Halloween

One word that drives me nuts, alternative. kidstrickortreatSomething about the way I read the Bible leads me to believe I should be living life to the full and not living an alternative to life.

What brings this thought to the surface of my mind? Seems like every year we have conversations around the subject of what our church is going to do for an alternative. I tell people simply we are not about alternatives, but about being present with our community. We are about being present where life is happening and being a light right in the center of cultural norms.

That said…Halloween is not something to hide or develop a subcultural moment hidden away from our neighbors, but we should turn on the lights and welcome kids from the neighborhood to the door. Smile, meet people, encourage them.

We have a fire pit in our driveway. We make hot chocolate in large quantities and bless those who come to the door with a smile and crazy amounts of candy.

Recently I read a post from another great church in our region that resonated with me and I thought it would bless you as well, so give it a read, CLICK HERE. And if that resonated with you…check out this article, Twelve Ways To Be On Mission This Halloween.

Enjoy meeting your neighbors and let the alternative events be blessed, they are just not culturally what I want to be a part of.  These cute kids above will be rocking the hood and we will be enjoying the relationships we develop through this redeemable holiday.

What can the church learn from the Sounders?

Interesting how much we can learn from those who have found success in a different but similar market in our region.  I recently watched the below video about what has made the Sounders a successful brand.  While I was watching it I couldn’t help but think about how many of the lessons in this video would be great if applied in church world.

  • partnership with those who have gone before us
  • collaboration
  • corporate centrality with originality at the presentation point
  • ambition
  • value of involvement and buy in
  • fan engagement and excitement
  • culture
  • giving the brand away to the people “it’s what they are doing”
  • “If your not connected then I think you are missing something”
  • how important is starting with the youngest generation?
  • organic promotion of the brand
  • how did they go from proven failure to a model of success?

Take a break, watch the video, be inspired to give it away and share the lessons you think the church could learn from the model of the Sounders.

Right Questions

I think the Lord is showing me something I have seen over and over, but missed for the last decade.  We are all in a group, but are we intentionally present?  Do we even realize we are in a group?  Do we understand our potential impact in the lives of those within the group?  How could we make an impact in the lives of those we do life with?

Here is what made me go over the edge and begin really pondering this thought path.  I was sitting in the Bonney Lake Library with one other dad, 21 moms and grandmothers with 25 toddlers/babies and one amazing toddler group leader.  By all means and purposes this is a group that I am a part of.  I can make relationships in this room, discover needs in community here, and make a positive impact in the community through this circle of people.  But is this in my thought pattern and do I take the opportunities presented to see my presence as mission?

Somehow, as a pastor at a church, when it comes time to promote and launch into a group season my mind becomes blind to all the groups people are already involved in and we push forward towards our own groups as if they are the only ones that are happening in the lives of our people.  Reality is…there are many groups…but are we present and engaging the potential relational impact of these groups as if they are our groups?

  • Sports teams are groups
  • soccer team parents are groups
  • in our neighborhood the school bus stop is a group
  • the toddler learn and play at the library is a group
  • the swim class is a group
  • the commuter train is a group (same people every day)
  • What about your running group, crossfit, gym class

Maybe instead of asking how many groups our churches can produce we need to empower our people (eph. 4) to make an impact in the groups they already belong to.  How can we begin to track this and find out our true impact potential?  Just maybe we are getting in the way by trying to manufacture groups when we should be preparing people to open their eyes and make a missional impact where they are already planted! #tc

Getting ready for Kalimantan

We leave Monday Morning at 7:30am our time and return Saturday in the afternoon.  I will be helping build, taking large quantity of video and photo and preaching Thursday night.

Going to the place with the green arrow pointing at it.

Going to the place with the green arrow pointing at it.

Kalimantan historical Culture and Rainforest wealth on it’s 540.000 square Kilometers area is unique for trekking and expedition through the connected trails that lead you to mostly virgin forest. You can stay overnight in the local houses of the villages. In the Hinterland of Kalimantan The villages can only be reached by foot or missionary aircraft. The Jungle Trails range from 2 hours to weeks in length, depending on the route you
choose. Kalimantan Dayak cultural treasures that survive deep within the rainforest jungle of Indonesia ’s largest island. You can discover a virtual
The Dayak people in the villages at Kalimantan are trustworthy, and have a good sense of humor. Almost Each Dayak Tribe is self sufficient, and producing all their own food and supplementing their diet through hunting. Hunting is with either home-made rifles, blowpipes or packs of dogs and spears. In the Hinterland of Kalimantan, money is difficult to come by as they are isolated from markets. PT. Gigantara is in unanimous agreement for the area’s forests to be protected and for more tourists to arrive. You will be warmly welcomed. No one in the area speaks any English, so if you hire another guide at least some knowledge of Indonesian will be required.

