Monthly Archives: October 2011

Since the inception of North Creek five years ago, I have been asked one question more than any other. “Why don’t we have a church bulletin board?” For years I have sufficed to say, “Because we don’t want one.” But now I have gained a hilarious reputation for not wanting bulletin boards in our church. I am so frequently asked about this topic, to the point of now being teased about it, so I thought I would give my not-so-spiritual response to a not-so-spiritual issue.

For those of you who go to great churches who happen to have bulletin boards, just know that I do believe God can still work regardless of your feelings about church bulletin boards. That being said, God put us over making the little decisions that make up North Creek and I will stand by my insidious dislike of the things. Here are my very profound (and hopefully quite funny) reasons:

1. Most church bulletin boards are where information goes to die.
2. They are esthetically tacky. Tacky. Tacky. Tacky. No pun intended with literal tacs.
3. Pastors let you put things on church bulletin boards that have no relevance to the mission or vision of the church because they are afraid to offend you. Ok. That wasn’t so funny. That was just the truth and the truth hurts.
4. No one under the age of 30 reads church bulletin boards. They use things like Facebook, Twitter, Email, and a litany of other cyber-space boards. They really don’t get paper and push pins.
5. Did I mention they are tacky?
6. No one over the age of 30 reads church bulletin boards more than once. They are one of those church requirements that nobody notices after the first week they go up.
7. We don’t have a secretary, so who would put the “Approved by the Church Office” stamp on all of the flyers?
8. Paper turns yellow and betrays the fact that the bulletin board has been ignored for so long that babies from your nursery have now graduated from high school and their birth announcement is still posted.
9. Yes, someone can probably point to some story that makes church bulletin boards relevant and important, but I’ll take my chances, if you don’t mind.
10. We are rebellious pastors towards traditional church stuff such as bulletin boards, donation cups for our “free” coffee, and anything that resembles a silk flower. This flagrant disregard for our heritage does not mean that we care any less about people, events, and our community. We may not have a bulletin board, but we are lead pastors that call you by name and attend everything in our community that we can get to.

Now, on a serious note, we will always fight to stay focused on the main thing. Let’s LOVE people. Deeply, truly, graciously, generously, and with abandon. Nothing else will solve the problems of the American Church. The Church, as a whole, has a long history of caring too much about bulletin boards, carpet color, and programs. If you know anything about North Creek, we’ve committed to stay focused on what truly matters. Now put that on your church bulletin board…

And I send my love to the multitudes of you who have asked me why we don’t have a church bulletin board! Tease me all you want!

As a parent, I am keenly aware of the daily opportunity I have to mess up my children. We’ve all got our horror stories of what our parents have done to us! We’ve heard about bad haircuts and ridiculous curfew rules. We’ve heard about being dragged to church and forced to play sports regardless of the complete lack of talent. We’ve heard about unfair treatment of siblings and having to endure visits to relatives that bored us to death. We all laugh at our parents odd quirks and how we survived their dysfunction to become our own version of dysfunctional parents. It’s part of life and, much to our dismay, our kids will have similar stories that they tell to their counselors.

However, after being in ministry for 15 years, I can tell you the one thing that really messes up kids (of any age) and creates unimaginable insecurity and struggles in their marriages. Here it is: talk negatively about their other parent. Yep, that’s it.

Time and time again I encounter parents who feel the need to divulge into their offspring a sense of “reality”. They unload on their kids their struggles and point out all of the character flaws in their spouse (or ex-spouse) that have ruined their life. Let me translate that for you into realtime: Dear child, I know that I tell you that you’re alot like your dad, but he’s the reason I’m miserable. Here’s a list of all the things I don’t appreciate about him and remember…all of those traits pulse through your blood everyday.

I think we would all like to believe that what I just said isn’t true, but it is. When our parents aren’t kind about each other in our conversations with them, it changes our very self-image. It changes how we think about ourselves and it changes how we think about our marriage. When a parent cuts the other parent down to a child, whether they are 4 or 44, it undermines the value of that child in their mind’s eye. They cannot separate themselves from who their parent is and who they are.

