Monthly Archives: January 2012

God has been up to something really cool in the last month at the Coffee Church! We are seeing our people engage in prayer, fasting, seeing God’s hand move their mountains, and growing in our “foolish faith!”

Here’s this week’s high points:

Congrats to Matt and Andrea Garner (Worship Leaders) for celebrating one year of being with us yesterday! We are glad to call you family and love you very much!

Fifteen years ago yesterday Mark proposed to me at New Life Church in Renton, Washington. We were youth pastors and he proposed in front of a couple hundred teenagers. I’m thankful everyday for the marriage that we have and look forward to many more years together!

Obviously a high point is our Miracle Announcement yesterday (see previous blog) about the potential of an additional campus and new partnership with what is currently Maple Grove Church. We are BURSTING with excitement about the possibilities of what is to come! Mark and I pray all the time for “more room for empty seats that He will quickly fill”. Let’s get going!

Our team is also equally excited! Anytime you mention teenagers, our youth pastor, Kris Gray, gets giddy. She’s the best!

Small groups began last week and we are hearing great things! We have some more people who are jumping in this week and then we will be off and running on a journey of growth.

I volunteered in KidCity yesterday. They were talking about the story of Esther, which is one of my favorites. It was awesome to talk in my small group with the kids about doing the right thing no matter what the consequences. Quite the way to live your life!

Interesting fact about the upcoming church transition: we are great friends with Maple Grove’s current pastors. We met them ten years ago when we moved to the Vancouver area. Also, Wayne was North Creek’s board president when we first launched and was an amazing encouragement to us during a trying journey of launching. We look forward to introducing you to them as soon as possible!

We also can’t wait to meet everybody from Battle Ground! It’s going to be awesome to pool the different giftings and personalities that are represented in our two churches. People are our greatest resource to make a difference in our community! Buildings and equipment help, but people are priceless. I have a feeling that everything both churches need to reach our county is sitting in seats at either campus. I am waiting in anticipation to see how God works this all out!

So much more to say, but it will have to wait for another day. Be blessed this week!

I love when God births in our hearts something a decade or two before we actually see it come to fruition. It lets us know that our steps are ordained and HE DOES NOT FORGET. That’s what happened in our lives this week. A ten year old dream that we have kept believing for has been set into motion. Here’s the story…

When we were youth pastors we said, “What if we could replicate everything we are doing and take it to the other side of our city? Most of the work is already done, but geographically we can go further faster as we disciple people into a growing relationship with Jesus.” It was the idea of a multi-site ministry that would never come to pass during our tenure as youth pastors.

We carried that dream with us into church planting and have feverishly worked to go multi-site. For about five years we have dreamed, planned, and tried to make it happen, knowing that if we could just be in multiple locations we would have a greater impact on our community. But it just didn’t work out the way we planned…until this week.

This week the pastor and board of Maple Grove Church in Battle Ground began the process to vote to allow their church to become our church. They would be lending their strengths to our strengths and together we can accomplish more. It would be the opportunity that would allow North Creek Church to have their second campus in Battle Ground, Washington in just a couple of months.

We could not be more shocked or excited about this opportunity! We believe that this is a God-ordained win/win situation for both churches and an answer to prayer on both sides. It is a miracle!

So what does that look like?

For the Hazel Dell campus it actually doesn’t look much different at all. It does mean we’ll need some new leaders, new volunteers, and to continue to press on toward our goal of a permanent building for this campus. It means that some of our current people who live closer to Battle Ground may choose to go to a new campus. It means that some of our current team might not be there on a particular Sunday because they are at another campus. But overall, life at Hazel Dell will function very similarly to what it does now, but all the while knowing that more people are hearing about Jesus at their church 20 minutes away.

For the Battle Ground campus, it would look a lot different. It would look like some new staff. It would look like a new way of doing things from small groups to youth ministry. It would look like new advertising in the community and new life for that church. It would look like opportunity for people to dream and grow in new ways. This would not be a video-venue campus, but rather we would utilize our wealth of teaching pastors to accommodate both campuses. We are blessed with amazing communicators and will utilize those gifts! We would be decorating that church to look precisely like the Hazel Dell Campus, so that both campuses feel like the Coffee Church.

We want you to know that Maple Grove’s current pastor and board are not in the slightest bit disheartened with this decision. They are full of anticipation, ready to see change, and excited for the message of Jesus to be flowing in their community. This is a season of rejoicing and excitement and with that we say, “TO GOD BE THE GLORY!”

We know that you will have a mountain of questions as we go through this process to launch North Creek Battle Ground. Feel free to email Pastor Mark at anytime and also count on the fact that we will be communicating regularly as we navigate the future. Here we GROW!

