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This is a Big Week!

This is a big week! 

First Wednesday – tonight! 



Tonight is First Wednesday! A great opportunity for a deep time of worship – don’t miss the opening moment! We will share communion and hear an encouraging word from Pastor Kyle Sadler. 

New Sunday Series! 


This Sunday at 9:30 & 11 a.m. we will start a new series as we begin to move through the final section of 2nd Corinthians! These messages are vital. Please place a priority in your life on hearing and applying the Word of God! 

21 Days of Prayer! 

Starts this Sunday – We will accomplish nothing without prayer – so August 5-25 we will focus on prayer for what God wants to do in and through New Life this fall! Church family times of prayer together on Sundays, August 5 & 19 at 6 p.m. – Wednesdays, August 8, 15, & 22 at 7 p.m. Come – let’s pray together – rely totally on God and see what He will do! We will also share social media devotions at 7 a.m. each morning to encourage your prayer times! 


Relentless

 
Sharon and I are having a great break. Plans were changed when my Dad’s sister went to heaven last week, but she had such a great testimony – it would take too much time to share here. Thank you for your prayers for our family – and especially my Uncle Buddy who is in failing health now and missing his love of 64 years. 

We are excited to be back together with our New Life family this Sunday! 

Honoring our grads – We have a number of important members of our New Life family graduating from high school and college this year. We will honor them Sunday with an open house style cake reception between our 9:30 & 11 a.m. services. Graduates – try to hang out by the cake table between the services (10:45 – 11) so that the folks can greet you and congratulate you on your great accomplishment! 

New series – 2nd Corinthians – Relentless – I am really excited to start our summer teaching series through 2nd Corinthians. This will be my first time to teach verse by verse through this important letter. Pastor Dean and Pastor Seth will be team-teaching the book with me (aren’t you glad they are with us?)! 

– Why is what we call “2nd Corinthians” actually at least the 4th letter Paul wrote to the church in that city? 
– Why did he have to write so many letters to them? 
– What is in the letter that is still important for us today? 
– Why do we still go through hard times, even after deciding to follow Jesus? 
 

We’re calling this June series “Relentless” – because in these passages we see Paul relentlessly pursuing God’s plan for His life, and relentlessly pursuing the purpose of the Corinthian people not wasting the grace of God that they have received – 

 

And we share this goal – to relentlessly pursue God’s plan – and relentless pursue those who need God’s grace.

I hope you’ll join us in June for this important series! I believe you’ll get a lot out of it – and we continue to draw closer to the Lord doing our times of deep worship together!  

See you Sunday!  



Wonderful WINS at New Life!

We want to share some exciting WINS from all our teams at New Life! No matter where we serve, each important ministry is one piece of a great TEAM, so each team member at New Life is part of these great WINS! Stuff like this only happens when we all serve together with the big picture in mind!

– This past Sunday two guests made decisions for Jesus! This is the biggest win of all!

– Many reports on the impact of NextGen Pastor Dean’s message!

– See the report on Carl Brocks- http://kokomoperspective.com/kp/lifestyles/rising-out-of-homelessness/article_f9f19e2c-47db-11e8-99be-a78689e0349c.html – Carl recommitted his life last year – has been baptized – completed Growth Track & serves on our Hospitality & Communion Dream Teams! HUGE WIN!

– Caleb & Shelby – recent attenders – competed Growth Track- now part of Student Ministry Leadership Team & Shelby’s mom came Sunday!

– Ryan & Tara – recent attendees & recommItments – completed Growth Track – ready to get married & use their gifts on Dream Teams!

– House Church – Young Adult ministry led by Worship Pastor Seth & Kaitlyn – two recent meetings & off to a great start!

– Building Dream Teams – making the outside & inside of our campus look fantastic! Planters at main doors look great & are so welcoming!

– Spotify music playlist – people are loving listening to the New Life Church Spotify playlist of our current worship songs! Sign up & worship thru the week! Encourage your teams to do the same! https://open.spotify.com/user/wof3cktzuz84htvixua0ealgj/playlist/5DgksY4IRgtRd5TKMojDwl?si=2WI5vjk4T5u7np6QCkYUqA

– Upward couple of 7 years – recently made commitments to Jesus – completed Growth Track Sunday & looking for their Next Step of connection!

