Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Service on Sunday

Only occasionally do I play the, "Because I'm the dad, that's why" card. I use it almost always for the same reason -- someone, usually a delightful young girl, is singing Christmas songs when it isn't the Christmas season. We have a deadline of December 1 before Christmas songs can be sung at our house that requires strict enforcement. I am, however, afraid I'm becoming soft in my old age.

I tell you this because I will be granting an extension on the Christmas singing this year. Since we were snowed out of our Christmas services this year, we're celebrating Christ's coming a little late. This Sunday morning, January 4, at 9:00 & 11:00, we'll hold our Christmas services at New Life Church Riverfalls.

And, we'll also be holding an open house for our newly remodeled ministry space. There will be refreshments between and after services. We're very excited about that upgrade, too.

So, if you didn't get your fill of Christmas music, or if you simply want to worship a humble king, come on Sunday. I promise I won't get grouchy about Christmas music until after the service.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've Got Good News!

After three weeks, it appears we will finally be able to worship together at both New Life Church locations in West Linn this Sunday. You may have noticed the roads clearing up in your area. However, you might have guessed that church parking lots don't clear quite as fast as the average street. Well, thanks to a little help from our friends, the sidewalks and parking lots at both church locations are clear of snow and ice. Billy Ferguson's company, K and L Trucking, donated their time and equipment to clear the parking lots of snow. Mike Polly, George Milliken, Bob Montgomery, and a crew from Celebrate Recovery helped clear the sidewalks at both locations. When you see this men, be sure to give them a big thank you!

We look forward to seeing you in worship tomorrow morning at normal service times. Just in case you forgot, here they are:

Riverfalls: 9:00 AM and 10:45 AM
Robinwood: 9:30 AM

Also, we have rescheduled the all church budget and elections meeting for this Sunday night at 6:00 PM at Riverfalls.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, 2008!

This has been a different kind of Christmas for New Life Church. I've canceled more services in the past 11 days on account of snow than I've canceled in my whole life.

Some things don't change at Christmas, they are not different year after year. The advent of the Messiah, the coming of Jesus, combines the great themes of the Bible and of God's purposes for the ages:

  • The Glory of God. The birth of Jesus is the manifestation of the glory of God. The angels said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14). The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:20). Christmas, like everything else, is about the glory of God.
  • The Happiness of Humankind. The glory of God and human happiness are not antithetical, they can be one in the same. We didn't make up Joy to the World so we would have something to sing at Christmas. It was God's idea, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." (Luke 2:10).
  • A Savior. The angel told Joseph to call the baby Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21). God had long been in the business of saving people from their self-chosen alienation from him. His son is the fulfillment of his saving plan.
  • God With Us. Emmanuel: God with us (Matt 1:23). God in human in flesh, walking among men, to restore us to relationship with God is the essence of the incarnation. God is with us.
While we can shun God and attempt to distance ourselves from him. We can reject the savior. We can disregard our eternal happiness and refulse to glorify God. Yet, in the birth of his Son, God is bringing all those things together. So that he can be with us, be glorified, save us and make us eternally happy. If that doesn't make Christmas happy, nothing will.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Services at New Life Church are Cancelled

Christmas Eve services, scheduled at our Robinwood campus, have been canceled due to weather. Not only are road conditions questionable, but the church parking lot has so much snow that there is no place to park. Hopefully, we will see you at church on Sunday. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Church in Your Neighborhood Tomorrow

Got cabin fever? Feeling really disconnected from your friends at church? Just itching to worship God with a few friends tomorrow? Don't let a little snow stop you. Bundle up and head out on a walk to church at a home near you. Six families from New Life Church are going to open up their homes for a time of worship tomorrow morning. Here are their names and addresses, please call before you come:

Collins Family- 11:00 AM

Corbett Family- 11:00 AM

Hanson Family- 11:00 AM

Haugen Family- call for time

Pricer Family
- 11:00 AM

Reavely Family- 10:30 AM

If you can't make it to one of these homes, take some time to worship with your family. Sing a few Christmas songs, read the account of the birth of Jesus, and pray together as a family.

Excited to worship Jesus with you,

Pastor Nathan
Hebrews 10:24

Snow Cancellation #2

This is the official word we are cancelling all services for Sunday, December 21st at all locations. I want to remind you that it is still the Lord's day. Maybe by yourself, or with your family, or with your neighbors carve out some time to worship the Lord tomorrow. Blessings and be safe!


As most of you know I grew up in Montana where we had plenty of snow. It was one of the many inconveniences of that part of the country. While I was accustomed to snow I'd never considered what the Bible had to say about snow. God loves the snow it is for Him an illustration of many beautiful things.

  • It illustrates the character of Christ. It is easy in a wintry setting to idealize a manger scene and become sentimental about a baby in swaddling clothes. But when the Bible talks about the appearance of Jesus and snow in the same sentence it is about as distant from a cooing infant as you can imagine.
Daniel 7:9 As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
Matthew 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Revelation 1:14 The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.
  • Snow illustrates the usefulness and reliability of the Scriptures. The role of snow in the process of watering the land that will eventually yield a crop is a perfect illustration of the usefulness of the Scriptures in the accomplishment of God's purposes.
Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
  • Snow reminds us of the complete purification from sin granted to us because of the death of Jesus. If every snowflake prompted me to think of the forgiving and purifying work of the cross I would be far better off during this snowstorm.
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • The fact that snow melts is not only good to remember when we're snowed in, it is also a reminder of the certainty of death and judgment.
Job 24:19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.
  • God uses snow as an illustration of wisdom, and of the lack of it.
Proverbs 25:13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.
Proverbs 26:1 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
  • One aspect of God’s magnificence is his command over the snow and his sovereignty over the weather. These verses remind me of an article by John Piper about the great work of rain. The power of God is amazing in the weather.
Job 37:5-7 5 God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor.
Job 38:22-23 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?
Psalm 148:7-8 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
Psalm 147:15-18 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
  • And last, but not least, snow provides a good opportunity to do hand-to-paw combat with lions.
1 Chronicles 11:22 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two heroes of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.

