Saturday, July 30, 2011

Devotional--Money, Part IV

***Update--I've been trying to find ways to publish the past 3.5 years worth of devotionals so that they are accessible for those who are interested in them. The good news is that I think I can self-publish them on Amazon--meaning that for $0.99 you would be able to download the previous 3.5 years worth of devotionals to your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, i-whatever, etc. If the formatting works, it would have an active table of contents, so you could click on a certain book of the Bible and be taken to the beginning of that chapter. I'll let you know when/if that becomes reality, but hopefully it will be within the next week.***

Luke 19:1-10

19He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’

Yesterday, we touched on the idea that money itself isn't bad, that it's just a tool, albeit a very powerful one. I'd like to continue that idea today--it's easy to fall into the fallacy that, in order to follow Jesus faithfully, we have to give away all our money. In fact, tomorrow I'm preaching on the story from Luke 18 when Jesus tells the rich young ruler exactly that.

But here, in Luke 19, we have the story of Zaccheus, a man who was 'very rich.' When Jesus goes to his house, Zaccheus is converted, and as a result of his conversion he decides to give away half his money and pay back those whom he may have defrauded.

Do you know what half of very rich is? Look at it this way--if Warren Buffet called you and offered you half his fortune, what would you say?

The important thing about Zaccheus' conversion is that his heart has changed--he now calls Jesus his Savior. As a result of this, he recognizes that he has a lot of money, and that this is a tremendous opportunity to help others. The giving of money is a fruit of his conversion, not the other way around. The giving reveals how much his heart has changed, for he recognizes the importance of giving, rather than amassing more and more.

Perhaps there are cases where people need to give everything away. I believe that in most cases, we have to give all of our hearts, and then the Spirit will guide us in our financial giving, that our giving may be a small part of the evidence, of the fruit, of our faith.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Daily Stuff

Presbyterian-style evangelism

Faith & Work

The importance of sharing our stuff

The Jesus Bike

Tuscaloosa: Winds of Hope

Tuscaloosa: Winds of Hope from Lords of Sapelo on Vimeo.

Devotional--Money, Part III

1 Timothy 6:10-12
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made* the good confession in the presence of many witnesses

Hebrews 5:5-6

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ 6So we can say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?’

  Now that we've talked about money as one kind of wealth, and touched on the fact that it matters to God how we spend our money, I think it's important to touch on one very important thing:  money is not evil.  In the church, I think we have been guilty of defining money as negative, and thus not having to engage with it other than to tell people to tithe.

  Scripture describes the relationship as a little more complicated--it's the love of money that corrupts us, for we begin to love money more than we love God, more than we love our neighbor, more than we love ourselves, and that is where the sin arises--when money becomes an idol and we believe that it can provide true life, abundant life, when in fact only God can give us that.  Money itself is just a tool that enables us to buy and sell--it is neutral, but when we love it, we sin.

  So how do we keep our lives free from the love of money?  We'll continue to explore our relationship with money as we go, but recognizing and naming its power is the first step.  When we can look back at our own history and see the times and places where money has held power over us, we can begin to recognize how dangerous the love of money can be.  Also, we can look around society, and see how the rich in this world are just as broken as the rest of us--they sin and live in broken relationships just as we do.

  One exercise that can be helpful is think about what you would do $1,000,000 fell into your lap today, no strings attached, except that you had to spend it all in a week.  What would you do with it?  How would you spend it?  How much would be spent on yourself, and how much would be used for others?  Answering that question can help each of us understand our attitude toward money, and gives us a place to start as we explore our complicated relationship with money.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Devotional--Money, Part II

Mark 12:41-44
The Widow’s Offering

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

  Having put money in its proper place as one type of wealth among many, the next question that comes to my mind is 'why talk about money at all?'  After all, Jesus told us to pay to the emperor that which is his, and pay to God that which belongs to God!  Shouldn't the church just keep out of our financial lives?

  I read something that forever changed the way I see this passage from Mark.  What the author discussed was that Jesus spent time watching people put money into the treasury--he did so to watch how people gave, so clearly it mattered to him, or else he wouldn't have paid attention at all.  So it matters what and how we give.

  Just as we spend more time and energy on things that matter more, we spend more money on things that matter more to us.  Our finances reflect our priorities and our choices--clearly, it is absolutely vital to this woman that she give to the treasury.  What would your spending say is important to you?  If Jesus was to review your checkbook, what would he say your priorities are?

