Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

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.

This is an example of our lives before Christ.

Can Epic Life buy this building? We are pursuing the possibility of making this a reality. It has been a three year process, from a dream, many questions, many closed doors and then having them opened when God was ready. Please pray with us as we enter into new conversations with the owners.

The vision of Epic Life Church: “We envision North Seattle to be transformed by finding an epic life in Jesus Christ.”

This vision draws us to invest in Aurora Ave. North and to see the Church of Jesus Christ grow and flourish along Aurora Ave.  We are intentionally investing in the community in many different ways as we reach far into the marginalized communities along this vastly diverse corridor looking for different ways of sharing the Gospel.

Over the past two years we have dreamed and pursued the possibility of purchasing one or several of the Motels along Aurora and transforming them from houses of corruption to houses of beauty, creating a place for healing and redemption. Historically these motels have been a hot bed of drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the like. We have sought after this vision with great care as we follow God’s leading. We have sought out much counsel and invested much time in research and prayer. God has been directing our steps to move cautiously yet faithfully confident.

After many options have not lined up over the past two years we have come to a crossroads of action where we strongly believe God is calling us into an actual purchase of one motel.

It is ugly, trashed and used.

Can you say, “Transformation?”

What a testimony to a Savior who changes people’s lives. This building is such an example of a life sometimes… trashed, used, abused and unkept. It had once been new, clean and shiny, welcoming new-comers to Seattle, now it sits…trashed.  I believe it can be recreated and given a new life.

This will be a place for community and life. Rooms to live in and a place for a pushing church planting movement into the city.

If you information on the project please leave a comment or email me directly.  keith@epiclifechurch.org

We will be talking about the project on Sunday at Epic Life Church‘s Sunday gathering.

Just got to work in the Community Garden on Aurora with a group of Starbuck’s employees, Four Seasons Gourmet, NSCC Sustainability Club and Epic Lifers.  It was a Great day and we got so much done. It went from dug up and messy to level with boxes and retaining walls as we add on to what was accomplished last summer.  Good stuff.  Here’s a couple of pictures and an article from KOMO News.  Community Garden Article. 

Tony and I getting some things ready for the work day on the 11th.

After our work with the local Starbucks Employees and managers

Thank you for you prayers, encouragement and support as we transform this plot of land, that once was a crack house and taking lives, into a garden full of life and full of the Love that only Jesus could provide.

If you are unable to work in the Garden physically but would like to help with the financial portion of this project please send a check:

Community Garden

c/o Epic Life Church

10002 Aurora Ave N – #36

PMB 5501

Seattle, WA 98133

Thank you. Stay tuned as we finish the project up this spring.


Just a couple of weeks ago Epic Life Church had an amazing worship night at the AXIS property. It was a night of beauty and wonder as we rocked the house singing praise to God who is more than worthy of our praise.  It is awesome to be able to enter into a night of worship with new believers and new friends. Worship that night consisted of a lot of music, a bit of spoken word and four baptisms. I have to say that mixing baptism with worship music and a lot of fellowship is one awesome event. It all created such an amazing environment for worship.

The four individuals who were baptized were such a blessing to be with too. One had been a Christian for quite some time and had never taken the step to baptism and felt God calling her to do so that night with much joy. Another had been walking with God but had gotten off track over the years and was being called to step back into pace. She is seeing much change and beauty in her life. Two others are new Christ Followers who have just given their lives over to the Savior and wanted to show that transformation to the world. It was a beautiful night of Life, Transformation and Power!

We had just wrapped up the evening and Kristine was heading home when she received a call from one of our neighbors that there was a robbery and beating near our home and the assailant was still at large. Kristine called me and I dropped everything and rushed home to find ten emergency response vehicles in our driveway.  The night of Life we had just experienced was immediately shattered as we found out that a man was beaten with a table leg just two houses away from us and taken to the hospital in critical condition. We now know that this man died from the head trauma. Our night of Life turned quickly to a night of Death.

We are reminded that we live in a sinful and fallen world where death rules and the Enemy comes “to steal, kill and destroy.”  We are literally watching as the world around us that is precariously held together with the facade of a superficial idea of life is in fact falling apart.

