New Life CityChurch A community that inspires people to know and follow Jesus in Downtown Kansas City, MO Sat, 20 Apr 2019 13:15:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Preparing for Easter Fri, 19 Apr 2019 12:54:54 +0000 I read an Instagram post by Bob Goff that says, “Darkness fell, His friends scattered, hope seemed lost – but Heaven just started counting to three.”
As Christians, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus every Sunday (actually every day). However, once per year we come to a date on the calendar that represents the day, Jesus of Nazareth (God who took on flesh), who had died and was laid in a tomb, ROSE FROM THE DEAD.
A way to appreciate the significance of this miracle is to reflect on the journey to get to the miracle.
As a church we took time out on Maundy Thursday and today on Good Friday to be reminded of the sacrifice made by Jesus for you and I on the cross. There were stations for individuals to read the Scriptures I have linked below and reflect on the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.
In order to help you prepare for our Easter service this Sunday, I invite you to read Scriptures below. As you think about the Scriptures, consider asking yourself these questions:
            -How would you have responded to the situation?
            -What do these verses teach you about the love of Jesus?
            -Do you feel worthy of Jesus’ love and sacrifice?
            -How does your heart respond to this story?
The Last Supper (Luke 22:7-23)

The betrayal of Judas (Matthew 26:14-25, 47-49)

The Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-54)

Pilate washes his hands (Matthew 27:11-26)

The story leading up to the resurrection is lined with deep sorrow. It is dark and seems hopeless.

And then, morning breaks and the sun rises to reveal an empty tomb. 

This is the day that changed the universe and it is meant to change your life. I hope to see you on Sunday as we celebrate our risen savior. I look forward to sharing from John 20 about the first trip to the empty tomb. Feel free to invite guests, this is certainly a story worth sharing with everyone.

Liberia Sat, 13 Apr 2019 01:24:39 +0000 I am writing this from Liberia after a jam-packed week with emotional highs and lows. Some of you may know that Leigh-Ann and I have worked hard to adopt Titus.

Unfortunately, this dream has not ended the way we had envisioned it.

We had dreams of bringing him home to America after we finalized his Liberian adoption, however the consulate administrator refused to sign his visa. After pleading our case in every way possible, including communication with the President, we had no other choice but to rescind our parental rights.

Since I needed to come back to Liberia to complete this process, I asked a friend if I could join with him and his team on a mission’s trip.

Over the past week, we have visited orphanages, schools and churches offering medical assistance, clothing and soccer equipment. We have done our best to share the love of Jesus.

We have touched, hugged and spoken with hundreds of children, teens and adults. The amount of germs our immune systems have fought off must be incalculable. We have laughed, cried, listened, sweat…and our damp skin has become a magnet for every form of dust and sand.

Nearly every day, we made it back to our guesthouse dirty and exhausted but with a smile and a deep sense of fulfillment.

In spite of the main purpose for this trip…it has exceeded all expectations. Our team has developed deep friendships with each other and many others in Liberia. We’ve personally witnessed a country under pressure (depressed, oppressed, suppressed, repressed, etc.).

In spite of it all, the Liberians laugh…a lot…maybe more than I do in America. They smile the most beautiful smiles. They are generous in spite of their poverty. This was perhaps most evident in the orphanages for the blind and the deaf.

I am rebuked.

Similar to our new friends here in Liberia and our experience with Titus, you and I live with missed expectations. Though it may not be a failed adoption or come as a result of a civil war (which has contributed deeply to the problems in Liberia), life does not always play out as we envision it.

This Sunday at New Life, I look forward to worshipping with you at 9:00 or 10:45am. Pastor Dave will be sharing a sermon from the perspective of Peter on Palm Sunday.

The parallels between Peter’s experiences and our own are similar in many ways.

Peter and the disciples are dealing with a new reality of a Messiah that was going to die. For three years they dreamed of serving Jesus while He ushered in a new Kingdom. Just a few days before the crucifixion, Peter and the disciples walked with Jesus to shouts of Hosanna and songs of praise. And then EVERYTHING changed. Expectations were destroyed.

