Posts Tagged ‘aurora’

This is an example of our lives before Christ.

Can Epic Life buy this building? We are pursuing the possibility of making this a reality. It has been a three year process, from a dream, many questions, many closed doors and then having them opened when God was ready. Please pray with us as we enter into new conversations with the owners.

The vision of Epic Life Church: “We envision North Seattle to be transformed by finding an epic life in Jesus Christ.”

This vision draws us to invest in Aurora Ave. North and to see the Church of Jesus Christ grow and flourish along Aurora Ave.  We are intentionally investing in the community in many different ways as we reach far into the marginalized communities along this vastly diverse corridor looking for different ways of sharing the Gospel.

Over the past two years we have dreamed and pursued the possibility of purchasing one or several of the Motels along Aurora and transforming them from houses of corruption to houses of beauty, creating a place for healing and redemption. Historically these motels have been a hot bed of drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the like. We have sought after this vision with great care as we follow God’s leading. We have sought out much counsel and invested much time in research and prayer. God has been directing our steps to move cautiously yet faithfully confident.

After many options have not lined up over the past two years we have come to a crossroads of action where we strongly believe God is calling us into an actual purchase of one motel.

It is ugly, trashed and used.

Can you say, “Transformation?”

What a testimony to a Savior who changes people’s lives. This building is such an example of a life sometimes… trashed, used, abused and unkept. It had once been new, clean and shiny, welcoming new-comers to Seattle, now it sits…trashed.  I believe it can be recreated and given a new life.

This will be a place for community and life. Rooms to live in and a place for a pushing church planting movement into the city.

If you information on the project please leave a comment or email me directly.  keith@epiclifechurch.org

We will be talking about the project on Sunday at Epic Life Church‘s Sunday gathering.

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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…

Tomorrow, 10.16.2010, 10am, we are going to have a “Mural Signing” event at the incredibly colorful mural that we got to be a big part of. It’s located on the North Park Grocery south wall on 103rd & Aurora. We got to take the wall from this…

 

Blank Wall

 

To this…

 

New Mural on North Park Grocery 103 & Aurora

 

And looking at it from the walking bridge it adds a lot of color to the neighborhood.

 

Mural looking north from the walking bridge

 

If you remember in a blog post a couple of years ago I talked about God’s vision in which he showed me that we were bringing color to a colorless place. I look at this mural see only a fulfillment of a three year old vision coming to fruition.  What a blessing to get to be exactly where God wants us, bringing color, life and transformation to a city.

This past Sunday at Epic Life was so sweet! The power of God’s Spirit is amazing and the place I get to journey at this particular moment of my life is phenomenal.

There is nothing I am about to write that I mean to be disrespectful to anyone.

This month’s series at Epic Life is “Three Men Who Blew It and Made A Comeback, and One Who Didn’t.” My intro in the Journal is here.  We are speaking on the lives of John Mark, Peter, King David and Solomon and each Sunday will be from a different speaker. I spoke this Sunday on John Mark and told the story of a young man who ran away but was restored by God.

The Spirit moved and even though it was a Labor Day weekend we had many in the service, including several from the streets, many from international communities, families, singles, old and young.

As I finished up the message and Averi brought in music on the keys I told everyone that it is time to Stop running, Drop to our knees and repent and Roll – Turn back to God and follow after Him. He is always there to forgive and has, in fact, already done so. He will restore us.

Recently our Family has been expanding with several men and women from the streets who have the propensity to talk back while I am speaking from the stage. It doesn’t bother me. I just figure they must be paying attention because most of the time what they are saying out loud has something to do with the message. (Not always though). This week I offered prayer to who ever wanted to join me in the front. All of our homeless friends came forward along with a few others and we, (Jeff, David and I) got to pray over each of them. They smelled of alcohol and a lack of bathing, but they did step forward, a couple to repent, another to ask for prayer for someone else, another for prayer as she enters rehab.

So here’s my big prayer! I am praying that we as Epic Life will be able to exemplify the beauty of the Acts 2 Church and have all things in common with ALL the believers. I am praying that we never become like the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:20-22) who didn’t even share their wealth during communion. I am praying that we are able to break bread together: rich and poor, learned and unlearned, old and young, from every ethnicity, every language, every socioeconomic level, and every spiritually mature level.  I pray that joining us on our knees in the front of church repenting will be all of these people together, side-by-side, without judgement. I pray that this work the Spirit is doing will draw people to Christ and not scare them away.

I know that what happened this past Sunday was scary for many and way out side of their comfort zones, but it was so beautiful!  And, I praise God for counting me worthy to experience it first hand, to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears the full family of God. If you are reading this and you are part of the Epic Life Family, be Bold! See beyond any selfishly focused motives and judgments. Be humbly confident that God has placed you in this place at this time for his purposes and you get the amazing privilege of being in the front lines of something completely remarkable.