  It matters how we spend, because how we spend helps determine the kind of people we are.  If we are generous with our money, it shows our generous hearts.  If we are greedy and fearful, that reveals something, too.  May we give freely, and may that shape us as a people who depend on God and give back in gratitude.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7/27 E-News

Red Bucket Offering—will be collected this Sunday!

Family Camp Meeting—taking place this Sunday after church.

Living Waters for the World—If you’re interested in going on a mission trip to Tazewell, TN as part of the installation team, please, please, please contact Lloyd ASAP.

Kiwanis Barbeque—Did you know that Kiwanis donates money to Newton Center?  Janet Phillips is very active in Kiwanis, and she wanted me to pass along that information—it’s possible to eat barbeque and help out the Newton Center. Information about the barbeque is listed below, and while this barbeque is not a fundraiser for Newton, Kiwanis does give money to the Newton Center every year.  Contact Janet if you're interested.

Seeking VolunteersHave a few extra minutes each week?  Building & Grounds committee would be exceedingly grateful if you could help out. They’re seeking someone to do some watering twice a week, sweep once a week, and wash some windows every now and again.  Please speak with Roger if you have the time and ability to do so.

Pray for…
Roger & Lynn Meyer
Larrie Mansfield

New Hope News
Lynn Meyer will be using Caring Bridge as a way to update friends and family.

Did you know Chattanooga had a house of prayer?  If you’re near downtown, you should stop by and check it out sometime.  They’re open over a wide variety of hours.

Text for this Week 
Luke 18:18-30
A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” 

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich.

Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 

Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.”

Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” 

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
_____New Hope on Facebook
New Hope on iTunes

Mary McMillan has asked that our church members be reminded of the Brainerd Kiwanis Barbeque being held this weekend at the Baptist Children's Home on Lee Highway.  Brainerd Kiwanis donated $1,000.00 this past year out of last year's barbeque money to the Newton Center. 

Brainerd Kiwanis had approximately $20,000.00 worth of their barbeque equipment vandalized recently, and they are having to make that up out of this year's sales.  This vandalism also required them to move from their longtime location in Brainerd, and Baptist Children's Home stepped in to fill that need.  There will be a drive- through tent behind the buildings, with a setup similar to what they had in previous years. 

Barbeque tickets are $7.00 for either a meal plate or a package of meat.  Meal plates will have meat, a bun, cole slaw, and beans.  There will be picnic tables set up for those who wish to eat on site.  Tent will be open from 10:00 am to 7 pm, both Friday and Saturday.

Tickets may be purchased from Janet Phillips or at the gate.  Brainerd Kiwanis focuses their benevolences on helping children.  Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation in addition to or in lieu of barbeque tickets, may send a check made out to Brainerd Kiwanis Youth Foundation. 

Devotional--Money, Part I

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

8We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— 5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

We begin talking about money by not talking about money.  Any other way would have been so obvious!  We'll be talking about money soon enough, but first we need to talk about wealth, for we need to keep money in its natural place--as simply one thing among many.

It's easy to define wealth as simply having a laughable amount of money, which enables us to go and buy whatever and whenever we want.  When we do this, we are placing an uncomfortable emphasis on the importance of money in our lives.

Instead, let's look at wealth as being rich in any number of things.  Here, the church in Macedonia has extreme poverty but a wealth of generosity.  They give according to their means, and some beyond it, but they had generous hearts.  You can have a wealth of love to spend, or a wealth of knowledge to share, or a wealth of gratitude to give away.  You can spend more than money--the love and energy you invest in another person pays another type of dividend, one that cannot be measured on the stock market but is surely known in the halls of heaven.  

Accumulating wealth isn't simply about accumulating money.  When we begin to define wealth as broader than money, then money begins to assume its proper place, and we have defeated some of its power in our lives.  If you can be 'rich in good deeds', as it says in the verse from 1 Timothy below, then we are beginning to let God define what true wealth is, and we are open to pathways where God may lead us that may not be financially rewarding, but will allow us to accumulate and spend wealth that is not money.  In doing so, we see the world through new, Kingdom focused eyes, realizing what is truly important to God and how best to live serving God.



1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

If you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now...but ~$700 billion- same amount the banks got during bailout.  (Click on the text for a visualization of the debt!)