While it is often Raining at Kalimantan, The more dry period of July-September is the best. The forest is at its loudest, leaches are few, trails dry up and butterflies are plentiful. Although you will have to contend with hot afternoons and lots of honey bees. In recent years the climate has been more difficult to predict than usual. Second-best time is November-December when fruit and wild boar are in abundance. November also tends to be dry and is honey harvesting season.Actually all the months are OK for travel at Kalimantan, while January and February are the months with the most rainfall, but is still a mixture of sun and rain.

For Forest  

 For Flora & Fauna
Black Orchid

Enggang Bird
 Honey Bear
 Hedgehong
 Kalimantan’s Crocodile
Bekantan & Orang Utan
Leopard
Anaconda
Wildcat

Blog Posts from Indonesia

Yay…I was finally able to log back into my blog.  It has been a bit moody with me trying to post from Indonesia.

That said, you can see visually what we have been doing by checking out the following:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facbook (I have been uploading many many photos and telling our story through visual elements.  It uploads way quicker for this internet that goes in and out.)

Today Dana is taking all the church staff spouses out to lunch and we are hitting up the Youth Service tonight.  Tomorrow we have the opportunity to have lunch with a new couple from the church, treating them like we would if they came through the doors at Open Life.  Should be a great cultural experience as they are from Latvia.

One of the things that has been bothering me since Sunday, I met more than one person at ICA that mentioned to me that they had studied for periods of up to 8 years in the States and never met a Christian the whole time they were there.  They met people who didn’t have faith, but nobody ever invited them to church even.  For those who are in church, don’t let that be the story of those you meet.  Discipleship begins with an introduction.  We are meeting people everyday who are seeking life, and we have the key to life in our understanding of Jesus.  Let’s not sleep on the job!

Anyway…we have great ministry happening and can’t wait to see what is yet to come after a quick break in Bali.  We are back in Surabaya and pastoring away!

#indo13

Indonesia Update

Nothing that exciting to report from the land of Indonesia.  The last few days have been consumed with in house ministry and planning.  Every week I lead staff meeting and am offering some systems coaching to get the team moving forward in some of the areas Open Life does really well at.  Meetings meetings study and meetings.  That sums up the last two days.

Love where the series Mindful has come and can’t wait to bless this church with the next talks in their West and East campuses.

Dana has gone to a Baby Shower and Prayer meeting and is beginning prep to lead some teaching times for 45 minutes each.  She will do great I have no doubt.

Finally today we went and visited an Orphanage in town.  They would not let us take photos, but Dana did snag a video that is way cute.  Everyone played with the babies and toddlers and we had conversation with people who were there contemplating adoption of some of the kids.  As we drove away Jaiden was asking to go back and dreaming of which friends she could take with her.  Humbling to visit orphanages and see the humble supplies, dirty walls and doors.  Kids playing within such minimal environments.  Praying for them and all the others who will venture through the doors of that place.

Below you will find a bit more in the way of photos:

This is called Laundry for the kids and workers in this orphonage

This is called Laundry for the kids and workers in this orphonage

Dana and the kids are invited to this amazing pool while I am in meetings at the church.  Fair?

Dana and the kids are invited to this amazing pool while I am in meetings at the church. Fair?

See, they are having a blast.

See, they are having a blast.

The view from the playground/deck at the orphanage

The view from the playground/deck at the orphanage

The Orphanage from the outside.  Sure makes it look like they have AC, but they sure didn't have it active when we were in there.

The Orphanage from the outside. Sure makes it look like they have AC, but they sure didn’t have it active when we were in there.

Update from Indonesia

Been a couple days…things have been crazy busy with ministry and fun.

