A Story of How Kindness Led To Repentance

A Story of How Kindness Led To Repentance

By Jennifer LaPrees

Our family began attending New Circle a few years ago. I was working through some hard things and feeling closed and cold and crabby, not at all inclined to give most humans the benefit of the doubt. My friend, Christy Purnell, was one of the three people left in the world that I still liked and trusted (that’s only a slight exaggeration), so when she invited our family to New Circle we showed up.

And we've continued to show up for about a year and a half.

That connection with her combined with the work of the Holy Spirit drew our family to NCC despite my wariness toward any and all things “church”.

"Its the kindness of God that leads us to repentance," (Romans 2:4) I personally know this verse to be true because the one thing I was not defended against was the kindness and humility that permeates this group of people. It is prevalent and incredibly powerful and I would consider it the best “feature” of this church and these people. This tangible kindness has defrosted me—as I’ve gotten to experience it in each Community Group I’ve attended, where it’s not uncommon to snuggle with babies and hear about my brother and sisters in Christ’s weeks. I feel it during retreats when the others courageously share their stories. The kindness even exists in the communion of shared meals, and painting parties, and of skipping stones.

This is a kind people. The kind I enjoy being around.

A Story of How God Provided Peace Through Community

A Story of How God Provided Peace Through Community

By: Chris Norris

2016 was a tough year for me. On May 6, 2016, I lost my mom to a 6-year battle against breast cancer. This battle was full of ups and downs, with few glimpses of hope, generally followed by great disappointments. There were always new and/or growing tumors, in addition to various types of chemotherapy failing in their attempts to rid her body of the aggressive cancer.

Needless to say, this 6-year physical battle was also an emotional battle for everyone affected. During the months leading up to her death, I was still actively leading a community group at my apartment with other college students that attended New Circle with me. There were nights that I had no energy to lead, but I would power through for the sake of fostering community. Eventually it hit me - why do I keep trying to put up this front? Everyone in my group knows what I'm going through and loves me. No one expects this from me.

I finally surrendered my pride and one night at community group I asked, "Could we start tonight by just praying for me and my family?" This turned into an hour-long prayer session with many emotions shared together. It was then that I realized that just because I was a leader didn't mean I needed to try to carry the group on my own. They had my back the whole time. The weeks leading up to her death, other members of the group would offer to lead for me so I could take that off my plate. I didn't want to cancel group because community group was the one time a week I could join with my fellow believers and pray for peace amidst the suffering I was experiencing.

I will never forget that the day before my mom died, I had to drive to Indianapolis to take an end-of-semester final for an economics class, which the professor helped me reschedule from that weekend when he heard about my situation. When my community group caught wind of this, multiple members of the group were at my apartment ready to pray with me before I drove 3 hours back to the hospice center at home to spend the final hours with my mom. They specifically prayed for peace and for comfort.

To this day, I have never experienced the level of peace and comfort that I felt on that 3-hour drive to Evansville, IN. My mom passed away the next morning, but when I think back on that week in my life, what I really remember is the peace God provided for me through the prayers of my community group.

A Story of How The Church Became My Family

A Story of How The Church Became My Family

By: Mackenzie Coleman

I grew up in a church where putting up a facade was the norm. It was one where you should always appear to live a faithful life, even if that was the furthest thing from the truth.

Before New Circle was officially a church, we gathered as community groups. Thats where I met the Rager Family. I went to their group each week, which was in their home. It was truthfully the first time in my life where I felt that I could be honest about my struggles, doubts, and shortcomings. I didn’t have to appear to be anything I wasn’t. It was like my soul finally exhaled.

Since then, New Circle Church has become an integral part of my life. I've had to opportunity to serve on the worship team, hospitality team, NCC kids, and women's ministry. In every capacity, I was loved and poured into. It was that outpouring of love that revealed to me what Christ's perfect love looks like and how to tangibly live it out in my own life. Attending NCC has changed me as a person and continues to shape me. Five years later, New Circle is more than my church, it's my family.

A Story of Authentic Love and Invitation

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A Story of Authentic Love and Invitation

By: Audrey Hood

New Circle Church is a place where people are seriously welcome and welcomed seriously.

I truly believe the individuals that make up the “church” called New Circle are different than others I’ve encountered throughout my years in the church. When I first found out about New Circle (through my brother-in-law who lived nearly 600 miles away at the time), I was looking for a new place to worship because I was in the thick of some serious spiritual transformation and other life changes and wanted to explore it all in a place in which I was unfamiliar. I attended NCC when it was still meeting in the gym at The Oaks Academy. I knew then, when the pastor was preaching on the church’s passion for seeing the city made new, that I wanted to come back. It took me about 7 months to go back and call it my home, but when I did, I experienced an encounter with people that felt unreal. I remember sitting on the far left of the auditorium (at this point, NCC was meeting at The Theatre On The Square) when a man approached me and invited me to sit with him and his fiancé. I was open and eager to meet other young  Christians like myself, so I walked over with him as he proceeded to tell me that they typically sat in the front row. So, I was there, in the front row, not just sitting with them, but sitting in the middle of them. They had welcomed me into their friendship and they were actually genuine about it. I got to know this couple, along with so many others over the weeks that followed, but the thing that stuck out to me the most about this really random group of people was the fact that everyone was not just nice, but their kindness was authentic. Consistently throughout the last 3 years, that has been my experience with this body of believers regardless of the heartache it’s endured. Authenticity, that’s what I love about New Circle-- and that’s just one example of a love so tangible that it actually changed part of me.

