Thursday, November 15, 2018

Who's Who at AC3-Braeden Crain

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 Rick Thiessen. Next up, we have Braeden Crain, our Youth Director.

Questions: Spiritually-minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
If you had asked me a year ago my answer would be different… I would never have had imagined myself saying this but these days I clear my mind best when I go for a run. A good 3 mile run gets my mind straightened out usually. 
  •  Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
Don’t give up. People are broken, the church is not perfect and people hurt people. But don’t give up on Christ’s bride. Be a peacemaker and seek out resolution and restitution. Find a trusted friend to walk the path with you and a mentor to guide you through it. 
Braeden and her husband, Brandon
  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:
I was seven years old, sitting next to my dad in church. I have a Bible that I wrote down my commitment to him. Pretty cool to be able to look back on that and see the faith I had as a young child. Helps me remember what my faith should look like today. 
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Oh gosh, let's not go down that rabbit trail. There will always be things we need to change. We will never be perfect. Each person has their own journey and their own struggles. I don’t know that I could name one single thing that needs to change for “all Christians”. 
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
My first global leadership summit I ever attended I heard a women speak who completely changed the way I look at service. Mother Maggie was her name. It’s hard to describe the impact she had on me, if you weren’t there. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the presence of someone who radiates Christ… When she walked up to speak the whole room was silent and you could just feel it… I felt like it would be similar to being in the room with Mother Teresa. Anyways after she was done speaking I came away thinking “With all that Jesus has done for me, why would I not give him every ounce of everything I have? Every minute, every ounce of energy, every dollar, why would I not give it to him?” And since then that has been my motto. 
  • How I found my way to AC3:
My family was looking for a church, and my mom new some of the founding members from Smokey Point Community Church. She actually played basketball with Rick on the weeknights. Anyways we found them when they were meeting at the hotel (before the school years) and we fell in love and never left. Now AC3 is my family. 
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Relax. And try not to get diabetes
  • Gifting I most admire:
Humble and gentle leadership.
  • Favorite serving experience: 
I love Love LOVE serving in all the areas I currently serve. But probably my favorite experience ever was doing lights and building sets for some of our bigger shows like Imagine Christmas. It was just an absolute blast.
  • What I tell others about serving:
I don’t know that I tell people things… but I guess if someone were to ask me “hey, tell me about serving” I’d say something like…: Serving requires a constant examination of your heart and motives. If you can get that in the right place and serve for the right reasons, you will grow more in your walk with Christ then you ever would just sitting in a chair listening to a sermon. (No offense to the awesome people who teach sermons…)
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
Accountability with my small group/mentor, serving in the church, attending weekly services. The last one seems like a given but honestly if I don’t show up on the weekends when everyone else is here, I disconnect very quickly.
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: 
Prayer, Scripture study along with journaling, meeting consistently with a mentor

Questions: Secular-minded

  • What book left a lasting impression on you?
Beautiful Outlaw. Very cool to be able to learn more about the personality of Jesus.
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kraft thick and creamy mac and cheese… mmmm….
  • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
hm. Shot guns always seem to work well in those zombie shows.
  • What is your dream vacation?
1 month, somewhere tropical, learning to surf!
  • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities! What do you do? 
Sit on my couch with my dog and do nothing. Or go to the beach.
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched? 
Currently binge watching Hawaii five-o. I think I’m on season 5.
    Braeden, husband Brandon, son Crosby, and daughter Charlie
  • Morning person or night owl? 
  • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
Football. Seahawks.
  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose? 
I boycott this question… I don’t want to choose…
  • What are your top 3 hobbies?
Is being a mom a hobby? I feel like that counts as 3.
I like my dog, is that a hobby?
Or running… but that’s more just cause I wanna be healthy and not lose my toes due to necrosis.
Or maybe it's sarcasm. That’s it. Sarcasm’s my hobby. 
  • Marvel or DC?
I don’t care… I love both types of movies. Why do I have to choose?
  • Favorite season? Why?
Winter. Cause Christmas, duh.
  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
Beach. I do love the mountains, the snow, the rivers, the lakes, the hiking. But the beach has my heart. The sand, the smell, the power of the waves. My soul is at peace when I’m there.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Seattle the Musical-Week 3-The Cutting Edge Washingtonian


