Monday, June 30, 2008

Sports Camp Pictures

Baseball at Sports CampThere are over 400 pictures from Mega Sports Camp 2008 on the Ignite Youth Ministries Gallery. Click here to check them out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sports Camp Part 2 (What a week!)

What a week we had at Sports Camp! By the end of the week over 110 children passed through the doors of New Life Church! Though this large of a group made for some tired volunteers, it was well worth the effort. Listen to some of the feedback we got from parents:

Camp was fantastic and a joy to be a part of.
So blessed to have such a wonderful program for young children.
My kids only came two days but they had a blast.
My son really enjoyed the camp and I love that it was Bible based.
Wonderful week, thank you!

Not only was it exciting to have our largest attended Sports Camp ever, but 12 children indicated to their coaches that they had prayed to accept Christ during the week! None of this would have been possible without the dedicated team of students (led by David Nizic) who served as coaches this week.

While the kids were playing sports and hearing the word of God, a
team of New Life Church women were making connections with parents. These ladies served coffee beverages and pastries to the parents who were dropping their kids off for Sports Camp.

One of our life groups even got into the game this week. Dawn Currey was our concession stand coordinator. She enlisted the help of her life group to make over 200 cupcakes for our awards ceremony and lunch on Friday.

Please pray that the some of the families who came to Sports Camp and don't have a church home would connect with New Life Church. Also, pray for the children who made decisions to accept Christ. Pray that they would get rooted in the word of God and follow Jesus for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank You From Pregnancy Resource Center

Sanctity of Human Life Baby Bottle Giving Results:

39 Contributing Churches

$42,195.45 Raised!

Dear New Life Church,

Without your willingness to be involved in the Baby Bottle Campaign this much money wouldn't have been possible. We really appreciate all your hard work! Thank you so much for your time and love of this ministry.

Your church families have contributed $1,735.99 to PRC Through the 2008 Sancitity of Life Baby Bottle Campaign!

Please convey our very deep and heartfelt thanks to your families and let them know their gifts make eternal differences in lives right now...for the young women, girls, and babies of Greater Portland.

God Bless,

Becky Elkind
Pregnancy Resource Center

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sports Camp Day 1

Our Sports Camp/VBS began today at New Life Church. We had 77 kids show up (59 is the most we have ever had before)! A great time was had by all as David Nizic (camp director/general manager), Matt Vorhees (youth pastor), The Utah Mission Team, and other volunteers taught the children about basketball.

Brianne Cochrane is the Rally Coach for the camp. She taught the kids the story of Nehemiah and the teamwork that was needed to accomplish the task of rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. Each day has a different Bible theme. On Thursday the theme will be "sacrifice", and Brianne will share about Christ being the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Please be in prayer for Brianne and the other "coaches" as they share the good news of Jesus Christ. Please pray for the kids to be safe and for some to put their faith in Christ this week!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

This is the video I showed in church today. In addition to being a great reminder that God loves us, it is also a good way to think about making the gospel personal like I wrote last week. Think in simple before/after terms. If you can put it on a sheet of cardboard it is simple enough. Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Present the Good News

We use the simplest gospel presentation I've ever seen. It is easy to remember and use. I made this video during the first "Don't Waste Your Summer" training meeting, the low production costs will be obvious. But, if you are wondering how you might share the gospel wherever you have a pen and paper, I've found no better way than this.

The One Verse Bridge

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Personalize the Gospel

There is no better way to present the gospel, to make it interesting and memorable than to weave your own story into it. How has the gospel changed you? If someone is interested in what a difference Jesus has made in your life, what would you say? Answering those questions can give you a ton of confidence sharing your faith.

A typical pattern for your story is a before and after outline. Begin by answering, "What was life like before Christ?" In other words, "What was going on in my life that made me realize I needed Christ?" or, looking back, "Now that Christ has changed me, what did He change?" If you couldn't put your finger on it then, maybe you can now.

Then, answer the question, "How has Jesus helped me with that problem?" What has He done to make you a different person with regard to the problem you mentioned above?

