Monthly Archives: September 2008

Last night I burned my hand pretty good.  I was taking a tray of food out of the oven and grabbed the wire rack with my fingers instead of the hot pad.  Needless to say, it hurt bad!  Mark was left to get dinner on the table and for the next five hours I literally kept my fingers in a cup of ice water.  Every time I withdrew my hand, within moments I was in excruciating pain.  I would test myself every half an hour thinking that the burning would certainly have stopped.  Nope…it just kept going.

As I sat their frustrated with my plight, I thought that this is exactly how some people in the world feel about church and Jesus.  As long as they remain in the cold, it seems that they are OK.  However, when they encounter church and Jesus, the burning starts.  Past hurts, lifestyle choices, and bad memories begin to sting in the open air.  Although they want to be free of their cold world, that is where the comfort is.  But it’s not where the healing is!

I couldn’t stay in my cup of water forever.  I knew that I had to eventually endure the stinging in order to get on with my life.  I was strategically trying to figure out how to sleep with a cup of ice water, but that is ridiculous.  So, when I could no longer stay awake, I pulled my hand out of the water, wrapped it in gauze, and endured the bite of reality.  After about an hour, I was OK. 

And that is what North Creek is for some people.  We give the wounded the opportunity to deal with some deep issues and we become the gauze for them.  The good news is that facing Jesus doesn’t sting long.  He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.  He is the cosmic bandaid puller.  It hurts for a moment, just like pulling my hand from the ice water, but it means freedom in the end.

The good news is that I am able to function almost normally and productively this morning.  There’s a scar where I was burned, but it’s much more of a memory today rather than the raw pain of the previous evening.  And those of you who are facing some of your hurts and disappointments will also see that they will just be painless scars in the future.  Memories of a life before Jesus’ healing and badges of his faithfulness.

So, pull yourself out of the numbing cold and face whatever it is that is keeping you from the warmth of Jesus!  Get your healing and become a productive part of His church!

A word from Kris!


Renting can be frustrating.  You are living in a space that’s not really yours and you can’t put up the cute butterfly wallpaper for your daughter our let your husband install the garage shelving system he has his eye on at Home Depot.  Everywhere you go and everything you use belongs to someone else.  And they expect it to still be there when you leave.  You pay to upgrade things knowing full well other people will be the ones enjoying it when you move on and every flower you plant will be for the next person to enjoy.  Renting is frustrating.


And North Creek Church has been renting our space for 2 years now.  Only we’re not frustrated. Not even close.  In fact, we’re so blessed by the staff and building of Salmon Creek Elementary School that we give them a blessing once a month to remind them how much we appreciate them and love renting from them.  That time of renting Salmon Creek Elementary might be coming to a close soon due to our possible building options, but we will forever appreciate the generosity of all the people that we now have relationships with that call that school their home. 


One of my favorites is Brian.  He’s supposed to be the janitor that’s there to clean up when we’re done, but really he’s become one of us.  He’s our go to guy for every weird and crazy request we have of him and he’s actually kicked me out of doing a job because it was his job now.  He eats breakfast with us, invests in our kids, and wears our t-shirts.  We love Brian!  There are many pros to having our own building, but the one con is that Brian won’t be coming with us. 


So here’s a big shout out to Brian The Magnificent!  Thanks for putting up with a crazy church plant with a dream!

Last night we had leadership training at the church.  WE ARE SPOILED!  We have the best people with such a variety of talents, perspectives, and spiritual gifts!

I looked out across the room and thought of the vastness of the stories represented.  Some people in that room have been loving Jesus for 60+ years, while others are so new to the journey of Jesus that they are still trying to figure out what is right and wrong according to the Bible.  But what ties us all together is that we are all on the journey somewhere! 

I agree that there is a standard of leadership that the Bible makes clear.  We need to live lives above reproach, but I also think that if we only accept perfect people in leadership, it will be a very lonely place.  There are different areas of leadership for everyone on the journey!  If you are one step further on the journey than someone else, you have the ability to lead them in the next step.

I also think there is room for error in leadership.  We all mess up!  It is the heart attitude behind people that I care much more about.  Are you teachable?  Are you striving to be like Jesus…even if that means you fall short?  Are you allowing God to work on those rough areas?  Are you divisive and fighting against the church?  The answers to those questions are much more important to me than all of the specific details in a person’s current life.  What you are “doing” now does not necessary match up to what God is “doing” in you.  God does His work and then the results come.  And in the meantime, I believe you can greet, hold a baby, pass out crayons to a kid or bulletins to an adult.  Being used in leadership doesn’t equate to having “arrived” at a certain level of perfection.

