Friday, November 30, 2007

The Value of Trials

Jonathan Edwards writes of three benefits of trials in The Religious Affections:

  1. Such trials. . . above all other things, have a tendency to distinguish between true religion and false and to cause the difference between them evidently to appear.
  2. They not only manifest the truth of it, but they make its genuine beauty and amiableness remarkably to appear. True virtue never appears so lovely as when it is most oppressed.
  3. Another benefit that such trials are of to true religion is that they purify and increase it. They not only manifest it to be true, but also tend to refine it, and deliver it from those mixtures of that which is false which encumber and impede it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friends on Fox News

We received an email this morning that was fun. A couple of our friends, Alex & Brett Harris, received kudos from Chuck Norris for their website and ministry, the Rebelution. Check out the links below. I think you'll also enjoy the endorsement that is the basis for the Fox News interview. Here is part of the email:

You can watch the 5-minute interview at this link. You can also watch an informal video of Chuck Norris speaking at a reporters luncheon with Huckabee in Washington, DC yesterday -- where he also mentions us and the Rebelution. We're humbled that God would bless us in this way -- and excited that we could play a part in the effort to elect an experienced, competent, authentic, and godly leader. God bless you all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Lord's Supper

Mark 14:12-26, The Lord's Supper, October 7, 2007

Jesus is Anointed

Mark 14:1-11, Jesus is Anointed, September 30, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Support Our Soldier, Holly Thomas

As you may be aware, Holly Thomas, daughter of Carrie Thomas is again serving a short tour in Iraq with the US Air Force. She will be there until late January or early February, 2008. Please keep her in your prayers. If you would like to send her a note (or care package) from home, her address is:
Holly Thomas
Unit #2B
APO, AE 09315
No rank, or indication of service is required.
From Mom Carrie: "Thank you for all the prayers and words of encouragement to
both of us!"

Thank You From Brazil

Dear New Life Church,

Words cannot fully express my gratitude to New Life Church for allowing Pastor Scott and Marcia to come to Brazil. Their participation in my ministry helped me and helped other missionaries as well. The time of worship lead by Marcia and the teaching by Scott were a great encouragement to all. Their presence at the field conference became a highlight for many of us who were involved in a conference that was full of difficult moments and difficult decisions. The time spent in Teresina was also a very profitable time even though it was a very quick trip. Pastor Mendes of Igreja Batista Morada Nova could not stop expressing his gratitude for the presence and participation of Scott and Marcia in the anniversary of the church. Thank you for your willingness to invest in my life and my ministry.

In Christ,

Bruce Tissell

Bridges To Change Thanksgiving Banquet A Huge Success

Blessings at Thanksgiving! With many helping hands and donations from the church body, 65 people from Bridges To Change were served a Thanksgiving dinner at New Life Riverfalls on Wednesday evening, Nov. 21st. What a great turnout! Mike Polley prayed for their hearts and minds to be open to receive God's word along with the dinner. We plan to do this again in the future and look forward to any volunteers wishing to help out--thank you volunteers!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Brazil Picture Album

Here are some of my pictures from Brazil. I tried to put more of them up earlier in the week when I was there, but my internet connection prevented me. So here they are.

Trick Questions for Jesus

Mark 12:13-17, Trick Questions for Jesus, July 29, 2007

Parable of the Tenants

Mark 12:1-12, Parable of the Tenants, July 15, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Treasureland on Mission!

The kids of Treasureland at NLRF took on a mission to touch as many kids around the world as possible through Operation Christmas Child. They wound up putting together 17 shoe boxes full of gifts to give to needy children this Christmas!

When you see one of the kids (or dedicated teachers) from this picture, be sure to say thanks to them for all of their hard work.

Sunday in Brazil

We had a delightful and we trust useful Sunday at Igreja Batista Morada Nova. I spoke both morning and evening. The morning message went well. Bruce was my translator. The evening was the formal celebration of their 13th anniversary (I thought we were over-the-top last year for celebrating our 65th!).

I was the featured speaker. I had to sit in front of the congregation the whole night in an extremely straight-backed chair. I didn't know the songs. I couldn't read their PowerPoint. I tried to encourage them, nonetheless, to find Christ to be their treasure and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44-46).