As New Circle approaches 5 years as a church in Indianapolis, I’d like to invite you to take the next few weeks to hear stories from builders (members), regular attenders, and guests of NCC to show how it has been a place where impact follows action, where lives are transformed through obedience, where emotions are safe to share, and where people are desperate to know Jesus and share his love with others. New Circle Church is almost 5 years old. Look back with me and join us in celebrating 5 years of ministry in Indianapolis!



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“Light of the World…Speak"

“Light of the World…Speak"

By: Ben Sholtes

Based on John 1:1-5 and this weeks sermon.

Light of Creativity

Deep darkness foams, total silence of night

Chaos nihilo, awaiting first Light

Divine Breath hovers, awaiting command

“Peace, be still” sovereign Word demands

Rushing of Wind, tumultuous Light!

Breaking forth, transforms the night

What was not...now no longer, 

Divine Breath proves infinitely stronger

Disorder is tamed by Eternal plan:

The Word, the Light, O, Son of man!

Light of the World…He Spoke.

Light of Redemption

Man, Crown of creation stands

Kneels before Sovereign right hand

Blissful garden his to spread

Save one tree whose promise, dead

Finite we, slap Infinite's hand

On our own we vainly stand

In darkness amidst life’s crashing waves

Desperate, reaching, can any save?

"Peace be still” creation's Word doth cry

At last! Man no more may die

Light of the World…He Speaks.

Light of Expectation

We, your people in darkness wait

Silent, our word cannot create

Holy Word within, flickering, His breath!

Yea, divine light, which conquered death

Endure our chaos, soul's peace create

Emmanuel! Word speak, we wait

Proclaim your peace, our breakers still

Accomplish in us Creator's will

May our exile display your “Peace, be calm”

That all may know of heaven’s shalom

Light of the World...Speak!


Note from the author: Brothers and sisters, if you’re not accustomed to poetry, here are a few tips:  Read the poem slowly and prayerfully. Expect multiple layers of meaning. It may even be helpful to read it several times. If something strikes you, stop and rest in the moment. Let the words connect to your life and invite you into prayer, even stillness before the Divine Word. As you feel led, turn your meditations into praise, thanksgiving, confession, or requests. Finding peace in our chaotic world will not come with a hurried spirit. Let this be an invitation into the Advent “Expectation” that Jesus is coming to bring us peace, especially in a season with many worldly distractions that so easily overwhelm us and steal our peace. May the Light of the World speak His peace to you!

Emotions: Guilt

By: Sydney Gautier

Scripture: Psalm 51

None of us are immune to screwing up.  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We all have moments or maybe even seasons of life we look back on and wish we could just erase. With those failures, we experience guilt. We all know the feeling when it starts to set in; your stomach starts to turn, your head hangs a little low, maybe your mind starts racing, “what have I done?” 

In a sermon Barry did back in 2016, he talked about guilt as being an emotional gift that allows us to feel and accept that we have done something wrong. However, this gift of guilt can often be used in the wrong way. For instance, when I think of the way I respond to guilt, I think of an endless loop of struggle that I often find myself in when the feelings of regret set in. 

It goes something like this: mess up/sin/fail, beat myself up over it, try harder, fail again despite all the effort I put in to doing or being better, REPEAT. Each failure starts feeling worse than the last, and the guilt starts running deeper and deeper. This kind of response drives me towards myself and all the ways I’ve messed up. This is what Barry referred to as the religious response. One that doesn’t have a lasting change because it never gets to the root of the problem, one that is more focused on ourselves and our shortcomings than on God. 

But there’s a type of response that Barry pointed us to in Psalm 51 that’s much different, that he referred to as the Christian response. This Psalm shows us how guilt is to be used as a gift, as a way to drive us towards Jesus and to repentance instead of towards ourselves. 

In this Psalm we see David’s response to his own sin and failure. Long story short, David committed adultery with Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of his own men named Uriah, and got her pregnant. Then intentionally had Uriah killed in battle so that he would never know he had slept with his wife. Problem solved, no one had to know what he had done. For a while, David didn’t feel bad about it, he felt no guilt at all. The sin ran deep and Barry told us his heart was calloused, because that’s what sin does to us when we don’t get to the root of the problem. But then God sent Nathan to David to help expose his sin to him. 

Once Nathan exposed David’s sin to him, we see his response was not to try harder or do better, it was to run to God and ask for forgiveness and mercy. He asked God to change his heart and change his mind, he got to the root of the problem. 