The before/after pattern is simple and clear. . . and that's important. It will require little more embellishment than, "Once I was insecure, now I have peace," or, "Once I was angry, now I've experienced forgiveness and can forgive much more easily."
Bill Hybles in Just Walk Across The Room suggests working on your story and then trimming it to 100 words. That's right, 100 words or less. He suggests you solve four common problems with as you prepare your personal story of conversion:

  1. Long-Windedness: The 100 word limit will keep both you and the person listening from getting bored. It will also keep you from going into prehistoric detail. "When I was in kindergarten. . . (yawn)."
  2. Fuzziness: Trim out extra details. Is it something someone else can relate to? You don't need to relay every dream, thought, vision, verse, need, crisis, sermon, etc. that was important in your turn to Christ. Draw a straight line from before to after and don't deviate. Everyone who listens to you will thank you!
  3. Religionese: Words like "asking Jesus into my heart," "walking the aisle," "born-again," "personal testimony," and many, many more sound more religious than genuine. Say what you mean and mean what you say in words that every person can understand. If you can explain what you mean (in your 100 words or less), please do. Otherwise, don't talk about it.
  4. Superiority: This can be tricky. Pride, spiritual or otherwise, is deceptive. You can come off as holier-than-thou without really meaning to. You can talk as though you every problem is completely solved and anyone who still has problems is stupid. . . that wouldn't be good. God saves people who humble themselves and trust Christ, stay humble when you talk about it. That's all.
If you'll do a little homework, you can be confident in telling people the difference Jesus makes in your own life. Nothing is more beautiful or interesting to listen to that than. In the comments below is one example of a 100 word testimony. Maybe you can add yours. . .

Friday, June 13, 2008

How to Talk to People About Important Things

It is one thing to talk to people about, well, nothing. . . to make small talk. It is another thing all together to talk about important things. How do you go about finding out what other people really think? How do you go about surfacing opportunities where the Good News might not only be heard, but be appreciated?

Again, there may be countless ways, but I am going to share only the easiest: QUESTIONS! That's right, questions. Simply ask more questions. Follow up the questions you ask when getting to know them (see yesterday) with better questions. These questions fall into three basic categories:

  • Permission Questions: If you are going beyond finding where someone is F.R.O.M. you will want to tread lightly. You can tread lightly by simply asking permission to go farther. "Do you mind if I ask you what you like about that?" or "Would it be alright if I told you what that has meant to me?" or "If you don't mind my asking, why do you believe that?" Permission questions simply make you a polite and respectful sharer of good news.
  • Poisonous Questions: Poisonous questions are not designed to create a crisis immediately. They are not designed to be confrontive. A poisonous question is one which lodges in someone's mind and give them reason to consider eternal and important things. It might be something like, "Yes, but is that really what you want out of life?" or "Don't you have to sell your soul for that kind of job? Will it really make you happy?" or "Is your hope that you won't have to give an account to God really worth the risk?" Poisonous questions don't preach, but as they say in Montana, they simply 'salt the oats.'
  • Progress Questions: A progress question comes when someone raises a serious question about your faith. Say, they can't go farther in your discussion because they believe in Evolution, or can't swallow the fact that 'a loving God would send people to hell.' You can stop all together, go home and cry, or you can ask a progress question. There are only a few varieties of this. You can ask, "What is it about this that makes you hesitate?" That will lead you to more substantial things to talk about. Or you can ask, "If I could provide an answer or solution to your problem that satisfied you, would you be willing to follow Christ?" This will tell whether it is a legitimate objection or one unconsciously designed to through you off track. If you need to find an answer you don't know, admit you don't know and make a plan to get back, but ask one more question first, "What would you consider an adequate solution?" This will help you know how to approach the solution.
These three types of questions are some of the best ways to not be preachy, but not be a coward about your faith either. Have fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Talk to Anyone!

