It Starts With A Dream

In every generation, there are people that God calls to start a movement. These people carry in their hearts the vision and dream that God has placed in them to further advance His Kingdom here on earth. 30 years ago, God deposited His vision to shift the landscape of this region in our Senior Pastor, Steve Boyce. He, along with his wife and 2 other families, started New Life Worship Center.  Since then, New Life has grown into 4 campuses, holds a total of 8 services every Sunday, and has a TV program with over 8,000 viewers. Hundreds of people serve in all 4 campuses every week and countless lives have been transformed.

It starts with a dream – a God dream.

New Life New Bedford started 3 years ago as an extension of that dream. 78 people showed up to our first service on January 19, 2014, and has since grown into a church that averages over 800 people every Sunday. Among those 800 people, over 100 of them have been baptized, marriages have been restored, addicts have been set free and people have found their purpose and identity in Jesus Christ. Over the last 3 years, we’ve held our services in several different locations throughout the city. Now it’s time to take this dream a step further by putting down roots and establishing a permanent home for our church.

As we embark on this exciting venture of faith, it’s going to take all of us playing our part and sowing into the vision. Let’s challenge ourselves by committing to bring a sacrificial gift into the House of God that will require so much faith that we have no hope of doing it apart from God’s help. There’s got to be a level of sacrifice that comes with our giving. Every person that contributes to the vision becomes part of the story that God is writing for our city and this region.

While our financial contributions will be used for the construction of our church building, it’s what happens inside that building that really matters. As we prayerfully seek what our contribution should be to this vision, let’s consider the following questions:

How much more can God do in a permanent place?

What are the possibilities moving forward?

How many more lives can be impacted for eternity when we have a place to call home?

There are so many exciting things happening in our church community, and we each have a unique opportunity to play a part in what God is doing. Jesus Christ is indeed building His Church. May the vision that’s on our leadership to change the landscape of a region become the vision of the entire church. It’s going to require faith, commitment and sacrifice but God is more than faithful to take what we give Him and turn it into something extraordinary. And through our faith, God’s House will be established in the city, and the Kingdom of God will continue to advance bringing life, healing and transformation into the hearts of many.

For Such a Time as This

Here is Esther-an orphan and by all accounts, a nobody, turned into queen and royalty. After a conspiring plot to destroy the Jews, her only family, Mordecai who is also Jewish, challenges Esther.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” –Esther 4:13-14

Esther is now faced with a life altering decision: approach King Xerxes and consequently risk her life to save that of her people, the Jews, or stay silent in the palace and watch their destruction. She either has to rise and use her position as royalty, or become a bystander and neglect what’s in her God-given power to do. The choice seems rather obvious in a story stuck in the Old Testament, except it’s our story and our daily choice as well, and we are not always so obviously open to risking our lives.

Esther was put in position as queen, orchestrated by a God who always sees the Big Picture. To just sit on the throne, propped up and looking lovely? To gossip with her maidservants in the king’s court? No. Esther was brought from rags to royalty for a purpose: to further God’s plan, to play an irreplaceable role. What if she had told Mordecai she did not want to risk her life? What if she did choose to just sit and watch and wait for nothing?

What if we tell God we don’t want to risk our lives for the purpose He’s created us for, and the position He’s divinely put us in? I think we would miss out on the extraordinary, and on the thrilling, heart pumping journey He has in mind for us. For you! Because you are you for a beautiful and defining reason. How amazing is it to not have to force ourselves to fit into anything, but only flow in the rhythm of who He’s made us to be?

So why are you, you? People die every day; why are you alive today? It’s not for yourself, it’s not so you can be propped up looking lovely on Instagram, it’s not so you can be a bystander and neglect your God-given power. We are to have a genuine relationship with God that’s full of loving Him and loving others; to have our character become more and more like Jesus. We are to be in the family business! And we are to produce not only physically, but spiritually as well.

