On Friday night, September 10th. We had an amazing evening together with all Bible Talk Leaders and Assistants from the Seattle Church (Eastside and Westside) and the South Sound church. We had a BBQ (catered by the amazing John Mitchell) and a leadership devotional at 7:30 at the Queen Anne Church Building. We had an amazing time of food, fellowship, worship and leadership training by Scott and Lynne Green.
Join retired Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong on Monday September 20th to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers. The party will be held in the VIP lounge at the FOX Sports Grill in downtown Seattle at 5:30pm. Tickets are $99 which includes a great selection of game food, including appetizers, desserts and beverages. All ages are welcome so pass this invite on to friends, coworkers and family who might want to attend! All proceeds benefit the Washington Chapter of HOPE worldwide. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
On Thursday, August 12th, Heather Hsu was baptized into Christ at Alki Beach. It was an incredibly beautiful evening that was topped off with an out of this world sunset!
Heather and her husband Gene moved to Seattle from San Francisco a little more than two years ago. At that time their son, Aiden was three years old. Heather and Gene enrolled Aiden in Kenney’s Korner, the West Seattle preschool owned and operated by Bernadette Anderson. Within a few months, Heather began initiating conversations about our church and issues of faith in God. She also noticed interesting new behavior in her son, Aiden including his interest in saying a prayer before meals. Bernie invited her to Women’s Day and she attended. Over the next two years, they started to study the Bible along with some of the sisters from the West Seattle Mission Town. There were also great family outings that included memorable camping trips.
Heather is a Scientist, trained in bio chemistry and currently working in drug safety research. God provided support and friendship for her in Sanna Kolave-Jeffrey, a Westside sister who is also an educated scientist; The two became fast friends.
All of Heather’s close friends in the church have been inspired by witnessing the power of God at work in her heart and mind. Heather spent many months deeply searching the scriptures for truth and faith, and she found both.
Bernadette says, “Heather has become a dear and treasured friend and our sons now refer to each other as brothers.”
Truly God has… “determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” -ACTS 17:26-27
Shawn Wooten delivers the Sunday morning message at the 2010 NWWC Christians Conference: “Fan into Flame”
Shawn Wooten delivers the Friday night message at the 2010 NWWC Christians Conference: “Embrace Your Calling”
This lesson takes a new perspective to the 4 soils parable. It addresses spiritual ‘paleness’ and sourness from the perspective of maintaining a lawn.
A Short Hot Summer
What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
This is a long article, but gut it out to the end—I think you’ll be blessed.
Ferris Bueller famously advised his fellow teens, “Life moves pretty fast. If you’re not careful, you could miss it.” Summer, that particular sweet Seattle reward for enduring the long rainstorm we call “winter and spring,” feels that way to me this year.
In truth, the last three years, during which I have been studying part-time for a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Seattle Pacific University, seem to have sped by me like the Blue Angels: loud and awesome, memorable and intense, but with a whoosh. My spiritual ears are still popping.
Thanks to encouragement from so many of you, I graduated this past June 13, culminating nearly 60 academic hours, another 14 hours of peer-group practicum, and about 1000 hours of on-site clinical hours with clients and concomitant paperwork. This rich story included comedy (my being old enough to look like the father of most of my SPU cohort), tragedy (Lynne’s cancer diagnosis and relentless treatments in 2007-8), deep illumination, and the promise of electrifying sequel: counseling programs we can begin in the Seattle church that I am convinced will prove to be a remarkable blessing in our quest for ongoing Maturity.
Here’s a picture of faculty bestowing the “hood” given to Masters’ graduates. One of my professors told me that the hoods evolved from medieval rucksacks used by educators to carry their books (a rare, hand-copied thing) around town:
Speaking of graduations, here’s a nice one from Paige Kelly’s family celebration featuring her and you-know-who:
Here’s one more from grad day at Safeco field:
OK, enough of that.
Five days after graduating, Lynne and I embarked for Berlin, where we have been serving as “Coaches” for the church. The Berlin church has reimbursed the Seattle church for our time in 2010—about a month’s worth, and it has been a delight to partner with the Kohas (Boston) and the Herbsts (Zurich) as fellow coaches.