Then, a new day dawned. Jesus raised from the dead and a new reality formed. There is so much to contemplate….and celebrate.

If you are unable to join us in person, we would love for you to tune into our livestream HERE.

The best thing ever Fri, 29 Mar 2019 13:22:51 +0000 Several weeks ago I was studying in my office late one afternoon and I got a call from Leigh-Ann and the kids. They had just been at Costco for shopping and samples and watched a live demonstration of a Vita-Mix.

In case you have not been to Costco for the demonstration or asked my kids about the Vita-Mix, it is a blender that can make everything from Smoothies to Soup.

From the moment they experienced the Vita-Mix demonstration, they could not stop talking about it.

They desperately wanted to buy a Vita-Mix, get some avocados, lemons and spinach so I could enjoy “Healthy Ice Cream” with them.

We shopped online and a friend finally found one for us for a fraction of the cost.

Our first night, we shopped for ingredients together, threw it all in the magic Vita-Mix and pressed the ON button.

And would you believe it….it didn’t quite taste like the Costco demonstration, but we are optimists and some day we may master the skill of smoothies and ice cream.

This Sunday, I look forward to sharing a sermon about the witnesses for Jesus. Towards the end of John 5, Jesus is teaching and He provides four different witnesses to His deity.

Similar to my kids and the Vita-Mix, the witnesses for Jesus make some incredible claims. The difference is while the Vita-Mix fell a bit short of expectations, Jesus always exceeds expectations.

I hope to see you on Sunday at 9:00am or 10:45am for more teaching from John 5:30-47. In the meantime, we will continue to perfect our skills with the Vita-Mix.

Boss Button! Fri, 22 Mar 2019 21:44:55 +0000 This week I (Jason) thought I would take a stab at the weekly email and let Troy focus on the (college basketball) sermon! If you’ve known me for long, you have learned that, while I enjoy playing sports, and even watching sports, I am 100% incompetent when it comes to talking about sports. I can’t do it! Marsha has to give me tutorials before I go into crowds of “sporty” people, telling me what famous athletes I can’t say “who’s that?” about when their name comes up in conversation. When I try to sound sporty, she often pats my shoulder in a sweetly condescending way and says, “that’s one of those things you can never say in front of other people.” So you may not be surprised to know that my NCAA men’s basketball bracket took me approximately 2 minutes to fill out and I went mostly by colors, names I recognize, and picked a few upsets completely on blind guesses. Simon picked his by rolling dice on every game, the girls probably did theirs a lot like mine, and Marsha has been analyzing all these teams for weeks by listening to sports radio all the time.

CNBC ran an article a couple years ago stating that U.S. companies lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 Billion in productivity during March Madness. The number is staggering, but I guess not too surprising given there’s even a button built-in to the ESPN website that throws an employee’s boss off the scent in the event that the employee happens to be catching a game during work hours. It’s called the “Boss Button.” When you click on it, your webpage instantly transforms into what looks like a powerpoint presentation, or a list of notes on upcoming presentations, or something boring like that. Now, I’m no advocate of slacking on the job, but I think this idea is hysterical! My kids also thought this was hilarious – they’ll understand even better when they get jobs someday . . .

Turns out there’s one particular Boss that the Boss Button doesn’t work on! This week, Pastor Troy will preach from John 5:24-30, reminding us that the same Boss who has the power to judge is also the boss who provided a way to fellowship with him forever. If you’re watching the game with your cursor over the Boss Button, maybe you should just watch it in the boss’s office instead.

If you are traveling or can’t make it to church on Sunday, be sure to catch our Livestream on Youtube. It’s the next best thing to actually being here!

See you Sunday!

Amazing Birthday Fri, 15 Mar 2019 15:09:55 +0000 This past Sunday we celebrated our third child entering double digits. Yes, Dallas is now 10 years old. A week or so prior, I received a message from Leigh-Ann reminding me that Dallas’s birthday was coming up and the 10th birthday is a big one and then she asked, “what are we going to do?”

