Monthly Archives: May 2015

Busy, great weekend!  Our family personally had four birthdays and a grad party, so we were surrounded by people we love and cherish all weekend.  A special shout out to my mother-in-law, Alvina, who had a birthday on Sunday.  I am blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law who loves the Lord and raised an amazing son!  I am grateful that my girls have her in their lives as well!

20150517_214321We also got to go a graduation party for our friend and pastor Troy Jones.  He is now officially Dr. Troy Jones, which is just incredible!  We are so proud of him.  Troy gave Mark his first job in ministry, and then years later, he gave me my first job in ministry.  When we are faced with a challenge, we almost always say, “What would Troy say to us?”  The most amazing thing is that Troy invested himself so well in our lives that we always know EXACTLY what Troy would say.  He is a mission-focused man who does the RIGHT thing for the church at every turn.  We didn’t realize 25 years ago how valuable his teaching would be in our lives for decades to come.  Thank you, Troy!  And congratulations on a title well-deserved!

We kicked off a new series, Better Together, over at Hazel Dell right after an exceptional time of worship.  Over at Battle Ground, missionary Don Exley came back to share with us.  He wasn’t scheduled, but had a cancellation, so we jumped on it!  We loved having them and look forward to hearing more of their journeys in ministry in Argentina.

Are you praying for your church?  We are excited for the future and pursuing how we can best do ministry in order to reach more people for Jesus.  No strategy, no building, no current plan is more important than what God wants us to do NOW.  We feel like God is on the cusp of doing a great new work at North Creek and we want you to be praying for your church!

Also, we need you to give!  The Bible is clear that we need to tithe to our church.  Are you being obedient?  I often hear people say, “Well, I don’t give my money, but I volunteer.”  Uh, that’s not how it works in the real world! God wants a generous people in ALL areas of our lives.  Write the check, TRUST Jesus with your finances, and watch Him come through for you!

Well, I’m praying that the Holy Spirit arrests your heart and moves in an unbelievable way this week.  He wants to give you POWER to overcome, live Biblically, and walk in boldness.  He is worthy of our praise, our obedience, and our sacrifice.  It’s not easy to live for Him, but it is worth it.

Go read your Bible! 😉

P.S.  Here’s the video recap of our baptisms last week!  LOVE IT!

There’s a blog going around that makes my heart break.  You might have even read it…it’s yet another writing by a so-called Christian ripping apart the Church and how misguided apparently every pastor on the planet actually is.  And I don’t understand it at all….even if it’s true.

You see, if I were Satan, I would get some young, punk blogger to write an article just like that and then I would get embittered or confused Christians to share it all over social media.  That would be a sure-fire way to destroy the Bride of Christ one broken soul at a time.  Good call, Satan. Good call.

On the other hand, if I were Jesus, I would have some young, punk blogger write her stories of her deep love for the Church.  I would have her tell the tales of ministry in the Pacific Northwest…the least churched region of America.  Maybe if she writes, someone who needs a Savior will fall in love with an imperfect church in Vancouver, Washington and come to see about her Christ.  Maybe.  Just maybe.

So, I’m fighting with everything I’ve got to speak well of His Church.  ‘Cause I LOVE His church.  I love His church, all it’s faults, and the journey His Church is taking to find Him, exalt Him, and honor Him.  You may disagree with the means, but I haven’t met a pastor who wanted anything but the life-changing power of Jesus.  And I deeply honor each one for that very reason.  They get up every morning and keep loving people and trying new things to reach people.  Bravo, pastor, bravo!  Keep up the fight!

We’ve had our fair share of critics ripping apart our church over the years as well.  And one thing has been constantly true: while the critics are complaining, we are neck deep in the Holy Spirit’s beautiful work.  The dichotomy is heartbreaking at times. While one group is seeking the face of Jesus, the other is seeking the “problems with the church.”

Let me be clear: You will always find what you seek. 

If you want to find Jesus in the halls of our church, you will no doubt find His powerful presence in the midst of the efforts of a multitude of volunteers, prayer warriors, and passionate people.  If you want to find problems, you probably won’t even make it through the front door without a list a mile long.  It’s your choice, but it’s also your price to pay for that choice.