There is so much more! These are just from this past week – and each ministry and team member is a part of each WIN! God is up to something at New Life!

Stay positive! Stay encouraged! If you thInk you don’t see something happening where you are, something IS happening beneath the surface!

For all generations!



Not Becoming Famous – but Making a Difference

We are blessed at New Life Church in Kokomo, Indiana to have a phenomenal Dream Team! By ourselves we can’t do much – but together we can do incredible things! Together, what is impossible begins to happen. 

Because of what Dream Team servants do, people come to church and feel loved – 

  • when their homes are breaking up 
  • When their hearts are breaking due to a tragedy in their lives
  • When their kids are living a wayward life 
  • When they’ve received a horrible diagnosis from the doctor 
  • When they’ve lost their job 
  • When they’re so confused they don’t know where else to turn – 

They come to church and – 

  • They hear worship music playing outside the door before they ever walk in
  • Someone smiles at them as they walk in the door 
  • Someone smiles at them as they walk through the lobby
  • They smell fresh coffee and the atmosphere is clean, warm, inviting, and friendly! 
  • They are able to get a specialty coffee or a smoothie from the friendliest faces they’ve seen in days. 
  • Someone smiles at them and loves their kids from the first moment they see them. 
  • They feel like their kids are going to be safe and loved. 
  • There is a place for them to sit and chat and feel welcomed all the way through the lobby 
  • They are not ignored or ostracized – the nervous feeling that they don’t belong is beginning to melt away. 
  • They are greeted warmly as they enter the Worship Center
  • The music is awesome 
  • The sound and video quality are great. 
  • The music and the words spoken are something they can relate to – even if they’ve never been to a church before in their lives. 
  • There is nothing happening to distract them from the love that God is pulling them to. 
  • There is someone available to pray with them at the altar. 
  • They use the restroom, and it is clean and well-maintained! 
  • They are warmly greeted at a hospitality table – they know there are friends here – 
  • They receive a gift mug with candy and free drink from the coffee bar! 
  • They receive an Info Book and they find out that there are people here like them, with similar interests, walking through similar phases of life together! This happens because people are willing to step up and be a group leader – even though they have reservations about their own qualifications! 
  • They are invited to have lunch after the service to meet more people – connect – and enjoy a great meal that loving people have already prepared for them! 

On and on and on it goes – every part doing it’s work – every part making a difference – 

Ephesians 4:11-16 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

What Dream Team servants do is every part doing its work, holding the body together – causing the body to grow – causing the body to be built up in love – 

What our Dream Teamers did resulted in 37 people making decisions for Christ last year! 

That’s 37 people who were on their way to hell – who are now on their way to heaven!  Some of them are already bringing others – More people than we can count will be on their way to heaven because of Dream Teamers do! Each part doing it’s work. 

So far this year – 10 have already made decisions for Christ! 

Because of what Dream Teamers do – 59 people completed our Growth Track last year and joined in this ministry! 

Because of what Dream Teamers do – 251 first time guests were welcomed last year – that doesn’t count those who came on Upward Sunday or those who didn’t fill out Connection Cards! 

Because of what Dream Teamers do – already this year – close to 200 guests have felt welcomed – that does count Upward Sunday! 

Speaking of Upward – because of what Dream Teamers do – each part doing its work – lives are being changed. 

Some people come to Upward drunk and high on Fridays and Saturdays – and they feel love – their kids feel loved – they hear great testimonies – 

Families are part of our church this year who were not here last year because of Upward – 

  • Because people coach
  • Because people pray
  • Because people assistant coach
  • Move stuff around
  • Set up chairs & basketball goals
  • Clean up
  • Serve in concessions

On and on and on that goes – 

One of our Dream Teamers, who originally came to New Life from a very difficult life because of Upward, recently posted on her Facebook: “Our youngest graduated from their Upward teams! Cheerleading and basketball. Thanks Kaitlyn Fowler you were an amazing coach. Our daughter just loves you so much! We love the Upward program. It really speaks to our kids. They love Jesus and love this program! Blessings they are for sure. Everyone at New Life Church. You are all such loving people to our family❣We Have grown so much in Christ and we thank you all for loving us through it all.”

Kids who love Jesus! How can you beat that? There are more stories like that! 

In every area, Dream Teamers are making a difference! 

We don’t always think it’s a big deal what we do – but it is a big deal! 

