Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 HUGE Men's Forum (Week #4)

Loving God with all of your mind. 



That was our topic for week 4 of the 2014 H.U.G.E. Men's Forum, my favorite week yet. The human mind is fascinating, certainly my favorite of The Lord's creations.


Delivering the message

 

Pastor Nik Baumgart of The Grove Church in Marysville was our teacher for the evening. An excellent choice for the topic at hand.  I'd never met Nik before this evening but I have a few friends that attend the church and just love him. He sounded like me, a lot. His mind moving a little too fast for his mouth at times, all the while passion and conviction are flowing from his words.

He's a guy like me in all sorts of ways. He grew up in Marysville, he loves this place and is fully invested in the community around us. He was in desperate need of God at the point in his life where his relationship started with The Holy Spirit, something a lot of believers can relate to. And most of all, he's fascinated with the human mind like I am, he works hard to figure out how to love God with all of his mind and beautifully articulated his process for the masses at the forum.


What God had in store for me this week


Each week of the 2014 H.U.G.E. Men's Forum, God has had something different for me to apply to my life, this week felt special as I felt that I could completely relate to the person giving the message.

"Meditate on scriptures to let the Holy Spirit brand your intellect with His will and His ways."

This quote from Nik's message struck me. Allen Creek Community Church (AC3) core values start at doctrinal purity and cultural relevance, making life application easy. When our "Real Simple" series at church concluded, I was really praying for God to reveal the ways to make my life simpler than it was. Meditation, quiet time and prayer were the first step. I make quiet time for myself when I get to the office each morning, which until this message, felt like idle time.

This idea of letting The Holy Spirit "brand my thoughts" is incredible, it became so clear. This may seem obvious to many people further down the line in their walk with Jesus than I am, but this meditation in the morning must start with The Word of God.


Bible Veggies

 

Nik said, "how many of you have ever treated the bible like it was a vegetagle that you knew was good for you but you still didn't eat?". I don't think that described me, but I know that I never want it to describe me. I want to be in tune with what God is calling me to do, this forum is helping to shape that relationship and bring my faith to a whole new level.

I've been reading proverbs with friends in our reading circle, and reading Romans over and over again prior to my meditation in the morning. As is always the case when you're in tune with your Bible daily, I'm getting something new everyday. Something that is helping me to see things that need adjustment in my life to let God shine through it every day.


BBQ Time!

 

The teaching session weeks at the 2014 H.U.G.E. Men's Forum have come to a close, but that doesn't mean we can't have a BBQ before the 2014 H.U.G.E. Men's Advance! Come join us at the Word of Life Church on 51st in Marysville, Tuesday March 4th at 6pm for some good food and good fellowship.

Here's a look at the message from week 4. Join us next week!

Monday, February 24, 2014

What We're NOT Looking For...



When someone is involved in a leadership position in ministry, it quite often requires finding others that are willing to join them in achieving the ministry’s mission and vision. It’s not the most popular task on a leader’s To Do List but it certainly is one of the most important. I have never felt comfortable using the term ‘recruiting’ someone to fill a position in children’s ministry. Although it's only a word, I truly would rather ‘invite’ them in, encouraging them to see how God just might use them, even without all the skills they think they may need.

Recruiting has never been an easy task for me and yet Kreek Kids is currently in need of an elementary team teacher which offers a flexible and rotating schedule. One of our key teachers and ministry leaders, Michelle Turner, is moving to Eastern Washington. She will be greatly missed at Allen Creek Community Church and I'll be one of her biggest cheerleaders from afar! So in the mean time, it looks like I am in a position that requires me to extend an ‘invite’ to someone to join us in children's ministry. But instead of listing a few things we may be looking for in this person, I have decided to share a few things that we are NOT looking for:

  • We're NOT looking for someone who is ‘perfect’ for the role but for someone who has a willing heart and has a desire to grow.
  • We're NOT looking for a ‘professional’ but someone who cares more about what they can learn than what they can teach.
  • We're NOT looking for someone who is so 'proud' of their gifts and talents that they could easily fool others into thinking they have their spiritual walk all figured out.
We're looking for a ‘potential’ large group leader or teacher. Someone with a willing heart, who wants to learn and to be part of a team that works together, providing a fun and safe place for elementary children where they can grow in their faith. Is that 'person' you or someone you might know?

With NO 'pressure' applied, I would love to talk to you! (over coffee...if you're a latte fan) You can contact me at twila@ac3.org and 425-319-8043. Feel free to 'share' this note with others who may be looking to get their gifts in the game at AC3.

Join us as we continue our efforts to be the BEST HOUR in every family's week!
Twila & Kreek Kids Leadership Team

Trina Perry - Saturday Night Kids Program
Norma Osotio - Check-In & Safety
Sarah Barci - Nursery/Toddler Dept.
Chandra White - Preschool Dept.