William Barclay wrote, “there are two great days in a person’s life-the day we are born and they day we discover why.” So when we focus our energy on God, when we take seriously who He says we are, and start to love the thrilling fact that when we became His, our lives were already put on the line, I think we will begin to live out our “second great day.”

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

Knowing Your Opponent

As we navigate through the journey of life, battles often present themselves. We mind our own business, serve God faithfully, tithe every Sunday, yet somehow adversity finds us. And before we realize it, we have just stepped onto a battlefield. As we quickly scan our opposition, we allow fear to whisper you aren’t strong enough, you aren’t fast enough, and you will never win. And because of that, we decide to run.

You see, that’s the problem – running. We have become accustomed to running and avoiding things. Because if we can avoid something, then it’ll just go away on its own, right?

I have learned that the more I avoid the battles, the less I live in victory. And as I continue to run from things, I hand over the power to my opponent.

Our opponent (the enemy) does not want to see us win. In fact, he plots our defeat by studying our every move and working behind the scenes. His attacks are often subtle, making it easy for us to fall for his schemes. And as he works his way into our situations, he begins to chip away at our rich and satisfying life- the life that God intended for us. If we aren’t prepared, we can end up in a place of defeat. He would love to see us defeated because when we’re defeated, we get discouraged. And when we are discouraged, we doubt. And when we doubt, we delay the blessings of God. And at this point, the enemy has done his job…he has deceived us.

But Mordecai wasn’t deceived. He took a stand, and refused to bow down to Haman even though everyone else was doing it. Haman became so angry over Mordecai’s disobedience that he began to plot Mordecai’s death. After learning Mordecai’s nationality, Haman decided it was not enough to lay hands on him alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes (Esther 3:2-6).

What does this mean?

As we stand tall, refusing to bow our knees to the things of this world, there is an enemy who is not happy. In his anger he plots the death of our families, children, the church, and the nation.

But thankfully, we have a strategy to fight back!

  1.    We have the power to defeat the enemy by the blood of Jesus and by the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
  2.    As we humble ourselves before God, we become stronger, giving us the power to resist the devil. And as we resist the devil, he will flee. (James 4:7)
  3.    Don’t be controlled by anger, or let the sun go down while you’re still angry, because anger will give a foothold to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  4.    As we share in Christ’s suffering, we also share in His glory. And because we are children of God, we are heirs of his glory. (Romans 8:17)

When weapons are formed against us, we have the power and authority to say, you will not prosper! And as we build up a resistance, we become unstoppable.  

The Proposal

Are you one of those who was inspired by Sunday’s talk?  Perhaps you found that your heart was nodding, “Yes” as Pastor Marco unpacked the story of Esther.  Did you discover your story in her story?  The King of kings chose an orphaned girl named Esther to be his queen.  But before she could be in his presence, she had to spend a year of preparation.

“Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.”  Finally, she was presented to the king and the “king loved Esther … and was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen. To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.”

Imagine that, during a busy day on a bustling city street, someone dressed in vibrant, bright purple were to suddenly appear in front of you and cry out, “Good afternoon, your Majesty!” The purple figure then gracefully genuflects.  Would you look around to see if you had accidentally stumbled onto the set of Game of Thrones: “New Bedford Edition?”  I can be fairly sure that you wouldn’t take the comment seriously, you may even be embarrassed by being singled out in such a bizarre fashion!

So imagine that this lilac-garbed individual, on the crowded street, now hands you a letter with your name on it in glowing golden type.  It reads, “From: The Ruler of the Universe, Creator of Everything, Sustainer of All That Exists To: My Dear Child.  I request your presence (yes, you) at the Universe’s largest birthday party ever. Date: One Year From Now on Your Birthday.” A hush falls across the crowded street.

You stare at this mysterious stranger.  You’re unsure how to reply.   Stammering, you blurt out “Why-why-why me?”

