Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sorry for the late post. We have a mission team here from Ada, OK. Life is busy but God is really good. We met Jayla a few days ago when the mom who was babysitting her came to our Community Group. We found out the next day that Jayla's mom had dropped her off 3 days earlier and hadn't been heard from since. Jayla was sad, scared, confused and uncared for. Her diaper had not been changed in days and she was very hungry and thirsty. We're in Tacoma, WA... the United States of America for crying out loud. This isn't supposed to happen here... but it does. It's far too common a tale.

The church must step up to the plate. James instructs us to take care of the orphans and the widows. Am I doing that? Is my religion pure and undefiled? Are you doing that? I saw Christians go to bat for Jayla this week and it was a beautiful sight. She spent the day with our family and the mission team as we worked with CPS. Jayla was changed, bathed, fed and most importantly... loved.

Long story short, Jayla is back with her mom. Is this the best place for her? Only Jesus knows. She experienced love though and we will not forget her. We will keep praying for her, fighting for her and others like her. All of us as American Christians have been taught all the reasons not to take care for the poor, needy, broken, orphan and the widow... we've even learned to rationalize it. It's time we stop making excuses, stop turning a deaf ear and a blind eye and start taking action... the way Jesus did.

Pray for Jayla and specifically for salvation for her mom Kayla.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spiritual Warfare

Whenever Satan attacks a person or a church there is mixed emotions involved. On the one hand, it's a spiritual attack. It's painful, personal, discouraging and challenging in many ways. On the other hand, Satan doesn't make a habit of attacking things that aren't a threat to his mission. Therefore, when Satan attacks an individual or a local expression of the church, that is a pretty good sign that the person or church is doing effective Kingdom work by the grace of Jesus!

Well, this weekend we experienced some serious attack. Some of it was just as a result of human nature but I have no doubt that some of it can be directly attributed to the spiritual battle that is being waged even as we speak. This week was actually a great week for our youth gathering. We always have some random questions during Bible study that are so far off track I usually don't address them in the moment. However, this week some random questions were raised by focused and sincere hearts so we ended up spending the whole time addressing questions. The kids were engaged, focused and challenged. You could genuinely feel the presence of the Lord!

Well, the end of the night was somewhat discouraging because when we started to clean up Becca realized her ipod was missing. My heart just sank as we all knew what happened. It could have been anyone who took it but that's really not the point. Even though Becca could care less about her ipod, it is seriously like a spiritual stab in the back when you pour your time, energy, love, prayers and resources in to peoples lives and then someone in their midst steals from you. Becca handled it with grace, but it hurt.

Heading into the weekend we were very excited because our adult gathering was growing to the point where we started a second community group. However, by the time Sunday came we could tell that we weren't going to have much of a turn out at one of them... discouraging. Then, just hours before our two adult groups were going to start, we found out that one of our teenagers was being thrown out of his house... discouraging. Three of our leadership had to go and deal with that very serious situation which meant we had to call on two others to lead the groups with about an hours notice. Honestly though, it was very encouraging to know that we had people we could call on who would step up and the meeting with the student and his parent went as well as it could possibly have gone.

Finally, Monday morning came and I had to have a very difficult conversation with one of our people. Again, it ended as well as it could have but the situation was discouraging. Finally, to add fuel to the spiritual fire, Becca received a call this morning from a number none of us recognized and the person called her one vulgar word and then hung up. Again, not the worst thing in the world, but a painful spiritual stab in the back when all she has been doing is selflessly investing her life into others.

Pray for us. Pray that our new group would take off this week. Pray for spiritual and emotional encouragement for our team. Pray for perspective. Pray that we would remember why Satan is attacking. Pray for the student and his parent as they struggle with their relationship. Pray for another new group that will be starting the beginning of July. Pray for encouragement for our team. Please Pray.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Innocence Revealed

This past week we had a mission team from FBC Universal City come and spend a week with our church. They were amazing... and I'm not just saying that. They were bold, faithful, ready and obedient to share the gospel. Two men made professions of faith in Jesus Christ and we ended the week with a cook-out with 30-40 people in attendance! Praise Jesus for his faithfulness and pray that we are able to follow-up with numerous connections that were made. Pray as we start a new group this Sunday and as we look to start at least 2 more over the next month!