We may never become famous for what we do – but it’s not the people who become famous who make all the difference – it’s all the people behind the scenes who are never noticed who make the biggest differences – 

Has anyone here ever heard of Charles Spong?  One of my professors at school … certainly never heard of his dad – I don’t even know his first name – just “Pastor Spong”. 

Someone Pastor Spong led to the Lord was a young kid by the name of David Wilkerson.

David Wilkerson became a young pastor in Pennsylvania – saw gang members on trial in NYC for murder – went to share Jesus with them – then started ministering among the street gangs in the 1950’s – 

Eventually he started a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center – Teen Challenge – these centers are now all around the world – 10’s of thousands of lives have been changed and healed and on their way to heaven. 

All because a small church somewhere had people who were faithfully serving – each one serving shares in the reward of David Wilkerson – he’s not the only one who gets the reward! 

John 4:35-38 – You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

What if the Pastor hadn’t answered the call?

What if the people in that church hadn’t served? 

We all share in the rewards of the harvest together! 

Years ago – a group of men no one had ever heard of decided to pray. They prayed for God to raise up someone from their community to share the Good News of Jesus and change lives. They decided to have a meeting. They called a preacher. Two rebellious teenage boys did not wanting to go to the meeting, but later decided to go. When they got there the meeting place was full. They turned to leave, but an usher stopped them and ESCORTED them to seats … ON THE STAGE! 

One of those young men was Billy Graham. That was the night he began to follow Jesus. 

  • Who was the usher? Did he make a difference? Does he share in the reward Billy Graham receives for all the lives that were changed because of his ministry? 
  • Who were the men who prayed and organized the meeting? 
  • Who was the preacher? (Mordecai Ham – almost no one today remembers him except for this story.)

They all made a difference in the world – it was never just Billy Graham.

When Billy Graham became famous at the Los Angeles crusade, they discovered one woman had prayed every night in a small tent nearby. Her name was Pearl Goode.

She never even went into the services where Billy Graham was preaching, but her prayers changed the world – by changing individual lives.  Billy Graham believed in this so much he took her to London for their next big crusade. Then he put her on staff as a full-time prayer leader.  

Sometimes we think, “I don’t want to serve – I’m tired of serving!” 

We want everyone to be spiritually well-fed – but we have to strike that balance of serving others before we serve ourselves. Pearl Goode never worried about getting to sit in one of Billy Graham’s services. She served in her area of the ministry that caused people’s lives and families to change for eternity! 

Sometimes servants in church are like the mom with little children.  I remember my wife saying she would finally get to eat another hot meal when the kids grew up … always serving before she was served –

Sometimes we have to do that in the church – 

The difference can be heaven and hell. 

The difference can be broken families or healed families.

We are serving others to Jesus! 

Jesus said His followers would be “fishers of men.” If I’m a fisher of men, it means I sometimes use bait that will reach those who don’t know Jesus even though it may not be my preference. 

How many like to eat worms? 

How many like to eat minnows? 

Not us – but we use it for bait when we fish – 

I love spaghetti – but spaghetti doesn’t make very good fish bait! 

So – we do things in church to attract those who are not in church – because Jesus called us to be fishers of men. 

God bless everyone who serves in any church in any area for all they are doing to make a difference!

And God help us to all be the best we can be – God help us to realize that everything we do results in making a difference – and the difference is heaven and hell for hundreds of people. We have these blessings and these opportunities every time we serve in every way we serve! 



Steps to Freedom – God’s Got a Plan!

There is an enemy that wants to destroy your life, but God’s got a plan! Often we have a problem living out God’s plan for our life when we are more concerned about what we want instead of God’s plan. Join us Sunday as we begin a 3-month journey walking through the Book of Exodus – this month we’re taking Steps to Freedom! 


Also – This Sunday is Growth Track Step 1- 12:30-1:30 in the Activity Center! This is a great time to start your journey on the Growth Track! 

I’m praying for you and hope to see you Sunday! Bring a friend and bring them to lunch! 



