Monthly Archives: September 2012

I love fall.  In the Pacific Northwest we do it right.  The colors all around are astounding, we seem to avoid the rain, and we remain quite warm all the way through October.  So, last night we were having dinner on the back porch at our inlaws house, soaking up the last of the sun.  My oldest daughter was watching a bee bump again and again into the skylight.  He kept trying the same thing to gain freedom, but to no avail.  She finally said, “Mom, that bee is stuck.”

We all watched him for a moment and then Kennedy piped in, “He’s not stuck.  He just thinks he is.”  It was one of those earth-stopping moments for me.  She was very right.  Freedom was actually in every direction BUT the one he insisted on trying over and over and over again.

It was as if God used that one moment to say to me, “When you think you’re stuck, it’s not because you are.  You are just repeatedly trying the one direction that I don’t want you to go.”  Wow.

I know all of the reasons that I just keep bumping into the same walls in my life…it’s because I WANT to go the direction that my heart is set on.  I can even see the freedom, but I just can’t get there.  What if I went against everything inside of me and tried a completely different way out?

What if you did the same thing?



When Mark and I stand in the middle of the foyer at either on of our campuses on any given Sunday morning, we see things much differently than most people.

We see the new mommy who called when the doctors told her she might never have children.  Now she’s so tired she can’t think…but she’s just fine with that.

We see the marriage restored that seemed beyond repair.  We spent a lot of hours in prayer with that one.

We see the alcoholic that raises his hands in worship because he now knows real freedom. Read More

Our small groups begin next week!  I am VERY excited to see each group begin to take shape.  We are in for a great semester of growing and getting to know some new people.  I wanted to highlight a few options that you might enjoy!

Young Adults

On Tuesday nights Rob and Lori Ball will be drinking coffee and talking about how to make sure your life is used at it’s maximum potential, what could be better?  If you are a senior in high school through mid-twenty somethings, this is going to be a lively group to be around!


Matt and Andrea Garner

I’m just really excited about the curriculum that the Garner’s chose.  It’s from Louie Giglio, one of my favorites, and he takes creativity to the max!  If you want to think about your life and your relationship with God from a different perspective, Louie delivers.  It’s a DON’T MISS THIS curriculum that we’ve never offered before.


Eli and Amber Ricondo

This group has some of my favorite people already signed up for it, so it’s bound to be a good group!  It’s about strengthening our families, too, so who doesn’t want that?  We all want to be the best moms, dads, wives, and husbands, so any tool to equip us for that is welcome!


Football with Dean Dawkins

Sometimes being spiritual simply boils down to doing life with other people who are on the journey with Jesus.  Don’t make it so hard.  Just sign up, eat snacks, and yell at the television.  You can even pray your team wins.


Mark and Stacy Newell

We’ve got some room left and we LOVE to get to know people better.  We want you to be in our group!  Our overarching theme in life is to live the adventure with Jesus, so that’s our curriculum this time and we can’t wait.


I’ll highlight more tomorrow, but you can see the whole list at HERE and get yourself signed up before groups fill up!  Take the leap.





This was a MONUMENTAL week for North Creek Church!  As we round the corner to celebrating being six years old on Sept. 24, we reached this very amazing milestone: we had two Simply Worship events at two different locations with two different teams on two different days.

Unless you can jump back in time six years, you’ll miss the significance, so let me catch you up.  When we launched we had a shoe-string team.  By all statistics, we should have failed right out of the gate.  We were too small, too ill-equipped, and way too poor to plant a church.  If you know Mark and I, statistics are just the boundary line that should be broken by determination.  So we took our determination, our tenacious team, lots of prayers, and launched anyway.

Our worship team consisted of one: Jeremy Macias.  His smooth voice and lone guitar was all we had.  I will never lose the image of him standing solo on that stage belting out his best to a half dozen people standing in the audience.  Yes, we all cringe at the thought, but it was what we had, so we gave it our all.

Flash forward six years and we have multiple leaders dripping with talent and teams that are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the presence of God.  We have enough worship team members to accomdate two campuses and we are building, as we speak, to prepare for a third.  What a difference a few years makes!

My favorite part of the story is that our worship team members come from so many different avenues…some, like Nate and Emily, have been there since almost the bitter beginning.  They deserve an award for sticking it out through some of those awkwardly painful services.  Lee actually learned to drum while he attended North Creek.  Matt walked in the doors of our church on a Wednesday to ask us about another church he wanted to attend…not so fast, buddy!  Jordan was in our youth ministry almost ten years ago…we were blessed to have him back in our lives via the merge.  Keagan, Nate J., Matt S. and Rachel were  all students who grew up on the youth stage.  And on, and on, and on…they all have these amazing journeys that brought them to our team and we love them all!

The moral of the story is to just keep going.  During the rough times, the painful times, the highs and the lows.  If you just don’t stop, you’ll eventually get where you intended to go from the very beginning.  And the best part of the deal is the people that you’ll meet along the way!  We’ve got the BEST stories to tell and have had the most fun!  Glory be to God for every step of this adventure!



This letter is to one of my heroes who turns 18 years old today.  Happy Birthday, Jessica Yonko!

Jessica –

You turned 12 years old the month that we started North Creek Church.  I remember the agonizing conversations with your parents behind the scenes.  They knew that they were called to be a part of this church, but the sacrifice was pulling their 6th grade girl out of the opportunity to be in a thriving youth ministry.  They knew their option was to drop you into a church that offered NOTHING for teenagers.  They were worried to say the least.

Now, I look back on those worries and laugh a bit.  I’ve seen you crowded into our church with over 100 teenagers around you and giggled about the fact that you don’t fit into the small group rooms because there are too many of you.  You have been a part of countless ministries, events, and friendships within the walls of our church.  These are the types of things that your parents (and us) only dreamed of for your life.

Although I know your parents were called, I am now quite confident that God called you as well.  Your ministry has been one of new birth, watching things grow and flourish, and then stepping out all over again to the great unknown with our second campus.  You have carried on your back the weight of faith and it has paid off time and time again.  When other teenagers would have demanded the coolest, the trendiest, the most popular youth group, you jumped in to building one from the ground up.  You are an entrepreneur of ministry, which means there is a lot of hard work with no guaranteed pay off.  You did it anyway.  And the payoff is eternal.

What I also love about you is that you aren’t perfect, but you have continually allowed Godly people to speak into your life and you’ve made corrections where necessary.  So many people miss that the point of following Jesus is simply to start following again when we get off course.  You have become a master at auto correcting yourself back to the path of Jesus.

I’m in awe of the woman I see before me where a little girl once was.  I stand amazed at how far you’ve come in these six years.  And now, we look to the future and we know that you’re going to have a beautiful life!  One filled with obedience, adventures, and blessing.

Thank you for dedicating your teen years to this crazy dream!  We wouldn’t want to take your chapter out of our story for anything.  You are one of my all-time favorite people and I look forward to watching the rest of your life unfold…

We love you!

Mark and Stacy

IMG_2508                                            Jessica and my daughter, Kennedy, in 2006.