Posts Tagged ‘aurora’

The past couple of weeks have been pretty amazing. Spiritual Wars are happening all around us, but we know who the Victor is.  Here is a quick synopsis.  It started a few months ago and came to a head Monday night, August 3rd.  A young lady who has been feeling God’s call on her life over the past few months came to a place of running away from God’s arms to being embraced by the love of Jesus Christ.  Casey Ties was blessed with many opportunities to listen, guide, and share the love of Christ with her, and at 12:34 AM, she prayed a prayer turning her life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  You can read more about it here:

Even after such a beautiful representation of the love of Christ, she experienced the enemy’s attacks of darkness and confusion (prayer and the Word dispersed the darkness).  The next day our team felt Satan come against all of us.  The manager at the movie theater, where Epic Life will be publicly launching, told me that he was pretty sure the company wasn’t going to rent to us when he said bluntly, “They don’t do that anymore.”  This really confused me as I felt so strongly that the theater was exactly where God wanted us to be for our launch.  Later that evening, I went to Northgate Baptist Church where the members were taking the final vote that would turn the property over to Epic Life.  The fifteen minute meeting turned into a three-hour business brawl. And on top of it all the church planting director of the PSBA, who was supposed to facilitate the meeting, barely made it on the account of his wife being in an auto accident.  At the same time, our leadership team was in our weekly meeting and struggling through issues of low confidence, confusion, and fear.  Clearly, a darkness was trying to extinguish the light on Aurora.

That same afternoon, I was sitting in Twins Gardens Restaurant eating chicken fried rice and writing in my journal, telling God that if He gave me the steps, I would follow.  I looked up and noticed two men walking into the restaurant.  One was blind.  I realized my mistake… so I wrote to God again.  This time I told him that even if I couldn’t see the steps to travel, I would still follow.  I didn’t have to know how or what the path looks like.  I just needed to follow.

That night, God showed His power over the forces that fight against us: Gary’s wife is alright (just a damaged car), the vote on the church came out 6-4; it is now Epic Life Property; we found out there is a national contract with the AMC Theaters allowing us use of the theater at about 1/3 of the cost I expected;  our team left tore down, but being built up stronger; and on Sunday, August 9th, we conducted our first Baptism service at Richmond Beach in the Puget Sound.

Friends, we know the Victor.

“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
John 1:5

I was at one of my fave coffee haunts, the Hot-Wire, recently renamed to The Laughing Ladies, on 15th ave. N. and 180th st. It is the only shop that I can find a Mayan Mocha, a chocolate flavored coffee with cayenne pepper. Hmmreally good. The picture I am about to share withyou will be hard to believe, but as I sat down with my 12 oz. Mayan Mocha I accidentally spilled a bit over the lip of the cup, which dripped from the handle creating this sweet piece of art.

myan-mocha with spilled cayenne pepper

Now I don’t know about you but that spillage looks a lot like a cayenne pepper, the reason I enjoy the Mayan Mocha so much. Here’s a picture of what a real cayenne pepper looks like.


Pretty cool.

I have been reading through Acts 19 lately, which is a wonderful true story of when Paul and his companions where in Ephesus for three years and some pretty amazing things happened. Here’s the run down…

This was an account of Paul’s third time out on a journey that was specifically purposed to encourage and strengthen churches he had started in the past and also to venture into new cities to start new movements of people who believe in Jesus. The city of Ephesus seemed like a target destination for Paul. He had some good friends, Aquila and Priscilla, who had stayed there as Paul passed through the city on his second trip and now he returned to this coastal port city to spend time with this couple for what turned into three years.

I often wonder if Paul had any plans when he traveled. Like how long am I going to stay? What am I going to do? How am I going to pay for this? It always seems like he arrives at some location, usually a city of size-able renown, and stays until someone tries to kill him or he has talked to everyone in the city.  This time was no different.

The city of Ephesus was a city of greatness in the first century dating back hundreds of years and centered around one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; the temple to the goddess Artemis/Diana.  This was a massive temple around a stone that fell from the sky and resembled Artemis. The city also had many other temples and baths and places of occultish worship. The city itself thrived on the revenue from tourists who came to the city to see the temples and take part in the goddess worship. It was a corruptcity with a huge occultic practice and following. The temple provided hundreds of temple “priestesses” who were available for orgies and the like as “worship” to Artemis. And as a reflection of this the city offered the same throughout it’s streets.