God’s Vision for New Life

I hope you sense that you are drawing closer to the Lord during our 21 days of prayer and fasting

I want to encourage you to do everything you can to not miss the next two Sundays at New Life. Our Vision series continues this Sunday and my message is simply titled, “God’s Vision for New Life.” I want to share with you what we do and why we do it. What we do is not random. We are not just showing up on Sunday without a plan. We believe God has given us a plan that will draw our church family closer to Him and have an impact on our community. You can watch the first two messages in the series here: http://www.newlife4kokomo.org/sermon-videos/

In the meantime, 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting is crucial. We can’t accomplish what the Lord has given us to do without His help. We are praying Monday through Friday 6-7 a.m. in the Worship Center and Saturday 9-10 a.m. We are posting the opening devotions and worship of these prayer times on Facebook Live – they stay posted on my Facebook page as well as our New Life Church Kokomo Facebook Page. 

Also, Sunday is the end of Groups Week for Spring Small Groups. We need each other. We give life to each other when we are in relationships together and serve together. In these groups are opportunity for fellowship, study, prayer and ministry. Connect! It’s God’s plan for you! If you are already in a group and you are going to continue – sign up anyway. The leader needs to know you are going to be there, and guests will be more likely to join if others have already signed up. 

  • One more thing – our NextGen Pastor is going to arrive in town Friday, January 26th. We will need a team to help them unload a moving truck. You can reply to this email to let me know that you can help and I will pass on details as we get closer to that day. 

Sharon and I love you and it is a high honor for us to be able to serve together here in Kokomo! 



The Mystery and The Masterpiece – Why?

Years ago in Indianapolis there was a flashy and provocative businessman who owned several gun stores. He wore diamond rings and had a big toothy smile. The conclusion of his television commercials would always feature him winking, flashing that big smile at the camera, and saying, “I don’t wanna make any money, folks. I just love to sell guns!” 

Well, whatever you think of guns, I didn’t writeThe Mystery and the Masterpiece with a desire for financial gain. I truly believe that I came to a greater understanding of something controversial that has been causing great division and loud arguments in both the Church and the culture. I came to understand something in a way I had never understood it before. I believe I have a way to communicate something that I have not heard communicated very well, if at all, in my own personal experience. And I wanted to communicate this and help others communicate it in a non-argumentative style. 

I am an imperfect follower of Christ. I was taught and still believe that marriage is a sacred institution that can only happen between one man and one woman, and sexual relations are to take place only within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. However, my view of marriage has drastically changed in the last few years!

I want to be very clear: The Mystery and the Masterpiece is not intended to be anti-anything or anti-anyone. The book was birthed from a desire to explain a viewpoint that I think has not been explained very well.  

There has been a great conflict in society at large, as well as among those who call themselves Christians, about marriage and sexuality. The idea that people are going to have sex with anyone they want to any time they want to has been accepted for at least a couple of generations now. Can’t marriage be between two men or two women? Why shouldn’t those who practice homosexuality be given the rights of marriage? Isn’t it bigotry to deny them such a basic right? 

Many people on all sides of the debate know what the Bible says about marriage. However, I believe much teaching in the Church regarding marriage has fallen woefully short of why the Bible limits marriage to being between a man and woman, and why the Bible limits sexual activity to being between a man and woman in the covenant of marriage, and why God intends for marriage to last “until death us do part”. 
 
I became and remain very disturbed by the tone of the conversations. I believe, first and foremost, that Jesus’ desire for His followers is to help others understand how great their lives can be when following Him. Only the Holy Spirit can convince people of their need of Jesus (John 16), yet God uses the followers of Jesus to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and to play a part in helping others begin a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If a follower of Christ makes an argument that convinces people to change their minds about a certain point of view, yet they don’t really share the love of Jesus, then they have come short of the ultimate goal. If the Christian presents an argument without showing love they are not really doing what they are supposed to be doing. A follower of Jesus is not called to change the political landscape and viewpoints of their culture. They are called to love people, speak the truth to people with love, and introduce them to Jesus. If enough people accept that, then the viewpoint of the culture will follow. 

Many followers of Christ are great at showing love and tolerance for all people. But in their desire to love they avoid speaking about difficult subjects, so they don’t speak the truth. Others speak the truth very strongly, but they are not speaking the truth in love. Neither one of these failures will help people to follow Jesus. In fact, these failures could drive more people away. 

How can we “speak the truth in love” as Paul tells us to do in Ephesians 4:15? 

Let us be clear on this as well: God does not hate anyone. God truly does love everyone and hates no one! 