Sunday was great sharing at ICA East.  I preached the first in a 4 week series called Mindful.  There were so many people who expressed their appreciation of the talk and how it was perfect timing.  Love seeing how God can speak a message to a communicator across the world and make it timely for those here in Indonesia.  AMAZING

After service we went out to another crazy good restaurant where Jaiden ate nearly a whole family sized serving plate of Kung Pao Chicken.  She is loving the spicy foods!  Taking after her daddy for sure.

Sunday night we invited the staff over for Homemade Apple Crisp at the house.  Was fun to watch the girls open up and the whole family get to know some great people.

Yesterday we spent the day at the zoo.  Long drive from the house (2 and 1/2 hours into the Volcanic mountains.  There was traffic all the way.  This zoo allowed you to get so close to the animals .  Dana placed some of the photos from the zoo on her Facebook HERE.

I continue to see crazy stuff from our driving around.  Here are a few moment in picture.

Another day on the roads of Surabaya

Another day on the roads of Surabaya

Largest Mosque in Surabaya.  This place is huge.

Largest Mosque in Surabaya. This place is huge.

The white lines mean nothing in Surabaya, and obviously the shoulder is just another potential lane!

The white lines mean nothing in Surabaya, and obviously the shoulder is just another potential lane!

They are constantly burning their trash here, so smoke is a constant.  The Volcanos are constantly releasing ash into the atmosphere as well, so you are driving along and suddenly you see a mountain that has been there the whole time, you can just finally see it.

They are constantly burning their trash here, so smoke is a constant. The Volcanos are constantly releasing ash into the atmosphere as well, so you are driving along and suddenly you see a mountain that has been there the whole time, you can just finally see it.

Taking picks of kids on bikes never gets old.

Taking picks of kids on bikes never gets old.

When you have an oversized load a Uturn can break your axel.  Just another day on the road.

When you have an oversized load a Uturn can break your axel. Just another day on the road.

you see it all on the road

you see it all on the road

Every light another opportunity for business.  At least these were adults and not the 4 year olds at most other lights.

Every light another opportunity for business. At least these were adults and not the 4 year olds at most other lights.

Because they can I guess!

Because they can I guess!

Who wants to work on this scaffolding?

Who wants to work on this scaffolding?

Let's put a bunch of sticks together and climb to the top.  WOW

Let’s put a bunch of sticks together and climb to the top. WOW

Look at the reality of this image.  They are trying to keep the demolition from falling on those going into a restaurant below.  What I don't think the guy with the hammer realizes, is the way this is going to fall when he hits it.

Look at the reality of this image. They are trying to keep the demolition from falling on those going into a restaurant below. What I don’t think the guy with the hammer realizes, is the way this is going to fall when he hits it.

Look the white man is taking my picture mom.

Look the white man is taking my picture mom.

Let's just say Jenna was afraid that the animals we could reach through and touch might eat her little brother.

Let’s just say Jenna was afraid that the animals we could reach through and touch might eat her little brother.

Never have I been this close to something so beautiful and huge.  I could literally feel and smell it's breath from the two feet away where I was.  Good thing the sign warned me not to stick my fingers in.  I would have totally not known to keep my hands out.  LOL

Never have I been this close to something so beautiful and huge. I could literally feel and smell it’s breath from the two feet away where I was. Good thing the sign warned me not to stick my fingers in. I would have totally not known to keep my hands out. LOL

Don't look now but there is an animal right behind you! "really?"

Don’t look now but there is an animal right behind you! “really?”

Just us with some crazy characters

Just us with some crazy characters

They thought being close to the animals was fun when they were small enough to be on the other side of the cage we were riding in.

They thought being close to the animals was fun when they were small enough to be on the other side of the cage we were riding in.

As the animals got bigger...everyone on board became a bit scared.  Especially this lady who chose to hide in Dana's lap.

As the animals got bigger…everyone on board became a bit scared. Especially this lady who chose to hide in Dana’s lap.

Don't look now, but I think it's time for another skirt Chief!

Don’t look now, but I think it’s time for another skirt Chief!

Don't look now, but I think we are about to get eaten!  Nice little kitty kitty.  Kids get in the car...LOL

Don’t look now, but I think we are about to get eaten! Nice little kitty kitty. Kids get in the car…LOL

#indo13

Ministry Day & life in Surabaya

Thought I would summarize our ministry day through photos.

This is the location of ICA West where we meet before heading out for ministry and the location of one of the campuses for the church.  Huge Mall

This is the location of ICA West where we meet before heading out for ministry and the location of one of the campuses for the church. Huge Mall

These dudes help cars back out into the roads, kind of! Put their lives at risk over and over.

