Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It's That Time of Year

Yes. It's that time of year. Summer is drawing to a close, school supplies and the latest in fashion accessories are being purchased at local department stores by families getting ready to start their school-year routine. So what, if anything, does this mean for AC3 and it's littlest seekers? A lot!

Over the next several weeks, our Kreek Kids leadership team is getting ready to start their ministry-year routine. They're implementing plans that will best meet their ministry mission: Partnering with parents to raise up the next generation of heroes in the faith! Rooms will be viewed with fresh eyes, schedules will get finalized and new and returning volunteers will be encouraged to get their God-given gifts in the game. Why? Because children's ministry matters!

Children’s Ministry Matters Because:

1) Children are a GIFT from God - They are a reward from Him. (Psalm 127:3) It's been fun to watch the many GIFTS that AC3 has been entrusted with over the years. Each child is uniquely packaged in a different shape and size, but all with a desire for direction and encouragement. You can easily spot these spirited and energetic little ones around AC3. These GIFTS from God are sure to reward you with a smile:)

2) Children MATTER to God - Let the little children come to Jesus. It's quite a statement that Jesus actually took offense when people tried to keep children from him or could cause a little one to stumble. (Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 18:5-6) A child's safety and faith development matters to God and so it should to us. We can help keep them safe and direct them on their own path toward Jesus. (Psalm 119:105)

3) Children are DISCIPLES, Now and Later - Matthew 18 reminds us that we can learn a lot from children and their ability to follow, worship, and grow in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and man, just as Jesus did. (Luke 2:52) A 2015 Survey confirms that 63% of Christians accepted Jesus Christ between the ages of 4 and 14 starting their discipleship journey early in life. And just like eating a Now & Later candy, 'It's Always a Good Time' to help disciple and positively influence a child:)

4) Children are FUTURE LEADERS in Our Church -  God's Word is filled with examples of what passing on our faith to the next generation looks like; when it's done right and when a generation fails. Leaving a legacy of faith requires a partnership between parents and their faith community; the local church. (Psalm 78:1-7) Our children are learning to lead now and will be fully in charge much sooner than we think! The question is: how passionately and purpose-filled will we nurture and disciple them so they can help lead the next generation to Christ?

Dwight L. Moody once said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” He understood that children are a gift from God and that their faith development is important, for their sake and the generations to follow. 

As we each prepare to embark on our own household's school-year routine, let's ask the question, "What can I do to insure that children's ministry matters at AC3?" Children’s ministry is one of the most futuristic and strategic ministry partnerships of the Church and we can each be a part of it.

So whether you are an encourager, a defender of the weak, a quiet helper, a growing leader, a first time teacher or a captivating story teller, your partnership in raising up the next generation is valued. What you do is important to His purposes not just now, but for generations to come!

It's fun serving along AC3 parents and volunteers. I would love to meet over coffee and discuss how you can best partner with us in Kreek Kids, our children's co-op ministry at Allen Creek Community Church. Contact me by email or leave a message at 360-659-7335 ext. 202 and I'll get back to you shortly!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Constructive Connections--Part 4

Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.
Christmas lights. I coordinated all efforts to get our church mission to Africa. Transportation, dorms, food, fundraisers, raffles, packing, and planned excursions! All went without a hitch until…Christmas lights.
Being editor for a popular magazine, I have credentials to run a successful business. My church has been going on missions to Africa for several years and this was to be my turn to go and serve. Details are my life! I understand what needs to be done and how to get things done right the first time.
My friend, Dell, and I stuck together for some of the trip, but she quickly got caught up in the humanitarian side of our mission. She was behind the lens of her Kodak, capturing faces and colors the village displayed. Meanwhile, I took over technical duties. My job was to keep things running smoothly.
“So where are we setting up the pulpit?” I asked Murry, a youth leader and interpreter. I was ready to begin set up at 1pm that afternoon. Sermon and worship were scheduled at 8pm and I still had to coordinate lunches, dinners, and breaks.
19-year-old Peggy, the youngest traveler in our party, came bounding into the school house; blue hair, black chipped nail polish. “Can I help with set up for tonight?”
“Um, no, Sweetie,” I said, untangling a box of Christmas lights I had brought with us. “I’ve got this.” She looked disappointed, but I reasoned she would have a better time out in the sunshine than in the dingy darkened school room.
Murry gave me a sideways glance and grinned, “In a hurry?”
“Uh, yes. We need to make sure we have enough time to get the lights and microphones set up,” I answered. Being from a family who spent lots of time on the stage, I knew about drama and wanted to create atmosphere for the villagers to not only hear the Word, but to be put in the mindset to receive the life change message.
“Where is the nearest outlet?” I asked wiping sweat away.
Murry chucked, shaking his head and index finger, “No lights.”
I looked around the simple school room and found the outlet. When I say “the outlet” I mean, one, the only, a single outlet for the whole room. Taking out the strand of twinkle lights one at a time, I could just picture ambiance they would create. I’d make one outlet work.
“Yes lights,” I insisted, struggling with the bends and creases of green wires. “Miss Jackelyn, you don’t see the mosaic today,” Murry said with broken English accent. “Where is the microphone for the pulpit?” I threw back, ignoring his comment.
“Mosaic is what we need to see today,” he continued. “You, me, Pastor, people; we are all rocks. Polished, selected, perfect in God’s making. We may have been tossed gently in a stream, we may have been formed on a mountain and rolled down with an avalanche, we may have been thrown a thousand miles by an erupting volcano!” he continued, throwing his hands up in the air. “It make no difference how we got here or how we are formed; it is how we fit the mosaic.” He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out two smooth rocks. “You are one rock, blue and round. I am another rock, orange and long. But God,” he pointed and looked up, “He uses each rock to make mosaic of such beauty! He creates wonderful picture for us to enjoy as he uses us, refined by time and experience to fit together. By ourselves, we are just a rock,” he looked down at the two pebbles in his hand. “Quite dull. Come,” he motioned me to follow him around the back of the building where there was the beginning of a picture made of pebbles.
“But together,” he continued, “depending on one another, coming closer and closer together, we become like mosaic.” There were an assortment of rocks still laying on the ground, separated by color, separated by size. They looked like a jumble of pebbles. But the picture on the wall was stunning. The rocks attached to the masonry worked together to make an intricate image.
“See this one?” he pointed to a large blue almost turquoise stone. Alone it was unimpressive. But surrounding it were grey, white, black, and almost silver stones, swirling around one another. It was movement. I couldn’t tell what the finished product was going to look like, only that it was in motion. Waves? Air? Dancing? It was unfinished.
My heart knew in that moment the message I needed to hear. Peggy flashed to mind. She wanted so much to help, but I didn’t allow her. I refused her help.
Well, 8:00 came and I plugged in those Christmas lights. They did not shine. Murry came up to me and gave me a side hug with a soft, consoling, “No lights.” Apparently, there is no power to that building at 8:00pm. Power restrictions…who knew?
When I got back home, I developed several photos of the school’s mosaic. Placing the photos around my home like my kitchen window, I recited: “Remember to let the kids be part of the mosaic.” I put one in my office: “Remember to let employees be a part of the mosaic,” I placed one on my mailbox at church: “Remember to allow my church family to be a part of the mosaic.”
A week after we got back from the mission, Peggy asked, “Jackelyn, I was wondering if you could help me behind the scenes in the sound booth this weekend? I could teach you how to set up the lights and microphones for weekend service?”
Remember…allow me to be a refined rock so I can be part of the mosaic.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Phil 2:3
Written by Jennifer Love


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Johnna Thiessen

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3. We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Shea Caperoon. Next up, we have Johnna Thiessen, our Creative Teams Director at AC3...and rumor has it she may have a family member or two who also work at the church!  She would also like noted on her permanent record that when asked to fill out this survey, she did so happily, promptly, and without complaining.  
*Just how the rest of you should be when filling out your Visioncast surveys. 