In the midst of the cultural controversy, and in a desire to not neglect speaking the truth, yet do so in love, I began to develop what some might call a theology of sex.This is not new. I’m not the first one to come up with these thoughts. In fact, the ideas presented in the book are as old as time. I just believe that there are very few who have been presenting them in the way I do in The Mystery and the Masterpiece. As I’ve taught in different places I’ve been asked to add my thoughts to the conversation in writing. 

I began to think about how I could sit down for a cup of coffee with someone who has a very different viewpoint and lifestyle than me, and present what the Bible says about sexuality, with our conversation being filled with cordiality and love as opposed to argument and contention. For example, in a conversation with someone who practices the homosexual lifestyle and desires to be married to their partner, what would I say that would be different than, “Because the Bible says so!”?  The same would apply to a conversation with a person who has sex before marriage with no restraint. That is certainly a common lifestyle in our time. The thoughts I had while thinking about this expanded my view of God’s overall purpose of sexuality for our lives and how any sexual activity outside of the Biblical view of sexuality within marriage between a man and a woman causes us to miss something powerful that God gave us when He gave us the gift of sex. There is a message from God that we are missing! I thought a great deal about how to share these ideas in love. How could I say why the Bible says what it says … could that be done in a way that did not contribute to the hatred and animosity that seems to grow when people discuss these issues?

 This led me to examine for myself why the Bible says what it says. As I studied this I not only saw a fresh light that might help me in the conversation, but the end result was that it helped my own marriage as well. As I studied what the Bible has to say about marriage and about sexual practice and compared it with my own experience, I found that there was help for me.  I needed help. I was coming up short in many ways. I was not the best husband I could be for my wife.  That’s not how the study started, but that’s a benefit that I received. I hope that you will receive this benefit as well. 
 
So, as the gun salesman said, “I don’t wanna make any money, folks,” but regardless of your current viewpoint on the issue of marriage, I do hope you will readThe Mystery and the Masterpiece. I hope it will help you to possibly see some aspects of the issue you have never seen before. And I hope you will see that it was written with a desire to “speak the truth in love” 

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Masterpiece-Message-Marriage/dp/1620205742/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490305441&sr=8-1&keywords=the+mystery+and+the+masterpiece+randy+blankenship



Coming Sunday – Bless the Campbells – Hear a powerful message of love

We are excited about Sunday as we bless the Campbell family and send them to extend our influence in ministry in San Diego. 

We want to bless them – so bring an offering beyond the Lord’s tithe to place in our offering boxes – write “Campbell Family” on your check memo or giving envelope. 

You can also give on our website here – 

https://pushpay.com/pay/newlife4kokomo/VHOkPQB_V5YnrHrqqc_D9w

Please choose the “Campbell Family” option. You can also give through your mynewlife online profile account. 

Also Sunday we will present Part 3 of The Mystery and the Masterpiece – “A Picture of Punishment – A Warning of Love”. The message is from Ezekiel 23. I encourage you to read the chapter in preparation for the message. I want to remind everyone that we are dealing with God’s plan for sexuality, so if you have younger children please take advantage of our great children’s ministries. My book is arriving and we should have copies available in the lobby on Sunday, April 2nd. 
 
If you bring a friend Sunday, I guarantee you they will hear a message in church like they’ve never heard before! See you Sunday! 


Drinking Green Beer and Missing the Point!

Just to be clear … I’m not drinking Green Beer … but lots of people are in celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. Sadly, however, most know nothing about the man they celebrate. 

For instance, he wasn’t even from Ireland!  He was from Britain. As far as we know he didn’t wear a green hat, didn’t have a red beard, wasn’t short, and didn’t drink green beer! 

He’s not even an official Saint according to the Catholic church.  They didn’t start recognizing saints until hundreds of years after Patrick. He just kind of got swept up as an unofficial saint with a lot of other early church leaders. 

But Patrick was a powerful man of God.  His dad was a government official, sat on the town council, and was a deacon. His grandfather was a clergyman in the ancient church of Britain. So Patrick grew up in a Christian home, and his folks dragged him along to church. He heard the scriptures there.  He heard Scriptures that later in his life he would obey and fulfill.

The Message of Patrick’s Life is this:  The power of forgiveness can change a nation. 

Patrick had to practice forgiveness before he preached it. 