“Ding... (seconds later) … “ding” … “ding”. OK, it must be important; I mean it’s a three “dinger” right? “HAH, that’s so funny! A cartoon of someone trying to work and their phone keeps going off distracting them from their task…hey, wait a minute…” Sounds familiar right? I have been around technology for over three decades; each year it has succeeded in working harder and harder to pull me away from what I need to be doing, want to be doing, and should be doing. Interesting enough, I even sell technology product: Salesperson #1225824 or something like that anyway.

We even have fancy titles. I am a Solutions Specialist; it is my job to help you find the technology that will be the perfect solution to whatever challenge you are facing. If you are thinking, “there is no perfect solution” or “technology is bad because ___” (fill in the blank); you may be right. However, while it is true technology is not the way to find the “perfect” solution, it can be also true that technology can be a source of great darkness and distraction; does all this make technology inherently wrong or evil?

Jesus is the only true and perfect solution to all of life’s problems, challenges, and pitfalls. He even declared this himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6-7). According to the Bible, there are many things we are told to avoid and stay away from. Sin is sin and there is nothing to debate about that. There are times when we are weak, there are times when we need healing, there are times when we are broken, and we all need to be forgiven for our sinful ways.

So, you might be asking, how might Jesus respond to the technology so readily available today? Jesus in his great commission tells us “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). I fully believe that this is our number one job here on earth; to go forth and make more disciples. Leading others to see, know, and accept God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit; there is no greater purpose.

The freedom I crave to go and spread the word of Christ can be hampered by the obligations of family, community, and yes work. So how can I “go forth”? You may have guessed it by now: Technology. If you are still reading this, you have already seen me at work for the kingdom of God. I can use technology for good through blogging, posting good messages on social media such as my “November 30 days of Thankful” or scripture used in an appropriate way; not in a way that judges others for not reposting it on their timeline (“You don’t really love Jesus if you don’t repost this”). Sure, I get a laugh from a witty meme and the occasional pun, but instead of spreading darkness, this very same technology can be used for good, spreading love, kindness, and the message of God’s love for us.

One of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible is in 1Timothy regarding money…it does not say “money is the root of all evil”, it says, “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Like money, which is an inanimate object, a tool with no ill intent; so too is technology. It is only when placed in the hands of all mankind does the good or evil intent come to life. You can use the technology, or it can use you… you can choose to turn off the notifications when you are trying to focus, you can propagate positivity, love, and promote the kingdom of God. Or you can let the darkness take over and succumb to the distractions, forward the posts that spread judgment, anger, or discord.

“Ding” … “ding” …Ok that’s it! I am signing out for now and turning off my phone’s notifications. I have work to do. Lord, I pray you will help me to resist the distractions I am too weak to resist on my own. Help me to be a positive force for your kingdom and to not spread anything that is not of you. Show me the way I can use technology to glorify you. AMEN.

~Written by Christian Love

Monday, November 5, 2018

Seattle the Musical-Week 2-The Independent Washington

Recently, I was on an airplane for a two and a half hour flight. I had magazines, my Kindle, movies, and the plan of a nap to make the time go quickly. I found myself on the aisle seat, and to my left was a young man in his late 20s engaged in conversation with his work colleague on his other side. As the plane got to cruising altitude, the two gentlemen gradually ceased talking, tho I had picked up on some of their conversation. I mean, come on…it’s hard not to eavesdrop when you share an armrest.

As I had to get up to let the widow seat passenger out to use the restroom, the guy next to me noticed he’d read the book I was reading, and I got a chance to talk to the guy beside me. For a split second, I saw the situation from the outside: a suburban grandma in her 50s and a 28-year-old, well dressed, edgy young man. Why would he want to talk to me? I’m going to look nosy. He’s going to roll his inner eyes at me. Still, I asked him about their music conversation, and he was happy to tell me about their discussion. Not just that, but the bands he likes, his sister’s nursing school in Minnesota, the strength of character of his mom, the 80 pounds he lost (that was a surprise!) his first job failure and the existential crisis that caused before he righted himself and created the life he loves. In fact, before I knew it, the landing gear was lowering and we were home.

