Saturday, December 8, 2018

Animated-Week 2-Humanity

Imago Dei

Why should naked equal sexual?
And why should sexual equal lust?
Or why must desire and lust be imagined the same?
Something is wrong.
Unless you can convince me
that all is precisely as it should be -
I'm going with my gut -
something is wrong

It is almost as if a toxin has been dripping
into the good things
into our hearts and how we love
into our minds and how we think
turning good things into opportunities to war and fight
and just sometimes spit and spite
causing our good desire to desire the not-good

and how shall we know
good after all this time?
how shall we detox our imaginations?

The Imago Dei
The Image of God is there in the distance within us
pale and shadowy behind the dust as on an attic mirror
and yet a true north for humans who look to it

How can human beings overcome
the ways by which we divide ourselves
one from another?
Is solidarity possible beyond race, class, and gender?
Can we find a source of value for every individual
 regardless of their sin,
 regardless of their hated of us,
 regardless of their status as our enemy or slave?

Before the first followers of Jesus found confidence in Him as the true Son of God, Jesus taught them that they too were the children of God. This ancient creed was recorded within the folds of a letter of Paul the Apostle. It claimed a thing amazing about the whole human race: there is no race...  there is no class, there is no gender by which to divide ourselves. To a world in which foreigners were feared and hated, slaves were human cattle, and men questioned whether women were really human at all, Jesus claimed something shocking. Into this world Jesus proclaimed (through Paul): "There is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male and female, for you are all one in Christ. In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith"

The Imago Dei gets very little press these days.
I would like to see that change.
It has, I think, power.
Power to encourage us
to love one another and the rest of the world - not pragmatically,
but through the very love we have of God.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Who's Who at AC3--Chad Dodds

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 Braeden Crain. Next up, we have Chad Dodds, one of our AC3 Board members.

Questions: Spiritually-minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:
Loud, very loud music on the drive home, typically rock or metal; I try to get the frustrations out and leave the problems behind me. I also try to stop and workout on the way home, which works even better! On the drive in, I usually listen to worship music to charge me up for the day.
  •  Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:
My advice here is to do what I say and not what I do! I left my childhood church and didn’t go back to church regularly for 20 years. I knew something was missing from my life and so we went searching. We were very fortunate to find AC3! We love it. My advice would be to attempt reconciliation, but then don’t hold a grudge against God or all Christians based on the fallen people of one church.
  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:
As soon as I saw the profound, positive changes he was working throughout my family very shortly after we opened our hearts to him.
  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:
Chad and wife of almost 19 years, Jaime
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 (NASB). I am guilty of this, judgmentalism, and a few other things. I find it far more valuable to try focusing on my own issues instead of complaining about or judging others for their own flaws.
  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:
Right around the same time God pointed out my own flaws for me! (See the previous answer.) I had never wanted to volunteer for anything, even when I was in the military and it was highly encouraged. I was always too self-centered to spend my time worrying about others. Now, I enjoy serving others, mostly in the background, and just wish I had more time to do so (maybe after school ends!).
  • How I found my way to AC3:
Google! I’m not even joking. We searched and created a list of churches and were going to start shopping until we found one we liked. AC3 was at the top of the list and we loved it right away, we never even visited church #2 on the list.
  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:
You have a lot to learn, you do not know everything; don’t pretend that you do.
  • Gifting I most admire:
Compassion and Mercy
  • Favorite serving experience: 
First Fruits Farm! I miss going there on Saturday mornings. It sounds weird and smells even weirder, but the smell of compost in the morning can be very therapeutic after a tough work week. It always put me into a better frame of mind for the rest of the weekend.
  • What I tell others about serving:
YOU will gain more from serving than you will ever be able to share with others.

Questions: Secular-minded
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ribeye steak and baked potato, mmmmm...

    • There is a zombie apocalypse...What is your weapon of choice?
    A huge double-bladed ax! Zombies aren’t so tough without their heads or limbs.
    • What is your dream vacation?
    Any place that does not require work or allow me to receive messages from work. Sun, water, and maybe a beach are bonuses. I would also sign up for historical sites where I can see or learn from something ancient, but I don’t want to be on the run the entire time. Oh, and I need at least a week of vacation to mentally disconnect from work before the real vacation starts. Where do I sign up?
    • You have a day with NOTHING planned and no responsibilities! What do you do? 
    Hang out with friends, grill or smoke some meat to enjoy, maybe watch a movie or two.
    • What is the last thing you binge-watched? 
    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m only about halfway through Season 5, no spoilers. 
    • Morning person or night owl? 
    Night owl, but I have trouble sleeping in past 7:00 AM most days now so that may be changing.
    • What is your favorite sport to watch? Team to follow?
    Pool. I like Efren “Bata” Reyes, The Magician, Shane Van Boening, Earl Strickland for the drama, and a guy I played against named Brandon Shuff. I don’t watch a ton of professional sports, but I have liked hockey (Capitals) for a long time. I am a fairly new football fan; I only became interested after we moved to Seattle in 2010 and got pulled in by the 12s. They are contagious!
    • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose? 
    That sounds dreadful! One song? I don’t even get to pick a band? I feel like I’m getting better value from a 90+ movie vs. a 4-minute song so I’ll pick The Matrix.
    • What are your top 3 hobbies?
    Pool, video games, and just about anything technical (spreadsheets count, right Dan?).
    Chad, wife Jaime, daughters Hannah, Courtney, and Amelia
    • Marvel or DC?
    Marvel. No doubt.
    • Favorite season? Why?
    Spring. It’s like the rope that someone throws you to pull you out of the cold, wet, dark winter slush.
    • Beach or Mountains? Why?
    Beach! You don’t have to climb a beach.

