Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

Birthday #39

Posted: January 13, 2009 in random thoughts
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Just turned 39 and don’t feel a day over 25. Age is a crazy thing, it just keeps going whether you want it to or not. One minute I’m three and wondering around our Idaho property following our big Husky, the next I’m 18 and wrestling every weekend, the next I’m married with four kids and all of the sudden my oldest is 14 and I’m in Seattle starting a church.

Where does it all go. It seems time passes just about as fast as that paragraph describes my entire life. It’s funny how people hold an image in their head about you. I am just recently making some new acquaintances with old high school friends, actually they probably wouldn’t have called me their friend back then, but because they are my friend on the fabulous Facebook, we are good pals now. Whatever.

In their head they still see Keith Carpenter at a whopping 130 lb, all wrestler physic. They probably wouldn’t recognize me if they walked past. It goes with attitudes also, I am sure many who haven’t seen me in years still attribute my teenage personality to ancient 39 years. But, oh how time can change even that.

Sometimes, especially recently, I have notice that I have become much more serious about life, maybe for the good and maybe for the bad. I am sure the burdens of planting a church in a major American city, caring and protecting my family, feeling responsible for those who came with us, feeling like I don’t know enough, spending hours meditating and writing on doctrine and theology, and truly discovering why I believe what I believe, and being pressed in on by the enemy, has something to do with it.

But I don’t want to be all serious and not laugh. I don’t want to be a grumpy old Christian who doesn’t find anything funny any more, because I have taken or been thrust into a heavy load and much responsibility. I want to continue to be able to see the beauty in life and laugh at the small stuff and and the big stuff. I have been finding myself falling asleep at night expecting God to work in our lives the next day but know that I have so much to do and at any moment our money could run out and we would be looking at a forecloser in the face.

Although, at the same time I do not worry. I am so confident that we are doing the right thing. God has continually made it clear that we are in the right place at the right time.

Maybe I just need to lean on him more and less on my own strength and abilities and finding confidence in what he is doing in my life and the life of Epic Life Church. Maybe it’s not as bad as I am making it.

I just feel serious about everything right now and honestly, it kind of bothers me.

Birthday #39. Seriously I love my age, my cup is running over and God is my Father. This is the year to Live an Epic Life.


Well…that is probably the most personal I will ever get here in my blog.


Dieing Fish

Posted: December 9, 2008 in Of Spiritual Things, random thoughts
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I was down at the beach the other day walking and praying and dreaming about the future. I seem to do that a lot, mostly with purpose. It happens to be salmon running season for this particular area and particular salmon. I don’t know much about the salmon runs, being a newbie to the Seattle area, but it was obvious they were running. Why? They were scattered around dead at the mouth a the small creek that ran into the Sound at the Carkeek Park Beach.

The seagulls were having a heyday eating the fish that had not made it up the creek or had gone up and done their duty and died on the way down. Big fish getting gutted by hungry birds. The gulls would eat everything but the skin and bones.

One 24″ long fish was still struggling to move through the shallow water half as deep as his body. With half of his body exposes to air it was having a very hard time moving. The gulls didn’t seem to care that this fella was still alive, they were eating him as he struggled to get through the water. While I watched, his tail fin and back became open flesh as the large beaks attacked, ripping off chunks of skin and meat.

I didn’t interfere, it was nature at it’s finest (I guess).

It did strike me how that gruesome display of wildlife is such a perfect picture of what Satan does to us so often. When we are struggling to get to the open seas and we are exposed, whether by our own doing or that of the world we are surrounded by, he attacks and rips us apart, tearing chunks of spiritual flesh from our backs and it hurts and we get confused from the loss of blood and blurr of pain.

The great thing, our Father does get involved. He sometimes allows us to feel the pain which can make us stronger, he always comes to our rescue, picks us up, and washes us off. But when this happens we are picked up out of the water where it becomes difficult to breathe and at times the washing and binding up our wounds hurts even worse, but then in his gentleness he leans down and releases us into the sea, into open waters into freedom, into an Epic Life, where we can swim without harm.