This is the scene that Paul and his companions were welcomed into as they set their eyes on the people of Ephesus. This of course was an important city around the world also. As a port city it enjoyed a lucrative commercial trade status to the sea and into Asia. The influence of the city throughout the world was great because of the number of people who traveled through and lived in the city of 350,000.

Acts 19 tells of the amazing miracles that were happening because of the Holy Spirit working through Paul. Paul was able to heal many people of disease and demon possession and cloth pieces that touched him would be taken to the ill and healing power would flow from the cloth to the inflicted and have healing power. Pretty crazy stuff.  These things were important for this city to see. Because of the demonic influence on the city and the reliance upon occultic incantations and the worship at many different temples, the power of the Most High God had to be seen in two ways; physically and spiritually. So God allowed Paul to heal the physical and the spiritual lives of the people in this city.

A group of occultic brothers tried to use the name of Jesus to cast a demon out of a man for their profit only to find out that the demon knew who Jesus was and even knew Paul but didn’t know these men, because they did not have the Holy Spirit. The possessed man attacked the seven brothers and beat them, tore their clothes off and chased them away. News of this traveled around the city quite quickly even without the nightly news and the people of Ephesus began to see the power of Jesus and the lack of power of all the gods and goddesses they were worshipping.

This is an important happening so that this city could tangibly see the power of the Holy Spirit. Throughout these three years that Paul spent in Ephesus many people came to the Lord, in fact so many people came to the Lord that the idol selling business started to fail, because people were turning from idol worship to non-idol worship; turning from following a powerless goddess to following an all powerful God; turning from basically worshipping the flesh and desires of sin to setting self aside and worshipping God who gives the ultimate gift of love; turning from a temporary gratification to eternal satisfaction.

So what does this have to do with a cup of my favorite Mayan Mocha and a spilled cayenne pepper?  It just reminded me of a word. Permanent. I showed the coffee saucer to Curtis behind the counter at the Laughing Ladies and he said, “That’s cool.” Then he took it and I am sure the next place for the saucer was the dish washer. “Gone, my art is,” in my best Yoda.

Seattle, like Ephesus, worships many idols that will vanish and can never be permanent. The goddess Artemis/Diana was all about the worship of sex, nature and the fulfillment of self.  Artemis was called “Mother of all things,” “the protector of the Agora,” which was the market place and that of the center of commerce; “Patron of Hunters”, dealing with the gathering of food; “Patron of the Wild Animals” also called “Mother of Nature.” We would say “Mother Earth.”  She was also called the “goddess of Childbirth,” speaking into child centered parenting.  Some would sacrifice to her as a patron goddess before going on a military campaign. Also the goddess of virginity. And more.

The point is that “she” was worshipped in many ways, but now the great wonder of the ancient world is no longer standing. It has been completely eliminated…but for one pillar of the 121 pillars, which was re-errected recently as a touristic location. The rest of the temple after being torn down was made into roads and other buildings and over time the amazing temple disappeared, much like the spilled cayenne pepper at the Laughing Ladies coffee shop.

The Christian movement in Ephesus took over and the occultic practices diminished. Christianity continued to grow and flourish in radical ways and will never be “washed off.”  Although over last two millennium Satan has tried countless times to wipe out the name of Christ, he will never succeed. Never.

Here we are in Seattle a kind of Ephesus in this short period on the time line of the world’s existence. Aurora Ave. screams the worship of sex, money and self. Seattle screams the worship of animals, especially dogs, the worship of nature, of food, and commerce and the name of Christ is being pushed away as men try hard to rid Seattle of the influence of God Most High. I believe God is doing something extra ordinary with Epic Life Church over the next three years that will transform this city and its focus in worship.

All that from a coffee spill?

