Posts Tagged ‘aurora’

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.

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:
www.twelvethirtyfour.wordpress.com

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