Monthly Archives: August 2015

This week Mark and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d write a blog to those of you who aren’t married about some tips to help choose well in the most important decision of your life.  If you’re struggling in your current marriage, you should not read any further as we are prone to being consumed with discontentment and the need to compare.  The reality is that the marriage you are in is the one you should be working on!   There is no sense in looking back on what you “should have done”.

Also, good to note….marriage is from God for a man and a woman according to Scripture.  My lens is through the eyes of a Jesus centered marriage…the basics of a commitment to faith, prayer, and the Word of God are foundational and implied.  So, here’s my thoughts on some good things to watch out for in a potential spouse:


1. Purity first.

Sexual sins harm and destroy marriages with violent force.  After so many years in ministry, I can tell you this:  many warning signs of those prone to sexual deviancy were very visible during dating relationships.  Look for a person who wants to wait for sex until married, has high standards for their computer use, speaks appropriately of the opposite gender, has a history of purity, and who treats your body with respect.  I’m not mincing words here: if you have a concern over some of the sexual comments, activities, or habits of someone, don’t enter into a dating relationship or marriage under any circumstances.  Pornography addictions, affairs, and illicit activities are areas we dive into as pastors all too frequently with people and it is a pain that you will be wise to avoid if at all possible.  If you are honestly evaluating your own life right now and seeing these tendencies, it is time to get help!  It is possible to rely on Jesus, be surrounded with the right counseling/accountability and find victory in these areas.  Until then (which will be a long process), you aren’t in a place to date and get married.


2.  Financially disciplined.

The most argued about topic in marriage is money.  Marry a person who tithes 10% of their income to Jesus or expect there to be issues.  Malachi 3:6-12 talks about how God will take care of you if you are faithful:

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

Mark and I have never made a lot of money with both of us in full time ministry and church planting, but in 18 years we have paid every bill and never argued about finances.  If your spouse doesn’t have the foundational belief of giving and the discipline to follow that up with sacrificial action, you are setting yourself up to be outside of the blessings of God.  That statement should make you shudder.  You will be wise to make generosity a standard for who you marry…and for yourself.

Also there are a multitude of other financial questions to address: does the person you’re interested in pay bills on time?  Do you hide financial information from you?  Do they have the history of interviewing well, keeping jobs, and getting good reports?  Do they save money or spend it with little regard for responsibility?  How much debt do they have and why?  If they have nice things, but have a mountain of debt, you’re headed for a problem.  Be wise in whom you connect your financial future to!


3.  Stability is sexy.  OK, maybe not when you’re 20, but when you have kids, jobs, bills, and mortgages…someone who does what they say they are going to do, shows up, and is emotionally level is VERY sexy.  There’s a saying that the good guys always finish last.  It’s true…their marriages finish last…when you’re old.  So look for a person who is faithful, dependable, loyal, secure in who they are, prone to joy, not controlling, and not addicted to substances.  (Again, if you’re struggling in these areas, get help!)


We often buy into the fairy tale idea of being emotionally swept off our feet with love.  I definitely think that’s a part of the equation!  However, we do have control over our decisions and if there was ever a decision to weigh out pragmatically…it’s marriage.  I used WAY more of my head to date Mark than my heart.  In fact our first date was like an interview between the both of us about how and why we believed about a TON of issues.  It was almost embarrassing to discuss some pretty intimate topics, but we had no time to waste.  I was not going to let my heart take me somewhere that I knew wasn’t going to lead me to the right place.  I also relied on Godly people around Mark and I to have input.  We went to church together, did ministry together, and allowed people into our world publically and privately.

If I had red flags on my key issues, I would have walked away (and Mark as well).  I know this because I did it with several men that my heart pushed me towards.  And I was right.


Marriage is a risky business even when you have high standards.  Many of my friends over the years have realized secrets, discovered lies, and been blindsided by some awful realities.  It happens in life, but the key is to avoid what you can avoid and allow Jesus to redeem the rest.  He’s given you Biblical standards, offered you wisdom, and provided you with counsel.  It is your responsibility to use that to make the best decision you can with the precious life you’ve been given!

