My Advent Invitation To Silence and Peace

Posted by Brady Boyd

I enjoy reading about church history, and if I were to peg the central characteristics of church gatherings in the first century, it would be non-hyped, non-frantic, unrushed. Worship was their lifestyle, not an overly promoted activity occurring one hour, one morning a week. Things were simple. Prayers were meaningful. People were fully dependent on the Spirit of God.

It’s the polar opposite of how we operate today, in our infamously glitz-and-gratification culture. We favor microwaves over Crock Pots and sex-appeal over substance. We like it fast and easy and now…and preferably at little cost to us. As it relates to the church-going experience, we rush in on a Sunday morning—fifteen minutes late at best—we scurry to find a seat, get antsy after sixty minutes, and rush right back into our day. We sing songs with lines like “wait upon the Lord” and bob our heads in apparent agreement, even as we silently wonder how much longer the song-set will last.

We’re moving far too fast to hear it, of course, but still God whispers, “Be still.”

Relax.

Linger.

Drop the hype, please.

Let me show up and do my work.

It would be easy to blame church congregations for the madness that has consumed our gatherings these days, except that from what I see from their pastors, we’re conditioning them to behave this way. We hype and promote and position and tweet and inadvertently create pews full of consumers instead of devoted worshipers of God. I once heard it said that leaders who don’t teach their congregations to worship must entertain them week in and week out. So true. We hype-ers are setting up our people to expect an experience, instead of teaching them to encounter their Lord.

My prayer for us in this season of Advent:

Father in heaven, may we be still and know you are Lord. May we put aside our desire for spiritual hype and find your Holy Spirit in all the quiet spaces of our lives. May we be fervent in our prayers and mature enough to know loud and exciting are not always synonymous with revival. May we repent of our sins and admit we need your grace. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Share

Five Things We Want When We Gather

Posted by Brady Boyd

When was the last time your team really evaluated the weekend services at your church? It is not easy to ask why things are done they way they are done, but change happens best when the “why” is more important than the “how”.

Here are some questions we ask ourselves regularly:

Are we making disciples who participate or just attracting consumers who attend?

Are we challenging people to follow Jesus or just providing a form of spiritual entertainment?

What are people discussing after the services? Are they talking about us or about Jesus?

Can someone who is hungry for Jesus find him in our services?

 

When we gather at New Life, we pray and plan for five things to happen every week.

1. We want Jesus to be worshipped

Christology is paramount in all we do.  The person, role and nature of Jesus is the predominant focus from beginning to end. Without a biblical framework of Jesus, all worship falls apart, but when Jesus is central, the saints are strengthened and the prodigals are welcomed home. Jesus is every stanza of every song, and every syllable of every prayer. Everything. He is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made.

2. We want people to recognize and welcome the Holy Spirit

When Jesus is central, the Holy Spirit is always near. We welcome the powerful person of the Holy Spirit to meet with us, to show us Jesus and empower us with the grace and means to follow Christ. We pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to us and for us too make room for Him. We pray there is not one second of the service that the Holy Spirit is absent or missing. He is The Lord, the giver of life.

3. We want truth to be taught in love

It is truth that sets us free and love is our greatest gift. When the sacred texts of Scripture are taught with truth and love, our hearts are awakened, and sin is confessed and vanquished. We are built into a living body of believers, ready to be ambassadors carrying salt and light. We want the Scriptures to be taught with practical applications, but not void of mystery. We want to show people the big story of the Bible – the story of a God wanting to speak to us, to redeem us and to live with us.

4. We want authentic community

If the church is a colony of life living in a world of death, then we must carry one another’s burdens in prayer, confess to one another, encourage one another and serve one another. This is work that cannot be done remotely and requires physical presence.  We must see one another and hear one another. Church is an unhurried gathering where stories can be told and listening ears can be found. When we dedicate babies, support and cheer for those in the waters of baptism, and eat together, our hearts are knit together in a bond of peace. Our love for another is proof to the world that we are followers of Jesus. (John 13:35)

5. We want to be connected to a bigger story

When the early church gathered for worship, the climax was a celebratory meal of remembrance, an agape feast. The Eucharist was the reason they gathered, the center of their worship and the reason for their hope. In a world where absolute truth and sound theology are under attack, the table centers us again on a foundational stone and returns us to the mysteries of a deeper place of worship. For us, communion is the bridge between a miraculous, resurrected past, a hopeful present and a prophetic future. It connects New Life to the church around the world and gives us space in a story that was already being written even before we were born.

Share

The New Life Family Welcomes Nueva Vida

Posted by Brady Boyd

It gives me great joy to announce that New Life Church is merging with Nueva Vida Church on January 1st! After months of prayer and conversation, Nueva Vida will become an official congregation of New Life and will help us reach the city we all love. Pastors Jeremias and Ana Tamarez will continue to lead this great church and will become a part of our New Life staff, along with their amazing team.

