Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Posted: January 2, 2016 in Uncategorized


The cursor, blinks

Beckoning me to feed it letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, thoughts.

It calls to me

Feed me

What shall I feed the cursor?

Just letters, jumbled together in meaningless form?

Are the words that form under my fingertips mere cursor fodder

With no thing of depth

Of substance

Of purpose

Of circumstance

Of right-ness


The cursor beckons to me

I answer


Why has God chosen me to place these words here?

Am I taking the cursor seriously?

Do I consider the strength of what I write and say?

The power of words

Even more God’s words to his people.

I must consider well

What I feed the cursor

For it cannot be ignorant

It cannot be thoughtless

It cannot be empty


I am responsible to listen to the Holy Spirit

And feed the cursor with only the words the Great Word Smith

For the only words that will fill the cursor

Are the words from the Word.


A Merry Selfie Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

A Merry Selfie Christmas,

We live in a generation that gives us more options to be selfish than ever before. We can tweet 140 words about our lives, post a status update to our wall,  instagram a photo of the meal in front of us and selfie our world with cameras that focus towards us. There was a day that the camera only focused on others, but now they have turned to focus on the most important person on earth, central figure of our journey, the very being the universe circles around.


I am number one and everyone else are just supporting characters in my narcissistic world view. I am the hero of my story and frankly the hero of everyone elses story. I actually believe everyone else revolves around me. Their stories aren’t about them but about me. 2 Tim. 3:2 makes it pretty clear that, “people will be lovers of themselves…” and that love of themselves will be what divides and destroys society.

Our egocentric world view creates a system and a society that wreaks havoc on everyone and everything. Even our actions of helping others are but facades of our own mercenary of self indulgence as we trick our own soul into helping others for selfish kick-backs.

This isn’t our fault. Right? Every advertisement we see, every expression in the media we are accosted with tells us that we are to take care of ourselves and that we are to want it “My way.”

We are told, repeatedly, even brainwashed to believe that the selfie driven impulses of our souls should be acted upon. We should get what we want, even demand it to be so.  And, if the insistence doesn’t work we are taught that we should wage war to get what we believe we deserve.

What do we deserve?

Happiness?  No, but the pursuit of Happiness.

Food? No, but the access to food.

Love? No, but the space for love.


We are a people who love others so that they will love us. But we have been called to love others even when they hate us.  We tell others that we love them, but when that love and affection isn’t reciprocated we stomp off in a huff and dream of finding a new lover, one who will love us the way we need, want, desire. What we are really looking for in a lover is a prostitute who will fulfill us in the ways we tell her to, but without paying her to do so. Maybe, if we are honest we are really looking for a love slave.

We love the concept of a loving God, but hate it when we feel he isn’t loving us the way we want him to.  The only way we can be happy with a vending machine god is when we come to him with our self focused request, push the correct buttons and out pops a love cola, or an answer to our prayer.

Then we turn the corner of the Christmas Season after a vain-glorious year of selfie infused autobiographies and try our darnedest to give gifts to those second cast characters of the movie of me and find it hard, because we don’t know them. We only know them through our own eyes, our own lenses of what they might want, based on what we want from them.

Quickly we realize this gift giving perfunctory performance at Christmas is doomed for failure, because nothing satisfies the selfie soul in all of us. The gifts end up being empty.

Hope in what we will get fades quickly and is discovered to be empty.

Joy we so desire is wrapped in the paper thin facade of unfulfilling gifts.

Peace we pray for is only an empty calm in the ignoring of conflict.

Love we so deeply desire is blocked by our own incessant appetite to snap a selfie and share it with the world.


And our souls heave with deep angst. We sit amongst the heaps of shredded cheap and Santa Claused wrapping paper and empty boxes of empty fulfillment wondering what we have just accomplished. Was this past month of buying, worry, traffic, and hope worth it. Did it satisfy the soul? Is this really what Christmas is all about, is it over before it really began?

We hear people say that “Christmas isn’t going to come this year.” Which often means, “There won’t be very many presents.”

I have news for you. Christmas can’t, by definition, come. Christmas doesn’t and can’t do anything on it’s own. Christmas isn’t a physical package bearing being that can walk into your holiday and shower you with gifts.

But there is one who can. There is one who can fulfill. There is one who can bring dreams to reality. There is one who can bring light into darkness. There is one who can transform hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. There is one who can bring death life.




Christmas is but a celebration that belongs to Christians who understand the value of the Sent Savior and Risen Lord. There is no selfie album in the Kingdom of God.