Why is Patrick is consider Irish when he was British?  At the age of 16, Patrick was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a Druid chieftain who reigned in the north of Ireland. He remained this man’s slave for 6 years. One of the most reliable historical sources on Patrick is his own words. In his “Confession” he tells us: “When I was a youth, I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire or seek, or what I ought to shun.”

Then Patrick was sold to a man who kept the heads of his enemies on poles around his palace yard!  During parts of this time Patrick lived like an animal, endured long seasons of hunger and thirst. Even worse, he was isolated from other human beings for months at a time.

That would make a lot of people bitter and hateful, but it was during this time Patrick came to a knowledge of Christ as his own personal Savior. “Frequently in the night I prayed and the love of God and His fear increased more and more in me… I would pray constantly during the daylight hours… The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more. And faith grew. And the spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less.”

When he wrote his testimony, his “Confession”, he began with the words, “I, Patrick, a sinner.”  He started letters with the same words.  This is the way Patrick speaks: “I knew not the true God . . . The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelief . . . I was not worthy . . . Love of God and fear of Him increased more and more . . . Because of His indwelling Spirit who hath worked in me until this day . . .

In Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.

In Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.

He tells the story of how, after six years, he managed to run away and escape from his master and after a tortuous journey over sea and land, returned to his people in Britain.

 

After Patrick practiced forgiveness, he was called to preach forgiveness. 

Patrick also received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Good News of God’s forgiveness through Jesus where he was once enslaved.  Patrick described his call in these words: “Again, I was in Britain with my parents, who received me as their son, and besought me to promise that, after the many afflictions I had endured, I would never leave them again. And then, truly, in the bosom of the night I saw a man as if coming from Ireland … with numerous letters, one of which he gave me, and I read the beginning of the epistle, containing the Voice of the Irish.

“And while I was reading the beginning of the epistle I thought in my mind that I heard the voice of those who were near the wood Focluti, which is near the western sea. And they shouted thus: ‘We beseech thee, holy youth, to come and live amongst us.’ And I was greatly pained in my heart…”

When he got there, the depth of paganism was incredible – He wrote:  “I dwell among gentiles,” he wrote, “in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things.”

Patrick paid a price to preach forgiveness. 

To pay for his voyage he took his inheritance, every bit of his land, everything he owned, and sold it. On the day he sailed, in his family’s eyes, he was a disgrace.

Once he arrived, he bought a chariot and began traveling in the north and west of Ireland, preaching wherever he could. Did they ever need the light of Christ!  Over time, he paid the price of 15 slaves—out of his own pocket—just to buy protection from various chieftains, so he could pass through their territory to evangelize without getting mugged, captured, or killed.

Ireland at the time was wild and primitive. The people who inhabited those forests worshiped trees, stones and wells. They believed that spirits dwelt in these idols. They sacrificed their children on altars to appease these gods and to secure, so they thought, better harvests.

About a year after his arrival in Ireland, Patrick did something that called much attention to his ministry. The Encyclopedia Brittanica tells us that he challenged the “royal authority by lighting a fire on a hill on the night before Easter.” What’s so bad about that?  Easter was a pagan festival and no one was supposed to light a fire until the royal fire had been lit.

What Patrick was doing was challenging demonic forces that reigned over that area. He did not just light a flame on a hillside, he ignited a blazing bonfire that would burn throughout the land.  All the people were stunned. The King was amazed and said: “If we do not extinguish this flame it will sweep over all Ireland.” That’s exactly what happened. From that act of boldness it seemed that a fire fell from heaven and for years there was great repentance in Ireland!  

The King sent for Patrick. The druid priests were infuriated and declared they would destroy the preacher by sorcery if he dared to come.

But that Easter morn, about the year 428 A.D., Patrick and his associates marched boldly into the presence of the king and told him that Christ was the light of the world. They preached Jesus crucified and risen from the dead with such persuasive power that the king accepted faith in Christ.

Saint Patrick's Church, Saul, Northern Ireland. First church Patrick established. 

Saint Patrick’s Church, Saul, Northern Ireland. First church Patrick established. 

Every danger he faced he thought was well worth it, because it gave him the opportunity to tell the Irish about Christ.

This was Patrick – a little more than green beer.  The reason we celebrate him is not about anything that goes on today, but he is a man whose life is worth imitation.

