New Life CityChurch A community that inspires people to know and follow Jesus in Downtown Kansas City, MO Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:54:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Great Coffee Shop Fri, 08 Dec 2017 14:26:41 +0000 How would you describe a great coffee shop?

Using words to paint a picture of something can be a challenge. But since the topic is coffee, I am going to give it a shot.

I think a great coffee shop always smells good. When I enter I like to pause and take in a deep breath of the aroma of roasting beans. Then I love to hear the sound of beans grinding, latte’s steaming, and people talking and laughing. When it comes to the décor, the floors, ceilings, and walls should be simple and clean but still, make you wonder what one would learn “if walls could talk.”

Of course, a great coffee shop must serve great coffee…I am a simple guy (and I tend toward cheap) so I typically drink drip coffee. My favorite is smooth, strong and loaded with caffeine.

A few weeks ago, I tasted a special coffee and it flooded my memory with times back in college when I used to ride dirt bikes on trails in the woods of Wisconsin.

A great coffee shop will have comfortable seating to relax and visit or tables where one can get some work done. Wifi is non-negotiable.

In my opinion, the only way to make greatness when it comes to a coffee shop is to boast a nice view of the city, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and freshly baked bread.

I have experienced all of the above at Messenger Coffee which is located just a few blocks from New Life and now I want to keep going back.

So here’s the tie-in…I will also continue our sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger” with a sermon from John 1:1-18. However, instead of describing coffee, the Apostle John describes Jesus Christ.

In his description, he draws from personal experience with Jesus and uses words like ‘life’, ‘light’ and ‘Word’ to compile a prologue to the book that is absolutely amazing. I look forward to sharing more on Sunday at 10:45 am.

In the meantime, maybe you can find a great coffee shop and read through John 1 to prepare for the service on Sunday. Have a great evening,

O Christmas Tree Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:31:33 +0000 This past week we loaded up the family and made the trip to Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family. The weather was unseasonably warm and that was especially nice when it came to outdoor activities.

Our traditional trek to cut down a Christmas Tree was no exception.

It took about thirty minutes to drive out to the farm. When we arrived, we went into the shop and loaded up on candy canes, asked for the latest advice on trees and secured a few saws.

And then we took off in search of the perfect tree.

It seemed that every time we located one that gave us hope, we found a reason to reject it. Typical reasons would be that it was bare on one side or what looked like one tree was actually two or three growing together or the branches were sparse, etc.

So, we walked around for an hour looking for perfection then we started to get tired and hungry and all those imperfections seemed to melt away and we settled on something nice, but certainly less than perfect.

Ultimately, we got home with our tree and went to work setting it up. We trimmed some branches, put it on the stand, gave it water and then Leigh-Ann brought in her magic that included ribbon, ornaments, and lights.
We have worked hard to make our imperfect tree look perfect.

Kind of reminds me of religion.

At times people work hard to hide their imperfection. However, this time of year we celebrate much more than religion, we celebrate substitution.

Jesus, the Son of God came to earth took on flesh, lived a perfect life and then was crucified, buried and rose again victorious over death.

The story that we love to tell is that instead of having to “dress up” our imperfections with good works, we can admit our imperfection and by faith trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus as sufficient to take our place. Jesus is our Perfect Substitute.

We are in the middle of a Christmas sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger.” This Sunday, Pastor James will bring a sermon from John 7:37-39 entitled, Christmas — Drink for our Souls. I know it will be a great reminder of the hope we have been given through Jesus.

Hey Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:13:35 +0000 Last night after practice, four of our kids and I ended up having an entire indoor soccer field to ourselves. So we decided to spread out. Alexa practiced some shots on me in the goal and the three boys were about sixty yards away on the opposite end of the field, playing a game of their own.

It was an incredibly large space for five total people.

At one point from across the field, our youngest yelled out, “Daddy, look at me.”

So I did.

