Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas!  I am excited to nail out all of the Christmas shopping and get on to the business of enjoying being with family and friends over the holidays!

My last blog was about Keith Elder who passed on to Jesus last week.  I have to say that tears ran down my face yesterday during worship as I reflected on his life.  I looked around the room and couldn’t help but think about how big of a fingerprint he is on each one of your lives…and nearly none of you have ever met him.  When we give our lives away to Jesus, we become deep and wide in our influence.  His life was SO deep and SO wide….  Over 5000 people have read that blog.  That is about 100 times the number of people that usually read my blog…again, a testament to the love people had for that man.  The world is a much darker place this week, but I’m not sure ANYONE will enjoy Heaven more than Keith.

Keith’s memorial service will be at 10 am on Wednesday via a live feed.  I have a feeling your life will be changed if you watch his funeral.  His influence goes beyond the grave.  You can watch it HERE on Wednesday.

Church was wonderful yesterday with some Christmas music and a great message about the realities of having Jesus in our lives.  Jesus really does change everything!  So grateful for his love in my life!

We had our staff and board Christmas party last night.  I love that team of people!  Would you commit to pray for them?  They are SO talented and so amazing, but they are on the front lines of ministry.  It is a difficult road to walk and they need your love, your encouragement and your prayer.

Also, go to Twilight Pizza on 192nd.  Not only do they have incredible pizza, but their team took great care of our team last night for our party!  And I had a bite of crème brule that might be the best EVER.  Go get that.  No, really.  Right now.

We have one more service left for 2015 as we take December 28 off to give our staff and volunteers a much needed respite.  Invite a friend next Sunday as we share the Christmas story!

We lost a bunch of our roof at Hazel Dell during that wind storm…not awesome.  Just not awesome… Thankfully we are fixed and ready for the rainy Washington sky to bless us with liquid sunshine.  What a winter it has been!

Well, another week has come and gone.  This one was full of so many memories for me…so many beautiful memories.  I feel blessed and honored to get to do God’s work with my life.  Do me a favor…lean into the wisdom of Godly people.  I’m nothing special, but the one thing I did right was to allow people close to Jesus to help guide my steps.  And God just kept putting INCREDIBLE people in my path.  If you will listen, I am sure He will put incredible people in your path, too.

On that note, be blessed.  Be very, very blessed!




If you grew up in the Assemblies of God in Montana in the last 30+ years, you know who Keith Elder was to so many of us.  But for those of you who haven’t been blessed by growing up in the Rocky Mountains and the Big Sky, let me take a moment and tell you about a legend that passed on to Heaven this week.  A man that altered every day of my life since the day I met him.

Keith Elder was the District Youth Director in my state for over 25 years.  He practically lived for a church camp in Hungry Horse, Montana called Glacier Bible Camp.  There was only one Assembly of God camp in the state, so hundreds of teens made the trek every summer to youth camp.  I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, but I faithfully went with my friend to camp every summer.  Keith was my “pastor” for that week of camp and was one of the few voices in my Christianity through junior high.  He never knew he carried that weight, but man, he carried it well.

I hope that one of the stories that Jesus will tell Keith in Heaven is about me.  I hope so because I am forever grateful for every day he devoted to teenagers.

When I stepped off the bus for camp, I am sure my suitcase weighed more than body.  I remember Keith like it was yesterday.  He was the largest man I had ever seen.  His hands were as enormous as his heart.  He called all of us “Suckers” and had a twinkle in his eye that was unmistakable.  He had this amazing grin that made him seem like God was directly telling him all about you in the moment he was looking in your eyes.


I can remember in subsequent years of camp sitting on the bus, desperately hoping we got there quickly because I needed a hug from Keith.  My home life was heavy and my spirituality was weary.  It was in his giant arms that Jesus became big enough again to get me through another year.  I know that my faith should have been in Christ alone, but for this young girl, I needed his bear hug to let me know that I was going to make it.

I never missed his camp through junior high or high school.  In fact, I went back every summer of my college years to visit and to serve.  I was a cabin staff and on a drama team for Keith just weeks before my wedding day.  I loved Glacier Bible camp with an appreciation that is difficult to describe and I loved Keith equally as much.

In high school, I volunteered to come to help at a week of Kid’s camp.  I was young and in charge of a cabin full of difficult girls.  One night after the chapel service all of my girls left to go to the snack shack and I stayed in the all-too-familiar chapel.  Almost everybody was gone, but the worship team was still playing music in the background.  I knelt at the altar…I had been there many times before.  It was at that altar that I first accepted Jesus and He wiped away my sins.  It was at that altar that God replaced a heart of anger with a heart of joy.  I would be baptized in the Holy Spirit there and it would be in those moments that I would learn to worship.  Many of my tears from so many years stained the carpet under where I was kneeling.

And then again I began to cry a deep, painful cry.  Sobs shook my body and it was as if I could feel all of the hurt from all of the girls in my cabin that week.  Keith came over to pray with me.  At first he thought my tears were my own….birthed out of sin and shame.  He had been with me over the years with those feelings as well, but my puffy, red, tear streaked eyes looked up at him and said through a cracked voice, “I just want them to know Jesus.”

His eyes softened and he chuckled under his breath.  I can still hear that chuckle if I close my eyes.  He knew then what I didn’t know…God had given me a heart for ministry.

Keith put his large hands on my head that night and prayed for me.  Little did I know that every other dream I would ever have would become mute in light of what God did in that moment.  I would spend my life devoted to telling others about Jesus.

Keith would go on to honor me with a D-CAP scholarship to Northwest Bible College.  A D-CAP scholarship was the one scholarship that Keith chose himself.  As the first and only Christian in my family, this was a rare gift that showed just how much Keith believed in me.  I desperately needed someone to believe in me as I faced heading off alone to a private Christian college that I would need to pay for by myself.