We started our Circle Maker small group last night and it was great! One of the passages we read was Numbers 13:26-33. We pick up the story where God had told them to check out the land of Canaan, which he was GIVING them. Spies went in to see what they were facing and came back to give a report. Keep in mind that what they were seeing was already promised to be theirs! Here is a condensed version of what happened:

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community. There they reported to them and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

I am so struck by this passage, it’s astounding! How many times in our lives does God give us a promise and we doubt the fulfillment of that promise? Both spies saw the same thing, knew the same promise, and yet came back with two profoundly different takes on the situation. Where do you tend to fall in this story? Are you the “We can certainly do it!” type when God hands you an opportunity of blessing or do you see all of the difficult challenges and “spread among the people a bad report”.

Honestly, I think we probably all fall on both sides of that fence now and again, but it is certainly a push for me to listen to the voice of God and, without wavering in the details, to proclaim “WE CAN DO THIS!”

I think I’m writing this blog for myself today. I have found myself wanting all of the answers and the timeline and the DETAILS to the journey that God is currently taking us on. I’m trying to figure it all out, as if I can take the pieces of the puzzle and complete the picture without the box or all of the parts I need. I just want a little glimpse at the end result so that I can relax and enjoy the ride.

But, as always, life is just simply not that way! It is in the uncertainty that we grow in our faith. If we can work out all of the facts and figures in a self-pleasing light, then the goal probably wasn’t from God in the first place. God delights in the process! He teaches us trust, patience, and perseverance in the times when we can’t see the final product.

The problem is that those times of uncertainty also bring to the surface our weaknesses. We are once again reminded of our negative attitudes, our lack of patience, and our frustrations – both with our brothers and sisters, but also with Christ. It just isn’t fun to look in the mirror and see the reality of it all sometimes.

With that being said, we can rest in the fact that God is not surprised with our faults and every challenge is a blessing of opportunity to iron out yet another rough edge. I just wish God’s sandpaper wasn’t so rough sometimes!

We are praying for North Creek Church this week! If you are in the same boat as I am and find yourself wanting the answers NOW, hang in there! God is working on all of our behalf’s and He is for us, not against us!

This might go down as one of the busiest, most fun, most intense, neverending, horrifying, encouraging, frustrating, amazing days of my life. It was about 20 hours of non-stop adventure, some of which will not be shared on my blog, but I’ll sure leave you wondering!

First of all, we broke our attendance record this morning! We had 270 people there and it was just a “normal” Sunday. Our parking lot was chaos at the 11 am service, so we are thankful for the overflow parking beyond the gas station. If you ever run into a problem finding a spot, parking over there is actually a shorter walk than the top of our parking lot.

The 9:30 service has room (although they had an attendance record this week as well!), so if you love church, but would rather not deal with parking and seating issues, that’s a great solution!

There’s another pregnant lady in our church who is due in July! That makes four July babies coming our way!

It’s fasting week at North Creek! Mark challenged us to fast SOMETIME this week in the way that God asks you to. I think telling a coffee-addicted church to fast is just downright hilarious. I see headaches in your future.

Mark spoke on persistent prayer yesterday. We have a prayer ministry that you can be a part of…just email to either sign up or leave your prayer requests. We’ve also began sending the prayer requests through and it’s amazing to have my inbox flooded with what people are believing God for. I am standing with these requests and believing for miracles at our church!

Congrats to Jim and Sarah Gilliam, whose church plant, The Link Church, turned one yesterday! We are excited with you for the future!

Leadership is H.A.R.D. There are thousands of details, conversations, and decisions that impact a lot of lives on a daily basis. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail, but it’s worth it to keep on keeping on!

We went out to lunch with some visiting youth pastors, which is always fun! After over a decade of youth pastoring, we have a heart for people who serve teenagers on the front lines of ministry.

Our staff meeting was full of interesting moments yesterday. We are processing the future and some big decisions. We are all on an emotional roller coaster of decision making. If you see our team walking around with a twitch, just pray for them! They are amazing people that I am blessed to work with and fall apart around…

On that note, Josiah Thalhofer has the most calming voice in the universe.

At the end of our long day we crawled into bed and Mark said, “I am more tired than I can EVER remember being.” Two minutes later the phone rang and we were told that a friend of ours was on the way to the hospital. The good news is that all is well with his health now, but for a few hours in there we were beginning to wonder if the day would EVER end.

Today I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning! It’s a fresh start with a bright future. If you look back on your yesterday and wish you could delete something, just remember…God can delete the things in your life that are keeping you from a close relationship with him!