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


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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Who's Who at AC3-Christian Love

In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear attenders say that they don't know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3.  We will start with the Triad.  Be on the lookout for new interviews every week.  So, next time you see these people around, feel free to strike up a conversation!  First up, Christian Love, who is one the Elders at AC3.

Questions--Spiritually Minded

  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day: 
Honestly, after a challenging day I usually start with listening to heavier music like Metallica, Disturbed, or even Rob Zombie; this helps me with shouting out frustration.  Then as I drive home, or if I am at home alone, I will transition to milder music; Christian or secular.   Often, I will “phone a friend” if it has been an extra challenging day.  Then I will usually wrap up in a prayer, asking for forgiveness for my rage and frustration.
  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
There are so many reasons we can come up with for not going to church or having a broken relationship with the church.  While it depends on the nature of the broken relationship, we must get to the core of the problem; is it THE church, A church, or God in general?  A very good friend of mine has been fighting with God for a long time now.   He knows God will win, but still is unable to let go of the hurt his most recent church caused.  This is not a problem with God or even THE church, it is specifically one church experience that tempers the whole.  There is one major flaw in all churches: They are all full of not just people, but broken people.  God loves us anyway and knows that broken people don’t always get it right, but what matters is they are aware of it are willing to make changes.
  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:
So often the question comes up in Christian circles “when were you saved” or “when did you accept Jesus as your Savior”?  The problem for me is there is not one pinpoint time where I can say “This is it, right here” or, “that was the moment”.  There are times when I have felt closer and more in tune with Jesus, and times when I was far from Him.  For as long as I can remember I have always held true that he is God and Jesus was His son who came to save us all.  There was no late-night crying on my knees moment, no altar call that brought me to the front; it has always just held true for me.  And yes, “Faith” is one of my giftings.
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Why can’t we be friends…I once heard an old married couple being interviewed on how they had stayed married for so long and what was their secret.  The woman, wise in her years, looked close at the interviewer and said, “I have always started my day knowing that have always loved him, not always liked him, but yes always loved him”.  There is so much quarreling from one church to another, which often filters down to one Christian to another.  The change needs to be made that we can accept our differences and glorify Him by remembering that we may not always like one another, but we should always love one another.
Christian and his wife of more
 20 years, Jennifer
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
I wasn’t the instigator of this change. I wanted to serve but nothing seemed to call me.  It was my wife, Jennifer, who helped me find the niche that worked and got my feet on the ground.  In my past life I had been a job developer and had a variety of skills from resume building, job counseling, interview preparation etcetera.  With God’s help, we created a resume/job service ministry.  It has met with great successes over the years and drawn volunteers to help in the process.  From one of the best interviewers I have ever met, to someone willing to sit and fill out applications; every volunteer has skills to bring to the table.  I am aware God did not gift me with every skill- just the ones I needed. 
  • How I found my way to AC3:
Let’s see I was invited at least six times by Kim Adcock, twice by Richard and Gemini Boas, a couple of times by Shirl Aube…and the list goes on.  My response was always the same, “It was too different from my Catholic upbringing”.  Now there’s a copout if I ever saw one.  Faith in God and Jesus never were a problem for me; faith in the church-now that was different.  The dogma of the Catholic church did not always align with my feeling of what Jesus wanted us to be.  Now this is not to bash the Catholic church; I love so much about it, the beautiful services and buildings and some great people on fire for God are all part of it.  It was just not right for me.   But when my children’s questions came that I did not have the answers to, the search began.  We seemed to walk into churches where the talk was predominantly about money and how they wanted ours.  The first sermon we ever heard at AC3 was Rick talking about, you guessed it, money.  Our friends assured us he never talked about money, but you know what…Jennifer and I heard something new that day. “God does not care about your money, it's just the conduit to your heart”.  Not only did we start attending, but we signed up for FPU, and shortly thereafter found ourselves called to tithe.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Don’t be so sure!
  • Gifting I most admire:
The Servant Heart.  I wish I could say I look forward to every opportunity to serve, looking for every possible task large or small to serve God.  It is not my gifting, I love to serve, but just not all that keen on scrubbing toilets, gathering trash, or dealing with preteen children.
  • Favorite serving experience: 
Successful job searches, I love seeing others succeed.
  • What I tell others about serving:
Don’t let not fitting into the current ministries stop you from serving, we made our own, why can’t you?
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
Learning to talk lightly about topics I know little about and following the tangents that lead to areas I can better relate to.  Reading and group discussions about books and their topics.  HUGE Men of God; relating to other men walking similar paths as me has been… well HUGE.
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God:
Reading the Bible daily with devotional content, prayer journaling, discussion with family and friends about what I have read or heard.

