Life in the Midst of Famine – Guest Blog by Brian Newman

In the mid 1980s the world learned of a catastrophic famine in east Africa. It was centered in Ethiopia. In late 1984 the BBC ran a story showing tens of thousands of people in danger of starvation, and eventually the world responded with an outpouring of aid.

I had just completed college and was working as a journalist in New York. In response to the famine, I took a job with a relief and development agency and soon found myself in a far-off place called Alamata in northern Ethiopia.

My job was to report on the famine, to show the world what was happening so we all could respond in compassion and save people’s lives.

In the Alamata feeding center, thousands upon thousands of people flooded into the camp in late 1985 as they suffered from prolonged severe malnutrition. Although I went to the camp as a journalist, I quickly figured out that I was a relief worker first and put down my camera and notepad to help in any way I could.

Many people – Ethiopians and foreign aid workers – worked 12 or 14 hour per day to try to save “just one more life,” as the motto …

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On Being Christian and Jewish || guest blog by Brian Newman

Pastor Brian Newman has written a thoughtful and personal note about being Christian and Jewish.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thank you for taking the time (and possibly courage) to ask about how I speak regarding being a Christian and Jewish. Words and language matter, and I do not want to leave people confused.

This answer might be longer than you anticipate, but I hope it is helpful.

I grew up in a secular Jewish family on Long Island. We were observant Jews, but functionally we barely believed in God and had no real faith. We religiously went to synagogue on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, and celebrated Hannukah and Passover and many of the other holidays. We were steeped in all things Jewish – on a cultural and quasi-religious level. It might compare to liberal Protestantism or some forms of Catholicism on a religious level.

I came to faith in Christ when I was 20 years old in a very NON-Jewish context. In fact, I really did not consider what it meant that I came from a Jewish background and now believed in Jesus; that is, that I am a Christian. I believe this …

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What Holy Week Means for Me || guest blog by Brian Newman

Passover and Holy Week

Holy Week was totally foreign to me when I became a follower of Christ at 20 years of age. I had no idea of the importance of Jesus’ final week on earth.

Now I spend Holy Week considering each of Jesus’ days – where he went, who he interacted with, how he trusted his Father over circumstances, confusion, and fear that surrounded him.

Some years ago, Holy Week became much more personal for me when I began to integrate Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection with the final meal he shared with his disciples. We call it the Last Supper. When I was growing up my family called it the Passover Seder.

I have celebrated the Passover every year of my life. For the first 19 or 20 years, my Jewish family remembered the redemption of Israel when God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. And we were admonished to “remember as if you personally were delivered from slavery.”

I always found that a bizarre statement. After all, I was not in slavery and, in fact, lived in an incredibly free country!

Over time some things clicked for me, especially in how Jesus relates to his ancient …

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Family Matters || guest post by Brian Newman

All of us live out of a social base, as it is called in some leadership development circles. Your social base is how you are supported in your work and life in general.

Who is your closest inner circle that provides spiritual and emotional support? For many, it is a spouse, siblings, and children or other extended family.

How are you supported financially and materially?

This matters – a lot. Family matters. Close community matters.

I would not be the person I am today without the relationship Susy and I have shared for more than 30 years. Thirty-three year ago we met in Geneva, Switzerland, and in 2018 we will celebrate our 30th anniversary.

We have lived in a number of places around the world: Geneva, Pasadena (California), Budapest (Hungary), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and for the past 13 years in Denver, Colorado. We have been church planters, teaching English to Hungarian students; I have served as a missions director; and I have held several pastoral roles.

At Living Word you will see me in various contexts pretty quickly, but you might not see Susy. Oh, she will be there, but she is the classic behind-the-scenes type of person and likes …

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What I Value Most || guest post by Brian Newman

Have you ever been asked, “What really makes you tick?”

Sometimes I deflect the question by making a joke: “Well, my heart makes me tick. That’s why we call it a ticker!

But then I get serious and truly consider the question, because it is an important one. Maybe the most important one. So here is what I value most:

Four Key Personal Values

I value total devotion to God in and through Jesus Christ – my chief aim is “to love God and enjoy Him forever” (e.g. Philippians 1:21: Paul).

I value right priorities  being a godly husband, father, and friend (Proverbs 5:18-22, 18:22).

I value intentional learning – maintaining a learning posture in all of life (Exodus 33:13: Moses). If you stop learning you stop leading.

I value the truth – especially facing the truth about myself and, by God’s grace, intercepting potential flaws that might compromise my integrity (Psalm 51: David).

Six Key Leadership Values

I value humility – being led by God before attempting to lead others (John 21:15-19: Peter).

I value mentoring – having men and women in my life to help shape my vision, values, and lifestyle as a leader and to be …

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A Local Church Living and Breathing MISSION || Guest Post by Brian Newman

As you are reading this post, Brian Newman is in Europe at a conference on the refugee migration taking place in recent years and how the church can respond to these displaced Muslim people, many of whom are wide open to the Good News of Jesus. I asked Brian to share a few thoughts with us over the next several days, so you can get to know his heart.

Guest Blogger: Brian Newman

A number of years ago I had the privilege of being one of the speakers at the Living Word Missions Conference. I remember it distinctly because I had a lengthy conversation with Pastor Steve Almquist in his office before the service. It was one of the easiest and most life-giving conversations a missionary could ever have!

Here’s why: I did not have to explain myself or convince a pastor that missions and being missional is essential to the local church.

I quickly learned that mission was at the very heart of Living Word Community Church from Day 1 of its existence almost 40 years ago.

I put it this way: Living Word was missional before the word became known in the evangelical world.

In the coming few …

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