As if reading your mind, the stranger hands you a second letter.  It says only, “Because I like spending time with you and it’s about time I make this official.  In one year’s time I’m adopting you, and at that point, we can meet face to face.”

“But-but-but,” you continue stammering, “a year from now?  What do I do for a year?”

Again, that mind-reading-purple-dressed-person-with-a-knack-for-tossing-letters hands you a third letter which says this: “For the next year, care for widows and orphans.”

You blink a few times and then take your eyes off the mysterious letter-giving stranger to look around the eerily quiet city street. What you see stuns you.  Every single person has someone in purple kneeling in front of them.  You can tell that each is reading their third letter.  If you could read theirs, you’d notice that one says “Spend time with that elderly gent, Ralph, that you met at Whalers Cove,” while another letter says “forgive your Mom and give her a phone call every morning to tell her that you love her.”  In fact, each letter is as different as one snowflake from another.

Whereas many people are smiling (or looking honored, humbled or excited), other people’s faces say that they are less than pleased by the offer.  You overhear one man saying, “I’m far too busy for this nonsense.”  Your attention snaps towards that vexed voice to see who is “too busy” when suddenly the street is empty of purple dressed strangers.

The noise of the day returns as if nothing extraordinary has happened.  Startled people suddenly start walking again, and you wonder to yourself, “Was that real?”  You turn to walk down the block when you see your neighbor, the one who lost their spouse last year, step onto the street.


On Sunday did God ask you for a year of your life or was it just your imagination and a moment of Pastor-Marco-inspired emotion.

You’re going to have to decide which it was.

What happens when God asks for one year of your life? What happens that year?  What will you be like on day 365? More importantly, will you tell Jesus “Yes!”

Think Better, Live Better

Everything we say and do starts with a thought. Our thoughts can either push us toward greatness, or drag us into a downward spiral. It’s important that we’re paying attention to what we’re fixing our thoughts on. Negative thoughts will try to creep in, but we have the capability of controlling our thoughts and realigning them with what God says about us. God tells us over and over again through His written Word how important we are to Him, but the enemy wants nothing more than for us to set aside all that we believe to be true about God’s love. We often buy into his schemes and see ourselves through our faults and failures, but that’s not how God sees us at all.

The most powerful weapon that the enemy uses on you is deception.

The enemy is after your identity. His goal is to make you question your worth, your circumstances and who God is. If he can get you to buy into his lies, he can potentially destroy your purpose and destiny. Thankfully we have God’s Word as a powerful reminder of who we are in Christ. We were created in the image of God and although this image has been distorted by sin, God sent His son Jesus to restore His image in us. So, in those moments when the enemy attempts to infiltrate your mind with past mistakes or lies that others have spoken over you, open up God’s Word and read what He says about you.

But Jesus told him, “No! The scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

I recently took the Love Language quiz online and learned that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. I respond best to words that offer encouragement, love and hope. Now it makes sense to me why I tend to revisit scriptures that uplift, comfort and strengthen me. And while I understand the importance of scriptures that also challenge and correct me, I love the fact that I don’t need to turn to people because God Himself speaks my love language.

And isn’t that how it should be for all of us? God wants us to imagine ourselves as His favorite. He wants us to live with the knowledge that our worth is absolutely invaluable to Him. When we begin to align ourselves with this truth, there are a few things that happen:

  1. Everything good happening to you will  instantly be credited back to God
  2. Everything bad happening will be something He’s teaching you – a stepping stone for what’s next
  3. You’ll  love coming before God in worship and prayer without thinking you need to do more
  4. No one can ever convince you that God isn’t for you

God’s love for us runs deeper than anything we can imagine. It isn’t something we earn; it’s unconditional regardless of our behavior. Stop defining your worth based on your past mistakes or how others see you and begin to see yourself as God sees you: valued, justified and redeemed in Christ.