As baptism represents the transformation of spiritual death to life, we are constantly faced with Satan’s attempts to bring people from life to death, physically and spiritually. We are constantly reminded that what we are doing, introducing people to a life with Christ, is vitally important here in our own neighborhood and there in your very backyard.

Pen Down

Posted: March 10, 2009 in poetry
Tags: , ,

My pen is down on paper white,

to write

a story of pure delight.

I see visions of love and joy,

like a kid with a brand new toy.

Transformation that’s our cry,

singing out our tongues so high.

It seems so easy to say

to pay

to relay

and to sway

but Aurora is tough, rough stuff,

easily missed, like a kiss,

blown in the wind.

Do I understand what’s rotten,

here in Denmark?

or under the bench forgotten

in the city park?

The story is about redemption

bringing back a relation- – – ship.

But there’s so much corruption

Like a spiritual erruption- – -flip.

A changed life

once full of strife,

Wrists under the knife,

to stop life.

But now there’s reason to live

and reasons that will give

something new,

It’s a re-creation

A new vocation

full of satisfaction

like a sweet attraction

He reaches out to the those who are weeping

sitting on the edge of the world looking for a way to get off.

He extends his hand to those who are leeping

standing on the edge of the bridge ready to step off.

He thinks he has to change

to try and rearrange

before coming to the Man.

The followers of The Way

say you have to pay

before coming to the Man.

But you don’t.

The fact is we can’t do enough

fixin’ ourselves is so tough

there’s nothin’ we can do to be good enough.

That’s where Grace

enters the race

to embrace

the corrosion

the erosion

the explosion

of self.

Grace gives life

when we deserve death

Grace gives joy

when we deserve sadness

Grace gives victory

when we deserve defeat

Grace gives love

when we deserve hate.

And he takes us by the hand

so that we can stand

next to the King

and be free.

Can you see?

You can be free.

And when your pen goes down

to write words of the heart,

may love and joy spill over

as through you God creates art.

The cry of affection

the need of love,

can only be filled,

by the One above.

Desire and temptation

on confusion corner,

a hottie mired in trash

with cash as a mourner.

Eyes that see love

that’s twisted and marred.

Hands out to be helped

running into the barred.

Cute is a curse word

Mute is the Christ Herd.

Sex is a rusted tool

There is a man, the fool.

Standing on curb to get

the care of a stranger,

Climbing in a red sedan

with a typical stranger.

A hotel room

A cigar flume.

A defiled bed

a curse word said.

Out in five,

like a bee from a hive,

the dive,

she will strive,

to revive

her heart.

Done in five,

like a bee from a hive

the dive

he will strive

to revive

his heart.

Hurts go deep,

like the sting of a wasp.

Both caught

in a death grasp.

both seeking affection

both getting rejection.

no protection

no direction

no reflection

in need of protection

in need of direction

in need of reflection

the love

the hate

For self has no soul

like a cereal bowl.

Is the Hope available

to a girl in tights?

Is the Hope achievable

to a boy without fights?

transformation?

reprobation?

salutation?

Hope out numbers

the enemies plunder’s.

God’s hand can touch

Gives life to lifeless.

Heals broken hearts

makes hands strifeless.

Transformation?

Yes!

Re-creation?

The Best!

He captures the tear

trades faith for fear

when you run he’s near.

He takes the pain

turns it into joy.

Like a baby child

with a new found toy.

Sister you don’t have

to wait for the money,

to get your love

from one who calls you honey.

There is One greater

who loves you more.

Reach your hand out

and open the door.

to Freedom.

Mister you don’t have

to give out the money,

to get your love

from one who calls you honey.

There is One greater

who loves you more.

Reach your hand out

and open the door.

to Freedom.

To the dance of Forgiveness.

To the glorious Whiteness.

All sin is taken away,

and you become whole.

You never pay for

the redemption of your soul.

You see before you the power

The Man died at just the right hour.

He demonstrated

Proclamated,

Manifestated,

His own love

for you.

While your were

still a sinner.

Buried in self,

and pride

and anger

and hatred

and lust

and the list goes on,

He died for you.

Cause he loves you.

Experience Grace,

Like sunshine on your face.

Just one taste

Gives transformational haste.