Posts by: Brian Dolleman

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Louise Hoy’s Story

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

Today’s theme: Survivor

Shari and I sit down with our friend Louise Hoy to hear about her devastating and incredible journey. She is a survivor, a woman of faith, and has great wisdom to share.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with Pastor Kyle leading us in Hillsong’s “Cornerstone.”

“To all who mourn… he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. They will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” —Isaiah 61.3

Frederick Buechner said, “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.”

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NWLife Weekly—Worship And Communion

Here is our eleventh NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly online service.

Today’s theme: Worship and communion.

Our band leads three songs today: Who You Say I Am by Hillsong, This Is Grace by Kyle Wheeler, and  At Your Table by Kyle Wheeler.

It’s the first time we’ll be hearing Kyle’s new song This Is Grace with a full-band accompaniment and vocal harmonies… and all I can say is, it’s incredibly beautiful.

I spend a few minutes setting up communion by explaining some of Apostle Paul’s remarks in 1 Corinthians 11 about not receiving in an “unworthy manner.”

Please prepare in advance for viewing this 25 minute worship service by getting some bread and a cup with wine or grape juice.

Church, let’s receive the bread of life, God’s gift of life for us. And let’s receive the cup of the new covenant, declaring to us: ALL IS FORGIVEN.

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I sometimes return to the aggressive rush and run others off the road

Thankful Notes (#274)

I appreciated our church’s weekly conversation video that was released yesterday—it featured three individuals who have an immediate family member living in their homes who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Their sharing was honest and gracious and shed light on why we are being so careful.

I read this poem called The Visit by Patricia Lunetta Gould yesterday. There is no set-up, no explanation of who Margaret is or what her relationship is to the author. It just begins…

The last time I saw Margaret, she had reached the skeletal stage.

I rubbed her feet that day, touching death. Feet bumped out with bunions, tipped with twisted toes and curling yellowed nails.

On her bedside stand, a scrap of paper—the name of one of those TV evangelists who beseech you to feel the healing power of Jesus through the screen—and don’t forget to send your generous love gifts.

As I drive home on a narrow curving road, someone tailgates, itching to go faster, not knowing he’s flesh and fragile.

Slowed by sadness and sick of pressure, I pull onto the gravel shoulder, let him shoot by… and on my right catch sight of a great blue heron standing tall and still in the aisle made by two rows of towering trees.

Like a priest in feathered robes, he bows his head three times before an altar of mountain bluffs. It’s dusk, and the moon, just rising, illuminates his wings as they open in benediction for evening flight. His parting call:

Stay awake. Holiness 
may spread its wings for you 
at any moment.

* * *

Her description of driving home on a narrow curving road—and someone tailgates, itching to go faster, not knowing he’s flesh and fragile… um, I mean, I just want to sit with that for a while.

I’ve been the tailgater in a hurry.

And I’ve been the one slowed by… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Jessica Klukas’ Story

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

Today’s theme: What You’ve Done To The Least Of These

Pastor Andy and Pastor Katie sit down with Jessica Klukas to hear her story. All three in today’s video podcast share something in common: someone in their immediate family, in their homes, is vulnerable to COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with Pastor Kyle leading us in one of his own original worship songs.

“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” —Matthew 25.37-40

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By this time, my dad was hearing the ghost sound too. We looked at each other with stunned faces, in complete bewilderment.

Thankful Notes (#270)

When sleeping outside on the deck furniture for the night, I do occasionally hear some strange sounds. Sometimes the gray heron pierces the silence with his prehistoric-guttural squawks. Other times, a flock of Canadian geese fly directly overhead, honking with every flap of their wings. And there is this bizarre sound a crow makes, almost like a cat, “baahw? baahw?”

This time of year, the cormorants have left for some other climate or location… so I don’t hear their weird growling monster sound. But there is definitely the sound of frogs and the occasional splosh of fish jumping and landing back into the lake.

One of my favorite nighttime sounds is the gentle hoot of owls in trees nearby.

Even when I’m not sleeping outside, I hear most of these sounds (except the fish sploshing back into the water) because we always have our bedroom windows open at night. Gotta have that fresh air, even when it’s cold at night.

As I think about strange middle-of-the-night sounds, I’m taken back to a memory I share with my dad… I was around 15 years old at the time, and had just started working at the veterinary hospital in Rainier Beach.

My bedroom was on the ground floor of the house, right next door to my parent’s bedroom. The night was stormy—wind and heavy, relentless rain. Everything was soaked and the ground couldn’t absorb all the water.

I had been working on a side-hustle for my dad in addition to working at the veterinary hospital – he offered to pay me $1,000 to dig out the ground around the north side of the basement (it needed a drain field and the concrete exterior wall of the basement needed to be sealed). A good sized trench had been started – it was maybe 3’ wide by 6-7’ deep.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened to the strange and eerie sound of moaning or wailing or groaning… and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I laid in bed listening, wondering if I’d just had a bad dream, but the ghost sound continued.

