Living out Love

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on October 5, 2014)

At our best, we know, receive and live in the love God has for us.

At our best, we’re confident in who we are as people loved by God, and so love tumbles out of us…we share God’s love with others! Turn with me to the book of Colossians.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all his people– the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true word of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. (Colossians 1:3-6, TNIV)

We’ve come to the last line of the vision statement, but we’re returning to the first part of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Hopefully you see how it’s a circle, a cycle…the lines of our vision statement all work together and build on each other. Continue reading

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Changing in the Spirit

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on September 28, 2014)

“Changing in the Spirit.” So essential to our vision!

We have a problem though. A conflict. A paradox.

On the one hand, I never, ever want to lose sight of how important and inspiring and beautiful a changed life can be. In particular, I’m thinking of the beautiful change that comes when people first choose to follow Jesus Christ.

10686599_10152690258335688_2824050869696162249_nThis picture showed up on Facebook this week from a high school friend, Andrea Dorr Maurer. Andrea is our own Nick and Alice Maurer’s daughter-in-law, but in the summer of 1984 I was at summer camp with Andrea and her brother Brian. In fact, Brian and I shared a tent that year. Continue reading

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Listening to Christ

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on September 21, 2014)

01 William Hobson“This is no imaginary freak of the brain. The Lord has laid upon me the arduous work of selecting a suitable location for the commencement of a settlement of Friends in Oregon.” (Diary of William Hobson)

Open view of NFC 1892-93

Our church began because William Hobson, a farmer from Iowa, listened to Christ and was led to this frontier town of Newberg to create a community of people who would follow Jesus. And through the years, when we’ve been at our best, it has been because we have taken the time and made the effort to keep listening to Christ.  Continue reading

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A Growing Community

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on September 14, 2014)

NFC-lettering_wallpaper“A growing community.”

What does that look like? Why is this an important part of our vision for our church?

It’s impossible for me to underestimate how important community and friendships and relationships have meant in my life. Others have shaped me, and shaped how I see the world, in profound ways. What I also notice as I look back is that the shaping community has been more than just friendships: it has been community that is intentionally formed around Jesus Christ that has truly made the difference.

In the fall of my sophomore year in high school, a friend invited me to her church. My family hadn’t gone to church consistently since we moved to Oregon three years before. On the outside, the trauma of that move looked like it had faded away by that point. I had friends, I looked like I was content and well adjusted. But on the inside, scars were still there. Continue reading

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Our Vision Statement

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on September 7, 2014)

My dad would sometimes, out of the blue, say: “Brylcreem: a little dab’ll do ya!” I don’t really know why, other than I know he heard that slogan a lot listening to the Lone Ranger radio broadcasts he loved while growing up.

Company slogans, company jingles. We like to think we’re immune to advertising, but I’m guessing if I give some slogans, you’ll be able to name the company. Well, some will be age dependent, but I’m guessing with our combined wisdom we can get them all.

How about “Breakfast of Champions?” (Wheaties). “Just Do It.” (Nike)  “Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that ___________”. “Good to the last drop.” (Maxwell House) “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” (M&M’s)

This is going back there a ways… “The Pause that Refreshes” (Coca-Cola)  Continue reading

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Enemies

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on August 31, 2014)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

All through this series on the Sermon on the Mount, I’ve been wondering how in the world Jesus got a universal reputation as a great teacher. Even people who don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God, who don’t claim to follow Jesus with their lives, still say that Jesus was a great teacher.

How in the world do people say that? Have they read this stuff? It is crazy! If Jesus is universally acclaimed as such a great teacher, I wonder why it is that our world doesn’t look much like what he taught as truth.

For us who DO say we follow Jesus…have we wrestled with how radically against the grain Jesus’ teaching actually is? Continue reading

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Consistent and Faithful

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on August 17, 2014)

Matt. 5:33-37

My wife Elaine has been watching TED talks. She’s working her way through the list of the all-time most watched TED talks. Mostly that’s a cool thing, because she’s learning a lot and she shares a lot of the cool stuff with me.

It does have its downsides, though. Like when she told me I should watch the one called, “How to spot a liar”…and then looked at me with this look, like a “You’re toast now, dude” look.

Ok I just made that up. Did you all spot that I was a liar right there?

I tried this opening joke on my family last night, and I was real good at spotting my daughter’s fake smile as she tried to humor me into thinking I’d made her laugh. Continue reading

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