He said, “The Lord is mighty to grant to me afterward to be myself spent for your souls… Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere.”

Indeed, Patrick almost delighted in taking risks for the gospel. “I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation. Neither must we fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God’s name boldly in every place, so that even after my death, a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children.”

Patrick saw a nation receive forgiveness. 

The King was convicted and believed the message.  After the king believed, Patrick won and baptized multiplied thousands of converts. He ministered for 33 more years and when he was finished, all Ireland was evangelized.

He focused on the tribal kings, as they believed their people would believe. It worked. Then he built a church, ordained a leader, and moved on.  Still a great missionary strategy today.  

More churches than could be counted dotted the hills and valleys. Irish missionaries went out to proclaim the message of redemption with incomparable passion to the pagan tribes of Scotland, England, Germany and Gaul (France).

This was the beginning of the golden age of Ireland. When God’s Word is taught and accepted, chains are broken.

The real Patrick was a Bible-reading, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching missionary and it was the pure message of the forgiveness of the Son of God that lifted the Irish out of the darkness of paganism into the glorious light of the Truth.

The heathen stone idols that once marked their graves gave way to the cross of Jesus. Druid paganism was crushed and the “buffer state of Europe” became known as the “Isle of Saints.”

Patrick wrote, “Let who will laugh and insult . . . Though I be rude in all things . . . I baptize so many thousands of men . . . the Lord ordained clergy everywhere by means of my mediocrity.”

Patrick wrote a song of sorts, maybe a chant. We are told that Patrick and his fellow believers marched toward the king, dressed in white, and carrying crosses and singing or chanting these words – he called it his Breastplate:  

I bind to myself today
The strong power of the invocation of the Trinity;
The faith of the Trinity in unity;
The Creator of the elements.

I bind to myself today,
The power of the incarnation of Christ
With that of His baptism;
The power of His crucifixion
With that of His burial;
The power of the resurrection
With (THAT OF) the ascension;
The power of His coming
To the sentence of judgment . . .

I bind to myself today,
The power of God to guide me,
The might of God to uphold me,
The wisdom of God to teach me,
The eye of God to watch over me

The ear of God to hear me,
The Word of God to give me speech,
The hand of God to protect me,
The way of God to prevent me,
The shield of God to shelter me,
The host of God to defend me,

Against the snares of demons
Against the temptations of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who would injure me
Whether far or near;
Whether few or many.

I have set around me all these powers,
Against every hostile, savage power
Directed against my body and my soul;
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and Druids.
Against all knowledge that blinds the soul of man.

Christ protect me today,
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort (when I am at home),
Christ in the chariot-seat (when I travel),
Christ in the ship (when I sail).

Of the Lord is salvation;
Christ is salvation;
With us ever be
Thy salvation, O Lord!

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me;
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

 

In Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.

In Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.

Thomas Cahill said, “The Patrick who came back to Ireland with the gospel was a real tough guy. He couldn’t have been anything else—only a very tough man could have hoped to survive those people. I don’t mean to say he wasn’t a saint—he was a great saint—but he was a very rough, vigorous man…

“I know that Paul is referred to as the first missionary,” Cahill says, “but Paul never got out of the Greco-Roman world, nor did any of the apostles. And here we are, five centuries after Jesus, who had urged his disciples to preach to all nations. They just didn’t do that. And the reason they didn’t is because they did not consider the barbarians to be human.”

As a result of his enslavement, Cahill says, “Patrick grew into a man that he truly would not otherwise have become. So you would have to say that Patrick’s kidnapping was a great grace, not just for the people of Ireland, but for all of Western history.”

By the time of his death, or shortly thereafter, “the Irish stopped slave trading and they never took it up again.” Human sacrifice had become unthinkable.

Because Patrick was able to forgive those who mistreated him, God was able to use Patrick to tell a whole country about Jesus.

 

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland - reputed to be the location of Saint Patrick's grave.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland – reputed to be the location of Saint Patrick’s grave.

Sources:  St. Patrick was a Baptist  Rev. John Summerfield Wimbish, D.D.  Published in the Reformed Reader

 

Kidsermons.com

Meet Saint Patrick – Written by Kevin A. Miller, editor of Leadership Journal

Patrick the Saint
Behind the fanciful legends of the fifth-century British missionary stands a man worthy of embellishment.
Mary Cagney  Thursday, October 1, 1998

 

Randy Blankenship Sr
 


Important Update on Transitions!

