justice

This morning during our staff prayer time we were praying for peace, specifically surrounding the situation in the USA of racial tension. 2 days ago a grand jury did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Leading up to this decision and now even more after the decision there has been protests marked by violence, anger, and fear.

Today, we prayed for peace.

Peace for Michael Browns family.

Peace for the citizens of Ferguson, MO.

Peace surrounding the racial tension that is in so much turmoil.

Our prayer is that truth would come into the light, as would lies. Our prayer is that change would happen, apart from violence. Our prayer is that the Church would lead the way to this peace, directing people to Jesus, who is the bringer of peace.

Continue to pray for the people of Ferguson, specifically the police and the families of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.

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mars hill

“Good and upright is the Lordtherefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” Psalm 25 ESV

This morning I woke up and read Psalm 25, mostly because it’s the 25th of the month and each morning before my feet hit the ground I read the Psalm for that day. I was struck by verse 8 as it reminded me of a song that I used to sing when our family attended Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I couldn’t shake the song or the verse, so when I got downstairs I played it as I got the kids ready for school. You can listen here.

I was saddened by the recent and not so recent events that have brought Mars Hill Church and specifically Mark Driscoll into the spotlight once again. I am broken over the sin, the hurt and the deception caused to many from the eldership of the church. In some ways it’s not surprising what has happened, but it still sucks (for lack of a better word).

Our family began attending Mars Hill Church in 2004, when it was just a small congregation of 1100 people. We attended for about 3 years  in a time when our family was going through a lot of brokenness and pain. When I look back at those two years I see some of the things that caused the most recent events at the church, but I mostly look back  and remember the healing and health that came into our family as a result of our being there.

In that place we met Jesus. Through the worship and teaching we grew, healed, and were prepared for what God had for us next. We learned how to study the Bible, how to empower and release leaders and mostly fell deeper in love with Jesus. We are thankful for those times and we have no regrets from our time there. Even in the bad and the broken their can be healing.

We just wanted to point out some of the good things that have come out of that church and hopefully will continue to come out of that church for many years to come. Thank you for the times where you brought the word of God into my life Mark Driscoll. Thank you for the times where you led us in Worship Tim and the other worship staff. We will continue to pray for you as you go through this season.

Peace.

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2014-01-21 17.16.51Last week I arrived home after spending 8 day’s in the Philippines. Myself, along with a team of 13 were in the Philippines as a part of the Steps of Justice typhoon relief outreach. When I think of the trip a few words come to mind, here is my summary:

  • Overwhelming- It was overwhelming to see the disaster that Typhoon Yolanda brought.
  • Rustic- We slept on the floor in a church with no electricity, bucket showers and under mosquito nets. At night the rats would be running by our heads, and over our nets in order to get food.
  • Humbling- It was humbling to be in a place with so much destruction, yet so much joy. The people of the Philippines are strong, and find the joy of the Lord in all things.
  • Fun- The team was amazing. I think one of the things that kept us together was the humor and the family that we created as a team, I am truly grateful for all of them.
  • Salvation- We saw 11 people give their lives to Christ. They prayed and said they want to become followers of Him. Our prayer now is that the YWAM staff in Tacloban follow up and disciples these new Christians.
  • Nausea- We took a boat for 3 hours to get to the Island we worked on. There were around 250 people on the boat, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that about half vomited dude to bad seas, including half our team.
  • Broken Hearted- We were broken hearted when we heard the stories of people who had lost everything in the typhoon. Men who had lost their families, people who had lost their homes, and workers who had lost their livelihood.
  • Privileged- I feel privileged that I got to go on this trip. The trip was funded by two individuals, and their places of work that matched their gifts. Gods provision is always amazing.

I am not sure if we will continue to go back to the Philippines as a ministry, but one thing I do know is that this trip changed all the lives of those on our team. We were not only used to bring hope and restoration to the Filipino people, but we also saw the lives of each person on the team changed. This trip was a short term trip, with long term results.

Thanks for your prayers, they are always necessary.

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Last night Amy and I went out on a date and we saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I thought I would like the movie going into it, but I was surprised as to how much I liked it and how much it spoke to me. For those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, check out the trailer here.

I remember looking over at Amy half way through the movie and saying “so far this is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen.” Here are the reasons I like it:

  • The music carried what was going on in the movie (I love a great soundtrack).
  • Walter decided to do something with his life, where I believe that most of us just sit in the miserableness that is our life. We just complain about things instead of taking steps to change our circumstances.
  • Sean Penn was in it (man crush).
  • The movie showed the beauty of our world, specifically places that we don’t think of as beautiful like Greenland and Iceland.
  • Walter didn’t let fear rule his life, he lived out of truth and passion.
  • It inspired me to look at my life once again and live out the call that Jesus has put on me, the call to love God and love others out of who I am and who He created me to be.

I highly recommend seeing this film. If you don’t want to pay the $$ to see it in the theater then grab it on Red Box when it comes out later this year.

Have a great Sunday friends.

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This is going to be raw, I am sorting my thoughts and feelings on this as I write.

Ariel-Castro-main_1772234aOn Tuesday of this week Ariel Castro, who kidnapped and enslaved 3 girls for up to a decade, died in his cell by hanging. This was only after 1 month of serving his 1000 year sentence. I am and have been super bothered and emotional about this since I found out last night. A part of me is screaming UNJUST, UNFAIR, COWARD.

I also scream for those three girls. These girls suffered under the hands of this man for years, 10 years for the first girl he took, raped and imprisoned. Then, when they finally get free and justice is brought, their captor only suffers for  1 month and then takes the easy way out by killing himself. Ugg, I couldn’t imaging what they must be going through, it’s not fair, they continue to suffer and he isn’t anymore. This is one of the reasons why I am so against the death penalty, this and that I don’t believe that taking another persons life is right, no matter what he/she has done.

Then there is the other side of me. The side that tries to see Ariel Castro as Jesus see’s him, as His son who made a horrible decision when he took those girls. I see the side where if he was sick, which he claimed to be with this quote “At his sentencing, Castro told the court that he had been “driven by sex”, adding: “I’m not a violent predator… I’m not a monster, I’m a normal person.” “I’m just sick. I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction” that he felt unable to control himself.  I wonder if when the realization of what he had done hit him could he just no longer live with himself? I wonder if he met Jesus in those last hours? I wonder if he killed himself out of regret over what he had done, or fear of what his life was going to become?

I feel rage, sympathy, anger, remorse, pity, frustration, helplessness and confusion. I pray that I don’t forget to continually bring those 3 girls to Jesus in my prayers. They need healing, they need hope. It is not a hope that comes from their captor being caught, it is a hope that comes from Jesus, their maker.

What are your thoughts regarding this?

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