  I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, and the best thing I can say about it is that Outliers really makes you think.  I had expected to grind through this book, but once I started it, I couldn't put it down.  It's a fascinating study into what makes successful people capable of their success.  Gladwell deconstructs some of the biggest success stories of our time and explains that each and every one was a product of the right person at the right place at the right time.  He doesn't discount their willingness to work, but at the same time emphasizes the cultural factors that went into making them the successes they are.

  Why read Outliers?  It helps me understand how important culture is in shaping who we are.  The era in which we live plays a critical role in determining our fate. But it doesn't take the work out of our hands.  If you want to be truly successful in anything, hard, hard work is required.

  When I start thinking about the spiritual life of most twenty-first century Americans, I wonder if we are doing the hard work asked of us by God.  I know I fall short.  Is it a matter of desire?  Do we not want to offer our best efforts to God?  Or is it simply our short attention spans encouraging us to change the channel rather than remain glued to the task before us?  I suspect it's probably the latter, although the former may be mixed in their as well.  We are sinful, but we are also conditioned to receive and focus in short segments.  Our spiritual life is a life-long effort, and it requires daily labors for us to continue to grow.  Outliers forces me to think about my own spiritual growth--where do I want to be in five years, in ten years, in relation to my prayer life, my devotional life, and am I willing to do the work required to get there?  It's not all in my hands, and I can't earn my salvation, but I can make the choice, every day, to build my relationship with Christ.

  Outliers points out that we cannot control much of the world or our culture, but we do have control in the choices we make of how and where we invest our time and energy.  Will we invest it in a relationship with Christ, or will we choose to be lured by the entertainments of the world, bypassing the opportunity to grow nearer to Christ?


  So there I was...

  I was out playing golf last night when the storm clouds began to roll in.  I kept looking back over my shoulder in the hopes that my perceptions were wrong and the storms were heading the other way.

  They weren't.

  On the green at the 4th hole, the lightning started flashing across the sky, and one of our opponents quickly made a beeline for his cart.  I stood there on the green over my ball, wondering why on earth it had to be stormy last night, rather than last week, when I couldn't hit a ball straight if my life depended on it.  I had scored as many points in 4 holes as I did in 8 last week.

  But then I remembered that there is a certain baby who might need me around, and I didn't want Rachel to have to explain to him someday that his daddy isn't around because he chose to keep playing golf in a lightning storm.

  At which point he would ask Rachel how much money I was playing for, and she would have to reply, "No money.  He wasn't any good at golf, he was just playing better than average, but still wasn't anywhere close to par."

  "And he got struck by lightning for that?"

  To which Rachel wouldn't have much of a reply.  Funny how being a father changes the way I see things already!

Of course, I wasn't playing as well as the bishop in Caddyshack...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 30

  We're at the beginning of week 30, if you can believe it! Rachel's getting pregnanter and pregnanter, and looking wonderful, as always. She feels great, except for the fact that He-Who-Has-Not-Been-Named keeps kicking her in painful spots. I have no doubt he's celebrating the end of the NFL lockout by practicing for his future role as a placekicker.

  By this point, all five senses are fully functional, and the brain and nervous systems continue to develop.  At birth, the baby's vision will be around 20/400, which means he'll be able to see things a few inches from his face. Lucky for him, I saw a sign discounting LASIK on the way to the doctor today, so we'll go ahead and sign him up!

  30 weeks... It's so amazing to think that in a few short months we'll be welcoming him into our lives.  It feels as though he's been such a large part already, although I know that the changes have barely even started.  I was talking this morning with a pastor about the importance of walking with Christ with total integrity and honesty so that your kids will grow up in Christ as well.  He was saying that he's had to apologize countless times, but he always strives to make sure his kids know that he loves them first and foremost, and that they don't have to resent the church for stealing away dad.

  What an awesome adventure this is!

  And in case you're curious, our little baby is approximately the size of the wheel of a big wheel right now.  Which would explain why it would be very difficult for Rachel to ride a big wheel!


  Rachel and I watched Millions the other night, the story of a young boy (Damian) in Britain who suddenly finds himself in possession of over 200,000 pounds that will soon be worthless.  He and his brother are racing against the clock to dispose of the money before it becomes worthless, and their attitudes toward doing so couldn't be more different.

  Damian is a bit of an odd character--he speaks with dead saints who appear only to him, and has a strong disposition toward helping the poor.  His brother, however, is soon obsessed with discovering how many toys the money can buy, and how much privilege it can gain him.  The stress begins there, and it only elevates as Damian witnesses the effect money has on others.

