Saturday, March 31, 2007

April Fools

Spring Break Special

I'd wait until tomorrow to post this, but I thought you might need an extra day to read about these April Fool's Hoaxes. . . and you thought April Fool's Day was all about switching the sugar and the salt. While you are at it you might be interested in the history of April Fool's Day. On the sidebar of this history page you can search April Fool's hijinx by year!

Here is a site that offers you some help with your own pranks. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easter Potluck

If you have no plans for Easter Dinner, but would like to join others for a meal, there will be a potluck at New Life Church Riverfalls in the multi-purpose room at 1:00 p.m.. Bring a salad or side dish or dessert. Ham will be provided. Call Brenda Lauterbach (503.656.0520) with questions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There's Nothing To Do!

Spring Break Special

Tired of TV, video games, or sitting around feeling bored? Wish there were something to do on Spring Break? Try these:
  1. Take a trip to the Oregon Zoo. They have a Spring Break Special of their own. (I set out to go to the zoo with my youngest girls last week. Ask them about our trip to the zoo!).
  2. Go for a hike. The Mt. Hood Territory site will get you started.
  3. Too soggy to go for a hike? Check out the Oregon Trail. Or, if you want hands-on experience go visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
  4. Along the same lines, The McLoughlin House will transport you back in time, too.
When you live somewhere as beautiful as Oregon, you don't always take advantage of it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Father's Heart

Few things make a father's heart prouder than seeing his children grasp the values he has instilled in them. I was a proud father a few Sundays ago when my daughter Julie stood in front of the church and told the story of her adoption. She not only told her story, but challenged the church to care for the orphans of our world.

Father's Heart is a new ministry of New Life Church that encourages Christians to have the "Father's heart" for orphans in our world. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." There are lots of ways we can "look after" the orphans in our world. Yes, some people need to consider adoption as a way of embracing God's heart for orphans. However, there are also lots of other big and small ways you can help.

On Tuesday evening, April 3rd at 6:30 PM @ New Life Riverfalls, the Father's Heart Ministry Team will be hosting a free informational dinner. You are invited to come and hear more about this ministry and discover how you can be involved in embracing God's heart for orphans. Please contact Mark and Molly Hanson at to RSVP.

Photos for Free

Spring Break Special

I'll spend quite a bit of time looking for the right photo for my PowerPoint backgrounds for my sermons. Sometimes I need the right image for a blog post. Not surprisingly, I'm too cheap to pay for a picture. Today's sites are the places I go, after my own collection, when Google doesn't serve up the perfect picture.

Resolution and Stillness contain some of my favorite pictures, sometimes of some of my favorite people by some of my favorite people. They are photo blogs by Nick Curteman and Andie Haugen from our church!

A Flickr:Shared Worship Background Graphics and offer free worship or church related pictures. Both encourage sharing, but I haven't had time...maybe after I'm finally finished with school.

Stock.xchng,, and webshots are three sites with free pictures. They also have some "pro" or "premium" pictures that will cost something. Sometimes you will find an image on one of these that you would not tell your mother about, so beware.

Then, as a diversion, Google has thought of an amazing, fun, way to create key words for their pictures to help us all find them better. It is their Image Labeler. You are paired with someone and you have to label a picture with the same key word. When you do you move on to the next picture and you get points for each one you complete. Have fun.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sermon Prep Sites

Spring Break Special

It's Spring Break. People have more time on their hands this week, I'll try to supply links that will be fruitful ways for you to spend time online.

Most of the work I do on my sermons is not on the Internet. I do have a couple favorite sites that I check before I go public with a sermon. One is PRECEPT AUSTIN. They have an great collection commentaries. Their map section is unparalleled (I just discovered this).

Another is the sermon text section at Monergism is run by a man in West Linn and Aaron Orendorff works there. They are a good source of books and have a huge selection of old writings. I discovered Monergism when I was looking for audio sermons.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Prayer for Today


"Thou blessed Spirit, Author of all grace and comfort,
Come, work repentance in my soul;
Represent sin to me in its odious colours that I may hate it;
Melt my heart by the majesty and mercy of God;
Show me my ruined self and the help there is in him;
Teach me to behold my creator,
his ability to save,
his arms outstretched,
his heart big for me.

May I confide in his power and love,
commit my soul to him without reserve,
bear his image, observe his laws, pursue his service,
and be through time and eternity
a monument to the efficacy of his grace,
a trophy of his victory.

Make me willing to be saved in his way,
perceiving nothing in myself, but all in Jesus:
Help me not only to receive him but
to walk in him,
depend upon him,
commune with him,
be conformed to him,
follow him,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trials, but thankful for my state.

Give me that faith which is the means of salvation,
and the principle and medium of all godliness;
May I be saved by grace through faith,
live by faith,
feel the joy of faith,
do the work of faith.

