Life Change

The reason NewPointe Church exits is to lead people every where into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. That is a big vision. In a nut shell we exist for life change, to be the catalyst for people all over the world to grow closer to Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing six different people share their life change stories with me. All six are going to be baptized in October. I sat down with them and listened to them share what God has done and is doing in their lives.

Nothing charges me up more than hearing people talk passionately about their relationship with Jesus. Tears came to their eyes as they talked about how God drew them to himself and how they were able to overcome sin and difficult circumstances because of God’s strength and courage.

These six people have experienced a change. They have experienced God and they don’t want to go back to the old way of life. I can’t wait for their stories to be played on the big screens for everyone to hear. They are going public with their faith. Way to go Angela, Amy, Steve, Jillian, Jason and Christen!

Each one was nervous and unsure about be video taped, but they knew this was a step God wanted them to take. Often times if we can face a fear and do what God calls us to there is a spiritual breakthrough in our lives. For these six people they will never be the same. They are standing tall for Jesus Christ and following Him.

What is holding you back from following Jesus with all your heart, soul and mind? What is your next step in your walk with Him? For some it is baptism, for others maybe getting in a small group, for some it may be leading a small group or serving in an area of ministry. For others it may be taking on a leadership role in ministry or going on a mission trip. For others it may mean getting help for your marriage and reconciling your relationships. For some people it may mean being a better steward of your money. For someone it may be giving a large chunk of your resources to God’s work. I don’t know what your next step is, but God is calling you to it.

Step out in faith and begin living fully for God!

Worrying II

This is my second post in a series on worrying. Since this is something that nearly everyone deals with to a certain degree I think it is worth the blog time.

In chapter two of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to stop Worrying and start Living” he talks about a quick sure-fire way for handling worry situations. This method was developed by Willis H. Carrier who started the Carrier Corporation. It contains three steps:

Step 1. “I analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out what is the worst that could possibly happen as a result of this failure.

Step 2. After figuring out what was the worst that could happen, I reconcile myself to accept it, if necessary.

Step 3. From that time on, I calmly devote my time and energy to trying to improve upon the worst which I had already accepted mentally.”

That is a simple formula that can help you to overcome much worry and anxiety. When we are worrying we are focusing on the problem and thinking negatively in a very focused way. Our minds bounce around and it keeps us from thinking clearly. This exercise allows you to look at the worst, accept it and then begin to think clearly. Once we get our focus off the problem, our perspective changes.

Many times we think the thing we are worried about is so much worse than it actually is. We make up multiple worse case scenarios that drive us bonkers. Once you come to the conclusion of the worst and accept it, you can think.

That is why it is never good to make important decisions under stress or worry. In that state of mind we are not thinking clearly.

I would like to throw in another step.

Step 4. Ask God for help! When we bring God into the equation it changes everything. This really should be the first step, because God will help you through the other three.

Turning your focus to Jesus Christ and eternity changes your perspective. This world and these worries are only a mist, here today and gone tomorrow. When we keep our eternal perspective it helps us to deal more effectively with our problems.

Whatever you are facing today, you don’t have to face it alone. Face it as if Jesus was standing right beside you, holding you up and spurring you on. Face the worst and accept it, then work on improving it. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”


A couple of months ago my wife and I were in an antique store shopping. I love looking at old books, and I happened to find a book by Dale Carnegie. The title is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. It was written in 1944. I started reading it last night, what a treasure! I think I paid $3.00.

Part one is about fundamental facts you should know about worry. This stuff is so good I want to share it as I read. Here are the nuggets from the first chapter:

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” by Thomas Carlyle.

Carnegie talked about having “Day-tight compartments”, which means to seal off the doors of the past-dead yesterdays- and the future-unborn tomorrows. Then you are safe for today. Similar to water-tight compartments to protect what is inside from water that can corrode things.

He talked about starting out the day with this short prayer from Jesus, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Asking only for today’s bread and not next week or next month or last months moldy bread. Carnegie also quoted Jesus who said “Have no anxiety for the tomorrow.” We are to think about tomorrow and make plans, but should have no anxiety or worry about tomorrow.

“Good thinking deals with causes and effects and leads to logical, constructive planning; bad thinking frequently leads to tension and nervous breakdowns.”

He also said “One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows.” That was in 1944 and it is still very true today.

We can’t live in the past and we can’t know the future and when we focus on those we wreck both our bodies and our minds.

“So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: From now until bedtime.”