Psalms 51:1-2, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Psalms 51: 9-10 “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

This should be our response to guilt, too. We serve a good and loving God who wants us to use this guilt to drive us to Him, to ask Him to change our heart and mind! Barry told us He does not abandon us in our sin, he doesn’t take his spirit from us, he doesn’t disown us, he is with us always. He is a good, good Father.

Barry said that the answer to our guilt is all summed up on the cross in Jesus Christ, who took all the sin of those who would believe! Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can run to him in repentance, with all of the messes we’ve created and be caught in a sea of God’s unending grace and mercy and forgiveness. What an amazing gift that is! 

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Click here to listen to a playback of the sermon, Emotions: Guilt

Emotions: Joy

By: Micha Kandal

Scripture: Psalm 16

From a young age, especially being Americans, we are taught to seek happiness. That being happy is how we know we’ve “made it.” We are taught to live the American Dream, and that our life motto should be “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” At least this is what society shouts at us.

As Jesus followers, we are promised that we will face trials of many kinds, and that we should consider those specific hardships pure joy (James 1:2). We are instructed to “Take heart, knowing that He will overcome the world (John 16:33). These scriptures do not promise that we will be happy, life will be easy, or that our lives will be flawless. We are essentially promised the opposite, that we WILL experience hardship. So, how do we make happy happen?

What I have found and personally have come to know, is that God is always inviting us to seek joy in each and every moment of life. Joy not happiness. Joy is so much deeper than the simple emotions of being happy or sad. Joy can thrive and coexist in the presence of sadness or anger or happiness. This is because joy is a state of being. We see evidence of joy and the desire or placement of it in our lives throughout scripture, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 15:13) I believe that joy is a space we are meant to operate out of long term. In the moments and various times that God calls us into His presence, we are also being invited to become fully aware of our heart’s posture and if we are operating out of a place of joy. We are able to accept this beautiful, freeing invitation even when the circumstances aren’t ideal. 

This is why joy is so unique. While we live through various trials and temptations and we may experience a whole range of emotions and thought patterns, joy can still be active and 100% intentionally part of our lives. I think as Jesus followers who have heard the good news and know the promises of our Father, joy is meant to exist and overflow from our souls and into our lives. Even in hardship, or pain, or disappointment. As people who know the truth and promises of God and His character, we must remember that we are capable and strong enough to hold onto joy, even when it feels next to impossible. We were created to live a joyful life, we just have to accept the invitation.  

Click here to listen to the sermon, Emotions: Joy!

Emotions: Hurt

By: Nathan Hood

Scripture: Psalm 42

We tend to obsess over finding a cure for pain.  There has to be a way to cease this infernal hurt.  There has to be a way to never feel this way again.  We medicate.  We labor.  We study so we might be able to explain away the pain but still, it hurts.  Our bodies are failing us.  We feel so young in our hearts but our knees and shoulders ache whenever we do anything.  We look around and see people unable to eat, people screaming and hating each other, old men molesting young children.  It really hurts.

St. Augustine is attributed with coining the latin phrase, “Felix culpa” which is often translated to mean, “happy fault” or “fortunate fall”.  It is the idea that “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist.”  Perhaps this is true.  Or perhaps God did not judge it better for evil to exist, but was so resolute in His decision to let us decide that He did not interfere when the pain was first introduced.  Perhaps it hurt Him to see it happen.  A man can sit and tussle in his mind forever.  But, the fact of the matter is: it hurts.

The Bible tells us and Pastor Barry reminded us in His sermon on “Hurt” that “…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  I do not know much.  But I do know that hope in God is good.  I know that He is good and that to put our trust in Him is right.  So, if suffering eventually puts our hope in Him, we can thank God for it.  Unfortunately, that does not make it not hurt.

All of our life, we should pursue a way to feed the hungry, help the hurting and console the brokenhearted.  These are all affirmed by scripture and encouraged.  We should try to cure the pain though we can be pretty sure it is not going anywhere as long as we are earthbound.  Hurt is the disease and it truly seems that as long as we are here on earth, we will be treating symptoms.  We know an eternal cure which is faith in Jesus Christ but here and now, there will be hurt.  But God assures us a way to navigate it.  He assures us that He will bring good out of it.  It is going to hurt.  Our sweet savior carried the same hurt that we do.  How sweet it is to have something in common with him.  But even that hurts to say.  Every time it hurts, our hope should grow and we should proclaim that hope here on earth.  We keep walking, we keep hurting, and we keep hoping.

The Cure for Pain - Jon Foreman
I'm not sure why it always goes downhill

Why broken cisterns never could stay filled

I've spent ten years singing gravity away

But the water keeps on falling from the sky

And here tonight, while the stars are blacking out

With every hope and dream I've ever had in doubt

I've spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away

But the water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows, heaven knows

I tried to find a cure for the pain

Oh my Lord, to suffer like You do

It would be a lie to run away

So blood is fire pulsing through our veins

We're either riders, or fools behind the reins

I've spent ten years trying to sing it all away

But the water keeps on falling from my tries

And heaven knows, heaven knows

I tried to find a cure for the pain

Oh my Lord, to suffer like You do

It would be a lie to run away