Monthly Archives: November 2011

Passion is highly revered and sought after in our culture. We often clamor around the loudest and most passionate voice. We are astounded by a great idea and initial tenacity. The problem is that can be very misleading to us in regards to reality.

Reality says that a passionate couple who fizzles out after a couple of years at marriage has failed. Reality says that a church plant which begins with great advertising out of the gate, but fails to maintain longterm discipleship has failed. Reality says that a scientist passionate about curing a disease has to maintain focus for years, decades, probably a lifetime to make ONE difference in their field. Reality says that a teen sensation in the music world won’t make it past their 20th birthday as a rockstar if they don’t work on their craft with due diligence.

The reality is that passion gets you started, but amounts to snapshot success (at best) without perseverance.

Four years ago Jeff Welk, one of our launch team pastors at the time, spoke on the fact that it takes seven years for grapes to produce an appropriate crop. I can remember relating that philosophy to our church plant and thinking, “Dear God, We’ve been working SO hard for a year. What if we don’t come to full fruition for another SIX years?” Now I realize that the same passion that got us started must be maintained in us, not for six years, but for about sixty if we are truly to see the success of North Creek. It’s not about initial numbers, but rather a lifetime of people living for Jesus and passing that torch to the next generation of Christ-followers. THAT is our measure of success.

On one hand, it’s daunting. The inertia that it took to get this far is mind-numbing! On the other hand, there is comfort in the idea of persevering. We can look wholistically at our lives and our calling knowing that God doesn’t need us to do everything He asked of us in one day, but rather in one lifetime.

The key is to maintain both sides with balance and patience. If we are lacking passion, we need to eliminate the things in our lives that are getting in the way of our desires and dreams that God has for us. If we are lacking perseverance, we need to reevaluate our expectations and allow God to birth in our hearts longevity. Passion + Perseverance = Success. That’s the only way it works.

What a weekend! I had food poisoning on Saturday night, so Sunday morning was a bit difficult on NO sleep! Feeling much better after a nap and a good nights rest last night. Back to normal!

Speaking of back to normal…I have entered the world of people with functioning computers once again. I actually checked my email this morning on MY computer and other than having 350 emails to go through, I’m pretty excited.

When my computer goes down, so does the church…the bulletins didn’t get printed, the December volunteer schedule is late, and people’s emails went ignored for a week. Good news – this week we will be back in the swing of things and fully functioning. And yes, I have learned a valuable lesson about having key documents in multiple locations.

To whomever dropped the gift off on our doorstep last night: First of all, you scared Mark out of his mind…super funny! And thank you! We are blessed and look forward to being a blessing in return. We are very appreciative of our church family and we really feel like the most spoiled pastors in the world.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a good week and I was sad to drag the kids out of bed and shove them on a bus again. Nothing better than long mornings in jammies with my two adorable little angels.

Church was nice yesterday! A little lower key on a holiday weekend, but still great to see our friends and family. We had several new volunteers who started serving yesterday, which is my favorite thing! Thanks to Jessica, Eddie, and Tiffany who all joined us in the fun!

Every holiday season we put out specific ways to give to those in need. Below are our suggestions for this year. Please take note that our Sarah J. Anderson Outreach is due this Sunday and we’d LOVE to bless them abundantly. If you are short on time, just write a check, drop it in the Giving Box marked Sarah J. Anderson and we will buy the items needed. Thank you for your generosity to those inside and outside of our church!

Holiday Giving/Serving Suggestions:

1. Community and Family Resources Help for Sarah J. Anderson Elementary

The following are some ways in which they could use your help:
1) Toy donations and gift wrap for their holiday store for struggling families
2) Gift certificates for food baskets and/or toys during the holidays
3 )Snacks for their night school program, i.e. crackers, fruit snacks
4 )New or slightly used children’s coats, shoes, and clothing for the winter months
5) Volunteers for the lunch buddy program, which is a 45-minute per week commitment to having lunch at school with a student

If you chose to gather items, you need to have items collected and brought to the church by Dec 5th. There will be a tub in the foyer that you can leave your donations in.

2. Winter Hospitality Overflow Homeless Shelter

WHO is a needed and welcome resource for many in our community who need a warm and safe place to sleep. They are looking for Individual Volunteers who would volunteer shifts. As of now they have a great need for individual volunteers for the following dates: Dec 12-24. The shift times are 6-10:00 pm, 10:00-2:00 am, 2-6:00 am and 6:00-8:30 am. If you are interested in any of the above volunteer opportunities please contact the WHO Coordinator, Kevin Hiebert at 360-699-5106 x 103 or

3. North Creek Benevolence Fund

You can help single moms, those out of work, and those in need who call the Coffee Church home! We have several families who need financial assistance at various time throughout the year. You can help by simply writing a check marked Benevolence on our giving envelopes so that we can distribute the funds as needed. You can also let us know of needs within our church by emailing so that we can help where we can.

Happy Thanksgiving! This is one of those holidays that has nothing to do with Christ directly and yet I think He is so pleased when we take the time to be thankful! It is easy in life to forget the power of gratitude!