  It's a great movie, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do so.  It's a joy to watch, and seeing how the characters fall apart and come back together is an emotional rollercoaster where every twist and turn is more enjoyable than the last.

  As a Christian, I'm fascinated by the treatment of the money--Damian is caught up in the opportunity to give it all away, and he discovers that those to whom he wants to give it aren't always the innocent poor that he imagines them to be.  Just the same, his heart is pure, and he never seems to be tempted to invest the money in property or goods, like his brother.

  The money corrupts everyone else in the movie other than Damian.  They see it as an opportunity to better themselves, to secure their future, to grasp hold of what was not possible otherwise.  Damian argues for giving it away, but greed takes hold in the hearts of others and works so effectively.

  1 Timothy tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil, and Millions portrays what the love of money does to relationships, to the human heart.  When we view money as the best means to a good life, we can watch as that love will dominate our lives, affecting every one of our relationships.  Money soon becomes the lens through which we see.  When we view money as the most important thing, it crowds out everything else.

  Damian has a lesson to teach us, and Millions serves as a great vehicle for that lesson.  Perhaps the greatest riches of all is the wealth gained in using money as a way to show love to others.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


  I've always loved sports, baseball in particular.  Some of my favorite memories from growing up revolve around sports.  Much of my relationship with my dad revolved around baseball--he used to hit me fly balls in the driveway, and we'd go out and play catch--I'd always try and throw the ball as hard as I could to impress him, even that usually ended with him chasing the ball down afterward.  It's amazing how easy it is to miss a six foot target that's only twenty feet away from you...

  I still remember the night where Dad pulled me out of baseball practice to go watch the Reds play downtown.  Then there was the magical night in 1990 when we were at game 6 of the NLCS, watching the Reds clinch the National League Pennant.  I remember cheering as they won, yelling at the Pirates dugout, and then racing downtown to celebrate in Fountain Square.  My dad had me up on his shoulders, and I life couldn't have been better.  A few days later, we were listening to the radio in the living room when Todd Benzinger caught a foul pop up and the Reds won the World Series.  The elation may as well have occurred yesterday, so strong is its pull within my mind.

  Yet, I will freely admit that this summer has been one of the more enjoyable summers of my life.  I haven't watched a single Reds game, and I feel as though I've been more productive than ever before.  No longer do I sit and wait to see what will come next in the game--more often, I'm engrossed in a book, or playing the piano, or simply talking with Rachel.  The emotional swings that come with watching the Reds wallow in mediocrity have disappeared, replaced with the simple awareness that, at any time, I can check online to see how they're doing, then turn the game off just as easily.

  (The Bengals...well, I haven't missed watching them for some time.  Dad and I went to a lot of Bengals games, and while we had a blast at most of these, it's hard for me to take them seriously enough to get emotional about them anymore.  Call me when they win a playoff game.)

  So I wonder, now, as the opportunity arises for me to raise a son, what role sports will have in his life.  I certainly hope he'll play sports, and I hope he enjoys them and makes a lot of friends while playing them.  I certainly hope his ACLs fair better than mine did.

  But, at the end of the day, I think I hope that sports play a small role in his life, that they always are put in their proper place.  I hope that I get to enjoy sporting moments with him like I did with my dad, but, in our family, sports were never bigger than life.  They never defined life, and I hope they don't in our house.  I hope the mood of our house isn't dependent on a team of overpaid athletes performing better than another group of overpaid athletes.  I hope it is always kept in perspective, that sports matter enough to be enjoyable, but not enough to dominate and define a life.

  I just hope I can live out that balance, and set an example worthy of following!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Marco Polo

  In the month of March, I read over ten books.

  In the last two months, I've read two.

  Life is strange.  Sometimes it seems like I have all the time in the world to do as I please, while other times it seems like it takes a monumental effort to sit down and read ten pages.

  Last night I finally finished Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu.  It's an interesting book about Marco Polo and his travels, but not quite the page-turner I had expected.  I had thought it would have me riveted to every page, but the reality was that while I learned a lot about Kublai Khan and 13th century Mongolia, it somehow failed to keep me glued to every page, as is evidenced by the fact that it took me over a month to get through it.

