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Mystery and the Masterpiece
 

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! 



Unlock the Power of Prayer

We’ve been missing a lot of folks recently due to weather and holidays, so we are looking forward to the family getting back together this Sunday

New Year – New Series – 

We will begin the series, “Unlock the Power of Prayer” in our 9:30 & 11 a.m. services with a very practical teaching on fasting. I’m encouraging our church family to participate together to some degree of fasting and prayer for 21 days to start the New Year – January 8-28

Prayer Opportunities – 

During these next three weeks we will have Prayer Meetings at the church – Monday thru Friday6-7 a.m., and we will be streaming the prayer meeting from Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama 7-8 a.m. 

Join in The One Year Bible – 

Join us in reading the Bible through this year. Here is a great plan you can follow digitally – 

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/60-the-one-year-bible

Or, you can print the guide from this link read it in your print Bible – http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/readingplan/oneyearbiblereadingplan.pdf



New Year – New Opportunities!

We are looking forward to getting the new year started! I know some people view New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as “just another day”. In some ways that is true, but it is a reminder of a new beginning – and a reminder that we have the opportunity to start again. Christianity is about a new beginning, and I’m looking forward to a fresh start and making a fresh commitment in my own personal walk with Christ as this new year begins. I invite you to join me! 

This Sunday we will have one service only – at 11 a.m. Kyle Sadler will be teaching. Kyle & Anna (my son-in-law & daughter) are laying the foundation for a new church in the Indianapolis area. They are raising funds (supported by New Life Missions), receiving guidance from other church planting leaders, conducting leadership training with people who will be part of their core group leadership team, and talking to pastors and community groups in the area. As they are, they are receiving positive feedback from people in the community about another ministry beginning in an area where so many people are not yet connected to Christ or His Church. There is a lot of preparation for a successful launch, much like the preparation for a new birth! You don’t want the baby to come too son! We are excited for Sunday and I know Kyle will bring an encouraging message to us! 

We will return to our regular schedule for Wednesdays on January 4th, and for Sundays on January 8th. 

January 8-15 is our Group Week and we have several new groups that will be offered for the New Year! 

Year End Giving – If you desire to have a gift to New Life Church recorded for your 2016 tax records, make sure you give here before midnight Saturday – https://pushpay.com/pay/newlife4kokomo/YlKYsqk4TW4NSGy9B_wD8g



White Christmas & Snow Globes

Well, it’s December! I’m still hoping for one more not-too-cold day to finish cleaning the leaves out of my yard! I’ve got to get them off before the first snow! 

Speaking of snow – that’s what everyone is thinking of when they wish for a “White Christmas.” But I’m thinking of a White Christmas of a different kind. That’s the title of our December teaching series, and Sunday morning we begin with the message, “Snow Globes!” I even had Sharon buy a snow globe for me so I could shake it up and watch it snow every once in a while during the message! 

I hope to see you each Sunday this month. I believe these messages will touch your heart. It’s a great season to invite family and friends. Hearts seem to be more open this time of year. 

Also, Sunday is another opportunity to begin the Growth Track. Step One is at 12:30 with a light lunch and childcare provided. No need to sign up, just show up. The Growth Track is an opportunity for us to get better acquainted to each other, to the mission of New Life, and to the gifts God has given us. 

Additionally, our Sunday night Worship Opportunity on December 11th will focus on healing. Come if you or your friends need prayer for healing. 

What a blessing to remember … God so love that He gave … so many blessings … let’s follow in His example and be givers of blessings this season. 



Growing in the Purpose of God

Do you know the purpose of God for your life? Do you even realize that God DOES have a purpose for your life? I assure you – He does! No life is an accident. Every life is precious – and God has a plan for every life. Sadly, many people never discover it. 

Part of the purpose of New Life Church is to help people discover their God-given purpose so that they can make a difference. 

How do we grow in the purpose of God?

In Romans 12:1-18 we find 7 keys: 

1. We must give ourselves to God – Romans 12:1

This is first. We will never fulfill all God has for us if we stop giving ourselves to Him. If you get stuck on your Christian journey at any point – if you stop saying, “God, my life is yours” – then you’re stuck. This is what Step One of the New Life Growth Track is all about. 

2. Don’t copy the world – Romans 12:2a

Don’t let the influences of our culture be your model. Even if someone is a great follower of Christ and a great leader – God only made one of them. He only made one of you. You are unique, special and loved. God made you to be the best you that you can be. 

3. Allow the change that is needed – Romans 12:2b

Paul uses a word here that is the same for “metamorphosis” – like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly – let God bring dramatic change to your life. Always stay open to that! Get connected to godly people. This is what Step Two of the New Life Growth Track is all about. 

4. Stay humble – Romans 12:3-5

Don’t measure yourself against others. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking more of others. 

5. Develop, use and excel in your gifts – Romans 12:6-8

Use what you have. Do you know what you have? This is what Step Three of the New Life Growth Track is all about. What is your personality? Introvert? Extrovert? People-oriented? Task-oriented? What are your spiritual gifts? Discover and develop what you have – then you will be in a position to make a difference (Step Four of the New Life Growth Track). 

6. Practice godly character – Romans 12:9-15

If you throw away your character, you throw away your impact. Many lose their ability to impact people’s lives because they lost their character. 

7. Fight off cynicism, division and dishonor – Romans 12:16-18

No matter what happens, don’t stop believing that God has a good plan! 

Listen to the full message here: 

http://www.newlife4kokomo.org/sermons-2/

The New Life Growth Track takes place each Sunday, the first four Sundays of each month, with Step One on the first Sunday, Step Two on the second Sunday, etc. Through the Growth Track people learn about Knowing God, Finding Freedom, Discovering Purpose, so that they can Make a Difference. 12:30-1:30 p.m. with lunch and childcare provided.  

Thanks for the outline to Joshua Canizaro, Church of the Highlands, Birmingham, Alabama.



Grow or Die

As followers of Christ, we must continue to experience personal spiritual growth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us those whom Christ has given to the church as leaders have a responsibility to lead God’s people to maturity & unity. This happens when each one does its part, using our gifts in ministry to serve Christ and one another. Simply put, if we don’t spiritually grow, on a personal level, we die.

The goal of our lives must be maturity in Christ. There are three ways in which Jesus serves as our model for growth and maturity:

1. We mature by receiving from God – John 17:24

2. We mature by pursuing God – Luke 2:52

3. We mature by submitting to God – Luke 22:42

Jesus did all these things, as recorded in the verses listed above.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Listen to the full message here: 

http://www.newlife4kokomo.org/sermons-2/

and make it your goal to grow to maturity in Christ!


Making a Difference

God made you. He gave you the personality that you have. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” 

God has also given each one spiritual gifts and He places us – He gives us opportunities in which our personalities can shine and our gifts can make a difference! Are you extroverted or introverted? Are you task-oriented or people-oriented?  In any case, God made you with those qualities so that He could use you to make a difference for others. What an honor! 

How can you discover this purpose? 

First – listen to this message – “Making a Difference” – here: 

http://www.newlife4kokomo.org/sermons-2/

Then, attend the New Life Growth Track. It takes place in 4 steps the first 4 Sundays of each month (we only skip when there is a 5th Sunday). 

So – you can start this Sunday at Step One! We meet in the New Life Activity Center gym from 12:30-1:30 and lunch and childcare are provided! 

I would love to see you! 




 

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