Today I will be walking on Aurora praying for the street and the employees and business owners along the 90-110 stretch. I want to discover how we can minister to these specific people; men and women who see the neighborhood every day in unique ways and often times depressed ways. I will be praying specifically for the following:

  • The Adult book stores. (Praying that they would close because of a lack of clientele; that the owners and employees would come to know Jesus even before they get out of the business; that the clientele would feel a deep urge to seek Jesus before seeking this addiction.)
  • Cindy’s (The restaurant that is supposedly going to be turned into a strip club; praying that it wouldn’t; praying that if it does we can minister directly to the dancers and clientele and owner.)
  • The Warehouse. (The 30k sq. ft. building that is empty and for sale that we want to turn into an indoor skate park, climbing wall, volleyball courts, a creative environment to mentor kids and the Create Cafe; this is an impossible dream, but God is the God of impossible dreams; praying that the owner would cut the price in half or just out right give it to us.)
  • Influence (Praying for influence in the communities of that area; with the youth, residents, police, community boards, business owners.)
  • The Oak Tree Mall Theaters (Praying that we would be able to move into the theaters come October 4th and that we would be able to secure the entire building in the near future; influence with the owners and the mall community.)
  • Praying for specific divinely appointed conversations with several people who God is drawing to himself.

Please pray with me as he leads my feet to the places he needs my mouth to speak his words.

Talk to Him!

Posted: December 6, 2008 in Moments of God
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“Can this happen every time I am out?”


Dec. 4th, 2008, destination Cindy’s Restaurant Aurora and 105th, North Seattle. The restaurant and surrounding parking lot and another small building is for sale and peaks my interest, both for location and excellent opportunity to start a Creative Cafe with a Christ-like focus in the area God is calling us to minister in.

I walked in to ask for the owner, who wasn’t available, so I turned to go. Seeing a young man sitting alone I felt a tug at my heart to go sit down with him and eat breakfast with him and chat.

So I left.

I got in my car thinking, “Yeah right every time I see someone I am suppose to sit down and pay for his meal or coffee and chat.”

“Right.” Is all I heard.

So I got back out of my car and went back in the restaurant and sat down and ate with Ben and chatted, paid for his meal and had a great time. Come to find out he is a mountaineer and has climbed Rainier several times and is currently training to climb Mt. McKinley in Alaska. We talked for about an hour, I got his email address and we are going to get together, climb and talk about creating some kind of adventure camp for the kids who call Aurora and the inner city home.

Thank you Father for allowing me to meet Ben. It seems that I would learn to just follow when God speaks.

In a previous post I talked about Moses, a young man from the country of Eritrea, in North Africa, in war with Ethiopia. Moses and I had a devinely appointed breakfast one morning at 4 am. (if you haven’t read that post I think you should before you read this one). I have been discovering that I must pray before I set my feet on the floor in the morning and say, “Father here are my feet take them where you need me to go.”

He has been definitely taking me places.

A couple of days ago I found myself driving down Aurora Avenue and making a phone call on a store front that’s for rent. It’s 3000 square feet and right across the busy street from a small shopping area with a movie theater. I am thinking this would make a fantastic place for an Epic Life flavored coffee shop, with live music, a studio art gallery, and an after school mentoring area. On Sundays we could rent out the theaters across the street for our Sunday Celebrations.

After walking through the building I stood on the walking overpass right in the middle of the street and watched cars filled with lives, lives that matter to God, rolling north and south. North as far as I could see, businesses and cars, through a very large cemetary and on. South the Seattle sky line. I asked God, “Father if you are drawing us to this place on Aurora please show us. I don’t want to be producing something out of my own thoughts.” I watched for a half an hour.

Then I got in my little Cooper and drove around the neighborhoods on both sides of the Avenue of Revelatory Desire. There are many lower income houses, several apartments, the North Seattle Community College (18,000 students), many businesses and one steeple. I just caught it out of the corner of my, if eyes have corners. I backtracked a couple of blocks and found it. A small Baptist church and Christian school with forty students of which over half are children from Ethiopia and, you guessed it, Eritrea. Children going to school together in America whose families are fighting a war against each other in North Africa.

I spoke with the senior pastor, and in this case truly “Senior.”  He is the Rev. Cluck. No giggles on the name. He has been at the church for thirty years and is currently 83 yrs old. He tells me that the church use to be vibrant and had lots of young families and they where seeing many people come to the Lord every year. But over the past several years it has been nothing but a declining population and is now down to 20 on Sundays. The parishioners are made up of his son and his wife, his two grandsons, their wives and children, that leaves about eight other people who are in their 70s. His words to me, “We will be a dead church in a very short time.” He also recited to me each church in their area that has closed it’s doors, or merged with other churches just to stay alive. “But we must stay open and remain a light North Seattle.”

