Monthly Archives: May 2011

It’s Memorial Day weekend….we honor our fallen heroes with deep gratitude! Those of us who live our lives in religious freedom on a daily basis should be most appreciative. Our right to talk about God, our beliefs and our values is the greatest gift in the world!

Happy Birthday to my daughter, Kennedy! She was born on Memorial Day five years ago. We had our staff over for a BBQ yesterday and I’m pretty sure she thought it was her personal birthday party! She had a great time playing!

Greg, Gregory and Erin Christie were back with us this weekend. They moved to California about a year ago and were back to finish up some moving details! They are part of our founding families who helped launch this church and honestly, when they walk in the building, everything just seems right with the world. They will ALWAYS be a part of our church and our hearts, so it was a joy to have them!

I expected a lower attendance due to the holiday. Nope. One of our highest ever.

We officially have four pregnant ladies at our church…again. Ranging from 6 weeks to 36 weeks, so at least we’ll spread out the love a little this time around! And yes, I’m purposely not posting names. You’ll just have to figure it out!

One of our newest young adults told Mark that being at North Creek is like falling in love. Not sure I’m making that into a bumper sticker, but it is sweet!

I thought I would mention that our 9:30 am service starts at 9:30 am. We’re crazy like that.

We are doing great on our giving towards the building. Mark and I’s personal goal for our church is that everybody gives something. We want all of our hearts and lives entangled in this miracle, rather than a few people feeling like a part. Give something! If you think giving is about money, it’s not. It’s about faith and your spiritual growth. Let’s do this together!

Great job to Alissa and the worship team! We have some pipes on that stage. The vocal kind, not the organ kind. And a shout out to our sound and media team! We have some really great people who serve faithfully in the back for hours on end and we appreciate you!

The owners (and chef) of La Bottega were with us this weekend. They are supporting 19 Cents of Faith by putting a portion of their proceeds towards our community goal. We had dinner at La Bottega on Friday! I’ll blog about it this week! We appreciate their support and the visit to see how we are doing!

I hope you enjoyed this day to remember our troops!

There are magic places in my life. These places have a thousand beautiful memories attached to them where profound things seem to be the norm and life change occurrs. Glacier Bible Camp in Hungry Horse, Montana is one of those places on my list. It seems every time I step onto the campgrounds, I know my destiny is being confirmed. Our church is also one of them. I watch people who don’t think they want to go to church completely change everything about their lives because of North Creek. It changed my life in ways that I cannot put words, too, but I know in my heart that it’s special. It’s a magic place.

Family of Christ Preschool became one of those places on my list this year as well. I watched my overly shy preschooler become her own little girl there. And not only through the eyes of my child, but I feel a profound connection to some of the parents I interact with and I know that there are lifelong relationships birthed out of that magic place.

What makes somewhere magic? I don’t really know. It’s a culture of love that is developed and an unspoken rule that you have to live up to your potential to be there. And somehow, in the midst of the pressure of that rule and all of that love, you rise up and become something better than when you walked in.

Kennedy is definitely a different child than she was just nine months ago and for that I am grateful. We’ll close the preschool chapter and the door of this magic place in our life now, but the sweet memories are ours to keep! So, thank you Family of Christ, Ms. Jackie, Ms. Ashley, and all of our friends, for making something beautiful out of this one year of our lives. I am honored to have another place on my list that is full of the mystery and beauty of God’s hand molding our lives.

During our 19 Cents of Faith journey over the last couple of months, I have learned a great deal about the topic of philanthropy. I thought I would share some thoughts about some of what I’ve learned about the generosity:

1. There are extremely generous people in our world who write millions of dollars worth of checks every year. I think it is easy to believe that these people became generous when they became rich. I doubt that very much. Generosity is not born in wealth, but rather it’s born in your heart. If you won’t give when you have meager circumstances, you won’t give if you are ever wealthy.

2. God called my husband and I to church planting and I love it. That being said, if I could choose another path, I would like to be a philanthropist. I can’t think of anything more exciting than having the means to make dreams come true. I really don’t know how you sleep at night knowing you are about to write $1,000,000 (or more) check to someone who COULD NOT live out their destiny without that money.

3. Most philanthropists give to universities and hospitals. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of large gifts doled out to the church world. I think wise people put their money where they think it will do the most good. It should alarm the church world that most of us aren’t making that list. However, to our credit, I personally feel like the “showy, money-wasting, glitsy” church is meeting it’s demise and more pastors are getting back to the Bible when it comes to helping communities at a grass-roots level. North Creek Church pinches pennies until they scream…not because of a poverty mentality, but because it’s wise and respectable to use other people’s money to the best of our ability.

