Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Aurora Avenue North

After reading a recent letter to the Major of Seattle, “Hell Starts Here, 145th & Aurora”, posted in the Aurora Seattle Blog (which does a great job of keeping ‘eyes’ on Aurora Ave. N.), my cranium started into a grey matter tsunami about the people I have encountered on Aurora, which Richard, the author of the letter to Major McGinn, tells us resembles Dantes Circle of Hell.

But what, or who does Aurora represent? Indeed if we have eyes that only see the physicality of our immediate surroundings which hem us in on all fronts accosting our eyes with the mere tripe of this facade of stone and steel. This plastic and glass empire wanes heavy and indeed does resemble the inferno of the underworld where man is hopeless without Christ.

At first glance, or for some at second and third glance if not at each glance through his or her life, the Corridor of Aurora Avenue accosts the eyes and mind and the innate desire to be surrounded by beauty, even if it is a man made beauty, stirs our beings to scream, “Hell Starts Here!

The tsunami in my mind is fierce, flooding and disorienting my thoughts because I live in this great city called Emerald that has no belief or desire to believe in a God who is loving yet just. This city, a landscape of 700,000 souls with millions just over the fence, pretends to believe there is no moral Right…but is quick to condemn the many who are described, not by their ideas or character or eyes or even their names, but instead by the “concrete waste land” they have been forced to inhabit.

How is it that a society that believes there is no God and therefore no moral right or wrong can pass judgement so quickly on people who are suffering deep despair and isolation? But when our focus is on our surroundings and the eye candy that we ignorantly suck on, we will miss the souls of the people who drive those cars, who sell those cars and who live in those cars that traverse “Gasoline Alley.”

The common solutions, that I have heard and read, to the problems of Aurora Avenue go something like this, “We need to bulldoze the entire strip of alley cats and rats who call Aurora home, and while we are at it put in a bicycle path running from Pike Place Market to 145th in a park that once was Aurora Ave. N.”  The fact is; if Aurora Ave. N. “closed” thousands would be out of work and thousands would lose their businesses. It would displace businesses into the coveted, almost worshiped, neighborhoods and their quiet streets. Causing yet a greater crisis.

Does it ever occur to anyone that we need the commerce of Aurora? The basic needs of a city lie along this strip along with those who derive their livelihood, those who, by the way, have names. Names like Pericles, Azi, Chey-Sun, Cynthia, Bud, Ryan, Fay, Will, and the list goes on. Sure there are many nefarious activities that occur along the strip but does that mean we throw out the baby in the proverbial bath water? Or…do we make a shift?

What if we seek to transform instead of throw away?

I wish you, yes you, could sacrifice one of your precious well paid hours and walk on Aurora with me and look long into the eyes of the small business owner, or the customers who frequent the same businesses. Come look into the haunting eyes of the homeless, prostitute and “dancer.”  My hope is that it breaks your four chambered muscle pounding with in your chest. My hope is that you and I remember these people where once children with bright eyes, hopes and dreams. Many ruined by their parents and hence trapped in this prison we so easily condemn to hell.

At some point we need to stop throwing insults and condemnation at the problem and start getting involved.

At some point we need to stop throwing money and hopes that the “government” will do something and start getting involved.

At some point we must stop speeding down the Aurora Corridor with blinders held tightly to our eyes and start seeing and hearing.

In a somewhat crazy emotionally unstable state,  I truly believe this strip can be transformed, healed and reconciled to beauty. Don’t ignore it, don’t throw stones. Take a lesson from Jesus, “You who are without guilt may throw the first stone.”

Want to link arms and see North Aurora Transformed…Please join me.

Advertisements

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!

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.