Month: February 2009

The Rain is Coming

In the past month, two trusted pastors from around the country have spoken encouraging words to our church. Both men used rain as the metaphor to describe God’s blessing and both men said the rain is coming soon. New Life could sure use some rain and I am thankful for the forecast. The past month has been especially difficult for many of us as the painful issues of our past have been opened again. Today, though, I feel a burden has been lifted.

One of the pastors described a scene from the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.” It is one of my favorite movies, too. Andy is one of the main characters and was an inmate at the state prison in Maine. He was there for a crime he did not commit and for many years he slowly chipped his way through his cell wall using a small rock hammer. One night during a thunderstorm, he slipped through the hole in the wall, and crawled several hundred yards through a sewage pipe which led to a creek outside the prison walls. When he finally reached freedom, he tore off his old clothes and stood with his face and hands lifted in the pouring rain. Andy was free and he was letting the rain wash away the stench of his journey.

New Life can relate to Andy standing in the rain. Our church family is finally crawling out of the long sewage pipe of scandal and terror and can smell the fresh rain ahead. The journey has been long and difficult and I am sure no one wants to repeat the trip, but what we have learned about God, each other, and ourselves is priceless.

God is not finished with New Life. In fact, I am convinced our best days are still ahead and God will receive all the glory. So, let it rain! Lord, open the floodgates of heaven, and let it rain!

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Halftime – The 90-day challenge

This week marks the halfway point of the 90-day challenge we started on January 1st. The challenge includes four ideas.

 

* Be thankful at all  times

* Live below our means

* Set aside our first and best and give it away

* Look for opportunities to serve others

 

I realize that recent events have distracted us from this challenge, but I am still convinced these principles are life changing when put into practice. I have already heard great stories of families who have allowed “Mr. Budget” to live with them and how it has changed the way they plan and spend. Other couples tell me they are arguing less about finances, even in the midst of economic difficulty and uncertainty.

 

I also have heard stories of people giving the first and best to God for the first time. They tell me it has stretched their faith and allowed them to trust God more completely than ever before.  Without faith it is impossible to please God and the most difficult area to trust Him, many times, is with our finances. However, it is really fun to give to those in need and to give sacrificially toward vision and strategy.

 

I hope we can all re-focus our attention on these four principles and for the next 45 days allow God to change our perspective, discipline our spending, increase our generosity and turn our hearts toward our neighbors.

 

Send me your stories and thanks for accepting the challenge!

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What does Pastor Brady do all week?

I enjoy the rhythms of a well-planned week and feel satisfied when a lot gets accomplished without a lot of wasted time. This does not happen every week, but after 18 months at New Life, I am finally following a fairly balanced schedule that allows plenty of time for my family, my work as a pastor, and for myself. Here is a snapshot of a normal week for me.

 

Monday – A few weeks ago, I stopped going into the office on Mondays and decided to work from home. I realized that I did not need to make a lot of major ministry decisions or have a lot of meetings on Mondays because my emotional batteries were not fully re-charged from the weekend. I prepare breakfast for the kids, take them to school and return home to read and write my blog. I normally go to lunch with Pam on Monday.

 

Tuesday – This is the busiest and longest work day of the week for me. I  get to the office around 7:30 and study and pray for the weekend message until noon. I usually eat lunch with a member of the church or one of the staff and then meet at 2pm with the four members of my Executive Team. At 3pm, I meet with the remainder of the Executive Team for at least two hours. Once a month on Tuesday, I meet with the elders until around 6pm and then I try to attend Revival Town on the same night.

 

Wednesday – I spend the morning studying and praying for the weekend message. At 11am, I meet with a diverse group of staff people who help me prepare even more for the Sunday talk. I bring them a rough outline and they help me with stories, illustrations and biblical insights. This is one of my favorite meetings of the week. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is committed to meeting with people. I agree to almost every meeting request which means there is a backlog of appointments of at least two months. This is my chance to meet the great people of New Life and hear their stories.

 

Thursday – I am up early to pray at 6:30am with several hundred men at the World Prayer Center. I love this time of prayer, worship, and reading the scriptures together. I am back in my office by 8:30am to finish the Sunday talk. I normally submit my final notes by noon on Thursday. I meet with the entire ministry staff every Thursday at 11am to worship together, pray together and discuss all kinds of ministry topics. After lunch, I meet with my assistant to plan our upcoming week and then block off the rest of the afternoon for more meetings with people from the community and the church.

 

Friday – This is my sabbath day. I prepare breakfast for the kids, take them to school and return home to work out. This is my day with Pam since the kids are in school.  Friday nights are also set aside for dinners with friends or people we are getting to know in the church.

 

Saturday – This is my day with the family. I try to sleep a little later, prepare a late breakfast, work out and do something fun with the entire family. I normally do not go anywhere on Saturday night because I want to be really rested for Sunday morning.

 

Sunday – I get up early and arrive at church before 7:30am. I spend an hour praying and reviewing my notes and then at 8:30am, I gather with some staff to pray again. I speak twice on Sundays for about 35 minutes. At the end of  the second service, I go to Guest Central and stay there until the last guest has been greeted. I normally get home around 1:30pm. 

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