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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Partnership

I am continually amazed at the partnerships in Bonney Lake that we have been able to put in place.  To have people within the community genuinely excited to support our efforts in Surabaya August 19th to September 18 is amazing.

dickeys1

All week this week June 24 through the 30th Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Bonney Lake is donating 10% of people’s total bill to our trip if they just bring in THIS FLYER (will print 4 to a page so you can give 3 away!).  We are working Continue reading

Presence Matters

Humbled to say the least at receiving the 2013 Community Leadership Award from the 971070_10200334207210350_1518716996_nSumner School District (SSD) at the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) today in Fife. Some more than kind words were said by Superintendant, Craig Spencer, and Principal of Liberty Ridge Elementary (LRE), Laurie Dent, reflecting on Open Life‘s impact through Big Give, Love Week, and our ongoing generosity towards the vision and needs at LRE and within the community as a whole.  More is noted by the local online news source Patch.

The Director of the SSD STARR project and the Communities For Families Coalition, Marilee Hill-Anderson shared some grateful words for my investment in all that has been done for families within our the SSD as well as the potential impact Open Life can continue to have as we pursue future projects together within the community. (She gets the photo credit)

All that to say this; I feel like we are just getting started…by living out the values of being generous and present with our community for the past three years Continue reading

The Impossible

Seems like every week I hear an impossible story of someone finding their way to God.  Last night I snagged a Red Box movie to watch with Dana and it was an emotional one for sure.  The Impossible is a true story, I cannot fathom the depth of loss and pain those suffered who were a part of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, but this movie grasps some of that pain.

I could not help but ponder while trying to go to sleep knowing that the unexpected is just seconds from any of our lives.   Continue reading

Belief before Behavior

Many people avoid the church because they know a Christian! If that stings…keep church helpreading.

I often offer to do coffee with those who have yet to experience faith in Jesus due to Christian’s impact within their life. There is something beautiful about the tension they experienced and the redemptive potential of their life.

More often than not the issue that chased them away from the church is they were prescribed behavioral changes before they experienced belief changes.

Someone intending to keep the church holy Continue reading

the experience

Driving by the newly remodeled Applebee’s in Bonney Lake I pointed out the improvements to my 10 year old daughters.  ”Girls doesn’t that look amazing, how they remodeled that in just a few days.”

Their reply got me to thinking, “it looks nice, but I wonder if their service is still slow.” Continue reading

John 3:16 and 17

I never share John 3:16 without sharing John 3:17. I think in our current cultural reality the one needs the other for the sake of clarity and health.


John 3:16–17 (NIV84) 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

As I prepare my talk for this Sunday on the necessity of serving one another and that the source of service is love, this passage jumped out to me.  As I grabbed it to paste Continue reading