Questions -Spiritually Minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:  
Music is a powerful tool for me to express my frustration.  I have go to songs for when I’m sad or angry or discouraged that remind me of who God is and who I am.  Those usually right size things for me. If it’s really bad, I send up the bat signal for an emergency coffee with one of my friends.
  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
Reconciliation isn’t one of the options God gives us…it’s the ONLY option he gives us.  God’s whole plan here is reconciliation. I know it’s hard…I do. I’ve been there…especially when you are hurt and it feels hopeless.  Find someone to walk the road with you, someone who loves God and his peacemaking plan. NOTHING feels better than when something you thought was broken forever gets fixed God’s way.
Johnna, her husband, Rick, and their two daughters, Laila and Marley
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
I wish we would all realize how much we need each other.  We live such isolated lives. We need to be in church together, in small groups together, eating meals together, walking the hard roads together.  
  • How I found my way to AC3:
I was here on day one…but we planted this church because we felt strongly that there needed to be a place like this for people who didn’t feel comfortable in “normal” church services.  Church shouldn’t just be comfortable for people who have always gone to church. It needs to be understandable and accessible for people who have questions they need answered, who haven’t grown up in the church but want to explore what Jesus has to say…and to be a place where you know you can bring any friend and they’ll feel welcome.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Judge less…love more.  Major on the majors and stop sweating the small stuff.
  • Gifting I most admire: 
I wish I could sing.  I’m so moved when one of our vocalists expresses what my heart wants to say through a song on Sunday morning.  I wish I could show people what’s in my heart that way…but I also know NOT being able to sing forces me to find other creative ways to communicate and that’s probably good too.
  • Favorite serving experience: 
I’ve had so 23 years of serving experiences to choose from so it’s hard to pick just one.  I love what I do! I love when I see a new person join one of our teams and get amazed by what God can do through them.  I love seeing our young people finding their voice for God. I love when people really get that they were made to serve and feel the joy that comes from being right where God wants them to be.
  • What I tell others about serving:
My sweet friend Chrissie once said that everything we create for God is like pictures that we bring home and God hangs them on his fridge because we’re his kids and he’s proud of us.  I LOVE that imagery. I love knowing that when we use whatever God has given us to use, when we do it his way for his reasons…it goes on the fridge. Each week, our goal should be to add another piece of art to the fridge collection.  
Johnna and her small group
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
1)  Attending church regularly, making it a priority  2) Be in a small group…a group of people with whom I feel safe and can be real (walls down) 3)  Make time for people…get them on my calendar, prioritize time with my community.
Questions-Secular-minded
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cookie Dough Ice Cream
  • Marvel or DC?
Marvel all the way.  DC hasn’t got it dialed in yet.
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
SEAHAWKS!!!
  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
Groundhogs day…see what I did there ☺
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation?
I just took a dream vacation so now I need a new dream.  I think those floating hotel rooms off the coast of Africa would be so cool!  Maybe that can be my 35th anniversary trip.
    Johnna's idea for her 35th wedding anniversary
    trip...Hint, hint, Rick
  • What are your top 3 hobbies?  
I love to read…I love Netflix…I love games
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!  What do you do?
Sleep in…stay in my jammies all day eating ice cream and rotating between reading, watching tv & playing games.
  • Something that your mother/father said to you when you were little that you now say to your kids (or did when they were younger.)
Take everything as a compliment…unless specified otherwise.
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
NCIS
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Night owl.  I think DAY should start about 11am ☺

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Shea Caperoon

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3. We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Kellie Ade. Next up, we have Shea Caperoon, one of our Elders at AC3!

Questions -Spiritually Minded
Shea and his wife, Lori

  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
I like to take a walk and practice my tai chi forms to relax and re-position my perspective. Sometimes I just need a nap with some relaxing music.  David Modica is a favorite.

  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
The first thing I want to say is that the banners we hang at AC3 - Love God, Love the Church, Love the World - are there for a solid reason. Paul says that Faith and Hope and Love are all awesome - but the mostest awesomest thing is Love. It may not be exactly obvious, but this means that relationship is a keystone for us and we ought to perceive it this way. Relationship has value above and beyond all the stuff and junk we typically fight over. I also want to say that not everyone is safe and this means there are surely times to walk away from particular relationships - but be careful this never happens in a moment of heated emotion. Sometimes we are the ones being walked away from... this does not always mean we are unsafe but it might be a good opportunity to consider the possibility. Of course, I now realize I have a lot more to say about relationships (and specifically broken relationships - and even about how to break them). 
Let me at least offer this advice (which if you have spent any time around me you have already gotten an earful of):
"Allow people to be who they are today."
Sometimes they can be jerks - you are always going to fail at trying to disallow this - you can only allow it or pretend to disallow, which boils down to a silly game not worth playing. (of course, this is not to say you should allow yourself to be abused at a chronic rate - see the above about the "walk away"). We must show the grace to others that was shown to us and prize the relationship as the precious thing it is - over and above stuff and junk. The last word in my advice - "today" - is important. You must also to allow them to be somebody different tomorrow - that is to say, do not label them a "forever jerk" just because they are a jerk today. 

  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:
It's a long story... but I was at a weekend Amway convention and Bill Britt delivered the gospel message during a Sunday service in the convention. I had been running a long time, and while I didn't fully understand what I was doing at the time... I completely understood in that moment that I had been literally running away and decided it was time to stop.

  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
I wish we would stop "fighting fire with fire"... I understand secular arrogance is difficult to avoid, but I see no place for religious arrogance in the church - and yet we are rife with it these days. We fight with the worldly but make peace with our own worldliness. We return injury with injury instead of with understanding and compassion. I can list the many excuses I have personally used for my own arrogance and yet I can also point you to Christ who says love your enemies.

  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
I believe it was the moment I started seeing myself as a valuable part of the whole we call "church" - even if and when others did not recognize my value (it took them a while to catch up with Jesus don't cha know)

  • How I found my way to AC3:
So I started at an Amway convention... got baptized at Overlake... started attended at a foursquare (which got weirder than your average foursquare) and swung wide to a traditional First Baptist. In every environment, I felt like the misfit that I am. We discovered AC3 via the web and while I still feel like a misfit, I feel like I fit among the misfits now - like a family.