He also talked briefly in chapter one about viewing everyday as a new life. That simple thought can help us overcome loneliness and all kinds of fears. It can give us a new enthusiasm for new life every day!

John Maxwell wrote a book called “Today Matters” and that is what this is all about. Focus on today, what can I accomplish today? What project or task can I complete right now? Taking one thing at a time and doing it with excellence is the key.

One final thought: “Think that this day will never dawn again. Life is slipping away with incredible speed. Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.” The Bible says “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”


A friend of mine recently got a tattoo. It is a cross with James 1:22 under it. It looks good and it made me think. Not just about tattoo’s, but about that Scripture. This morning I was reading it, and wanted to share it with all of you.

This is from the Message translation verses 22-25 “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God-the free life!-even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”

Did you catch that? Read it again.

Only when we actually do what he hear do we get delight and affirmation. So many of the people I talk to are doing their own thing and not what the Word tells them to do and then they wonder why they are struggling. Putting into action what we hear and learn is the difference between freedom and bondage. Many people would rather live in bondage because they don’t want to do what they know is right.

Real freedom comes when we put into action the things we are learning from the Bible. Are you looking for Financial freedom? Spiritual freedom? Relational freedom? Emotional freedom? Physical freedom?

The NIV translation says it this way “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says.” That is right, do what it says. The Bible shows us how to live in total freedom, yet we choose bondage when we don’t put it into action.

What action do you need to take today in your finances, your marriage, your work, your thought life, your parenting, your friendships, your time with God, your body?


We kicked off a wellness program this week for our staff at NewPointe. We are on three teams and competing in several areas. The idea of course is for all of us to get healthier. I am excited about this new program because it has already motivated me to get into better shape. I went on walks the last two evenings. I would like to invite all those fellow blog readers to join us in this wellness effort.

This week we are counting our steps for an entire day. On day one I only had 9,300, but I got my step counter after first service Sunday. Todd Colucy was the big winner on day one with over 36,000 steps, wow! Today I am at 13,000 steps.

I know we all want to get in better shape and for me I need a little motivation. This may be the catalyst that I need to get over the hump and lose the weight, body fat etc while lowering my cholesterol.

I want to challenge everyone that reads this to set some goals for the next month. Get out and walk once or twice this week. Go on bike rides, stretch every morning, whatever it is for you. Then get out and start doing it.

It is the same for us spiritually. Set some achievable goals to pray, read the Bible, listen to messages or read a book. Then start doing it. Spiritual and physical health doesn’t just happen, it takes some effort, planning and accountability. Next time you see me ask how my diet & exercise is going. You can also ask me how my prayer and Bible reading are going too. If you ask me, I will ask you.

Personal Growth

My personal mission statement is “Growing in Faith, Character & Leadership” To me the most important part of that statement is the first word; “Growing”. Growing means that I am learning, changing, adapting, failing, planning, attempting new things, going, doing, thinking and focusing.

If I am not growing then I am declining. I want to grow in my personal faith, becoming more intimate with my Lord. I want to know Him and experience His presence and learn His ways.

I also want to grow in character, which usually happens through adversity. I want to be known for the character qualities others see in me, not the accomplishments. Qualities like dependability, flexibility, patience, responsible, determined, gentle, wisdom, discernment and courageous.

I want to grow in leadership as well. To become a better leader with the people that I have influence with. Leadership is about influence and I want my influence to grow. I want to be the leader that God created me to be. To step out and take chances and live life to the fullest.

So how do I grow? One way is I read a lot of books. I love to learn from other people. The more I read the more I grow in knowledge and understanding. I just finished three books I had been reading over the last couple of months. Each of those books challenged me in a different way. It fed my desire to become a better husband, employee, pastor, friend and Christ-follower.

Reading is very important in growing. Remember as a child how reading played a significant role in your development. In school I had to read, in college I had to read even more. Now I read because I want to. I read books on leadership, Christianity, discipleship, business and management. I also read fiction, usually stories about ordinary and extraordinary people. My favorite fiction writer is John Grisham, my favorite non fiction author is Erwin McManus.

As important as reading is in personal growth, so is going and doing what what I read. I need to put into practice what I am learning or it is wasted. If I read the Bible and don’t do what it says, all that reading is wasted. My challenge to you is to Grow. Don’t stay where you are at spiritually, emotionally or intellectually. Read, listen to Cd’s, watch DVDs whatever works for you, but don’t stop learning and growing. The more you grow the more God can use you.

