Posts Tagged ‘Epic Life’

Monday

Posted: September 26, 2017 in Moments of God, Seattle Church Plant
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CaptureMonday – I love Mondays. It gives us a great opportunity to walk into the lives of people around us and bring blessing and encouragement to the beginning of their week. Mondays around the offices of Epic Life Church are a bit busy and full of conversation and…let’s just say, “other things.”

This past Monday went something like this. It’s good to reflect on these Mondays.

    1. I got to drink coffee at Victrola Coffee with a great friend of mine, Jared Burwell, who is a pastor of a new church in SkyWay and is reaching the neighborhood in really awe-inspiring ways. He is a great leader and disciple-maker and friend.  New Story
    2. Then I had to run back north and swing into the Wendals Licencing center on 130th to get a new license plate for my new 1984 Honda Prelude. Nice little car with only 50k miles on it. d1b5409086c27a37a1c8c2391e81f797--honda-prelude-It should last another 200k. While there I got to encourage the lady behind the desk who was clearly downcast in her soul.
    3. I stopped through RiteAid to get some vitamin C – a cold is going around my home. For some reason decided to pull out $40 cash from my debit card when I paid for the V-C.
    4. After receiving my new plates with a “What the…” price tag, I received a text from a friend who asked what was happening at the church building. because he was turned away from entering the parking lot by a dozen armed police officers.  ?
    5. Driving down the street the mile back to the office wondering what happened in the Giving Room, I turned up Stone Ave. and saw the aforementioned text in 3D. Yes indeed, there were several officers walking down the street with heavy gear and weapons. But the action was over and upon talking with an officer I learned a man from the streets pulled a very real looking pellet gun, but didn’t threaten anyone with it, and was sent on his way.
    6. I did get to then spend a half hour with officer Jeff Dotson who told me that earlier that month Hector
      Hector

      Hector

      had prayed over him while he was on duty on Aurora Ave. N. He also said he really likes what Epic Life is doing on Aurora Ave. and what we bring to the city that the city just doesn’t get. “They throw money at the problems hoping to fix them, you find problems fix them.”

    7. There is a prayer meeting happening this morning, praying for the neighborhood.
    8. The Giving Room was in full swing with dozens of guests taking advantage of
      Grace

      Grace

      receiving bags of groceries to help their meal planning throughout the week. Grace is busy, leading her team, praying for people, sorting shelves, carrying boxes of food, organizing, and smiling.

    9. Also in the Giving Room are several Brothers and Sisters sharing, helping, caring, disciplining and reading the Word with our friends who spend hours sitting in a community, which they long for, as most live in solitude. Many in a government housing project for the mentally, physically and addicted ill. They smile here.
    10. After the giving room shuts down for the day, a prayer meeting starts back up, clean-up occurs, and then a Bible Study. The people who are caring for our less fortunate neighbors, actually care for them so much they pray for them by name.
    11. Laura has been here most of the morning – counseling. She is a professional and points people to Jesus while counseling through life.
    12. The Preschool has been running throughout this morning – ten kids, several from the Epic Life family and several from the neighborhood. Katy does
      Katy

      Katy

      such a great job teaching, encouraging, caring and loving these kids. It’s a beautiful multi-cultural class. The parents will come in and drop off the kids and come back to get them, sometimes hanging around the office drinking coffee.

    13. One man came in asking for work. Not to be paid, but so he will be able to stop drinking. He wants structure. I showed him some gardening and clean up things he could do. We made a clipboard for him and time schedule. He smiles.
    14. A man, who attended the service on Sunday came back today- looking for some money to help him get back to Colorado. He just had throat surgery and can barely speak. I had just gotten $40 from my debit card at the RiteAid, he needed it.
    15. One man found himself on the yellow couch in the office. Drunk. Ashamed. Hector, Alyssa
      Alyssa

      Alyssa

      and I prayed over him. Encouraged him to allow the grace of the King to wash over him.

    16. Justin
      Justin

      Justin

      spent the afternoon working on the stage upstairs. Tearing an old drum cage apart, making more room, listening to music, preparing for Sunday.

    17. Aaron showed up later, after teaching all day and commuting for more of it, to sand, sweep and paint the stage, because he saw it
      Aaron

      Aaron

      needed to be done and he knew how to do it. He’s our soundman, electric guitar player, and elder.