I looked for something extraordinary that would cause him to yell out my name and ask me to look at him. I could have imagined him perched up on the wall or in some part of the field that was off limits. No, he was just a long ways away and for some reason decided to yell over to me to look at him.

I could be wrong, but I think the reason he yelled at me to look at him was that he wanted to know that I saw him and cared about him and would look if he asked me to look.

There is something incredibly refreshing about a five-year-old simply asking to be seen. As we get older the desire to be noticed doesn’t go away, in fact, it may even grow. However, the way we communicate that desire changes drastically.

We tend to find safer ways to get our affirmation. Some of us get busy and try to make a name for ourselves. Others of us pursue relationships looking for someone to affirm us. There are still others who resort to extremes to call for attention.

2,700 years ago, there was a group of people who wanted to be noticed. They were on the verge of food shortage and captivity. Their lives were being rocked by anxiety. They were incredibly insecure. They had begun to look for affirmation in the pagan culture that had overtaken their country.

And then they received this word from the Prophet Isaiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (Isaiah 9:6-7).

It must have been life-giving for them to hear that God was still watching over them.

This Sunday, we begin our Christmas sermon series entitle, “Beyond the Manger.” We want to communicate why Jesus came to earth and the effect that He has had on mankind. This Sunday we will learn from Isaiah 9:1-7 that there will be times when we feel forgotten and insecure, but we have hope and a guarantee that God sees us and cares for us.

Meeting of the Minds Sat, 11 Nov 2017 02:50:13 +0000 Last night we had a meeting of the minds in the boy’s bedroom. Three boys, scattered clothes and toys, Mom and Dad.

There was a problem in the bedroom…and the evidence was all over the floor.

I think we know that if mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy. So Mom had called me in as backup…and that meant she was serious.

The meeting was called to order, the case was made clearly and thoroughly and the boys were given an ultimatum.

Clean it up…now…or else.

You guessed it, they cleaned it up.

Now it is possible that someone could have arrived at the tail end of the meeting and wondered why our precious little boys were being treated unjustly…however, it would not take long to fill in the details and realize they were on the verge of suffering because they had been irresponsible and disrespectful.

There are times when suffering is just (the case of the boy’s bedroom) and there are other times when suffering is unjust.

This Sunday, we are going to study unjust suffering. In 1 Peter 2:18-25, we learn that the persecuted Christians were undergoing unjust persecution and are told that is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

In our Scripture for this Sunday, we are given encouragement about how to both survive and thrive when circumstances and situations may be unjust.

Screened Fri, 03 Nov 2017 22:55:46 +0000 This morning I went in for a health screening…and ultimately it was a good experience. Several weeks ago, Leigh-Ann was telling me about someone near my age who had a heart attack and she gave me the regular wifely nudge to get a check-up.

Shortly after that conversation, I went downstairs, checked my email and received an advertisement for a complete health screening.

I immediately assumed Google was listening to our conversation and then followed up with the health screening email. I also entertained the idea that this wasn’t a coincidence and I should go in for the screening. So under deep conviction, I set my appointment and paid my fee, and then forgot about it until I was sent a reminder this week.

When I arrived, I was not impressed. Within seconds I learned they were short staffed and the others getting screened were significantly older and to be honest, I felt out of place.

The technicians performed five different tests which required me to take off my socks and shoes, roll up my sleeves and loosen my shirt to get tests on my legs, feet, chest, and neck. This didn’t help me feel any more comfortable.

In case you are wondering, everything checked out fine and they have promised to send a comprehensive report shortly. My experience improved so that by the end I was glad I made the decision to get tested.
The motivation behind driving fifteen minutes, waiting for a half hour, sitting in a room full of strangers (and in one case strange :)) and allowing people to perform tests on my body, was a desire to live a long and healthy life…and to get Leigh-Ann off my back :)).

This Sunday, Peter is going to challenge Christians to do something even more extreme than showing up for medical tests, He is going to tell us to submit.

Not because we have to…as Christians, we are free. Not because we want to…often authorities are unjust. Not because it comes natural…submission is a pain.

