Category: Dream Centers (page 1 of 3)

Praying and Responding to Special Offerings

The Scriptures are full of stories of God’s people giving special offerings. Solomon built a spectacular temple for worship and then had to tell people not to give anymore because there was more than enough. Paul challenged the young New Testament church to sacrificially give to the Jerusalem church that was suffering. For years, Pam and I have been blessed to be a part of numerous special offerings that went toward buildings, land, planting churches and opening orphanages around the world.

This Sunday, our congregation will give a special offering to Move the Mountain in all of our Sunday gatherings. How should we pray and how should we give when these special offerings come along in our spiritual journey?

1. We should pray and listen.

I know this sounds obvious, but most of us determine what we can logically give and then we pray about it later. However, if we pray and listen first, the answer may surprise us. There have been times, I have heard to give a smaller amount, but there have also been times Pam and I have given sacfricially. Pray first, listen and then obey.

2. Know why you are giving.

Giving is more than a corporate collection of resources. It is the catalyst many times for significant spiritual growth. Giving is a pronouncement that money is a gift from God, but not our god. Money seems to entangle us in a web of greed and control, but when we release our monies, by faith, our spiritual souls are cleansed from a potentially powerful idol. Pam and I give as an act of worship and to remind ourselves what is truly worthy of our worship.

For our New Life congregation we are giving to get out of debt so we can give more generously to our city and to our world. We believe debt really is a type of slavery that keeps us shackled and unable to respond to the real needs all around us.

Last year, we paid off $3.3 million of debt which allowed us to begin the purchase and renovation of our first apartment complex for homeless single moms, to expand our care for the poorest women in our city at the Dream Center Women’s Clinic and we just added a military chaplain to our team to help us care for the miltary families in our city.  All of this because our congregation prayed, listened and obeyed with generous giving.

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Dream Centers Colorado Springs – One Year Later

Today we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of our women’s medical clinic here in Colorado Springs. The clinic is the first Dream Center to open which was in response to a tremendous need in our city for primary medical care for women 18-64. The free clinic is run by a dedicated team of medical professionals and over 100 volunteers who have cared for over 1000 patients, many of them multiple times.

The stories we hear every week are remarkable. Women who are caught in the nasty cycle of poverty are finding hope once again because they can get the care they need to continue working and providing for their children. Almost all of the women who come to our clinic ask us to pray for them and many of them are deciding to follow Jesus. This past Sunday, we baptized an entire family at New Life because the mom found Jesus through the ministry of our clinic.

More Dream Centers are scheduled to open soon, including Mary’s Home, which is an apartment complex we are purchasing this Fall to provide housing and hope for homeless single mom’s in our city and county.  Stay tuned for more details on this and other Dream Center projects in the months ahead.

All of these ministries are big steps of faith for us. We believe the promises of Proverbs 19:17 and are praying and trusting for the funds to move forward. If you would like to donate toward either of these ministries, click here. I am so grateful for all the volunteers and staff who have labored with such love this past year. This is not easy work, but it is certainly rewarding to see lives changed and families restored.

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Pop Quiz – How Well do you Know New Life?

As a former high school teacher, I love to give pop quizzes. From time to time, I give one to our staff to test them on how much they know about the church where they work. The results are always very surprising and reminds us that we have to communicate clearly and constantly, especially since we are a part of a large and growing church family.

Take the quiz below and see how many you can answer without looking at your computer for help. And no peeking at your neighbor’s quiz, either. I am watching!

 

1.       What is the title song for the new Desperation Band album?

             Answer: Center of it All

2.       What are the Sunday morning service times at our Downtown campus?

Answer: 9am and 11am 

3.       How many years have we had the Desperation Conferences?

            Answer: 10 years

4.       Who leads our children’s worship choir?

           Answer: Amanda Ferrin

5.       In the recent Legends and Misfits sermon series, which one of these three WAS NOT discussed?

a.       Daniel – Answer

b.      Nehemiah

c.       Moses

 

6.       As part of our mission statement, what three words do we use to communicate our goals for each New Lifer?

            Answer: Worship, Connect, Serve

7.       Freely Give and Freely Receive is this weekend. What local inner city ministry are we partnering with for this ministry event?

