Soul Care

Quiet mornings refresh my soul. I intentionally wake up early because I need some slow time. When I wake up at the last possible moment and start rushing through the morning my whole day feels rushed. But a quiet, slow morning gives me time to reflect on God’s Word, pray over my calendar for the day, enjoy a cup of coffee, and prepare for the day. 

When I wake up early to run I’m caring for my body, but on non-run days I focus on soul care. It’s important that we find time to tend to our hearts. Otherwise, like the garden beds we inherited, our hearts will be over taken with things that we don’t want there. 

I’m writing this on Monday, my prayer for all of us this week is that we would find a time and rhythm to build soul care into our lives. 

Here are some ideas

  • Turn the radio off as you drive to work and spend some time praying (please keep your eyes open)
  • Listen to the Bible (you can use’s audio Bible for free)
  • Spend some time outside during your lunch break listening to birds sing and reflect on how all of creation sings God’s praises.

It is never too late to start a good habit. Good habits are hard to build and maintain but they pay off in the long run. 


Building Unity

We have a growing team at Creekside.  With the adoption of the Lynnwood Campus, we have added some more team pastors as well as members to our congregation.  One of the most important things that we are working on is building unity in our new congregation.

We recognize that there are two different histories between the two campuses but moving forward we are embarking on a new story. This is not easy work but it is important work.

Today in our staff meeting I shared what was on my heart about unity.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 says:

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Even though we are coming from different histories we have so much in common because of what Jesus has done for us.  My prayer is that our team would recognize our distinct roles that we play in the team and that we would be unified by what Jesus has done and what Jesus is going to do.

Psalm 133 also talks about this:

1 How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

When we operate in unity, we please God.  When our churches are working together we honor Jesus.  And we all can work together to accomplish the mission that Jesus has called us all to.

We know that we cannot afford to do ministry alone.  We know that we cannot do ministry for ourselves.  When we are unified around the mission of Jesus, we recognize that my gifts complement your gifts. My weaknesses are helped by your strengths.

Unity is so crucial.  We don’t have to agree on everything all the time. But we can still operate in unity when we are unified the mission of Jesus.

If you are part of Creekside Church, please be praying with us as we build unity.  And please don’t wait until someone gives you permission to practice unity.  Introduce yourself. Say hi to new people. Serve on a ministry team. Join a group with new people.

These are all things that help us to build unity.

These are all things that will help us please God.

Jesus wants our hearts

I think the biggest challenge that the church faces today is our unwillingness to give Jesus our whole hearts.

Sin and morality questions boil down to our unwillingness to submit our whole hearts to Jesus. Instead of letting Jesus do the work of transforming us by the power of the Holy Spirit we hold on to our sin because we find our identity there. That identity is tied to our hearts.  Jesus wants our hearts.

Churches struggling with leadership is a heart issue. We want what we want, not what Jesus wants.

Lack of financial support for the mission the church is called to reveals that there are people who have not given Jesus their treasure and that reveals their heart.

I cannot in good conscience read the Bible and tell people that Jesus is ok leaving them where they are if they haven’t given their whole hearts to him.  Jesus wants our hearts.

What would happen if Jesus had my whole heart?

My identity would be wrapped up in his plan for me instead of my plan for me.

My temptations would lose their power because they would not hold my heart.

I wouldn’t be so concerned with what that other church or pastor is doing, because I really only need to care what Jesus wants me to be doing.

My treasure would line up with his priorities.

My conversations would be shaped to reveal Jesus’ heart to the people in my life.

Where is this peace on earth I hear so much about?


Yesterday we talked about the peace that Jesus makes available for all mankind. In our Softer Sunday service we sang this classic Christmas hymn. And as we were singing I was struck by the despair in the third verse.

This song was written during the American Civil War. A time when the nation was being torn apart by many factors. Perhaps the most widely known factor was the American South’s insistence on maintaining their right to own slaves. Black lives were seen as less than white people’s lives.

This song was written 150 years ago.

It breaks my heart that our country is still going through so much turmoil and pain around race relations. It is just sad.

And my white brothers and sisters. We don’t have to understand the pain the black community is feeling right now to still acknowledge that their pain is real. And their pain should be our pain.

I heard someone quote Martin Luther King Jr. And the quote has really struck me.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

The news tends to highlight the riots but the truth is people have been quietly and respectfully protesting the events in Ferguson and New York. When these respectful protests go unheard, this pain escalates.

Also frustrating, is that I feel like I can’t do anything to help.

But that’s not true. I can hear the cries of the hurting and broken around me and try to be a peacemaker. That’s what Jesus challenged his disciples to do in Matthew 5:9.

“Blessed are the peacemakers
For they will be called children of God.”

There is incredible pain all around us. My prayer is that the church will be their to mourn with those who mourn, pursue peace and reconciliation between people and God. And all the while keep praying and hoping for the day when Jesus will finally set all things right. When there will be true peace on earth.

Christmas is a time that reminds us that while we have not fully seen peace on earth. There is a day when we will truly see peace. And it’s only ultimately possible through the work of Jesus, as he makes peace between humanity and God available, and his followers get to share that peace with the world.