  Thinking about how a captivating adventure turned into a less-than-enthralling book gets me thinking about Christianity.  How often do we take the greatest story ever told and, to quote Stanley Hauerwas, make it boring as hell?  How do we turn the great tale of salvation and love into a tamed and diminished focus on personal salvation?  How does the liberation and journey of the Israelites and the dynamic transformation of the disciples become something we have so much control over?

  Have we simply lost our awe of God?  Have we tamed and domesticated God, turning him into a handy person to have around in times of illness and panic?  Have we forgotten that the God who created the universe with a word also loves each of us 'as though there was only one to love', in the words of Augustine?

  I wonder if we still have the capability to marvel at who God is and how intense the love of Christ is.  Do we forget that each day is a miracle, and that the love of God is a story worth telling with the intensity it deserves?  Is the church willing to put such effort into telling the story, or shall we simply carry on with business as usual?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Big weekend

It's been a big weekend in the Jones household. I can hear the masses scream--'why? what happened?'

I'm glad you asked.

It started, as every good weekend does, at 4:37 on Saturday morning. That's the time required to wake up to make it to Lenoir City in order to compete in the Panther Prowl triathlon. Rachel, believe it or not, decided not to accompany me on the trek northward. I did manage to come home with a prize, though. Unfortunately, this was due more to a computer error than my own merits--the computer didn't register my swim time, so they gave me a prize on the assumption that I had earned one (Clearly, they've never watched me do a triathlon before), when the reality is that I came in fifth in my age group. On the bright side, however, is the fact that there were more than five people in my age group!

In other, far more important, news, the nursery has been painted! (Rachel's been getting a bit anxious about the fact that, as of Thursday, the nursery looked exactly like it had before we got pregnant.) Monika (Rachel's co-worker) and her husband Todd (an expert detail painter) came over and helped me paint the nursery. It's now sea-mist. If you imagine a bunch of sea mist on a wall... it doesn't look anything like that. Now imagine a light green wall--that's about what it looks like.

And that, standing in front of the wall, is the crib! We put that together this evening. Unfinished projects drive me crazy, and an unassembled piece of furniture in my house is like a taunt.  I could only take it for so long, so now that we had the nursery painted the crib was crying out for attention.  Surprisingly, it only took about twenty minutes to put together!  Granted, that may mean that it will fall apart as soon as the baby goes inside, but it feels sturdy for now!  I'm thrilled with the way it looks, and I think it will be a great home for Xerxes!  (I'm trying out different names every day to see what works.)

That's Rachel, almost seven months pregnant, if you can believe it!  She looks great, as she always does, and is noticeably pregnant.

I know it's still months away, but I'm just so excited about this baby...  I guess I had always imagined, vaguely, being a father, but now, watching as all these dreams come true, it just seems more amazing than I ever could have imagined.  Life is changing before my very eyes, and I have the opportunity to dedicate my life to another person, to watch him grow and thrive and become the man Christ longs for him to be.  What a gift....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

7/14 E-News

VBS—The magic begins on Monday morning and will run all week.  Please be in prayer for the kids as well as the leaders, that Christ may be at work in each of us.  And if you’re still interested in being a part of it, let us know!

Habitat for Humanity—There is work to be done this Saturday.  Contact Dorothy Piatt if you want to be a part of this!

Kids in Action!—The kids are gathering every Tuesday and Wednesday in July.  Some of it is educational, all of it is fun!  Talk to Mandy if you have any questions.

$.02/MealJuly 24 will be our next collection date.  Why advertise this now?  To remind you to collect two pennies for every meal you eat!  We’re hoping to hit $200 this month.

Seeking VolunteersHave a few extra minutes each week?  Building & Grounds committee would be exceedingly grateful if you could help out.  They’re seeking someone to do some watering twice a week, sweep once a week, and wash some windows every now and again.  Please speak with Roger if you have the time and ability to do so.

Pray for…
Roger & Lynn Meyer
Larrie Mansfield
Eleanor Hall
Ron Young and the birth of his new grand-daughter!

New Hope News
Former New Hope member Joseph Ketchum passed away this week.

For all of you who met Bassam Issa, he asked me to pass along an article on sharia law.

What do you mean when you use the word ‘church’?

Text for this Week

Luke 18:9-14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 

The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

New Hope on Facebook
New Hope on iTunes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Daily Stuff

"God doesn't leave us where God found us."

Will the poor always be with us?

Check out what one man does with paper.  (Click on portfolio)

Are you a gardener?  Are you a smart gardener?