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Fast forward twenty years and I would be standing in a room with Keith at a conference.  When the conference ended, I made a beeline to Keith.  “My name is Stacy Newell.  I grew up at Glacier Bible Camp, I graduated from Northwest College, I was in youth ministry for a decade, and now my husband and I have started a church.  I just wanted to say Thank You because you believed in me.”  And the same tears from decades past tumbled out of my eyes once again.

“I remember you.”  Keith grinned, twinkled, and chuckled simultaneously.

And then he wrapped those big arms around me and the weariness of many years of ministry melted again.  I sank into his strength and was grateful for the rock that he was in my life.  That would be my last moment with him.

Thank you, Keith.  Thank you for being faithful, for being strong, for being willing, and for seeing a skinny little girl with freckles as a great woman of God.  I’ll do my best to make you proud.

We’ll see you soon…



To share your own story of Keith’s impact on your life, please visit the Facebook page set up for tributes at

Well, Christmas season is in FULL swing at the Coffee Church!

Last week on Monday we got to host our regional Assembly of God pastors to a Christmas Party at our Hazel Dell location.  It was nice to see so many amazing faces that we love and appreciate in our area!  We love to bless pastors for all of the hard work they do all year long!

Then on Friday we threw our Volunteer Christmas Party at Battle Ground, which was HILARIOUS!  I whipped out an old drama game and our staff may or may not have publicly humiliated themselves for the cause.  Thank you to each team member who was a good sport.  I am still laughing!  We also gave out awards, ate amazing desserts, and  had an all-around great time celebrating Jesus and our volunteers.

THEN we had Sunday services, which were great!  We’ve had some attendance highs at both campuses lately, which has been awesome.  Invite your friends!  We have a wonderful church.

We also announced that we brought in about 1000 lbs of food for our food drive.  Some of that went to our own people in our congregation who can use a boost this season and the majority of it is off to local food banks to help our cities.  I LOVE blessing people in our congregation, by the way!  Did you know the Bible says to first take care of those in the church?  Makes sense!  If we take care of those that are in our church community, more people will feel secure in being a part of us, too.

Mommy side note:  My daughter has been STRUGGLING for six months with a particular gymnastics move and was just 16 practices away from competition when she finally figured it out this week!  It’s been quite the load to carry watching her fight to get it, but continuously failing.  So relieved to be moving on from here!

Are you all done shopping for Christmas????  Yeah, me neither.  Every year I plan to get ahead and then all of a sudden Thanksgiving is staring me in the face.  Oh well…

By the way, our Christmas celebration service is on December 21.  We look forward to sharing the story of the birth of Jesus!  It is also the LAST service of 2014 as we cancel church on December 28 to give all of our team a day off.

Mark your calendars for January 4.  We’ll be starting the year off running and we can’t wait for you to be a part of all that God has in store for North Creek in the new year!

I am praying for those of you that have experienced loss  this year and are heading into this season with grief in your heart.  The whole world may be humming carols and seeming to be full of joy, which makes grief even more prominent sometimes.  The good news…God is with us.  He’s with us in joy and He’s with us in grief.  That is the true beauty of the Christmas story.

Be blessed!

I’m a little behind on highlights from last week, so I’ll add in a few because they are SOOOOO cool!

Two Sundays ago we had a “Kid Dedication” for Keara and Kendra who were adopted by Rob and Sandy.  That was amazing!  I have a heart for adoption and I love how beautiful this story is from start to finish.

Marcus and Tasha from the BG campus had a baby last week!  Welcome to the world, Preston!  We are so excited to meet you!!!!

On Sunday our 11:00 am service at Hazel Dell was Deaf Interpreted due to some visitors.  Our Deaf Church over at Battle Ground is amazing, so it was nice to get a little taste of that at Hazel Dell.  I love watching signing through worship.  It is a reminder to me that worship is both a heart expression and a body expression.  Our posture before Jesus should be a response to his glory.  If you’re frozen in His presence, staring at a screen, I encourage you to try something new!

We hosted our area Assemblies of God pastors at our church on Monday for a Christmas Party.  THANK YOU to all of you who brought food, dessert, decorations, babysitting, photography, etc….it was such a blessing and we appreciate you!

This Friday is our Volunteers Christmas Party!  We dress up a little bit and have a great night of dessert, laughter, and honor.  It will be a packed house because we have so many amazing volunteers!  You can join the team at

Small Groups are on hiatus for the holidays.  Our small group leaders are INCREDIBLE!  And the groups were very educational as we dove into the book of Mark.  So much to learn, so little time…. We kick off again in late January, so stay tuned.

Our Christmas Celebration service is Sunday, December 21 at our regular times.  Invite a friend!

Thank you as well to all of you who helped put up the Christmas trees and decorations at church.  We are ready to go for the season and look forward to ending the year on a strong note.

We are also wrapping up the Month of Generous Giving.  Our crates are full of food!  I watched Chris Harold weigh it all, so I’m sure a big announcement about how incredible you all are is coming soon!  It will head off to the food bank to bless families in our area that need help.  If you need help, would you email me RIGHT NOW at  We have plenty of food and would love to bless people at North Creek who need a boost this holiday season.

We also made our goal of $10,000 for the church in Argentina and we are also doing well on our monthly giving at North Creek.  We are still short for the year, but making up ground.  If every family gave $100 extra this month we would end the year in the black!

Whew!  So much going on and it’s a race to the finish line.  We have no services on December 28, which leaves just three more Sunday services this year to invite your friends and family to!

Be blessed!