Perceiving nothing in myself, may I find in Christ
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

-- Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett Ed., Banner of Truth, 1995, p.37.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Three New Life Church students were part of the West Linn High School state championship Mock Trial team. Congratulations to Hannah Cochran, Lauren Currey and Natalie Douglas and their teammates. Tom Elliott helped coach them, too. You can read the full West Linn Tidings article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Value of Reading Your Bible

Last night I was tired. Monday night had been short. I was SLEEPY. Yet, as is my routine, I read my Bible. We are using the plan referred to on the blog in December that has us read different portions of the Scriptures each day. Last night, of all places, 1 Samuel 6-10. Everyone knows what excitement awaits in 1 Samuel 6-10, right?

The Lord blessed me in two different ways through that obscure text. 1 Samuel 6 opens with the story of the return of the Ark by the Philistines. They return it on an oxcart with untamed cows who have been separated from their calves and this is their plan,

Send it on its way, 9 but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance." 10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. (1 Samuel 6:8-10)
This is the question we must wrestle with in blessing and calamity, "Did the Lord do this or did it happen by chance?" If you read the rest of the story it is evident, the cows pull the cart straight back to Israel! The Lord's hand was in it -- no surprise. It was important for the pagan Philistines to know that God had afflicted them. And, it is important to me, too. I can bear anything if He is in it. But, if the pain in my life is left to chance, I despair.

The Lord also blessed me with a simple request the repentant Israelites made to Samuel, "Do not stop crying out to the LORD our God for us" (1 Samuel 7:8). Don't stop cryint out to the Lord our God! That is what I want to ask everyone who will pray for me. Don't stop! Turns out, as I continued to read, that God heard Samuel's prayer and responded to the people's heart and delivered Israel from the Philistines. So, I will not stop crying out to the Lord for you. I would love it if you would not stop crying out the Lord for me.

Don't think for a moment that you are too tired to read your Bible. Don't think that what you were planning to read can never bless you. You may be surprised by God!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Patrick's Day

Christian History Magazine has a feature on St. Patrick that may be interesting for you to read and see what kind of man of God is behind the "holiday".

Patrick - 131 Christians Everyone Should Know

How do I thank you for a marvelous send off into retirement?

It was a great day. Starting off with a fun lunch with the staff. Things that didn't go as planned with lunch: transportation and location. How it turned out: Got to see the new OHSU tram in the air, go site seeing, enjoy a very good lunch at a brand new restaurant and share a 6 layer cake. Now how can you beat that!

Then, to walk into the church with many of you standing there. How much more could I be honored? Well, you did with a great gift. An outstanding cruise to one our favorite places - Victoria, BC. We scheduled it for the end of September and really look forward to it. A CD I'll treasure forever, of you with such kind words. An autograph book with a caricature by Dave Ross (I'm not sure I ever looked that good behind my desk). Me on front of Time magazine, now that was some doing by Nancy Carlson.

It was a fantastic day I'll always remember and watch on CD. But, then you've given me many years of great memories. It was a blessing to share 29 years of my life with you. Your prays through the years were always appreciated, especially when health problems occurred for both of us. Please continue to pray for me.

I plan to seeing you occasionally. Please feel free to give me a call or visit as I don't want to be out of your lives.

Again, thanks for the love and memories,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cosmic Bowling

If you're a high school student, don't miss this STELLAR opportunity to meet and get to know other students, have a great time, and stay out late.

Who is Taking Freda's Place?

I just realized we made a big deal about Freda's retirement, but we didn't say anything about the plan for her replacement. Elaine Hochstettler will serve on an interim basis until we find a permanent replacement or she has a baby, whichever comes first. The typical office hours are M-Th, 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m..

Some of you will remember her as Elaine O'Gara. She grew up in our church and has a real servant's spirit. If you call the church, this is what you will hear.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Talk to Your Children

Here is a short article that suggests topics for parents to use to have meaningful conversations with their children. I hope you find this piece from HomeWord helpful.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daylight Savings Time Begins Tonite!

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight. Who will forget and walk into church an hour late tomorrow? Hmmmm.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fantastic Friday

How fantastic is your Friday? Feel like you can do anything? You may want to try this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tonight at New Life Robinwood

First Wednesday Prayer

Come for a time of prayer and worship as we look to HIM as our Treasure.