  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Chill dude.

  • Gifting I most admire:
Would I sound arrogant if I suggested my own giftings - only more developed and matured? I admire and respect teachers who can communicate well and evoke thought and new perspectives - without manipulation and dirty emotional trickery - it is harder than it sounds. 

  • Favorite serving experience: 
Can't say I have a "favorite". There are some which I can say I'm glad I left behind - I learned good stuff while there but glad I didn't get stuck there. One of my favorite sayings is:  "Everything is an experiment." and that means I can learn from everything and I can explore freely. I don't have to be an expert - in fact, there is value in seeing myself as a perpetual beginner.

  • What I tell others about serving:
I've already said it... but maybe I'll say it this way also - serving is relationship-centric. All of the spiritual giftings are relational. Even if you are in a back corner somewhere chopping a donut or formatting a newsletter - you are developing relationship and dependent upon relationship.

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
Grouping
Grouping
Grouping
seriously... 
I don't attend a lot of different groups - I am an introvert after all... but I depend on small groups and classes. I personally do not get much "church" out of Sunday services. I enjoy the music and drama, and learn a bunch from Rick and Dan when they teach, but I don't connect hardly at all during services. Lobby-time after services is hard for me (I am a bit hard of hearing - all those metal concerts I attended when I was invincibly young). Most of the lobby chat is small talk anyway - nothing wrong with small talk, I'm not knocking it - it is just not much connecting for me. 

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God:
All the same stuff you've heard a hundred times. I would say that journaling is a big one for me personally. I might even go so far as to say that - for me - I feel like prayer only ever feels authentic and connected when it flows through my pencil. I don't treat my journal like a diary, it is more like a communication line.

Questions-Secular-minded

  • What book left a lasting impression on you?
Tolkien. Oh, and Heinlein. Tolkien and Heinlein and maybe some Le Guin... ok, definitely some Le Guin. Tolkien and Heinlein and Le Guin. There.

  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fried Rice. But no onions or tomatoes (humans considered tomatoes poisonous for centuries... no idea who would want to change that.) Pineapple is always a good substitute. Peas and carrots are acceptable but I don't miss them when forgotten. But it's got to have some bbq pork and bits of egg, please.

  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
I feel like I would prefer to dual wield in such an event... in my left hand - something heavy and blunt like a framers hammer and in my right something sharp and not too short - perhaps a bayonet? I've put too much thought into this as you can see...

  • Marvel or DC?
I don't even associate with DC fans. I don't even associate with people who associate with DC fans. (in case it doesn't come across right... I am joking)
I have collected Daredevil since I was 10 years old - and in fact, I still do at 50. That reminds me, my box at the local comic store is probably overflowing with the last 6 months of Daredevil.

  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
If you plan things right, you can have both. My favorite getaways are river hikes. I go far enough up into the mountains to where I don't feel like the water is going to carry a bunch of industrial toxins. There is nothing quite so relaxing as a sandy river beach... sure it's gray instead of white but you can still stick your toes in it.

  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
I jumped on the Seahawks bandwagon because, well... because fomo probably, but I'm feeling over all that. I will probably go back to watching live music performances instead.

  • Favorite season? Why?
I grew up in Hawaii... what do you think?

  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
I just made a playlist called "My Favorite Songs". It includes over 4000 mp3s. You want me to pick only one?
Let me at least share a few of my favorite artists here:
        Elephant Revival 
        Carolyn Wonderland- I prolly could listen to this song only forever on...
        Iron and Wine 

  • What is your idea of a dream vacation?
Exploration and Laughter in the sun

  • What are your top 3 hobbies?
1. Music (listening)
2. Reading (books / comics)
3. Tai Chi
        
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!  What do you do?
Probably my 3 hobbies. Maybe some exploration and laughter in the sun. Certainly some Elephant Revival / Carolyn Wonderland / Iron & Wine.

  • Something that your father said to you when you were little that you now say to your kids (or did when they were younger.)
"You make a great door but a lousy window." (in other words, get out of the way of the TV)

  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
Longmire. And now that it is over, I miss Henry Standing Bear

  • Morning person or night owl? 
Morning. 

  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:
 “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear.” ~Pooh bear
and also ...
        'Never jump into a pile of Leaves with a Wet Sucker!' ~Charlie Brown 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Kellie Ade



In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3. We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Lori Caperoon. Next up, we have Kellie Ade, Assistant to the Creative Teams Director at AC3!