4. I would like to have lunch with some philathropists. I want to know how they think about money, what makes them write checks where they write checks, and what they think a church should be doing to deserve their money. So…if you are a philanthropist, sitting around reading this blog, I’d love an hour of your time…and I’ll buy lunch!

5. Unless I win the lottery, which I don’t play, I’ll probably never be on the cover of a philanthropy magazine (I’m fine if that statement turns out to be wrong!). That being said, I will be generous with what I do have. Christians should be the most generous people on earth, but I am confident that our reputation says differently. On average, American Christians give away 2% of their income. The Bible talks incessantly about giving and 2% just won’t change the world. Let’s stretch our philanthropic muscles a bit and have some fun!

Hats of to all the philanthopists out there! I honor you!

In the last week we’ve lost two of our local young people to suicide. It is a topic that is so difficult to process and I know it comes with a lifetime of confusion for those of you who are left behind. I began at an early age to understand the reality of suicide. When I was about five, my adopted “grandpa”, who was my next door neighbor, committed suicide. When I was eight, my other neighbor, and the mother of my best friend, committed suicide. When I was ten, my older brother began what would be a 15 year battle with depression, mental disorder, and many attempts of suicide. My junior high and high school years became marked by some of the scariest situations I could imagine as we rode the roller coaster of wondering if today was the day it would happen. And then when I was 16, my friend down the street didn’t show up to the bus one day. She was gone overnight by overdosing on pills.

I’m not sure why I was surrounded by so much devastation as a child and teen. I can’t really explain it or tell you that I feel it was used for a purpose in the last several decades. Honestly, it was this weird reality of wanting so much to have those people back in my life, but watching life march on without them and there was just nothing I could do about it. They had chosen not be there and that was the most gut-wrenching feeling of helplessness that I could imagine.

I have re-lived and re-mourned the loss frequently in my life as I see what 30 years does to this issue. My best friend’s mom would now have many grandkids to hold. She would have moved on from her pain and felt joy again. If Sarah was at the bus stop that day, she would probably be married with kids. She would look back at the whisp of high school and be so glad she held on as she watched her kids giggle. My “grandpa” would have gotten many more hugs from me before he would have died peacefully in his sleep one day. Thankfully we did not bury my brother in all of those years.

So, what would I tell these people in my life if I had the chance? Get some help. Please, please, please…get some help. And don’t ever give up until you find that help. Sometimes that means starting a relationship with Jesus, sometimes that means a great church of loving people, sometimes that means a good counselor to sort out your pain, sometimes that requires medication to get you thinking correctly. Not one of my stories are the same. They were diverse ages, different reasons, and what should have been different solutions. Tell someone you are hurting and if they don’t listen…tell someone else.

I wish at the end of this blog there was a positive spin to any of these stories. But, that is the true death of suicide. It negates so many positive memories with such a devasting reality and an unexplainable loss for those left to cope with it. I hurt for so many in our community who are currently facing this head on. May the peace of God be at the forefront of this journey. My prayers are with you…

Well, we weren’t raptured, but we still got to be with Jesus this weekend! My thoughts on rapture predictions…REALLY? The Bible is clear that we aren’t going to know when the end is coming. Why would you think that means it will be all over the news, internet, and billboards? Read your Bible. It all doesn’t end with an email warning. Just live your life to the glory of God and stop making Christians look ridiculous. That’s my two cents on the whole deal.

Church was great! We continue to have a flood of new guests every week.

Mark spoke a great message on character. It’s a rare commodity, but one that is worth gold!

Had a deep conversation with Kris Gray about the teenagers perspective of sexuality in this day and age. Bottom line: if you adhere to a belief structure that is outside of the Biblical bounds of a man and woman waiting until the union of marriage to express themselves sexually…you are buying into a depraved mentality. It’s an incredible task to say to this particular generation that PURITY matters deeply to God. It’s not about what we are told, what we wish, or what we feel. It’s about focusing on purity and casting out of our minds any thought that is in opposition to purity. There’s a challenge. Live up to it!

Small groups kicked off with a bang this week. It’s such an awesome opportunity to learn more about each other and Jesus. Have fun getting to know some new faces!

My inlaws are on their way home from a vacation to Mark’s sister’s family in North Dakota. Come home!!!!

As you know, we gave up our salary this month for our building fundraising. I made a “joke” to invite us over for dinner…we’ve gotten lots of invites and I have to say…We have LOVED the excuse to get to know people who might not have invited us over under “normal” circumstances. What a brilliant plan!!! This whole journey of watching what God is using in this step of faith has been AWESOME. It’s been so much more multi-faceted than I had ever dreamed it would be.

Congrats to Greg and Michelle on the birth of their new grandson!

Have a great week!