What if we let Christmas do something new to our souls this year? What if we allowed the celebration of the birth of the King to transform our attitude towards the life we live. What if our attitudes made a difference in world and the responses of those around us? What if we gained influence in an influencial city for the Glory of Christ Jesus.

But is it possible to change the course of society; a society that is recklessly careening towards chaotic doom? Can we make a difference? Maybe we can’t change the planet. But we can bring change to those who are close to us. One by one. Neighbor by neighbor. House by house. Street by street.


Think about the so called first Christmas. In a place of zero influence.


Prophecy was spoken

The time was right

Waiting was over

Bethlehem was prepared

Mary was chosen

The Angel presented

Joseph answered

The Gift was given

The Virgin was pregnant

A Journey ensued

The Rooms were full

The Stable was entered

The Savior was born

In the Manger he was placed

No Cameras, No lights, No Royalty

Humble circumstances, A quiet Gift

Silent Night, Holy Night.


A Star shown bright

Angels Sang

Shepherds knelt

Wise men worshipped



Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise to us.

Not because we deserved it.

Not because we had been found faithful.

Not because we prayed to the vending machine god to come and rescue us and fulfill our every desire.


But because God promised to rescue us even when we hated him.

He sought us out, when we had our backs to him.

He searched for us, when we were hiding from him.

He would call out for us when we were muffling our ears.

He would run after us while we were running away.

His album is full of pictures of us, while we were filling our album full of the latest selfie posting.

When we realize the greatest gift ever given was Jesus our eyes turn outward and our photography becomes about others.  We realize that the latest selfie is but an empty apparition of the past, but the photo taken of others creates the future and fulfills the soul’s longing.

We become a people who influence an entire generation to turn towards the creator God, the true center of the universe, the real main character of the story of earth.

When the story of Christmas is told this year, may it tell the tale of you turning the camera around. Instead of celebrating yet another Merry Selfie Christmas, may it be a Merry Selfless Christmas.

You can’t do that if you have never received the gift of Life from the King.

Is Peace possible?

Posted: December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

I am understanding that peace is not the opposite of conflict. Peace is actually best understood through conflict.

Humanity has for centuries, if not from the beginning of time, longed for and sought after the illusive concept of peace, but has never really found it. They have, although, found some intense angst in deep conflict. Reaching for the fruit hanging from The Tree, Eve was actually seeking fulfillment. Instead of reaching towards Jesus for that fulfillment, the only fulfillment that could actually fulfill, she reached for a facade of fulfillment with the help of a twisted truth from the serpent. And tripping down through the generations man has sought clumsily after a distant and foggy perspective of peace but never stumbling onto it.

One reason peace is so illusive is because we don’t even understand the true concept of peace. We wrongly define peace as the opposite of conflict, as in, “If there is not conflict then there will be peace.”  But the truth, is conflict is a prerequisite of a peaceful moment. Without the precursor of conflict peace cannot exist. Don’t get peace mixed up with pacifism. Just because there is not conflict doesn’t mean peace exists.

We can ignore problems and call it peace. But to really experience peace we must deal with conflicting points of view. We must enter into conflict and deal with it, which happens through trust. Peace must be fought for. Peace must be pursued.  “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it,” 1 Peter 3:11. Peace must be taken forcefully. Peace cannot be achieved by ignoring problems. Peace is achieved by vigorously noticing, seeking out, the problems and then dealing passionately with them. We may not agree with each other in the end, but through understanding each other we can come to a better sense of peace.

We must know the ultimate peace we long for was achieved through Jesus entering into the greatest moment of conflict the universe will ever experience. The outcome was peace, beyond our understanding. A peace that brings harmony in our soul with God allowing for a pervasive peace in the midst of and through all problems.

Peace can be known, but only if Jesus is known.  Could it be that the greatest amount of conflict creates the greatest amount of peace. The greater the conflict, the greater the peace. Let’s add to that; when conflict is entered into with selflessness peace becomes possible. Can humanity discover peace? Is it even possible? I don’t believe it is without Jesus’ selfless and dangerous act.

I have been involved in two conferences since Monday down on the beaches of the Oregon coast where the beauty of the land and sea co-mingle in a rush of the miraculous.  The salt water washing the sand of the expansive shores only inches deep, giving its tide only to receive it back again to churn and roll in a never ending white noise; giving, taking, rolling, foaming, and then again, and again.  The incrediblely flat shores often give way to towering rock monuments bearing the names of what they charade – Haystack and Needles.  Every chance I received between sessions I would be wooed by the sirens of the sea to join them, so I would obey and leave the conference center heading towards the surf. I brought out the skim board I constructed in my garage bearing a flying dragon penned by my oldest son.  Throwing the board down, running, jumping and landing to skim across the thin coating of sea water for 30 yards, creates a joy I can’t explain. I don’t think it is actually the gliding I enjoy as much as the fact that I can actually accomplish the task of skimming at my age.