Questions--Spiritually minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
As much as I'd love to tell you that my very first impulse is to pray, it's usually more of "I wonder if there's any beer in the fridge" kind of thing. Then I'll play my guitar a little bit, and then maybe cry, and then I pray. And then I play Skyrim. Slaying virtual dragons is surprisingly relaxing.

  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
We're Gospel people: we're in the business of reconciliation because God first reconciled Himself to us through Jesus. There is no person in God's estimation able to do anything bad enough to exit the realm of His grace. However, I also know that we ourselves are not God; we can't change or rescue people like He can, especially if they're not willing. All we can do is hold a posture of openness, vulnerability, and love without chasing down or pushing away. Also, some practical advice:

1. Seek wise counsel. No, really.

2. Keep your conversations about the person you're in conflict with to an absolute minimum (i.e. if they're not right there with you, don't talk about them).

3. Remember the Master's words in Matthew 7:1-5. It'll keep you humble in the heat of a conflict.

  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:
There wasn't one single moment that I've decided this. When I try to describe to people what my walk with God is like, I usually stick my finger in the air and turn it around in a series of loops, moving from left to right. At the apex of the loop, I'm a committed believer with complete faith and feeling absolutely certain about everything ever; at the bottom of the loop, I find myself in skeptic's shoes, having to test and retest. Sometimes I can get frustrated with the cycle, but I find that each time around things get a little clearer, a little deeper, a little more real. I am always being converted; intellectually, emotionally, on a daily, even moment-to-moment basis.

  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
1. Ask more questions. Manufacture curiosity if you have to, but with one caveat - questions are meant to be asked in the hopes of an answer, not to just sound edgy and profound.

2. Prioritize church attendance/involvement. Don't deprive the community of yourself.

3. Prioritize listening over speaking. If we make an emphasis on being a culture of better listeners, we will make a real difference in our world. 

  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Basically, the lyrics to the song "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World. Also, you might want to wash your rasta hat.
Kellie and her husband, Tim

  • Gifting I most admire:
Hospitality, encouragement, and mercy. These are gifts I do not have, and I find them baffling, mysterious, and deeply, deeply necessary. The Christians I look up to the most have the greatest character, sense of compassion, and their openness to others is incredible and inspiring.

  • What I tell others about serving:
It's not about you ;) But it IS one of the best way to get connected if you're feeling disconnected from both others and God.

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
1. I try to come to church even if I'm not serving on anything. It makes me available to others and puts me in the path of my church family. It's something I have to do consciously since I tend to be woefully introverted.

2. Normally, I'm serving somewhere during the week or the weekend. Not to be a broken record, but service is a very strong community adhesive. If I'm serving, I'm connecting with others and I'm in tune with the needs of my community.

3. This might seem counter-intuitive, but I strictly limit my time on social media (Facebook, Twitter, whatever). I find that when I'm not as distracted by my virtual social life, I find more bandwidth for the actual flesh-and-blood people in front of me. The quantity of interactions goes down, but the quality goes way up. I find the internal resources to be more present to the people in front of me when I'm not free-falling down my newsfeed trying to keep up.

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God:
Honestly, just the boring ol' basic ones:

1. Daily Bible reading and meditation (my personal favorite devotional plans come out of Streams in the Desert, A Year with C.S. Lewis and Celtic Daily Prayer).

2. Prayer journaling (which is cool because it inevitably establishes a record of what God was doing in my life, which I often only see in hindsight).

3. A conscious effort to take things slower than I'm naturally inclined to. The gravity of being busy is often the biggest hindrance to intimacy with God. There's a specific temptation to do this in ministry work especially: to mistake working for God as being with God. It's as if I'm running around frantically doing Jesus' laundry and dishes, telling myself that's intimacy, while He awkwardly sits on the couch waiting for me to sit next to Him and just talk and hang out. I have to be more disciplined in slowing down, being present. Still not that great at it, though ;)

Questions--Secular-minded
  • What book left a lasting impression on you?
Mere Christianity is definitely a top one. I can't seem to stop re-reading it as I always find something new in there. A close second would be The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel.

  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Haggis. I'm not even kidding. It's delicious.

  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
It's Washington; why pick?

  • Favorite season? Why?
I'm gonna go with the basic-white-girl answer and say Fall because I can wear a hoodie and still go outside. Great hiking season.

  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
"Dry the Rain" by the Beta Band

  • What is your idea of a dream vacation?
Backpacking in Europe somewhere; pretty much anywhere. I ain't picky.

  • What are your top 3 hobbies?
1. Playing/writing/recording music

2. Hiking/going for walks

3. Skyrim

  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt".

  • Morning person or night owl?
Nope.

  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:
"If you're making a decision primarily motivated by fear, it's probably not the right decision."

Or, a less esoteric favorite, "Measure twice, cut once".

