomed us warmly and our special guests Mark & Mary Lynn Rhoads, and the Hagens.

Pray for our junior high kids who are going on a weeklong trek called M.U.U.U.C.E
Sept 13, Grand Opening / Open House here at our new church.
Seeking volunteers to help with church maintenance.
Bloodmobile next Sunday, Auguat 9.

The trio sang There Came A Man and then Heavenward Bound, another wonderful Gospel song after which we sang several songs as a congregation. During the offering we joined them in singing He's Everything To Me.

There were several prayer requests shared. After a time of prayer Brad read to us from Matthew 11:25-30.

Mark and Mary Lynn Rhoads, and Gwen led us in singing Trust and Obey before Brad introduced our guest speaker, Jeff Hagen who was visiting with his wife Sandy this morning.

Following Jesus

Pastor Hagen began by noting that he grew up a mile from Brad, and has followed our church community for some time through his friendship with the Cresman's. He spoke here a year ago across the road, and today gave a very solid message based on his own observations and life experiences. Here are some of the main points he made.

He started by saying that our new building is a new step, but what will make this new step effective begins with prayer. We need to pray for our pastor and for the church. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord."

The word "spirit" in Hebrew means "wind." And in essence we are wind instruments, as His wind/spirit flows through us.

Jeff shared that he considered calling this message Learnings Under the Yoke of Christ. These are some lessons he's learned along the path of life.

1. The Christian faith starts with a call to follow Jesus.
Salvation is a gift that is given to us.

2. Life is messy. We're not in control.

3. We're called to seek His kingdom first, and He will be our provider.
To get out of the boat and come after Him is a challenge. Faith is not faith unless you get out of the boat.

4. There is a price to be paid for following Jesus.
Jeff cited Bonhoffer's book The Cost of Discipleship. He ended up dying from his conviction to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus starts with a call.

Romans 8:28 states that "All things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose." God allowed evil men to crucify His son, yet this very act undid evil.

God calls us, and deposits a seed of the word of God into our hearts. He invites us to cultivate that seed.

This call is a revelation of Jesus. When Peter professed that Jesus was Messiah, Jesus noted that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter, but it was revealed by God. But this call is just a start point.

Life is about a total renovation of the heart. God says, "If you want to follow Me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me." From the heart come the springs of life. Life is a constant lesson of learning to pick up the cross, and letting Him take control.

Finally, there's a price to be paid for following Christ.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord and he searches the depths of our being.

Jeff shared how money made him feel secure. Our security is not going to be found in money.

We need the willingness to go where God wants us to go. Are you willing to follow Jesus?

If we follow, He will transform us from a selfish person to someone who looks like Jesus from the inside out. To reveal the glory of God, we need to be willing to submit to His yoke. He will shape our heart to the image of His son.

At this, Gwen and the Rhoads' led us in "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus."

At this we celebrated the Sacrament of Communion.