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How has New Venture Christian Church changed your life?

whatifAn exciting part of our capital campaign has been a series of small groups in which the details of the campaign are explained and everyone is given a chance to ask any questions they might have. Even more exciting is hearing people tell about how New Venture has changed their lives. Here are just a few of the stories.

  • I have never been as connected with any other church as NVCC. I want to get involved and there are so many opportunities.
  • NV has not judged us for the things we have done in the past. They just accept us for who we are.
  • I don’t have to be dragged to church. It has changed our whole life, how we feel, think and deal with life.
  • I was baptized at NV and I am progressing on my journey.
  • Coming to NV has helped me become a better husband and father. It is nothing I have done. God is doing it.Print
  • NV has definitely changed my life. I have learned more about the Bible than I have even learned in my life.
  • New Venture has put us in a family
  • New Venture has helped me regain trust in people in the church. They’re not old and crotchety and I can enjoy his freedom at NV
  • NV has changed my life. Our lives were in a wreck and NV was just what we needed.
  • I know if I need anything I can call on anyone at NV and I know I will have help. It is my home. This is my family.
  • New Venture turned me around. NV taught me you didn’t have to be perfect. I never learned that in church growing up.

What is your story?

The meaning of life

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meaning of life 2Lets talk about the question of significance, Does my life matter.  Isaiah asked this question in Isaiah 49:4a. He said, “My work all seems so useless.  I’ve spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.”   You were made for meaning, and if you don’t have a meaning and purpose in your life and you don’t know why God put you on this planet, life doesn’t make sense. 

During World War II, there were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary, that were processing human sewage in a factory.  The allies came along, bombed that factory and blew it apart.  So the prisoners had nothing to do.  The Nazi soldiers had the prisoners take all the rubble of that factory and move it to another field.  The next day, they had them take that same rubble and move it back in reverse.  The next day, they had to take that stuff and move it back and day after day they had no meaning, no purpose.  It was just work doing the same thing over and over with no meaning and no purpose.  Then something strange began to happen.  The prisoners began to go crazy.  They began to lose their will to live because there was no meaning, no purpose in their work.  They were just moving bricks back and forth, back and forth.  Many of them began to throw themselves in front of the guards trying to get shot.  In essence, trying to commit suicide.  Because you and I were made for meaning. 

Now you’re going to go through life living at one of three levels:  The first and lowest level is the Survival level.  The Survival level is really where most live today.  They’re just in survival mode.  They question markare just barely getting by.  They’re just existing.  They’re not living.  They are controlled by their circumstances.  They put in their time and live for the weekend.  They’re just in survival mode. 

A step up from that, a better way to live, rather than the Survival level is the Success level.  Honestly, this is where many are  By the world’s standards, you’ve got it made.  You’ve got a comfortable living, compared to the rest of the world; you’re extremely wealthy, compared to the rest of the world.  So you have possessions, you have freedom, you have good health and you may have prestige and you may be quite successful.  But today there are a lot of books coming out that say things like, “If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel fulfilled?”  The reason is, it takes more than success and it takes more than status to satisfy. 

 

You need to go to the third level of living, which is the Significance level.  Not a Survival, not a Success but step up to the level of Significance.  How do you live at the Significance level?  Well, you get there through three things:

#1:  You know the meaning of life – that gives Significance.

#2:  You know how much you matter to God – that gives you Significance.

#3:  You know God’s purposes for your life and you’re living them out and that

       gives you Significance.

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at the next couple of verses.  God says, “I am your Creator.  You were in My care, even before you were born.” (Isaiah 44:2)  God was caring for you even in His mind, as He thought you up.  The next verse says, ”You (talking about God) scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book.”  That’s how much you matter to God.  He paid so much attention to your life that every detail was recorded in His book, before you even took a breath.  That’s how much you matter to God.  Do you matter? – Yes.  He made you.  He made you to love you and the Bible says you do matter.

monty meaningAnd God wants you to know how much you matter to Him.  God wants you to know the meaning of life.  He wants you to know His purposes. 

Do you realize the fruit fly only lives one day? Here today- gone tomorrow. What’s its meaning for life? Why is it even here? Why live just a day? Unlike the fruit fly, God has extremely long-range plans for you.  Look at the next verse, “His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”   Now listen, God’s purpose for you is not just for the rest of your life on earth,  they’re for the rest of your life forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever.  Because God’s purposes are eternal.  This is the warm-up act, this is the kindergarten, this is the preschool, this is where you do the dress rehearsal. 