Nueva Vida is the largest Hispanic and Latino congregation in our city with over 500 members and is actively involved in meeting the needs of their community through food distribution, evangelism and discipleship.  In fact, their beautiful church building is less than two miles from Mary’s Home and will allow us even greater partnerships in the surrounding neighborhoods.

We are thrilled to see the body of Christ come together in unity and our elders and I believe this a partnership that will help both churches fulfill their missions. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing more details and we will introduce the Tamarez family to our New Life congregation during our weekend services. In the meantime, rejoice with me and pray for our churches. This is a huge blessing for us to join hands with a dynamic church who loves our city.

 

 

Share

The Three People Who Hear My Sermons

Posted by Brady Boyd

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

2 Timothy 4:2

I am writing this on a Friday with a Sunday sermon not yet delivered. I woke up this morning thinking about my text, about the stories I would tell and the appeals I would make to my congregation. As a pastor, I carry the weekend homily like a crockpot simmers a well-crafted stew. It is a slow cook with the hopes of a Sunday meal that is rich and nourishing. I’m also thinking this morning about three groups of people who will hear and receive the message in completely different ways.

1. The Saints

… to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up …

Ephesians 4:12

I love the phrase “his people.” These are people that already belong to God but they need help, strength, teaching, and lots of encouragement. When I preach, I think about the grandparents who have faithfully followed Christ for 40 years who just need some wind in their sails. I think about the young college student who is trying to be a faithful witness at her school. I think about the saints who need some hope and sometimes, some rebuilding. The saints know they are to be salt and light, ambassadors and witnesses. They feel the deep call to worship God and serve their neighbors, but they need strength for the journey. They need their pastors to think about them when they preach.

2. The Cynics

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.

Acts 17:32

The crowds of people who heard Paul preach in Athens, Greece were a tough bunch to convince. They had heard the great philosophers of their age discuss the latest trends and fads. They were not moved by emotional diatribes or tirades about morality. Discussion and questions led to more discussions and questions. There are cynics sitting in my congregation every weekend who want me to be passionate, but thoughtful. They want to see proof that my life has been transformed by the messages I bring. They will not accept cheap Twitter slogans or emotional hyperbole. They will listen to me only if I care about their questions. They will not be coerced into an immediate response, but they will return to hear me again, sometimes with an entirely new list of questions.

3. The Prodigals

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Luke 15:22-24

Is there any better redemption story than this one? The son was a punk, who had really messed up his life. He imagined that dad would be angry and dismissive, but he had no other choice but to come home and risk a shameful reception. Instead, his dad ran toward him, kissed him and welcomed him home. Every weekend, my building is full of prodigals wanting to come home. They want to believe that God will forgive them, receive them in all their messiness and call them sons and daughters. It all sounds too good to be true. But it is true. Every time I preach, on any topic, I think about the prodigals and what they will hear. When it is time, I try to make it easy for them to find their way home.

Share

Speak Life Devotional from Luke 4

Posted by Brady Boyd

In Luke 4, after we read of Jesus’s temptations in the wilderness,
we see him returning to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit”
(v. 14). News about him began spreading throughout the countryside.
He began appointing apostles and teaching in synagogues
and ministering to people in need. He went to his hometown of
Nazareth, and on the Sabbath, he spoke those famous words we
looked at earlier from the book of Isaiah about who he was and
why he’d come:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the
prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(vv. 18–19)

And then, with everyone’s eyes “fastened on him” (v. 20),
he rolled up the scroll on which that prophecy was printed and
sat down. After which everyone spoke well of him, saying how
“amazed” (v. 22) they were by his words.

What I want you to catch is that after Jesus made it successfully
through his trials and temptations, he was able to join
his heavenly Father in kingdom-oriented work. The same is true
for us. As we stand firm against the schemes of Satan, choosing
truth instead of fallacy, kindness instead of anger, and forgiveness
instead of revenge, we free ourselves up to move ahead with what
God has called us to do. Not to steal the next chapter’s thunder,
but that mission has a lot to do with love. It’s tough to love people
we can’t find room in our hearts to forgive, after all, which is why
the sequence is what it is.

When we walk around eager to extend forgiveness, we
become the most loving versions of ourselves we’ve ever been.
Why? Because we’ve released the burden of putting people who
hurt us in their places. We’ve turned that burden over to God
and are trusting him to take things from there. We don’t have
to join the Enemy in his mission to divide and destroy our lives,
a mission that’s destined for destruction in the end. We can go
a different way.

If you want to read more, my new book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Share

Speak Life Devotional from Ephesians 4

Posted by Brady Boyd

The most concentrated advice on how to communicate well shows up in Ephesians 4. We are told there to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully . . . for we are all members of one body” (v. 25), and we are also advised “In your anger do not sin” (v. 26). We are told not to “let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (v. 29).