In Leigh-Ann’s defense this was one of multiple attempts to plan something, however I procrastinate by nature and when life is busy and you have five kids, birthdays can tend to get run over by the family schedule.

So, after finishing the phone conversation, I sat back in my chair, thought for a moment and had a vision…or at least an idea. I have a good friend who has access to Sporting KC tickets and so I double checked the calendar and discovered it was the Sporting KC home opener.

I texted Leigh-Ann and asked her to cross her fingers and pray (yes, I have faith but when it comes to one of our kids, sometimes it feels like crossing our fingers could help too :)) and I would text our friend to see what he could do.

We got the tickets…to the box…for the birthday!


And Sporting KC won 2-0.

It was a great day, that started by Leigh-Ann and I telling him about the tickets when he woke up. He literally jumped up and down and started dancing like me (which is pretty embarrassing)…he was so excited.

But what if the day hadn’t ended so great? Imagine how he would have felt if we drove to the stadium and when we arrived at the gate, were told our tickets were not valid.

It would have been devastating.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave will be preaching a sermon from John 5:17-23 entitled, Jesus: Lord, Liar or Lunatic. While on earth Jesus made some incredibly bold claims (much bigger than a promise of tickets to the home opener). Jesus made the claim that He is God. And furthermore, Jesus said He can give life to whomever He will.

And here is the good news, since His claim was true, we have the promise of eternal life in the future and an abundant life now.

Our friend is an awesome person who “claimed” he could get us a seat in the luxury box for the home opener…unbelievably more amazing, Jesus has claimed He is God and can give us eternal life.

I hope you are able to attend at either 9:00 or 10:45am to learn more about the claims of Jesus.

As awesome as Sporting KC is, Jesus is infinitely better.

Research Assistant Fri, 08 Mar 2019 15:54:33 +0000 Recently I have been given the opportunity to serve as a research assistant…for my 17-year-old.

Alexa has been working on a school paper about Soren Kierkegaard.

What I’ve learned has been fascinating. Soren (since we’re on a first-name basis) died in 1855 at the age of 42…which is my current age.

Soren had become disenfranchised with the church in Denmark.

Here’s why…

He argued for love in contrast to a “dead religion.” Christianity should be much more than objective facts to follow, rather it should be a relationship with God founded on love.

This Sunday, I look forward to sharing a sermon form John 5:1-16. This is a story of a man who had been crippled for 38 years. Here is the irony…. Jesus performed a miracle that would have left most anyone speechless and full of awe and wonder. However, the religious leaders became angry. As a result, this miracle marks the turning point in the ministry of Jesus when people began to question His motives and criticize his works.

There is so much more to discuss, so I hope you can join us on Sunday at either 9:00 or 10:45am. If you cannot attend in person, we are offering a livestream of the 10:45am service that can be watched HERE.

ONE MORE THING…I understand that during a sermon you may have questions about the text or even the application that are not answered, so I have started to follow up each sermon with a short podcast to answer those questions. You can see the Q&A podcast from this past Sunday here. And if you have questions during the sermon, you can leave them at the connect table, email them to or post online on our YouTube channel.

Snomageddon Fri, 01 Mar 2019 15:45:20 +0000 “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring.”

I find myself saying something like this multiple time a day now. And the two week outlook is still cold.

Now to be fair, there are colder places to live…I grew up in Minnesota. And history tells me that even though it may seem like a long winter, Spring is going to come.

It’s just not easy to believe this when I wake up to clouds and cold.

So, what are my options?

I can complain and wish the weather was different….OR….I can make the best of my days in spite of the weather. I have no doubt, when those nice Spring days start coming, gratitude will follow.

This Sunday, whether we get “Snowmaggedon” or not, (and if we do we’ll have at least the second service live streamed) I plan to share a sermon from John 4:46-54 entitled, “The Circumstances God Uses.”

This is a story about a government official’s son who is dying. His dad finds Jesus and ultimately, Jesus heals his son.

The bigger point however is that our biggest issue is not typically the problem, in fact God often works through our problems so draw us close so we can experience saving faith.