It was my 18th wedding anniversary this week, so Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband!  I say it all the time, but he’s the real deal!

This blog is FULL to the brim of announcements and celebrations, so brace yourself!

Our youth had a BIG week as they merged together on Thursday night with RAVING success!  There was 117 people packed into the Link Church’s building over by Costco and they rose the roof with all the electricity in that place.  It was so amazing to see it all come together in such a phenomenal way.  Below are some pictures for you to see it for yourself.  If you’d like to be a part of our youth, you can contact Kris Gray at

One way you can massively help our youth is to come on one Thursday night every 8 weeks and babysit our youth staff’s children during service.  Especially if you have a teenager that is being loved on every week, I encourage you to give back by watching some incredible kids.  We are looking for 5 people right now who will show up once every two months.  Email to sign up and get background checked.

And our other big news is that we have sold the Hazel Dell building and are planning to move our churches to Prairie High School in the next 5 weeks!  We have a tentative launch date of September 27, which is our 9 year anniversary!  We are excited to celebrate with a fresh start and a new direction.

In preparation for our merge, Hazel Dell will shift to ONE SERVICE at 10:00 am for September 6, 13, and 20th.  That way we can have our volunteer schedule ready to go for the move on the 27th.

IMG_0249My 9 year old Kennedy got to teach KidCity over at Hazel Dell, while 9 year old Isaiah (Pastor Chris’ son) got to teach over at Battle Ground.  Kennedy and Isaiah were the first two infants in our nursery, so it was ironic that they both unveiled their preaching career on the same day! 😉  Kennedy told her dad that he could stop preaching because that was her job now!  We love raising up kids with focus and passion!

We are praying for all of our North Creek students as they gear up for Back to School.  We believe these kids can make a difference at a young age and impact this generation for Jesus.  Please be praying with us!

Do you know of any warehouse space that is available for us to store our entire church while we are mobile?  Let me know!  We need a reasonably priced space.

We also need some new volunteer roles as we go mobile.  If you are interested in any of the following, would you email me at  We only need you to serve one Sunday a month, unless you’d like to do more!  We are excited to begin dreaming, training, and implementing!

  • Sound/media setup – LOTS of equipment to move in early Sunday morning
  • Preservice babysitter – Our worship team and set up team come with children!  We need a babysitter to watch the littlest of them while their parents setup and practice.
  • Greeters/Ushers – We need many more greeters who also help us usher as we will begin passing an offering plate in our new system
  • Parking/Security – We need people who will double as parking attendants and security personnel
  • Prayer Team – We are instituting a new prayer team that prays before service and is available to pray with people after service
  • Kid’s Workers – Check in, Nursery, Tiny Town, KidCity….we are expecting 100 kids to bless us with their presence on Sundays!  While we have a strong team in place, we now need more to accommodate all that awesomeness.

More info to come and ways to help as we get deeper into this transition.  We couldn’t be more excited as we run toward our future with great expectation!  Jesus is our center and our focus, so there is simply an amazing adventure ahead!







There’s ALOT going on right now!

If you don’t already know, we are selling everything and combining our two campuses into one centralized location.  While we look for a new facility, we will be saving a lot of money on facility overheads and allow us room to grow and reach our community.  We are excited to see where God takes us in this adventure!

So, first off…we have sold the Hazel Dell building!  We signed the agreement early this week.  There are still about 60 days where the buyer can back out for any reason, but it’s a great building, they need a facility, and it’s a good offer for both sides.  As always, if you attend North Creek, you can email me at for the details, but I won’t put that out on social media at this juncture.  We are VERY excited because we feel like it’s the right buyer, who will continue to lead people to Jesus in that facility.  It has been such a nice building for us and we trust that they will enjoy it as well.