God says I have plans and purposes for your life, but they don’t end at death.  Because when you die, your heart is going to stop and that will be the end of your body, but that’s not the end of you.  You’re far more than a body.  You were made to last forever.  The Bible says this, Psalm 33:11 says, “His purposes last eternally.  God says, ”I was made to last forever.”   I was made to be loved by God, and I was made to last forever.  This life is not all there is.  One of the biggest ways you can waste your life is thinking all there is, is here and now.  You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death, than you do on this side.  On this side, you may get to live 60, 70, 80 or 90 years or so.  But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The time you spend on earth really isn’t that very long. 

It’s like if you stretched out a line around the world the first millimeter of that line would not even equal how tiny your life is compared to all the time you’re going to spend in eternity.  You were made for eternity and life is preparation for eternity.  You’re not going to find that in a self-help book, but it’s the truth.  Life is preparation for eternity. God’s purposes for you are eternal.  They are forever.  This is the key to the meaning of life.  Realizing that life is preparation for eternity.

 

The Bible says this.  Notice 2 Cor 5:1, “When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn puzzle headdown.  God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in.  A home He himself has made, which will last forever.”  You want to know how much you matter to God.  Well, I’ll tell you – you matter so much to God; He wants to keep you with Him for the rest of eternity.  For the rest of eternity – He wants to keep you with Him forever.  That gives meaning. 

Look at this verse, “Leave your impoverished confusion and live and walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (Proverbs 9:6)

meaning of life(Adapted from “Why in the world am I here” by Rick Warren) 

The meaning of life

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monty meaningLets talk about the question of significance, Does my life matter.  Isaiah asked this question in Isaiah 49:4a. He said, “My work all seems so useless.  I’ve spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.”   You were made for meaning, and if you don’t have a meaning and purpose in your life and you don’t know why God put you on this planet, life doesn’t make sense. 

During World War II, there were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary, that were processing human sewage in a factory.  The allies came along, bombed that factory and blew it apart.  So the prisoners had nothing to do.  The Nazi soldiers had the prisoners take all the rubble of that factory and move it to another field.  The next day, they had them take that same rubble and move it back in reverse.  The next day, they had to take that stuff and move it back and day after day they had no meaning, no purpose.  It was just work doing the same thing over and over with no meaning and no purpose.  Then something strange began to happen.  The prisoners began to go crazy.  They began to lose their will to live because there was no meaning, no purpose in their work.  They were just moving bricks back and forth, back and forth.  Many of them began to throw themselves in front of the guards trying to question markget shot.  In essence, trying to commit suicide.  Because you and I were made for meaning. 

Now you’re going to go through life living at one of three levels:  The first and lowest level is the Survival level.  The Survival level is really where most live today.  They’re just in survival mode.  They are just barely getting by.  They’re just existing.  They’re not living.  They are controlled by their circumstances.  They put in their time and live for the weekend.  They’re just in survival mode. 

A step up from that, a better way to live, rather than the Survival level is the Success level.  Honestly, this is where many are  By the world’s standards, you’ve got it made.  You’ve got a comfortable living, compared to the rest of the world; you’re extremely wealthy, compared to the rest of the world.  So you have possessions, you have freedom, you have good health and you may have prestige and you may be quite successful.  But today there are a lot of books coming out that say things like, “If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel fulfilled?”  The reason is, it takes more than success and it takes more puzzle headthan status to satisfy. 

 

You need to go to the third level of living, which is the Significance level.  Not a Survival, not a Success but step up to the level of Significance.  How do you live at the Significance level?  Well, you get there through three things:

#1:  You know the meaning of life – that gives Significance.

#2:  You know how much you matter to God – that gives you Significance.

#3:  You know God’s purposes for your life and you’re living them out and that

       gives you Significance.

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at the next couple of verses.  God says, “I am your Creator.  You were in My care, even before you were born.” (Isaiah 44:2)  God was caring for you even in His mind, as He thought you up.  The next verse says, ”You (talking about God) scheduled each day of my meaning of lifelife before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book.”  That’s how much you matter to God.  He paid so much attention to your life that every detail was recorded in His book, before you even took a breath.  That’s how much you matter to God.  Do you matter? – Yes.  He made you.  He made you to love you and the Bible says you do matter.