This much coveted time in the sun and on the surf mixed with the conference speakers echoing in my mind has been so good.  Refreshing. Healing. Good.  When I am alone like this I am confronted with silence. A silence in my soul.  Through which my Lord speaks. I have heard many times this weekend the same theme.


I do pray…without ceasing. I pray a lot. I plead to my God for the safety, protection and souls of my sons. I pray for my wife so many times throughout the day I lose track. I pray for our Church and their confidence in the King. I pray for God’s miraculous and abundance and the transformation of Seattle itself. But is there more?  Prayer is like the line between the land and sea; miraculous.  There is amazing beauty in the land, wonders that are unbelievable, majestic, and awe inspiring. There are equally amazing wondering in the great expanse of the sea, which is so overwhelming incredible.  But that place between the terra firma and the big ponds brings the two wonders together in a third wonder. A place that connects, but lives with its own identity; its own miraculous; its own beauty.

We can know only the land. We can know only the sea. Or we can know the bringing together of the two.  If our mortal lives are represented by the Land and the spiritual is represtented by the Sea, Prayer is represented by the Shore where it is all brought together.


Pray and experience a miraculous like you have never before. Spend time on the shoreline of the mortal. Pray.

ImageI just bought a new car last week, 1990 Honda Accord. It’s black, lowered a bit, fun to drive. Its going to be nice to save some money on gas.

Two days after I bought it was the last day of 2012 and since the world hadn’t come to an end yet I went to pick up the Epic Life mail one last time from my good UPS friend John Apple down at the Oaktree village. Thumbing through the stack of junk, packages and letters I crossed the sidewalk without looking up, hit the remote, and opened the door to my new ride.  As I slid into the driver’s seat my eye caught a girl walking the same sidewalk I just crossed. She landed in a iron chair outside of the UPS store I had just left. As she sat down our eyes connected and the corners of her mouth turned up and she winked at me with a, “Hey Honey…” wink. I smiled back and turned my attention to getting my key in the ignition as fast as I could and powering on my space ship and flying.

But it didn’t start.

I looked up and the young lady was still sitting there and from under her furry brimmed hoodie came another smile. I tried turning the key again but to no avail, the car wasn’t going to come to life and whisk me away, back to my busy life. After a few more tries it was time to call Tony, I know he has Mondays free so maybe he could come get the car started. I looked up again and became aware that I was still being watched.

So… I got out of the car and went and sat down next to her. She said, “Hey there.” I replied, “Hey there.”

And then I asked her how long she had been working on the streets. I was surprised at how fast she moved into conversation about prostitution with me, as she told me she had been working at a regular job but had a girl friend earn in two days on the streets what she would make in a month at a job where she paid taxes. She needed money to live and this paid the bills. She spoke between slow draws on her cigarette, raising and lowering her hand to her scarred chin and cheek.

Then I told her that she is much more valuable than surviving a life of giving her body to be used and living alone in a motel room night after night along Aurora waiting for another guy named John to call her. 

Heather crumbled into her lap and began to weep uncontrollably. 

I spoke of the great and miraculous love of Jesus and the transformational power of Grace and forgiveness and that I have these great friends all around me who would welcome her as part of their family. I then offered to take her home, to spend New Years eve with my family. I would even buy her time if she needed that.

Her sobs where audible to anyone walking past as she relayed the story of her horrendous experience as a child. A kind woman, who passed by two minutes earlier, offered us a couple of lattes as she returned. She had to be an angel. 

Heather declined my offer, said she couldn’t do that, she would only hurt us, and became very skittish of the situation she had found herself in. It seemed time to let her go, so I wrote mine and Kristine’s name and my cell number down on a napkin and told her that no matter when or where, if she needed to call I would answer. If she needed protection I would be there. She quickly folded the napkin in half and pushed it into her purse, while wiping her mascara smeared eyes with her sleeve.

Tony arrived. 

Heather left.

The car started on the first try.

Luke 14:12-14 shows Jesus sitting at a banquet prepared by a religious leader. Jesus starts a discussion about who the leader could invite to his next dinner. He tells him that maybe it would be good idea to not always invite those whom he knows will return the favor and hence keep the circle of recognition going: ie you invite me, I invite you, you invite me, I invite you.  Maybe instead it would be a great idea to invite those who can’t pay you back…you know…those people who are poor, homeless, lame and just not part of the high society.