Answer: Springs Rescue Mission 

8.       Pastor Brian Newberg’s daughter, Tami, just married a man from what country?

           Answer: Egypt

9.       We opened our first Dream Center last July. What is its ministry function? What happens there?

           Answer: It is a medical clinic for women

10.   Approximately, how much debt have we paid off to date through Move the Mountain?

Answer: $1.3 million

Bonus:

Name the three US cities where we have planted churches in the past four years?

Denver, Austin, Tx, and Fort Collins

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Paying Off Debt While Not Standing Still

A New Lifer recently asked why we were hiring staff and opening Dream Centers when we had so much debt to pay off at the church. It is a good question that deserves a candid response.

I explained to them that our church could not stand still and ignore the needs of our church family and the city in which we live while waiting to pay off the debt. In fact, that is the very dark nature of debt. It paralyzes it’s victims, disabling them from their primary purpose. I ‘m not going to let that happen at New Life. I do believe the mountain of debt will be removed from our church, but in the meantime, we can begin to fulfill at least part of the minstry call to our city and world. I am convinced God will reward us for taking faith steps now, instead of waiting on the sidelines until we are debt free.

It is a delicate balancing act for sure. We always want to be wise when expanding ministry, careful not to add to the burden of debt by over-expansion of staff or ministry properties. In our case, we have taken a low risk or debt free approach when opening the women’s medical clinic last July and with the recent pursuit of an apartment complex for homeless single moms. We are applying for some promising grants and have been blessed with some private donations so that we can not only pay cash for the projects but can operate them with excellence. Even the new downtown campus that opens Easter Sunday was acquired with a low risk, very affordable lease that made perfect sense to me and the elders.

At the same time, the challenge for all of us at New Life is to give above our tithes to the Move the Mountain campaign so that we can do more in our city in the years ahead. We are taking small steps today so that we can take giant leaps later.

As for the number of staff, we are basically at the same level we were three years ago. The recent hires were all replacements for staff that left for various reasons, which is normal attrition for a team our size.  I am very thankful God has sent us super capable reinforcements because the future growth of ministry is bigger than any of us can possibly imagine.

We will move the mountain of debt and we will pray for wisdom as we venture cautiously but courageously into the new places. This I know for sure – God wants us to do both, trusting Him to provide every step of the way.

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Which Master are We Serving?

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

Debt is the new master of our culture. It rules over many of our homes, it certainly dominates our federal and state governments, but sadly it is now the master of many of our churches. Proverbs warned us about this and told us plainly that when debt is the master, the poor are enslaved and we become servants to a master that is not always kind.

New Life Church has $23 million of debt after building our current meeting space and purchasing some other properties. When the decision was made to borrow the money eight years ago, the church was growing really fast and giving was on the increase. The leaders felt the debt was manageable and could be paid off easily in a few years. It was a solid decision at the time.

Since then, our church has suffered through a scandal, a shooting and a shrinking local economy. Suddenly what was once manageable became the master that has kept us from some vital ministry opportunities in our city and world. When we wanted to serve the poor, we instead, had to send in mortgage payments to a credit union.

This past Sunday, our church took a historic first step to move the mountain of debt, and we will, with God’s wisdom and help. It may take days, months or even years, but we are determined to be debt free, untangled from the world system of debt and interest payments and better yoked with real kingdom purposes.

Proverbs 22:7 confronts what most of us have chosen to believe — that immense debt has no consequences, but it does. Imagine what our churches could do if we focused as much on solving the housing shortage that keeps the working poor in the shadows, living in cars with their children, as we did dreaming up the next building project to expand our campuses?

I am not against big buildings because large, growing families need space to meet and to do ministry. I just want balance. I want us to live simple lives, avoiding extravagance, especially when it keeps us from the real ministry of Jesus in our cities. If Jesus saw a working single mom living in a car with her children, he would buy apartment complexes and then maybe, a place for them to worship, later.

What has the debt at our churches kept us from doing in our cities? That’s the big question we’re answering right now at New Life. It has been revelatory for me to talk with our people about this. The light has come on for all of us and we’re beginning to imagine and dream about ministry that can really change people’s lives.

Let’s make sure we are serving the right master, not a world system that gives us easy money and then makes us servants who then have to ask permission to do the things we have already been told to do by our true Master.