And God wants you to know how much you matter to Him.  God wants you to know the meaning of life.  He wants you to know His purposes. 


Do you realize the fruit fly only lives one day? Here today- gone tomorrow. What’s its meaning for life? Why is it even here? Why live just a day? Unlike the fruit fly, God has extremely long-range plans for you.  Look at the next verse, “His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”   Now listen, God’s purpose for you is not just for the rest of your life on earth,  they’re for the rest of your life forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever.  Because God’s purposes are eternal.  This is the warm-up act, this is the kindergarten, this is the preschool, this is where you do the dress rehearsal. 

God says I have plans and purposes for your life, but they don’t end at death.  Because when you die, your heart is going to stop and that will be the end of your body, but that’s not the end of you.  You’re far more than a body.  You were made to last forever.  The Bible says this, Psalm 33:11 says, “His purposes last eternally.  God says, ”I was made to last forever.”   I was made to be loved by God, and I was made to last forever.  This life is not all there is.  One of the biggest ways you can waste your life is thinking all there is, is here and now.  You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death, than you do on this side.  On this side, you may get to live 60, 70, 80 or 90 years or so.  But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The time you spend on earth really isn’t that very long. 

meaning of life 2It’s like if you stretched out a line around the world the first millimeter of that line would not even equal how tiny your life is compared to all the time you’re going to spend in eternity.  You were made for eternity and life is preparation for eternity.  You’re not going to find that in a self-help book, but it’s the truth.  Life is preparation for eternity. God’s purposes for you are eternal.  They are forever.  This is the key to the meaning of life.  Realizing that life is preparation for eternity. 

The Bible says this.  Notice 2 Cor 5:1, “When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn down.  God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in.  A home He himself has made, which will last forever.”  You want to know how much you matter to God.  Well, I’ll tell you – you matter so much to God; He wants to keep you with Him for the rest of eternity.  For the rest of eternity – He wants to keep you with Him forever.  That gives meaning. 

Look at this verse, “Leave your impoverished confusion and live and walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (Proverbs 9:6)

(Adapted from “Why in the world am I here” by Rick Warren) 

WHY AM I ALIVE? THE QUESTION OF EXISTENCE

thinking 2Why am I alive is not exactly a new question.  It was asked thousands of years ago.  In fact, Jeremiah asked it in Jeremiah 20:18, “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace?”   Now there have probably been times in your life when you felt that way, too.  Was I born just to have a bunch of problems?  Was I put on this planet just to have heartache, grief and stress? 

Arthur Ashley Brilliant says “my life is a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.  Jack Hanley wrote, “I hope life isn’t a joke, because I don’t get it.”  A guy named Dr. Hugh Moorhead, who is the Chairman at the Department of Philosophy at the Northeastern University, once wrote to 250 well-known philosophers, scientists, writers and intellectuals of the world and asked them, “What is the purpose of Life.”  And then he published all of their responses in a book.  The book is quite discouraging and depressing.  Some of these people offered their best guesses.  Some admitted they made up a purpose in life. Some admitted they didn’t have any idea as to what the purpose of life was and if Dr. Moorhead knew, would he please let them know.  Carl Yung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t know the meaning, the purpose of life, but it looks as if something was meant by it.”  Isaac Asimov wrote, “As far as I can see, there is no purpose.”  Joseph Taylor, authored “I Have No Answers To The Meaning of Life And I No Longer Want to Search For Any.”

 

You know, those are tragic statements because the life without purpose isn’t a life worth living.  It is no coincidence that the suicide rate in our society has gone up.  It’s now the No. 2 killer of teenage students.  It is no surprise that we have so many shootings and mass killings. You see, if you take God and His purpose out of the equation, you don’t really have very many alternatives.  You can try the Mystical approach – the mystical approach says “look within and find your purpose within.”  You know if that really worked, all of us would know our purpose. I’m sure you’ve tried that.  I have and I bet everyone else has, thinking 3too.  And I didn’t find it there.  It takes more than looking within. 

 

Oprah  did a show a while back on discovering your purpose of life. At every single break during that hour show, she would say “Now, come back because we’re going to tell you your purpose.”  And every time they would come back and did they tell you it? No! They didn’t even come close.  They didn’t even attempt it.  In fact, as the credits were rolling at the end of that show, she kind of looks at the credits and says, “And remember, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” Looking within is not the answer. 