The plane ride ended with him promising to email me the list of books he recommended and referring to me as “His friend, Lori” to the colleague who woke up from napping. It turns out that Sam had moved to the Seattle area from Florida after college. And though we talk about it in church circles and in our community, he mentioned how real the Seattle Freeze is, and what a struggle it had been for him. About how hard it is to even make eye contact with the neighbors who live in his building. Apparently, there is not only a lack of available women per men in the dating scene, but there is also a lack of available community in which to enter. As I have pondered this in the few weeks since Sam and I met, it has caused me to wonder about why this is. What are we afraid of? In the end, I think we are both afraid of and proud of the wrong things.

First of all, we are afraid of intruding, right?? I mean, if I see my neighbor struggling with crutches to carry in her groceries, and then I offer to help her, might I seem nosy? Will she wonder why I was watching her? Will she think I am trying to sell her something? I think we are all afraid of being lonely, yet we are proud of not needing anyone. This is confusing, to say the least.

A couple of years ago we had a situation where the mail in our neighborhood kept getting stolen. I decided the solution would be to get one of those locking mailbox towers, so I called the post office to investigate. It turns out the neighbors must organize and pay for this themselves. Oh man, I would have to track down my neighbors, get money out of them and get them to agree to this. The neighbors I never talk to, and some of whom I’ve never even seen. And not just a couple of them, 15 of them! I only know a couple of my neighbors, so this was extremely daunting.

I started with leaving flyers on doors, asking them to contact me to let me know if they were interested. Knowing how much we avoid contact with someone we don’t know, I allowed them to respond by calling me, emailing, texting me or simply responding on the flyer and putting it on my porch in a box I left there for that reason. I mean, if they wanted, they could do this with zero conversation, or they could choose to engage.

I remember the situation with one woman in my neighborhood in particular. I was walking toward her house with a flyer as she was unloading her groceries. The look of terror as she realized I was coming toward her was almost funny. In fact, she was trying to hurry up and grab all of her groceries at once so she could close the garage door behind her. As I approached her, she started moving faster and faster. I finally had to call out that I wasn’t selling anything, but that I was her neighbor. The ironic thing is that once we relaxed and had a good discussion, she complained about the fact that they had lived in their home for eight years and didn’t know any of their neighbors; that this neighborhood was cold and kept to themselves. I wonder if she heard herself.

Yes, I think we’re afraid of intruding. We’re afraid of the messiness of others’ lives, and don’t want any more stress than we already have. We are afraid of people intruding into our lives, and judging the way we keep our lawns, kitchens, marriages, and children. It’s easier to avert your eyes when you pull up in the driveway at the same time as your neighbor. Best not to risk awkwardness.

But we also value the wrong things. We value the perceived strength there is in complete independence. I would rather drive myself to the emergency room than depend on someone else to do it for me. We incorrectly value extreme self-reliance. We confuse isolation for independence, coldness for strength invisibility for self-sufficiency, and drawn curtains for healthy boundaries. If I never see my neighbor, that means he’s rightly minding his own business and taking care of himself. We assume a manicured lawn and clean car are evidence of a healthy life. We’re taught early on to keep our eyes on our own paper. We admire that here.

Meanwhile, people are starving for attention without knowing how to get it. I don’t think we know how to engage with one another without trying to prove something at the same time. Who we are quickly becomes what we do, and people never get to know us beyond that. Still, Jesus called us to relationship, not small talk.

So here’s the thing, as Christians who care deeply about those around us as Jesus did, how do we overcome this over-independence? The days of neighborhood block parties and Tupperware parties are gone, and we really don’t know where we’re welcomed. Sometimes, all we have to do is look up. Look up to the person walking by, and acknowledge them. There are so many people who are lonely, who don’t feel ‘seen’. Simply seeing people and acknowledging them is something. Saying hello. Asking people how they are, and inviting them to talk about themselves. It turns out there is really no substitute or shortcut for listening. No formula for making people feel valued other than valuing them. No other way to make them feel cared about than caring about them.