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Move the Mountain

New Life Church has $23 million of debt, meaning each month, we spend more on debt than we send to missionaries overseas or to support the Dream Centers here in our city. The elders (our Super Committee) and I believe 2012 will be the year the mountain is moved.

In our weekend gatherings, I announced that we will receive a special offering on Sunday night, January 8th at the Dream Team party. This team is the core leadership of our church, including staff, elders and all of our wonderful volunteers and group leaders. We want to lead the way with a first fruit sacrificial offering.

Later in the spring, on Sunday, March 11th, the remainder of the church will have the opportunity to give in all three weekend services. I am so excited to see what God will do through the generosity of New Lifers.

The elders and I believe we are to set aside 10% of the offering for “right now” opportunities that may include Dream Center projects and other strategic ministries to our city. More details will come later, but there are some huge possibilities on the horizon, including the apartment complex for homeless single moms that I mentioned a few weeks ago.

The remaining 90% will go straight to debt retirement, allowing us, in time, to lower our payments and release more money into ministry. We have been told that if we could retire $3million, we could refinance at a better interest rate and a lower monthly payment. Of course, I do believe we can pay it all off, but sometimes the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Thanks for your prayers on this matter. I am so thankful for all the encouragement from New Lifers who have told me they have the same mandate and burden from God to see this mountain of debt moved. I am hopeful for what is ahead and grateful to be on the journey with each of you.

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Stories from the Dream Center

We are still a few weeks away from the public grand opening of our first Dream Center, but we are already hearing amazing stories from the women who are coming to the clinic. Our medical team began seeing a few patients about a month ago to get ready for the hundreds of women who will come once the public is made aware.

One of the first patients was a young lady who was out of work, sick, and really needed a miracle. A New Lifer told her mom about the medical clinic and she went there for help. She said afterwards, “I have hope, they really cared about me, they made me feel special. I had no idea there was such a place. The people were wonderful.”

A young, spanish-speaking lady showed up at the clinic and told us that she had never been to a doctor, ever. She had been sexually assaulted last year, but had never gone to a doctor for treatment. We were able to help her with blood work, annual exams, and gave her treatment for severe acid reflux.

Another young lady came to the clinic suffering from high blood pressure and was unable to get her prescriptions because she had been laid off from work. She was supposed to take her meds twice a day, but was only taking them a few times a week because she could not afford the refills. We were able to get her prescriptions filled for $4 a month.
All three of these ladies either wrote down additional prayer requests or asked for one of our volunteers to pray with them at the clinic. What a great opportunity to not only meet the practical needs of women in our city who would otherwise go untreated, but to also be a reflection of Jesus.
Thanks for all your prayers and support for this first Dream Center. I am so proud of the hundreds of volunteers who have made this happen. If you have not seen the clinic, join me for the grand opening on Sunday, July 31st from 3pm to 6pm. We will have more details later this month.
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Dream Centers Update

The opening of the first of many Dream Centers is only a few weeks away! The remodeling of the office space is almost complete thanks to a great team of volunteers and soon we will begin seeing our first patients. This first Dream Center will provide basic medical care to the women of our city who cannot afford it.

Last week, we hired a full-time Physicians Assistant who will lead the medical team. Michelle Laguens is a Naval Academy graduate who also received her medical training at George Washington University.  We are so thankful that God is sending us people who are super qualified but also called to serve our city.

We plan to have a grand opening to the general public sometimes in early July, but in the meantime, the team of volunteers will be training and learning procedures by caring for the women of several local churches.

Remember, we will have constant prayer in some rooms on the second floor of the Dream Center if you are interested in spending some time there during the week. Contact Matthew Ayers at mayers@newlifechurch.org for more information about volunteering. Thanks to everyone who has prayed, served, and contributed to this great ministry to our city.

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Fear No Evil – The Afterword

This is the last blog post on Fear No Evil, I promise, but I do hope you have enjoyed the short excerpts from each of the 10 chapters. In the Afterword, I look forward and try to imagine what life will look like for all of us who have travelled together through the valley of the shadow of death and now stand on the other side.

The book releases everywhere April 26th, but you can pre-order the book by clicking here. The proceeds will help support the Dream Centers we are opening here in Colorado Springs later this spring.