  • Best advice I’ve ever gotten:

  • Don’t eat yellow snow.

    • 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.)
    Close the window/door! I’m not paying to heat/cool the entire neighborhood!

    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Constructive Connections--Part 9

    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.


    Image result for 1975 tricycle images

    The crunch of metal echoes in my ears.  It has been over 40 years, yet I hear the sound every time I start up the car. 

    Being part of the 80/20 split, I find myself among the 20 in my church.  20% of the attenders of a church do the volunteer work, 80% don’t volunteer at all.  It’s strange, but this has been an across the board phenomena in so many churches, it is almost formula.  I began serving at a church when I was a teenager, just after a significant incident in my life, and have been serving full time since retirement.  I don’t remember ever not serving…accept before the trike. 

    A woman came into the food bank the other day.  Her hair was stringy, bags hung below her eyes, she looked like many of those who have come through our distribution lines before.  I handed her a bag of apples with no more than a glance. 

    “Oh.  No thank you,” she said to me, looking around.  “Can I talk to…uh…the manager or leader or priest or someone?”

    Another whiner was all I could think.  “Why?  What is it that we don’t have this week?” I’ll admit; I grunted.

    “Um,” she stuttered and held up a box in front of her face.  “I have these.  These soaps to give out.  My son,” she stopped, her eyes dropped, then she took a deep breath and blew out her mouth, “My son wanted to donate these soaps to the homeless,” she spat out so fast I hardly understood.

    I went back to packing apples into paper bags.  “We don’t like that word here.  Food insecure is the term.  Not homeless.  Homeless is an assumption.”

    “I’m sorry,” she said.  “I have some soap to give out to people……food insecure homeless people.” I appreciated her half-effort to be politically correct.

    “Soap?”  I said inspecting the box.  The woman explained that they were in the shape of bear paws.  Then I saw the sign on the box, “Paws For Your Paws”.  Hate puns; I didn’t get it.

    She held onto the box as I tried to take it from her, but she did not let go.  “I’d…I’d like to hand them out...if you don’t mind?”

    A willing volunteer?  Don’t come across those every day.  “I’ll get you an apron,” I said and hunted around for some extra gloves.  I set her up next to my station and the apples.  By then a line had formed and people were getting cranky.  She was awkward.  She’d give out a soap, then tear up.  Then she’d give out another and turn around to take a deep breath.  Then Sabine came through. 

    “Morning, Sabine,” I said avoiding eye contact.  She’s always talking to me.  Weird thing is, she only comes to get whatever I’m giving out. 

    “Good glorious morning, Jacob,” she said with her sickly sweet chipper voice.  “I see we have a new volunteer!” she said as she held out her ring-covered hand.  Could never figure out why she comes to get food when she could sell off one of those gaudy rings to help pay for groceries.

    The lady took Sabine’s hand to shake; I guess I never got her name.  “Hi, would you like some soap my son made?”

    “Oh my! How clever!  But first, please tell me your name, Dear?”

    “Cody…um, sorry.  That was my son’s name.  I’m Kari.  His mom.  He made these, and I’m giving them like he wanted me to give them out…to you…to them,” she stuttered so badly.  Drugs.  I always assume drugs, then I find out about people later.  Probably not the best way to judge, but it is a boundary judgment I put up intentionally. 

    “You said was, dear Kari,” Sabina said grabbing her hand once again and looking like she was going to start crying or something. 

    “Yes.  Cody died.  He was 15.  Two years ago.”  I was surprised that she didn’t bawl after she said it.  Sabine did, however.  She covered her face with her jeweled hands and let out a howl!

    “Keep it down, Sabine!”  I hushed at her.

    “Oh Jacob,” she said and grabbed my hand and Kari’s hand.  “We need to pray for this dear woman!  She has just lost her son!”

    I didn’t pull my hand away.  I just looked at it and said, “But it was two years ago.  She didn’t just lose him.”

    She looked at me and squeezed my hand tightly.  “But Jacob, doesn’t it feel like just yesterday when Charlie had his accident?”