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.
"How do you know what to say?" he asked.
"Why, God tells me."
"Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"

Thursday, July 7, 2011


  If you haven't figured it out by now, I know nothing about children under the age of 25.  Don't know what they need, what they want, or what to do when they're hungry/sore/whiny.  All I really know can be boiled down to this one sentence:  when kids are really, really crying their eyes out, they're probably tired.

  Sometimes I think about a kid and wonder if it's going to be like the cat.  Then I realized something last night--our cats never sit on my lap anymore.  (I was going to post a picture of my lap here, but then remembered that a certain congressman from NY had all sorts of trouble with that.)  When Rachel sits down, there is a cat on her lap within 30 seconds.  I, however, can sit on the couch for an hour before the cat realizes there isn't going to be an alternative and it will come sit on my lap.

  Are kids the same way?  Once the baby learns to walk, am I going to be the parent he turns to only when it's clear Rachel isn't going to be home for hours.  Once it can talk, will he ask that he be left in daycare until Rachel can come pick him up?  Will mine be the second-choice lap?

  I suppose these are things first-time fathers worry about.  Well, that and having a kid throw up all over me.  But that's not so much a worry as it is an 'I'm-not-looking-forward-to-the-first-time-that-happens-and-there's-nothing-I-can-do-to-avoid-it' thing.

7/7 E-News

Kids in Action!—The kids are gathering every Tuesday and Wednesday in July.  Some of it is educational, all of it is fun!  Talk to Mandy if you have any questions.

$.02/MealJuly 24 will be our next collection date.  Why advertise this now?  To remind you to collect two pennies for every meal you eat!  We’re hoping to hit $200 this month.

Seeking VolunteersHave a few extra minutes each week?  Building & Grounds committee would be exceedingly grateful if you could help out.  They’re seeking someone to do some watering twice a week, sweep once a week, and wash some windows every now and again.  Please speak with Roger if you have the time and ability to do so.

Wednesday, July 13 @ 7—Tornado Benefit at Southern Adventist U.  It’s a magician, and it’s for a good cause.  Click here for more info.

Pray for…
Roger & Lynn Meyer
Edith DeMoss’ family, as she passed away this week

New Hope News
Polly Black is at Life Care of of Collegedale, Room 113, PO B0X 658, Collegedale, TN  37315


Movies in the park returns for July (Thanks for First Things First)

Text for this Week

Luke 18:1-8

The Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.”  And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


  Crazy to think about what life will be like three months from now...

  Every now and again I try to imagine it, but it is beyond my capability to understand.  There will be an infant whom I will love more than I understand, despite the fact that all I will desire is four hours of consecutive sleep.

  My schedule will look like it has been devoured by a hyena and left scattered throughout the wilderness, and any clarity between October and Christmas will have faded like the summer heat.

  My wife will be exhausted, thrilled, uncertain and wonderful.

  Three months from now...

  God knows.  And that's enough for now.


  So there I was...

  Reading Isaiah 55 as part of my daily (perhaps 'daily' is an inaccurate word, but as I'm just starting, I'm aiming for daily) Ignatian exercises.  At the end, I arrive at:

  '...the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.'

  And it occurs to me that the trees and the hills are a lot smarter than I am.  They know how to rejoice at the presence of a Savior, while I know how to sin and look inward.  They recognize God as worthy of worship at all times, and rejoice, while I, who consider myself smarter than trees and hills, am busy trying to worship the world and all that is in it.

  Those prophets might have been on to something...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cribs (Not the MTV Show)

Rachel and I went out this weekend and bought a crib!  What does it look like, I hear the masses scream?  Well, to be honest, it looks like this:

  It's a big step in the right direction--we're pretty excited about having the crib.  We thank the good people at  Children's Fair for their help and for a great deal on a hardwood crib.  Supposedly it can be expanded into a toddler bed and a full size bed later on, although at this point I'm just hoping I can put it together so it doesn't fall apart.  The mattress adjusts to 4 levels, otherwise known as three more levels than most adult beds do.

  Speaking of the mattress, the lady at Children's Fair assured us that we have the best mattress ever.  It will last for multiple children if needed, and is very firm to help support the baby's spine,  Which is so important, since babies seem to prefer sleeping with their butts stuck way up in the air.

  Anyway, the crib is here, and will probably be assembled after we paint.  This room may actually start looking like a nursery!  (Which means I need to find a new place to write sermons and highly entertaining blog posts...)