I learned something years ago that came to mind this week. It relates to dendrochronology, which is just a big word for analyzing a tree’s life based on the rings on its trunk that have formed throughout the years. It came to mind because I was roaming through a dense part of the forest near my home and ran across a series of trees that had been felled by lightning. I stared at the cross-section of one of those trees and noticed an irregular pattern of thick and thin rings moving out from the trunk’s center in concentric circles.

I’m not adept at reading tree rings, but according to fifteen minutes of a show I caught on the Discovery Channel one time, people whoare good at reading them can tell you with amazing accuracy how many forest fires, droughts, and beetle infestations a particular tree has withstood in its lifetime, as well as how many healthy years it has known, all by scrutinizing those rings. Which made me wonder what New Life would look like, if you cut our church in half and looked inside. I have a feeling you’d find lots of thick rings representing years and years of great growth, followed by narrow rings representing scandal and the loss of two innocent, young girls. But what energizes me is the idea that just outside of that narrowing, I believe you’d find increasingly wider rings once more—signs of redemption, renewal, and restoration.

As I looked more closely at one of the trees at my feet, I saw a cluster of tiny green roots bursting forth on the very branch that had once been declared dead. The tall spruce had fallen, but it was reclaiming new life as its own. The significance of that unforeseen recovery wasn’t lost on me, for I am experiencing something similar these days.

In the quiet of the forest, I was reminded that all of us—both those who call New Life home and every Christ-follower alive today—are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, as Hebrews 12 calls them, women and men who valiantly suffered for their faith. These are the ones who stared down Satan and remained unshaken. They planted the early churches, prayed fervent prayers, and laid the firm foundation on which we now stand. They’re the martyrs we sing about in worship songs, the ones who died for the sake of God’s glory and did so with the joy of the Lord on their face, and the ones who will cheer us across the heavenly finish line someday. As I considered afresh the sacrifices they’d made, I couldn’t help but wonder what they see when they look down from their celestial seat and peek into Christ-followers’ lives today. Do they see a bunch of beaten-down believers limping their way through life, or do they see the strength of Christ made manifest as his followers claim his promises as their own?

Staring at those hope-filled green roots, I thought to myself, I refuse to limp into heaven someday. If my two choices are becoming a victim or a victor, a victor is what I will be. Admittedly, on more occasions than I care to admit over the past three years, I have whined to God, “I did not sign up for this!” But each time, somehow with lovingkindness to spare, I sensed God say in reply, Zip it, Brady. I took that to be shorthand for this train of thought: Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. Remember the seal of my Spirit that has been graciously placed on your life. Remember the power that is now yours because of my unwavering presence in your life. Stand up. Dust yourself off. Commit yourself to the path of progress once more. There is a mountaintop on the other side. And the view is far better from there.

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Fear No Evil – Chapter Ten

I am posting some short excerpts from Fear No Evil which releases April 26th. In chapter 10, I talk about the miracles we have experienced as a fellowship these past four years and the Law of the Farm.

The proceeds from this book will help support the Dream Centers we are opening here in Colorado Springs. If you want to pre-order the book, you can click here.

As I write this chapter, it is springtime in Colorado. We’ve endured a long and somewhat hard winter for this part of the country, and I am more than ready for the seasons to change. In front of my house are a dozen or so perennial bushes that have been lying dormant all winter. Before temperatures began to plummet, I covered them in mulch to protect them from the multiple snowstorms I figured they would have to endure, and throughout those bone-chilling months, I’d frequently look out the front windows, find three or four feet of snow blanketing my bushes and wonder whether the flowers would ever come back.

Just this morning, as I made my way to the office, I noticed a few green sprouts had shown up. The seeds had been properly planted, watered, and kept weed-free, and yet still it surprised me to see a small harvest begin to bud—which tells you something about my faith from time to time. After all, if I struggle to believe that a silly day-lily bulb will keep its promise, imagine what I do with the assurances of God.

God’s Word says that we will reap what we sow. It says that if we sow things such as joy, hope, and expectancy, our tomorrows will be brighter than today. When we sow the good seeds he places in our hands, our future will be full of good things. And yet if you’re anything like me, you have your moments when these truths are difficult to accept.

Still, even if we went into the process kicking and screaming, those of us who call New Life home learned to wait on God when our desired timing didn’t line up with his. We wanted the microwave version of healing, but God had something entirely different in mind. In hindsight, I am so glad we submitted to his plans, now that I see the harvest that he had in store for us all along.

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