BTW...you can take a 'Test Run' during the month of April on Sunday mornings with no long term commitment. Consider it a one-time serve opportunity! www.ac3.org/kids

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AC3 VB7 Behind The Scenes



AC3 VB7 gives you a behind the scenes look at the drama prop room and gives you an overview on the leadership structure at AC3. Check it out!

Men's Forum Week 3: Strength

Strength week...


As I prayerfully looked at how to write this blog about week three of the 2014 H.U.G.E. Men's Forum, I felt led to look in to my past. I know for me, a recently saved follower of Jesus, the past is where I have to look to confess things to God, it's where I look for forgiveness and it's where I look to forgive others.

Looking in to and meditating on the past for me is far and away the best way to take biblical principles and truly think about how I would have applied them in different situations to help me move forward in relationship with Jesus.


Fear, strength's adversary


This act is how week three has hit me. Pastor Aaron Thompson of Marysville New Life Church was our teacher for the evening. Aaron is a man after my heart, I can tell you that. Any man who can properly apply sports analogies to biblical principles is no doubt going to have my attention. He talked about a football game that he played at Lake Stevens High School, about how he had a great game against his former school and was named MVP that night. Sounds great and all, I've had those games, it's a great feeling to be on fire during a big game.

What he talked about next was the punch that hit me though. After all of that, he couldn't even remember the 10 solo tackles he had that night, they didn't matter. He remembered one play, where he let fear get in his way for just an instant and the opportunity of that moment was gone forever. He let fear win on that play, that's why it stuck with him. I think we can all look back and find moments where we let fear get in the way of doing something that God intended us to do.


This night was about finding that strength.


Finding the strength to overcome these fears to listen to God's plan for our specific lives and to take action on them in my life is one of my biggest hurdles. That's where the time to look in to my past comes in. I looked at things that hold me back, the things that allow fear to win, wrote them down and asked myself what could have been possible if I'd handled this the way that Jesus would have.

I looked at close relationships, ones that I've felt jaded by, I think we all have at least a few of those. I looked at those relationships that effected who I am today and applied love, applied strength to do what I know now is/was right and it felt amazing.

You see, I'm a firm believer that you can make a choice each day when you wake up to be a better person than you were the day, month or year before. Jesus gives us that hope. That through Him, all things are possible. And if all things are possible, I can certainly gain the strength needed to follow Him in any situation. We have the blueprint, we have The Gospel at our fingertips to teach us how to solve any situation.

Leap without fear!! Jump straight in to whatever God has planned for you! Don't shy away from an opportunity and NEVER, NEVER be afraid to fail. God is in our weakness and in our failure, He will lift you back up if you seek Him, we must never forget that fact.


Today I will find the strength to follow Jesus wherever He leads. 


My small group after Aaron's awesome message was exactly what God had intended for me. You see, I stopped to say hi to a friend in the aisle on the way to small groups and ended up having a deep discussion with him and with Rick Thiessen. It was unreal, I don't want to disclose everything that came of that meeting, I just want to portray to you just a little of how it made me feel.

You see, the fear that has held me back from leaping on faith is deep. It's of this world and I didn't really know where it came from. The discussion in this group, the prayer in this group made this thing that has held me back fall directly in to my lap. I felt like Wiley Coyote getting hit by an anvil while chasing The Road Runner. It was so clear, I had to dig far, far in to my past and all throughout my life and apply Jesus' sweet forgiveness, I had to let go of something that was poisoning my thoughts of strength and decide to follow a new path.

Only time will tell how significant this moment really was, right now it feels like I just threw that anvil across a calm river like a good skipping rock and have been freed.

I'm pumped for the Men's Forum, week four is upon us. Loving God with all of our mind, this should be a crazy ride.....Join us at Word of Life Church in Marysville, 7 PM!!!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

AC3 VB6 BAM Update



Check out this weeks weekly #AC3VideoBlog as Dan and Rick give you an update on whats happening with #BAM.

AC3 VB Series Tithing Part 3



Check out our final video blog installment on Tithing.

Friday, February 7, 2014

AC3 VB5 3 Things God Hates



VB5 - 3 Things God Hates

H.U.G.E. Men's Forum; Real Soul Food



Warm welcome...


With week one of the HUGE Men's forum still weighing on my heart and mind, even through the jubilation of being a lifelong sports fan and witnessing my first ever local professional sports championship, I arrived for week two, eager to learn and eager to grow.

All week I prepped my heart for this moment. I thought to myself that there had to be a reason that the sequence of the Men's Forum was set up the way it was and that I should work on opening my heart for what would come next. I have to say at this point that it worked. I thought all week about ways that my past has hardened my heart, from being the world's definition of a "man" and not listening to the more sensitive side of myself to being open to trying new things, new ways to better myself. I consciously made an effort to open my heart for what God had in store for me in this week.


Worship


When the worship band played their third song, Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace, the room was filled with God's power and God's grace. I know sometimes you can be in the middle of a worship service at church and it feels like going through the motions. It feels like a few people in the room are engaged and being ushered in to God's presence and the rest are just kind of there. That was not the case at this special event. This song was incredible, the entire room was wrapped in God's loving grace. There were men in the aisles on their knees and the room was filled with awesome sound.

