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!