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New Orleans Trip – Jan 07

Over Christmas break, a group of students from [nlcf] took the initiative to continue serving a community devastated by hurricane Katrina. Over 40 students stayed for a week to support the efforts already happening in the trenches and added to a camp’s ability to house more volunteers. Deirdre Hunter (PhD candidate in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech) shares from her personal experience.

After my trip to New Orleans this past January, two of the greatest impacts on me were Hope and Love. But I think that sometimes they are not always so clearly lived out in our daily lives. These emotions impacted me because the place we stayed is called Camp Hope and the project we worked on is called Project Love. Over the course of the week I began to attach a deeper meaning to these names. I started to see the hope that we were bringing to the camp and the administrators of the camp and then in turn to St. Bernard Parish.

The week we were there broke—I should say smash since it almost doubled—the previous record for the number of volunteers to stay at the camp at one time. The volunteers from [nlcf] really made it possible for the camp to accommodate the 510 volunteers. We had people step up to work in the kitchen most of the week, starting with the 4 am breakfast shift. We did many work projects that contributed to increase the functionality of the camp including general cleaning, running a drainage pipe to collect the rain water from the roof, putting together
a personal protective equipment storage shed, a cleaning supplies room and a give-take clothing room. We also implemented a system to better organize the recycling of plastic and aluminum, built two brick walk ways, revamped the vegetable garden, built a tool shed and sanded and painted donated bunk beds. We also went off site one day and in teams of 10 where we gutted several residences. This experience really put us in the shoes of those that lost everything, and we saw their dire need for help in the cleaning and rebuilding process. Gutting and rebuilding just one house is a monstrous and costly task.

The other thing that struck me while I was there is that need crosses demographic boundaries. Everyone needs our help to some extent and working on one home in a neighborhood brings hope to all of the neighbors. It is not just houses or the camp that we are rebuilding, we are contributing to the rebuilding of a community. This is where love resonated the most; every task that we were involved with made someone feel not forgotten about or pushed aside and gave them hope for a better future.

Deirdre is organizing a return trip back to New Orleans this spring break (March 3rd – 11th) with many repeat volunteers. Please keep them in your prayers. Check back for that update.

The [nlcf] Manifesto

A working document.

We believe that New Life Christian Fellowship is called out by God…

To invest in spiritual growth by

  • choosing to be the church, not attend it
  • enjoying the richness and reality of face-to-face relationships in a technologically isolated age
  • becoming true brothers and sisters in a family where God’s love and grace spreads contagiously
  • wrestling through Scripture together, seeking God’s message for our church and our culture

To invite others to follow Jesus by

  • welcoming all people outside the family of [nlcf] as valuable to Jesus and us
  • knowing, living, and speaking the gospel (the good news of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and return) to each other and the world
  • living lives of constant change from selfish and broken impurity to a renewed wholeness as a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work in us
  • creatively expressing the gospel from our unique perspectives through visual arts, performance, writing, and other media

To inspire each other to change the world by

  • giving our time to serve and love each other, and to serve and love our neighbors, both here in the New River Valley and throughout the world
  • giving our money to build a kingdom where the world is healed through the sacrifice of our King
  • giving the control of our lives over to the King who invites us to live in a bigger story than we can plan for ourselves
  • giving our careers for God’s glory whether cleaning toilets, preaching the Bible, programming computers, or feeding the poor in a distant land

Like stated above, this is a working document. Feel free to make a contribution.

The new nlcf.net 8.0

We’re working hard to bring a more useful, usable, and unique website together. Feel free to post a comment with pros and cons of things you see and would like to see. We’re always looking for folks to send content to make this a virtual hub of all things going on in the real world of [nlcf]. We could say it’s in beta but it would never leave beta since it’s always a work in progress. Ex: try clicking one of these patterns to change the background of the page to fit your personality, mood, or feng shui.

How to Ruin Your Life Survey

Coming Spring 2007, we are planning a series entitled “How to Ruin Your Life” to shed light on practical topics from a scriptural perspective. We think all these items have a great capacity to impact our daily living and ruin our lives if we aren’t careful, but we need to narrow down the list. Please take a minute to let us know what you think in the survey below.

