Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

I often have the privilege of speaking into the lives of the young men around me who are hoping and praying that God brings a wife to them soon. This hope and desire can be confusing and often selfishly motivated but it presents a fantastic moment in our lives to learn a great deal about ourselves; things many men never learn.

If a man is in deep pursuit of God I know that God is building into this man at all times. He is creating a man of God, a warrior, a champion who will be willing to lay his life down for his princess and family. If we allow God to work on us there will be a time that you will not recognize yourself if you could stand in front of your past self.  A big part of that re-creation and re-structure is our willingness to be re-created. A willingness to stand aside in humility and offer ourselves to the process. You must lay yourself down, to the side, so that God is then free to bring the abundance on. Think about that verse in Malachi (Malachi 3:10), “Test me! Tithe…give…lay your self down…put your control aside…and give it to Me. Bring in the entire tithe. See if I won’t bless you in crazy ways; overwhelming ways.”  When you are ready to lay yourself aside, God then is ‘free’ to give to you that which is ‘fragile.’ Like leadership, or vision, or creativity, or the lost, or…a woman.  He is free to give you those things that you have the capability to ruin, to destroy, to abuse, to kill.

The ultimate in a man’s life is his sexuality. When you have given that over to God and he can count on you not to destroy the fragile flower of a Godly woman….you are then ready to receive that great gift.
So, “Are you ready?  If God brought a woman into your life do you have the strength to protect her? Protect her trust, her body, her faith, her intimacy?”  That is the question that you must answer. If you are asking yourself this I truly believe you are on the precipice of an amazing discovery in your life.
There really isn’t anything more beautiful and attractive than a woman who is completely in love with God. A woman who pursues God with abandoned worship is the most gorgeous woman on earth. (The same goes for a man.)
Sadly we decide the pain of being created in God’s likeness and being prepared to receive the fragile gift is much too hard to we take matters into our own hands. We go find for ourselves someone who we can put up with. But because we didn’t do the hard thing up front, the hard thing will be lived out with much pain in the future.

I have recently learned some information from the Seattle Police North Precinct about the prostitution on Aurora. In the past few years prostitution has been decreasing in numbers of “walker.” There has been a concerted effort to clean-up the Avenue, which supposedly has lead to a lesser number of ladies on the streets. But recently the numbers have risen. Estimates have said there are 40+ walking ladies on the North Aurora corridor, who move up and down this stretch of historic Highway, and the numbers are growing.

A few months ago I heard a popular talk radio host, Ron of the Ron and Don Show, tell his audience of 300,000 + listeners that there are no “walkers” on Aurora any more. Well he’s wrong and sadly his listeners are now thinking the problem has been taken care of. (I like listening to the Ron and Don Show, by the way and usually there are some great thoughts and discussions on the show.)

My thoughts on this have been growing as I discover some of the sad truths of what is actually happening on Aurora and around Seattle. When I moved to Seattle two years ago and found God directing my path to start a church on Aurora, it didn’t take long to begin noticing the same girls walking the same blocks. Taking a tour of the underground of Seattle we learned that Seattle use to have quite a prostitution problem down town and somewhere around the time the World’s Fair came to town the city moved the prostitution out of the city, north and south on Aurora. The tour leader told us that the prostitution still exists on Aurora because of that move.

Then we learned more about the motel situation on the Avenue and the drugs, alcohol, homelessness and prostitution being supplied from these old rat trap motels. Now the city has closed the worse four trying to cut the crime, the calls for emergency personnel and the nuisance in the neighborhood.

Now the prostitution problem is growing, according the North Precinct and the lesser known issue of sex trafficking (link, on world trafficking) along with it. All right in our back door. Sounds like it has been around for quite a few years, like 5,000.  Maybe the growth of the street ladies is in direct proportion to the closing of those four motels.

But there is a bigger picture here than a problem…these are lives, human lives being consistently and methodically destroyed. All of these women were little innocent girls at one point with no dreams of becoming something to be used, but wanting and dreaming of being a princess who would be cherished and loved. And through the years, “The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy…” John 10:10 An he has done just that in so many lives.

“…But Christ has come to give life!” John 10:10. So this all comes down to my thoughts as of recent.  “What can I do?” I wish I could just spend some time with one of these ladies and share with them the beauty that life was suppose to be and that there is a way out of this “career” of brokenness.

