Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kickball Fun!

We had a great turn out at the All Family Kickball Night in Wilsonville yesterday. It was good to see families playing together and encouraging each other. Several families from New Life Church turned out as well as some neighbors and friends. Parents and children alike played and enjoyed themselves as was evidenced by the big smiles, cheers, and the number of times people said, "This was so much fun!"

A Note of Thanks

Bridges to Change, a non-profit organization providing transitional services, included this note of thanks in their August 2010 newsletter:

"A special thanks to New Life Church and their most generous congregation for their on going giving spirit in supplying food boxes, thoughts and prayers for our clients. We have a heart full of gratitude for all of your support. It takes a community to affect change and we cannot do this alone."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Juneau Team Report and Potluck

I hope you can make space in your calendar to hear what God has done in and through the team New Life Church sent to Juneau earlier this month. They will be reporting at a potluck on Sunday, July 25, at 12:15 at New Life Church River Falls.

I have been part of many teams our church has sent out. This, however, has been one of the most transformational experiences yet.

If you are interested in browsing some of their pictures you can seen them here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Worship Thoughts

Here are a couple additional thoughts that didn't fit into the message on Worship. They won't fit in a couple weeks when I share it at Robinwood either, so no spoiler alert necessary.

The Resurgence, a ministry I recommend you pay attention to, highlights the false gospel preached by rock & roll in this blog post. Their observation about the music we entertain ourselves with is similar to my concern for our worship. Your music preaches a it the right one?

My message hardly qualified as a sermon on worship without this quote by William Temple, former archbishop of Canterbury, which everyone who writes on the topic of worship loves. Here it is in two different forms:

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.

Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes – worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin. – William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, (1942-44).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Juneau Mission Team in the Newspaper!

Yesterday a reporter and photographer from the Juneau Empire (the local newspaper) showed up at Sports Camp. We aren't really sure how they found out about our camp, but it was great publicity! There were 3 full color pictures and a short report about our camp on the front of the Sports Section of today's paper. Here is one of the pictures. You can see the rest of the pictures they took along with the caption here.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Juneau H20 Adventure #1

Hi, New Life Church, this is Lindsay Goff. I am a part of the youth group. You may have seen me around. I started coming at the end of last summer. Alaska has been amazing. I am so thankful for this opportunity to be here. When I look back on and reflect on what has happened so far wow is all that really crosses my mind. Don’t get me wrong, as a group, we have all been having our ups and downs but I can truly say that I have never felt more like a true Christian and felt as much burning love for Christ our Savior as I do right now, right here. This place, to sum it up simply, is kind of sad. It’s full of so many lonely people who have had terrible lives and yet the Spirit of God is still here and still working miraculously. I have always believed that you can’t have great joy without great suffering, but here I realized, “what do I know about suffering?” Last night I had a really amazing experience and it really opened my eyes and brought me closer to Christ and it is something I would really like to share with all of you.

Our free time was coming to an end and many were busy shuffling around chairs and tables preparing for our Alaskan guests coming for lunch. We ate our lunch, we laughed, we giggled, we prayed before we ate, but nothing truly seemed to be that different. As lunch came to a close Lauren stood up to talk about the events planned later for the day. We were going to hand out H2O bags around Juneau. H2O is an organization that Lauren and Leslie Reavely had started as a way to reach out to homeless people. She explained some ways of how to approach and talk to these homeless people. One of our Alaskan friends named Travis came to talk to us about the people that make up the homeless community in Juneau. One thing that seemed like an exaggeration, but I later found to ring true, was the statement that if someone is homeless in Juneau it is because they drink.He made sure we had a proper grasp and a proper fear for the situation we were about to thrust ourselves into. Their talks were helpful, yes, but I don’t know what could have really ever prepared me and many on our team for what was about to unfold.

Small groups were necessary because we didn’t want to overwhelm them and many of the homeless were not really centrally located. My group was the first to get started on the task ahead. We were to go to the woods and meet people that resided there. Our group consisted of Joe (our Alaskan friend), Cale, Andrew K, Sarah C, Bethany, Josh H. and myself. We got to the woods and stepped out of our car. We prayed for what we were about to do and began our task. We were all a little frightened but we were all ready. The Spirit of God was most definitely with us. Even the bear warning that Joe had given us couldn’t put down the spirit in our group. We began walking into the forest and immediately heard screaming and yelling in the distance. We were freaked out but we knew that we wanted to do this and jumped into the situation.

The first man we came upon was not homeless but directed us to where a man named Kioki lived. We walked up to his “shelter”, or a spot where he had placed sticks and leaves together and was littered with a mixture of bottles and cans of different alcohol substances. When we arrived we were greeted by a slurry of curse words and yelling. Our group persisted to reach into the shelter area and hand them bags and speak with them. Two men in the shelter accepted them. Their names were Robert and John. John, I really got to know that night. He’s had so much sorrow in his life and just a handshake or a hug from a stranger meant so much to him. Kioki, the man who had been yelling and lived there, didn’t accept anything from us but we left a bag anyway. We talked to them a little bit about God’s love and continued on. After that we continued down the path. So much more happened that night. God was really present. We saw John and Robert again along the path and met more homeless people that really accepted God.

