Posts Tagged ‘Ben Carlson’

It was twelve years ago that God snatched me out of the business world from a company who didn’t like me and thrust me into ministry from the ground floor. Heck there wasn’t even a ground floor, God used me to design the ground floor. Kristine and I were in the small college town of Winona, MN at a small church of 250 people with five college students. God put us into the position of starting a college ministry we would soon come to know as H2O. Those first few years were quite amazing! God had quite an amazing group of young Christians on the campus and we got to minister with them often and see the ministry grow from five to hundreds.

Ben and Kristy Carlson at Kerry Park

I got the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with one young man named Benjamin Carlson. He, along with several others were very influential in the beginnings of H2O and I got the privilege of mentoring him and ministering with him as he spent four years at WSU. He became a wonderful leader on the campus and much of what God began then, through him and many others, is still happening and thriving now under new leadership.

Now, twelve years later, Kristine and I got to host Ben and Kristy and one of their small children in our home in Seattle while they were on home assignment from South Africa where they work with the Navigators.  This time he was an incredible encouragement to me and we got to speak as peers in ministry as we are once again at the beginning of a new work here in Seattle.

What a blessing it is to see God bring us all the way back around and I am sure there will be more opportunities to see others of those students from Winona and hear their stories. I am confident that even though Ben and Kristy went back to South Africa now, we will be serving together in the near future.


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!