Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

The Circus at the Seattle City Center. This looks really cool and we plan on being there.

The Three Cathedral Tenors. This, I am sure, will be one High C performance and well worth the trip to the Cathedral.

Fireworks over the Space Needle. What could be better than taking the family or friends to the Space Needle for a pretty stellar fireworks display. The 605-foot Space Needle once again will display Seattle’s traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks show with thousands of pyrotechnic effects at midnight on December 31.

Go to Redmond, it’s not to far north of Seattle and they have a great downtown holiday celebration.

Participate in or go and watch crazy people polar bear swim on the first of the year at the Resolution Run 5k. sounds really cold.

May be a cool stop to get some creativity flowing.  Breaking the Mold features Pratt instructors who work in kiln-cast glass and cast metal sculpture. This exhibit includes work by artists Scott Ball, Susan Balshor, Cathy Chase, Jeanne Ferraro, Carol Milne, Alex Montgomery, and Ed Trobec.
Where: Pratt Gallery at Tashiro Kaplan Studios, 306 S Washington St, Suite 102

The Children’s Museum has a NewYears Eve gig for the family, looks like a good possibility for a cheep night.

I will try to keep adding things as we find them. Hope you are able to get out for free or very cheep this holiday season.

Advertisements

Downtown sung best by Petula Clark in 1964 speaks about a wonderful downtown city scene where everything is bright, attractive and beautiful.

Saturday night seven guys from Epic Life Church landed on the streets of inner city Seattle at 10 pm with the plans of staying until 3 am. We found a corner and whipped out the guitars, drums and voices and sang worship songs as the city buzzed to the sights, smells and scene of the bar hopping crowd streaming back and forth between the homeless and pimped out rides on first street.

Our plan…to talk and pray with people, whoever would slow down long enough to do so.

James stayed for an hour. A young man from the south “finding” himself and running from a broken heart. He knows the truth. James always remember you are the son of the King of the Universe.

Duane chatted for fifteen minutes.  A young man freshly feeling the freedom of life  out side of prison. But his freedom has brought a dependency on drugs and alcohol, which has secured his home on the streets. His family has disowned him, his friends are his street mates who share much of his same story.

Samuel and his wife lingered on the corner for two light changes. A Jewish couple recently from Tel Aviv, Israel.  Interested in what was happening but to proud to stop and talk.

Eddy stopped and knelt. We provided communion for travelers. Eddy stopped, seeing the body and blood, knelt down for several minutes and quietly received communion.

Nicole and her friend stopped and listened. It was 3 pm and we were getting ready to leave the streets and head back up to north Seattle, when Nicole stopped and asked to be sung to. Dave offered “Beautiful One.” An audience of three feet away. Their countenance changed dramatically as he sang, with Josh on the drum. On the final note Nicole hugged Dave with repeated whispers of “Thank you” in his ear.

Seven young men walking toward the strip-tease club next door, offered money for the music. When we told them we weren’t taking money but just wanted to wish them a Merry Christmas and give out free music they were astonished. The lead man came back and said, “Thanks, this is the best thing that has happened tonight.”

Jesus de Deo and his two buddies recently from Mexico stopped to see what was going on. They also got a “three foot” concert. Their spirits from the beginning to the end of the song transformed into actually singing and breaking a some moves.

The man on the opposite corner didn’t want to talk with me, because he was looking for someone to sell to.

The three Samoans who were beating up another young man got my prayers and a 911 call from down the block.

Although we are from the Midwestern small town arena and we really didn’t fit and understand what was happening on those streets that night, we were able to share Christ with many people in many different ways. With us were Nathan, Scott and Craig. Craig has recently been welcomed into Epic Life Church as a young homeless man who is learning and growing weekly and who understands the workings of the city. Nathan and his buddy Scott, a boxer, also have done time on the streets with gangs and everything that goes with that. Becoming friends in prison they both have a passion to see others come to know the Lord like they have. Nathan, who I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, is a young man who God has given many vision to and is becoming deeply involved in Epic Life.

With apologies to Petula Clark, everything is not waiting for you downtown. The eyes of those wondering past spoke volumes. People who are having a good time with friends, those who are looking for love, looking for a home, looking for purpose, looking for touch, looking for a high, looking for eye candy, looking…looking.

We are having to answer some very tough questions as a church. Questions that would never have come up in our Smalltown Midwestern cities. We are outside of any comfort zone but feeling very comfortable because we are confident that this is where the Savior of the World has placed us. We will continue to be on the streets, all over Seattle, sharing music, bringing light, shining likes stars in the universe.

Vision

Posted: April 9, 2008 in Seattle Church Plant
Tags: , , ,

Transforming Seattle through Redemptive Communities.

It’s a big vision, but shouldn’t vision be big. If this is what we have our sights on we will accomplish so much before we get there. It seems that our vision has to be bigger than us; something that we can’t accomplish on our own. We can’t transform Seattle on our own. But what if because we are faithful to God’s calling on our lives, Seattle becomes a modern day Antioch. The Antioch of the Bible where the disciples were first called Christians, the city where people first started serious “gentile evangelism,” the city where “great multitudes” of people came to Christ, the city of Antioch – the city that sent out what we consider the first missionaries, Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark, to start churches in the Roman Gentile world.

What if Seattle is Antioch?

Well it actually is called “Boot Camp,” but to me that holds a negative war connotation so I would rather call it training, intense training.

Kristine and Brandon and I were in Seattle for a church planting training week. Ten hours a day, four days. It was very long but extremely awesome! We covered everything from Vision to strategy to finances to taxes. My brain runneth over.