This last trip lasted longer, and this was deliberate. We wanted to see what we could learn by spending more time with the Berlin committees, leadership groups, and church overall; I feel fortunate to have been there this time almost three weeks. This gave me a more generous assessment of what is happening in the church and I feel God did give me some clear direction that might serve the church there well. Here’s a clip of the Berlin worship:
And here’s the start of one sermon, using the metaphor of the soccer World cup, which was raging at the time:
The Berlin church is searching right now for full time leadership. In the meantime, they use a committee of seasoned commended disciples (basically identical to the “Salt” groups we have in Seattle) to vet and implement decisions. Here’s a picture of a few of them in one meeting:
Here’s one of the campus ministry leaders (with wee Antonia), Basti and Miriam Maas:
In their spare time, Miriam is a human rights lawyer (Doctor Maas if you don’t mind) and Basti is nearly done with his ph.D in Electrical Something. He will soon be a Professor at the Technical University. Despite their training and achievements, they inspire me with their humility and curiosity. There is so much more to tell about Berlin, but I’ll save that for future dispatches, especially ones about Wittenberg and Martin Luther—here’s Lynne and me before the door upon which Luther posted his 95 theses:
After all this, and before stopping in Washington D.C. for my niece’s lovely wedding, Lynne and I spent 5 days in Italy—my post-grad present. Lynne had gone earlier to the town of Cagli—a requirement for her Gonzaga Masters program. I met her there and we unwound, day after day, among the olives and the vineyards.
Two Big Things I learned in Italy: 1) do not go there in the summer; it’s WAY too hot! 2) Europeans have found a work/live balance that Lynne and I are persuaded often evades Americans, including us and us Christians. Summer or winter, Europeans tend to limit their work hours, choosing to invest more in what I clinically call “mindfulness” or staying in the moment. I am wondering if they are happier because of this. Each afternoon, they meet friends at a pub or restaurant for a drink and chat. They linger. Often they don’t dine until 9 or 10pm. In Italy, they congregate around their “piazzas” (pro-nounced “Pee-ott-suzz”)—the town square—and watch the world go by. We tried it and liked it. Yes, it’s a hard balance to find.
I speculate that the earlier chapters in our brief ICOC history were hyper-apocalyptic: we tended to focus, in our youthful zeal, on only the life-that-is-to-come and tended to reject participating in the here-and-now. Believe it or not, this is actually normal for youth; virtually every generation does it. But as we age, like fine olive oil, we see the contradiction in this as we raise children and hone our vocational expertise—is work just a nuisance that we tolerate until we can get home and be about the Lord’s business? Are children a distraction from our building up the church and seeking those who don’t know God? The questions seem ridiculous, but I wonder if it isn’t lodged into our narrative.
As for me and “my” church (I’m being syntactically convenient; we all know it’s Jesus’ church!), I encourage us all to embrace the paradox: yes, we are foreigners and strangers (1 Peter 2:11) in this world (I suggest that this scripture is about different character and not about being Hutterites), yet we are admonished to let our lights shine in everyday, “normal” ways (1 Thess 4:11), and to except that God has richly provided us with “everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). Let’s find a way to keep our eye on the heavenly ball yet actually live the abundant spiritual life God gave us, everyday, in the moment, with thanksgiving. We are free to participate in this life, being stewards of it, all the while taking care to be prepared for what lies beyond the grave.
Lynne and I have found our U District “Piazza” at the new Mama Melinas. Thanks, Ty.
Elder, Seattle church of Christ
The Bellingham Church of Christ
Prior to my conversion 17 years ago, I had plenty of dreams and goals. The problem was, none of them included
ways of bringing spiritual hope to people. After becoming a Christian, that changed. I began to pray about ways to build up our local church, and as we all naturally do, I began to pray that we would find a way to plant a church in my hometown. God has powerfully answered those prayers.
This last Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at the Bellingham Church of Christ! The church was planted in the summer of 2008 by a courageous young couple from Seattle, Landon and Gina Rawson. After their conversion and training in the campus ministry, they felt called to lead a small group of Christians up north to Bellingham to begin a church. The hard work of every member in Bellingham is obvious and inspiring.
The church service was incredible. The meeting room was packed – they will soon be looking for a new facility, I’m sure. There were many visitors in attendance, including some of my relatives! Currently, there are families in the church from several surrounding communities, and God is helping them build a powerful presence at Western Washington University.
It is great to see what God has done with that small church planting. A few people, armed with seeds of hope, can make a giant difference. As we dream for God to continue to build a strong work in the Northwest, let’s remember to pray for communities where we currently have no church. Let’s build strong partnerships between our congregations to maximize the potential to reach our cities. Let’s support our smaller churches with money, prayers and visits.
Most of all, let’s never forget that God is in the business of planting seeds of hope.