This is Grace. I find myself up the stream not because I am suppose to be there, but because I am going places I shouldn’t be, but am because of my disobedience. I deserve to be eaten by the birds there in the shallow waters, but Jesus my Father would not allow that to happen and lavishes his grace upon me by healing me and setting me free again, even though he knows I could turn and swim right back up that river and not choose to live the Epic Life.

I choose the Epic Life of the vast Sea.

What if God takes the Aurora Avenue of Seattle, the North South highway running right through Seattle’s heart, and Transforms Seattle through the Redemptive Communities he establishes on this corridor? That would be radical and awesome!  Pray for God’s mighty work to be accomplished in the lives of his servants and the lives of those yet to know him from Aurora.


Aurora - the North South highway through the heart of Seattle

Aurora - the North South highway through the heart of Seattle

Dream with me…

     “We buy a run down pit of a motel that has had prostitution running rampet for decades at hourly rental rates and transform it into a home and rehabilitation organization that helps women who find themselves on the corners of Aurora night after night. A place where God is able to take the very drug dealers and users out of this dive of a hotel and transforms their lives to create a safe house for users to become dry and learn a trade and become members of a productive society and Christ centered community, as their lives are transformed by the King’s power. A place where the ex-users are teaching and mentoring their previous dealers to live lives that are a reflection of Christ. A place that supports itself from a high-traffic coffee house carved out of the once deplorable hotel office. A coffee house that gives employment to recovering users and dealers alike, and helps bring girls off the streets from selling themselves for a living to serving, not only coffee, but an ideal atmosphere where all people are welcomed and have an chance to experience God. What if this place becomes an epicenter of the Epic Story God is currently writing.”

Dream of the possibilities, they are great!


Posted: August 15, 2008 in random thoughts
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I have recently learned the meaning behind the word passion from an on line etymology dictionary at where it states that the word Passion comes root words that in AD 1175 meant to suffer, to hurt, as in the passion of Christ. So it seems that passion correctly defined would have to have a bit of pain in the description, which if you think about the passion that you may have or that others you know may have: passion for Christ, passion for art, a passion to help or protect, a passion for an individual and the love associated, or even a passion for raspberries, all of which produces a kind of hurt or longing of pain for something.

As I find myself meshing into Seattle culture, discovering the “third” place hangouts of my fellow Seattlites and figuring this church planting thing out I am discovering that I hurt for people to come to Christ. That it is actually a pain. I can’t stand seeing people who are not following Christ, those who never have and those who have lost the closeness. Maybe it only hurts because I know the beauty and amazement of following Christ closely and the ugly of not following close.

I understand pain to be nothing short of good, in my life. I can’t speak about the pain of the innocent sufferings around the world. That’s another topic for a much longer page.

The Face

Tuesday mornings bring me to a seat in Mugby Junction on Huff St. for a cup of Raspberry Satin Mocha. I have just dropped my oldest two boys off at school and need a moment to sit, think, write and align myself with my Big Father just before I go and meet with my mentor for an hour, play some volley ball and have a three hour staff meeting, which pretty much takes care of the rest of Tuesday.

Today it Tuesday. And I am where you would usually find me on Tuesday mornings. Today my Pandora Station is on “Irish,” with many songs from River Dance and other very inspirational pieces by Lisa Kelly, Hayley Westenra and Blackmore’s Night.

I am distracted though. Sitting across the room is an unshaven, slightly messy 50 year old man on a computer who is actively chatting with several Asian ladies on Instant Messenger. I can see their profile pictures; young, hip and pretty, some are on web cams. I can see his profile picture; young, hip and handsome, dark hair and cool clothes. He is chatting as person he is not.

It’s sad. Heart breaking.  

He is searching. Searching for a relationship that he can’t have when he’s himself. Maybe he thinks he’s old and unattractive, undesirable, a person these ladies would never want to be around if they saw his real face.  As long as he puts on The Face of a young hip guy he can relish in a relationship that feels good for a moment.

He nervously glances over his shoulder.