One person trusted Christ at the evening service Saturday night and then another on Sunday night. We left Teresina at 3:45 that night and now are in San Paulo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brazilian Worship Extract

Here is a brief scene from last night's service in the park. I'm going to preach twice today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mindset List for Class of 2011

Every year Beloit College puts together a list that helps explain the mindset and worldview of the freshman class. Here is this year's list. If you are young this will not seem like a big deal. If you are older than 40 it will make you think twice and wonder why there isn't a bigger generation gap.

Happy Birthday, Bruce

We enjoyed celebrating Bruce's Birthday with him and his close friends. It was a delight to see the love and respect the other missionaries on the field have for him.

Ken Flurry is the WorldVenture Regional Director for the Americas. He was a missionary our church supported years ago. He and his wife were married in the church Marcia grew up in in Billings, MT. He'll be retiring in May and then they are planning to go work in the slums of Sao Paulo.

This is the WorldVenture Team in N. Brazil.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Life Group Leader's Meeting

This Sunday after 2nd service, there will be a Riverfalls Life Group Leader's Meeting in the high school room at 12:15 p.m. If you are a Life Group Leader or if you are interested in learning more about the Life Group Ministry Leadership, you are invited to attend. Our aim will be to begin answering some of the basic small group ministry questions every church has to address in order to be intentional about developing and maturing authentic and transformative Christian community. The following quote illustrates well the kind of passion and power small groups inherently hold.

"Small groups are microcosms of God's creation community. Wherever two or more persons come together, they become an actual reflection of the image and likeness of God. Small groups are the basic arena for either imaging the redeeming presence of God or projecting destructive human systems. Every small or large gathering of humanity exists in this tension of manifesting an inhuman structure or embodying divinely redemptive relationships." - Gareth Icenogle
(Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry)

Day One -- North Brazil Field Conference

Our hotel is only two blocks from the beach, yet it took two excursions before we found the path to get there. It is warm and windy here. Yesterday I counted 14 tankers anchored off the coast. It isn't a beach that anyone was swimming in.

We have enjoyed delectable food. This is a picture of a Romeo and Juliet pancake, that is neither in a pan nor is it a cake. It is guava and cream cheese inside a crepe. And, it was yummy. Off to the side you may notice my Jesus pop. I figure, if it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me.

Our ministry has consisted of leading worship and sharing the Word with the missionaries in N. Brazil. We were unsure whether it was important for us to come down or not. Marcia played a little 20-year-old Radio Shack keyboard. It wasn't the prettiest sound, but a couple of the missionaries were in tears within the first few songs. This field conference is where they do business, but also their one designated time to be encouraged and nourished in the Word.

We learned yesterday that they will be losing another couple from this field, their second in as many years. The harvest is truly plentiful here. Just this morning before our worship time, a man stopped one of the missionaries in the hall. He asked who we were. Then his second question was, "How can I have faith?" Obviously he asked the right people. Until he was called away be a phone call they shared the gospel with him. The missionary, a veteran of over 25 years, said, "I've never seen a man more ready for the gospel!" Please pray the Lord of the Harvest to send forth workers in the harvest.

Hotel in Brazil

We arrived in San Luiz after traveling 30 hours. We had slept some on the plane, but were exhausted. We were so tired near the end that we got off the airplane at the wrong city! Only when our bags didn't come did we find out that they were still on the plane because we weren't to San Luiz yet. It was a touch embarrassing.
If we hadn't been so tired we'd have been fairly discouraged by the austerity of our hotel room. It had a bed, no blankets -- lights, no lampshades -- bugs, no suitcase racks -- running water, but not to drink. But, the bed worked and we enjoyed a great night's sleep. After all, it had an air conditioner which may have been our only true necessity.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sense of Sin -- Value of Salvation

Why is it that we see so little of this strong love to Jesus among Christians of the present day? How is it that we so seldom meet with saints who will face any danger, and go through fire and water for Christ's sake? There is only one answer. It is the weak faith, and the low sense of obligation to Christ, which so widely prevail. A low and feeble sense of sin will always produce a low and feeble sense of the value of salvation. A slight sense of our debt to God will always be attended by a slight sense of what we owe for our redemption. It is the man who feels much forgiven who loves much. "To whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." (Luke 7:47.)
--J.C. Ryle, Commentary on Mark 16

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Memorial Service for Lawrence Richardson

Memorial Service for Lawrence James Richardson, Larry Richardson's father, will be Monday, November 12 at 4 pm. You are welcomed to support the family by attending the service.

Remember Larry, his two sisters, Gloria and Peggy, and his mother, Beula.