It is one thing to identify and to initiate, but how do you know your attempt at initiation won't be a complete disaster? The simplest, and the best, way to plan a conversation with people you don't know is this little acronym. Find out where they are F.R.O.M. by asking questions in the following areas:

  • FAMILY: Are you married? Any kids? Do you live with parents? How did you meet? Do you all get really busy or is this a quieter time of year?
  • RECREATION: What do you like to do in your spare time? Where did you learn to play (quilt, ride, garden, etc.)? Where do you go for vacation? What do you like to do then?
  • OCCUPATION: What do you do to pay the bills? Do you like it? Why did you chose that? What do you like best about your job? Do you have a commute? What do you do to fill the time when you're commuting? What are you studying in school?
  • MEMORIES: Where did you grow up? (Whether I like it or not, it is easy to talk with someone about Montana!) What brought you to Oregon? What do you like best about living here? Did you have brothers and sisters?
You are bound to find some common ground by being friendly and using these questions. One thing always happens. You make it easy for someone else to ask, "What about you?" While there are countless other ways to connect with someone, this simple acronym forms a platform for most of my conversations with people I don't know very well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Getting Started

One of the biggest barriers to sharing the love of Jesus is getting started. For a variety of reasons the first step is the hardest. The first step is really easy to take. It requires that you do two simple things:

  • Identify: Find someone to love for Jesus' sake. Jesus found a woman at a well, somewhere she went every day. He found a tax collector in a tree while He was out for a walk. Where will you find someone?
    • In their yard, in your neighborhood?
    • On a walk of your own?
    • At a park?
    • At a concert in the park?
    • At the farmer's market?
    • At a sporting event of your choice?
    • While doing a service project or a kindness project with the church?
    • At work?
    • Online?
    • At a restaurant, serving you?
  • Initiate: Once you find someone, what will you do? Jesus asked the woman for water. He invited himself over for dinner at the home of Zaccheus. He did not pass them by. Instead he took intiative. Bill Hybels suggests taking the simplest level of initiative in the title of his recent book Just Walk Across the Room. It won't matter if you identify people to love in Jesus' name, if you don't do anything. What should you do? Try these:
    • Pray. Pray. Pray.
    • Ask questions (see tomorrow's post).
    • Invite to coffee.
    • Offer help.
    • Ask for help.
    • Introduce yourself.
    • Pray. Pray. Pray.
This is just a start. But the point is if you don't know who to talk to and/or don't talk to them, you'll end up wasting your summer by keeping to yourself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Simple Ways To Make A Difference

Anyone can waste their summer! Someone who treasures Christ will look for ways to make an eternal difference with their summer. It's not that hard. We are having some training to take the fear/uncertainty out of investing in other people. It covers a few simple skills. Every God-Treasuring Christian should be able to:

  • Get started building a relationship with another person.
  • Talk to them.
  • Talk to them about important things.
  • Make your story of faith personal.
  • Present a summary of the Good News!
This week, I will blog some of the simple things from the training you can do to make an impact this summer.

Don't Waste Your Summer: Church Calendar Updated!

There are LOTS of exciting events happening in and around New Life Church this summer! Our online church calendar has just been updated to help keep you up-to-date on the latest events! Click here to be re-directed straight to the calendar!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Encouragement to Pray

In Prayer

O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality. Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing; I find my heart going after Thee with intensity, and long with vehement thirst to live to Thee. Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear, and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts at what Thou art doing for Thy church, and I long that Thou shouldest get Thyself a great name from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life, and taste heavenly joys; entering into the eternal world I can give myself to Thee with all my heart, to be Thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in Thy hands, to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, Thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes, as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

(from Valley of Vision, Banner of Truth)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Life Church at West Linn High School Baccalaureate

Several students took part in the WLHS Baccalaureate last Sunday. The only two boys who participated were both from New Life Church, Eric Koczian opened the event in prayer and Taylor Reavely led singing and gave the first student address. Here is his talk:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Steps for Life

New Life Church supports Pregnancy Resource Centers in a number of ways. One of the ways is through the annual Steps for Life Walkathon. While we did not have many people walk, we did come through as one of the top sponsoring churches. Thank you to those who walked and those who sponsored! Pregnancy Resource centers provide help and hope to women with crisis pregnancies.