Matthew 16-18

Compared to someone like Billy Graham, Jesus’s three years of public ministry might seem like a brief stint. Not so. Jesus is on the mission non-stop. As I read the gospels freshly, I’m impressed with how quickly He goes from one adventure to the next transforming the lives of thousands of people on a 24/7 basis. I wonder just what percentage of His amazing works were recorded. Like John writes, “if everything that Jesus did was written down, even the whole world would not have room for all the books that would be written.” This may not be an exaggeration.

How to Become a Christian

Being a Christian is simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing a person can do. Simply put, it is an action of two words: trust Jesus. Some people say this is just a one-time mental agreement to a spiritual affiliation, but Jesus asks for a complete surrender of our heart, soul, mind, and body from beginning to the end of our lives. If it were up to us this would be impossible but God has made it possible.

It starts with a basic overview of history: 1) God created mankind to be in a relationship with him. 2) We blatantly rebelled. 3) Despite our best efforts we cannot restore the situation. 4) Because of his love for us, God took on flesh in the form of Jesus to win our hearts back. 5) Jesus broke the chain of rebellion by practicing and preaching a perfect life of love. 6) He not only lived a great life, he died a great death by standing in our place to take the punishment we deserve in a bloody public execution. 7) Three days later he came back from the grave to demonstrate his power over death. Jesus made it possible for everyone to be restored with God forever.

A Christian is someone who puts all their trust in the most amazing, powerful, intelligent, mysterious, compassionate, and meaningful person who ever lived. Just like following a master artist or musician or leader, one must begin a careful study of the person’s life so they can better know who they are trying to emulate.

Once we discover what Jesus said, what he did, and the significance of his life, we must make a decisive action to change our life’s course. This is what it means to repent, to turn from our own path and choose to walk on the path of Jesus. The actual event of repentance is a mysterious moment that happens both instantly and continuously throughout our lives. Repentance is only possible by God’s initiation, yet somehow, he holds us accountable for making this decision.

Once we begin to trust Jesus, God comes to reside in our lives through the Holy Spirit who gives further instruction on this new course. He is a guarantee that God will be with us until our final day on earth to help us follow through on our decision to trust. Some say that becoming a Christian is a one-way decision, but the Bible tells of situations where a person can deliberately push the Holy Spirit away and discontinue the relationship. In view of this possibility, the Bible urges every Christian to press on towards the goal of knowing God better and remaining faithful to him to the very end. Finishing is as important as starting.

In order to know God better, distribute his love, and remain faithful to the finish, Jesus established that his followers should share their lives with each other in an extended family called the church.

Further reading:

what’s a blurb?

A blurb is a blurb. This would be the place for random info, a stream of consciousness flow, a deep thought, a link to an item of interest, pertinent world news, no more than four sentences. Anyone can register and submit a blurb for consideration.

Homegroup Leader Resources

Homegroup Planning Templates

Resources

What is a Homegroup?

John Eldredge describes the average church experience like this: “We come; we learn; we leave. It is not enough.”

You and I were created for community. Before God even finished his creation, he said it wasn’t good for us to be alone (Gen. 2:18); Jesus’ teaching that we should love one another can only be accomplished if we are doing life together; and Hebrews says we should “encourage one another daily.” These are just a few reasons we at [nlcf] believe so strongly in our home groups, smaller groups of 20 to 40 people who get together during the week for music, teaching, sharing—and usually food. A home group is one of the best places to develop meaningful, lasting relationships with people like you who are going after the same things in life.

Whether you are a freshman, or a grad student, or living and working in the area—wherever you are in life—I would like to strongly encourage you to check out one of our home groups. A couple years ago, a graduating senior said to me how much he regretted not getting involved in a home group. Now he was moving away, wishing he had his time in college to do over, wishing he could have shared it with a group of close friends.

This full life Jesus calls us to is too wonderful not to share it. If you’d like help finding a group that fits you, let us know. All of our home groups have a slightly different feel to them, so there is surely one that will fit your personality. We have home groups for undergrad students, grad students, married couples, townies—pretty much anyone. Drop us an email, and we’ll get you connected.

Matt Rogers
pastor, [nlcf]
matt at nlcf dot net