There couldn't have been a better start to the night where Ed McDowell, the Director at Warm Beach Camp gave us a peek in to his "essential self". The part of him and the part of us all that will out-live these bodies that they dwell in, he gave us a look in to his soul and what he does to fill it with love.


Real simple


Our latest series here at AC3, Real Simple, was the perfect lead in to this night that Ed spoke to us. Especially the part about finding quiet time with God in the middle of the crazy world that surrounds us and confronting the turmoil within it. Ed gave us an illustration on what the world around us was like. He asked that we all take out our smart phones, turn up the volume and play some music. Then the speakers in the church started playing music with us. This created a hectic feeling of far too much happening around us while he kept speaking and kept trying to keep our attention throughout that minute or so. It was hard to focus on him, there was too much happening.

This is real in our world. So real that it's scary. We get so busy, so wrapped up in our schedules that we forget that the God we seek is in the quiet, waiting for us to look for Him and to listen to Him. Ed talked about his "alter in the woods", a place that he hikes to that overlooks a lake that you can only walk to. He remembered a time where he knew that he needed answers in regards to some rough things happening in his life. He knelt at his alter in the woods, with nobody within distance other than the God that he was seeking and got fired up. He was seeking God's will in his life, seeking answers or maybe even searching for the right questions to ask when he went back to the world to greet these problems head on again. He was feeding his soul.


The soul, on display

 

Have you ever seen somebody so messed up, whether it be alcohol, drugs or depression that you could look in to their eyes and no longer think that they're even in there somewhere? I think most of us in this current world have, unfortunately. These are people with completely neglected souls. They've absolutely lost touch with it. If you're lucky enough to have been around or this person themselves were lucky enough to make it through that and come out the other side, to where you can once again see them with their soul intact, you know what I mean. It's apparent in this world that our soul needs nurturing and it needs God's presence within it.

Another analogy that was great from Ed was his mother. If you've ever witnessed someone passing on from their earthly body, you know what he was talking about. One second a person is there, even when they're very sick and on the verge of letting go, you can see their soul is within them still. Ed talked about their pastor doing a communion with his family as his mother was nearing the end of her life here on earth. That he distinctly remembers his mother being lost in God's love and that her soul did a "sprint to heaven" once communion was over. One minute she was there, the next minute there was just this body, the old body that she would never need again as God has given her a new one in heaven. Just laying there with nothing behind her blank eyes. He could see that her essential self was no longer dwelling in this lifeless body, her soul was with The Lord.


Real soul food


You see, we often forget that our soul is our "essential self" as Ed calls it, the part of us that will live on forever. We forget that we need to fill our soul with God's promises, fill it with God's word and genuinely seek God's will to help our essential selves be more willing to love on this planet and to be "fishers of men" as we are called to be. The more well balanced your soul is, the more that feeling that there aren't enough ours in a day or that you just don't have anything left to give to your family, church and community will disappear. Feeding your soul is an essential part of being a disciple and a follower of Christ.

Ed talked about the "gotta haves". The newer, bigger, faster and stronger version of everything that we seem to want these days. He talked about how all of these things fade away. It's true, they do. We see it every day. No car lasts forever. No TV, no stereo, no fancy phone or a hot tub will last forever. Jesus told us these things, long, long ago but somewhere in the middle of modern culture, we've lost sight of that as a whole. God's love is what is going to last forever. He will endure time, our soul is the part of us that will be there with Him throughout that time, so it's of the utmost importance that we feed our souls and stay in touch with them.


We must create time and space for this soul food. Ed referred many times to the 10 minutes that he gets in the car, on the way to school with his boys every day. They read a daily devotional and talk about it on the way to school. He makes sure that his son's days start with quiet time, with time with God so that maybe they'll have the strength in High School that day to say no to temptations and say yes to boldly living like Jesus did, even at a very young age.

He talked about taking what some of us call our "man caves" and turning them in to a place that can restore your soul, rejuvenate your essential self so that you're available when a call comes to help. Amazing, culturally relevant stuff like is taught at Allen Creek Community Church, my home.


H.U.G.E. Stuff


So, as with all of our learning experiences, we're not just here to listen. It's the life application that matters. This journey is called our "walk" with Jesus for a reason. Action is required. Applying these first two weeks to my life has made for an awesome two weeks, I must say.

I've realized that my heart was hardened, been shown the way to soften it by letting God directly in to the hurtful things in my past and now am using that open heart in the morning, in my quiet time to let God in to my day with prayer and meditation that is truly bringing clarity to the vision that God has for my life. I feel empowered and this is only week two. I can't wait to see what happens next week as we continue to build on this tangible, life altering experience.

So join us, every Tuesday throughout February at the Word of Life Church on 51st Street in Marysville. Here is a full length video of Ed talking to us men last week if you'd like to catch up.