 Questions--Secular Minded

  • What book left a lasting impression on you?  
The Book Thief.  It brings home the idea that so much of what we thought we knew about Nazi Germany was wrong,
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice? 
Blades of some sort, removing heads seems to almost always work.  Oh, yeah and I only have to run faster than the slowest person, so trip, hop, or hobble you’re not getting in front of me.
Christian, Jennifer, and their children,
 Ellarie, Arawyn, and Tirian
  • Marvel or DC? 
Marvel, except for Batman, always be Batman.
  • Beach or Mountains? Why?  
Mountains, the views and the fresh air.  Love hiking too, not keen on walking in sand though.
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow? 
Professional Pick-up Sticks.  It all the rage in the east.  My favorite team is “Stick it 2 ‘em” (Not a big sports fan but: Go Hawks!)
  • Favorite season? Why? 
Spring or Fall its close, not too hot or too cold, though I will take too cold over too hot any day.
  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose? 
“Revive Me” by Jeremy Camp, and movie would be “Fiddler on the Roof” Tevye is one down to earth guy.
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation? 
 I have always wanted to tour the German Castles and travel other areas of Europe visiting these ancient fortresses.
  • What are your top 3 hobbies?  
Love Games of all types: Card games, board games, video they are all good.  Reading: Mixture of Fantasy writers from Terry Brooks to Jennifer Robinson.  Hiking-loving the nature seen, cannot deny God in the face of its majesty.
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!  What do you do? 
Oh, reading and playing games for a start.
  • 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.)  
I am not buying that anymore you’re just going to eat it all.
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched? 
The Good Place
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Morning, but I have been known to burn the candle at both ends
  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten: 
“Look back at your old prayer journal, see what God has done!”

AC3 VB181 GLS Continued

Check out this weeks video blog with a couple guests! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Constructive Connections-Part 2

Constructive Connections is a fiction series.  It’s the beginning tale of how each person is formed perfectly by God to enhance the narrative of life.  Constructive Connection reflects how each one of us is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God called you to construct begins to form for His joy.   