Think Better, Live Better


We throw the word around in many conversations as an answer, to show our indifference, or to represent our apathy. In the Bible, however, the word takes on a significant meaning specifically in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is right…he’s using “whatever” in its entirety, and it makes all the difference. He goes on to implore the church to think on these true things; in another letter to the Romans he writes on how our minds will be transformed by the renewing of it (Romans 12:2). The emphasis is put on our thoughts, and our minds with the understanding that lives will be changed once our minds and thoughts are aligned with God. Because when Jesus gave His life for us, it was not only the greatest rescue mission of all, but a repair mission as well. He meant to show us how to think, so we might “unlearn” the thoughts and voices contrary to His own. He wanted to save us in body and in mind. Our minds bend towards death and destruction; it’s easy to be negative, and cynical, and hateful. It hardly takes any work for our minds to be hostile towards the things of God. But thinking on truth, righteousness, goodness…being hearers and doers of the Word takes work and practice. And even still, it’s not in our own strength, but the transformative spirit of God that will empower us to have a mind controlled by His spirit.  

But why so much emphasis on our minds?

Our minds drive our actions. Our minds determine the outcome. If our bodies can be equated to vehicles, then our minds would be what steers the body wherever it chooses. If our minds are uncontrolled by the Spirit of God, then anything goes. The enemy can tell us anything, media can tell us anything, and our minds will lead our bodies to situations and experiences full of destruction and fear. But, a spirit controlled mind will be full of faith, redeemed and blessed by God leading us on solid ground.

Not only hearing the Word but actually practicing the Word will begin to transform our thinking. Yes, thinking informs action, but action will also inform our thinking. If we choose to act on the principles of God, the action will cultivate the way we think about the principle aligning our minds with the mind of Christ.

Knowing where our thoughts are coming from, and being able to discern which voice is speaking over us will help us know which thoughts to keep, and which ones need tossing. When the enemy tries to speak to us, he will sneakily attempt to lessen us, to cut us down, and force us to question God. But when the voice of truth speaks over us, our thoughts will lift us, and empower us to run towards the light. Even when God corrects us, it will spark us towards change, and closer to Him.

The world continuously encourages us to do anything we feel like doing. Do what feels good to you. If you’re struck, strike back. Look out for you first. But then God comes with His glorious, upside down gospel, and shows us a new way of spirit controlled thinking that leads to spirit controlled life. When we invite His spirit to come into every area of our life-including our thought life-then there are no limits, and no restrictions to what He can do through us.

Think Better, Live Better

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse.” – Philippians 4:6-8 

Research has discovered that the mind of a person is filled with an average of 60,000 thoughts per day. This equals to approximately 42 thoughts per minute. Wow! What are you thinking about?

There are many voices that try to influence our lives on a day to day basis. Most of the time, these voices play over and over in our minds like a broken record on repeat. They tell us to worry about how we are going to pay the electric bill, or whether or not we will overcome a sickness. These are the voices that remind us of our pasts and talk down our futures.

Often times, the things I think about derive from my past experiences taking me on a journey in my mind. Before I know it, my casual drive down the highway turns into a trip down memory lane – triggering a past car accident and crippling me with the fear of another. And in the matter of a minute, my mind has come up with 42 different ways to die – ridiculous. 

It’s in those moments that I need to shift my focus to God’s goodness and remind myself, instead of worrying, PRAY! Without the determination to renew our minds, the hurts from our pasts will constantly scream in our heads in an effort to keep us from our full potential in Christ. So whether you experienced a hurtful relationship, or you’re upset because of how you were raised as a child, it’s going to be okay! Those experiences – challenging as they were – are not meant to define you. God wants to redeem the past hurts that we continually relive in our minds. Why? Because your past is something for you to stand on, not something to be buried under. 