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Lori Caperoon

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3.  We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Deanna Braaten. Next up, we have Lori Caperoon, another one of our Elders at AC3!

Questions-Spiritually Minded


  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
If it’s been a frustrating day, even if I’ve gone to God about it, sometimes my mind just won’t clear. If I can laugh, it’s a great way to clear my head. For frustrating days, I will call a friend or family member and talk about it, and it usually turns to laughter. If it’s late at night and my head won’t stop thinking, I will watch something funny on tv and that will bring me to the present moment and stop the “mind stick”. Laughter feels like taking a clean shower on the inside of my mind and heart.

Lori and her husband of more than 20 years, Shea
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Oh man, I would love it so much if we were known more for what/who we stand FOR instead of what/who we stand AGAINST.  There is enough dissension in the world and enough hatred. If we can demonstrate the love of Christ in all circumstances, that would be a game changer for how Christians are viewed in this culture. Love is not weak! It’s amazingly strong along with its companion: forgiveness. That’s a big reason why Jesus was so revolutionary. He offered love and forgiveness instead of picking up stones.

  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
When I decided to look at the reasons I was resisting serving, I realized most of them were based in fear. Fear of being committed to something I didn’t like, fear of it taking too much time, fear of not “clicking” with the people I would be serving with, fear of not being liked, fear I wouldn’t be good at it…you see the trend. When I read that the Bible states that perfect love casts out all fear, I realized this fear was a barrier to the love I’m called to. So, I just got brave and tried stuff. Some serving positions come and go, and some stick around for years. But I try very hard to bathe it all in love, being the hands and feet of Jesus whether I am rocking a foster child to sleep or helping to fold church flyers, or cleaning bathrooms. It’s all sacred work to me.

    Lori's sons: Aaron, Eamon, and Asher
  • How I found my way to AC3:
The internet!

  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Let the small stuff go. Yes, you’re doing it right. No, shoulder pads are not your friends.

  • Gifting I most admire:
Faith. I admire people who never, ever doubt. Some people are gifted with this unshakable, immovable faith. Others have times where we sweat it out on our knees and have midnight existential crises. For us, the beautiful gift of faith always comes through, but I wish it came as easily for me as it does for the Faith people. Oh, and hospitality because I slog my way through that one too, tho it’s getting easier.

  • Favorite serving experience:
There have been many, but going to Africa was my favorite if I can call that a serving experience. There are one billion stories, laughs, cries, and faith-builders that came out of that trip. And I am forever changed by it. Go! You should!

  • What I tell others about serving:
What are you afraid of? What if that fear wasn’t even true? I advise people to jump in and try something. You don’t have to commit forever. And if you’re not sure, talk to the person in charge and let them know you’re just trying it out for a few times to see if it’s a good fit. Pray and ask God to open your eyes to opportunities, then step out. Don’t wait for something to knock on your door.

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
Going to church regularly, small group (I didn’t have one so I started one. You can too!) and just going to coffee with people. Coffee is a great way to get to know people. It has a limited time frame, in a public place and is least likely to be scary if people scare you. I love people, but I also love coffee, so it’s a win/win.

    Lori and her grandson, Finn
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God
The obvious ones: Prayer, scripture reading and memorizing. A prayer journal is a new practice I started again, and it’s awesome. Less obvious, I never miss a sunset if I can help it. I feel in touch with God’s presence, and it feels like a gift. Also, I write. I get deeply connected to God when I write because it is where I am most honest, authentic and spiritually aware. Everyone is different, so find the thing that feels most spiritual to you.


Questions-Secular-Minded

  • What book left a lasting impression on you?
I’m with Dea- To Kill a Mockingbird. Read it! Or see the movie. It’s good too.
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
Is an invisibility cloak a weapon? Did that just make me seem nerdy?
  • Marvel or DC?
Marvel
  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
I love the smell at both places, but I will always choose water. It’s so life-affirming to me.
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
Go Hawks!
  • Favorite season? Why?
Winter, but when it’s snowing not raining. Don’t be a hater! When it snows, the world goes quiet and people are forced to stop and be in the moment. I love it. It makes me feel like a kid again.
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation?
Sun and loved ones. And water. And a waiter. Perhaps a spa. But mostly sun and loved ones.
Lori, Shea, and their granddaughter, Tegan
  • Something that your mother/father said to you when you were little that you now say to your kids (or did when they were younger.)
“How would you feel if someone said/did that to you?”
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
Shetland
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Night owl
  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:
You’ve only got one audience. God is the only person you should care about watching you.(From my husband.)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Constructive Connections-Part 3

Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.
Constructive Connections: Suffering Together