So, what is our motivation to submit?

Glad you asked…the short answer is that our motivation is for the Lord’s sake. However, if you come Sunday, I plan to share much more on this topic from 1 Peter 2:13-17.

Simple Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:43:25 +0000 This past week has been an average week.

We’ve had some nice weather and some cruddy weather.

The Chiefs and Sporting KC lost…and the Royals aren’t playing.

We’ve had some ups and downs at home. One out of five kids is sick…not the worst ratio but not the best either. We have had a few extra expenses but we’ve also had the money to cover them. I have been able to keep the lawn mowed and weeds pulled but there is still a list of things to work on around the house.

Things at New Life are also humming along. We have some people struggling with health issues, others looking for work and trying to mend relationships. We have others who are feeling great and living near their peak.

I must say that in spite of the particular averageness (is that a word) of the week, I have felt great and have enjoyed some pretty incredible times.

As a family, we have enjoyed meals around the table and shared plenty of laughs, gasps, and stories. We’ve helped each other around the house and with projects. We have appreciated life together.

At church, we have also shared some great times. Simple projects completed around the building. Great conversations over lunch and coffee. Meetings where we have accomplished planning for the future.

Now it’s off to the men’s retreat. It will be cold, but I know it will be a great time growing closer to my brothers in Christ.

Seems simple. Manageable. Fulfilled.

So why would the Apostle Peter have to write to a group of Christians in the first century and tell them to not forget they are sojourners and to be honorable in their conduct so others see our good deeds?

You will need to come on Sunday to hear Pastor Dave for the full answer from 1 Peter 2:11-12. However, for starters, the reason Peter wrote this two thousand years ago and the reason we need to hear it today is that too often we trade a fulfilled life for a life that lusts and covets after what we cannot and should not have. We miss simplicity because we are running after greatness…in our own estimation.

Simple may not be flashy but it’s often best. Most importantly, it’s not about us anyway.

The Church Sat, 21 Oct 2017 01:45:12 +0000 The mission for New LifeCityChurch is to develop a community that inspires people to know and follow Jesus.


To begin, every part of our life and every place in our world has been contaminated by sin leaving us with tragic results. Nearly every day there is life and death violence, thieves are constantly looking for their next take. Fraud, cheating, and corruption can be found in every facet of society…government, business, and even religious organizations.

Every day in the news we hear about wars and rumors of wars.

Imagine what this world would be like if there was no military or police force. It would only get worse.

Insert Jesus.

The reason we are passionate for the world to know and follow Jesus is that He has offered mankind a different way.

Life with Jesus means that instead of taking advantage of those around us, we give generously to them. Instead of attempts to hurt and destroy others we love and serve them. Instead of searching for meaning we live out our God-given meaning.

So when followers of Jesus come together, it will be a group of people who think much different than culture.

This Sunday teaching elder James Cottier will deliver a sermon from 1 Peter 2:4-10. In these verses, we will learn that God’s church is built on Jesus alone. The good news is that when we come together as a community to know and follow Jesus, we will be different. Although the church on earth is still imperfect, we are much different than the world around us…especially without the tragic results.

Greasy Burgers Sat, 14 Oct 2017 00:57:50 +0000 This past Monday, we went to Red Robin to celebrate Isaiah’s birthday. I love Red Robin on the way in…I loathe it on the way out.

Red Robin provides me with the opportunity to stuff my face with one of many delectable, juicy burgers along with unlimited fries smothered in sodium.

This past trip to Red Robin did not disappoint. We played tic tac toe while waiting and then our food arrived…cooked to perfection. There was a moment when I had grease from my burger running down each side of my face. Burger Perfection (sorry to you vegetarians :)).

A quick pass with a napkin and back at it…more bites, some fries and a drink. Repeat.

Speaking of fries, I love the smaller ones that are saturated in grease, covered in salt and dipped in ketchup.