Then you can try the Philosophical approach – the survivalist says, “The purpose of life is just to stay alive.”  In other words, live as long as you can.  The Naturalist says, “The purpose of life is just to perpetuate itself.”  In other words, you’re just here for biological reasons.  Rap artist, Ice Tea, wrote, “The only reason we’re here is to reproduce. Just chill out and reproduce.  Keep the species alive.”  Doesn’t that just motivate you to want to jump out of bed in the morning?  It may motivate you to jump in to bed, I don’t know. 

 

The Hedonist writes, “The purpose of life is pleasure – have fun, party-hardy.” The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.”  You’re life is measured by the things you own.  You know the problem with that is that he who dies with the most toys, still dies.  And so, these are not really satisfying answers.

 

 The Mystical approach, the Philosophical approach or you can try the Self-Help approach.  You can go into any bookstore and find hundreds of books, probably, that talk about discovering your life purpose.  They all are basically the same thing.  They say the same thing; “You’ve got to invent your purpose.”  You’ve got to create your own purpose in life.  And they all give the same basic approach –“ discover your dreams, go after your goals, have some ambitions, dream big dreams, aim high, believe you can achieve, have faith, figure out what you’re good at, never give up, involve other people.” Now those are all good advice and they will, if you do those things, make you a success in life.  But being a success and knowing your purpose in life are not the same thing.  You can be a raving success in life and still never know, “What on earth am I here for?”  What did God put me on this earth for? 

 

thinkingYou see, the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment.  It’s far greater than your own happiness.  Even your own peace of mind.  You were made by God and you were made for God and you were put here for His purposes.  And until you understand that, life isn’t going to make sense. 

 

Okay, why does God want us here?  Why are we alive?  Why are we on this planet?  Is there a reason?  Well, the Bible says this in Proverbs 16.4, “The Lord has made everything (circle everything) for His own purpose.”  It’s for His purpose.  Now God has never made anything without a purpose.  Every rock has a purpose, every plant has a purpose, every animal has a purpose and if you’re alive, you have a purpose.  If you want to know if God still has a purpose for your life, check your heart.  If it’s still beating, God still has a purpose for you here on earth. 

 

The truth is God has five purposes for your life. 

 

·        You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Worship)

 

·        You Were Formed for God’s Family (Fellowship)

 

·        You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)

 

·        You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry)

 

·        You Were Made for a Mission. (Mission)

 

Those are the five reasons God put you on this planet. 

 

Right now, though, I just want us to see God’s motive.  Look at this next verse, Eph 1:4, ”Long before He laid down the earth’s foundation, He had us in His mind and settled on us as the focus of His love to be made whole and holy by His love.”  Notice again the phrase “the focus of His love”.  Cause if you don’t get anything else from reading this, I want you to understand this, God says He made you, to love you. You were created to be loved by God. 

 

God is love and God wanted to create something to love and so He created you.  He didn’t need you.  He wasn’t lonely.  But He made you in order to love you. He wanted you.  And before we can talk about anything else, you have to understand this is what on earth you’re here for – to be loved by God.

(Adapted from “What on earth am I here for? by Rick Warren)

Can I know there is a God?

Let me say right up front, the Bible doesn’t attempt to prove the existence of God. It really doesn’t. There isn’t any place you can turn in the Bible and the writer says, “Let me convince you there is a God.” Instead, the Bible is written on an assumption. The assumption is that any intelligent person believes in the existence of God. In fact, it goes so far as to say, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” The premise of the Bible is that intelligent people believe in God and ignorant people don’t.

That certainly is different than the thinking of our day, isn’t it? Today we are told by multiple sources, media, movie stars, magazines, movies, that the intelligent people don’t believe in God and the less intelligent ones do. But the premise of the Bible is that real intelligence embraces God. But not everyone believes the Bible. So here are a couple reasons to believe in the existence of God.

1.     Reason Teaches the Existence of God.

I’m sure you are aware of the law of cause and effect. It simply states that back of every effect there must be a cause. The world and the universe are the effect. What is the cause?Chance? Nothing produced something or a mastermind.

Think about this chance thing. There are several chance theories floating around. One I read about in one of our son’s earth science textbook was the Dust Particle Theory. It simply stated that for millions and billions of years there were giant dust clouds out there in the universe floating around that over time solidified and produced the planets and stars that now exist.