Although I intended to tell you all about the week, God has again led me back to the girl I've blogged about several times in the past few weeks. She is the one who had attended and disrupted our church multiple times, jumped Tiffany after school one day while drunk, and then came face-to-face with Tiff 2 Fridays ago when she came to church. Her heart appeared to be made of stone and then Tiffany said three words to her, "I forgive you." God used those three words to begin to break that heart of stone. We shared the gospel with her but she was not yet ready to place her faith in Jesus.

Well, I received a surprising call last week from this girl's social worker because she is in foster care. The social worker called to find out details about our youth retreat so that this girl could attend (the mission team was helping us put on a one night retreat). I said I was surprised she wanted to go and the social worker said the girl really wanted to. Well, sure enough she showed up, slightly cold and obnoxious at first, but then my Jesus showed up!

After we had been there for the evening the girl came up to me and asked if we could do this every couple of weeks because it was so awesome. That sounds innocent enough but my heart broke because I know she truly desired to be there as often as possible, removed from the difficult, unloving street life that she had become accustomed to. I wish I could have said "yes, we can stay here forever," but the reality is we couldn't. I would go back to may safe, loving home, and she would go to her new foster home, nervous to see how she would be treated.

Before our final session on Saturday morning I asked if anyone wanted to share what God had been doing in their life that weekend. To my surprise this girls hand was the first to go up. She looked at the entire group and told us with complete transparency that her idea of fun had always involved alcohol, drugs and sex. She said she had more fun this weekend than she ever imagined and none of those things were involved. She said, she never knew she could have fun like that.

Once again my heart broke. This bully of a girl who I genuinely believed was unsavable and unchangable, is being broken before my very eyes. I am having the blessing of watching this 15 year old girl being drawn to Jesus. She is being transformed. What does the Bible say? "What is impossible with man is made possible with God" (Matthew 19:26). I am a man of little faith but I truly believe my God can do the impossible.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Has someone ever done something horrible to you or hurt you in a deep way? I'm sure we've all be through some sort of experience where we were wronged and the pain was almost too much to bear. However, in those painful moments of life, how many times have you chosen forgiveness over retribution, bitterness and rage? How many times have you chosen to forgive when you had no idea if the person who wronged you was or ever would be remorseful.

A couple weeks Kelli and I were spending the afternoon with some friends in Bremerton, WA. We got a call from our oldest daughter Tiffany in tears because she had just been jumped after school in the park by a young girl who also attends are church. The girl punched her in the back of the head, tackled her to the ground and bit her finger before one of Tiffany's friends was able to pull the girl off. The police were called, the girl took off and Tiffany ended up at the E.R. for her finger.

Well, to make a long story short, Tiffany had the opportunity to press charges against this girl but she chose instead to show her a real life demonstration of grace by choosing to forgive her and move on. Of course, the girl had fled the scene so she had no idea what Tiffany had chosen to do. Now, I was very proud of Tiffany for her attitude and decision but I also wandered what would happen if the girl showed back up to church. She did this past Friday.

The tension was there and instead of allowing it to linger I took the girls to a back room and asked if either of them had anything to say. The girl said no and then Tiffany spoke up. She said, "I want you to know that I forgive you." You should have seen the entire demeanor of this girl change as the words rolled off Tiffany's tongue. The girls body language changed, her eyes softened and her attitude disappeared. She looked at Tiffany and as sincere as she could be said, "I'm really sorry, I was drunk that day, it won't happen again." From that point on the girls were able to talk about the situation and we were able to explain grace to this girl and point back to Jesus and share the gospel with her.

The girl did not accept Christ on Friday but something changed. God is working and it was a direct result of forgiveness given in a situation where no one expected it and no one would have looked down on Tiffany for not giving it. Forgiveness. What a concept? I think it could change the world!