I could tell it was hard for him to see this happening especially since he had spent so many years investing his life into this ministry. As I left I could feel his sadness in the decline of the church in Seattle and in the view of his own pulpet. He confirmed to me that we should be in Seattle, “Everyone else are starting churches in the suburbs, no one is beginning new works in the city.”

I am confident that God is calling us to the city, the Avenue called Aurora, to Transform Seattle through Redemptive Christ focused Communities. I am not sure how this church and school fit into God’s plan for Epic Life Church but I assured him that we would pray much for His direction.

If you are reading this please pray that God would plop down about 100,000 green backs so we can rent the building on Aurora and open a coffee shop ministry and have a presence on this busy thoroughfare. Pray that we would be wise and continually seeking God’s direction. Pray that encouragement will be sent to the Rev. Cluck. And continue praying for Moses, I believe God wants him to join us. I have yet to hear back from him.

Rev. Clucks age is interesting to me. He is 83, I am 38.

Follow, Even at 4 am

Posted: September 9, 2008 in Moments of God
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 I facebooked part of this early this morning asking for prayer, promising I would write it all out here…so cool! Please read this well and slowly and then read it again, God is amazing!

I woke up this morning at 3:50 am, Kaleb our three year old was calling. I took him to the bathroom, put him back to bed with a squeeze and kiss and quietly shut the door behind me. The house was just starting to wake up. Jeff and Kari Campbell, who are living with us, were beginning to stir to get Jeff off to work by 4:45. Should I go back to bed?


I felt this pull to grab my journal and Bible, my Cooper keys and go to Shari’s restaurant to listen to God for what the message this coming Sunday should be about. Giving Jeff a quick shoulder massage over his bowl of cereal, I exited out of 175th Ct., turned right and headed North on 6th Ave, but felt compelled to make a u-turn and go back South. Left on 175th Street and finding myself turning right and heading South on Aurora Ave. The street was quiet like a drive through coffee shop in the Sahara Desert. As I drove with my lights directing me South I began to pray that this street would be God’s. I prayed that he would give us this street to Transform with his power; that He would take the Drug Dealers, the Prostitutes and the Buyers and give them to us; as his hands and feet – to share Christ’s love relationship with them.

I prayed that this would be our Canaan, our promised land, that as God, using Moses, brought the children of Israel out of Egypt from North East Africa and into the Promised Land, He would give us this street, this corridor through Seattle. I prayed that we would be given houses and businesses that we didn’t build. That we would be given the “riches” of this street, riches that we didn’t sow for. All the way from 175th St, South to Winona St.  One hundred and ten blocks I prayed that this thoroughfare would become ours, Gods.

On the way back North a old beat up car passed me slowly in the right lane. I remember the car because the driver was watching TV and driving. He passed, not noticing me. I was heading back up to 160th to Shari’s Restaurant. As I pulled into the unoccupied parking lot this same car pulled into the spot right in front of me. We both got out at the same time and I sent him a quick, “Good morning.”

We walked into the breakfast establishment close enough together that the host asked the gentleman ahead of me, “Two this morning?” He replied, “No, just one.”  But my heart exploded internally with, “Yes. I am suppose to eat with you!” But I was seated in the booth next to him. Two minutes passed and God burned in my spirit to get up and sit down with this man and eat breakfast with him.

So I did.

He cordially welcomed the company, and we began to talk. He is a pizza delivery guy, working a 6 pm to 4 am shift at a pizza joint that delivers late night cheesy pies up and down Aurora, to the Drug Dealers, the Prostitutes and the Buyers. The very people I have been praying for. He is from Eritrea, a North East African country ravaged by war. He was a Christian disciple in his country but since his import to Seattle two years ago he has not lived for Christ at all. His name is…


Mussie, his the Eritrean name, meaning Moses in English, knows he has been running from God and knows he needs him back in his life. He understands that he is becoming like the people he hangs around with.

Throughout our short time together I told him that this divinely appointed rendezvous in North Seattle on Aurora was his “Burning Bush,” and that it is time for him to welcome Christ back into his life. I told him that he can reach people in Seattle in ways that we, Midwest white kids, could never dream of. I encouraged him that God continues to know his name and continues to draw him to himself and that no matter what he has done his Father still wants him.  Most of his family is in Seattle now, a couple of brothers are still home fighting in the war. His country’s leaders have systematically shut down churches, arrested and imprisoned pastors and teachers. But Moses…Moses lives in Seattle, safe in Seattle. Far away from any war or pain. Far away from persecution. Far away in his own wilderness. Far away from God.