I have read over this passage several times and actually have preached on it many times too. But this time God opened my eyes to see something that carried much more weight than I had seen in the past.

In verse 13 Jesus says (paraphrased), “Hey man, listen up…when you host an elaborate meal invite those who can’t pay you back.”  

Did you catch what he was saying. Jesus was basically saying that when you premeditate a banquet, when you think a month earlier that you will be hosting a meal and sending out invitations and then going out and buying the food and preparing the meal. When you set the table and pick out the wine. Do this in such a way that you are preparing the table for the elite crowd you usually invite, but don’t invite them. Prepare the meal, pick out the wine and set the table with creativity and thought and your finest, even when you are inviting those who cannot pay you back.

Do we do this?  When was the last time you were serving at a soup kitchen for the homeless and the table was set with the best crystal and china and silverware?  Whenever I have been involved in serving the down and out we get out our best paper plate, paper cups and plastic forks set on a clothe-less picnic table in a non decorated cement floor room where the servers are standing behind the counter slopping the meal onto the plates as the marginalized shuffle through the line and sit alone but together on the bench seats where only “they” are relegated to.

I know we don’t mean anything bad by this treatment…but I don’t think what we are doing is what Jesus had in mind.  The next time we serve our community at Epic Life Church, in the Garden or at One Cup, let’s bring out the best we have and “host an elaborate meal” in Jesus’ name.Image

Since being in Seattle God has given many of us new eyes to see those around us who are hurting and need love. We have been able to become friends with many who call the street their home. Men and women who literally live under the bushes behind the theater we meet in for our Sunday morning gathering of Epic Life Church. These men and women have their street name, but are always introduced to us by their given names. One such man, whom God gave me the privilege to come to love and call, “Friend,” is Ken Weed.

Ken is 45 and has been on the street for around five years. He has a nursing degree from the University of Washington and was working in a local hospital up until he got drunk in a bar late one night and got into a fight that consequently got him sent to jail and then fired. He has told me many times how much he regrets that night, but now looks at the cold facts of being a drunk, homeless and jobless without opportunity for something better.

Over the past three years Ken has become part of the Epic Life family. Most of the time we would see Ken he would be drunk, much too drunk to carry on a good conversation. Often at the end of a Sunday service he would find himself passing by me and reaching out for a hug telling me, “You know I need help quitting, or You know so and so needs help, or You know I’m trying.”

Early this past winter I was leaving my office later than usual and as I walked out into the dark parking lot Ken approached me out of the drizzly Seattle rain. He was cold and hungry. I was late getting home and knew dinner was already on the table, but I paused. I can still see his eyes; there was death in those eyes.

“What would it matter?” Was his question. I knew what he meant. “What would it matter if he killed himself that night? No one would miss him and the pain would be over.” “No one cares, do they Pastor Keith?”

“No one cares, do they Pastor Keith?”

The knife cut deep. I didn’t know what to do. There is so much life; good and bad choices; abused and abuser that brought us to that interaction late that night. I was confronted with so much. Pastors, mentors, counselors and well meaning people in my mind telling me my family needs me, he’ll be OK. “You can’t help everyone.” “He got himself to this place.” “You’ve have already put 60 hours in this week, go home.” “You need some ‘me’ time.” “You don’t have the money to help him.”


I knew he was heading around the back of my office to sleep on the cold concrete out of the rain without food, without a blanket. So I put my arm around him and said, “I care Ken. I would miss you.” I walked him to my van and we drove to the 125th St. Grill, just up Aurora Ave. This happens to be the same restaurant where I attend a weekly Rotary meeting. We walked into the restaurant together, me talking to him like he was clean, well kept and a paying customer; well, like he was my friend.

We sat in a booth facing each other by a window. I wondered if he was feeling all the looks from the other restaurant patrons; those questioning eyes; those raised eye-brow conversations. He ate a very large steak complete with juicy goodness running down his full scraggly beard and a cigarette break outside. I ate pasta, with a clean face and no cigarette break. He was dirty and smelled really bad. I was clean and didn’t smell as bad.

We talked and drank some coffee and had some dessert for another hour. I talked about what surrendering to Christ would be like. He wants to, but thinks he can’t. That Jesus wouldn’t accept a drunk like him. I told him Jesus comes looking for us even when we are drunk.

