Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Voice of the Martyrs

God used our guest speaker last Sunday to challenge us in a unique and powerful way. Several people have wondered how we got in touch with her. The organization that sponsored her was Voice of the Martyrs. The Organization was founded by Richard Wurmbrand, a pastor from Romania who spent over 14 years in prison for preaching the gospel.

I heard him speak at Western Seminary years ago. He sat with his shoes off and spoke because of the injuries he had suffered while in prison. In one instance he speaks of suffering and reminds us that, " A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume."

The organization has several resources -- books, a prayer map, and a listing of countries and their relative openness for the gospel.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

50,000 Visitors

We passed 50,000 visitors earlier this morning! I thought that was kinda cool.

New Sermon Series at New Life Church

We are excited about the start of new series of sermons at both locations of New Life Church this week. With the exception of the first three months of New Life Robinwood we have been preaching messages from the same text at both locations. This summer we will diverge from one another, not in spirit, but in topic.

At New Life Robinwood, Pastor Nathan will be starting a series in 1 Thessalonians that he is calling, "A Season of Encouragement." Here are his thoughts:

I am calling this sermon series, “A Season of Encouragement.” Paul wrote the letter to the church at Thessalonica to encourage the believers their in the faith. He encourage them about the good work he had already seen God do in them and spurred them on to press on in the faith. I am believing that God will use this series to encourage the folks at New Life Robinwood as they press on the faith.

At New Life Church Riverfalls, I started a new series last Sunday called, "The Defining Moment." We will look at God's work in salvation which changes everything. When someone is born-again it is, more than any other point in time, The Defining Moment in their lives. The list of benefits that come to those who belong to Christ is almost endless. I'm sure you will find it to be a rich and rewarding study.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Facebook for Pastors

I contributed a section to a new e-book, FaceBook for Pastors, that just became available. While it is targeted at pastors, it highlights some good ministry ideas for anyone who might be inclined to serve Christ on FaceBook. Here is the press release for it. It is about:

How to build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet. This 32 page e-book will help Pastors and other ministry leaders make the most of this great networking tool.

* How to make the most of your profile information
* Tips for Networking with People in Facebook
* All about groups, messages, poking, etc
* Brand Your Ministry
* Meet prospects for your church
* Learn more about the members in your church
* Fine tune your communication skills
* Testimonies from Pastors who use FaceBook
* and much more!

Get the e-book here free using this link:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reading Your Bible

Did you know that one of the best predictors about whether you will make good decisions in life is your pattern of Bible reading? Those who read their Bible four or more times a week will base their decisions on what they read from the Bible while those who read their Bible three or fewer times per week will make their decisions based on their feelings! It is really that simple.

According to the Center for Bible Engagement reading your Bible four or more times per week is a key predictor of your success as a Christian. You can read more about their findings here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

CB Northwest

When people find out I'm a pastor they frequently ask, "What kind of church is it?" I have spent 15 years trying to answer the question in a way that keeps the conversation open. Sometimes I try to say, "It's a church that preaches and lives by the Bible." But, what people usually mean when they ask that question is, "What denomination are you?" While denominations mean very little to most people, they provide a convenient category (often filled with misconceptions) in which to file me. So, just to make sure I communicate I usually say, "We're Conservative Baptist. Does that mean anything to you?" That will usually tell me, by body language alone sometimes, whether we can continue to talk.

Let me give you some online references for our affiliations. While we are on the same team, Jesus's team, with many churches, we formally affiliate with CB Northwest, the regional branch of the Conservative Baptists of America. In fact, I am a CB Northwest trustee for the Willamette South Association, a group of sixteen churches in our area. This includes:

If you are inclined to pray for these CB Northwest and these churches, I'm sure they'd appreciate it. Please pray for me as I attempt to serve these churches as a trustee. I'm still figuring out what that means.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Community and Sectarianism

Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

Getting saved is easy; becoming a community is difficult – damnably difficult (250).
We are a community. We are not ourselves by ourselves. We are born into communities, we live in communities, we die in communities. Human beings are not solitary, self-sufficient creatures. As we realize both the necessity and the nature of our lives in community, we also become aware of the difficulty, the complexity, and as Christians who are following Jesus, the seductions all around us to find an easier way, a modified community , a reduced community customized to my preferences, a “gated community.”
Sectarianism involves deliberately and willfully leaving the large community, the “great congregation” that is features so often in the Psalms, the whole company of heaven and earth, and embarking on a path of special interest with some others, whether few or many, who share similar tastes and concerns.
Sectarianism is to the community what heresy is to theology, a willful removal of a part from the whole. The part is, of course, good – a work of God. But apart from the whole it is out of context and therefore diminished, disengaged from what is needs from the whole and from what what’s left of the whole needs from it (239-40).
A. Orendorff
The most accurate measure of how authentically we are “doing” Christian community is simple: How many of the people close to you don’t you like? Such an assessment may sound harsh, and is of course easily misinterpreted, but what it means is this: Look at the people to whom you devote your time and relational energy. Who are they? Are they easy people, clean people, respectable, stable and necessary people? Are they efficient and productive people, people who make you feel better about who you are? The degree to which we devote ourselves to people who (from all worldly estimations) add nothing to us is the degree to which we have internalized much of the gospel. Grace in relationships – the essence of a gospel-shaped community – takes concrete shape only as we begin to say yes to relationships that can offer us nothing of economic, relational, and promotional value. The degree to which the people we invite obtrusively into our lives are people who we (in our more selfish and fleshly moments) could easily and happily do without is the degree to which we are doing more than “sinners do” (Luke 6:32-36). And we do this, not from a high horse of superiority, but from the rock-bottom reality that is what Christ has done for us.
Luke 6:32-36
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Church Calendar

A couple weeks ago we moved our website to a different host. A few things happened as a result. The "Members" section of the website, which housed the online directory, disappeared. We are working to restore that.

And, the church calendar vanished forever. We looked at almost 50 different calendars for one that would serve us well and have found one at Famundo! We like it for a number of reasons:

  1. It has color. Our old one didn't.
  2. If you scroll over an event it will expand and you can see more details.
  3. You can customize your view. If you want to see what is happening this week, you can select a weekly tab. If you want the month, you view the entire month. Or if it is a busy day at church, you can view only that day.
  4. You can view a Google map for an event if it is off-campus.
  5. You can layer the calendar. If you want a youth ministry calendar. You deselect all the other boxes and all you see is youth ministry. It's pretty sweet.
  6. We can add notes and online files alongside the calendar. For instance, Ignite ministry can put an event on the calendar and then attach a registration for to the event or over in the sidebar!
  7. You can sync your family calendar with the church calendar. Want to know when the senior's luncheons conflict with your grand-children's field trips? Highlight the senior's tab and then export.
  8. It highlights important holidays like Cesar Chavez day.
  9. The old one didn't work on the new site so we had to do something!
As you look at the new calendar, if you think of new questions or ways we haven't thought to use it yet, please leave a comment and help us make the most of this new opportunity. Thanks.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Violet Olmsted, 1918 -- 2008

Violet Olmsted went to be with the Lord on March 27, 2008. She will be deeply missed. We will celebrate her life with a memorial service at New Life Church Riverfalls, Saturday, April 5, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.. You can read her obituary in the Oregonian.

Ed Campbell, 1912-2008

Ed Campbell passed into the presence of the Lord on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the age of 95. We will have a memorial service for him on Saturday, April 5, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at New Life Church Riverfalls. You can read more about his life in the Oregonian or the West Linn Tidings.

Oprah’s New “Church”

While not endorsing the book or political views expressed in this clip's closing moments, the doctrinal substance expressed by Oprah and Tolle is important to be aware of.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools Day

I thought I'd shared this with you before, but I couldn't find it on our site. Here is the most comprehensive, most inspiring, most mischievous, most interesting, and most motivational list of April Fools Day Hoaxes of all time. I hope you enjoy these.