Posts Tagged ‘Vision’


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!


Posted: April 9, 2008 in Seattle Church Plant
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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?

Discover. With wonder I watch my four boys continue to discover life. In fact it is within each minute that new discoveries are uncovered in their lives. Kaleb, my three year old, has recently discovered Play-Doh, and can sit at the dining room table for hours on end creating and recreating and discovering “new” ways to make or destroy a creation. Kody, my six year old, is discovering the piano and at the same time history. Yes, history. He loves it. Kaden, my ten year old, discovered football this year. Not watching football but playing football. He is determined to be a quarterback when we get to Seattle. Konnor, my teenager-in-the-making, is discovering other things, things like the mystery of the female species, what a friend really is and a deeper concept of who Jesus was and is.

Discovery. Why is it that when we make the jump into “adulthood” we loose the ability to discover? Maybe we read a few books and learn a bit here and there; mostly increasing our knowledge about the career path that we have been thrust into as we cantillate the many benefits of academia. Or we find ourselves indulging in the discoveries of others through the plethora of media outlets that feed our candy covetous eyes. But seldom do we actually discover for ourselves. I have found it so vital in my life to ask the question, “What are you discovering today?”

One of the many amazing attributes of God is that he is unknowable. This doesn’t mean that we can’t know him, or that we cannot get close to him. It means that there will always be parts of him that we will be discovering. He will never be completely known. In other words, he will always be discoverable. His “discoverability” will never run out. It is our humanness that stops discovering and because we stop discovering we blame God for not being big enough. Wow there is a lot to talk about in there, but not here.

Pike’s MarketA state of discovery is where Brandon and I were when we parked our rented Charger on the third floor of the parking garage on the Sound side of Pike’s Market, down town Seattle. With a quick Market walk-through our souls hit the cobblestone on Pike Street. From that entrance into the city…we walked. The discovery of Seattle will take a lot of time but this initial jaunt down the streets allowed us to feel and taste and absorb the ethos of this unique city.

We created Minnesota footprints down Pike Street from 1st Ave. all the way to 9th Ave. where we hung a left and wondered to Olive and back down towards the Sound. We found ourselves outside Mars Hill Graduate School, sweet place, and along side the Art Institute, and down allies and side streets as we peeked into shops, watched people and read graffiti.

It was over an Alaskan Amber back at the Pike’s Place Bar & Grill that we started processing what we were feeling and sensing. Where would we start in our pursuit in discovering an area of ministering in such a huge city with so many different Ethoses? In the five hours we wondered through the city we saw such a small piece of the city. How will we possibly know where to go? How will we remotely dissect such a vast jungle of concrete, glass and steel. We will have to allow God to open the paths that we will set our feet upon. Our discovery of this tapestry will be directed by the Great Painter Creator himself. We will follow closely.

It was following closely that many doors began to open, starting with the Jandas.

Friday, the Friday before we left Minnesota, Randy Lawler called Pleasant Valley Church looking for Pastor Rick. I answered the phone so Randy talked with me. He asked in his Midwest American British accent how the church planting idea was shaping up. When I told him that we were going to Seattle, he gave us the name of Tony Janda. Tony had done a couple of trips to London with OM and Randy thought highly of him, so we called him up from the Seattle city center.

Tony’s wife Candy answered the phone with excitement that God was moving people to transplant to Seattle to plant a church. They shared with us that they had been praying for years and years that God would bring a revival to Seattle and asking that they could be part of it. When we arrived at the Jandas home in Renton, WA they welcomed us with open arms and freshly cooked Salmon and cuscus (the rice type of stuff, not the Australian possum type of creature). A family of five daughters and one son living on what seemed to be the edge of town but was instead a five acre chunk of land sitting in the city. What a blessing they were. That night, before Tony put us up in a hotel, they spent a couple of hours driving us around as they shared their heart for their city. They were passionate for people who aren’t living in the light; people who are trapped in the darkness. Desiring that Christians would truly be Christ to the neighborhoods.

It was a rich night, a night that set up the rest of our vision trip. A night that began to speak the vision into the vision.

We slept fast that night, anxious for what God would bring in the morning.

The Vision Trip

Posted: November 5, 2007 in Seattle Church Plant
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Brandon and I left Winona, MN Sunday night for a quick slip into Seattle and back out before our families could miss us. The four days would pass quickly, so we knew that we would need to be extremely efficient and get right to work when we got there, no playing around, no golf, no joy rides up into the mountains, no sailboats on the Sound, just work. The work started before we left. Before we grabbed a couch and cot at Mark Paulson’s house in Minneapolis we had to type and send the text for the Seattle Church Plant Brochure that Shelli Daniels needed to finish by noon of the next day. By 2 am we got the info shot off to her, and we crash, only to crack the lids open at 5:30 am. The plane was leaving at 7:20 am.

Three and a half hours of uneventful air travel brought us over the Cascade mountains. With just a quick glympse of Mount Rainier we dove into the fog covering the city of Seattle Fog over Seattleand touched down at Sea-Tac, me with an aching neck from wobbling back and forth as I went in and out of consciousness. After renting a car, a lame Dodge Charger, we headed off towards the city center to walk and pray. We wanted to have some time to feel the city, to smell it, to taste it. We wanted to get some understanding of the people of Seattle, maybe just watch them, maybe chat with them. I have been to Seattle before but just as a tourist. This was so much different; we were there to find an environment in which to be the hands and feet of Christ. We were there to discover.

And Discover did we ever…