Baptism Sunday

Today was baptism Sunday at NewPointe. What an amazing morning. John Bunn talked about Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine. Great stories John about baseball and your wedding. John challenged us all to be obedient to what God is calling us to do. By acting in faith we could experience a miracle.

We also got to hear nine life change stories, it is unbelievable how God is working in peoples lives. That is why we do church at NewPointe. Our desire is that everyone that comes to NewPointe is changed forever. We call it life transformation. I am so pumped for these nine people that have publicly declared that they are followers of Jesus Christ.

They all talked about there experience of making a decision to surrender completely to Christ and live for Him. Each one has grown in their faith and trust in God. What a special morning.

Congratulations to Paul & Sharon Wolodkin, Dave Cantwell, Cheryl Warther, Dani Engstrom, Jessica Rilke, Tom Troyer, Diana Young and Benita Miller. They all took the plunge so to speak. It took courage to step forward to record their testimony on video and then get on stage in front of hundreds of people. But each one was there for a reason and had a story to tell about how God has changed them forever. I hope and pray their stories touched someone today and that life change will continue on in others.

One last thing, John also threw out the challenge for our church to fill 1,000 boxes of food for our local food banks in Dover, Uhrichsville, Newcomerstown and Millersburg. I know we can meet the challenge. I called each of the food banks and they are excited about our goal. Let’s make a difference one meal at a time.

Some great items to bring in would be dry cereal, canned soup, canned chicken and tuna. Make sure you only donate something that you would eat, no old or damaged cans please. To God be the Glory!

Weekend Recap

This has been a great weekend! I will start on Friday. A young man stopped in to see me around 10:00 a.m. He had stopped in once before and we talked for an hour about some of his problems, God, church and God’s plan for his life.

On Friday I could tell things were not good. He explained some of the things that had happened to him, mostly bad, and kept saying God must have a plan for me since I am still here. He said something was missing in his life. He had tried to fill it with all kinds of stuff and none of it seemed to be helping.

He told me he believed in God, yet he thought there had to be more. I told him that 95% of the people in America believe in God, but a much smaller percentage have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I asked him if anyone ever showed him what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He said no, so I dove in.

I showed him on paper how we are separated from God by sin, and that no matter how many good things we do we can never fill that gap. How good is good enough to tip the scales? I then told him about God’s plan to send his son Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for all our sins. I told him about the way they did sacrifices of animals in the old Testament and that Jesus was the last and ultimate sacrifice for us.

I showed him how Jesus filled that gap by dying on the cross and by being resurrected after three days, overcoming death and sin. I told him by believing in Jesus Christ and what he did for us and asking for forgiveness we can receive eternal life with God. Eternal life starts in this life for those that believe in Jesus Christ.

He said he wanted that and we prayed together and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Wow, was I excited for him. I told him about some steps he can take immediately, like getting into Starting Pointe, coming to church on a regular basis and getting baptized. He is doing all three. I was floating for a while after that.

He still has some junk to work on in his life, like all of us do. But he is a new man, a new creation and his life has radically changed forever.

I saw him in church on Sunday. I am praying for him and hope to mentor this guy in the months ahead.

Later on Friday I went through the steps to Freedom in Christ with someone. That is always an amazing time as we work through the many lies people believe and build truth into them. This person was able to face some deep fears and pray for Jesus to heal those hurts and fears from the past. After our time together their was much more peace and hope in this person. This was an encounter with God, where God touched and healed. God is Good!

On Saturday morning I met with my men’s group. We had a great discussion on what it means to be a masculine Christian man. We talked about how Jesus was not a wimp and we shouldn’t be either. We talked about being the spiritual leaders in our families and homes. We talked about how our church can reach out to men and help them get connected and engaged.

Later on Saturday I officiated at a wedding for Gary Schaffer and Angel Miller. Gary is in the Marines and Angel comes to NewPoint. It was great to see these two young people with a heart for the Lord starting a new life together. I love getting to spend times with couples at their wedding. Talking with them and praying for them. I saw them in Church on Sunday as well. Congratulations to Gary & Angel.

On Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing two people. Alice Banks and Zack Smith. They both shared great stories about how God was working in their lives and they wanted everyone to know they are Christ followers. Way to go Alice & Zack.

That is why I love this church, because lives are changing. God is moving in an amazing way and I am so thrilled to be a part of that.

Friday morning I had prayed and asked God to use me that day. I made myself available and God did the rest.

After Church on Sunday my wife and I enjoyed a great meal at our favorite restaurant, Lams.

Pretty good weekend!

What are you afraid of?