People are much more drawn to love in our church than perfection.  We are an imperfect people navigating the road to Jesus’ example.  If we continue to pour out love to people, God will guide and direct them to where He needs them to be!

Finances has been a bit of a balancing act in the last two years.  Twice in the last two years, North Creek has gone at least $10,000 into debt.  Once for start up costs and again last fall after an unexpected dip in the income last summer.

As we crept into the month of October 2007, we were in a bit of a panic.  We would “joke” at staff meeting about whether we would still be open next week.  However we all were keenly aware that our jokes would be a reality without a significant move from God.  Our faith was strong, but nonetheless, we were trying to be as calm as possible.

It was in early November that we were invited to our friend’s church (Troy Jones from New Life at Renton).  He was in the middle of a series about reaching out and North Creek was going to be the highlight for the day.  We went and bragged about all of the things that God had done in the last year since our birth.

It was so refreshing to be in an established church again and to feel the love and acceptance from their congregation.  I still look back on that morning with thankfulness.  After over a year of agonizing work, tears flowed down my cheeks that morning as I just got to worship without responsibilities.  It was a respite in the middle of chaos.  Although I was loving every minute of planting a church, I needed that break more than I think I wanted to admit.

That morning New Life took an offering to support us.  An astounding $12,000 came our way from that experience.  The money not only wiped out our debt, but we used their example to encourage our own people to step out into a new season of generosity.  And they did.  The next month our congregation gave the largest amount in one month up to that point.  It matched the amount that New Life had given us!  We went from horrible debt to margin in a matter of weeks.  Talk about a move of God!

There is no way for the people of New Life to completely understand what they did that morning.  They don’t know the 16 people we baptized this year, which wouldn’t have happened without their giving.  They don’t see the weight lifted off of our pastor when the finances are in the black, which enabled us to dream a fresh dream for our church.  And they certainly can’t imagine the shock we have that exactly one year from the date that we went last year, we will move into our first building.  They just believed in us and gave as each one was able.  And a miracle happened. 

And that is what we each need to learn.  Give as you are able and God will do a miracle.  Generosity changes lives!  Thank you, New Life at Renton!  Your money was put to good work and we can’t wait to do the same someday.

As new church planters we needed a few things right off of the bat.  One of those things was a trailer to haul all of our mobile stuff around in.  We started with an affordable trailer that was only about 5 feet tall.  It was the first piece of equipment that really made it all seem like a reality!  Although it was too small, it was our beginning and we were excited!

As we were preparing for the launch, we set up a time to assemble advertising tins at another church since we needed lots of room!  We excitedly loaded up the masses of boxes and paraphenalia into the trailer and went down the street.

We worked painstakingly for hours.  The exhaustion and the realization of the large task in front of us began to set in.  As the evening drew to a close we were crushed under the weight of what lie before us.  We began to load up our trailer with the tins and clean up the massive mess we had created.  It was mildly depressing.

As I rounded the corner with another armful of things, one of the kids said, “Mark’s hurt.  He’s in the kitchen.”  I set down my load and headed to the kitchen where I found Mark laying on the floor with blood surrounding him.  Kim, our children’s pastor, was mopping up the blood that was pouring out of his head.

Mark had scalped his head on our 5 foot tall trailer and taken a chunk right off of the top.  I handed off my newborn and my two year old to my inlaws and we headed off to the emergency room.  As we drove, I began to get dizzy from the emotional and physical workload.  By the time we drove up to the emergency room, I was sick.

We sat down to wait and I put my head between my legs to keep from passing out.  The nurse came around the corner and said, “Which one of you is it that has the head wound?”  OK, when a nurse can’t tell which one of us is hurt, that’s when you know it’s been a long month!  Mark raised his hand and she took us back to get him stapled back together.

Long story short, he healed just fine, but the trailer was sold and replaced with a taller version.  The extra money was well worth it!  We had officially invest blood, sweat, and tears into this crazy dream.  I am glad to say that we have not made another investment of blood since that day!  The sweat is still pouring and the tears come all too often.  However, they are tears of great joy as we hear story after story of changed lives.