Posts Tagged: "Church"

church fantasies I have

note: picture above is from our last community outreach event just before the pandemic hit—our annual Toy Give

the other day in a staff meeting, a question came up about whether or not we should do more explaining to the church about why we are currently not having normal worship (congregational singing) in our services.

I think we probably could do a better job of communicating what we are doing and why

I also feel torn over raising the subject.

there are people who would be happy to gather for church and break all the COVID guidelines with maskless singing and the return of kids classes and big hugs with germs all around

and there are people who are still not comfortable coming to church until COVID is under control and 80% of the population has been vaccinated

so, reminding everyone why we are doing what we are doing probably won’t make anyone happier or change their view on things

the ones who want to break free from all the regulations will be unsatisfied with our explanation

and the ones who aren’t comfortable coming to church will still be watching from home, if and when they think of it

I wish…

I mean…

I have this church fantasy

that everyone would applaud our careful following of the rules

that everyone would see that our caution is out of concern for the vulnerable

that everyone would be proud of our church for doing the right thing

that everyone would thank the pastors for leading well

but I know it’s a fantasy

I wish it would happen

but I know it won’t likely

and that got me on a wave of thinking about my fantasies (I have more)…

I fantasize that our church would be:

wildly diverse yet unified in purpose

completely over and done with judgment

quick to embrace the arts and celebrate beauty

resolute with Jesus at the center of our identity and practice

worshiping like the black church – all-in body, soul, spirit engagement

moving with ease between charismatic expression and quiet contemplation

deeply committed to caring for our local community through service and generosity

in our feels – quick to laughter and easily moved to tears

informed by the Sermon on the Mount in our politics

a storehouse of good food to share

really gifted at throwing parties

safe, humble, and gentle

working for justice

*   *   *

I know fantasy isn’t a Bible word. Maybe I’m talking about dreaming of the impossible. That might sound a bit more biblical…

There’s a verse in the Bible (Romans 4.18) about Abraham—and it says he, “against all hope, believed.” This has become an expression in the English language, to “hope against all hope.” It means to continue to hope for something even though it seems unlikely to happen.

Exactly. That’s what I’m talking about.

This is my fantasy and you can’t talk me out of it.

 

Our Third Campfire Service

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

I continue our new mini-series… a pandemic remix of the story of Jonah: Things to do in the Belly of a Whale.

It was 90+ degrees at 6:30pm last week and I’m pretty sure sweat dripped in my eye a few times while I was speaking. Thankfully, we did not have a campfire!

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. Please RSVP at: nwlife.church/attend

Click here for a PDF of the Worship Guide: worship guide sunday campfire service Aug 16

This pandemic has felt like the year of “no”

(Thankful Notes #365)

This morning I made breakfast for the family and then took a spin around the lake with Camper on the floating dock. This was all “Yes, and Amen.”

I find myself frequently measuring the pandemic by the number of times I’ve done (or not done) something (during the pandemic). Some counts are official, others are kept casually in my head.

I’ve written 23 church update e-mails
I’ve given Camper 5 Sentinel tablets (flea and tick medication)
I’ve worn pants 2 times
I’ve clipped the cats’ nails 7 times
I’ve ordered Nespresso pods 3 times
I’ve fed Camper 336 times
I’ve sat inside a restaurant to have a meal 2 times
I’ve been to a movie theater 0 times
I’ve had 173 baths
I’ve sprayed Flonase in my nose 672 times
I’ve slept outside (on the deck) 100 days in a row
I’ve been to Costco 0 times
I’ve ordered clothing from Amazon 17 times
I’ve been inside a hospital 1 time
I’ve done a memorial service 1 time
I’ve had a board meeting 0 times
I’ve done a wedding 0 times
I’ve preached 3 times
I’ve vacationed 0 times
I’ve cooked 354 times

I also had McDonald’s chicken nuggets once, accidentally, and wow… really disgusting.

This pandemic has felt like the year of… Read More

Our Second Sunday Campfire Service

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

I start a new mini-series… a pandemic remix of the story of Jonah: Things to do in the Belly of a Whale.

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. Please RSVP at: nwlife.church/attend

Click here for a PDF of the Worship Guide: worship guide sunday campfire service

I think I need to have you start calling the office and threaten me.

 

(Thankful Notes #358)

I had a couple of favorite moments/encounters at our Sunday Campfire Service last night…

It’s been five months since I’ve last seen mother and son Betty and Billy (who, before the pandemic, came to the church every Friday to help with various projects—Billy quietly serving as a custodian and Betty helping in the office while making loud threats to the staff). It was such a joy to see their faces, even behind masks, at the church last night! I told Betty, “I’ve missed you and your threats. I think I need to have you start calling the office and threaten me.”

She said, “Oh, I’ll just come and whoop your… Read More

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—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!

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!

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

 

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