We spend our days walking with people through profound testimonies of salvations, healings from long awaited prayers, homeless families getting jobs and housing, the Holy Spirit changing a spouse’s heart against an affair, pregnancies that were said would never happen, and on and on and on.  His POWER is ALIVE AND WELL!  And then on the same note we weep daily over lives in our church that need an intersection of Jesus.  Lives broken by addictions, molestations, divorces, abandonment, and pain.  We carry a weight that walks the hallways of our buildings every Sunday that most will never see.  We weep daily. 

Ironically those moments are all too often followed with negativity from others over the music choices, the décor, our cheap seats, how we do the offering, some offense over an obscure sentence one of our “renegade” preachers accidentally said… We get accusations about how we don’t love Jesus and how we should love Jesus differently. We get told how ridiculous our website is.  And how everything would be better if we fixed our parking lots….Nothing we do is good enough, right enough, or godly enough….

And what do I wish I could tell the critics?



It’s hard to hear the Holy Spirit over your voice.


He is calling His children home.

His love for His Bride is deep and wide.

He is here to change a NATION….OUR NATION.

Do you hear Him?

Get on your knees and declare Him Lord.  He is Holy. Righteous…so, so holy…



No more division, no more dissention.  No more blogs about how terrible pastors are and how broken His Church is.  No more.  Correct or incorrect, the repercussions are devastating to the very thing that Jesus loves most.

You are frustrated at Church, because YOU are frustrated with your own lack of Jesus in your heart.  But this Sunday, do me a favor at whatever church your feet may fall into…

Seek Him with a precious abandon. 

Your frustration at the shortcomings of the pastor standing in front of you who was called by God will melt in the face of Jesus.  You will find that you won’t worry about the music, the lighting, the dirty nursery toys.  You will find that you have no choice but to hush in His holy presence.  You will also find that when you are standing face to face with the God of the universe, you won’t have the guts to speak against His bride.  You will find humility and honor in that moment.

You will just find His face.  If you really want to see the Church awaken…just find His face.





Happy Mother’s Day to all of the ladies at North Creek!  I am so humbled to mother alongside so many incredible women who help me grow and learn everyday.

We had a guest speaker over at Hazel Dell.  Don and Melba Exley, missionaries from Argentina, came to share with us.  Mark and I got to hear amazing stories over dinner about the revivals that began in the 80’s in Argentina and still continue to this day.  The Holy Spirit poured out on that nation in unbelievable ways and rebirthed a love for Jesus in the people.  And that is my prayer for America.  Our country needs to turn back to our Savior!  I hope you are praying for God to move in the hearts and lives of people!

Over at Battle Ground we finished up I Will Fight, which I will miss!  Such a good reminder that God can do a deep work on your behalf in the midst of your challenges.

We also got the privilege of baptizing four people on Sunday!  First we baptized the Cox Family.  Jeff, Kerri and Rylan all got baptized together and shared about how Jesus has changed their whole family.  It’s been fun to watch them this last year as God has been molding and shaping their lives!  I can’t wait to watch the story continue to unfold.

Then when second service was about to start, my friend Nicole came in.  Jesus had been telling her all week to get baptized, but she had no idea we were baptizing last Sunday.  When she walked in and saw the tank, she decided to be immediately obedient, which is AWESOME!  We scrambled through the lost and found to get clothes to wear in the tank and then did the job!  Her testimony was incredible of how faithful Jesus has always been to her.

Alex Gutierrez lead worship the last two weeks (once at BG and once at HD)!  He did a great job, especially in light of the fact that we threw a lot of extras at him with the baptisms!

All of our ladies got chocolate on Sunday.  Church and chocolate…not a bad combo for Mother’s Day morning!  Our kids also got to learn about strong women in the Bible.  There’s a lot of them!

Matt Garner (our Hazel Dell worship pastor) headed over to Battle Ground to debut a new song that he and Rachel Schmidt wrote.  It’s amazing!!!  Matt also jumped in to Tiny Town to help out, which clearly indicates that Battle Ground needs kid’s workers.  You can sign up today at 🙂

Well, on that note, life is good!  God is speaking to our hearts, changing lives, and raising our dead souls to renewed life.  Come to church!  Meet Him!  Obey Him!  Watch your life change!

Be blessed this week!


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If you missed my previous post, catch it HERE before you read this one!


