Category "Life With God"

When Doves Cry, A Remix

In early July, 2016, I preached a sermon at NWLife called “When Doves Cry.” This is a portion of that sermon, slightly remixed…

There was something about Prince’s song “When Doves Cry” that resonated with me as a young man. I wasn’t even sure what it all meant, but it seemed to speak of the pain experienced in relationships, of break-up, of tears….

“How can you just leave me standing?

Alone in a world that’s so cold?

Maybe I’m just too demanding

Maybe I’m just like my father, too bold

Maybe you’re just like my mother

She’s never satisfied

Why do we scream at each other

This is what it sounds like

When doves cry”

It’s so visceral, relatable, universal.

We have felt this. Lived it.

But do doves cry?

Or pigeons for that matter?

I read an article that claimed Prince was… Read More

WHY #BLACKLIVESMATTER MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE

( This is a post I wrote in December of 2014 )

*note: image above – harassment during a civil rights sit-in at the Cherrydale Drug Fair in Arlington, VA June 10, 1960.

On Sunday at NWLife Church, we stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters – declaring #BlackLivesMatter.

We prayed for justice and reconciliation and healing and comfort. We mourned the loss of life. We affirmed that all black lives matter.

This wasn’t the first time we’ve prayed for the black community. Recognizing #BlackLivesMatter on Sunday, December 14 was done at the prompting of the National leadership of the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ (our heritage is with these movements).

I know this makes some folks uncomfortable. I know because… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—More Like Listening (on Race, Justice, & Equality)

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

Today’s theme: Listening and Learning about Race, Justice, and Equality

Pastor Andy begins with a cold open – no music, no bumper, no entertainment… just speaking the truth simply and plainly.

The invitation is to listen and learn, to pay attention, to open our hearts and minds, to grow and be transformed… to change.

All of today’s music is from the worship collective Common Hymnal. These songs are beautiful and heartbreaking.

At the end of the video, we share resources – including our new Race, Equality, and Justice page with 40 suggestions of books, movies, and social media voices to learn from.  http://nwlife.church/justice/

I have personally read and listened to and watched and followed all of these resources (with one exception – The ABC’s of Diversity book). Maybe it’s a little unusual to have recommended films rated for a mature audience on a church website, but I can tell you every one of them have challenged me, educated me, caused empathy and compassion to rise in me, and have helped me to grow. I hope you’ll take a similar journey of growth.

Do you know what I want?

I want justice—oceans of it.

I want fairness—rivers of it.

That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

—Amos 5.24

 

I stand in solidarity with the black community. I will march with you.

Thankful Notes (#291)

I’m not quoting anyone today.

And I’m not sharing stories about the kitchen or my dad or projects around the house.

This won’t be a long post and I will just get right to it.

As clearly and plainly as I can say:

I stand in solidarity with the black community. I will march with you.

I stand against racism both individual and systemic (which was built-in from the beginning).

I stand against social injustice.

Black Lives Matter. No addendums needed. No asterisks. No buts. No alsos.

Black Lives Matter.

I’m saying this because I believe it, because I’ve said it before, and because it needs to be said again. And again. And again. I’m saying this because it is so deeply tied to my faith. Because our Shepherd will leave the 99 to go rescue the 1 who is at great risk.

I’m saying this because a friend who I love and care very much about, who is black, confronted me in love today… asking me why I am being quiet and subtle, reminding me that people are watching and listening, calling me to use my voice and platform.

The conversation hurt because they know me too well and they were right.

I was being too quiet.

And I knew my reasons were just excuses, “I’ve marched and preached and blogged and said this stuff for years – maybe someone else’s voice needs to be heard, maybe I can amplify theirs,” and “I’ve been pretty clear on Twitter and Instagram but I hate Facebook and all the crazytown that goes with it – I don’t want to end up amplifying those voices in the comments.”

I cried during our conversation. I apologized. Most importantly, I listened… actually listened without letting defensiveness crash in.

So, that leads me to being thankful. I’m thankful for real friends who don’t let you walk around with your zipper down or cilantro on your tooth or your quiet carefulness get in the way of what needs to be said.

I got pastored today. And I’m so very glad they didn’t hold back.

To my friends of color, I’m sorry for not saying enough. I’m listening and learning… I know I can do that. I am with you and for you and I will continue to be.

Amen.

 

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.”

brian and shari for post

 

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.

worship and communion for post

 

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

andy salsa for post

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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

Read More