We are also instructed not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (v. 30). The apostle Paul ends his spiel by packing the biggest punch: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (vv. 31-32). When we use our words the way God asks us to use them, Paul essentially says, we can speak life and peace and joy. When we don’t use them well, we speak chaos and death, revealing that once again, we’ve jumped the fence.

The funny thing about that Ephesians passage is that any rational person would say, “Yeah, that all sounds good,” even as we fail to implement it in our own lives. What we really mean when we nod our heads in agreement of Paul’s words is, “Yeah! That is exactly how people should talk to me.”

Therein lies the rub: we’re not asked to help keep everyone else within the fences of God’s commands, we’re asked to keep ourselves there—preferably every day. If we do so, we’ll know relational freedom like we’ve never known before; if we don’t, we won’t. It all comes down to what we will do with exhortations like those in Ephesians 4. Will we choose to get rid of bitterness? Will we choose to put away lies? Will we forgive as Jesus has forgiven us? Will we choose to build others up rather than tear them down?

 

If you want to read more, my new book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Share

The Team that Teaches with Me

Posted by Brady Boyd

One of the great joys I have as pastor is to teach the sacred Scriptures each week to my congregation. I spend hours praying and studying, hoping that the message on Sunday encourages the saints, convinces the cynic and calls the prodigals home. For the past nine years I’ve preached at the 9am service, lingered to pray for people after the service, and then gone to my office to refuel for 20 minutes.  At 11am, I  have preached the message again, followed by an hour or so of praying for individual members and greeting lots of guests. It is a full, but really rewarding day.

This Sunday, I made a necessary change. I will still preach at either the 9am or 11am service, but not to both services. It’s not easy to ask for help, but the elders of our church agree with me that I can’t continue my “normal” routine for two really good reasons.

1. My health needs some attention right now. After three major heart surgeries the past 49 years and two corrective procedures in the past nine months, I need to adjust my pace. I simply do not have the same energy levels as I did ten years ago, and my doctors have told me explicitly to limit my stress. Our bodies require a great deal of adrenaline to preach well and then it needs time to recover. I need to listen to my doctors and my body right now, so I must modify my Sunday schedule. I believe these changes will enable me to actually preach more sermons at New Life, long term. Burnout is simply not an option for me.

2. The church needs to hear many voices, not just mine. I’m still responsible for the pulpit at New Life, but God has given us some really gifted and humble communicators who love our congregations as much as me. They study with me each week and we usually preach from the same text each weekend. They have different perspectives and stories, but they’re solid bible teachers who I trust completely. If I’m not at one of the services, it means I’m preaching at the other.

When I’m absent, Glenn Packiam or Daniel Grothe will primarily teach in my spot. Glenn is the pastor of New Life Downtown and Daniel leads our Friday night congregation and together, we’ll now comprise the senior teaching team.  They will continue to lead those congregations in our city while helping me by teaching more at New Life North. This creates additional opportunities at all our locations for us to hear more often from some trusted guests and the other great teachers on our team.

These small changes will allow me to hang around a lot longer with adequate strength to finish the race. I’ve also adjusted my weekday work calendar, so my primary energies can be spent where most needed. I’ll still lead the staff each week and oversee all the ministries at New Life, including the amazing work happening in our city through the Dream Centers. I’m getting good healthcare and feel really confident that my health is sustainable and will actually improve. Thanks so much for your prayers and kindness. Great days are ahead for the church that we call home.

 

Share

Speak Life Over Your Kids

Posted by Brady Boyd

This is a repost from a blog I wrote a few years ago, but it reminded me why I wrote the book, Speak Life

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it, will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

It seemed the moment I became a dad, well meaning people warned me of a turbulent time that lay ahead. Pam and I would introduce our wobbly toddlers to people and inevitably they would say something like this, “Enjoy them now, because one day they will be teenagers.” With a plethora of proof, these older adults would raise the flag of impending doom for the seven-year period that was ahead for our two kiddos.

Pam and I never believed them, though. We started telling ourselves that our teenagers were going to be a great joy to us just as they were when we took them home from the hospital after adopting them both. These harbingers of gloom apparently forgot that babies and toddlers were challenging in their own right. Late night feedings, exploding diapers, vomit on carpet, and tantrums at Wal-Mart could not be the best of times, right?

So, we inched toward the ‘terrible teen” years with guarded hope that we were right and the negative parenting prophets were wrong. We were right. Our two teens did not transform into sub-human droids of destruction when they turned 13. Puberty was not the apocalypse, after all.

