See the Beauty

Each year, we put on a huge party for our community—the annual Halloween Kid’s Carnival.

There’s a big circus tent, food trucks, music, inflatables, prizes, carnival games… and tons of candy.

Two hundred volunteers serve. About three thousand people attend.

It’s one of our biggest outreach events of the year.

I spend part my time at the carnival standing at the entrance—greeting families as they come in.

It’s fun seeing all the kids and their costumes.

There are bumblebees and ladybugs, Spidermans and Ironmans, princesses and cowboys, and Elsa and Olaf from Frozen…

And there are also zombies, monsters, werewolves, and other creepy-looking costumes.

My natural instinct is to… Read More

Seven Things I’m Learning In Seven Years As A Lead Pastor

Seven years ago, we were unanimously elected (which is a miracle for church people to ever agree on anything that much) as the new lead pastors of NWLife (known as Fairwood Church at that time). I have often described myself as a “rookie pastor,” having never been the lead pastor before.

In many ways, I still feel like a rookie – I’m learning the ropes, and I’m well aware that I am not an expert on anything.

I don’t know if I can keep using the “rookie pastor” thing as an excuse any longer – now that it’s been seven years. And while I don’t know everything, I am learning some things…

So here are seven things I’m learning in… Read More

That Beautiful Song’s Backstory

At NWLife, we’ve been singing Bethel Music’s beautiful remix of the classic hymn It Is Well.

Having grown up in the church, I heard the backstory on this song a number of times – but as we’ve been singing this newer version, I realize many, if not most, of my NWLife church family don’t know the story.

Here is the story behind… Read More

I Fell In Love With A Table

This is the story of how I fell in love with a table…

From growing up in the church, there are two things I remember about communion:

1) I remember it passing me by because I was too young, apparently. So I watched my parents receive. I could smell the grape juice on their breath when they would whisper something to me afterwards. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t included – because I knew that I was included in every other meal my family had.

2) When I was “old enough” to receive, we had another pastor at that time. What I remember was how this pastor seemed bored with communion and in a hurry to get on with the real show. He said the same exact lines every time at the speed of an auctioneer.

Twenty years later, I have… Read More

The Beauty Of The Flaw

Some dear friends of mine have recently gone though an incredibly tragic and painful experience. Along with them, I want to know “Why?” I want answers. Conclusions. Resolutions. And I know there are none.

Although there are no satisfying answers, I do believe beauty rises from our suffering – but just not quickly.

It will come, in its own time. So in the meantime, we sit in the pain and learn how to manage with it.

While reading Beauty —The Invisible Embrace I was reminded again of the promise from God that beauty will rise from our ashes.

In the words of John O’Donohue… Read More