It was her last event and by far her biggest challenge.  How ironic that with all of the hurdles during this gymnastics season, it was about to come down to a vault.  She would need to run, block, and land well…symbolically overcoming a mountain of struggles through a difficult year.

And then she ran.  The same run that floods my eyes with tears.  A run that constantly reminds me of God’s promises.

She flew over that horse with determination and power.  And I erupted in cheers…not because I know if she did well (because I can’t tell a good vault from a poor one), but I cheered because she is fearless.  Brave.  A conqueror.  A fighter.  Everything I hope for her to be.

The wait for her score feels like an eternity, but I decide in that moment to watch her face instead of the scoreboard.  At this point, the score is only a number, but her face, that face…

This year had started off so well.  She had won the State Championship as a Level 3 and was ready to take on the world.  But the next ten months would prove to be a journey with life changing lessons marking it’s path.  She had joined a special group with a strategy change of focusing on strength instead of Level 4 routines.  It seemed like a good call at the time, but we began to see that her personality type was not the right fit for her new circumstance.  While some girls were thriving, we watched as day after day of strength training pushed and shaped her into uncomfortable molds for who she was created to be.  She deeply missed the performance training and missed the repetition of her normal systems. She never gave up, but her verbage began to change drastically…”I can do this” became “This isn’t something I’m good at”.  Her confidence began to falter.

Haven’t we all been there?  So sure we are a round peg in a square hole, but change is often scarier than just showing up day after day.  Maybe it will get better?  Maybe I just need to make it work?  What would life be like without these friends?  Without this familiar ground?  What is on the other side of the familiar?

As she wrestled with whether to change course or keep trying, she took another blow with an injury at her first meet in January.  Both of her wrists were damaged, which equated to extreme pain.  For the next eight weeks she agonizingly limped through competitions, all the while sliding even further backward in strength training.  Her scores often reflected her struggle and finally the day came when she looked at me and said, “I don’t think I’m on the right team.”

It was in that moment of desperation that the balance changed.  The fear of what was on the horizon became less than the fear of continuing on with the current course.

So, with tears in our eyes and trepidation in our hearts, Kennedy jumped in with another team in our gym and began the journey to salvage the end of the season.

Being placed in a team that was seemly crafted to her personality, she began to fight again.  I watched her determined spirit arise from discouragement and with it came confidence.  By the time Sectionals hit she had enough skills under her belt to feel better about her two nemesis’: bars and vault.  Her scores were still low for her, but her presence had changed.  She made it to State and used every moment of the next two weeks to sharpen and learn.

At State, I chuckled to myself to see that we were starting on bars.  Of course.  When I told Kennedy that, she quoted a video she had watched, “I may have lost some battles, but I will not lose the war.”  No, no you won’t, sweet girl.

The best bar score she had managed to pull out was at Sectionals with an 8.6.  When the score popped up at a 9.125, I fell off the bleachers.

She wasn’t going down easy.

Beam and floor were next and she got two more good scores.  Vault would be her big finale and with a personal best during the year of an 8.45, I knew it was still a long shot to end with four strong events.

And now there I was.  A long year behind us, looking at her face, not caring one bit what the scoreboard said.  She stood there in her little pink leotard…fearless.  Brave.  A conqueror.  A fighter.  Everything I hope for her to be.

And then came the smile.  Wide and contagious. I turned my head. 9.175.10985248_10204949515110853_8638013123941017344_n

Tears caught up in my throat and my hands cupped my face.  She did it.  She ended well.  Full of determination, confidence, and security in her strengths.

I cried that day because the war was never gymnastics…the war was fear and insecurity.  Fear of embracing the best path for herself.  Fear of disappointing other people.  Fear of failure.

And as always, our children teach us the most profound lessons: It is true that our confidence can be lost in the midst of life, but it can also be found.

Kennedy walked away that day with a 6th place medal, a 36.7 All Around score, but most importantly, she walked away saying, “I wish we had gym on Monday.  I am ready to learn something new!”

Rest, sweet girl.  God has new journeys for you just around the corner.