Now, before you dismiss me as the pastor painting his kids as perfect, allow me to digress. Our kids are normal and they are teenagers, which is indeed, possible. Our kids test the boundaries of our rules, like your kids. Our kids would rather gorge on junk food than healthier options, like your kids. Our kids do not like early morning school routines, like most other kids. Our kids have spiritual questions and even doubts, like most other kids.

Pam and I could write volumes on what we have learned NOT to do as parents, but one thing we have done well is not believe that our teenagers would be problems without solutions. Every stage of parenting is a challenge that requires more prayer than we think, more wisdom than we can muster, and tons of patience. We have leaned into godly mentors as often as possible and we have certainly paid attention to what our kids watch and listen to in the public media.

We have worked diligently at guarding their innocence, guided them toward life -giving relationships and helped them to see the wonder of the local church, not just its brokenness. We have also realized that our kids will have to make their own choices and some of them may not be best. It is not easy to put your kids into situations where their critical thinking is tested. It is much easier to calibrate robots and send them off into an uncertain world with pre-programmed software.

I wish parenting teens was that simple. Instead, it is a lot like skydiving. We have one chance to get it right and we sure hope it works out. What we speak about our kids before ever leaving the tarmac will go a long way, though, in deciding if there is a safe landing in our future. Speak life now over your toddlers, and when they are teens, they may actually give life back to you.

Share

Why Did I Write Another Book?

Posted by Brady Boyd

Words are central in the story of God as told to us in the Scriptures. God spoke and the world was created. God spoke to Abraham and he ventured off to a new land, full of faith, hope and fear. God spoke to Moses and he returned to his haunted past and led millions across a parted sea and miles of desert. God spoke and a teenager named David charged across an open field to liberate Israel from an oppressive giant.

I could continue, but it is clear in our Bible stories that God is a speaking God trying to communicate to his people. In turn, we learn how to speak to others. When this goes well, our lives are healed and blessed, but when it goes wrong, we’re pierced and wounded, sometimes irreparably. Words can heal and words can crush. I wrote this book because I want to get this right and having a published book holds me accountable.

If you will take a few hours and journey with me through Speak Life, you will find help in the four conversations we have every day:

1. The conversation between you and God

2. The conversation between you and yourself

3. The conversation between you and our enemy

4. The conversation between you and others

All four of these conversations can be found in Luke 3 and Luke 4. In the book, I explain the barriers we all face in hearing God clearly and regularly. I explain how insidious insecurities cloud our prophetic imaginations and keep us at arm’s length from God’s embrace. You will learn how forgiveness invites God into our lives and how prophecy sounds a lot like love.

Every book is birthed not from a solitary soul, but from a community committed to its message. This work took a community committed to hearing God, and speaking words that heal.

I’m thankful for my wife, Pam, who is my single greatest source of encouragement. You cheer for me even when the crowds are silent.

Thanks to my two teenagers, Abram and Callie. When you call me “dad,” my heart leaps.

I wrote this for my parents, Leland and Pat. You told me I would be okay, and I believed you, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. You spoke life to me, and for that I am grateful.

I wrote this for the great team of leaders at New Life Church. You are a joy to serve alongside and your words to me are life.

Most of all, I am grateful to Jesus, who calls me a son and a friend. Your words have saved me.

 

 

Share

When Leaders Gather

Posted by Brady Boyd

In just a few weeks, we will host our annual New Life Leader’s Conference. Our entire team looks forward to this time every year because it is a chance to have conversations and learn from some of the best pastors, leaders and volunteers on the planet. When I attend a gathering of local church practitioners like this one,  I pray for several things to happen for all of us.

1. Fresh perspective

There is nothing like getting away to a new setting to bring new perspectives. We sometimes cannot see the forest for all the congregational trees engulfing us every day. Coming away to a gathering of leaders from diverse backgrounds and experiences can give us a fresh set of eyes. Many times, I have come to these gatherings wrestling with decisions that need to be made and the answer comes from one sentence from a speaker or during a random worship song or sideline conversation. Also, I know I am biased, but there is not a more beautiful spot on our planet than Colorado in late September. Trust me on this one.

2. New friends

Some of my best friends were introduced to me at leader’s conferences. All of us need more friends in the ministry and settings like a conference provide space for conversations and relationships that can last a lifetime. In fact, we are limiting registrations to only 500 to make sure that no one gets lost in the crowd and everyone has a chance to engage in a real learning environment.

3. Personal renewal

Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, away from his primary assignment, to pray, reflect, refuel and to reengage. The same is true with pastors today. We need to retreat, to take off our “pastor” hats and simply become a follower again. Sitting still and listening intently can mean the difference between burnout and finishing strong. Every day, we will take our time in worship and tune into what God is saying to us. We will make sure there is plenty of space for reflection, rest and renewal.

 

You need to be here, so stop what you are doing and register right now!!

Share

Hit Counter provided by orange county property management