I have put The Face on many times throughout my 38 years. I am sure I learned how to do this when I was a kid discovering why and when people “liked” me. I would change my Face depending on the crowd that I was in, depending on the ethos I wanted to portray, depending on the people I wanted to attract. Why? My Main Relationship was messed up.

He switches from screen to screen, trying to hide the conversations and cams with his body.

What makes us so desperate that we will change who we are just to gain relationships with others? What makes us feel so undesirable that we seek to become someone else?  What makes us forget or maybe never truly discover who we really are? What makes us put The Face on?

I am sure there are many factors that enter the discussion, but as with any equation there is a base, a truth that explains the results or behaviors. There are deeper topics maybe even deeper magic that cause us to seek out a different Face than ours as we try to impress others to gain their affection and ultimately a relationship.

The deeper causes began thousands of years ago and can be read in the Jewish Torah, the Islamic Qua-ran, and the Christian Bible.  The breaking of The Relationship. The Curse that resulted from the fall was primarily about a broken relationship with God, a relationship that we continually pursue, but mistakenly seek after humans to fulfill that longing.  The problem; humans will always let us down. There will always be a time that the humans we have relationships with fail us. But we continually seek a perfect relationship, so we play with different Faces.

The truth, we will never find satisfaction in a relationship until we seek after God who is drawing us to himself. Then we can take The Face off and confidently be who we are, no more hiding, no more feelings of inadequacy.

We can be real, we can be whom God has created us to be, not a poser on the other end of the Internet chat room pretending to be The Face we are showing.

He closes the computer, gathers his things and with a glance over his shoulder exits the coffee shop.


Posted: April 25, 2008 in random thoughts
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If I could  –  I would…

  1. Go sky diving.
  2. Learn to scube dive.
  3. Scube dive in the Great Barrior Reef.
  4. Climb Mount Rainier again.
  5. Go Hangliding.
  6. Write a book.
  7. Write a musical.
  8. Write a children’s book.
  9. Travel around the world.
  10. Own a rasberry orchard.
  11. Own a vinyard.
  12. Spend a month in the Rocky mountain wilderness.
  13. Travel to New Zealand and Australia.
  14. Go caving in South America.
  15. Dig a well in Africa.
  16. Open an orphanage in Central America.
  17. Adopt several little girls and boys from impoverished countries.
  18. Learn to play the violin.
  19. Sit on a beach with my wife.
  20. Read all of G.K. Chesterton’s writings.
  21. Learn to fly.
  22. Spend a month in Italy with Kristine.
  23. Take our families on a cruise at the same time.
  24. Learn to surf.
  25. Bounce on the trampelene with my boys.
  26. Produce a movie.
  27. Act in a movie.
  28. Act in a Broadway musical.
  29. Open a restoration home for young women.
  30. Learn to play the piano.
  31. Own a ranch.
  32. Open an International House of Pancakes.
  33. Open an art school for homeless people.
  34. Open an art studio/coffee shop.
  35. Run for Mayor.
  36. Climb Mount Kilamanjaro.
  37. Own a sale boat.
  38. Learn to sale.
  39. Float the Colorado River.
  40. Climb the Grand Canyon.
  41. Ski Alaska.
  42. Own a home in Malaysia.
  43. Snow ski and ocean swim New Zealand in the same day.
  44. Drive Canada to Mexico on the west coast.
  45. Climb Half Dome.
  46. Canoe the Columbia River beginning to Pacific.
  47. Do a forty day fast.
  48. Share the Gospel with the West Borneo natives.
  49. Learn to play the Bass Guitar.
  50. Travel up the Amazon River.
  51. Visit the Galopagos Islands.
  52. Visit Easter Island.
  53. Climb a mountain in Chili.
  54. Paint an oil canvas of a Light House.
  55. Read to my great grand children
  56. Marry my boys.
  57. Have a cup of coffee with President of the United States.
  58. Visit the Holy Land.
  59. Visit Moroco.
  60. Minister in South Africa with the Carlsons.
  61. Kayak all the rivers out of Mount Rainier.
  62. Live near my brothers and sister and parents.
  63. Spend a week with Kristine in Hawaii.
  64. Memorize the book of John.
  65. Talk my family to Disney Land.
  66. Cruise the Medaterranian.
  67. Fish for Marlin.
  68. Minister in Fiji.
  69. Race a car on a track.
  70. Go to the Summer Olympics.
  71. Be independantly wealthy.
  72. Drive a Farrari.
  73. Visit the great cities of Europe with Kristine.
  74. See the Great Wall of China.
  75. See the Great Pyramids.
  76. Sale the Pacific Ocean – From Seattle, Wa to China.
  77. Take the Bible into North Korea.
  78. Learn Mandarine Chinese.
  79. Fly in a Hot Air Balloon.
  80. Speak in front of 100,000 people.
  81. Cliff Dive.
  82. Swim with dolphins.
  83. Own a 20s gangster car.
  84. Build and finance a home for a homeless family.
  85. Minister in Calcuta where Mother Theresa served.
  86. Celebrate our 80th wedding anniversary.
  87. Buy a dieing town and restore it.
  88. Climb Mount McKinley.
  89. Drive from the Northern most part of Alaska to the southern tip of South America.
  90. Act in Les Miserables.
  91. See Trans Siberian Ochestra in Concert.
  92. Spent a week on a tiny Island in the South Pacific Ocean.
  93. Learn Spanish.
  94. Adopt an African village.
  95. Climb Mount Saint Helen’s rim.
  96. Canoe Lake Titicaca.
  97. Visit Deception Island.
  98. Cross the Gobi Desert.
  99. Visit the Island of Beru.
  100. Start a Church…Oh I’m doing that. Yes! One down 99 to go…