One story of many from that night that was truly inspiring had to do with Kioki. We had been on the path for about thirty minutes we had prayed with John, Cherri, Bobby and Robert ,when Kioki Started to walk toward us in a drunken stupor. He was closing his eyes and walking all over the place and was really a frightening person to see. It starts to get a little fuzzy past this point but I remember him coming to us and questioning us about where Jesus had died and how he had fought in a war there and seen such horrible people and horrible things. He walked away in his stupor. As he was walking away something came over me and I yelled “God still loves you” or something to that affect. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around toward us totally irate. He got in Joe’s face and started yelling at him questioning his faith intensely. Something came over Joe and he answered with grace and truth about God and his love. It was so heated and intense but we ended up praying with Kioki that night. I encourage you all to pray for him and the other people we met that night. The Holy Spirit was really there that night in the forest. It caused me to realize we don’t really do anything. It is all God and His power that works through us and he picks such strange ways to do it. There is so much more I would like to share and would love to when we get back. I hope all is well and thanks for reading our blog.

Here is a conversation that was recorded with one of the the homeless men...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Juneau Mission Team Day 3

Yesterday, we went on a “3/4 of a mile” hike. The hike represented way more than a journey. It represented, at least I know, my walk with Christ, and I am sure more people also. Our team got lost countless times, and there were times I lead us into an immediate dead end. You could say that we were lost if you meant that; we didn’t know where north was, or we didn’t know the long./lat. But we just put our trust into the trails that we found, just like we put trust in God when we don’t know where He’s taking us. We found our destination after taking many detours and falling down many times. The hike turned out to be 2.5 miles. All in all I believe that the team grew closer those two hours. We overcame obstacles to help other people the entire trip, and we grew close in our love for one another. After the hike we rode a tram down, then watched a parade. It was nice to have a little down time. Right after that we went to the huge Independence Day Parade, we had a Mega Sports Camp booth, and we helped serve a church in the Douglas community.

There were a few moments that stood out while in downtown Juneau, A ton of the people that we talked to about sports camp had already heard 2 or even 3 times either through Crossroads Church or through our previous canvassing. The team thought that was awesome!!! Also the team did not only serve the community, but we served the Douglas Methodist Church. Thomas had a great conversation with one of the members of their congregation. That was a nice reminder of how we need to preach the gospel to our brothers and sisters in Christ just as much as the lost. I know that I learned many things and I am sure others did also.

When we returned many of us were attacked by the evil one, temptations arose, either to break down in fear or confusion or to be slowed by sickness. Being fully realized of our brokenness, the team grew once again closer, our brokenness gave God opportunity to show his greatness. On a side note, I used to ask God for opportunities to have him work in my life and others, I realized this week that God has placed opportunities all over the place, all I need to do is trust him and hold on for the ride. All in all I cannot wait to see how we grow and how God will work through us in the following days. Thank you for your prayers, they are helping.

Andrew M.

PS Just for fun... A Picture of a Juneau Bear (Don't worry, the teenagers are safe!)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Juneau Update- Day 2

Hello, New Life Church. This is Grayson and I want to tell you about how our first full day in Alaska went, also mentioning some prayer requests along the way. Today started really well for all of us but we are still in recovery from the sports camp back home so prayer to have full nights of rest would be much appreciated. Anna Alcutt led us in a group devotion after breakfast about having a heart for the poor and broken, and for me that was really powerful because we were about to go canvassing in some pretty run down places.

My high of the day really was when the canvassing group I was in (Greg Elkins, T.J Elliot, and I) got a really positive response from the people going door to door, sure some people didn’t answer, but it was so encouraging when we had people just sign up on the spot and said they’ll see us there. Now, I wasn’t expecting that, but it was evident that God was working in this small town, opening the hearts and doors of the people.

Although things have been looking up on the trip so far there is one thing that is looming ahead of us for the coming days and that is the weather. It does help having nice weather when trying to teach kids sports. Please keep us in your prayers, that we stay strong what ever happens. Pray for God’s Will to be done.

I should go and get some sleep now, thanks for checking the blog, we’ll update again soon.

P.S. There is proof of the rainy weather below.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Juneau Team Update #1

Sports Camp in West Linn ended at noon and the Juneau Mission Team was at the airport by 3:00 to prepare to depart for Alaska. Before we departed we had a brief time of praise for what God did at Sports Camp this week. Here are a few of the things we praised God for:

  • God helped us with challenging children. They grew through the week, and so did we.
  • A few days into Sports camp we all felt drained, now we feel recharged for what God will do this week in Juneau.
  • The rain didn't stop us from having a great last day of Sports Camp.
  • About 25 kids responded to the gospel invitation this week, and we believe about 10 of those truly understood the gospel and trusted Christ for the first time!
  • We could go on and on, but just know that we saw God work in incredible ways this week!
Our plane travel was mostly smooth (0nly a 30 minute delay in Seattle) and we arrived safely in Juneau at about 10:00 last night. This morning the team is showering up, eating breakfast, and preparing for a day of prayer walking and canvassing in "The Flats". This is the area where there has not been a new gospel initiative in 40 years. Please pray for us that God would open doors for the gospel, that His Spirit would lead us to pray, that we would be protected from evil, and that we would come into contact with lots of kids who would want to come to sports camp next week.

We will try to update this blog late each night, so check back tomorrow for updates, praise reports, and more things to pray about!