I trust the second consecutive snowy Sunday will cause you to worship the Lord of Creation and the Lord of Christmas in a fresh way.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Do You Do When Your Praise Team Plays in Two Different Keys?

I'm not sure who the band in the video is, but the guy jumping on stage is Bob Kauflin whose book Worship Matters has been very influential at New Life. The blog post that released the video mentioned this little mishap took place in front of about 1,200 people. What a wonderful example of humility, grace and humor. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If Our Church Were NASCAR . .

Have you ever noticed all the stickers on a NASCAR? Even the drivers are covered in patches and stickers. They tell you who is on the team, who the sponsors are and who contributes to making the car successful. Our church is like that. Though we don't ever talk about them at the same time we have relationships with a number of organizations that contribute to our success and who we are pleased to be on the same team with. Here are a few of the stickers that would be on the New Life Church car:

  • Western Seminary: Pastor Scott is the chairman of the board at Western Seminary. Matt Vorhees and Aaron Orendorff are finishing their degrees this Spring. Pastor Nathan has been their poster boy for a number of years. If you look at the seminary's website you'll run into Nathan's picture before long. Milliken Hall at the Seminary is named after George Milliken's grandfather. You might say we go way back with Western Seminary. Our church is located in a town where half the adults have college degrees -- almost twice the national average -- and we value our relationship with this school
  • CB Northwest: CB Northwest is the Northwest Association of Conservative Baptist Churches. Our church goes back to the very beginning with CB Northwest. Dale Austen, Bob Spidal and now Pastor Scott, have served as trustees for our local association. Taylor Reavely led worship for their Growth Getaway in October. Pastor Scott will be speaking at the Annual Enrichment Conference in March.
  • WorldVenture: Worldventure used to be CBInternational. We were friends even before that, back in the day when they were the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Former Pastors Jerry Hamilton and Ross Laidlaw served on their board back in those days. We support a number of Worldventure missionaries. Our many of our short-term mission trips have leveraged our relationship with them.
  • Food For The Hungry: For the past several years we have a sent a team to Guatamala with Food for the Hungry. Dr. Brad Titus has served on their boards and has brokered our connection with them. The next team is going in a couple months! Child Sponsorship is one of their chief tools.
  • PRC: Pregnancy Resource Centers of Portland serve women in crisis pregnancies to help them carry their babies to term. One of the chief ways we value life is supporting PRC. We use their bulletin inserts on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and raise money for them annually through the Baby Bottle drive and the Steps For Life walk-a-thon.
  • West Linn High School: Right across the street, West Linn High School has long been a friend of our church. They have let us use their parking lots on Sundays, for which we are grateful. Coffee Cart will begin again in January serving students hot chocolate, coffee and pastries before school as we have done for the past decade and a half!
  • Samaritan's Purse: For several years, thanks to Judy Cochran, we have filled shoe boxes and sent them to children we'll never meet around the world through Operation Christmas Child. This year we filled a record number, 121, shoe boxes and raised money for shipping them.
  • Project Angel Tree: Project Angel Tree provides gifts for children of incarcerated parents through the ministry of Prison Fellowship. We are grateful to the Philpots for their leadership in helping us serve in this way. We are also excited about the growing relationship we are developing with the Prison Fellowship aftercare program. More on that later.
  • Cadence: We have supported the Metkos for years. Paul and Beryl are now part of the senior leadership for Cadence, formerly Overseas Christian Servicemen's Centers. Pastor Bill has had a long relationship with Cadence, too. We have sent teams to work on Hospitality houses near Fort Lewis and Fort Leonard Wood.
  • H2O: Hope 2 Others began as a result of a WorldVenture missions camp. Leslie and Lauren Reavely began making bags with meals and, well, hope for panhandlers alongside the road. They received a big boost from the book Do Hard Things which devotes part of a chapter to them. Their idea is being reproduced in many places throughout the country and has had interest internationally.
  • CCLI: We utilized CCLI to help us with complex copyright issues for several years before I realized they were based in Portland, OR. Now one of our worship leaders, Ronn Pricer, works at CCLI.
I think I could probably find other stickers that belong on the church. We are happy with the company we keep. All these organizations, and others, help us help people make God their treasure!

Caroling in the Snow Tonight (Change of Plans)

So, the official church policy is that if West Linn Schools are canceled, all New Life Church events are canceled. So, officially this event is canceled, but unofficially...why should a little snow squash our Christmas spirit?

The Pylate family would like to invite anyone who can make it to our house, to go caroling in the snow tonight at 6:30 PM. We live at 2590 Oxford Street in West Linn. The way up to our house is actually plowed pretty well and was mostly dry pavement last night (Sunset Avenue is a fire lane). If you need directions or a current weather report, please give us a call at 503-984-6445.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Okay! Okay! It's snowing! Church is called OFF!

Yes, I see it's snowing. Moral of the story. . . never write anti-snow poetry too early in the morning. No more "Yawn" at the snow report!

We are NOT going to have church. There will NOT be a business meeting tonight either.

See You In Church!

Snow report -- *Yawn*

No -- snow. Yes -- Church services.

'Twas two weeks before Christmas
and all through the place
not a snowflake was spotted,
not even a flake.

The services were planned
with the utmost of care
in hopes that worshipers
soon would be there.

Then once on the TV
arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
to see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear
but a freezing news reporter
and darkness so drear.