    18. This morning two neighbors emailed us to let us know an extension cord was plugged into an outlet on our building and strung three houses down the alley. They are the same outlets the men and women of the street gather around to charge their phones, smoke, sleep, shootup, and commit other nefarious acts. We will be taking these outlets out.
    19. I opened the front doors only to run into a man sleeping on the steps next to a little girl’s bicycle. He got up, staggered, mumbled, clearly high on substance. He asked for food, he got some, he stumbled away.
    20. Tonight a dozen or so ladies from the neighborhood will show up for an hour to Zumba.
    21. Some kids and their parents will play in the playground after school lets out, maybe after dinner.
    22. There will be a couple of little girls digging in the sand volleyball court.
    23. Later tonight, someone will sleep in one or more of our doorways, smoke some cigarettes, weed, or vapor, someone else will shoot heroin into his or her veins, a young woman will be left on the cold concrete.

This Monday will end and another will come – have we shared the miraculous love of the miraculous King. Our hands, our feet, our voice, our eyes, all convey love. Share it.

Oh…and there was no race or political bent in this post, yet it was full of many different people from many different family groups, no fingers were pointed, only love given.

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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.

Roughly three years ago God started assembling the cast for the greatest journey of my life time. He began bringing specific young men and women together to become the foundational pieces of a remarkable church that would desire and pursue Transformation in North Seattle by offering people an Epic Life in Christ Jesus. This team was part of a college leadership team along with a couple of others. They have had no formal ministry training. They all moved away from their families and friends to work together to start Epic Life Church.

Three days ago I got to witness this same team in a remarkable meeting as once again changes were happening.  I was privileged to sit around a room with this team and watch them speak about God’s vision for their ministries. They shared victories and problems, dreams and visions with many emotionally laden words. Each person spoke eloquently about their ministry with a beautiful understanding of the Epic Life vision and mission. It was awe-inspiring to listen to, even though I already knew what they were about to say.

They were speaking this night because of a new team that we have created called the Development Team. This new team will be a group who help the ministry leaders succeed, by encouraging ministry growth and supporting deliberate balance between the ministries of Epic Life. Its a wonderful idea and will be a fantastic team that will help Epic Life build a firm foundation. The beautiful thing is that this team is made up of Seattleites and myself. In other words, God has raised up men and women from Seattle to lead.

As I sat in this meeting listening and watching these leaders from Minnesota speak and encourage each other and interact with this new team, I sat in awe.  They were so mature and gracious and wise as they encouraged the Development Team about what they were doing and how good it was going to be. There was NO defensiveness or pride or protecting of territory. None.

I have been in few meetings where this happens. But at every Epic Life meeting this is the norm. Our meeting are all but boring meetings, they are always Epic! God has truly developed an amazing team and is now adding to it.  This speaks so strongly of the massive ministry God is establishing here in North Seattle.

Way to go; David, Jeff, Kari, Shelli, Averi, Casey, and Sam!

It was a typical day at the local community college Campus Crusade for Christ club meeting, a group that has double in size since the beginning of the year, but when doubling means adding only thirteen new students it’s still quite easy to recognize those who wonder in who are a bit out of place. A bit out of place was the perfect description of a young man who walked in just a minute late. He found a chair and sat down with his head slightly lowered, trying to not draw attention to himself.

After a slightly awkward “ice-breaking” game the conversation quickly turned to the topic we all came to discover and discuss. As words were exchanged back and forth across the room like a game of tennis between two seven year olds, my attention was turned towards the exposed arms and neck of the “slightly out of place” young man. Flowing fonts in your typical tattoo green spelled words that I couldn’t quite decipher. Maybe they were written in a different language, maybe I couldn’t read upside down.

When my eyes moved from his skin art to his eyes it dawned on me that he not only looked out of place but felt out of place. At times throughout the conversations his down cast eyes would fill with tears, but never did they run over.

Soon the hour club meeting of CRU drew to an end and I made a point of getting myself in front of the this tattooed, muscular, bald man. We chatted a bit about him being at the college to get his GED and then to get a practical job that will help him care for his wife and three children. “Three children?” Was my thought. At 25 years of age he has quite a family. Soon his conversation turned to his wife of seven years and their extremely rocky marriage, his being in and out of jail, and about his restraining order, which didn’t allow him to see his wife or children.  I remained intune and concerned for this young man, who was feeling remarkably comfortable sharing his story to a complete stranger.