Cool things – God has given us the ideas, visions and directions that put us ahead in many of the areas. We found out that we had a lot done, but more was added to the list, a lot more. We did discover the freedom of “Mileposts.” They taught us to plan things within milepost not according to timeline. So now we have five million Post-It notes that represent mileposts of which we will continually take down as we accomplish them.

The week was also extremely beneficial as we met many other church planters, husbands, wives and teams. Great networks! This will be so important when we get there; the greater collective wisdom the better. They will be awesome friends and cohorts.

Towards the end we got to look into a couple of homes for sale and get a Realtor on our case. Her name is Susan and she is great! Pray for her. Pray also for God’s house to be placed in front of us and for us to have the sight to see it and the faith to move ahead with it even though we will not have an income. People have asked, “So…you’re purchasing a house even though you won’t have an income?” The answer is a resounding, “Yep.” Remember this whole church plant idea is God’s, so that makes him in charge. Our part is trusting him.

We once again visited All Saints Church in Queen Anne, which was wonderful. Pastor Bill and others there are very excited that we are planting and have committed to helping in any way that they can.

So we move forward with confidence.

When we first started thinking about raising money to cover a three year budget, I thought,  “No big deal.”  Then I found out how much it will cost to do ministry in Seattle, Wa.  A place where a modest three bedroom house costs a mere $650,000. Yeah that’s right. Pretty crazy.  Then stack the slight burden I am starting to feel about bringing ten other ministers with us into that atmosphere. Whoa. And then start thinking about ministry costs. Whoa.

Some have asked, “Why would you go somewhere that costs so much to live?” “Why not use all that money to help people in Africa?” “Why go to a city that is wealthy looking.” Valid questions, I guess, but when thought through they should answer themselves. We are going because God called us.  It doesn’t matter if the cost of living is a dollar a day or 1,000 big ones a day, the fact is the people in Seattle need a transforming relationship with Jesus, period, and since my God is a big God the money issue will be a non-issue when we need it.  If a place like Seattle is transformed it could change our entire nation. We are being called into something that’s big, and if we follow close to the one who called us we will be successful. And “Successful” can only be understood from His perspective. 

The finances that it will take to start a church? Well, I am back to “No big deal.” It all belongs to him anyway, what’s a couple hundred thousand to Him? Anyway, we haven’t even started asking people to commit to helping with the funding, but they have started asking us how they can give and they have started giving above, no, way above the amount that we are planning on asking people to give. That’s my God! The God of abundance. The God of big. The God of, “just test me and see if I will throw open the flood gates of heaven…” 

Whoa!

Thin

Posted: November 15, 2007 in Seattle Church Plant
Tags: , , ,

“I feel… thin. Sort of stretched, like… butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to.”

Bilbo Baggins

I’ve got to admit, I do feel “…thin. Sort of stretched…” I am sure nothing like Bilbo felt in those final days with the Ring. But I am definitely finding out that my days have to be stretched and my time has to be maximized to be able to carry out the work that has been set before me. But what I am finding out is that even though my physical being feels “thin” my spirit is on a high, possibly even fat. God has me right in the middle of where my strengths lie and I get the incredible opportunity to be a small part of a big thing. I must trust in God to strengthen my physical world so I am not spread to thin.

The stretch – figuring out how to do four full time jobs with excellence. My primary focus in life since I put the ring of marriage on my finger has been my family. Starting with Kristine and now our four quickly maturing boys. The desire to make my family first is easily squeezed out of the top position by employment, or what’s better known as “funding the primary focus,” only to have it become the primary focus. Beyond the work for money world ministry is all consuming, because it is not a 9-5 job and no matter what boundaries are implemented pastors are “on” 24/7.

Along with my family and ministry we added being a landlord into the mix a few years ago. We needed something that would be an investment since at the age of 31 we had no investments of any kind and were not on the road financially to create any wealth in near future, (the next 50 yrs). Real estate seemed like a great venture especially since I have been in and out of the construction trade over the years. The only downfall it was another full-time job.

And now we are off and running in the direction of following the “Call” of planting a church. Little did I know that this process would create yet another full-time position that I have to fill with only a quarter of my time.

Am I whining? Not at all! Kristine and I and the rest of the Seattle Church Planting team are sitting on the front row to see the most incredible miracles of our lives. #1 God has been stretching time. i.e. I have been getting everything done. My promise to Pleasant Valley Church, where I serve as the Young Adult and Missions Pastor, is that I will not quit working until after we relocate in Seattle. I am committed to build into this ministry at the same rate if not more as I have over the past ten years. And with God’s grace I can do that and I believe, am doing it for this is definitely the greatest year we have every had! At the same time we are selling off our properties, one down and three to go. Between selling and continuing being a property owner takes an amazing amount of time, but God is making time work in and through it all.

#2 We will get to see miracles – Because of the place God is calling us too. Seattle is incredibly expensive! A modest house is going to cost us nothing shy of $500k not to mention the time to find it, making multiple trips to Seattle to get things ready, to create a network and to discover the city. I continue to tell those who ask how we are going to pay for all of this and then raise $500k/year budget, for the first three years, that God has brought us to this point and I am confident that he will bring us through it. He does not bring someone to a place and then drop them.

#3 We will get the beautiful opportunity to witness life transformation in our team and our own personal lives. We have already gotten to see life change as we meet once a week, becoming a family and ministry partners. We are all transforming.

Am I feeling thin? Absolutely! I could sit and talk for hours about all the things that are happening. Sometimes I feel like Stretch Armstrong Stretch Armstrongbeing pulled in so many directions, but honestly that is only in my body. God is sustaining my soul, he’s increasing my faith and I am growing stronger in my spirit man.

I’m sure Bilbo Baggins was ready to be finished with life at the ripe old age of 111, I pray that God gives me that much time to be his servant and with the energy to go with it.

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.