Confidence has been on my mind a lot lately and in many different arenas, mostly because I see a great abundance of a lack of confidence in the people who are around me. I see my young boys lacking confidence in their academics, sports and skills. I see students who are timid, even scared to stand up for what they believe in their writings, their talk and their walk on and off campus. So many people live in a non-confident world, a constant feeling that they are not good enough to do something great.

I see this glaringly in my own life in the sport of volley ball. I love playing volley ball! It’s a sport that I could seriously play every day of the week and not grow tired of it. There is something about the sport that thrills me. But I would say that I am definitely not great at the sport. The league team I am part of right now is a good team, probably the best team in the league. Honestly I am the worst player on my great team. Some games I play really well. I get a terrific set to which I can approach and smash it down under the ten foot line, but mostly I only hit the ball with a medium swing, slightly timid. I have a confidence problem. If I was confident in my ability and was truly able I would hit the ball hard every time I attacked it.

To become truly confident I must practice, a lot. Confidence and practice must go hand in hand. Practice coupled with confidence will always result in superhero ability. I have had people tell me that if I just have enough confidence; if I just speak it out loud then it will happen, I will become great. Wrong. Confidence without practice will result in Pride and failure. I can be confident that I can speak Spanish but until I learn, “practice,” Spanish I will never have the ability.

The opposite is true also. “If you just practice enough you will be the best volley ball player there ever has been. Well not exactly. Practice without confidence will result in timidity and failure, this I have seen in my life and many others. People who know the “material” but don’t have the confidence to “speak” it.

If we are able to mix our practice with confidence we will be able to accomplish great things. As we travel to Seattle to plant a church we have to “practice,” learn, read, discover, ask, listen, etc. and mix this practice with the confidence that God is with us and is calling us into this. It is within this symbiotic coupling of confidence and practice that we will be completely successful.

I am trying to figure out what term to use to describe this symbiotic relationship. We can’t call this practiced confidence because that would infer that confidence only comes out of practice, it doesn’t necessarily. Some times we have to be confident just so we can practice. But we can’t call this confident practice because that would infer that we have to be confident to practice and that just isn’t true. Some times we have to practice to gather confidence. It needs to be a word that speaks about the relationship of practice and confidence; neither being more important that the other.

Maybe it should be called pracadence – that sounds like something you would wear in your mouth when you’re old. Confitice? Sounds like some thing the boarder patrol might do to you. Hmm I’ll have to think about this.

Whatever it is called it is something that we need to embed in our lives. Knit confidence and practice together with a strong bond, you will never be disappointed.