Family Life -- A Weekend to Remember

We have been given a couple coupons for Family Life's Weekend to Remember. It's coming to PDX in Mid-November. Normally it costs $119 per person, the coupon allow you to go for $35 per person. If this interests you or someone you know please call or email the church.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Spirituality - What's a Christian to Do?

Our Life Group has recently begun reading N.T. Wright's new classic Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. In the first part of the book, Wright explores four of what he calls "echoes of a voice: the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships, and the delight in beauty." Each of these universal signposts point beyond themselves towards the possibility of something more. That "something more" ultimately finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Christ.

This past week we finished chapter two, "The Hidden Spring," which deals with the resurgence of all things spiritual in Western culture, from New Age mysticism, "with Tarot cards, crystals, horoscopes, and so on" to self-help books, Kabbalah, labyrinths and Celtic Christianity. What is Christianity to make of all this spirituality? Like most cultural expressions, spirituality is something of a doubled-edged sword. On the one hand, "If anything like the Christian story is in fact true (in other words, if there is a God whom we can know most clearly in Jesus), this interest is exactly what we should expect; because in Jesus we glimpse a God who loves people and wants them to know and respond to that love." On the other hand, "part of the Christian that human beings have been so seriously damaged by evil that what they need isn't simply better self-knowledge, or better social conditions, but help, and indeed rescue, from outside themselves. Thus, by itself 'spirituality' may appear to be part of the problem as well as part of the solution."

No easy answers, I suppose. If you're interested in pursing this conversation, the Life Group in question meets on Thursday nights from 7-8:30 p.m. For more information, contact either Amanda or myself (we're in the directory).

Thank You From The Bruechert Family

Dear New Life Church Family,

Agnes Spidal brought me a very pretty planter basket in sympathy from the church family and I am enjoying it. It is comforting to know we are part of a loving and praying community of believers.

The homegoing of my sister afforded an opportunity for special family time that we enjoyed very much. Traveling to San Jose with our children and being together there for several days was a real blessing. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Love in Christ,
Bonnie Bruechert

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Marcia and I are going to Brazil on Sunday afternoon to try to encourage the Lord's servants with WorldVenture in the North Brazil Field at their annual field conference. Marcia will be leading worship for them and I'll be sharing the word. Then we'll be going to Teresina to celebrate the anniversary of the church our team served this summer.

We'd appreciate your prayers for the following:

  1. That we'd be prepared when we get there.
  2. That we would be able to refresh the hearts of the saints.
  3. That God would take care of our family while we're gone.
  4. That God would expand our heart for the world.
  5. That we'd be useful for God's purposes.
  6. That the servants on the field might go away and make a difference in Northern Brazil.
Thank you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

I just learned the "s" should be left off Daylight Saving(s) Time. I also learned it unofficially began in 1444 in Basel in order to foil an attack at the city walls. You can read some interesting things about Daylight Saving Time here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Steven Curtis Chapman Concert

The Reavely family was privileged to go to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert Thursday night at Rolling Hills. All of us got to go because Taylor worked set-up and tear-down.

It was a real encouragement. I have enjoyed his music since I was a youth pastor when I received his first album in a subscription program.

It was fun for me to be there with my children when he had two of his boys on stage with him. As many of you know he has a passion for adoption and has adopted three children of his own.

He sang one song about his daughters called "Cinderella" that made our whole family cry. The point of the song was that he only had a little while with his girls until they were grown.
I was holding Layne on my lap and she had her Cinderella sweatshirt on. It was a little too much for me.

Bethany Dillon and Sanctus Real opened for him and we enjoyed them, too.

Idolatry and Sin

Mark Driscoll on American Idolatry

Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.

Tim Keller (from "Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age")

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Life Church Harvest Party

New Life Church had a very fun Harvest Party last night. Shrek, Billy Ferguson, led many volunteers to serve our community in providing a safe, fun alternative or addition to standard trick-or-treating.

We had a carnival with such unusual events as pumpkin bowling, ring the dolphin's nose and drive a nail.

Holly Foullon told the children the Pumpkin Story. She emphasized that Jesus can take the yucky stuff out of your life and replace it with a light. . . just like we do with a pumpkin.
One of the highlights was a maze constructed from Refrigerator boxes. Yes, I was caught looking for some candy inside.

Thank you to Shrek for all his initiative and to all who made this a great event for our church and our community.