I looked out the the window
the morn was snow-free
So, I invite you to worship
The Savior with me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow Policy

When it snows, there is always the question as to whether to go to church. For your safety and to aid you in making a decision, we have developed the following policy.
Weekdays:If West Linn High School is closed that day, the church’s activities will also be cancelled.
Sundays:If snow or ice on the roads makes travel treacherous where you live, don’t attempt to come to services.
Check the blog for official announcements about weather cancellations.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Check Out" These New Items in the Library

New items donated to the children's library include:

Seven Ducks in Dirty Water (50 fun devotions for kids)

Comics - From the Heroes of the Faith series:
Man of Destiny (Story of Joseph)
David the Daring (Story of David - pt. 1)
Moses (Story of Moses - pt. 1 & 2)

VHSFrom the Heavens Sake Kids: Bible songs and learning shapes series:
Bible songs and learning colors
Bible songs and learning to add
Bible songs and learning to subtract

From the In the Beginning series:
Moses The Egyptian (Stories from the Old Testament)
Joseph in Bondage (Stories from the Old Testament)

From the The Story Keepers series:
Raging Waters

Books donated to the MAIN Library:
Cross Roads by Nancy Moser
All Together in One Place by Jane Kirkpatrick
Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser
Stealing Lumby by Gail Fraser
Lumby's Bounty by Gail Fraser

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thank You from Marcia

Dear New Life Church family:

Thank you so much for your prayers, love, and care for me and my family during the loss of my mother. We will really miss her, but we are very happy for her! She was unafraid and ready to be with her Savior.

Thank you for the beautiful roses and the Christmas ornament. It will be a special remembrance for us each year.

I love you and am thankful for you.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Plans

Our Christmas Plans at New Life Church are as follows:

Christmas Sunday, December 21

New Life Robinwood -- 9:30
New Life Riverfalls -- 9:00, 11:00*

Christmas Eve, December 24

New Life Robinwood -- 4:30, 6:30

Invitations will be available next Sunday to help you bring your friends.

*Note the 11:00 start instead of 10:45.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Good-bye and Thanksgiving

Sorry about not updating the blog for a while. As you may know, my mother-in-law, Doris Amunrud, passed away last Monday night. We traveled to Wibaux, MT for her memorial service. We are so thankful for her life and her influence in our lives.I decided rather than write a tribute to her I would let you see this event through the eyes of my children. They have already honored their grandmother. Here is a picture Lauren drew of her grandma's entry into heaven. It accompanies this blog post.
Here is Leslie's first and second post about her grandma. Layne drew her own view of the mortuary and casket below.
Good-bye, Doris. You were a wonderful mother-in-law!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


James Emery White encouraged me when he wrote this in his recent Serious Times email:

Thankful for the Fleas

The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.

They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things there were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.

Corrie’s sister Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.

This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.

Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant that women were not assaulted. It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.

Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.

Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.

It was because of the fleas.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to God for every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but also thank Him for how He will use all things for good in the lives of those who trust Him (Romans 8:28).

In this time of falling stock prices and rising unemployment; in a time when many are facing physical and emotional challenges; there can be little doubt that such a trusting prayer of gratitude will be challenging to offer.

But then take a moment, and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck.

And thank God anyway.

James Emery White

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bridges to Change Thanksgiving Dinner

Saturday night the church basement was overflowing with helpers, ladies donating salad and potatoes, cooks, cleanup crew and about 65-70 people from our Bridges to Change neighbors. It was another blessing for each of us to take part in sharing God's love with these neighbors of ours. Thanks to all of the volunteers: Dianne, Froode, Kathy Fuentes, Cindy Sollers, Darlene Hartley, Cathy Grant, Cindy and Jeff Wright, Nancy Cowan, Mark and Bonnie Hannifan, Rosemary Stark and a great group from the high school youth group.

Thanksgiving Basket Delivery

Thanks to all the generous giving from the church body, we were able to fill and deliver 35 boxes of food , including a turkey, milk and potatoes to families from our church and our neighborhood. This is the most we have ever done and it couldn't have happened without the labor of love of lots of volunteers. The high school youth group and their leaders helped to unload the storage room and sort all of the donated food onto tables, then Elenora Larson, Dawn Curry and Elaine O'Toole helped to fill the boxes and get them ready for delivery. Saturday morning we had lots of volunteer drivers to deliver those boxes: Don and Corrine Cyrus, Al Stapleton, Kathy Fuentes, Cindy Sollers, Cindy and Jeff Wright, Larry Richardson, Sandi and Jay Bettinisky , Cris Austen and Brenda Lauterbach. A special thanks to Holly Fullon who did lots of phone calling as well as special delivery. It was a wonderful, rewarding outreach and we were all blessed to be a part of it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Life Men Serve Oregon City!

Last week Mark Hannifan asked a couple of the men from New Life Oregon City to Men's Leadership planning meeting. They told him they couldn't because of the work that had to do at the church. Mark invited several men from New Life who called others to join them for a work day. Yesterday morning, Saturday, November 15, eight men showed up. Here are their names: Mark Hannifan, Tim Smith, Tim O'Gara, Darin Hagey, Billy Ferguson, Matt Cummins, Lee Bennett, and Derrick Elkins. The men put on siding on one of the class rooms.

Thanks Guys!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why the “Beautiful Things” are Most Dangerous

I’m about halfway through Shane Clairborne & Chris Haw’s ironically titled Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. It’s a pretty fast read, thanks especially to the book’s relentless graphic design (check the web-site out, you'll see what I mean). The book isn’t without its share of controversy (just Google the title and read the blogs), but the following quote really struck me.

It’s the beautiful things that get us. Perhaps the greatest seduction is not the ANTI-GOD, but the ALMOST*GOD. Poisonous fruit can look pretty tasty. That’s what is so dangerous about ideas like FREEDOM, PEACE AND JUSTICE. They are all seductive qualities, close to the heart of God. After all, it’s the beautiful things we kill and die for. And it’s the beautiful we market, exploit, brand and counterfeit.


and enslaved by the pursuit of freedom. Nations fighting for peace end up perpetuating the very violence they seek to destroy. Serpents are slippery and slimy things.