Then he told me that he is very concerned for his wife, whom he really loves. “Why are you so concerned?” I asked.

“She is pregnant and going to have an abortion.” He replied.

Without thinking, without rehearsing my reply in my head I blurted out, “We will take the child, don’t let her abort. We will take the child.”

He looked at me, not knowing what to say.

Giving him my cell number and email, I asked, if not begged him to call me later that day and then encouraged him and his wife to break his restraining order and come to our home together and talk.   He had to run to a class. I put my hand on his thick frame and prayed a prayer of protection and wisdom on him.

Later that day his wife called me and as she told me her name I recognized it as the cursively fonted tattoo on the back of the young man’s neck. I was ecstatic that she took that gamble.  We made an appointment for that Saturday morning with both of them at our home.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009, 10:30 am rolled around and they drove up, and walked across our lawn and into our living room. For the next 3-1/2 hours we listened to their story, the journey that they have found themselves fighting for life through. Patiently they both shared their side of the story. Then Kristine and I poured into them. We loved them, affirmed them, encouraged them, counseled them, and shared the love of the Holy Father with them.

Their faces showed the transformation that only the Holy Spirit can bring to a person.

Tears.

Smiles.

Relief.

Hope.

Forgiveness.

Strength.

At 2 pm, after a prayer of grace, they rose from our couch a new couple. They will continue to have pain and struggle through the coming months, but they have agreed to meet with us and start on a different journey, one of healing and re-creation.

She had an appointment at 1 pm that same day at the abortion clinic, but she walked out of our home at 2 pm with hope and a new found desire to raise their new baby.   This child will change the world!

We are seriously in the business of saving lives and God allowed us to have a first hand experience that saved the life of an unborn child and the lives of a man and woman and their other three children.  This family has a long road of healing ahead of them but God is going to use them and their stories in ways they can’t even imagine as they share with others and are part of saving lives themselves.

Thanks be to the Great Life Saver!

First Sunday

Posted: August 11, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I apologize for the lack of connection with my fingers to the keys on my computer plunking out the epic story that is unfolding here in Seattle. Several of you have been asking for more conversation from my end as God directs and leads this grand play that is unfolding within every hour that passes.

Yesterday the 10th of August, 2008 was our first service as a church body. It was amazingly fantastic! God has given us a home with a family room that can hold 40-50 tightly packed worshiping bodies, which makes such a splendid place to begin the work God has given us. This, our first Sunday morning corporate worship time, included the fifteen of us in a circle. D-Vic lead into worshiping through music and I got the wonderful opportunity to share a message that I feel God picked just for us at just this time.

I have been studying Colossians 3, a letter from Paul to the church in Colosse penned in A.D. 60, because my mentor Al Jarvenin pointed me in that direction. Out of this chapter leaps a few sentences we commonly refer to as verses 12-17, in which Paul calls us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love.

It is a beautiful word on actively and intentionally putting on these virtues. Virtues a team who is called to plant a church must actively and intentionally persevere to a commitment of action towards. (I will write specifically on each of these virtues briefly in following blogs).  Anyway, God was evidently present and working in our hearts and lives and can be praised for speaking through me.

We spent the rest of the day together eating and playing, took Samantha to work at 2pm and picked her up at 10pm, as we finished up a four hour gut laughing game of signs at 11:30.  We also received our first guests into our home, the Colleys, whom we stayed with in Gig Harbor over the past few weeks. Refer to earlier blogs.

Now I am sitting in The Allegro coffee shop in the U-District getting some much needed work caught up.

Please pray for Ken and Diane our neighbors across the street and for Cathy and her what seems to be blended family again across the street. Also the house right next to us just became empty and is for sale. Pray that God brings a family with whom we can minister to and with. Or pray that God will give us the house so we can turn it into a safe home for young women who find themselves on the streets of Seattle. Pray also for Patricia and Patrick, a couple of houses behind us. He was raised Catholic, she was raised Jewish, they are currently practicing Budists.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support, I can’t tell you how important you are to us. And I can’t wait to tell you how, because of your prayers, lives have been changed.

I will pen more later, we have some Epic dreams, and God is the God of the Epic proportions.