Our First Sunday Campfire Service

Here’s the video of our first Sunday Campfire Service. It is hosted by Pastor Andy and includes Scripture readings, prayer, and worship led by Pastor Kyle.

I give my first message in five months… a story of lockdown from the early church (AKA Paul and Silas in prison).

If you missed this service, or are unable to attend these outdoor services because of COVID-19 or for any other reason, we’d love to have you join us online!

PS—tonight’s service is at 6:30pm on the east lawn and there is room for you. BYOC (bring your own chair) and be sure to wear a face mask.

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Ruthie

Here is our twenty-first NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: God Will Restore What Was Taken From You

Today, Pastor Andy sits with Ruthie to hear some of her story… one that includes many hard and painful things, but also a story of restoration and healing.

Ruthie talks about her life on the streets, her children she lost before and during prison, her recent battle with cancer, and the miracle of God’s restoring work.

She is raw, unfiltered, and without pretense. Ruthie is one of the most beautiful, encouraging, and faith-filled people I know (and one of my favorites).

I hope you will take 32 minutes to join us for some church today!

The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost…” —Joel 2.25

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Never Losing Hope—Louise Hoy’s Story

Here is our twentieth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Never Losing Hope

Today, Shari and I sit down with our good friend Louise Hoy to hear another part of her story… one from early in her life that includes abandonment, abduction, and abuse—emotional, physical, and sexual **trigger warning – this episode contains stories of childhood physical and sexual abuse.**

Miraculously, Louise never lost hope. She is a survivor. And God used what others meant for her harm to be turned into something redemptive and good.

This video also includes worship led by Georgia Carlton and our band.

I hope you will take 35 minutes to join us for some church today!

“We who follow Jesus are working in wounds, working with wounds, and working through wounds.” —Willie James Jennings

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Communion & Worship

Here is our nineteenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Communion and Worship

Today, Pastor Andy sits down with his childhood friend Matt to discuss some of the differences and similarities in how our churches view and practice communion.

There is also worship led before and after receiving communion.

Would you prepare some bread and grape juice or wine for receiving communion with your church family?

I hope you’ll take 27 minutes and join us for some church today!

They thanked me for my time and quickly left. I sat for a few moments in my office and felt sick. Then I Googled and found nothing.

(Thankful Notes #330)

A few years ago, a young couple from the church sent an e-mail asking to meet with me. They explained that, while they love the church’s consistent presence in the community meeting needs and doing outreach, they were baffled by much of the teaching they were hearing—which they called “social/political” in nature.

I’ll be honest: I have yet to figure out how to be thankful for these kinds of e-mails.

They seem to lack a certain tender openness or humble curiosity, and, in my experience, are merely a set-up for a moral high ground rebuke of a pastor who doesn’t share enough of their world view. But maybe someday I will learn to be thankful when I receive an invitation to be scolded and rejected.

Perhaps I don’t actually have to be thankful for those e-mails. Paul wrote a letter (not an e-mail) to the Thessalonians and said, “In all things, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.” We give thanks IN all things, not necessarily FOR all things. Phew! That takes some pressure off.

So, that fateful meeting commenced, and I asked what had been troubling them. They gave two specific examples… 1) a video of a black woman in our church who shared the painful story of her brother being shot by police and her decision to forgive, and 2) the emphasizing of diversity in church communications and sermons.

I shared with them that the woman on the video is my friend—and I know her story and wanted it to be shared with the church because forgiveness is central to the Christian faith. They argued that telling the story fits in with a narrative that blacks are being killed by police.

I think I said, “OK,” with sadness in my voice and moved on to their next point.

I shared my experience of growing up in Skyway in the 70’s and 80’s with lots and lots of diversity. My best friends at the time were Danny Brooks who is black and Carlos Dominguez who is Hispanic. We did everything together – went to school together, had sleepovers, went to Chuck-E-Cheese birthday parties together… but there was one thing we didn’t do together: church. Danny went to a black church and Carlos went to a Hispanic church and I went to a white church.

Even as a kid, something about this just seemed off to me.

So, I explained how my own experience has animated my ministry. I was a prodigal son who did bad things, so I long to be part of a church that prodigals will feel safe coming home to. I experienced diversity everywhere except in the church, so I long be part of a church that looks like Revelation’s description of heaven… every tongue, tribe, nation—worshiping the Lamb together. God made diversity and loves it, so I think we should too.

They said, “Diversity is just a talking point of… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Catching Up With Ashah & The Dollemans

Here is our eighteenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Catching up with Ashah and the Dollemans

Today, Shari and I sit down with our daughter Ashah to talk about her study abroad program and what’s going on in her life today.