There is quite a bit to study from history and context, so I really hope you can join us in person or on livestream. Here is the link for the LIVESTREAM.

iPhone Fri, 15 Feb 2019 15:29:54 +0000

I have an iPhone. It would take me pages to begin to describe the power I hold in my hand.

I can FaceTime someone on another continent. Get directions to anywhere in the world. Look up a definition or score. Research anything from Biblical history to the perfect temperature for pork chops.

I can measure distances, calculate balances, transfer money, schedule out my days, watch TV, play games, listen to music, order nearly anything to be delivered in two days.

My iPhone allows me to interact with hundreds of people on social media by looking at pictures, posting pictures and having conversations. I can read my Bible and even take sermon notes or watch the New Life livestream.

Oh, and I can call someone…

I use my phone constantly throughout the day, however I rarely talk about it. In fact, this email is one of the only times I can remember even thinking about all that my phone can do.


I guess I can’t really think of a good reason to talk about my phone.

Sometimes I think I treat God like I treat my phone; I enjoy everything He does for me but rarely talk about Him.

This Sunday, I look forward to sharing a sermon from John 4:27-38 about the “Witnesses God uses.” I have been challenged this week as I have learned why the disciples struggled and at the same time, the woman at the well willingly shared her faith.

I hope to see you at 9:00am or 10:45am. In case you can’t attend, we will have a livestream at 10:45am HERE.

Freezing Fri, 08 Feb 2019 17:16:23 +0000 Within the past week our weather in KC has been a bit unstable as the temperature has gone from below 0 degrees to 60 degrees back down to below 0 degrees.

A few days ago, I was tracking down outdoor patio cushions and pillows that had blown off the front porch (some landed more than a block away). Since I thought it would be a quick grab and go, I didn’t put on a very warm coat or gloves.

Within seconds, I realized how badly I needed gloves and a winter coat. My hands were losing feeling. My face felt like it had been slapped by the wind. Even my feet were cold. And I’m from Minnesota…and I don’t get man-colds.

The freezing temperatures meant business.

These cold temperatures remind me of how harsh life can be at times. Over the past few weeks at New Life, we have been studying the story of the “Woman at the Well” from John 4. We have discovered this woman had experienced life at its harshest. I am guessing there were days when she felt the harsh reality of broken relationships slapping her in the face.

However, on a hot afternoon in Samaria, Jesus offered her hope. Jesus promised her living water and she accepted. The woman at the well worshipped in response to the living water she had experienced. And you and I can follow her example.

This Sunday I am looking forward to Gabor Gresz, who is in the process of becoming a teaching elder at New Life share from John 4:23-24 about what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Just like the freezing temperatures remind me of my need for a coat, the harsh realities of broken relationships pointed the woman at the well to her need for living water.

I hope to see you on Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45am for the service. If you can’t attend for some reason, we are now live streaming and you can subscribe HERE.

A new pet Sat, 02 Feb 2019 04:11:36 +0000 On Tuesday I received a text message from Leigh-Ann with the picture of a dog named Sophie.

The text read, “Her humans are divorcing and the mom left her with the dad. He just abandoned her to the groomer. He doesn’t want her because she reminds him of his wife.”

Since this is not the first time our family has been offered a dog, I decided to do my best to avoid the topic.

After a few close calls (i.e. all the kids in the living room and the pic of the dog being passed around) we ended up going to bed without any promises.


I must say that I have come a long way when it comes to pets…however I am still not the type to walk one around in a stroller if you get my drift.

So, a few days ago, we found out that another family had decided to adopt Sophie…and within a few hours they discovered that Sophie the dog (not to be confused with Sophie our daughter) hated children.

She growled and hissed at the kids when they attempted to pet her or show her affection.

The point is that our understanding of this potential pet grew with time. The more we learned about the dog, the more we were each convinced that Sophie would not fit in our kid-packed household.

This Sunday, Pastor Dave and I are going to work together to deliver the sermon from John 4:15-26. We will discover that the woman at the well had a growing understanding of Jesus. In fact, she saw him as a stranger, then a prophet, and then the Messiah. This is quite opposite of our understanding of our potential next pet.