MOST of the ugliness in the human narrative comes from a distorted quest to possess beauty. COVETING begins with appreciating blessing. MURDER begins with a hunger for justice. LUST begins with a recognition of beauty. GLUTTONY begins when our enjoyment of the delectable gifts of GOD starts to consume us. IDOLATRY begins when our seeing a reflection of God in something beautiful leads to our thinking that the beautiful image bearer is worthy of WORSHIP (pg. 26).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thank You from Olga!

Dear New Life Church:

Thank you so much for the flowers. It truely brightened my spirits. I know there are a lot of people supporting me and praying for me, and I want to thank each and every one of you so much! I cannot thank you enough. May God bless each and every one of you. Thanks so much for all of your care and love for me. Sincerely, Olga Koran

Current Events Discussion Group - November

“Separation of Church and State”
November 20th @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.

The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

The CEDG will be meeting will be the third Thursday of the month at least for November and December to avoid the holidays.
Discussion Questions:
  1. How did the concept of “separation of church and state” evolve in America and why?
  2. Does “separation” demand that governing officials ignore their religious convictions to make decisions affecting public policy (i.e., how secular must/can a secular state be)?
  3. How does the current level of “separation” degrade or benefit Christian/religious goals? Does this warrant a change in current practices?
  4. Is the gospel a spiritual message, a political message or both? How should this understanding shape the way Christians (and/or the church) interact with the state?
Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for an Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard: 503.223.6357 or tiffani@howardink.com
Required Preparation
  1. Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7 and Mark 12:13-17
  2. Read the following articles:
    America’s Two Foundings by Mark Noll
    Separation of Church and State in the United States by Wikipedia
  3. Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
  4. Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable, evangelical sources.
  5. If you do not complete the required preparation before the CEDG meeting then you may only participate in the discussion/questioning portion of the meeting.
Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Creation Meets Evolution • Is America a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Biblical Training

Interested in making a significant investment in Biblical Training, but don't want to pick up and go back to school? Here is a resource that will give you an in-depth start to a Biblical education. And, best of all, it's online and free! The developer of this site is a part-time faculty member at Western Seminary and received and honorary doctorate from them last year.Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Life in OC!

This Sunday, with great delight, I will return to the pulpit of New Life Church Riverfalls. I have been so pleased with the ministry Aaron Orendorff has had among you.

Here is a brief account of what is happening in Oregon City these past three or four months:

  • October 26th both churches, Maranatha Baptist Church and Light on the Hill Fellowship voted overwhelmingly to merge.
  • For a year, a transitional period, they have surrendered their autonomy to CB Northwest. That means CB Northwest will be responsible for leadership decisions for the year.
  • During that year, New Life Church will be providing guidance, preaching, pastoring and leadership for the Oregon City congregation. We, as representatives of CB Northwest, will be providing transitional interim leadership.
  • They will be called New Life Church Oregon City for this transitional period. After that they may decide to change it.
  • November 2nd was their first joint worship service.
  • November 9th will be Aaron's first Sunday preaching there and my first Sunday back at New Life Riverfalls.
  • November 16th will be their first day in a new building, Lord willing.
Thank you for your prayers. Please don't stop. They are doing very well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Prayer is Answering Speech

As the 40 Days of ExtraOrdinary Prayer concludes this coming week, here's a brief meditation on prayer from a book I've just begun reading.

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles

We want life on our conditions, not on God’s conditions. Praying puts us at risk of getting involved in God’s conditions. Be slow to pray. Praying most often doesn’t get us what we want but what God wants, something quite at variance with what we conceive to be in our best interests. And when we realize what is going on, it is often too late to go back. Be slow to pray (44).

. . . prayer is never the first word; it is always the second word. God has the primary word. Prayer is answering speech; it is not primarily “address” but “response.” . . . Prayer is answering speech. The first word is God’s word. Prayer is a human word and is never the first word, never the primary word, never the initiating and shaping word simply because we are never first, never primary (45-47).

Time Change Sunday- Nov. 2nd

Hello New Life Church,

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. It wouldn't be the end of the world to show up to church an hour early, but hey, why miss out on that extra hour of sleep... or private prayer. : )

See ya Sunday,

Pastor Nathan

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 5 - “Missions & Evangelism”

Individual & Small Group Instructions

This week we’ll be focusing on Parts 4 & 5 of the Prayer Resource Book, “Missions” & “Evangelism” (pg. 35-39). Begin each prayer by approaching God through one of the five prayers in Part 1, “Opening.” In addition to your regular requests, pray each day for the assigned missionary/missionaries as outlined below. For a more detailed list of prayer requests from each missionary check out the New Life Blog. Close your prayer by reading through both the Missions (pg. 36) and Evangelism (pg. 39) sample prayers. You may also like to pray for lost individuals you know by using the prayer from Part 9, “The Unconverted” (pg. 46).
New Life Missionaries
Day 1 (26th) — Paul and Diana Mayhugh (South Asia), Brian and Lavonne Buhler (South Asia)
Day 2 (27th) — Dave and Sherrie Henderson (Portland and Central Asia)
Day 3 (28th) — Skip and Ruth Sorenson (Uganda), Audrey Sorenson (Rwanda)Day 4 (29th) — Rich and Cheri Staham (Ukraine)
Day 5 (30th) — Dan and Alice Simmons (Italy), Bruce Tissell (Brazil)
Day 6 (31st) — Carmen Bryant (Portland State University), Paul and Beryle Metko (Scappoose, OR)
Day 7 (1st) — Rick and Mary Beth Holladay (Germany)
Small Group Participation
As a group, adopt a missionary from the list above to pray for every week for the rest of 2008. For more information on how to pray week to week for the missionary you choose, contact Pastor Nathan, 503.699.1779. You can also get regular updates from the field via e-mail or personally reach out to a missionary and their family through letters, gifts and support.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thank You, Julia!

