Thursday, August 30, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Dan Hazen

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 Scott Taylor. Next up, we have Dan Hazen, our Executive Pastor here at AC3!

Questions--Spiritually Minded

  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day: 
Brenda calls it “talking to my plants”. I like to walk through the vegetable garden, pluck weeds, check on things, maybe pick some food for dinner…remember that the Creation still obeys God in the midst of crazy human turmoil. If it’s not garden season, then a walk or brain cleansing TV might do the trick.
  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him: 
Probably around the time Kellie, my oldest daughter, was born. Looking back on it, I felt I needed to be able to give her some guidance, and though I didn’t know who/what/if this God was, I was not going to quit until I got answers.
Dan and Brenda, his wife
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today: 
A commitment to move away from Imperial values and embrace Kingdom values. Chief among these would be selfishness vs. servanthood. The current empire (right/left, east/west, gay/straight, white/black, whatever) is built on the same value: self. Too many Christians have embraced self-expression, self-promotion and self-serving, but are convinced it’s o.k. because it’s been decorated with some Christian frills. I would love to see more Christians make significant lifestyle changes that reflect the three Loves: Love God by embracing spiritual disciplines, not just once a month church attendance. Love the church by really getting involved in service and in groups. Love the world by living differently, living simply so they have margin to share with open hearts and hands to engage with outsiders. 
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life: 
When I was invited to be part of the church band, even though I was not a Christian yet, my hair was WAY too long for most church-folk, and I had a little bit of an attitude. But I was allowed to bring MY gifts to the game. I found others who cared about the craft of making music as much as I did, and who welcomed me just as I was. I realized that serving WITH others was a pathway to loving them, loving God and being loved in return.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me: 
Don’t be so concerned with what other people think of you. Slow down.  Brush your teeth regularly. Stop wishing you were someone else and get busy being who God made you to be.
  • Gifting I most admire: 
Helps. There’s something magical about watching people with this gift in action (my son-in-law Tim, Mark Holland, Dea Braaten). It’s like they have a sixth sense, and they know when they’re needed…they just materialize at your side like a super-hero. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s one of the more visibly super-natural gifts.
  • Favorite serving experience: 

Toss-up between spiritual direction and drumming. The first has all the potential and intimacy of a counseling session, but without the grief that usually precipitates it. And there’s nothing like making music with others, especially when you sense that you’ve helped moved a whole room of people closer to God.

  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: 
Silence. Solitude. Stillness.

  • What book left a lasting impression on you? 
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.
Dan and his daughters, Kellie and Robyn
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Pud Kee Mao. Pork. 5 stars.
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice? 
  • Marvel or DC? 
Comics are non-binary. Archie and Jughead.
  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
 Mountains. I mean, I love the beach – it’s a family tradition. But there’s a diversity and connectedness I find in the “big trees”. You can’t get “inside” the ocean around here like you can get “inside” the mountains.
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow? 
Dude. Sports?
  • Favorite season? Why? 
Used to be Autumn…Spring is now gaining favor. I think as I get older, the arrival of new life takes on more meaning.
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation? 
Walking the El Camino De Compostela with family and friends.
  • What are your top 3 hobbies? 
Gardening. Music. Hiking.
  • Morning person or night owl?  
  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten: 
It’s not all about you, so relax.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Scott Taylor

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 Johnna Thiessen. Next up, we have Scott Taylor, one of our Board Members at AC3!

Spiritually Minded Questions
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
            Find something to read.
  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
The Church is made of broken people. Focus on God
and the people part will be easier
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Belief that we are all on the same team.
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
Scott and his wife, Sarah
When Sarah and I decided to marry.
  • How I found my way to AC3:
My girlfriend, now wife (Sarah) brought me.
  • Gifting I most admire:
Serving the sick.
  • Favorite serving experience: 
I love greeting people.
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God:
Bible reading, admiration of nature, and music

Secular-minded Questions

  • What book left a lasting impression on you? 
Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice? 
I have so many, hard to pick one. I love me some shotguns, though.
  • Marvel or DC?
  • Beach or Mountains? Why? 
Mountains...the majesty
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
  • Favorite season? Why?
Fall-it feels like the end to a good book.
  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
Pride and Prejudice (2005 version)
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!  What do you do?
I must be dead, so sing with the Heavenly Host.
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Morning person or night owl? 
  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:

You have time to do what you want.

Constructive Connections--Part 5

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.