I work part time at a homeless shelter and the other night I intercepted an argument with two people who wanted the same blanket. The lady involved was particularly upset about not getting what she wanted and took the time, in detail, to let me know of her grievances. I stood there listening to an argument that I probably wouldn’t have accepted from my children, but then something incredible happened.

Another lady, new to the shelter that night, walked up with her blanket and said quietly to the woman, “Here. You can have my blanket. I woke up this morning with my eyes frozen shut from the rain and the cold. I am just grateful to have a warm place to sleep whether I have a blanket or not.” My eyes welled with tears…partly because no one should be frozen and wet when they need to sleep, but mostly because of her sweet spirit. I looked at her and said, “Thank you. Really, thank you. If you are cold tonight, I’ll get you two blankets!”

But then reality hit me like a ton of bricks. The upset woman turned to me, looked me in my tear-filled eyes, and started in again on her rant about her right to the blanket she wanted. Wow. What a contrast! Here I was positioned between entitlement and selflessness in an obvious and blatant light. And I know which one God was honored by!

We have two choices in life as well…to live as if Thanksgiving is everyday, with hearts that bend towards the best for others, or the opposite. One will bring blessing and one will constantly and routinely bring frustration at every turn for you. My heart is that you will rejoice on this Thanksgiving day for all that you have and then do the same tomorrow…and the day after that and the day after that.

All my love to you! Happy Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie

Such a fun weekend!

Mark and I got all dressed up on Saturday night to celebrate LeeAnn’s 50th Birthday! It was a great evening!

Also, Happy Birthday to Josh and Scott on the worship team, Shawn on the board, and Gabe one of our staff kids! It was a hot weekend for celebrating.

Church was good! Mark preached on applying what we learn to our lives. So often we hear what we need to do in order to have a more fulfilling life, but where we falter is actually DOING it! I believe the line between success and failure lies solely in the application.

I think one of the keys to a healthy church is creating an environment where people who disagree with the gospel will be able to sit in church and feel comfortable…not necessarily with the Bible’s content, because that should make us all a little uncomfortable, but with the way it’s presented and dealt with. Jesus wasn’t offensive to those who disagreed with his mission by their lifestyle. He was only offensive to religious leaders who thought they were better than other people.

I helped out in the 9:30 am service with KidCity and really enjoyed my time hanging with kids. They were learning about how God used David in spite of his shortcomings. Great message!

My computer died a miserable death on Saturday night. Seriously, I’ve been functioning without a computer for days now. If you think I’m ignoring your emails, it’s because I am. I can’t take this much longer!!!!

I just want to impact the world for Christ. I want to always see God’s amazing ability to change people’s lives at work around me. It’s incredible to be a Christian and I never want to lose sight of our mission and purpose.

Our new kid’s checkin system is in the mail! YAY! It’s touch screen and will make our processes and functionality much smoother. Rachael might be the only person more excited than me!

We have a new North Creek Fan Page on Facebook. Click to like our page. We’ll transition from our previous page (that was set up as a person) to our new page over the next few weeks. Thanks for LIKING us!

Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Last week I blogged about how to have an amazing team and I wanted to continue that thought, so here’s a few more ways to have great people work with you and for you:

4. We are comfortable in our strengths and we let other people be comfortable in theirs.

Before we were lead pastors I believed that to be a good leader you had to be competent in EVERYTHING. The good news is that isn’t true! Our team brings with them a plethora of strengths and they don’t need us to try and outdo them. What they do need is for us to work our strengths to benefit the whole and to allow them to be amazing on their turf. For example, Mark is our humble leader. He really, truly doesn’t have an arrogant bone in his body. When he plays to that, we all learn and appreciate who he is. Humility is a rare trait and one worth following. Meanwhile, Chris Harold can brainstorm 1000 creative ideas at a moment’s notice. When you let him loose, nobody can hold a candle to what he can produce creatively. Lee is our thinker. He actually works from a framework of reality, numbers, figures, man-hours, and a plan…(I personally don’t get it because I’m all about taking BIG risks without any forethought!). We drive him nuts with our outrageous plan, but we also don’t dismiss his concerns. We know that if we will listen and address them, the entire vision will flow more smoothly in the end. And so on and so forth!

5. We understand that micromanaging is irritating, but so is never showing up.

Both extremes are unexceptable in leadership! Our team is competent to lead ANYTHING and so we try our best to be hands off, but not hearts off. Kris has full authority to lead the youth ministry with her vision, but we show up wherever and whenever we can to come alongside her. We also walk into the kid’s classrooms ALL of the time just to wave and hug a kid or two. It’s partly because we love our kids and youth, but it’s also partly because we are sending a message – WHAT YOU DO IN HERE IS IMPORTANT TO ME!

6. We care about the hearts of our staff kids.

If you take care of their kids, they will serve with gusto! We have structured our entire leadership team around children. We know a valuable key: parents don’t need fancy “things” at church for their kids…they need Godly people who look their kids in the eye and speak into their lives with love. We also accomodate the realities of kids on staff. We have childcare at our staff meeting, a Kid’s Lounge for children at multiple services, and we probably speak to our staff kids more on a Sunday morning than our actual team. If you sincerely care about someone’s kids, that means more than any paycheck you can hand out.

Once again, I’m at my word limit for the day, so that’s all for now!