I just got home from a small party some of the Epic Lifers threw at a small garden space located on Aurora tucked between the Cicada tattoo parlor and the Easy Smoke shop and directly across the street from the newly established “Dancing Bares” club, a very seedy strip club. We have been given this space by the owner of the land to do with what we would like, so in this space of darkness we are in the process of creating a space of light and color. Tonight the lights were strung over the space as we gathered with a few of the local homeless around some live music, food and conversation.

We are praising God for this moment that began one year ago as we began speaking with the skeptical owners, creating relationships with the business owners and being present on the street. And actually three years prior to this event, prior to moving to Seattle, God shared a vision with me that we would be entering a city with no color and seeing color come to the homes because of Jesus’ blood. Tonight, after being “opened” for less than a year we were gathering with the homeless, the recently drug/alcohol free, the recently released from prison, families and singles who were gathering to bring glory to God. I believe it was a true picture of our favorite verse, John 10:10 “…I have come to give an abundant Life.”

We are positioned in a fantastic place on a not so fantastic highway called Aurora, which is full of prostitution, drugs, abuses, homelessness, human trafficking and everything you can imagine that may come with these. We are in the middle of establishing the Church on the very street that represents the beginning of John 10:10, “The thief has come to steal, kill and destroy…” At this young stage of the life of Epic Life we meet in a theater located in the middle of this darkness and God is giving us great influence and a beautiful name in and amongst the neighborhood. We are seeing men and women come to Christ and be baptized from seven different nations, young and old, affluent and poverty stricken, Lost and Returning. It is truly beautiful.

Sunrise

I love the sunrise, to see it you must get up early. Many people miss the sunrise because it forces you to go out of your way to see it. Those of us who have seen it know the beauty and will find ways to be present when this miraculous event happens.

I see the world around me in the same way.

I have recently gotten to walk with Ben Carlson along Aurora and introduce him to what God is doing on our street. Ben is visiting us from South Africa where he works with the Navigators and is a professional coffee taster. He has a lot of vision for life and future, and talking with him gives me a huge shot of encouragement.

As we walked from the AXIS to the garden space along Aurora and I got to introduce him to business owners and homeless men and women and show him where we minister, sparks started to fly as we praised God for his greatness. We entered the garden space and started envisioning the space green and with a small stage for music and tables and chairs and umbrellas for conversation and a coffee cart where we could sell or give away java to the “customers” of the Space.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if this space was where we held a Bible study for whoever may be walking on the street? Maybe very late at night or really early mornings. That gives me the chills just thinking about it. How about small concerts just for the purpose of bringing music to Aurora? Maybe some vegetables that are growing and people have the freedom to snack? Then Ben says, “Maybe this is your coffee shop that you’ve been dreaming about? It doesn’t even need a building!” Maybe? Oh yeah! What if the tattoo parlor next door actually started partnering with us and looked forward to us being there? Or opened up their back “yard” space to join up with the garden space for a larger venue?

The “what if’s” are huge, when you allow God to push it…

So…on another note but not really, we are at a place financially as Epic Life Church where we are living in the negative, you know – the red numbers. This is a scary place to live, that is strengthening our faith and resolve. But just because we don’t have the finances and resources to pull off dreams doesn’t mean the dreams stop coming. In fact if anything the dreams are growing and God is asking more of us. So we are trusting him in our poverty and owning this new Church as a community in greater ways than if we hadn’t found ourselves in the negative.

Praise God for people like Ben and the business owners who may not even have a personal relationship with Christ and those who are walking Aurora and those who are on our Finance Team with beautiful gifts and leaders who are moving forward even in difficult times and for a church Body who know what they are here for and vision, pure God-driven, life-infused, transformational vision.

“To see North Seattle transformed by finding an epic life in Christ Jesus.”

Find ways to “see” the “sunrise” in your world. It is beautiful and miraculous!

Three years ago God tugged on my heart to leave a very secure and exciting college pastorate and move to Seattle to start a church. This past Sunday, after three years of listening to and following after God, Epic Life Church was officially opened.

And it was awesome!

We began the morning pulling the trailer to the theater and starting to set up a half hour late at 7:30am, but things started coming together and we broke at 9 am to pray and asked God to give us peace and let us enjoy the morning, no matter what happens.

Ten sandwich boards and an eight foot banner set out on the streets and outside the theater and then with the lights down on the house, lights up on the stage and a great atmosphere creating screen behind, D-Vic and the band cranked up the amps and worship ensued with 110 people in the main auditorium and twenty some kids in the children’s theater. The worship music ended with a hiphop hymn and Nathan rapping to bring it home. It was sweet.

I spoke on John 1:1, The Word/Logos with painted black boxes with white letters painted on them, “LOGOS” and explained the Epic Life vision and what God is doing in North Seattle and on Aurora.

We ended out with David’s own song, Your Words.  Then it was off to talk to people and encourage them and answer questions.  It was excellent!

By 12:30 pm we had the trailer packed back up and exited the theater clean and ready for the next movie.

Later that night we met to celebrate at our home with ample celebratory ice cream and toppings.

Thank you God for letting us be in the midst of your Story here in North Seattle.