Level Up

Up up, down down, left right left right, B, A, Start.  Yep, I’m a gamer.  RPG (role play games) are my favorite, but most games are decent; anything with strategy.  I’ve grown up in a house of technology.  Dad works in tech, Mom sells tech, even my big brother is studying for a career in tech.  I volunteer in the sound booth at church, so even I have tech brain.  It’s embedded in my life.

Pause.  Graduation happened last year.  Not going to college so I got a job.  It involves, “Do you want sauce with that?”  Not glam in the least.  My friends from high school are either traveling, working full-time, or going to college; my circle kinda shrunk.  Even youth group ended; aged out.  I felt like I was at a checkpoint in the middle of campaign mode, drama music on loop; just standing there, looking at what quest to go on next.

“Dad and I are going to Africa with a team from church, are you interested?”  Mom asked one day.  I had planned to look for a new job.  Africa sounded easier.

So I said, “Yeah, I guess I’ll go.”  Folks were happy, I was like…whatever.

The parents forgot to let me in on the real reason they wanted me to go.  “You won’t need your phone for the trip, Peggy,” Mom announced as she checked over my packing.

Chuckling, I said, “Uh yeah, I’m bringing my phone.”

“There isn’t going to be any reception where we are going, so no, you don’t need your phone,” she said matter of fact.  “It is only for ten days.  It won’t kill you to unplug.”

She was wrong.  Phoneless was like slow death.  Silence.  I didn’t even know what time it was; I don’t own a watch.  Never needed one, the phone tells perfect time.  Always thought I didn’t have much to do with friends until I didn’t have any texts, no tweets, no likes, no Facebook, no shares.  It was like I was lost in nebulous.

By day 3 Craig, a stage guy from church who came on the mission must have picked up on my misery.  We talked about the weather, the problems of the world, and the work needing to be done.  He talked about leaning in instead of lamenting.  It would make the days more interesting and I might forget about missing home.  Then he pointed out, “Hey, looks like they are setting up for sermon tonight.  Bet Jackelyn could use a hand.”  I headed towards the schoolhouse to make myself useful.

She was on the floor tangled in Christmas lights.  I thought I had issues.  Guess we all had some struggle being away from our 1st world perceived reality.  Turns out she didn’t want help.

I wandered around the village kicking at rocks, when I saw some kids playing chess.  While I couldn’t understand the language, I knew the game.  A boy about 15, was teaching a girl of 12.  She had a strategy and she ended up schooling him.  They set up the game again and she motioned for me to join her.  We played for about an hour.  It was like time didn’t exist.  We weren’t busy, just having fun.  The kids surrounding the game watched and laughed when we made bad moves and cheered when we made good ones.  She won and set up for the next kid to play.  I became part of the audience, laughing and cheering along with the rest. 

Catching up with Craig later, I told him how much fun I had playing chess with the youth.  “It’s like we can’t have fun like that back in the states.  Video games and playing on phones doesn’t gather a crowd, no encouragement, no cheering,” I thought about the last board game I played.  It was chess, but on a device; me vs app.

“I hear ya.  It’s like isolation is the norm,” he sympathized while we helped plant vegetables.  Then he laughed, “I just don’t want to be found dead; grey-haired with video game thumb calluses in my parent’s basement!”

I laughed, but it kinda hit me.  What do I do in my free time?  Sit in my parent’s basement playing video games.  And thumb calluses?  The struggle is real, folks.

Thinking about kids caught in drama music loop, and realizing I am one of them, I thought, “There are more out there.”  The kids in our church; are they going to end up without quest when they ‘age out’?  Tears.

Youth group is where I remember joy.  Youth group was friends.  Youth group was hearing a message that spoke to my level about Jesus and how He loves unconditionally.  I don’t get any feedback from gaming.  I get to regenerate each time I make a mistake.  Reset is as easy as pushing the glowing green button.  But there is no reset button for life.  Just quest.

“Why don’t you help with the youth when we get back home?” Craig suggested.

“You mean like kids and stuff?” I asked.

“Yeah, like leading kids out of their parent’s basement.  Playing games, making friends, learning about God, and stuff,” he said.  “I know the leaders are looking for help with the middle and high school groups.”

We start back up in the fall.  Me, a youth leader trainee.  Don’t get me wrong, the reunion with

my phone was a glorious blessing.  But not so much with my game console.  I broke out the board games and asked the youth director if I could teach Chess to some of the kids.  They said I earned XP; experience points.  Level Up.

“Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once the left their nets and followed him.        Mark 1:17-18

-Jen Love

AC3 VB184 Building

Check out this weeks video blog with Rick. Enjoy! :)

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.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Morning person or night owl? 
Night owl.  I think DAY should start about 11am ☺