Today would you take a moment and vow to change what is shrinking you?  Rise up!  Dust off the “old you” and be everything God created you to be.  Recapture your spirit, your determination, your passion!  Shrug off your circumstance, your hindrances and the “what ifs”.  You’ve got this!  You’ve really, really got this.

kennedy bw

My daughter just finished her second year of gymnastics and I can’t wait to give you an update to her story.  It’s been quite the experience this time around, but first, I thought I would repost this from a year ago to catch you up!  Stay tuned!!!

One year ago:

My youngest daughter Kennedy was a difficult baby and toddler.  She didn’t sleep through the night until she was almost two, she was picky about every food choice, and we would later find out she was very anemic, which caused lots of lethargy and mood swings.  Her uncontrollable tantrums were frequent and I often threw my hands up in exasperation as to how to break the cycle of being held hostage by her erratic behavior.  She clung to me with a fear of abandonment that was difficult to navigate.  Her preschool teacher even warned me that she was too shy and uncommunicative to begin kindergarten as she would struggle socially if we put her in school.

Mark and I spent lots of time in prayer believing that God would have to intervene in little Kennedy’s life.

Maybe that’s why I remember the warm summer day when she was just two years old.  Kennedy was running across the yard with her baby-fat-filled legs and I felt God whisper to my heart, “She’s going to be a gymnast.”  OK.  I didn’t know anything about gymnastics, but it impacted me so clearly that I would often repeat those words when I saw her run….”She runs like a gymnast.”

What was very far from my reality that day was that God wasn’t just telling me about a talent; He was telling me that He had a way to turn all of her weaknesses into strengths and that He had a plan to mold and shape her.  He was telling me that He had it all under control.

I would spend the next three years asking Kennedy if she’d like to try gymnastics, but her social issues made the conversation too tense to pursue, so we waited.  At five years old she finally decided to try a tumbling class.  From my perspective I watched something unlock in her little heart on those mats.  Very quickly we went from a class to pre-team and then had the opportunity to try out for team.  A gymnastics team is an unbelievable financial and time commitment.  Once again we prayed to God for wisdom…”We are pastors, Lord.  The two things that in short supply are money and time.  If you want us to do this, You will have to provide.”  His answer was the same, “She’s going to be a gymnast.”

So, we prepared to jump into a team situation with a large financial commitment and 12 hours a week of practice.  Our deal with Kennedy was that she was not allowed to quit for one year if she was going to start.  “It’s all or nothing, Baby.”  Shockingly, she decided to do it.

I’d love to tell you that her apprehension stopped there, but it didn’t.  We would spend the first four months of practice literally pulling her body out of the car with tears running down her face and dropping her on the gym mat.  Our hearts grieved and we spent HOURS debating our decision.  Were we hurting our child by pushing her too hard?  Every time the answer was the same…”She’s going to be a gymnast.”  We mustered enough determination to finish out the year.

And then one day it all changed.  I watched as God used gymnastics to validate her perfectionistic traits.  Her focus was precise and unwaverable in hour after hour of practice.  She began to find comfort in who she was and how she could relate to those around her.  Suddenly she began to dance as she waited in line for her turn.  She laughed with her friends and hugged her coaches with abandon.  She was changing before our eyes.  Even school became easy and confidence preceded her in almost every situation.

Last weekend was a strange full-circle moment for me as we headed to the State Competition.  I watched her rise to the occasion, nail out an unbelievable score (37.975) and win First.  Not only did she take gold in her age division, but Kennedy ranked 4th in the state for Level 3 out of all age groups.  On top of that her team won the Team Competition and her All-Star team won for our section.

But all of that was shadowed by the fact that she was there at all.  The little girl that jumped up on the winner’s podium on Saturday was unrecognizable from the girl I knew a year ago.

Saturday reminded me that God is growing and shaping our lives with a plan and a purpose.  He has put things inside of us that will propel us to where we need to be.  And the key to unlock all of this is simply perseverance.  We’ve all just got to stay the course…when it’s easy, when it’s hard, and even when we are in the winner’s circle.  We need to trust in God to finish what He has started.

I don’t know where gymnastics will take Kennedy from here.  Honestly, there is no pressure for it to be the answer forever, but what I do know is that God used it as a catalyst for Kennedy to get to the next season of her life.  I am forever grateful for the journey that the last seven years has taken us on and I have a lot of hope for the next seven…Go Kennedy!  Go Jesus!