Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The New Venture staff Rest and Relaxation ministry trip

I don't often write about what goes on behind the scenes of New Venture, but this particular week has been action-packed for New Venture Staff.  We have so much ministry going on at the church these days with the upcoming holidays:  Thanksgiving Sunday Supper, Christmas concerts, Ring n' Run... so many ministry events to plan!

This week, the Leadership staff of New Venture took some time to fly to Ohio to visit and stay with one of our beloved Board Member's- Tony Foglio. (Check out the NV staff photo from the airplane!)

Pastor Tony Foglio has been with New Venture for decades now!  The idea behind this trip was to get all of our Ministry Leaders together for some much needed rest and relaxation.  A few days were set aside for the staff to relax together- but it is also a time where we have been able to press the 'reset' button and really come together to discuss the upcoming vision/s of New Venture as the holidays approach.

Working in ministry can be very tiring. Not many people realize the amount of time and work that each staff member puts into their respective ministries. The importance of resetting and not getting burnt out is crucial in order to be successful at doing the Lord's work. That's exactly what this trip has been for NV staff! While we have been pow-wowing for several hours a day- discussing, planning, sharing ideas... we have been able to reset, clear our heads, and pray about the exciting, upcoming days at New Venture.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Remembering the little things that are most important

Today I had the honor of officiating a 'Celebration of Life' service for a dear member of New Venture.  Although I have been doing these types of services for decades, I am still touched by each individual service that I am blessed to be a part of.  The service today stuck out to me for a few particular reasons.

The woman who passed away left behind many family members and friends who all said the same thing: She taught them all how to enjoy the smaller things in life and how to see the beauty of all things.  She was an artist, a creative personality. To see the beauty in a sunset or a night sky is not always easy for us to do as we are all so busy with 'bigger' things in life.

She also was a career hairstylist and therefore spoke to many people every single day. She left a huge impact on all of her clients because she was personable. Taking the time to talk to people has such a remarkable outcome.  Even a simple 'how is the family?' can leave a tremendous impact on someone's day.

Lastly, and most importantly, she was a VERY proud mother. She spent a significant amount of time with her only child and was extremely proud of her. She bragged about her daughter's artistic abilities to everyone. She was positive and would constantly praise her. Everyone that remembered our dear friend said the same thing: that she was a proud mother and a fantastic role model. While we assume, as parents, that we are simply doing our job by having a good relationship with our children- we are leaving much more of a footprint in the world and in lives than we even realize.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Are we hypocrites?

If you ask most people who aren't Christian, what is the one thing that they don't like about Christians, they will probably use words like "hypocrisy", "duplicity", or "lip service". 

As a proselytizing Christian, we are constantly trying to bring others to God.  We talk a lot. We want to bring others to Him. We want to share the good news!!! Therefore, we are oftentimes held to a higher standard in life- morally and ethically.  We are expected to be perfect, seemingly.

And for the most part, it is not that any of us are actual hypocrites or paying lip service... it is simply that we are all sinners and cannot possibly live perfect lives. So when we fall short of perfection, we are sometimes criticized as we live under tight scrutiny by non- Christians.
Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"

What does this mean for us?  It means that we are NOT perfect and CANNOT be perfect.  We all sin. We are, however, freed by His grace.  That is a concept that should provide reassurance to us.

While we can certainly strive to live a wholesome life, and we can work daily to try to be the best person we can be, we can sleep better knowing that the pressures of life can be given up to God. He does not expect perfection!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The utility of worry... and turning worry into prayer!

Every day, we as humans are worried about something.  Whether it be something 'simple', such as being on time to work, or something more 'complicated', such as realizing that our monthly budget will not get us through to the end of the month. 

One thing we should ask ourselves is this: Does it make sense to worry about the things we worry about?  At the time of concern of a 'simple' worry, we are probably thinking to ourselves, "If I am late to work, I will get a lecture from my boss". While that may be true, you should also ask yourself, "Is this useful to worry about?".

There is a certain amount of worry that makes sense, and then there is also a level of useless rumination. 

According to the Bible, we should always turn to prayer when the anxiety starts. "Don't worry about anything... Instead, pray about everything. Let your requests be known to God. " Phil 4:6

There is a practical approach to worry, and it is the Biblical approach. We have to accept what we cannot change, and we need to be willing to accept as much or as little as God gives us in the present moment. We also have to give to God what we cannot change. In the Bible, Peter encourages us to put our worry into the powerful hands of God. His advice goes completely against what our own instincts are: to control it all, to try and think/act through our problems. We need to remember that we were not made for ourselves. We have to bring our problems to the Lord... and then leave them with him.