The Road Ahead

Today we begin a new chapter at Creekside Church. This is my first Sunday after as lead pastor of this amazing church. I know that I have a lot to learn as we move forward. I am trusting that Jesus will continue to do the work that he has already started in me.

There will be challenges.

There will be celebrations.

There will be lives changed by the Gospel.

Creekside as we look to the future together I ask that you pray with me. Pray for me and my family. Pray for the people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. Pray that we will always say yes to the mission of helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

As we are launching Creekside Lynnwood, pray for wisdom and favor in the neighborhood. Pray the congregation in Lynnwood that we will build unity around the mission. Pray for the leadership teams in both campuses.

The road ahead of us is exciting and I am looking forward to going on this journey together. Let’s see where Jesus takes us.

Review: No More Dragons – Jim Burgen

20140522-210305-75785698.jpgThis book’s central metaphor Is borrowed from the scene from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan removes the dragon scales from Eustace and heals him. Jim Burgen paints a picture of what Jesus can do in the lives of Christians who are willing to let Jesus radically transform their hearts.

Burgen does a great job of weaving in stories from his life, his own process of being undragoned, as well as events from his ministry experience where he has seen Jesus bring healing to hurting people. The real strength if Burgen’s writing is that he is not trying to be the expert on righteousness, he just wants to help people find the wonderful and amazing life of freedom that Jesus has to offer.

Burgen essentially points out that everyone has dragon like tendencies. The only way to free ourselves is to let Jesus undragon us. If you are carrying hurts from past relationships or experiences with God or church people you would benefit by reading this book. If you are struggling with your own sins and don’t know where to find freedom, this book can help you find healing with its constant reminder that Jesus has both truth and grace.

No More Dragons is a book that I would recommend to ministry leaders to get a glimpse of what their ministry could look like if they helped their church share the truth and grace that Jesus talked about. I would recommend it to Christians who are holding on to things that they know they need to give to Jesus. I would also recommend it to people who want to believe that Jesus and his followers have something to offer the hurts of this world.

disclosure: I received this book for free as part of the program. My review is my honest opinion about the book and I’m not just trying to be nice. If you are interested in joining the program click here
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Multiply Monday: Why do we need another church?

This is a question a lot of people might be asking. There are lots of churches already, why do we need another one? Why can’t people just go to those existing churches?

The simple answer is because they aren’t going to those other churches and even if those churches were full we would still need more churches in our communities to create space for people to discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

A recent study said that churches that go Multisite continue to grow about 14% a year. Creekside is actually growing at a faster rate than that. Which is clearly the grace of Jesus. But we are nearing capacity at MLT and want to be good stewards of the growth that Jesus is bringing us.

Those 14% of people, where did they come from? Where some of them transfer growth from other churches? Probably. But a lot of them were probably people who found Jesus for the first time at a new campus in their neighborhood. Either way when mission focused church launches a new campus in a new community new people get to hear about the new life offered in Christ. And that is the most important reason to launch another campus. To help more people find Jesus.

Team Tuesday: Better Than Me

When building teams leaders can’t be the best at everything on the team.  If the leaders is the best at everything they don’t have a team, they have helpers.  Looking around the staff table I know am greatly encouraged by the fact that we have a variety of gifts and skills present.  I am also relieved that I don’t have to try to be the best at everything.

Let’s look to football to see how this plays out. The Quarterback is not the best tackler on the the team. The leading scorer is often the kicker.  That’s a dude who is able on focusing on one thing and trying to do it really well.  The Coach isn’t even playing but he responsible to makes sure that he has the best people in the roles that they need to be in.

Teams are much better when leaders are willing to let other people shine, and celebrate their wins.

Multiply Monday: Leaders and Opportunities

I recently read A Multi-Site Road Trip.  This book was essentially a tour of several different churches that are implementing Multi-Site methodology into their church.  There were many great lessons to be learned and it is a book that I plan to go back to over the next year.

Today I wanted to share one quote with you from Wayne Cordiero at New Hope in Hawaii:

“Our goal for satellites is not necessarily to add locations,” explains Wayne. “It is to develop new leaders. It is to edge these emerging leaders into their own teaching, where one day we can release them as stand-alone churches. When young leaders go out with this model, they have time to build relationships, develop teams, think about evangelism projects, do community outreach, and build leaders,” he says.

One of the key elements of multi-site church is raising up leaders.  I’m a firm believer that the church will never have too many leaders.  The key is willingness in current leaders to train people and then release people.  At Creekside we have talked a lot about being a sending church.  We send thousands of dollars to missions projects every year.  But we also need to send people.  One of the ways that we can send people is through campus launches.

But it starts with multiplying leaders.  So as we launch the Lynnwood Campus, we are looking for people who want to grow as leaders or become leaders.  But we are also looking for people who want to lead the next campus.  Lynnwood can’t be the end.

When Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses” he didn’t stop at Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  He left it pretty open when he said to the ends of the earth.

The only way that the church is going to faithfully carry out it’s mission is by sending out leaders who are called by God to specific communities.  Maybe Jesus is calling us by saying, “You will be my witnesses to Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everett, Lake Stevens, and on and on.

But we need to multiply leaders in order to keep multiplying opportunities.