These dudes help cars back out into the roads, kind of! Put their lives at risk over and over.

Can you say Motorcycles...wow

Can you say Motorcycles…wow

View from the roof of the Mall where ICA is located

View from the roof of the Mall where ICA is located

Mei and her daughter talking with the family in the car we get toted around Surabaya inside of.

Mei and her daughter talking with the family in the car we get toted around Surabaya inside of.

Isn't she a beauty queen!  And notice the hands of Preston...he copies everything you do these days.

Isn’t she a beauty queen! And notice the hands of Preston…he copies everything you do these days.

Antony on the right and our driver Ridwan deciding which way to get us to the ministry for today.

Antony on the right and our driver Ridwan deciding which way to get us to the ministry for today.

These bikes are traveling at 3 times the speed as us and sometimes three wide in about a 3 foot space.  Note Preston photobombing at the age of 2!

These bikes are traveling at 3 times the speed as us and sometimes three wide in about a 3 foot space. Note Preston photobombing at the age of 2!

There are a lot of people in that van.

There are a lot of people in that van.

See what I said about the kids, they are having fun driving though!

See what I said about the kids, they are having fun driving though!

Outreach with the kids under a tarp in the center of a graveyard.  It's the only place the local community will let them meet. Dangerous to get to!

Outreach with the kids under a tarp in the center of a graveyard. It’s the only place the local community will let them meet. Dangerous to get to!

Just taking it in as they learn english through a kids book about animals.

Just taking it in as they learn english through a kids book about animals.

Jaiden did all the breakouts with some new friends!

Jaiden did all the breakouts with some new friends!

and more friends

and more friends

and more friends...this is an amazing picture!

and more friends…this is an amazing picture!

The locals were going crazy over the twin factor!  Joslyn and Jenna felt like celebrities.

The locals were going crazy over the twin factor! Joslyn and Jenna felt like celebrities.

IMG_1081

Looks like a poster for a hunger campaign, but just a family trying to learn english and Jesus in a graveyard.

Looks like a poster for a hunger campaign, but just a family trying to learn english and Jesus in a graveyard.

IMG_1096

The pastor and founder of the church in the community is this man on the right.  11 years of ministry that began with a bag of rice and a prayer.

The pastor and founder of the church in the community is this man on the right. 11 years of ministry that began with a bag of rice and a prayer.

IMG_10118 IMG_10122 IMG_10124

coloring A for Apple

coloring A for Apple

This is what happens when a boy gets tired in the heat of the day.

This is what happens when a boy gets tired in the heat of the day.

This is someones home.  Consider yourself blessed.

This is someones home. Consider yourself blessed.

We made the challenging walk into an area just on the edge of the Red Light district just outside the graveyard

We made the challenging walk into an area just on the edge of the Red Light district just outside the graveyard

You can see the homes scattered amidst the tombs.

You can see the homes scattered amidst the tombs.

anyone need to go potty?

anyone need to go potty?

Look closely...tons of these around this place

Look closely…tons of these around this place

The teens learning in the church building that is pastored by the guy pictured earlier.  They cannot have church here, but can do english studies.

The teens learning in the church building that is pastored by the guy pictured earlier. They cannot have church here, but can do english studies.

IMG_10218

Twin power.  They feel famous.  Look at their faces drinking it up.

Twin power. They feel famous. Look at their faces drinking it up.

Steven wanted pictures.  The kid is studying 4 languages and is very smart.

Stefanus wanted pictures. The kid is studying 4 languages and is very smart.

IMG_10234 IMG_10235

A humble home.  Cool looking though!

A humble home. Cool looking though!

Just for fun around the hood!

Just for fun around the hood!

Family outing

Family outing

Can't imagine

Can’t imagine

wow, these guys were flying too!

wow, these guys were flying too!

Post #3 from Indonesia

Driving at night, waiting, and ministry.

The most exciting time of the day for me was doing ministry to a group of young people who are among the poor of the city.  They call the ministry “social” and the program is YDPIMG_0012 (youth development program).  They train them in leadership, english and Christ.  They wanted me to give a leadership challenge to them, so I prepared a 15 minute lesson so after translation it took 30.  These kids don’t have the ability to learn english where they live, so they use translation for this group. The night before we saw one of the young men begging on the streets and now got to pour into them the leadership.