Thursday, October 23, is the last work day for Julia McBride in the church office. She has been a gift from the Lord. Julia’s smile, energy and enthusiasm will be greatly missed.

She is leaving work for a better job! She's expecting a baby boy in the middle of November and will be home with him and Lilly. You can always catch up with her and Tod and the kids at church.

If you are in the area of the church Thursday morning, please drop by to share a scone and a box of juice with Julia and wish her well.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week 4 - “The Church (Part 2)”

Using the Prayer Resource Book
This week we’re again focusing on Part 3 of the Prayer Resource Book, “The Church” (pg. 18-34). Last week we went for breadth—praying for all the areas of our church’s need. This week we’ll be aiming at depth. Pick three categories from the Prayer Resource Book to focus on in your prayer time. Each day, work through the following steps:

  1. Read all the Scriptural texts that to correspond the area you’ve chosen.
  2. Pick 1-2 verses and look them up in at least two other translations.
  3. Ask yourself:
    What is the theme (or the “big idea”) of this verse?
    How does this verse apply to my prayer life (i.e., how should it change how I pray or what I pray for)?
    How does this verse apply to how I relate to the church personally (i.e., is it asking me to forgive, to serve, to confess, to give, etc.)?
  4. Choose one verse from among the verses you’ve studied and write out how you can pray that verse in a simple and concise way.
  5. Pray that prayer at least 5 times throughout the day. For example: morning, lunch, afternoon break, before dinner and right before bed. To help remember, set an alarm or write yourself a note.
New Resources Available
There are a number of new resources available in the Riverfalls campus foyer to help you, your family and especially your children during these 40 Days.

Small Group Participation
Bring the prayers you’ve written so far this week to group and share how praying throughout the day has been different from praying all at once. Has it been easier or harder? Has breaking throughout the day to pray helped you focus on God? Which way suits you better

Women's Missionary Fellowship

Hello Women of New Life!

Tonight (Monday) at 7:00 PM you have the opportunity to meet and hear from an extraordinary woman of faith who has been used of God in many ways throughout the world. Carmen Bryant currently serves as a missionary in the Portland area working with international students, and in the past she and her husband Don served overseas in Indonesia and the Philippines. Come hear about her exciting journey of faith in the past and get updated on the work she is doing now.

You will also have an opportunity to serve the mission field in a practical way. Carol Carlson has coordinated with Brad Titus to help do some hands-on projects to help the Guatemala Short Term Mission team that is going out from New Life Church in February.

Don't miss it!

Pastor Nathan for the New Life Church Global Outreach Team

Friday, October 17, 2008

24 Hours of ExtraOrdinary Prayer

Tomorrow at 9:00 am the 24 Hours of ExtraOrdinary Prayer begins. As a reminder, the event has been moved off-site, which means that the time you signed up for still stands but instead of coming to the church, pray at home or with your small group.

Follow this link for a .pdf of the instructions for both individuals and small groups.

If you have any questions, e-mail me at aaron.orendorff@gmail.com.

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Shower This Saturday for Julia McBride

Our Church Secretary, Julia McBride will be having a baby boy in mid-November! Ladies, please come celebrate with us this Saturday, October 18th, 2:00 pm at our Riverfalls building. This will be such a fun time to fellowship together and prepare to welcome Baby Boy McBride! If you have any questions please call Lori Elliott at 503-650-5070.

Global Outreach Sunday- October 26th

Global Outreach Sunday is coming soon! Skip and Ruth Sorenson, Paul and Diana Mayhugh, and Dave Henderson (not pictured for security purposes) will be joining us at New Life Church for a day focused on Global Outreach. The schedule is as follows:

9:00 AM Mayhugh Testimony at Riverfalls
9:30 AM Sorenson Testimony at Robinwood
10:45 AM Dave Henderson Testimony at Riverfalls

12:30 PM Meet a Missionary Lunches *

6:00 PM Global Outreach Service at Robinwood **

* You can still sign up for a meet a missionary lunch. Simply post a comment on this blog or call Pastor Nathan.

** The Global Outreach Service will include time for each of the missionaries to share, Q and A, prayer, and musical worship.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Current Events Discussion Group - October

“How do you pick a presidential candidate?”
October 23rd @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.

The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

The CEDG will be meeting the fourth Thursday of every month.
Discussion Questions:
  1. What social and political issues are relevant to choosing a candidate?
  2. Does one issue carry more weight than others? Why?
  3. What can we learn from Jesus and Paul’s interactions with political power?
  4. How should a candidate’s moral and religious commitments effect your vote?
Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for a required Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard: 503.223.6357 or tiffani@howardink.com
Required Preparation
  1. Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 & Deuteronomy 17:14-20
  2. Read the following articles:
    How to Pick a President by Daniel Taylor & Mark McCloskey
    In the Booth, Not of the Booth by Adam Smith
  3. Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
  4. Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable, evangelical sources.
  5. If you do not complete the required preparation before the CEDG meeting then you may only participate in the discussion/questioning portion of the meeting.
Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Church and State • Creation Meets Evolution • Is American a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week 3 - “The Church” (Part 1)

Using the Prayer Resource Book:
This week and next we will be focusing on Part 3 of the Prayer Resource Book, “The Church” (pg. 18-34). Despite it’s emphasis in the NT (as the prayers this week display), the church often receives no more than a passing, “God, please bless . . .” in our regular prayer lives. Each day we will concentrate on a different area of prayer for the church using the following schedule:

Day 1 (12th) — “The Spiritual Life of the Body” (pg. 18-21)
Day 2 (13th) — “The Pastor(s)” & “The Elders” (pg. 22-25)
Day 3 (14th) — “The Ministry of the Word” (pg. 26-28)
Day 4 (15th) — “Worship” (pg. 29-30)
Day 5 (16th) — “Financial Need and Stewardship” (pg. 31-32)
Day 6 (17th) — “Small Group Community” (pg. 33-34)
Day 7 (18th) — “Worship” & “The Ministry of the Word”

Prayer Appointment Cards
If you haven’t yet engaged in the 40 Days or it you’re having trouble sustaining your goals, then the Prayer Appointment Card is for you. The cards were included in last week's worship folder, but you can also pick them up at either location. Simply record the “Where, When and What” of your prayer life on the card and treat it just like you would a regular appointment: block off the time in your calendar, put the card somewhere memorable and show-up.