The image of a solitary wolf looking into a village of American Indians was my mother’s favorite theme to create on canvas. There was no menace among any wolf she crafted of thick black, grey, and white blended oils. They yearned to be part of the tribe, able to frolic with the children, a romping pup amongst austere teepees, rejoicing with dancers around the blaze of amber flames. When I was young, I saw my mother’s hungry eyes in those painted wolves.
“Mom, what’s that smmmmmmelllll?” Oh goodness, was that little boy right! My orange tabby cat, Liver, had chased a skunk into our camp kitchen-fly. The pungent aroma permeated every square inch of the campground, my clothing, tent camper, everything smelled. The hair I had washed and styled was askew from the chase and I smelled atrocious! I caused quite a stir as I sat waiting for my friend, Jackelyn at the cafe.
Being a photographer by trade, I’d spent many years behind the lens observing folks. People watching was my hobby, you could say. That day in the coffee shop, when Willard avoided eye contact with my smelly, grey-haired disheveled old woman self, was the day a new journey began to understanding perception.
I had left a lucrative job a few years prior at “The Air Out There” magazine, where Jackelyn still worked. After leaving the magazine, I became a freelance photographer. No, I did not do weddings-my work was strictly news articles, periodicals, and such. But as I worked from home, I realized how many possessions I had accumulated over the years. It was prohibiting me from truly stepping out where I felt God was nudging me to go.
Poverty piqued my interest from the time I was a high school student. What really was “poverty?” My family rarely had much money. I received used clothing, never owning a house, we rented a home on tribal lands, and we often depended on the church food bank. We survived on food stamps and government subsidy. Certainly not for lack of working-my mother held two jobs to support her aging parents and disabled uncle. I had learned about poverty, but never felt impoverished. Was poverty only a money or lack issue? Or was it a spirit issue? I knew plenty of people with spiritual poverty. They were the ones complaining about how life was never giving back to them and living perpetually in want; the ones who had the “American Dream”-2.5 kids, mortgage, and a world of available privilege. I felt the tug of God to delve deeper into perception of poverty; but needed to experience scarcity to really have compassion for persons living within it.
I began to minimize. The donation truck had me on a twice-weekly rotation pickup. I got rid of so many things! Then I looked around at the few essentials I had left. I took pictures of the space in between items I chose to keep. Within me, I heard: “Keep going.” I gave up all my furniture and eventually, the three-bedroom house. Then I bought a motorcycle trailer, the bike to tow it, and found a campground to set up my new life of lack. I wasn’t sure what to be looking for, I just knew there was something I was being called to experience. So, I waited. Then I got a call from Jackelyn.
“Tell me about how you decided to live so small?” she asked quickly after she sat down.
“I felt I was being pushed out by possessions. I needed to free myself from the bondage of things. I always wanted to travel but felt spiritually tied to home. Leaving the magazine with hopes to seek out new adventure, I thought my job was tethering me to place. Yet it has been 3 years since I left. No travel plans yet,” I spilled out to her as we sat visiting, sipping coffee.
She looked at me with a crooked smile, then made the pitch, “When the opportunity came up at our board meeting the other day, I immediately thought of you, Dell. We are planning to travel to Africa for a missions trip. Would you like to join our team?”
Admittedly, I was blindsided. “Africa? I…I am a photographer, not a medical professional and my well digging days are long past, my friend,” I said with a sigh, rubbing my damaged shoulder.
“This is a relationship mission. We don’t know what to expect other than we will be living among and helping within the villages. I don’t know why, but I think we may be part of a bigger story on this journey. A change of perspective might be just what God is calling both of us to experience.” She had me at ‘perspective change’.
I followed my friend, Jackelyn to the African continent and found myself outside of a village, looking in with those craving wolf eyes. My perspective transformed with every sick child I cradled, every malnourished woman I cooked for, every bowl of maize I ingested. I began to understand the meaning of compassion with new eyes: To suffer…together.
Ten years ago today, we made that life journey to the small village where we served and saw from a new perspective. We experienced how to live without excess of possessions, but to live in excess of relationship. While Jackelyn and I traveled side by side, we gleaned different experiences. Just as an adjustment of the lens can change perspective when setting up a photo, it also can change meaning within the focus of a snapshot.
I am still a Christian photographer, unable to dig a well or give medication. But because of following God’s prompts, I am now welcomed yearly to rejoice and dance around amber fires, frolic with the village children, and be youthful in the spaces in between the simple huts of the villages.
“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”
Job 36:15 NIV

-Written by Jennifer Love





Saturday, July 14, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Deanna Braaten


In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3.  We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Christian Love. Next up, We have Deanna Braaten, one of our Elders at AC3!


