Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stop Doing That!

James Emery White, former president of Gordon Conwell Seminary, suggests that whatever resolutions you make this year be accompanied by "non-resolutions", or commitments to stop doing things. I think you'll enjoy his article. You can read it here.

Prayer for Today

I was blessed by reading and praying this slowly. I hope you will have some extra time to do the same this week.


Help my infirmities;
When I am pressed down with a load of sorrow,
perplexed and knowing not what to do,
slandered and persecuted,
made to feel the weight of the cross,
help me, I pray thee.
If thou seest in me
any wrong thing encouraged,
any evil desire cherished,
any delight that is not thy delight,
any habit that grieves thee,
any nest of sin in my heart,
then grant me the kiss of thy forgiveness,
and teach my feet to walk the way of thy commandments.
Delver me from carking care,
and make me a happy, holy person;
Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step,
and to wrestle successfully against weakness;
Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,
with the music of heaven,
And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude to thee.
I do not crouch at thy feet as a slave before a tyrant,
but exult before thee as a son with a father.
Give me power to live as thy child in all my actions,
and to exercise sonship by conquering self.
Preserve me from the intoxication that comes of prosperity;
Sober me when I am glad with a joy that comes not from thee.
Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,
not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.
I request only to see the face of him I love,
to be content with bread to eat,
with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

(From The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Life Church Service on 12/30

Don't forget that tomorrow, December 30th, all of New Life Church will worship in one service at West Linn High School at 10:30 a.m. See you there!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lessons from my Chimney Pipe

This morning after I brewed some coffee in my new-for-Christmas coffee pot, I went downstairs by the stove to have my quiet time with the Lord. I was on my knees for not more than a minute before I heard, "Bonk". Then, again, "BONK". It is hard to pray when every 45 seconds or so you are hearing, "Bonk". It wasn't long before the sound had a more liquid sound, "Shplonk". I knew the cap on the chimney pipe was letting some of the "not quite snowflakes" inside like it had done 5-6 years ago.

Since I was talking to the Lord about it I turned the conversation to my newly discovered problem. Here are some things I learned as He and I talked about this:

  1. Are you thankful? It has been almost a year since I tore up a sidewalk behind my house to repair a severed sewer pipe that was leaking back into our washing machine drain, almost a year. I haven't had a single "water is running into your house" problem for almost a year. Isn't that something to be thankful about.
  2. Are you thankful? I know this sounds like the first lesson. On Christmas day my immediate and extended family journeyed into downtown Eugene, under a bridge, and gave hot chocolate to some folks that spend Christmas day under the bridge (In a couple days you can see some pictures on the H2O blog). The winter wind cut through our jackets and our ears and fingers throbbed. I thought at that time, I'm not thankful enough for the common grace of a warm home, not to mention a big meal I'm about to eat. That's a great thing to think on a holiday when you feel a strange mixture of kindness and self-righteousness. What about when the house you are thankful for is leaking?
  3. The same event can be bad and good. I was disappointed, to put it mildly, that I couldn't sip my coffee beside the fire and have a nice peaceful quiet time. That's, after all, why I got up early in the morning. And, I'm going to climb up on the roof in the snow (maybe?) and caulk the cap on the chimney. That's bad. On the other hand, I heard the leak while it was still "bonk" before the water had gathered in the tin chimney cover right above our stove, "shplonk". That means it must have just started and I caught it before the roof caved in and/or water was everywhere. That's good. Hmmm.
  4. It's hard to pray and read your Bible during a modified Chinese water torture. The constant "bonk" not only was distracting, but a constant reminder of what will happen if I continue to sit there. It occurred to me that that's why most people don't pray. They don't have time to. Something is more pressing. Something won't go away. Some noise pounds in the background, "Don't forget me. Don't forget me." And so, we can't/don't stop for time with a God who is much quieter about his demand for our attention.
I hope you don't need a leaking chimney to hear from God. But, I've got to go. . . Home Depot is calling.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from New Life Church

I hope your Christmas is blessed and that you enjoy Christ more than ever. And. . . yes, I hope you remember to smile!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

First Ever Treasure Chest Giveaway!