    I yanked my hand away in shock.  How did she know about Charlie?  She couldn’t have known, I’ve never told anyone at church, none of my neighbors, nobody.  It was over 40 years ago, for heaven’s sake!  My chest tightened, my stomach still healing from surgery made me double over.  Picturing all the sutures pulling apart under my shirt, I howled as pain shot through my body and I went down.  It was like crashing waves crushing my entire body.  I’ve never experienced such pain in my life!

    “Oh, Sweet Jesus…” was all I heard as I blacked out. 

    The next thing I knew, I felt like I was trying to resurface from underwater.  As I flailed, the nurses grabbed my arms.  “You are safe, you are in the hospital.  You have had an accident.”  Apparently, I had blacked out when I hit my head on the concrete.  I did pop a few stitches, much to my doctor’s distress.  He reminded me again to stop doing so much and take it easy.  Put me on bedrest, of all things!  I told him about how many jobs I did at the church and how they wouldn’t get done if I wasn’t there.  He wrote on a prescription form:  STAY IN BED-LITTLE TO NO ACTIVITY.

    A few hours later, Sabine came into my room.  “Oh, Jacob!  I am so thankful you are OK! I thought you had a heart attack!”

    “How did you know about Charlie?” I croaked. 

    “Well…I was there that day,” she said in a low voice.  “I was babysitting little Charlie Kline when he got away from me on his tricycle.  I screamed for him to stop, but he was peddling that three-wheeler so fast, I couldn’t outrun him,” she looked down and held my hand.  “He’s still alive, you know.  I visit him at the group home on Sundays.  I remember every day, but I also call on Jesus every day.  When I saw you at church a few years ago, I watched.  You buzzed around from this serving to that serving, all the while not smiling.  Recognizing your pain, it reflected my own.  We both lost our teen innocence that day, but we gained a heap of regret that holds us hostage.”

    Tears welled and spilled.  The sobbing from both of us hurt; a good hurt. 

    “You cannot outrun the pain by serving others, my friend,” she whispered.  “I’ve formed a small group with the church’s guidance for people in our stage of grief.  Accidental injury or death haunts.  The only way out of the haunted house is to open the door and let others in.”

    I was forced to stop running from the pain.  We are told to carry each other’s burdens; this was the first time I understood just a little deeper.

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
    Galatians 6:2

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    AC3 VB193 Gratitude

    Check out this weeks video blog as Dan discusses gratitude in our current culture. Enjoy :)

    Thankful Matters

    “Thankful Matters”

    I was about 5 or 6, we had made hats and headdresses out of construction paper; glued and colored on brown paper bags. This was to be the big production of the century, teaching everyone about the first Thanksgiving was very important after all, and it was a remarkable pageant, I am sure of it, based on the raging applause. Flash forward a few decades (OK 4 decades is more than a few) I now know of the truth of what came of the relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers. Sadly, much of it was not to be remembered fondly. However, does that change the original sentiment of thanksgiving? I think not.

    In a time where many traditions of holiday festivities and family gatherings are broken or non-existent, is there still a place for the sentiment behind Thanksgiving? We are for all our weaknesses, faults, and irreconcilable differences, a nation of people built from a variety of places with different values and beliefs. We have had our troubles with political scandals, fallen leaders, and crimes against our humanity, but we are still here and proud to call it our country.

    Our forefathers declared us to be “One Nation Under God” and though even that sentiment is under attack in this day and age, we are still “One Nation”. I am a believer; I fully accept that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is my redeemer. I am proud of my country, despite my not always agreeing with everyone, I love that I have the right to disagree peacefully and with respect. You may not be in alignment with me or my beliefs, but I humbly respect you for who you are and what you believe.

    You might have a big family and friends gathering this Thanksgiving, or a football party, or dining alone, or maybe even looking for a free meal at the mission, you have something to be thankful for. You might be looking back at a hard year or a great one, whichever it is there is still something to be thankful for. And you might even be in a place of brokenness, pain, or loss; even here there is something to be thankful for. You matter, we all matter, there are no mistakes. Whether you are a believer or not, I will profess that you are loved, you are never alone, and nothing nor nobody can take that away from you because God doesn’t quit, He doesn’t leave, He is with you and loves you always, even when you don’t love yourself.

    This is the root behind the sentiment of the first Thanksgiving; we are humans and every man, woman, and child regardless of where we come from, we all matter and that is what drove these two very different peoples to come together and share what they had. Not what separates us, but what connects us.

    Lord, God I thank you for all the color and variety you have placed in this world. I thank you that we are not all the same, but for all our differences we still matter to you. I pray a blessing over our country as they look toward this holiday that is all about being thankful. I ask that you guide their hearts to see all that you have blessed them with and know they are loved.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone, however you may celebrate it. I pray for it to be a safe and thankful time.

    ~Written by Christian Love

    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.