Believe it or not, your thinking will affect how you live; what you do, say, and how you act. Most of our thinking is connected to how we are feeling, and feelings are wishy-washy and temporary. If we’re not careful and discerning, our lives can start to breed feeling-based decisions. Like yelling at a person who is slowing down the grocery line, or choosing to hang out with the wrong people just because you feel lonely. The voice that derives from our feelings is never a reliable source.

But, there is a voice that wants to overpower the noise; a voice that wants to take over and be the driving force of your life – the Holy Spirit. As we press into God in moments of doubt and uncertainty, He fills our hearts and minds with perfect peace enabling us to change our thinking, switch off the channel of fear, and have a game plan in place to combat the lies running through our heads.

  1. It’s important to identify the source of our thoughts. Not every thought comes from God; there are multiple voices trying to take over. There is an enemy who does not want to see us succeed. And if we don’t take every thought captive, we can be ruled by all the wrong voices. As we grow in God, we become familiar with His voice. This enables us to shut out the wrong thoughts that are trying to bombard our minds.
  2. Learn to change the channel in your mind. If you don’t like what’s playing over and over, change it – shift your focus! Having victory over our minds comes from being selective about what we are thinking, listening to, and watching. We have the power to create new channels-channels that are going to build us up, and not tear us down. By deleting previous thought patterns we can make room for new ones.
  3. Have a meal plan for your mind. What we feed ourselves eventually comes out. And God’s desire is for us to be healthy – mind, body, and soul. This requires intentional effort. As we change channels and delete old ways of thinking, we need to replace those old habits with new ones. Start your day with surrendering your mind to the Lord. Spending time in prayer and reading the word fills our hearts and minds with His truth. It could be something as simple as changing a radio station and putting worship music on, or listening to a podcast. As we create these new habits, our lives will produce the right kind of fruit.


The Resurrection Life

Easter is the ultimate celebration for a God who deserves the highest of celebration. The Gospel message invites everyone into this grand event, for every time we share the Gospel, it changes hearts and saves lives.

The Gospel is so impactful because it brings resurrection life. Jesus’ mission is aimed towards resurrection. He had to go through the cross, but the goal was never death on the cross; the goal was resurrection’s victory over death and sin.  Through this, we gain eternal life.  When we believe in Jesus, even though we die, we will live. That’s His remarkable promise to us: resurrection. Accepting the sacrifice of the cross leads us into this resurrection life. The cross is the symbol of death, but when Jesus spoke ‘it is finished’  the reign of sin and death was finished as well. We are living post-resurrection.

Before the cross and Resurrection was darkness, confusion, brokenness, unforgiveness, religion, and bondage. But resurrection offers us real and true life; life powerful, and vibrant. When you receive Jesus as Lord, this new life becomes a way of life. It is in you, on you, around you; you can’t help but know the difference between old life and new life. We are designed for the resurrected life of freedom, and in this way to be who we truly are. We then live and move in the rhythms of His original plan for us.

Before was death. Now is resurrection life.

Before the cross, we were caught in a cycle of mistake upon mistake with no way out. But on the resurrection side, there’s a process of restoration with God working on us from the inside out. As He pours His love on us, healing also covers us.  Until we invite God to walk alongside us, our life is broken and unfulfilled, but God releases us into freedom and joy.

And above all else, before the cross, we are far from God. He’s merely a religion, or an afterthought. But after the cross? He’s real. We know Him; there’s a holy intimacy between Him and us.

Paul, the apostle, calls resurrection life a “newness of life.” Jesus told us He came and died and rose so we might have life, and life abundant. It’s a God kind of life and a God-filled life; it’s a new life that is different and powerful because of the cross.