 

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

“…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” – Philippians 3:13

Some have said that history is always moving forward. Well, I know that God is always taking His people forward! We live without regrets as we move forward toward the plan God has for us. 

That’s what Scott & Susi Stephenson, who played a huge role in leading our children’s ministries, have done as God has taken them to a ministry in Marion. That’s what Pastor Pete and Sarah are doing as God is taking them to a ministry in San Diego. These transitions affect our children, students and worship ministry. Also, while Deneen Sommers is staying with us, she will be leaving her position as my Administrative Assistant over the course of the summer and into the fall. The duties of Grandma are calling! 

As we began some of these changes last year, before I knew everything that was going to happen, I told Sharon, “We are getting ready to go through a season of great transition.” – and I believe the Lord is in this. I trust Him and I trust the people mentioned above that He is leading them. Thus, there is no need for anxiety. 

As with most positions, they change and evolve over time. Pastor Pete brought much more media and tech ability to his position than we were expecting when he came. What a blessing! Pastor Sharon began with us focused on children’s ministries, but over time she has done so much training of our Dream Team members, and has done a great deal of leading in many areas of adult ministries as well. Deneen’s work for us has also evolved over time to be much more than a personal assistant. She has taken on much more than just being my assistant and has served more as a Director of Operations for much of our church’s ministry. 

So … we have multiple moving parts. God is leading us through a great shuffling of responsibilities. I believe He is preparing us for something great! I believe God is preparing us to reach more people who don’t yet know Him! I’m looking forward to what He has in store! I believe we are going to see many more people come to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, and Make a Difference through the ministry of New Life Church! 

What are we going to do? What are we currently doing?  First, I have been praying about this very specifically for over a year, and I feel that God has been leading, and He continues to confirm His leading as we go through this process. 

Next, everyone is unique, so with multiple changes we are not simply looking to fill slot for slot with each transitioning position. 

With all of these changes, I NEED Pastor Sharon to assist me in an Executive Role with our Adult ministries. Pastor Sharon’s position will become that of an Executive Pastor. She will work side-by-side with me in nearly every aspect of our church’s ministry. We will walk together, particularly in the areas of adult ministries. She will help me oversee every area of adult ministry and church operations, other than those Pastor Steve is leading. 

As she takes on this role, over time, she will no longer be able to lead our fantastic children’s ministry Dream Teams. 

We will hire a “NextGen Pastor” to lead our ministries for the Next Generation. This will include leading our ministries to Children and Students – Nursery through High School Graduation. In some of these areas this pastor will be very hands on, in other areas they will provide guidance and mentorship to our great teams. Remember that Paul taught us in Ephesians 4 that the pastors don’t do the work of the ministry – the pastors train God’s people to do the work of the ministry. That has been our guiding Scripture, and will continue to be so. We have so many gifted people leading in so many areas of ministry! 

As with every God-given leader, there will be new ideas and fresh vision. We need to prepare ourselves now to change as God leads. As with Moses and the Israelites, we need to move when the cloud moves … and my friends … I believe the cloud is moving! 

Joshua was a different leader than Moses. Elisha was a different leader than Elijah. And even Jesus passed His ministry off to the disciples – and guess what – it got even bigger! So let’s be wide open to God’s changes! 

In the area of worship, for a season there will be times when I will lead. There will be times when Deneen will lead. There will be times when we will have a guest worship leader. Don’t think a guest worship leader is here for a “tryout”. That will not be happening for some time. We just want to bring in some friends who are gifted in worship leading and be blessed by their ministry from time to time. 

Again, I have been praying about this area specifically for over a year, and I am very confident of God’s leading in this area right now. Let us also remember that the purpose of our worship times together is to connect with God and have our hearts prepared to receive His Word. That is the main focus. Everything we do in worship should point to that. So as you come in to worship, don’t worry about who is leading or what they are doing – our focus together should be on the Lord. 

God’s direction in me has grown over this past year, and I don’t believe He has revealed everything to me yet. We are trusting Him from day to day and I fully expect that His leading will grow in me as we continue. So, this is not the final chapter. This is just an update as to where we are now. I felt it important to let everyone know. 

What an exciting time! 




 

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