Posts Tagged: "Church"

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

 

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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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

Church in the church parking lot. And don’t poop in your underpants!

Thankful Notes (#231)

It was supposed to be our annual Kid’s Spring Sing at church today.

And last week was supposed to be our annual Miracle Offering for new outreach projects.

And next week was supposed to be Easter Sunday with Krispy Kreme donuts for everyone and an Easter egg dash for all the kids.

But here we are, in a global pandemic.

We are on pause. We are on hold. We are a little bit locked down.

Of course, we’re not in a complete lock down. And for that I am thankful.

I’m grateful for the things we can still do. We can still operate our food bank. We can still work together following the social distancing measures.

church steps for post

This morning a small team of staff and some volunteers worked our Drive-Thru Food Bank. It was pretty busy today. In fact, it was so busy, Grant (who works at Costco) said he felt like he worked harder at the Drive-Thru Food Bank today than he did at Costco yesterday.

We went through a lot of groceries and toiletries and kid’s activity packs.

Someone came through and told us they weren’t… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—In This Together

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

Today’s theme: In This Together.

We’re in this together. As Pastor and author Brian Zahnd has said, “We like to tell ourselves that we are rugged individualists, that we make our own way in this world, that we are an island set apart and immune to the unexpected and inexplicable changes of life, but all it takes is a tiny fragment of genetic material to remind us of the truth: We’re all in this together.”

In today’s video podcast, Pastor Andy and Shari listen to Viviana share her… Read More

The Great Stripping Away (or—how I lost some of my faith)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Thankful Notes (#23)

I will always think of this past year as the Great Stripping Away. There were things I intentionally chose to remove from my life, there were things that just happened naturally and in their season, and there were things that felt more forceful, not in my control… more like a taking rather than a giving or letting go.

This past year…

We sold our big 3,000sf home of 10 years in the neighborhood where Ashah grew up

We gave away most of our furniture

I gave away 3/4 of my clothing

My dad started having memory problems

Ashah graduated / turned 18 / has boyfriend / is heading to college – including a study abroad program

We began a complete gut-and-remodel of our little lake house while living in it… which included no heat or water during the snow storm and power outage this winter

We had to move out for some days when the staircase was gutted (leaving no access to bedrooms and the only remaining usable bathroom)

The main level of our house had no walls, no insulation, no lights, etc. for a while

I slept on a cot in the construction zone for a month or two

We had no kitchen, no way to prepare food at home other than with a microwave

We ran out of money to pay contractors and had to borrow in order to keep going

We began a remodel on our rental house so we could sell it

We sold our rental house

We decided to close our Kent campus after some significant setbacks – the youth pastor left to work at another church and took much of the band and our workforce with him; at the same time, an elder/pastor left because of a pending divorce

The church I grew up in, now a multi-site megachurch in our community, hired our youth pastor without any prior contact or conversation with me. Our youth pastor left to work at one of their campuses and took… Read More

Thankful Notes: Sunday Defication

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Thankful Notes

Today is my big work day. It started early, just me and Camper heading out for the store and Starbucks and then the church. We would be staying through the end of the evening, so I was hauling clothing and dog supplies for our 13 hour non-stop day.

Because my day was long and I am only now just sitting down, I won’t write much at all—but I will share this one story…

On Friday, our friend Julie took her nephew Jayden, whom she has raised since he was born, to the courthouse. It was adoption day. After so much time and a roller coaster of challenges, it was finally legal.

Yesterday, we went to a party celebrating Jayden’s adoption. And today at church it was Jayden’s dedication.

At our church, we will never do mass assembly-line dedications or baptisms because we want to take time to pause and celebrate individuals, share their stories, and let that moment be about them.

So today we took time with Julie and her family and little Jayden. It was tender and sweet and holy and good.

We had a little something extra planned for them—because of the special weekend with his legal adoption… there would be flowers for Julie and a big teddy bear for Jayden, to be brought up by her friend Leslie.

After the words shared and the prayer given over Jayden and Julie, we stood there on stage and smiled as Jayden pointed to his pictures on the big screens and said, “Look Mommy, Jayden!”

And then Leslie came up with the flowers and the teddy bear and she gave Julie a big hug. Before she left the stage, I asked her to take the microphone and explain why she was up there. Through tears, Leslie… Read More

Maybe We Need To Recover Our Imagination

*photo above: Scott Erickson painting during his one-man show “We Are Not Troubled Guests” at NWLife’s Together Night

 

Sometimes I wonder, have we lost our imagination?

Stewart Henderson, in his poem I Believe says,

‪Propagandists are

excellent mimics

But don’t expect them to say anything original.

I believe in doubt

I believe doubt is a process of saying

“Excuse me, I have a question.”

Propagandists hate questions

and in so doing

detest art.

I believe in art.

We are so easily tempted to mimic, copy, follow, and accept status quo as reasonable and good enough.

In the church it happens like this: we look to another church in some other part of the state or country that is considered successful because of one or more of the “B’s” – buildings, budgets, and butts-in-seats.

We esteem these other churches as having or being something that we also should have or be. We podcast them. We fly over to them and scribble notes about everything we see and hear. We meet with their leaders to get their secret recipes. And then we bring it home to our state, city, neighborhood.

This whole thing reeks of a lack of imagination to me.

What ever happened to… Read More