Once I made it through my burger and fries, it was on to the kid’s plates that they couldn’t finish. I topped it all off with the remaining ice cream from the birthday boy’s sundae.

After a few moments to let everything settle, we headed out the door.

I felt like someone had sneaked in and tightened my belt without me knowing it. I took a deep breath and everything just felt heavy. All I wanted to do was go home, sit down and fall asleep watching football.

Do you know the feeling?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach about junk food on Sunday…however, I am going to bring a sermon about junk behavior.

In chapter two, Peter calls it, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.

Similar to my cravings for greasy burgers and fries, my flesh actually craves malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.

So how do I say no when it feels so good in the moment?

Well, glad you asked. That is exactly what we are going to study from 1 Peter 2:1-3. In the meantime, you may want to order a burger and fries before I guilt you out of it on Sunday :).

Sweet Sixteen Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:47:58 +0000 This week, Leigh-Ann and I reached a new milestone in life…our oldest daughter turned 16.

It seems like just yesterday that we were at St. Mary’s hospital for her birth. It was certainly not easy…(I had to hold Leigh-Ann’s hand and make sure she had enough water J) but eventually, our first baby came out.

I have to say, Alexa has been a huge blessing. She loves Jesus, is a great older sibling, is incredibly talented and beautiful and smart. I may be a bit biased, but she really is a good kid…except for the time when she stood up to us in front of our guests at age three…or the time she threw a fit in JC Penney and I had to leave the cart and deal with her.

We have created memories on in the car, on vacations, on the soccer field, movie nights at home, spending time with friends and random other experiences.

As her parents, we are absolutely in her corner. When she gets a good grade or has a special opportunity, we feel her excitement. When she has a struggle, we want to take it for her. We are incredibly grateful for the woman God is helping her to become.

Although our life and relationship is not perfect, we love spending time together and dreaming about all that God has in store for her future.


Because we love her.

This Sunday, I will be sharing a sermon from 1 Peter 1:22-25 about a command to love one another deeply. Similar to the love we have for our own daughter, we are called to love our fellow believers deeply. I hope you can join us tomorrow at 10:45 am for some practical guidance on how to love.

Ian Forgot his Shoes Fri, 29 Sep 2017 14:03:37 +0000 A few weeks ago, I came home for dinner and then drove our three boys to basketball practice. We were running a pretty tight schedule so I reminded the boys before we ate to get their socks and shoes on and fill up their water bottles so we could head right out the door after eating.

We enjoyed our meal together and then as we were headed downstairs I reminded the boys to get their shoes and water bottles.

We jumped in the car and headed out into traffic. After driving about ten minutes, I made a final call to the boys about their shoes and water bottles.

And that is when I found out that our youngest boy was barefoot.

I would say that over the course of thirty minutes prior to leaving, I reminded him at least five times to get his shoes on.

I know there is a water shortage in third world countries and there are issues with food scarcity. On a daily basis we still face violence and racism, but at the moment, all I could think of was that my kid forgot to put on his shoes….and not without multiple reminders.

I explained to my five-year-old that I was disappointed in his lack of responsibility…his disobedience…his lack of concern for his teammates…and probably a few other things. I may have even pulled out the “you are a Campbell” card….lol.

Threats were made…tears were shed. I told him, “fine, you can sit in the car while your brothers practice.”
Ultimately, I made him stay in the car for about 5 minutes, then I allowed him to go in and play barefoot. But since then, he hasn’t forgotten his shoes for basketball. He likes to try to scare me every week, while we are driving, he will say, “dad, I forgot my shoes.” And I’m tempted to believe him…but then once I’m sure he’s joking, we laugh…

This Sunday, Peter pulls out the “you are a Christian” card when he tells the scattered Christians to live holy and obedient lives.

I am looking forward to hearing Pastor Dave share more about this on Sunday from 1 Peter 1:13-21 in his sermon entitled, “Staying Faithful :: Being Different.”

I sure hope you can attend…however, if you are my kid, “no shoes, no service” :).