7:15-8:15 PM at our Robinwood location.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Keep It Simple

Last Sunday night at our monthly Leadership Summit we focused on the need to keep church simple. The human tendency is to complicate things. Here are five keys to keeping things at church simple. The acronym we used was C.L.E.A.R. Things will be simple if they are clear:

  • Connect The Dots: One of the chief reasons things look scattered, busy, and confusing is that people don't know why we do what we do. Really our church only does a few things that help us make God Treasuring Disciples. But we sometimes get tired of calling our program or event by the same old name, so we change it up. And things begin to look scattered even if they are aimed at accomplishing the same things. Show how you get from your event to its purpose. Make the purpose of your program transparent even if the name is creative.
  • Less is more: One cause of complexity is that we try to do too many things. If we try a little harder, do a little more, try everything, we'll break through. We do this in every area of life, too. Instead, we can ask, "What is absolutely necessary? What can be eliminated?" When we do, we are on the road to simplicity and increased effectiveness.
  • Easy: Those who know me know that I am the last person to advocate laziness. Easy does not equal lazy. It simply means I have thought of the unnecessary things that complicate the issue. Can we do something and make it easy to communicate, easy to understand and easy to use?
  • Aim: This is the target that to which we connect the dots in the earlier step. If we cannot identify what we are trying to do any hope of simplicity breaks down. If you don't know what you are shopping for you won't know what store to go to. If you don't now what store to go to a shopping trip will certainly become a greater challenge. The leadership remedy is simple -- rigorous focus.
  • Relevance: -- This can be common courtesy. Think of others. If something is relevant to us it becomes clearer and less confusing. What can we do to think about our communication from the perspective of the person who receives it? The more we think of others, the simpler we will become.
Here is a copy of the PowerPoint presentation I used that night. I also showed a video about what Microsoft might do with Ipod packaging. You can view the video here. I hope this CLEARs things up!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Women of Purpose

Every Tuesday Evening at 7:00 PM @ New Life Robinwood a group of New Life Women meet together for the purpose of studying God's Word, praying together, and sharing life together. Over the past 11 weeks they have been working through a study called "Becoming a Woman of Purpose." Each week a different guest speaker has come to speak to the group about a different area of the Christian life. You can see from the smiling faces in the pictures that these women have been having a great time together. What you can't see is that God has been doing an amazing transforming work on the hearts of these women. You can only see that by joining them for a study. Hey that's a good segue'.

You are invited to join these women tonight (3/6) for a potluck and preview the next study entitled "Growing in Wisdom and Faith" by Elizabeth George. This practical study from the book of James comes highly recommended and will begin next Tuesday (3/13). It would be a great study to invite a friend to as James talks about issues that affect women today. Books will be available to purchase for $5:00. If this is your first time to come please let us know so we are sure to have enough books on hand. We will also need to know if you need child care. Email Cris Austen at

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Prayer for Today


O Holy Spirit,

As the sun is full of light,
the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart
be full of thee.

Vain are all divine purposes of love
and the redemption wrought by Jesus
except thou work within,
regenerating by thy power,
giving me eyes to see Jesus,
showing me the realities of the unseen world.

Give me thyself without measure,
as an unimpaired fountain,
as inexhaustible riches.

I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness,
imperfect vision, languid service,
prayerless prayers, praiseless praises.

Suffer me not to grieve or resist thee.

Come as power,
to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme
and keep me thine;
Come as teacher,
leading me into all truth, filling me with
all understanding;
Come as love,
that I may adore the Father, and love him
as my all;
Come as joy,
to dwell in me, move in me, animate me;
Come as light,
illuminating the Scripture, moulding me
in its laws;
Come as sanctifier,
body, soul and spirit wholly thine;
Come as helper,
with strength to bless and keep, directing my
every step;
Come as beautifier,
bringing order out of confusion, loveliness
out of chaos.

Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me,
and make me redolent of thy fragrance.

Spiritus Sanctus taken from The Valley of Vision
A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Arthur Bennett, editor.
©The Banner of Truth Trust 1975, 2002

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Supposed Bones of Jesus

Here is a simple and helpful article that sheds some light on the supposed documentary that will air on the Discovery Channel on Sunday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Farewell Freda

Yesterday we celebrated the faithful service that Freda Fox has rendered to New Life Church over the past 29 years. Beginning at noon the pastoral staff took her to lunch and stalled until 3:00 when the reception began. Friends and family were in and out of the church until after 6:00 to wish her well.

For lunch we went to the new Claim Jumper Restaurant in Clackamas. The portions were generous and the building was beautiful. It was not our first choice, though. I forgot to make reservations at the Brazil Grill and missed the small detail that they only serve lunch on Saturdays. Oops! It did make our stall until 3:00 pretty easy.

Ken and Joanne made a video of the church saying farewell. We showed that video a couple times. Kim, Lori, Brenda, Chris and Judy worked behind the scenes to make the celebration delightful. Thank you.

I would have put live pictures of people here, but the creative artwork by members of the congregation was really the highlight. Here are a couple samples. Freda got lots of flowers, gifts and cards, too.

The church is sending her and Jerry on a trip to Victoria, BC. They did something similar years ago and enjoyed it a great deal. She assured me she'd look at it after they return from their England trip later this month!

Thanks again, Freda. You have been an encouragement to us all!