  • To watch them worship was cool.  They were so genuine and many of them very moved.  At the end of the night we were told they often resist going home because of the love and safety of this ministry in their lives.

Timing is not everything here.

We discovered that 9:30 am might just mean sometime in the morning.  That money is seen as valuable, but not time.  Time is more of an estimate.  One person expressed that with traffic you plan to do one thing a day when in America we might try and do 10.  So it takes planning to have things to do when you are waiting for people.  A whole new adventure of multitasking.  Or you could just learn to relax.  Which do you think I do, or even more so Dana?  Yup…bring something to do!!

The driving at night I wish I could explain.  IMG_0004 copy IMG_9994 copyI tried to get a good picture, but to see a family with a baby in a sling on the back of these bikes is unreal.  Here is a very blurry pic of the family.  The baby was on the back of her, but as they pulled into a parking spot she swung the baby around to her side before leaping off.  CRAZY

The bikes and cars travel like a school of fish. They zig and zag and there really are no rules per say.  Just don’t hit each other and that bikes have the right of way.  You change lanes slowly so the bikes or other cars can swerve to miss you.  You have to be aggressive and get where you need to go.  The lines on a road mean absolutely nothing!  Nor are there speed limit signs anywhere.  You just move with traffic and there is always traffic.  There are speed bumps on streets which are more like speed mountains that help you to not get up to any too extreme of a speed.  Funny thing is they drive crazy fast and lock their brakes for the speed bumps, then it’s off to the races again after you lump over them.

The kids are still way tired, and so are we a bit.

IMG_9979 copy

They are waking up at 2, 3, or 4 am and we are getting them back to sleep just to wake up again at 5:30.  Eventually we will get used to the time change…maybe just in time to head home.

While I don’t have a good pic of Lizzy (the lizard in the air vent downstairs) yet, I do have a good pic of the reaction every time she comes out for a visit!

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This is Jenna….she doesn’t like Lizzy! Enjoy.

Today we venture out to the store and to do ministry to kids in a graveyard.  We are crazy excited to get our hands involved in ministry and to see what normality looks like in the outer spaces of this city.  Watch for pics on Instagram (Thad’s or Dana’s) and Facebook or await the post tomorrow about our experience today.   Tomorrow’s post might be a bit later due to Sunday being very packed full of ministry. Or I may have time tonight to get this updated.

Thanks for your prayers! #indo13

Starting Day 3

It is not easy making time to send these updates.  While we have not been that busy with ministry yet (that begins tonight for us), we have been busy meeting people and sharing life in Indonesia.

The jet lag is a brute.  It certainly can get the best of you.  We barely were able to keep our eyes open till 7 on Wednesday night and then last night we didn’t even go out to dinner until 7:30…needless to say the table made a good pillow for the girls to sleep on (see pic here)!

Some highlights from the second half of day one and all of day two.

  • The kids love the food! (see pic here), they have been saying that every meal is their favorite so far.  Think that is a good thing!
  • The roads take a bit of getting used to…certainly at night.  The motorcycles fly by you with little kids on with two adults.  It is dizzying to look at and you constantly feel like someone is going to die in front of you.
  • We have been inspired by the vision of ICA Surabaya.  From the 100 photo frames on the walls representing the churches they are planting to their heart for young people and raising support for them to further their education after reaching them for Jesus.
  • Jenna discovered “Lizzy”.  That is what we named the lizard that hangs out near the kitchen AC unit.  Needless to say she had a bit of a meltdown due to that.  I will try and post the vid later, but you can pray for her embrace of the 4 legged creatures that visit.
  • The US dollar goes far here…about 11,000 to 1.  So yesterday I spent $35,000 on a quad Americano.  That Add Shot was $5,000.  Painful, but fun.
  • A member of ICA invited us to use her pool at an Apartment complex.  The kids were refreshed as was I.  It was interesting as the pool had steps going down, three steps, but when you got to step 4 it was a 6 ft. drop.  Caught the girls by surprise a bit for sure.

Today we are making some gifts for everyone here that we brought with us, called Ole Ole, prepping for a youth leadership talk to some outreach teens, and finishing prep for Sunday’s talk.  Tomorrow we go to the graveyard ministry outreach and are excited to begin being busy reaching out to people!

#indo13