We will have a thousand details about moving in the future and how you can help.  Exciting times ahead!

LinkAlso happening this week is that our youth ministries are MERGING into one!  When we started this process it felt very weird to have the youth go first when we had no idea when we would be combining two campuses, but we wanted the new 6th graders to have fewer transitions.  Now with the building sale, we feel like God orchestrated a beautiful timeline on our behalf.  We are utilizing our friend’s church building and it’s AMAZING!  The youth staff and parents were allowed to walk through last night and it was a crazy cool experience to watch the two come together.  It’s going to be so good!  If you have a teenager who needs a youth group, this Thursday is a perfect time to jump in.  Nobody will know who is new and who isn’t, so it’s a comfortable juncture to show up and become a part.  We are meeting at The Link Church – 7321 NE 110th St.  Vancouver, WA 98662.  It is just north of Costco in central Vancouver.  Hangout hour is 6 pm and youth starts at 7 pm.

I have to say a shout out to Jim and Sarah Gilliam from The Link Church.  We are so grateful that they are letting us partner with them and we hope to be an equal blessing through this as well.  Jim and Sarah have been our friends for 14 years and it has been a joy to share the ups and downs of ministry!

P.S.  Looks like we will be all heading to Prairie High School as one church in early October.  AHHHHHHH!!!!!  I can’t wait!

On another note, tonight at the Hazel Dell campus we have a Dessert Potluck and games.  Join us at 7:00 pm for some yummy treats!  Bring something to share and your kids.  We look forward to good conversation over dessert and coffee.

We are closing out our Testify series.  Last week Kris Gray and the youth shared at Battle Ground, while the Ronda family shared their adoption story over at Hazel Dell.  It has been wonderful to hear all that God is doing in the hearts and lives of His people!

God is up to some great things!  Come and be a part!


So much to say over the last couple of weeks!  I took an unexpected trip to Montana to help my mom with her aunt’s memorial service, so I’m way behind at this point!

Here we go:

Congrats to Jessica Yonko and Nate Johnson on their ENGAGEMENT!!!!!  Jessica is one of our church planting kids (not a kid anymore!) and Nate grew up in our youth ministry, so it is very fun to see them as adults, living for Jesus, and doing this all in a Godly way.

We had a great night of bowling two weeks ago and an amazing Latin Dinner last week.  This week we have a catered BBQ on Wednesday, which I can’t wait to attend!  It’s been fun getting to know some people this summer in a new way.  We have about 85 people signed up for the BBQ, which you have until noon today (basically right now) to RSVP at  If you don’t sign up, you can still come….you just can’t eat, which will clearly be some form of torture….

We had a great meeting about our merge coming up with our Hazel Dell and Battle Ground campuses.  We had a lot of you there, but for those of you who missed it, here is the way-too-brief highlight reel:  We are selling both properties, temporarily going to Prairie High School while we look for one centralized facility to call home.  We recently got an offer on the Hazel Dell building that we are currently processing.  I won’t choose to put the details on social media, but feel free to email me at for the specifics.  If that deal goes through, we are looking at about a 60 day timeline before this would all steamroll into reality.

Our youth ministries have a great opportunity to merge first, which will be happening on August 20.  Our two youth groups will be combined and meeting at The Link Church at 7321 NE 110th St., Vancouver, WA 98662.  Our friend, Jim Gilliam, is the pastor there and a good friend of ours.  His church is ideally located just a few miles from each campus.  We appreciate the partnership we have with him and look forward to the future.  If you have a teenager, need more info, or have a question, please email Kris Gray at  We are letting parents walk through the building on August 18 if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the new plan.

Church has been simply incredible during our Testify series.  We’ve had people from our congregation sharing about how God is impacting their lives in so many different ways.  Join us!

God is good!  So many things up in the air, but He is still on the throne and has a plan for our lives.  We invite you to go on this adventure of faith with us and see all that Jesus does in the hearts and lives of people in our community!

Be blessed!