When The Fight Calls

The Christian life is a spiritual war. The moment you decided to follow Christ, you declared war against the enemy and his traps. Starting in the Garden of Eden through the book of Revelation, the Bible is full of examples of spiritual warfare. The enemy’s goal is to render you powerless and useless in life, but God has equipped us with powerful weapons that are capable of fending off the enemy and tearing down strongholds. 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” –2 Corinthians 10:3-4

In the book of Joshua, we read about the first obstacle the Israelites faced upon crossing the Jordan River: the city of Jericho. Jericho had an impenetrable wall around it, and its gates were shut to the Israelites because the people there were afraid of them. However, God gave Joshua a strategy to capture the city. The Israelites were instructed to simply march around the city one time each day for 6 days, and then after 7 times on the 7th day, to shout. The Israelites did exactly as they were told, even though the plan made absolutely no sense at all. What kind of war strategy is this? This method of warfare may not have seemed like the most sensible thing to do in the natural, but it required total dependence on God. When the Israelites finally shouted on that 7th day, the walls of Jericho fell right before their eyes.  It was their obedience and faith in God that caused the walls to collapse.

The walls of Jericho represent growing opportunities in our lives. Every time God wants to take us to a new level, there always seems to be an insurmountable wall that comes with it. We all have a “Jericho” in our lives, but God has given us a fighting strategy. When you’re up against your spiritual Jerichos, begin to encompass them with prayer. Prayer isn’t just about talking to God; it’s about defeating the enemy and his plans to destroy God’s will for your life. Rather than praying defensively when trouble comes, pray offensively before it comes. Through prayer, we call on the forces of God’s kingdom to fight on our behalf.

Once you’re prayed up, begin to demonstrate your faith in God’s miracle working power by shouting and praising God for the victory that’s already been won. There is an element to worship that shifts things in the supernatural realm. As you praise God, you magnify Him and minimize the Jericho in your life.  

What’s stopping you from possessing what God has promised you? What are the Jerichos standing in your way? We all have them. When we operate by faith through prayer and praise, His power is released and those strongholds are destroyed. And the walls that are holding you back will fall down before you as you march in and claim the territory that belongs to you.  

Freedom Cry

After the Israelites reach the Promised Land, one of their leaders, Joshua, dies and a new generation is birthed. We read in Judges how the Israelites then went through this period of forgetting what God had done for them. It’s incredible, isn’t it? They witnessed God do the miraculous; were delivered out of Egypt and their lifelong slavery, and still forgot about the holiness of God.

And haven’t we done the same as well?

In their forgetfulness, they begin to worship other gods instead of the One who rescued them out of slavery. They go back and forth between lesser gods and asking the One and only God to send them a rescuer and a judge. But I don’t think God ever intended for the Israelites to struggle in the bond and ravages of sin and other idols when He offered more than just freedom from Pharaoh, but also freedom from anything less than Him. We often get caught in a cycle like the Israelites. When we let ourselves make compromise after compromise, and put lesser things in the place of God, the chasm between us and Him widens and sin can take root.

But we tend to water sin down and reduce it to a funny mishap, when in reality sin is what separates us from a Holy God. Sin actually disconnects us from the Light. How weighty should we then look at sin? And how terrible it would be to separate from our only Rescue.

And here comes our God who wants us to be free from anything that would separate us from Him. It’s not a matter of filling out an application to see if we’re approved of before we become free. It’s already set; He’s already done the work. He took the victory over death and the grave and handed resurrection power to us so we too could live free. We have power over sin because Jesus broke the power of sin when He walked out of that grave, glorious and ready to offer freedom to everyone who wanted it. To everyone who would cry out for it. You have to want to be liberated. God will always call us as we’re meant to be-a conqueror, loved, healed-and not whatever pit we might be in at the moment; when we start to believe that, things will shift. When we can say, no…this is not who I’m supposed to be, we can cry out to God and cry out for His freedom and He will answer that call. Our surrender opens the doors for our freedom.

We will be tempted, of course. And we are not a perfect people, but God tells us to resist sin and to stand our ground against the enemy and the enemy will take off. That sounds like a promise of how God will then show up with all of His might and victory and power and deliverance ready to hold ground with us.

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” -Galations 5:1 {MSG}