24-Hours of ExtraOrdinary Corporate Prayer
From 9:00am Saturday the 18th to 9:00am Sunday the 19th we will be joining together (4-5 people per hour) for a full 24 hours of prayer. Stop by the table in the foyer or contact Aaron Orendorff, 503.957.4335/aaron.orendorff@gmail.com.

Small Group Participation
Using the Collected Scriptures from the “Small Group Community” pages (33-34), write out two or three prayers that you can use for both your personal group and for the small group ministry across New Life.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Remodel is Underway!

The remodel at New Life Riverfalls that we have been talking about for a couple months is officially underway. The church voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the library and upper fireside rooms into a coffee bar and living room for the church. We also approved an exterior project to update the entrance. Once the interior project, which is the project we began talking about, is underway and fully funded the exterior project can begin once the money for it comes in.

This remodel will have a big impact on our Coffee Cart ministry and will be used every school day as well as Sundays. It will also make the first impression of the church much more attractive.

The work will commence around October 20 and we hope to have it ready of Christmas. Please continue to pray for the project. You may donate by simply marking your giving envelope, "Building Fund." Thank you.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Week 2 - “What Is Prayer”

Using the Prayer Resource Book:
This week begin each prayer by reading one or more of “The Prayers of Paul” from Part 2 of the Prayer Resource Book (pg. 12-13). The aim of this exercise is to “learn what to pray for, what arguments to use, what priorities we should adopt, what beliefs should shape our prayers and much more.” Read through each prayer 5 or 6 times. Read slowly, concentrating on each word and phrase and paying attention to how they connect and build. Try comparing different versions of each prayer by reading from various translations.

After you’re familiar with the prayer, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is Paul praying for (spiritual vitality, practical needs, deliverance, etc.)?
  2. What is the pattern of this prayer (thanksgiving, petition, exhortation, etc.)?
  3. What is Paul’s chief concern? What does he pray for most?
  4. How is Paul structuring or building this prayer (i.e., look for words like “so,” “therefore” or “in order to”)?
  5. How is Paul’s faith (that is, his theology) shaping his prayer? What do his prayers tell us about God?
Use one or more of Paul’s prayers as your own. Change the wording to reflect your needs and situation, but try to let Paul’s prayer shape your prayer. On the reverse side of this page is a sample of what this might look like.

Small Group Participation:
Bring a modified version of one Paul’s prayers to your small group and explain how you answered the reflection questions for at least one text. Also, if you haven’t shared your assessment and goals yet, do it this week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Ignite Website

Ignite WebsiteIgnite Youth Ministries, the high school ministry of New Life Church is pleased to announce the first phase of our new website. It is full of information and resources for both parents and students. Click here to see. We hope you take a moment to check out the site and tell somebody else about it. Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Week 1 - Individual Instructions

This Sunday marked the beginning of New Life's 40 Days of ExtraOrdinary Prayer. Each week there will be instructions (some for individuals, some for small groups) to help guide you through this process. This week the focus is on "Approaching God."

(1) Assessment
Take an honest look at your current prayer life by recording the answers to the following questions:

  1. How many days each week do you pray?
  2. On average, how long do you prayer (if you’re not sure, time it)?
  3. What do you regularly pray for (e.g., family, finical needs, health issues, etc.)?
  4. Who do you pray with on a regular basis?
  5. How do you keep track of “prayer requests”?
(2) Goals
The aim of the 40 Days of ExtraOrdinary prayer is simply to pray more. If you don’t have regular time of prayer already, then aiming to pray for 5-10 minutes every other day is a great improvement. If you already pray for 5-10 on a daily basis, then try to increase your prayer time by another 5-10 minutes. Whatever they are set realistic goals that reflect where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
  1. How many days a week will you pray?
  2. What days of the week work best?
  3. When will you pray? Remember, to be specific (e.g., “at 9:00 pm” or “immediately after dinner” not “sometime at night”). Be realistic and set times that work naturally. For example, “When the kids nap,” or “For the last 10 minutes of my lunch break.”
  4. Where will you pray (outside, in your office, in your bedroom)? Try to pick somewhere you won’t be disturbed and let the people around you know what you’re doing and why it’s important.
  5. How long will you pray?
  6. How will you keep track of your prayer life (calendar, personal planner, etc.)?
(3) Accountability
If you’re not part a small group where you can share your assessment and goals (or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing them) then pick a close friend or mentor to share with. Don’t go it alone and if it’s at all possible pick someone who’s not in your family. Remember, it’s easy to share when you succeed; it’s when you fail that being honest really counts. Be gracious but firm to yourself and to your accountability partner(s).

(4) Using the Prayer Resource Book
This week, begin each prayer by reading part or all of the “Approaching God” section in the Prayer Resource Book (pg. 6-11). If you haven’t picked-up a Prayer Resource Book, they’re available at either campus for free. As you begin to pray, don’t immediately bring out your grocery-list of needs. Instead, approach God slowly, reminding yourself who He is, who you are and what He’s done through the gospel to reconcile those two realities. Focus on relating to God as a Person. Aim at communion and interaction, not just asking. The best way to do this is to pray God’s words as your own words, letting Scripture shape and guide your time with God.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please Welcome Children's Librarian, Lisa Reavely!

