Monthly Archives: April 2010

About a week and a half ago Kennedy fell down and scrapped her knee. It was a typical scuff that bled a little and was pretty sore. Almost from the beginning Kennedy would look down at her little wound and say, “Mommy, God is healing me.” I found that pretty profound for a three year old, but it got even more profound throughout the week.

On Saturday night we stayed in a hotel with a swimming pool. It was ridiculously fun for the kids, but at one point, the rough edges of the pool literally tore the scab from her knee. Bright red blood poured down her wet leg. She cried and cried, but then she looked down at her knee and through her sobs she said, “Mommy, God is healing me.”

I looked at her in humble amazement. Her wound, having been nearly healed, was just made far worse than when it started. Blood was oozing out of her body and the pain was throbbing through her, but her faith in God did not waver. She knew that no matter what the circumstance currently was, her God was still faithful to His commitment of healing.

It would be one more time this week that her wound would open up to expose an opportunity for discouragement. True to her nature, she did not budge. This morning, her knee now well on it’s way to recovery, she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Mommy, God is healing me.”

Kennedy, my love, may your faith transfer to all of us in the midst of circumstances that look pretty bloody. Your resolve to love God despite the situation is inspiring for us all. A part of me wishes that little wound would leave a scar so that I could always remember your determination to believe.

The last 6 days have been pretty monumental in the Newell household. Last Friday, Mark flew to Spokane and drove back our new church van. It needs a little TLC, but overall, it’s in great shape. Here it is:

Then on Saturday we headed to Renton to celebrate with New Life Renton for their grand opening. They took an offering for North Creek as we move into the new season of growth in our history. It totaled $7000! What a blessing! We are about half way to our goal of $30,000 for our second campus already!

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we had our Network Conference. It was in Vancouver this year, so all of our pastor friends from the whole state were in town. We took advantage of that and invited them to our building. We asked a lot of questions and got some great feedback from some top quality leaders. What a goldmine of wisdom!

We ended the week with a sick daughter, so sleep was relative last night! UGH! Mark and I are exhausted, but so excited for the next season of ministry. Give us a couple of days to recoup and then WATCH OUT! We’re more determined than ever to leverage all that God has blessed us with to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus.

But first we need a nap.

We were laughing on Sunday at staff meeting about when our church plant took an offering for Troy Jones’ mega-church last year. We took our largest special offering ever and sent it to Renton. I’m sure that we are one of the few church plants in history to send a check to a large church for their building fund. It’s hilarious, isn’t it? At the time, that one offering equated to about 12% of our monthly budget. It was badly needed money, but not needed so much that it was worth keeping it.

There is actually a long story behind that moment that started 14 years ago and is a leadership principle that is worth gold. Fourteen years ago, after Mark had served as Troy’s junior high pastor, Troy hired me to help with youth events on a District Level. We put on camps and conferences for thousands of teenagers. During those years, Troy bought me and Mark ALOT of coffee to thank us for our hard work.

Then one day, Troy told Mark and I that we needed to buy him a cup of coffee. He’d been buying the coffee for years and it was time that we grew up and invested into ourselves as leaders every once in a while. Buying him a cup of coffee equated to him sitting down and investing into our lives and ministry. It was valuable time. He wasn’t being mean, but he was passing on a nugget of leadership wisdom that most people never get.

It’s very easy for all of us to be fed and to just ask for more all of the time. We even justify their sacrfice into our lives by our service to our leaders. I worked hard for Troy. I deserved that cup of coffee. But that’s not the point! The point is that when someone is constantly pouring into you, sometimes you gotta anty up and pay for the coffee. We must look at great leaders and think, “How can I bless them? How can I give back? How can I be a part of what they are doing rather than constantly making it about what I am doing?”

So, when we decided to send that offering to Troy, we thought, “It’s time to buy Troy a cup of coffee.” It was time to give back.

And now, here we are again. New Life is going to take an offering for North Creek for the second time and my first thought was, “All right. Now we’ve gotta figure out a way to give back.” It won’t be equal, but it will be sacrificial.

Who do you need to buy a cup of coffee for in your life? Who is that person who constantly pours into your life? It’s time to invest in yourself by investing in them.

Our Thursday night youth ministry has their one year birthday tonight! What a year it has been!

It was about 14 months ago that Jeff told us he wanted to step away from youth ministry. What a blow! We prayed, discussed, and went in circles. All of those circles lead back to Kris Gray. Gotta tell ya…she wasn’t necessarily quick to warm up to the idea. Her last words were, “Fine, if you want a youth pastor who doesn’t want to be the youth pastor, I’ll do it.” Done. That may sound funny, but sometimes the best leaders are the ones who aren’t seeking it.

And she’s the best. She took about a dozen students that were roaming around our church and attacked a trecherous deadline of one month to launch a midweek youth ministry. They all worked hard and the launch was very successful.

Fastforward to a year later…Our church literally crawls with teenagers. They are in love with Jesus and have a healthy perspective of failure and forgiveness in the eyes of Christ. They serve, they stand in the way of the coffee pots, and they stereotypically break nearly everything in the church. And we wouldn’t change that for the world.

I am proud of Kris, her team, and these students. They are everything that we’ve always wanted for the youth of North Creek. They are not a sub-culture in the midst of our agenda, but they are a part of the bigger picture and are dedicated to the progression of our dream.

And Kris, well, she’s warmed up to the idea of being the youth pastor. But, if you’ve ever had a conversation with her, you already know that.

So, congrats to all of you! We love you, believe in you, and are so glad that you are a part of this church. Mark and I look forward to celebrating with you tonight!

This morning I looked out on my front lawn to see one of my bowls in the middle of my grass. I knew that Kennedy had disobeyed after leaving it out there, so I went to confront her about it.

“Kennedy, do you know why mommy’s bowl is in the front lawn?”

Kennedy looked around, completely dumbfounded by the accusation. She looked up at me with her big green eyes and said, “Maybe God did it.”

Oh, I can see it now. God himself, standing on my porch, chucking my bowl out into the grass. I don’t think so.

I laughed at her quick wit, but I think she nailed a reality that many people live in. We look at the results of our own disobedience and say, “Maybe God did it.” We somehow think that giving God credit for our bad choices will alleviate someone’s disapproval or force us to correct the error.

Here’s an example that comes to mind. I’ve got a friend that dislikes her church, speaks her disapproval often, condemns her pastors, and then says that “God hasn’t released me, yet.” Hmmmm….who left the bowl on the lawn? Because they “feel” that God has them at that church, they justify speaking ill of God’s house and it’s leaders. Interesting way to look at it. Seems like if God really has you at that church, you better “pick up the bowl” and stop complaining. You can’t have it both ways!

(This is free: if you hate your church, God has released you. Or better yet, your pastor probably doesn’t want you there anyway, so he’ll be glad to release you on God’s behalf. Just sayin.)

Unfortunately, I’m as guilty as the next person. It’s easy to get caught up in our own emotions, act poorly, and look around for a scapegoat. The problem is that God will never be a scapegoat. My prayer for my own heart, and for yours today, is that we take responsibility for our stuff and allow God to be what He is…mighty, powerful, in control, sinless, awesome, holy, righteous, the beginning, the end, Savior, healer, provider…need I go on?