I hope my kids think amazing things about their dad (and me!). I hope they pick up on the wonderful and Christ-like traits that belong to them as part of their molecular inheritance. Without ever saying a negative word, they will already know both of our faults anyway, because when you live with people, you just know. However, in knowing our faults, they will also see that we didn’t make that the defining factor of our marriage. They will find security watching two imperfect people love each other in spite of our shortcomings.

If you are frustrated, irritated, and stuck because of the person you chose to be with, find the appropriate path to relieve that tension. Get a counselor, talk to a pastor, decide to shake it off…whatever…but don’t think that God gave you your children to play that role. They are not your marital sounding board. And when you put them in that role, you will damage their marriage as well as your own.

Sunday came and went again! Seems like they just circle through faster and faster! Here are my highlights from the ever-interesting journey of ministry:

My friends announced their pregnancy yesterday! I hugged the new mom-to-be tight and cried with her in joy. Sometimes long roads give us rich rewards.

Worship was great! We have a team that is in love with Jesus. They happen to have talent as well, but what sets them apart is a genuine heart to serve our God. There is a depth in their spirits that comes from humility and it is worth more than gold.

Ministry is H.A.R.D. I am probably guilty of making it out to be sunshine and roses more than anyone else, but I am keenly aware that it comes at a high cost. Our team truly sacrifices, to the core of their being, on a daily basis in order to love and guide people on a Godly path. Write a note, send a gift card, reach out regularily to those in leadership.

We had some old friends visit us yesterday! Always good to see faces from the past. It’s also weird when our former students come back to us as married adults with children. It’s particularily interesting that they have aged while I have not…

We met with our structural engineer yesterday to look at the building on our property that we aren’t using. We also have an appointment with an architect this week to see what our options are wholistically for the property. Basically, we desperately need to get more kid space in order to accomodate our current auditorium space. We also need to redo the parking lot to the tune of about $30,000 just to allow people to park. Yep, it takes alot of resources for a person to park their car, sit in a chair, drink a cup of coffee, and learn about Jesus.

We took new pictures of our team at staff meeting yesterday for our upcoming web upgrade. Let me tell you this about our team: they handle the monumental task of leading people in a growing relationship with Jesus far better than getting one headshot taken against a wall.

Mark spoke on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives yesterday. Try and sum that up in a 35 minute sermon!

I’ve heard a ton of great things from people about small groups this semester. Every group is going well and learning! Perhaps the biggest win is that many relationships are being formed in our church that wouldn’t have existed without a small group. If you’d like to be a part, new groups will start again in late January.

I’ve had a feeling in my heart lately that something big is about to happen. Do you ever get that feeling?

Have a truly blessed week!

I wanted to share a great author with you, Margaret Feinberg. I think you’ll LOVE her writing! Have a blessed day!

Dry Bones or An Army: What’s Your Vision As a Leader?
By Margaret Feinberg

Thousands of years ago the prophet Ezekiel looked at the milky white substance lining the ground in wonderment. Surely, it was too warm for snow. The prophet leaned down for a closer examination. Bones. Bleached bones. Dry. Cracked. Then probably stepped back as if he’d seen a ghost.

Why did God bring him here? There’s no life in the valley-only death.

Every priest and prophet knew death as a defiling agent. Many years before the Lord spoke to Moses to instruct the priests, “There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people” (Leviticus 21:1).

Yet standing before the vast valley, Ezekiel felt a quiet voice stirring in his soul. Prophesy, the whisper said. Ezekiel cleared his throat, as if his cough would disturb the dead, and began to prophesy.

Ezekiel heard a soft rattling behind him. The clatter grew louder until the sound of it echoed throughout the valley. Bones wiggled in the dirt, then began to rock back and forth. Ezekiel gasped and dropped his arms as something hit him in the back of the leg. The bones were flying together! They smacked as joint hit upon joint all around him. The bones were forming skeletons, the structure of the human body.