As a way of thanking you for being regular readers of the New Life Church blog, the Treasure Chest, we are giving away a book that will shape the way you live in 2008. Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels is a book that the staff and elders read last year and is a tremendous encouragement to, well, walk across the room and talk with someone about Christ.

The rules for the giveaway are simple:

  1. Leave a comment on any post between before 2008. (New Year's at 12:00 a.m. pst.) and you'll be entered.
  2. Be able to pick up the book at the church office.
We will randomly draw a winner from all the comments. Thanks again for reading.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Life Church Christmas Services

I have overheard some people doing a double-take about the times of our Christmas services. The morning services tomorrow are the normal worship service times at both locations.

The extra Christmas services seem to be more confusing. Both will be candlelight services in celebration of the birth of Christ. The times are:

You are welcome to both or either, depending on which fits your schedule and desires to worship.

Life Group Christmas (Part 2)

One of our Women's Life Groups celebrated Christmas together this last Tuesday. They have been studying a book on prayer together throughout the fall. The Lord has nit their hearts together as they have studied God's Word, prayed together, and helped care for each other's needs (see Dian Hutchin's thank you note from Tuesday's post).

On Tuesday the festivities got interesting when Claire Robley got all tied up in a wacky Christmas game. Though it was cold outside, it was warm inside as the women celebrated the birth of our Savior and the fellowship that He has given them with one another.

The white elephant gift exchange got interesting when Evelyn Hall tried to steal a gift from poor little Miles Nelson. After some negotiations all was settled, and everyone went home happy... except Evelyn that is. In a last minute move of deception Miles ran out the door leaving his white elephant gift behind. Miles, she is waiting for you to come back and get that gift!

Seriously though, New Life Church Life Groups are the place to be if you want to grow in your relationship with Christ and build friendships His people. Contact the church office at 503-656-8600 to get involved in a life group in the New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Caroling Fun!

Even in the rain, about 40 people showed up at the New Life Church 3rd Annual Caroling Party last night! We split into 4 groups and spread out through the neighborhood spreading Christmas cheer. We sang at 38 homes and delivered gifts of hot chocolate with mixing instructions and Christmas service times attached.

A group with a little less Christmas joy may have been discouraged by the soggy night, but not this motley crew. They returned to the church full of vigor and excitement. Some were so excited they started dancing. Others began putting on spontaneous Christmas Pageants. Still others decided to make Christmas crafts and gifts for their friends and family members.

It was a delightful evening for everyone involved. We spread the good news about the birth of Jesus Christ and had fun at the same time! In the midst of your holiday business, be sure to take time to celebrate the birth of Jesus with vim and vigor. Remember, the birth of Jesus is "good news of great joy for all people!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

High School Parent Newsletter

High school parents of New Life Church, this is for you. The December edition of the Ignite Newsletter is here. You can pick up a hard copy in the foyer of the Riverfalls campus on Sunday, December 23, or you can click here to view it right now! Enjoy!

Thoughts for the Day

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. -- Asian Proverb

All intellectual improvement arises from leisure. -- Samuel Johnson

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. -- Albert Einstein

It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are. -- Unknown

Caroling Party Tonight at 6:30

Rain, sleet, or snow won't stop us tonight. Come on we're Oregonians... more importantly we're Christians, and we've got a message to deliver... "Joy to the World, The Lord is Come!"

Join us tonight at 6:30 at New Life Robinwood (19915 Old River Drive, West Linn) for an exciting evening of caroling to our neighbors and inviting them to Christmas services at New Life Church.