Of course the most widely purported chance theory is the Big Bang Theory. Somewhere out in space, where no one knows, there was once a gigantic ball, how big no one know. All of a sudden it exploded, why no one knows and all the stars and planets that exist today are the result of that gigantic explosion. From the big bang everything has evolved to its current state of existence.

Though it is so widely taught, the big band theory has a number of problems. In fact, the big bang theory/evolution is actually a dead theory. The more scientific discovery we make the more science disproves its own theory. But we will never be told that for a couple reasons. Scientists will have to conclude one of two things, 1. We don’t know, 2. There had to have been a creator. And they will never do that.

Here’s just one problem with this theory. . Have you ever heard of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics? The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is a scientific theory and premise that all of science is built upon. It simply states that everything is in a downward trend. Everything is moving toward decreasing order and complexity. But not if the big bang theory happened. The exact opposite would have to be true. Everything had to start in the raw and move to the orderly and complex that we now know. And all of science knows that just isn’t true. That’s not how the universe operates. That’s not how all living things are moving and developing. So, does it come down to chance-nothing produced something or a mastermind?

I think reason teaches us that there had to have been a mastermind. In fact, the Bible says, “Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”

2.     Supreme Intelligence Demands Belief in God.

I just mentioned the order of the universe. Consider this written by Denver Sizemore. “The earth is said to weigh 6,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 (6 sextillion 570 quintillion) tons. It is 8000 miles in diameter and 25,000 miles in circumference. Yet the earth is more accurate in its movement than the finest and most delicate watch. In a year’s time it travels over 292,000,000 miles as it circles the sun. Yet it does not vary in the length of time it takes for each trip by as much as one second. If it were to vary a half second, it would make scientific headlines around the world. And it has done this for thousands of years.”

Take it out farther to something even larger, the universe. Do you have any idea how large the universe is? We learn from the astronomers that the Milky Way, the disc-like galaxy to which our sun belongs, has more than 200 billion stars in it. If you counted them, one every second, it would take over 2500 years to just count the stars in our galaxy.

These same scientists tell us, with their latest discovery, that there may be as many as 200 billion other galaxies in the universe the size of this one. Think about that now. 200 billion galaxies each with 200 billion stars–all originating from one huge ball?

We can pretty much reduce anything to a scale model in order to understand its size, except the universe. You see, if we reduced the earth to a one inch ball the nearest star to the earth, Alpha Centaury would have to be placed nearly 51,000 miles away.

Think of it this way. if a sheet of paper represented the distance to the sun, 93,000,000 miles, the distance to the nearest star would be a stack of paper 71 feet high. The distance to the other side of our galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high, each piece representing 93,000,000 miles. And the distance to the other side of the known universe would be a stack of paper a third of the way to the sun, 31,000,000 miles high.

Now bring it down to something smaller, the human brain. It weighs about 3 pounds. It is said to be the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the entire universe. In every cubic inch of the human brain there is 100 million nerve cells connected by 10,000 miles of fiber like substance.

Take it even smaller, to the amazing complexity of DNA. It has been discovered that the DNA in a single cell, that you could balance on the point of a pin, stores enough info in code form to fill 1000 volumes each with 500 pages of very small, closely printed type. Where did such a complex structure come from?

Well, the late Francis Crick, who passed away a few years ago, the discoverer of DNA, realized the impossibility of such complexity arising on earth by chance. So he theorized that DNA had somehow been transported to earth from somewhere else in the universe—aliens brought it here.

That, of course just moves the explanation back a step. How did it get someplace else? The real question is how could something as complex as DNA develop by chance anywhere in the universe?

When I listen to the scientific explanations of the origin of the universe I am reminded of the words of George Orwell who once said, “It’s so stupid only an intellectual could believe it.”

The most intelligent, defensible answer is God. Yes, you can know there is a God.

What have you been looking for?

This will be short sweet and to the point but it contains what is perhaps the most important discovery in life. We live in a restless world that is endlessly searching for happiness. We devote ourselves to things like possessions thinking that our stuff will bring us that elusive thrill. Others look to experience hoping that the next one will be the best one and the one that brings that much sought after high. For still others it’s popularity or power or prestige. All of them leave us wanting something more.

How about finding the answer once and for all? Click on this link and listen to the subject “God’s Plan For Your Life.” http://relaxedchurch.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=57. I think you will be glad you did. Then share it with someone you really care about who is looking for the same thing you are seeking.

And hey, let me know if you would like to discuss anything you heard.

By the way, that’s me doing the talking.