There is also a worship song led by Pastor Kyle and the worship team at the end of the video.

My favorite part of the conversation is when I asked Ashah why the big hurry for her to get through college and her face turned red and she said, “Are we talking about this on video?”

I hope you’ll take 27 minutes and join us for some church today!

So, this is my baguette: I’m happy to be a sheep. And I will continue to be a sheep. Amen.

Thankful Notes (#325)

Today was good and hard. It was good because we got some important things done. It was hard because some of those important things weren’t easy.

We planned for an early staff meeting first thing in the morning with everyone. This Friday is our first Campfire Gathering event, so we had some details to work out and assignments to make. I also shared about my concern/anxiety about our tentative plan to start having indoor in-person services in August with limited numbers.

To be honest, I wish I knew what to do… but I’ve never lived through a global pandemic before and I’m just trying not to kill people via church services.

Being honest isn’t always easy. And saying “I don’t know” isn’t being weak or copping-out.

We also had a staff clean-up day planned because the church playground was overrun with tall weeds and some of the equipment had been broken. Pulling weeds is not exactly hard work but it’s not exactly easy either. We worked hard together and got it done.

The reward was seeing our campus come back to life and no longer look on the edge of apocalyptic… and also, pizza. After sweating and doing a bunch of manual labor, pizza is the perfect reward with its bread and sauce and cheese!

Not long after our pizza reward, the USDA Food Bank delivery arrived, and it was time for all-hands-on-deck to unload and unpack and organize and refrigerate the dairy and produce. Again, this work isn’t terribly hard… it’s just manual labor (and I think it will be one of my happy memories of the pandemic).

I’m an Enneagram #5, which is often called the “Observer” or “Investigator.” Basically, #5’s have a rich and complex interior life and are generally pretty satisfied to live within the safety of their own “mind castle.” This is true for me… I always have a lot going on in my mind and I don’t often feel the need to say much about it.

However, there are a few things I’ve been thinking about and I do feel a compulsion to say something about some of these thoughts I’ve been kneading like dough in my brain. There are three different rounds of dough (thoughts) I’ve been working on and they are not necessarily connected, so I will just share them as individual potential loaves of bread… like a baguette and some ciabatta and some naan.

Here’s a preview: the baguette thought is “I’m happy to be a sheep,” and the ciabatta thought is “nowhere to lay our head,” and the naan thought is “news outlets.”

The “I’m happy to be a sheep” thought comes from my… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—The K-Dub Show!

Here is our seventeenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: The K-Dub Show!

Today, Pastor Kyle Wheeler sits down with one of our students, Kyle Wabusya, to listen to his story. It’s the Kyle-Kyle, Kyle W-Kyle W… K-Dub show!

There is also a worship song led by Georgia Carlton and Pastor Kyle at the end of the video today.

I really enjoyed the interaction between the Kyles, especially these lines from Kyle Wabusya…

“Christianity isn’t like a job, or something you have to do…

It’s a community, you know?

It’s somewhere you can feel safe to, you know, be yourself and love… share a love for Someone.”

I hope you’ll take 30 minutes and join us for some church today!

worship for post georgia

 

 

 

NWLife Weekly Conversation—We’re Not So Different

Here is our sixteenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: We’re Not So Different

Today, Pastor Andy sits down with his childhood friend, Matt… who is now a Jesuit priest and pastors St. Leo’s in Tacoma, WA.

The video begins and ends with some words from Pastor Angela. Georgia Carlton sings “I Need You To Survive” by Hezekiah Walker in the lobby with Shaun accompanying on the keyboard.

I cried three times while watching this video… first, when Father Matt prayed for our church, second, when Georgia started singing, and third, near the end of the song when Georgia sings, “I’ll pray for you.”

One of my favorite moments in the video is when Pastor Andy says, “I think I might be a Jesuit!” *Pictured here:
andy for post might be a jesuit

I believe this is one of the best conversation videos we’ve put out – it is such a beautiful representation of who we are together. I hope you’ll take 20 minutes and join us for some church today.

georgia singing for post

 

 

 

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Ray and Reyna Bardo

Here is our fifteenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: A story of faith and love with Ray and Reyna Bardo

Today, on Father’s Day, I’m sitting with our wonderful friends Ray and Reyna Bardo to hear their story of faith and love and survival.

The video begins and ends with some words from Pastor Andy Jones. Pastor Kyle Wheeler and Georgia Carlton, along with our band, lead us in worship from the stage today.

I hope you’ll take 17 minutes and join us for some church!

The Lord brought me out into a wide-open, spacious place. He rescued me because he delighted in me.  —Psalm 18.19