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

 

Soon, there were four crows going after the eagle. They were cawing and crashing into the eagle’s wings (I could hear the sound of collision).

Thankful Notes (#305)

Early in the morning, I was sitting outside on the deck and noticed a big bald eagle soaring over the lake and swooping down to fish. Except it wasn’t fishing for fish. There were two little ducklings unattended, swimming across the lake together—and the eagle was going after them. Each time the eagle swooped down, the ducklings would dive under the water for a few seconds until the eagle flew up again.

Soon, there were four crows going after the eagle.

They were cawing and crashing into the eagle’s wings (I could hear the sound of collision). The more the eagle had to contend with the crows, the easier it was for the little ducklings to continue their path across the lake. I felt myself rooting for the ducklings and for the crows.

The eagle outmaneuvered the crows a few times and nearly grabbed a duckling, but the ducklings dove under water just in time to escape its talons. Finally, they swam underneath our new dock and the eagle flew back toward the trees—with the crows loudly escorting him away (I can only imagine the things they were saying).

I sat there and thought about what I saw. It occurred to me that the crows were not in competition with the eagle for a duckling breakfast. They don’t do that. Rather, they were doing a good deed. They loudly spoke up for the at-risk and vulnerable. They made a ruckus and put themselves on the line.

It was beautiful, really, what they did.

The scene I witnessed reordered how I think about certain birds. It made me appreciate the crows, who assembled and worked together to protect the innocent. And it made me think eagles are kinda gross, cannibalistic.

For a moment, I felt like entertaining philosophical thoughts concerning America and our myths and symbols (like the eagle) and power dynamics and assembling to protest for the most vulnerable among us… but I decided to stick a pin in it and just leave it for another day. Maybe.

Leaving the philosophical for another time, I went to the kitchen and made coffee and then took Camper out to the bathroom and fed her. Then I made breakfast for the humans. Bacon! Eggs! Sourdough! Amen.

Camper and I left for the office together. At work, I wrote and printed the devotional booklets that go in the Kid’s Activity Packs we hand out during the Drive-Thru Food Bank. One of the devotions had Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s take on “Jesus blesses the little children.” I especially loved this section:

But Jesus heard them. “Do not chase away the children!” he called. “Let them come to me. God loves children, and when they smile, he smiles; when they laugh, he laughs; when they cry, he cries.”

Jesus went to the children, and they laughed and played together for a while. He took them in his arms and hugged them. He placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. Then he told the disciples, “Everyone who wants to see God’s dream come true must see with the eyes of a child.

Desmond Tutu has Jesus laughing and playing with the children. How can you not love that image? It’s wonderful. And he takes them in his arms and hugs them.

Yes, yes, yes! to this picture of Jesus. 100%. Amen.

My last job at work was assembling little baggies of dog treats to be handed out at the Drive-Thru Food bank anytime a dog shows up, which is pretty often – and this makes me happy. Also, Camper approved of the treats.

 

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Adrian and Amanda Duarte

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

Today’s theme: What it’s like for a biracial couple raising three black sons in America

Pastor Angela and I sit down with our friends Adrian and Amanda Duarte to hear their story. This amazing couple is raising three sons and a foster baby.

The video begins and ends with some words from one of our students, Kyle Wabusya (who has the most wonderful sense of humor). Pastor Kyle and our worship team also lead us in worship today.

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

Zechariah 8

Boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in.

Do the problems of rebuilding seem too much? Is anything too much for me? Not if I have my say.”

We’ve come through a hard time; the streets were dangerous; you could never let down your guard…

But things are changing.

Sowing and harvesting will resume, vines will grow grapes, gardens will flourish, dew and rain will make everything green.

My people will get everything they need—and more.

You’ve gotten a reputation as a bad-news people, but I’m coming to save you.

From now on, you’re the good-news people. Don’t be afraid.

Keep a firm grip on what I’m doing.

And now here’s what I want you to do: Tell the truth, the whole truth, when you speak.

Do the right thing by one another, both personally and in your courts.

Don’t cook up plans to take unfair advantage of others.

Don’t do or say what isn’t just.

I hate all that stuff. Keep your lives simple and honest.

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