Jesus was radical this way. He encountered people all the time who he invited into his community. And guess what? Not everyone accepted. He risked rejection, and he risked people judging him and questioning his motives. But he saw people, valued them and cared about them. And they felt it. In this day of valuing independence and self-sufficiency, it is radical to look up, see people, be there for them and to become approachable ourselves. 

~Written by Lori Caperoon

Who's Who at AC3-Rick 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 Sarah Ade. Next up, we have Rick Thiessen, our Senior Pastor.

Questions: Spiritually-minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
I usually unwind on my Kindle, some games and recreational reading.

  •  Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:

Don’t avoid the “Tunnel of Chaos”.  Broken relationships tend to stay broken because we live with a tolerable amount of awkwardness and pain that we suppress.  Moving past this means a temporary bump up in the pain and awkwardness as we approach rather than avoid the person, by committing to examine ourselves, and speak the hard truth in love.  So that’s the “tunnel”. But as we all know about tunnels, there’s light on the other side!
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Reject the lure of pleasures and worries to live radically and sacrificially for Kingdom priorities now, not “someday”.
  • How I found my way to AC3:
As a 27 year old youth pastor in Arlington, I was invited to be the senior pastor of AC3 by 2 courageous couples in Marysville (the Holland’s and Getty’s) who had already formed the core of a vision for a church for the unchurched.  It took me a while to say yes for many reasons, but AC3 has become my life’s work and God has blessed that risk we took over and over in hundreds of changed lives.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
Your wife is always right!
  • Gifting I most admire:
Mercy or Administration.  These people baffle me with their wizardry around people or details.  What kind of magic is this? Oh, right, the Holy Spirit!
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:
a. Commit to a small group. b. Get real in the small group or else it’ll die or grow stale c. See a & b
  • 3 disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God: 

1. I prayer journal.  Besides a regular time of prayer on my knees in the morning, I write out prayers and significant dreams and spiritual musings a few times a week.  It helps both reveal and cement what the Holy Spirit is saying, doing or changing in me. 2. I read the Bible every morning when I walk the dog.  I’m reading the Old Testament thru this year. 3. I take a once a year (or so) spiritual retreat.  Usually three days, just me, my journal, a bible and a couple of books.
    Questions: Secular-minded
    • What book left a lasting impression on you?
    I’m sorry to be so cliché, but it must be Lewis.  I’ll try to be slightly original and say that Problem of Pain probably outranks Mere Christianity in its formation on my thinking.  You know an author has had a lasting impression on you when you can’t tell which thoughts you read and which are yours.
    • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    Rick, wife-Johnna, sons-Joren and Jaden,
    daughters-in-law-Becca and Ariel
    • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
    Does Fallout Shelter count as a weapon?
    • Beach or Mountains? Why? 
    Cannon Beach may be my favorite place on the planet (and I’ve been places!) so I’ll say beach.
    • Favorite season? Why? 
    Fall and Spring.  Temperate weather, and change.  I love change.
    • What is your idea of a dream vacation? 
    Being with my extended family for a week or two with nothing to do but joint outings, games, movies, great food and watching the grandkids (and great-grandkids) play together.
    • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities!     What do you do? 
    First, marvel at the unique miracle that just occurred. 
      Rick, wife-Johnna, daughters-Layla and Marley
    • What is the last thing you binge-watched?
    Lost in Space!  (The Netflix version – Robbie’s robot has changed!)
    • Morning person or night owl? 
    Yes, all that.
    • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
    Sing it with me: Da… Hawks, Da Hawks, Da Hawks, Da Hawks, Da Hawks!
    • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
    I guess I choose a movie, and make it “Saving Private Ryan” because a 3 minute bit on repeat would get a lot older faster than a 2 ½ hour epic story.
    • What are your top 3 hobbies? 
    Basketball, Golf & my backyard