Constructive Connections:  Over Coffee

She sat there next to a black trash can.  Someone had already borrowed the opposite chair from her table.  Alone, hands folded, stringy grey hair strands flopped in front of one eye.  A preppy business man passed without smile or recognition she was even there.
“Mom, what’s that smmmmmmelllll?”  Rotten kid looked right at her.
I caught her eye.  Have to admit, I looked away.  Faked interest in what Doug was drinking.   “How much d’you spend on that cocktail?”
“It’s coffee, not alcohol,” Doug said defending his elaborate wordy drink.  “I know they might be expensive, but I like the flavor. Here-try it,” He pushed the plastic cup with 75% liquid, 25% whipped cream towards me.  
“Tastes like sugar with a splash of coffee,” I told him, even though it was pretty good.  We were meeting so he could help me fill out an application for a summer job at Hubert’s “Hoarding” House Storage, where Doug worked.  (Doug corrected me, “Willy, it’s Hubert’s Holding House, not Hoarding!”)
“Next question: ‘List skills you performed on your last job,’” Doug asked, getting down to business.
I sat up a straighter.  “I’m in charge of choppin’ firewood to sell campers, pickin’ up trash, jumpin’ dead batteries, check-outs, directin’ people to the john; stuff like that.”  While liking my job, my pay just secured our trailer space. Dad couldn’t swing an ax and his people skills weren’t so good; chores fell to me. He handled the cash and got paid to sit in his camp chair.  
Doug hadn’t been to our trailer before.  We knew each other for a long time but had become recent friends at spring youth camp.  I was still on a path with a heap of forgiveness stuff to get over and through.
Dad and I lived at the campground for 2 years; the first year in a tent.  Dad would do odd jobs around town, but nothing ever stuck. Winter tent camping in Washington is nothing but hard.  Rain, wind, frost, more rain…we found several uses for duct-tape, let me tell ya. The abandoned trailer Dad found was a blessing and soon after, he became the park manager.
That’s where I met Dell. She was a regular…Space #32.  Living in a motorcycle trailer with her loud brown cat, Liver, she kept to herself.  Each morning she’d build a campfire; her blue speckled coffee pot hung from a metal tripod. I’d walk by at 5:15 on weekday mornings on my 2 mile walk to school.  Gym was open at 6am to athletes. It was warm-smelled like sweaty teenager-but again-it was warm.
One morning I passed by Dell’s trailer, treading through an inch of snow.  She nodded and signaled me to come over. She poured a paper cup full of black coffee.  
“For warmth on your journey,” is all she said.  She smiled and got back to prodding her fire with a rusty tent pole.
“Honestly man,” Doug brought me back to our conversation, “I don’t see you at Hubert’s.  Quite frankly, it’s boring! Just sitting around, waiting to let people in the gates,” Doug said with sincerity, setting down the pen.  “What do you think you want to do after graduation?”
I thought about his question.  Dial tone. All I knew was…get a job.  “Maybe I could work at a gym?” I said thinking the high school gym most likely would be closed to graduates.
“There’s that gym over on 4th;  I think I saw a hiring sign the other day,” he said.  “Can you work a register? Serve customers?”
“Na, they don’t teach that stuff at the trailer park,” I answered, folding my arms.  
Then Doug’s eyes got huge.  “Church! They teach that stuff at church!”
I laughed.  Our church was cool, and there was a lot going on, but even I knew you didn’t get paid unless you were standing on stage giving a message…and I did not have a message.  “Yeah, right. I’m looking for a J.O.B.”
“Yeah, they DO!”  he said getting out his phone.  “I was just talking to Kay at the church espresso bar.  They need people to man the stand.”
“Pff,” I snorted.  Coffee; again with the fancy drinks!
“You could learn how to cashier, serve community, and you could learn how to make my favorite “Mocha Why Bother”:  Caffeine-free, sugar-free chocolate, and non-fat steamed milk with a dash of cinnamon!” He scrolled down his contacts, “I’m sending her number, you’ll remember her from youth group.  She’s been serving there for the past month and really likes it. She said they need people to learn the register and asked if I knew anybody who’d like to learn some job skills.” He looked real proud of himself and then added while shaking the ice in his cup, “And they have an espresso bar at the gym on 4th!”
Smiling back at his smug expression, I considered his advice; grateful for his friendship.
I looked over at Dell.  There she sat, three tables away, without a cup in front of her.  People passed by, judging dirty clothing, avoiding eye contact. Doug gave me a 3X5 few months prior with these words on it:
“Because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13
I don’t know what was in Dell”s coffee that cold morning, but I had never tasted anything as rich.  I don’t think it was grounds that made the impression. It was that she shared, she served me.
Returning to the counter after Doug left, I bought another cup of coffee.  A tall, straight-up black cup of jo and set it in front of Dell. Bending low to give her a hug, she whispered, “Thank you Willard, for warming my journey.”  

Written by Jennifer Love