Dea and husband of more than 20 years, Lee


Questions -Spiritually Minded

How I clear my mind after a challenging day: - After a difficult, challenging or emotionally charged day, I try to find a quiet place to pray, reflect and confess. I realize that I must force myself sometimes to sit and be still. I am finding that when I seek solitude and silence it helps me to find clarity in my emotions. When I sit in stillness and seek God’s instruction I find peace. I am by nature a problem solver so I work diligently to acknowledge what I must hand over to God and what the Holy Spirit is prompting me if anything to act on. Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;

Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:  My advice is to first pray for wisdom, discern the root of the brokenness, seek reconciliation, confess where confession is needed and forgive as Jesus forgives.  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him: I went under the waters of Baptism in November of 2000. The process of hearing, believing and accepting the Gospel changed the way I approached my marriage, my parenting and my friendships. My acceptance of Jesus as my Lord and Savior and the grace that followed that decision opened up for me not only eternal life but abundant life too. Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Change I’d like to see among Christians today:  I would like to see more Christians today take an active role in caring for widows and orphans. My passion for healthy families is illustrated in that one of my favorite events to witness is Baptism, it is such a celebration to welcome someone into God’s family. Family means so much to God and so it means so much to me. He grafted us in to belong to HIM. (My own childhood was consumed with alcoholism, substance abuse,  physical abuse, child sexual abuse and a myriad of other deeply troubling situations. I will forever be grateful to the family that took me and my sisters in when our whole world came crashing around our heads.)  James 1:27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
 
Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:   Years ago I read the Book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I do not recall all the details but one item resonated with me especially as a young mother and a new believer. Brother Lawrence found himself in the presence of God in the washing of the pots in the Monastery kitchen. In all that I do within the umbrella of my servant life it comes from my desire to Glorify God and edify others. From the very beginning of my walk in faith I have served, the change in my serving was so subtle that I can barely pinpoint it, I just wanted to make God smile upon me as His good and faithful servant more than I needed the accolades and gold stars from His people.  Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Dea and her family. From left to right, Karli, Chase, Baby Matthew,
Dea, Cadence, Rene', Caleb, Chyla, Lee, and Chloe.


How I found my way to AC3: In the spring of 2004 my son Chase brought home a flyer with details on a class called Time Out for Parents. It was a parenting forum with resources and testimonies about raising children. This was our first encounter at AC3, but because we already belonged to a church we were not interested in attending. It wasn’t until our own heartache within our church led us back to AC3.

Advice I’d give to Younger Me: Do not live in fear - even if something is scary do it anyway- let my faith be stronger than my fear. Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

Gifting I most admire:  Evangelists inspire me.  I admire the way they can share the Gospel with clarity, purpose and enthusiasm. I love watching boldness in faith balanced with love and grace.  

Favorite serving experience:  Over the years I have provided childcare during our offering of Dave Ramsey's FPU. In 2015 I met a little girl named Cadence.  I had no way of knowing then that our meeting would change my life. Years later, Cadence came into my life again and this time became a part of our family. God gave me the opportunity to be the person to her that I needed, but did not have when I was her age. At the time I had no idea that this would turn out to be my favorite serving experience, but today I know that God had a plan for us the moment we met. 1 John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

What I tell others about serving:  Pray, when it comes to serving nothing will stop you from putting your life into your ministry. Getting our gifts in the game not only honors and glorifies God but enriches our lives. I am not saying there will not be challenges and frustrations but what you give in your serving can bring so much joy, why would you want to miss that? When we serve: we strengthen our communities; our families; our marriages; and our relationship with The Father. We begin a sanctification process, where we start to look more like Jesus. Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:  Community means a great deal to me yet I will admit to struggling with interpersonal relationships. Through some difficult self-reflection, I find that the habits of confession keep my relationships in my community transparent. When I not only seek out but also accept offers of fellowship I am strengthening my sense of community by truly knowing someone and being known. And finally, when I pray I draw near to my community through the activity of intercession.

3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: Reading my Bible even when I am tired, distracted or just plain lazy has become a priority in my life. I draw strength from reading the Scriptures. Praising and worshipping and even dancing keeps me connected to God and studying my Bible not only increases my head knowledge but my heart knowledge and this draws me closer to Yahweh.  James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded

Dea and daughter, Chloe


Questions--Secular-Minded


What book left a lasting impression on you? To Kill a Mockingbird

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tacos

Marvel or DC? Marvel

Beach or Mountains? Why? Beach- for me there is nothing like watching the setting sun while sitting on a beach

Favorite season? Why? Spring- the promise of rebirth

You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose? Zootopia

What is your idea of a dream vacation? Reading an Emily Giffin book by the poolside after walking the El Camino Santiago in Spain

What are your top 3 hobbies? Tap dancing, reading, and gardening

What is the last thing you binge-watched? Sherlock

Morning person or night owl? Night Owl