The rattling halted abruptly and into a holy silence. Ezekiel knelt down to look at a skeleton and watched as flesh and tendons formed, attaching themselves to joints and each other, constructing an entire muscular network. Ezekiel gawked as flesh, like a droplet of water hitting a still lake, rippled into existence. Hair sprouted from follicles, creating a tangle of color similar to his own.

The body looked real, except for the pale color of death on its cheeks. Ezekiel felt God’s quiet voice stirring, Prophesy again. Ezekiel stood up and spread his arms for the second time. Thousands upon thousands of bodies lay before him, stretching from one edge of the valley to the other. His voice caught in his throat as he began to speak.

The bodies inhaled their first breath like a newborn child, chest cavities rising, eyes opened. They began to extend their limbs, as if shaking sleepiness from them, and stood to face each other, greeting and talking as if old friends. The noise of the chatter was deafening.

Hesitating, Ezekiel reached out and gingerly touched the shoulder of one of the men. The man turned his face toward Ezekiel and smiled.

When Ezekiel looked into the valley, he saw dry and brittle bones, dead things. When God looked into the valley, he saw an army, ready for battle.

The question for us becomes: When you look at the church, what do you see?

Some hail that the church is nothing more than dry bones, a dried institution lacking life, but I can’t help but think God wants to give us the vision of Ezekiel.

Throughout Scripture, God uses people who could be dismissed as nothing more than “dry bones.” People who don’t seem to have much to offer. People with a laundry lists of inadequacies. Moses was a murderer with a speech impediment. Rehab earned her keep through prostitution. Peter had a way of saying the wrong thing at the worst time. Yet in Ezekiel 37, God reminds us in an unforgettable scene that what we dismiss and even stand back from for fear of defilement can become a source of life, hope and power.

The question of what you see isn’t just true of the church but also those around you. Who in your life have you dismissed as nothing more than “dry bones”? Who have you given up on? Let go of?

In your own church community, is there anybody you dismiss because you only see dry bones?

My hope and prayer is that God will give you eyes to see what His vision as you raise up leaders who will take the Good News to the next generation.

Margaret Feinberg is author of the new “Pursuing God” 6-week DVD series with Zondervan. Become a Fan on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @mafeinberg.

Great week at North Creek!

Highest attendance at youth group, highest attendance at Simply Worship, highest average for the month for Sunday mornings…Growing is GOOD!

Chris Harold opened our new series, Weird, with an awesome sermon. This series is going to push us all. Basically if your life looks normal, you probably have a problem in God’s eyes. We weren’t made to do things the way the world tells us to. Get ready!

We had a great time at Simply Worship on Friday. God is changing people, filling them with His Spirit, healing people, and breaking people all of the time in our midst. It’s fun to watch Him work at His pace in people’s hearts. We also had a couple of new songs that I really like!

Is it time to get baptized? Email me at and we’ll set it up!

Small groups are going well this semester! If you missed it, we’ll have another signup in late January and you can get to know some people in our church.

We are still in renovation mode. The nursing mom’s room is officially done, with a live video feed from the main service. Very needed as we have about six babies due in the next six months. Happy marriages at our church, what else can I say????

Ron Steinmann is my hero! He’s been blowing leaves and raking rocks outside to keep our parking lot looking clean. Welcome home to his daughter, Sarah, who had the opportunity to go and work in Hawaii for six weeks. I need that job.

We need more volunteers! We ask that people serve one service every month, so the commitment level is very easy. We literally need more volunteers in every area to help with our growth. You can signup at

We have great, easygoing people at North Creek! Considering the amount of coffee that is consumed every Sunday you think we would have very nervous people that figget alot. Hmmmm…

I hope that you do something really incredible for Jesus this week. And for those of us who love to drive Chris Harold absolutely crazy….thank God it’s Friday!