We left the restaurant that night with a deeper friendship. I drove him back to my office, got him a blanket and handed him my left over pasta, gave him a big hug and said, “Ken, you’ve got to hold on, for just a little longer.” He and I parted that night going in such different directions on so many levels. As I drove towards my warm home and happy family I knew that, at least that night, God had allowed me to bring Ken back from the brink of death. He would remind me of that night many times in the coming weeks.

It was soon after the events of that night that Ken enrolled himself in a six month recovery program at the Salvation Army. We were all so ecstatic and happy for him. I would get several phone calls over the next few weeks and he sounded so good. I felt that there was hope and that Ken would make it out of the enemy’s ditch and it wouldn’t be long that Ken would be recovered completely and working and living in an apartment. The future looked good.

But that isn’t how it worked out.

Ken decided the program was too hard and left after just two months only to find himself back on the streets and soon back to the bottle. This time the intoxication was worse.

Some of the street people told him not to go to Epic Life anymore because we were mad at him. But we found him on the street and made sure he knew we still loved him and would be there for him, but wanted to see him leave this life of being imprisoned by alcohol. But he went downhill pretty fast.

About three weeks ago, late at night, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was Ken from an emergency room several miles north of our home. I wrote a recent blog post about that night and if you want to know this piece of the story in depth read that here. June 22nd Post 

Long story short, Ken had stolen a $45 bottle of Jack Daniels and drank it all, as he walked north. The ambulance picked him up face down on the side of Aurora Ave. I picked him up and told him that we were going to go back to the store and pay for the bottle. I told him that in the absence of him having any money that I would pay for it, but he promised me he would come back with me in two weeks and he would pay the debt.

I dropped him off at the park that night. In my heart I knew he would not make it another month.

I saw him one more time.

This Tuesday I receive the call from Alicia, who works at a local market, which is also the local street hot line in the neighborhood. She told me she had just heard that Ken’s body had been found on Monday morning. I wasn’t shocked, but my heart sank hard. I would later learn from the Medical Examiner that he probably died on Saturday and lay there in the empty lot behind the China Dragon for two days.

I felt like the “walls” of the world were closing in on me and I couldn’t make out what my thoughts should be. Tears started to fill my eyes. Images of Ken started flashing through my mind; the times we played cribbage in front of Qdoba just before church started, his smile at the block party, his intoxicated hugs after worship, even his smell wafting through the layers of coats.

Then all I could think of was the debt that was still owed at Bartell Drugs; $48.00 for a missing bottle of Jack Daniels.

Soon I found myself sitting on a curb in Bartell’s parking lot, weeping for my friend. My head buried in my hands with tears pouring through my fingers and pooling up on oil stained asphalt. My grief was so great and uncontrolled. I felt I had lost a close friend who almost made it out of the darkness, but was taken under as I watched.

Finally I stood up and wiped my face off and walked into the store. The first isle I came to was the liquor isle where I happened to find the manager also. I looked at her after she identified herself and said, “This is going to sound a bit strange, but…” and I shared much of this story with her.

As I told her that my friend had stolen the bottle and I was there to pay for it, she was taken back. She knew the day and knew that there had been a loss of inventory, so she headed to the counter. Her movements where slow, like she was purposefully moving methodically so she could think this through. Then she said it.


“I don’t understand why you are doing this.” She said through her green eyes that seemed to want to cry.

Tears instantly started down my checks, right there at the checkout, 8:30 pm. I told her that I am well aware of what debt means and when there is debt there needs to be payment. I told her that I had a grand debt that I couldn’t pay and the penalty was death. But that Jesus paid that debt for me, offering be an unmerited Grace. And I got to share the Gospel with her and tell her at the end that Jesus paid that debt for her also.

So I handed her $40 and she said,

“I’ll need $8 more.”

With a smile I paid the rest and said good night and as I left the building I heard her turn to a coworker and start relaying the story.

I cried a lot last night, all the way home, in front of my oldest son, and most of the night. Kristine is gone this week with my youngest three, so the night was long and quiet. I really needed her, but maybe it was good for me to be alone. There are so many questions. Did we do enough? What could have we done? Do we know how blessed we are? Why am I not in Ken’s shoes; why weren’t our circumstances switched? What do we learn? How can we do better next time?  Will this make me calloused? What was that I told him. “Just hold on Ken, for a little long.”

We will hold a memorial serve this coming week for those who knew Ken. We will celebrate life and eternal Hope and we will continue praying and working to see Seattle transformed through an epic life in Christ Jesus. For this is what we have been called to do and it is what we will do with confidence.