I couldn’t get back to sleep, and I was starting to wonder if someone was pulling a prank on me, “punking” me, so I walked over to my parent’s bedroom and shook my dad awake. I whispered, “Do you hear that sound?”… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Georgia Carlton’s Story

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

Today’s theme: Knowing God’s Love For us

Pastor Angela and I talk with Georgia Carlton as she shares her experience of growing up in church and struggling to believe God loves her. This conversation is real and raw and full of redemption. It is truly beautiful.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with our worship team leading us in worship with Hillsong’s What a Beautiful Name.

God says ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ This is a fundamental truth of your identity. This is who you are whether you feel it or not. You belong to God from eternity to eternity. Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, ‘I love you, too.’  —Henri Nouwen

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Amen. Yes and yes. I stand and wave the hanky.

Thankful Notes (#263)

When I arrived at the office this morning, my office phone was blinking – indicating it has a new voice message. I’m not sure why (maybe some church drama PTSD from 28 years of pastoral ministry), but whenever there’s a voice mail left for me on the church phone, I get nervous and mentally prepare myself for something bad.

There were actually two voicemails… the first was a hang-up and the second was from a 90 year old woman in our church. She sounded pretty distraught and in crisis and said she really needed me to return her call. When I called and asked how she was doing, she said, “Oh, not so good…” and then she asked if we had any hair stylists in the church family because, “I look awful—like something the cat dragged in but didn’t want.”

I smiled and explained all the hair stylists weren’t working right now because of the pandemic. And I told her I wasn’t aware of any hair stylists from the church who were offering black market haircuts right now. She understood, but said, “Isn’t there someone who isn’t a professional but knows what they’re doing?”

This is when I suggested she call back in the afternoon and talk to Danielle, because Danielle would know more about hair than me (a bald man).

She laughed and thanked me for listening. Then she told me how much she misses church. I feel it too. Maybe even more, as it’s my whole world. I miss the gatherings and celebrations and in-person conversations so much…

And yet, there is still beauty in times of drought; resilient plants push through the cracks in the dry, concrete-like earth—and they bloom. I’m finding this to be true during the pandemic and lockdown… God’s people keep finding ways to love and serve and give and bless.

For my birthday, some friends at church gave me a… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Nick And Emily Schmal’s Story

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

Today’s theme: God’s Redeeming Work.

Pastor Angela is talking with Nick and Emily Schmal as they share their story of loss, heartbreak, and redemption. When I heard Nick talk about how God promises beauty for ashes, I cried. This conversation is so very encouraging—I hope you’ll take 25 minutes to listen in.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with our band leading us in worship with Hillsong’s King of Kings.

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Finally, a reminder of something I hope you all will… Read More

Then I heard one of her co-workers say, “Oh wow! This makes my boobs look huge!” and with that, I was out the door

 

Thankful Notes (#255)

It’s hard to believe we have been in this little fixer-upper barn-shaped house on the lake for two years now (in May). When we first walked through the house, I fell in love with the view and the potential I could see in the basic structure of the house. I was sold the minute I looked out the windows to Lake Wilderness.

It’s been two years of struggle and joy, enduring and enjoying, stripping away and building. The projects aren’t all complete.

The rotting dock still needs to be replaced. Our HVAC mini-split system still needs to be installed. And there’s the tricky issue of a major structural retaining wall still waiting to be addressed. But it’s become home—truly OUR home, and for that I am so very thankful.

We lived in it while it still had cracked linoleum and dark ceilings and blue duck wallpaper and a pretty cool JennAir downdraft cooktop with a flip-clock straight out of the early 1980’s. Before the remodel began, we moved into the fixer-upper with our brand new 8-week old English Golden Retriever named Camper. We scraped off popcorn ceilings and tore off the wallpaper and ripped up the carpets. Camper chewed big patches of the cracked linoleum and destroyed a section of drywall where we’d torn off the wallpaper. Heck, it was a family effort.

Somehow, we survived. And we are still here, still surviving and dreaming of what can be.

Shari and I drove to the church office together today and Camper stayed at home with Ashah. While I was in a meeting with staff, I receive a text message from Ashah – it’s two pictures of Camper thoroughly enjoying a “Puppuccino” – something I’ve never allowed Camper to have (basically a Starbucks cup filled with whipped cream). But it’s Camper’s birthday week, so what can I say?

I left for my meeting with staff out to the wide-open and spacious lobby, while Shari stayed in my office for her video conference calls. When I returned, she was still on a call (a very loud and chaotic call with her colleagues). I wasn’t sure how long it would last, so I tried to sit down and concentrate on my own work… but the sound of voices talking over one another had me completely shut down and unproductive. Then I heard one of her co-workers say… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Finding God in a Global Pandemic

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

Today’s theme: Finding God in a Global Pandemic.

Today, I’m sitting with Shari, Vinny, and Pastor Andy (all three of them are Enneagram 7′s – typically labeled “Enthusiasts” and I’m an Enneagram 5 – typically labeled “observer,” so watch how our conversation goes… LOL). That said, it’s a miracle we managed to get this video to be under 30 minutes in length.

We also have a very special water baptism in today’s video podcast!

Finally, I introduce something I hope you all will participate in—making and sharing little 30-second(ish) videos, a kind of show-and-tell, about what is bringing you joy right now. Shari gives us an example of what is bringing her joy (it’s not me). These videos can be… Read More