We all have fears, some more than others. As I listen to people I often hear their fears. I am afraid of roller coasters, needles, and heights. I try to avoid these things as much as possible. You see our fears keep us from doing things.

If I have a fear of rejection I will avoid getting to close to anyone so I can’t be rejected. If I have the fear of failure I will not try anything new because I don’t want to chance failing. If I have the fear of looking stupid, I won’t talk too much around people or give my opinion or pray out loud. The fear of being abandoned may cause me to cling to tightly to someone and even do and say things to avoid losing that person. What about the fear of being alone, that is similar to the fear of abandonment, but the fear of being alone can cause you to go after unhealthy relationships in order to never be alone.

So what is your core fear? We all have them. Fear keeps us from all the things God has for us. It is like the eagle that is nudging her babies out of the nest. They feel safe and secure in the nest. It is comfortable, plenty of food, no stress. But if that little baby eagle never gets out of the nest it can never fly and become the eagle God created it to be. So mom at some point will push the babies out and force them to fly.

Our fears keep us in the nest. God is always trying to nudge us out of the nest and into the Kingdom HE established. Each of us has a role to play in this beautiful creation. You can’t be all that God wants you to be by staying in the nest.

The first step is to identify your fears. Write them down, ask your friends or spouse to help you identify them. Once you identify them you can start asking God why that fear is there. You can ask God for courage to overcome that fear and face it. We always make our fears much bigger than they really are. When you face them it becomes much easier the next time.

I mentioned I am afraid of heights. The first time I tried to clean out my gutters I only made it half way down the roof on the side that is 20-30 feet high. I froze and couldn’t go any further. The next time I made it to the edge, but I was sweating and my muscles were very tense. Now I can walk up to the edge and look down without much of a problem.

Don’t let your fears keep you from the life God has in store for you. To have full life, an abundant life, you must overcome those core fears. To have healthy relationship and a healthy marriage you must overcome the fears that trigger bad behavior, reactions and words.

A great resource on identifying your fears is a book by Gary Smalley “The DNA of Relationships”. This is a must read for anyone that wants to improve their relationships.

1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

We can resolve our fears first by focusing on God’s immeasurable love for us, and then by allowing Him to love others through us. His love will quiet your fears and give you confidence.

Going Deep

This morning I was reading my devotional “When the Lights Go Out” by Graham Cooke. My friend Kevin told me about it and I got it for my men’s group. The sub title is “Surprising Growth When God Is Hidden”. What does that mean?

Cooke talks about manifestation versus hiddenness. “Manifestation is about experiencing all that God is doing. Hiddenness is about possessing the things of God through His Word by faith. During times of hiddenness, you must learn to rely on the promises that God has made to you through the Bible.”

As Christians we all have times of manifestation when we are experiencing God. We feel blessed and filled to the top with the good things of God. However we also have times of hiddenness and in those times we can slip away from God because this is not what we expected. We want God to give us a sign and tell us what to do. We don’t want to go searching in the desert. Hiddenness is not something we seek, yet God uses times of hiddenness to train us and develop us.

Cooke says “Hiddenness is where we start to process deep truth.” In other words we can hear truth, read truth and talk about truth, but to process and understand truth God hides himself, so that we seek wisdom and truth at a deeper level. The disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was teaching while he was with them. They had certain thoughts and expectations about His coming Kingdom. It wasn’t until Jesus died and was resurrected and then ascended that they got it. When they no longer had Him with them, they began to understand what He was showing them.

We don’t gain spiritual maturity by gaining more knowledge about the Bible. It comes from gaining Godly, not earthly wisdom and that comes when we learn to be with God even in hiddenness.

I sometimes hear the question about how can I go deeper spiritually? Be careful what you are asking for. A time of hiddenness may be coming. If you really want to go deeper in your walk with God then start doing what the Bible says. Are you tithing? Are you giving above the tithe? Are you serving in your local church? Are you helping others in your community? Have you fasted lately? Are you in a small group? Are you investing in a non believer? Are you investing in a believer that is not as far along as you? Have you gone on a mission trip? Have you forgiven everyone that has hurt you? Have you confessed to all the people that you have hurt? Are your relationships healthy? Is anyone holding you accountable? Are you content with what you have? Are you using your spiritual gifts for God? Are you using your painful experiences to help others that are going through a similar situation? Is your daily time with God a priority?

Going deep means getting your hands dirty. It means seeking God with all your heart even when you don’t feel His presence. It means developing internally and becoming more like Jesus in your Character. In times of hiddenness God is wanting to teach us about changing our heart toward Him.