Maybe it is time to buy an hour and a cup of coffee and talk. Maybe my wife and I could do something more than see and shake our heads in sadness. Maybe Epic Life Church can make a difference in a woman’s life. Maybe…

This video portrays well some of the thoughts I have had on education in this post-modern era, many of the erroneous ways we do education, or are forced to do education, has been brought to light in my own life as a continual student and as I watch my own children go through school. I feel there needs to be something better, something more, an education system that ceases stifle creativity and desire to learn.

Sadly we in the Christian world have adopted the same modern era, industrial, educational systems and forced our seminarians into a mass produced pastoral degree with little real life experience. Great knowledge but with little wisdom and creativity. We have to some how move our system from a linear learning experience where we teach all kids of the same age the same things to a circular learning experience where kids (and adults) continue learning in a way they learn best and an age in which they are ready to learn; not just adding onto what they have learned but multiplying their knowledge into wisdom.

I am sure I have a lot to think about on this subject, but this video in it’s incredibly creative form is thinking out loud with me.

This is in response to a previous post, https://keithcarpenter.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/i-owe-it-to-catalyst/, about the Catalyst One Day event I went to. If you haven’t read that post you may want to do that first along with the comments attached to it.
I want to come at this topic again and suggest a solution that may be helpful. I did hear from Catalyst via Twitter, which was kind and may show some interest in knowing and understanding the gap that is often represented between sharing the wisdom of mega-church and the wisdom of small church leaders.
Thank you Catalyst for asking this question on Twitter, @CatalystLeader “Thanks Keith, I agree! 🙂 but I have no power to fix this. Solution ideas?”
As I have plunged into this church planting journey and am coming up on our one year anniversary as Epic Life Church here in North Seattle, I am starting to see and understand things in a new light. One thing I have come to understand is that wisdom must be sought after from many different perspectives. The “how to” of ministry hasn’t been perfected by one church, denomination, pastor, leader, or group. I can’t just listen to the wisdom of All White Mega-Church America to understand how to minister on Aurora Avenue to a multi-ethnic, social, economic, and age demographic. I can learn a lot from them but their model, strategy and leadership style isn’t going to work here.
What I need is to learn from someone who has been in my shoes. Someone who is living what I am experiencing. Of course all churches/ministries are different and require more personal touches and less corporate structure but the guys who are walking in a similar journey would better speak into “success” here.
Catalyst is suppose to be big and exciting and something that encourages and pushes us forward with great teaching on leadership and church growth and seeing the multitudes come to Christ.  I am not against these things. They are great and Acts talks about mega churches all the time. But…
What if the big conferences like Catalyst invited pastors of small churches, those who have served faithfully for years in small communities or rough neighborhoods, who can share the wisdom God has taught them about perseverance and hope and faith, etc. (Of course these would have to be selected well, some small church pastors haven’t seen growth for years because they suck as pastors and are lazy and unfaithful). What if these leaders stood along side the mega-church leaders and held just as much respect, or even better what if the mega-church pastor visibly gave them respect? Wow, how powerful would it be if Andy, Craig, Mark, Bill, Rick, (put in your house hold named pastor), would stand up and edify a church planter who is carving out a ministry on the streets of a city where the mega-church suburbanites only dare to send a youth mission team once a year for a “cross-cultural” experience. That would be something to sit up and take notes on!
(Just so everyone knows, I respect these men I mentioned above. They are doing great things for the Kingdom and to advance the Gospel in the way God has called them. Please don’t miss quote me.)
Again I think it is very dangerous to our church culture to only hear from the Mega-Church pastors. It begins to set a “success” standard that frankly isn’t necessarily success.  Sadly a conference on “How to do Small Church Successfully” wouldn’t be attended, or woefully so. But in conjunction with a Catalyst-ish conference with big worship and thousands in attendance, that could be so sweet and my brothers on the streets who are pastors and beating the streets with feet down would be stoked that someone is noticing them and the importance of their work, and the success of their ministry.
And, it would encourage them to continue and continue well. Their churches would send them to conferences like this because they would come back with things they can actually use.  Sorry, but not all principles for mega-churches work for small churches, many do, but many don’t.
Oh, don’t miss this last point.   There is so much, more than they may think, that my pastor colleagues Andy, Craig, Mark, Bill, Rick, etc. can learn from the church planter or small church pastor.