Praise God with me for this obvious appointment with Moses, a man of God, being drawn back to God, placed in North Seattle for “such a time as this.”

Follow…Even at 4 am.

Another morning of Seattle fog with the assurance it will become a “Mountain Day.” As I have discovered it, the folks here call a day that is sunny and free of clouds a “Mountain Day,” in reference to being able to feel the presence of Mount Rainier towering over the City. These are truly amazing days where if you are standing in the right location you can look due west and see the snow capped Olympic Range, turning right and looking to the northeast Mount Baker pops out with brilliance. Turning a bit farther right to the southeast Mount Rainier’s glacier peek towers high into the air with her little sister Mount Tahoma just off her right shoulder. It definitely creates a strong attraction to Seattle area.Olympic Mountains from SeattleMount Baker from SeattleMount Rainier Popping over Seattle

That Wednesday morning was bound to be a “Mountain Day.” As we drove north again, this time on I-405, we were commenting on the amazing homemade hash-browns and eggs Candy Janda fed us as we parted the Janda home for the last time, for now. We promised that the next time we arrived in Seattle they would be a must on the list of “things to do.”

We met David Foster at the Lyon’s Den coffee house in Bothel where I grabbed a blueberry Bubble Tea as we sat down for an informal interview of our team. We painted for David a canvas of our team, our dynamics, gifts, talents and passions. David took this information and applied it to his extensive knowledge of the city and lead us back into the Seattle city where he felt our make-up would be the best fit…back towards the Queen Anne Hill and Wallingford Districts. This tour was a deeper look into the districts with more specific ideas, thoughts and discoveries.

We started looking at home prices and talking through what ministry would look like in these area. To get a small home with three bedrooms is going to easily cost us 600 big Ks. The big question that started coming to the forefront was, “Can we afford this?” The answer, a resounding, “No!” It was becoming blatantly obvious that on our own we would not be able to even remotely be able to step into these communities financially and if God is calling us to start a church that is a community based, meeting in homes, house church driven then we would have to have houses, but not with these prices.

But, let’s face it, this whole idea was Gods so he is going to have to provide the cash to make it happen. We will continue to follow and do what we need to do as he directs us to do it.

Even so Queen Anne continued to be the place that pulled at us. But, if you read my last post, it didn’t quite line up with Kristine’s dream. Not that it had too, but that stayed locked in the back of my head.

That night we visited Christy Vien, a Winona State alumni, and college ministry leader whom Brandon and I have had the privilege to work with over the years. Christy is living in the Green Lake area with four other girls in a small white house on busy 89th street. She made us and egg plant salad noodle dinner that was fantastic.  We ate, chatted and went out for coffee in Fremont late that evening.

At 8 pm or so Christy said, “Where are you guys staying tonight?” To which we replied that we didn’t know yet but wanted to stay some place in the city.  Christy told us that her friend PJ would love to have us crash at his place that night. Great!


For a few months now I have been asking God for a small favor when we move to Seattle. It’s nothing big and if he didn’t grant my request, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I have been quietly asking him to provide a friend with a sale boat or possibly another avenue that would allow me to go sailing off and on while we are living in Seattle. I has just been a small request, something that I would love.


That night it all came together. The dreams, the prayers, the requests, God was lining it up. In my original dream a year ago we were in a city with many trees, near or in the mountains, there were casinos, internationals and homeless and no one in the city followed Christ.  Then there was Kristine’s recent dream about a hill, old homes, a lake and Aurora. I have been quietly asking God for a friend with a sailboat.

Please read the following slowly.

Christy took us to PJ’s pad, a 30 ft. sailboat sitting in the marina on Lake Union, just down the hill from Queen Anne, a district of Seattle that is covered with trees, centrally located within surrounding districts with homeless and internationals and casinos and only having one vibrant church. Oh, and the highway that runs north and south and is half way up the hill in Queen Anne, just happens to highway 99 or as it is commonly known, Aurora.

I slept exceptionally well that night. The gentle rocking of Lake Union lulled me to sleep as my mind spun out of control about the possibilities that God was setting in play.