We are excited to have special help these days in our downstairs Children's Library at Riverfalls. Lisa Reavely is our new Children's Librarian, assisting our Church Librarian Joeleen Montgomery in a variety of important ways. Thank you Lisa for your valuable assistance! If you are a bibliophile too, pint-sized or full-sized, we'd love to have your assistance in our libraries! Please contact Joeleen Montgomery for further information.

New book suggestions, courtesy of our Children's Librarian:

On Video or DVD:
VeggieTales: Jonah (Sing Along Songs and More) video
Larryboy from VeggieTales: The Angry Eyebrows (video)
VeggieTales: Jonah, A VeggieTales Movie (video)
VeggieTales: King George and the Ducky (video )
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion,The Witch, & The Wardrobe (DVD)

VeggieTales: My Day (book and CD)
VeggieTales: Larry Lights The Way (book)

Bible: Noah's Ark Bible: NRSV Illustrated Children's Bible

New Books Available for Check Out Upstairs

Many of our library books are boxed up, awaiting our upcoming remodel project that will be taking place at our Riverfalls building this fall. But will that stop our indomitable Church Librarian Joeleen Montgomery from keeping us well-read?! Of course not! The following titles are available in the library for check out:

Main Library:
Max Lucado: Come Thirsty (248.4)
Carol Kent : Tame Your Fears (248.8) + study guide
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A Place of Quiet Rest (248.8)
Max Lucado: GOD'S Promises for YOU (242)
Helen M. Young: Love Notes from God for Busy Moms

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An idea for our remodel!

Other churches are using their space like we are planning to after we remodel our Riverfalls campus. Here is an article about creating a Starbucks alternative ministry. Anyone interested?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast, Me Hearties! Talk Like a Pirate Day!

With all the serious things you'll find on this blog. . . it's probably time to relax. So, Talk Like A Pirate! At least for a day. September 19 is official Talk Like A Pirate Day. Here's the official site to get you started! Aye-Aye!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

40 Days of Prayer

Starting in less than two weeks (September 28th) New Life Church (in tandem with both Oregon City churches) will embark on a process we’re calling “40 Days of ExtraOrdinary Prayer.” This is the second time our church will give itself to a forty day period of intense private and corporate prayer (many of you probably recognize the same name from 2006). The highlights of this process will include:

  • Weekly Prayer Focuses for Individuals and Small Groups
  • 24-Hour Period of Corporate Prayer
  • A Culminating Event of Prayer and Worship to Close the 40 Days on November 6th
  • Prayer Resource Book to Help Aid You and Your Group in Its Prayers
Here is a preview of what the covers for the Prayer Resource Book will look like (a special thanks to Andie Haugen for her design work).

More to come soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birth Announcement: Margaret Danielle Brophy

Says Mommy Danette,
"Margaret Danielle Brophy was born at 7:38 pm on September 12th. She weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 inches long. As you can see in the picture, she has dark hair (for now). She sleeps well and eats well, and loves to be swaddled."

Margaret joins proud parents Jeff and Danette, and big brother Nicholas.

Congratulations!! And welcome to your New Life Church family!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Young Adults Progressive Dinner

Last Thursday night, the Young Adults Group (one of the less well known Life Groups at New Life) hosted a progressive dinner that began at the Hanson’s, continued to the Elliott’s and ended at the Currey’s. Here are a few pictures of the event.

Just in case anyone was wondering, the mini-basketball Nate’s holding was used to play GOAT (a four-letter version of PIG) on a Fisher-Price basketball hoop…a game which Aaron won.

A special thanks to everyone who hosted and provided food (thanks Dawn for the pies).

The Young Adults Group meets regularly every Sunday morning during second service upstairs. Check back on our regular web-site for the Group’s own page…coming soon.

Monday, September 08, 2008

“The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”

Last week’s sermon—“Christ, Our Life – Part II”—focused on answering the question, “In light of the gospel, how do we pursue radical and lasting change?” Colossians 3:1-2 gives the following instructions, “. . . seek [NIV – ‘set your hearts on’] the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Gospel change occurs from the inside-out. We begin, not by changing our behavior, but by (1) despising our idols and (2) treasuring Christ. We take our eyes off of earthly things and set them on the “things that are above.” Often, we only pursue the first step. That is, we begin to despise our sin and go about the work of change with an attitude of “No! Bad Christian. Don’t sin. Bad Christian.” What we don’t do is cultivate a positive love for Christ as revealed in the gospel.

Thomas Chalmers, a Scottish minister from the 19th century, wrote about this need powerfully in his sermon, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” In the sermon, Chalmers writes about how most people’s desires change over time. Normally, a person moves from childish appetites to physical pleasure, from pleasure to the love of money, from the love of money to a lust for power.

There is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. Its desire for one particular object may be conquered; but as to its desire for having some one object or other, this is unconquerable. . . . Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of . . . [This means] the way to disengage the heart from the positive love of one great and ascendant object, is to fasten it in positive love to another . . . it is not by exposing the worthlessness of the former, but by addressing to the mental eye the worth and excellence of the latter, that all old things are to be done away and all things are to become new.

You can read the rest of Chalmers’ sermon here.

Men's Roundup.

The men from New Life Church had a great weekend at Roundup at Camp Tadmor. The weather was fabulous. Lincoln Brewster and Trace Bundy were really fun. The challenge from the Word by Gary Thomas was very apropos.

I was blessed because the guys from New Life camped next to the group from Light on the Hill Fellowship and Maranatha Baptist. That made it easy for me I was able to wander around and take my pick of everyone's food. It doesn't get any better than that.