Not a virtuoso singer? Never fear, all caroling requires is a cheerful spirit and an ability to walk. Come have a great time caroling with your church family. Then linger around afterwards over a cup of yummy hot chocolate, cider, and homemade cookies!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thank You

Dear New Life Church,

Our deepest gratitude for the outpouring of love and prayers from all of you. Our Thanksgiving meal was not only delicious but also extra joyful without the stress of having to purchase the ingredients. In addition, the tasty dishes and the transportation provided by our Tuesday evening Bible study group were timed for just the right moments.

I am also gratefully overwhelmed by all the offers of help from those dear ladies and from the great group who attend Eleanora's senior luncheons. We're happy to report that Robert's cancer treatments are now completed and that the prognosis is good for a complete annihilation of those alien cells. God is good!!

Dian and Bob Hutchins

Life Group Christmas

Last weekend two of our life groups joined together for an exciting Progressive Dinner. Four carloads of people drove around West Linn and Oregon City finding fun food and festivities from four friendly families. : )

The food from around the world was quite tasty. Our friendships deepened as we enjoyed the festive evening together. At one home the group even enjoyed a rousing white elephant gift exchange.

Through all of the excitement we only had one small mishap in the evening. Art Foullon mowed down Jon Van Tuyl's mailbox in a senseless act of road rage! OK it was an accident, but be sure to give Art a hard time when you see him.

Has your life group done anything fun and exciting this holiday season? Do you have pictures? Send them to, and you might just find your group on the blog.

If you are not in a life group yet, why not make it a new year's resolution to get into a group where you can grow in your relationship with God and His people next year?

Monday, December 17, 2007

High School Students Help Bridges-To-Change

Group photo at B-2-C campusHigh school students from New Life Church delivered 17 Christmas trees to a transitional housing facility down the street called Bridges-To-Change on Saturday, December 8th. We also cut and erected the two Christmas trees at the Riverfalls campus, and afterwards had lunch together at Burgerville. Yum! Click here to see more pictures.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Today's Prayer

O that all my distresses and apprehensions
might prove but Christ's school
to make me fit for greater service
by teaching me the great lesson of humility.
-- Valley of Vision, Need of Grace

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Del Florea's Message

Here is a video we took of Del Florea in September 2006. He didn't plan to live long at that point and stayed around for another 15 months. If you talked to Del much in the past few years you heard these same themes almost every time he spoke. We showed this video at his "standing-room-only" memorial service earlier today.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beauty Underfoot

Here is a poem I wrote at the Pastor's Prayer Summit in October. CBNorthwest put it on their website and combined it with a picture I took that weekend, too. You may find some other pictures I took on that site, too. Click the picture to enlarge it and make it easier to read.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

God is Involved

Our recent study in Ruth has reminded me in a fresh way about how God cares so deeply about our lives even though it doesn't always look like it. Here is a Christmas blog post I wrote in 2005 that surprised me with its relevance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last Names Tell A Story

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a study on surnames in the United States. The big news is that for the first time, two Hispanic names are among the top 10 surnames. You may want to read the article, The Garcias are Catching up to the Joneses.

IMPACT: high shool student leadership retreat

Group photoNew Life Church high school students went on a student leadership retreat at the Evangelical Center November 30-December 1, 2008. Click here to see more pictures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank You From Bob Spidal

My dear church family,
You're so good to me, thank you for your well wishes and many prayers. The flowers brought to me after my hospital stay and the beautiful red poinsettia are so much appreciated, and help to bring cheer on these dark days.

It has been my joy to know and love each one of you. Being able to serve my Saviour through you has helped me to know and love the Bible and the God it tells about is too wonderful to even speak about. I pray God's blessing and spiritual prosperity on each one of you.

Staying in love with my Saviour,
Bob Spidal

Monday, December 10, 2007

Del Florea, 1944 -- 2007

Del Florea encouraged countless people with his confidence in the Lord and his assurance of his home in heaven as he fought cancer for seven years. He died in his home last Thursday night.

