Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Welcome to the World Baby Boy!

Ike and Ami Omran (Ami is a part of the Frye small group) welcomed their baby boy into the world this morning. He's 7lbs, 14oz. Mom and baby are doing fine.

Congratulations and Welcome!

Old Friends

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Steve and the girls and I went camping with some of our best friends in the world. It was a great weekend filled with a lot of nothing. It's funny how you can do a lot of nothing with people you enjoy and it makes for a great weekend.

I've been thinking about what makes these particular friendships strong. History is certainly part of it - we've been through a lot together. Having fun together - also important. Understanding each other is a third facet - though we don't agree on everything, there is a desire to understand and be understood. And deep love/affection is the foundation underneath it all.

Friendship is such an precious part of life. I wonder: How can we best foster it at New Hope? How can we create environments where friendships of all levels can grow?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unconditional Love & Respect

I find it interesting that New Hope's lead pastor's name is Paul. It seems fitting, since the Paul of the bible was so good at getting into the world, understanding culture, introducing people to Christ and showing them how to live for him.

Look at Acts 17. Paul is 'distressed' to see the city full of idols. He is not enticed by the idols, he isn't considering how close he can get to the idols and still be called a Christian. He is distressed.

And what does he do with that? "He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there." Basically, he talked to anyone who would talk to him...

Did everyone understand him? Of course not. Some called him a babbler; others thought he was advocating the foreign gods.

But for whatever reason, people listened to him. "They brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

He came to complete their religion - not to bash the people. Keep in mind, he was distressed by the idols. But he also knew that to introduce people to the living God, you must proceed with equal amounts of unconditional love and respect.

Look at what he says: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. And he goes on to introduce them to Jesus...

Unconditional love and respect - wonderful things. How does one incorporate those things into life? How does Paul's example play out in our lives today?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Byrdy Family

'Just wanted to let you all know that Karen Byrdy's dad, Larry Hanisko, passed away on Thursday morning. There will be services Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Clemente Funeral Home in Struthers and at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Church in Campbell.

Please keep Jim & Karen and their family in your prayers.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hand that steadies the plate

I was impacted by this weekend's gathering at New Hope. I want to be the person who steadies the plate. Or at least I want to want to be that person. Don't you?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


The world is changing. Nothing like stating the obvious.

Here’s where I’m coming from. I’m 37 years old. When I was 12 years old, spending hours on the computer is just not something the average kid did. They were the days of basic cable, Atari, and Intelevision (I rock at baseball, just so you know).

You had to be a real computer geek to network your computers together with others and play war games (God bless all you who fit into that category). As I am writing this, my daughter is instant messaging several of her friends from school, dressing an online paper doll, and singing karaoke. She is the ultimate multi-tasker. Any one of you reading this could say, “when I was a kid we didn’t have __________, or we had to survive with ____________, or whatever… Like I said, the world is changing.

Changes in church life are happening as well. New Hope’s small group leaders had a great conversation this past Sunday about some of the trends that we’re seeing. Here is one of the things we talked about:

Formerly, evangelism was often seen as an event that you invite people to. More and more it seems that sharing Jesus with people is a process that occurs through relationship, trust and example.

We seem to be experiencing a freedom to share the love of Jesus through naturally developing friendships as we live with him 24/7/365. The compulsion to try to ‘get someone to our church’ is waning. What seems to be emerging is a desire to be real, have real friendships, and naturally share our lives with others. No hidden agenda – just love.

What do you think? What are you seeing?

BTW – Thanks to all the small group leaders for doing what you do. I appreciate each one of you!