The best thing, however, will require another blog post and pictures I don't have.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Praying for Muslims

For the past several years Christians around the world have been praying in a concerted way for Muslims to come to know Jesus Christ. One organization puts together a prayer guide that is used to pray for Muslims during the 30 days of Ramadan (the Muslim holy month in which many Muslims fast and pray for God to give them special revelations). You can receive a daily e-mail during this 30 days that gives you a few brief prayer requests for Muslim people in different parts of the world. You can get on this email list by going to http://www.30-days.net/. In the colomn on the right side of the page, click on "Get our e-news and e-prayers". We are just a few days into Ramadan so get on that list today and start praying for many people in the Muslim world to come to know
Speaking of ministry among Muslims, about 40 people from New Life Church attended an open house last week and heard about the ministry of
Calvin and Ruth Kim. Calvin and Ruth are missionaries from the Portland area who are being sent out by World Venture to teach at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beruit, Lebanon. They will be equipping Arab Christian leaders to do ministry in the Muslim world. You can find out more about their ministry by going to www.worldventure.com/Missionaries/Missionary-Directory/Missionary/Kim_Calvin_Ruth.html. By praying for and supporting this couple in ministry New Life Church can have a great impact for Christ on the Muslim world.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Determining Our Idols - X-Ray Questions

Last week’s sermon focused on answering two questions:

(1) What is our fundamental problem as human beings?
(2) How does the gospel, rightly understood and embraced, address that fundamental problem?
Our fundamental problem as human beings is not that we desire evil things. Rather, our fundamental problem is that we over desire—we inordinately desire (i.e., “epithÅ«mia”)—good things. The Bible’s predominate mode of describing this inordinate desire is idolatry, taking a good thing—often a legitimate, positive, God-approved thing—and turning it into an ultimate thing. Whatever we give our hearts to, whatever we turn into our lives (i.e., “My kids are my life. . . My job is my life. . . Sexual gratification is my life.”) becomes our functional god. This god, or more often, these gods, express themselves visibly in what we say and do, but behind our words and deed are our motivations. Determining our motivations is the first step towards dethroning the idols in our lives.

David Powlison, “Idols of the Heart and ‘Vanity Fair’”

The deep question of motivation is not “What is motivating me?” The final question is, “Who is the master of this pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior?” In the biblical view, we are religious, inevitably bound to one god or another. People do not have needs. We have masters, lords, gods, be they oneself, other people, valued objects, Satan. The metaphor of an idolatrous heart and society capture the fact that human motivation bears an automatic relationship to God: Who, other than the true God, is my god?

Powlison, in his book Seeing with New Eyes, offers thirty-five “x-ray questions” to “aid in discerning the patterns of a person’s motivation”:

The questions aim to help people identify the ungodly masters that occupy positions of authority in the hearts. These questions reveal “functional gods,” what or who actually controls their particular actions, thoughts, emotions, attitudes, memories, and anticipations.
I’ve attached a copy of those questions to this post in the hope that you will use them to examine yourself. Powlison’s introduction and commentary on the x-ray questions alone is worth the cost of the book.

X-Ray Questions (pdf)
Seeing with New Eyes

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sin, Idolatry and Internalizing the Gospel

For the next two Sundays I’ll be preaching from Colossians 3:1-10. A large portion of this week's message will center upon understanding the concept of sin through the lens of idolatry. In conjunction with the biblical text, a great deal of my message (and certainly all of its underlying theology) is indebted to the writing and teaching of two men: Tim Keller (who many of you already know) and David Powlison (who is a bit less recognized). The two most helpful articles by these men are available online for free. Keller summarizes excellently his approach to communicating, understanding and engaging sin on page two of his essay:

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.

Here are the links to both articles:

Tim Keller, “Talking about Idolatry in a Postmodern Age”
David Powlison, “Idols of the Heart and ‘Vanity Fair’”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Birth Announcement: Liesel Whitbeck

Is this a proud papa, or what??!

Josh and Marcy Whitbeck welcomed baby Liesel (Lily) Whitbeck on August 22nd, 2008 at 6:03 am. Liesel weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

All are happy and healthy and doing just fine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

High School Beach Bash: Building Community

Thank you to our leaders: Youth Pastors Matt and Alicia Vorhees; Dave Nizic; Josh, Elaine, and Baby Iris Hochstettler--for what appears to have been an awesome day at the beach! The focus of the long day was "Building Community", which involved strengthening relationships through fun times on the beach, dinner in Seaside, and a look at the early church model of community. Pastor Matt challenged the students by asking: "What does Jesus-shaped community look like"? If you would like to know more about our student ministries at New Life Church, please visit their unique website at http://www.ignitenw.com/!

Luis Palau Season of Service at West Linn High School

Last Sunday afternoon, August 24th, fifteen volunteers from New Life Church joined dozens of other volunteers from Rolling Hills Community Church to beautify the grounds surrounding West Linn High School. The team from New Life Church focused on sprucing up the administrator's parking lot, located directly across from the high school on West "A" Street. Together they pulled weeks, swept, and blew debris from the parking lot, trimmed back ivy and blackberry bushes, painted speed bumps and swept the sidewalks. This project was part of a larger coordinated effort by Luis Palau Ministries, in conjunction with last weekend's Portland CityFest '08 event, to organize over 26,000 volunteers throughout the greater Portland area to put the love of Jesus Christ into action as the physical needs of a community are met.

Birth Announcement: Arya Faye Mathews

Please welcome this beautiful new member of New Life Church!

Arya Faye Mathews was born to Tyler and Sheree Mathews on August 9th, 2008. She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 inches long. Mommy and baby are happy and healthy, and doing just fine!

The Mathews family will be moving to Southern Oregon in early September to be closer to family.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Life Church @ Luis Palau Festival

Several folks from New Life Church attended the Luis Palau Festival at Waterfront Park in Portland last Friday and Saturday. They heard some great music, saw the VeggieTales, played Guitar Hero, and heard a powerful gospel presentation by Luis Palau. Some of our church members served as volunteers and helped people who were making decisions to follow Jesus Christ.

In all, it was a great experience to see the body of Christ from around the Portland area come together for this exciting campaign. To find out more about what happened at the event go to http://www.palau.org/ and click on the link to the Portland Festival Blog.