We will have a memorial service and celebration of his life Saturday, December 15, 2007 at New Life Church River Falls in West Linn at 10:00 a.m.. A potluck will follow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Prayer for Today

You can find a great prayer for today here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gift Making Party

One of our life groups put together a very "creative" mission project this past weekend. They became convicted of the need to spend less $ on gifts this Christmas and give more away to people in need. They realized that several women in the group knew how to make crafts that they could teach to other women. So, they decided to host a gift making party.

This past Saturday 20 women gathered at New Life Robinwood to make fun crafts to give away to their family and friends as Christmas gifts. They made mosaics, aprons, bead necklaces, and hostess gifts (brownies in a jar, hot chocolate ice cream cones, and special holiday tea).

At noon the ladies enjoyed a nice lunch together. Jeanette Kramer shared with the women about what Christmas really means and how they could give the gift of themselves this Christmas.

A few people used this event as an outreach and brought friends and family members from outside the church. In the end, the life group that organized the event was very encouraged.

If you would like to know more information about spending less and giving more this Christmas, check out this web-site that a Portland area church put together:

Backstage and On Stage with Switchfoot & Reliant K

New Life Church showed up in force at the recent Switchfoot and Reliant K concert at the Salem Armory. Arthur Foullon and Andrew Madsen enjoyed backstage passes and met Jon from Switchfoot. Sweet!

Taylor Reavely and Nathan Hanson were called on stage by the band to play on one of the songs. Even though some of us who stayed home didn't believe the story when we first heard it, these pictures are proof.

They were on stage in the morning leading us in worship and on stage with one of their favorite bands that night. How fun!

Updates on Meredith Curteman

Nick and Meredith Curteman have started a blog to keep friends and family updated on her cancer and her treatment. Turns out she is in the top 200 people in the history of the world. . . in a category called Pulmonary Blastoma. You can read more here. Please remember to pray for them.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

This video of Joanne Weiss's sister, Jeanne Clem, was shown in the services of Mars Hill Church in Seattle a couple weeks ago. It is a powerful statement about the reality of the hope that Christians have in the face of death.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Children's Library: New Books and DVDs

NEW...NEW...NEW...NEW... NEW...NEW...NEW...NEW...


  • "The Legend of the Christmas Tree"
  • (The Inspirational Story of A Treasured Tradition)
  • "God Made You SPECIAL"
  • Veggie Tales...Holidy Double Feature: "The Star fo Christmas" and "The Toy That Saved Christmas"
  • "The Star of Christmas"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prayer for Today


God of the Publican,
Be merciful to me a sinner;
this I am by nature and practice,
this thy Word proclaims me to be,
this I hope I feel myself to be;
Yet thou hast not left me to despair,
for there is no ‘peradventure’ in thy grace;
I have all the assurance I need
that with thee is plenteous redemption.

In spite of the number and heinousness of my sins
thou hast given me a token for good;
The golden sceptre is held out,
and thou hast said ‘Touch it and live’.

May I encourage myself by a sense of thy
by faith in thy promises,
by views of the experience of others.
To that dear refuge in which so many have sheltered
from every storm
may I repair,
In that fountain always freely open for sin
may I be cleansed from every defilement.

Sin is that abominable thing which thy soul hates,
and this alone separates thee and me.
Thou canst not contradict the essential perfections
of thy nature;
Thou canst not make me happy with thyself,
till thou hast made me holy like thyself.

O holy God, make me such a creature as thou canst
take pleasure in,
and such a being that I can take pleasure in thee.

May I consent to and delight in thy law
after the inner man,
never complain over the strictness of thy demands,
but mourn over my want of conformity to them;
never question thy commandments,
but esteem them to be right.

By thy Spirit within me
may my practice spring from principle, and
my dispositions be conformable with duty.

(From The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

News You Can Use

Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs

WASHINGTON—Teaching students how to conjugate verbs so that they can describe events that have already occurred is a luxury many schools cannot afford.
If you remember struggling with your grammar, you'll appreciate this article. Click the above link to read the whole article. The last paragraph is the best.