Monthly Archives: August 2009

A couple of weeks ago we took the girls to Baskin Robbins. Mark and Delaney started out in search of the perfect flavor, while I slowly walked by the colorful tubs with Kennedy in my arms. The rich, gooey ice cream seemed to be everywhere you looked. I quickly spotted several that tempted me…oreo, blackberry, and snickers…mmmmm! However, even as I thought that, several other options jumped out at me.

Kennedy’s wide eyes took it all in and then she made her final decision. She escorted me back down the row of options and pointed at her perfect find…vanilla. “Vanilla?” I exclaimed. “Out of all of these options, you want VANILLA?”

But my sweet little girl had grasped something really important in life that many of us miss…sometime plain and ordinary isn’t bad. We often live for the next, greater thing or live with a need for an awesome experience to consider the day successful. Even in our spiritual walk, sometimes if we haven’t “felt” or “experienced” God, we get discouraged. But what if it’s just a vanilla kind of day? Nothing is wrong with your relationship…it’s just kind of plain for the day. Nothing is bad at all.

As a matter of fact, Kennedy loved every bite of her vanilla. She enjoyed the simplicity of it; the creamy, cold, sweet treat…just for what it was. Maybe we can translate that into our walk with God and enjoy the diversity that He is. Sometimes our relationship with him is chocked full of flavors, but sometimes it’s pretty simple. Sometimes it’s vanilla. And that’s all right.


A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced.

Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.

“Strike One!” he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried.

The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”

Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. “Strike Three!”

“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”

Sometimes in life you have to stop and ask yourself, “What am I really good at? What should I be doing with my time and energy that will make me most effective?” This is a question that I am really examing in my own heart right now. There have been several times lately where I’ve been doing a lot of swinging and not hitting a home run. The irony is that if I would just slightly change my perspective of what I’m doing, I would be successful. For example, I am a great administrator…until I try to cover everybody else’s jobs that I failed to delegate correctly. Then I fail at both the job I am doing and the opportunity to administrate well.

I have found it interesting how many people put themselves in the wrong place in life and ministry. I can obviously see the giftings and the talents that someone has and yet for whatever purpose, we all put ourselves in every other position, but the one that we would excel in. Why do we do that? Why do we fight our strengths and passions so much in order to be something that we think we want to be, but aren’t equipped for?

My excuses sound a lot like, “Well, someone has to cover that, so I might as well…” And all the while, I know that my excuse is just bad leadership. There are also a myriad of other excuses that I hear all of the time as well for why people don’t do their best…time, money, kids, experience… For whatever reason we let all of the stuff in life get in the way of allowing us to be a “10” somewhere.

And the result…we look like bad batters instead of great pitchers.

It has been 12 years since I married my wonderful husband. What a ride! We’ve been youth pastors at 3 churches, had two kids, owned 6 houses, started one church, drank thousands of cups of coffee together, and accumulated the world’s best group of friends and mentors. We have a beautiful life together that we are excited to celebrate. We are blessed beyond measure!

I married Mark because of how much he loved other people. I saw in him a passion to see people become better and fulfill their dreams. I fell in love with him while he was at an alter with a bunch of junior highers. He was crying out to God for a generation. He was also a quality person with a good head on his shoulders. And now, after all of these years, the trait that I am most amazed by is his humility. He doesn’t need to be the best. He doesn’t seek fame from this world, but rather he seeks righteousness in God’s eyes. And the irony is that is what makes him the best. I have never met a man who sets his agenda aside so much in order to carry the mantel of God’s agenda. It is the thing that sets him apart.

Our marriage has been relatively free of crisis, even though we’ve gone through all of the normal stuff together. Shaky finances, getting fired, crankiness, and screaming children…just to name a few. The secret to being happy anyway…choose the right attitude and keep going through the struggles. All problems come to an end eventually and what’s important to me is that Mark and I are together through it all.

Thanks, Mark, for being a great husband and dad! It’s been your primary goal for decades and I’m glad to say that you’ve exceeded your wildest expectations. I love being Mrs. Stacy Newell.

OK, sometimes even I have low expectations. I thought today’s attendance would be a little low because it’s the middle of August. I was wrong. Really, really, really wrong. That sent me into a tailspin of correcting my inadequate perspective! So, with that in mind, here is my weekly recap of our Sunday morning:

We actually ran out of coffee in the big pot. A riot could have broken out, but I brewed a couple of extra pots and averted a crisis.

The youth worship team lead worship and did a fabulous job. They are great students with a heart for Jesus. And they didn’t just lead well “for teenagers”. They just led well. Period. Pastor Jeff did an amazing job creating that team! Way to go all of you!

How many new kids can you pour into our kids ministry in one day? Well, I’m pretty sure we hit the max on that one. Our regular kids were outnumbered 2 to 1 by guests. That’s fun!

Matthew and Hailey shared brief stories about the impact of adults in their lives. It’s really easy to impact a student…just show up. Mostly they need a broad support system for people in their lives who believe in them. Sometimes adults have a habit of looking at all teenagers as if they are a virus. We are very afraid of their culutre. They have weird clothes and funky hair. Here’s how you change that perspective…you say, “Hi, my name is Stacy. What’s your name?” When they start talking, you’ll realize they are indeed humans.

I didn’t get to be in any of the kids minstry programs today. Bummer!

Did you know it takes $10,000 a month to run our church?

I met with Ryan Loundsbury this afternoon regarding leading a men’s group this fall. What a quality guy! He’s going to be a great leader. Not just of our small groups, but in life.

We have quality, talented, amazing people at North Creek. And you are good at so many diverse things. It’s really remarkable! I feel really humbled to be surrounded by the caliber of leaders that we have in our midst. It pushes me to be better.

Speaking of trying to be better, I haven’t missed a day of reading at least a chapter in my Bible in over 10 years. I hope that motivates you to start somewhere. I am so thankful I did.

Kevin wants to know how many youth we have on Thursday nights…I have a suspicion that he’s gonna bring them sugar…if you weren’t in church, this means very little to you. Catch the sermon online.

My inlaws were gone today on a little mini-vacation to Lynden. I hope you have a great time!

Thanks to all of you who worked hard this morning to keep the ball rolling! It was a wonderful, wild ride!

This is a blog written by a pastor friend named Brandon Beals. It’s about leadership, which is my favorite topic, so enjoy!

I am winding down my time in Nelson Searcy’s coaching network. (My last trip to New York is in September.) The latest book he had us read for our coaching network was Ken Blanchard’s book, Leading at a Higher Level. Great book on leadership within any type of organization. It provides some great insight on managing your team, regardless of its size. Here are some great thoughts from the book:

When an organization does not live up to its stated values, employee and customer trust and commitment erode, negatively impacting all aspects of the bottom line.

Vision is the responsibility of every leader at every level of the organization.

Values define leadership and the way employees act on a day-to-day basis.

The ultimate responsibility for ensuring and maintaining a vision remains with the leaders and cannot be delegated to others.

Boundaries in an empowerment culture tell people where they can be autonomous and responsible, rather than telling them what they can’t do.

Leadership is not something you do to people, but something you do with people.

You can expect more if you inspect more.

Changes in performance occur either because the job and the necessary skills to perform it have changed, or because people have lost their commitment.

Goals are the guideposts along the road that make a compelling vision come alive. Goals energize people.