Tag Archive | church

Best decision I have made in a long time..Invest in youth

habitudesMy favorite part of my week is Wednesday morning at 6:38am as I gather with some teens of our church for coffee, steamers, and iced drinks that are really loud to make. Some  also partake in some fresh cinnamon rolls or scone that I will stab with a fork when they aren’t watching.  We started getting together at the beginning of the school year to grow in our leadership. We have been going through a book called Habitudes. This made up word is the mix of habits and attitudes.

The first book was about growing ourselves in our leadership and character.  The second book (which we are in now) is about our leadership skills around others. Each short chapter has a picture that helps focus us into theme and trait the author Tim Elmore is talking about. It has been a great time as we interact about the days picture, story, scripture and personal questions.

I decided last year while at youth summer camp that I wanted to make a priority to invest in a specific group of young people and this has been my best decision this last year. I have found that I am never disappointed when I choose to help develop younger leaders. Their growth and interaction with each has been amazing to see.

As a side note, one of the best parts of this gathering is when we leave. There is a group of four ladies there every week that we pass on the way out. They smile at the youth and then I usually talk to them for a minute. They are always so shocked that young would meet at 6:38 to do such things. The first time I talked to them they said to me, “That must be expensive to buy their coffees every week”. I told them nope they pay for their food and book themselves. They assumed youth would only do something like this if they were bribed.

Glad we are changing their perception because I know a lot of great young people.  Check out a few here..(missing one and I am not in the pictures)

My Favorite Coffee Shop

(Here is an article I wrote for our church by bi-monthly newsletter mailer. To my friends on the west coast this is something churches send out in the mail, on paper, with an actual stamp. If you are confuse, I can explain this to you in another post, but for now just know that it is a great way to communicate with people that don’t involve twitter, facebook or other online medium. But I couldn’t resist sharing it with you….online. If you are still confused as to what my favorite spot is, just ask.)


Well, I have been here six months, and there is something I know you have been waiting for.  One of the top questions I get asked is, “What is your favorite local coffee shop.”  Coming from Seattle,  coffee shops are something that I know a lot about and am well versed to give my opinion on.

This pastor would, on the low side, spend 15-20 hours a week sitting at a coffee table.   I did this because life happened there.  This was where our community (both those that were followers of Christ and those obviously not) gathered, and I wanted to be in the middle of it.  I would go to my church building to get away from people as it was a sanctuary of quiet.  So you can see, I have the credentials to give my opinion on coffee shops.

Studies have shown that most people have the capacity to have three places in their life that they base out of.  The first place is their home, and the second place is their work (or school if you are a student).  The real fight happens over what the third place is.  Every organization in your life is vying  for that third place.  Starbucks, a nationally known coffee shop that has its nearest shop roughly 62.6 miles away, speaks of the third place in their corporate literature and employee training.  There is a national push for them to be that place in the majority of American lives.

And it is working.  Who wouldn’t want to go to a place where everyone knows your name, you get free wireless internet, refills are never ending, window seats abound  as well as a quiet corner nook, and there are endless people to talk to if you so choose?  That sounds like heaven to me.  They are making inroads to becoming the third place.

Sorry I digress; you want to know what coffee shop (third place) I like the best here in Rhinelander. Well, it is one that is just outside of town on the north side, tucked away in the woods off Hwy 17. I love it, because that is where those in our community come together; and no matter if you are a regular or a newbie coming through the doors, you are treated like family.

Everyone is there.  Dads bouncing babies in their laps, and wives assisting their slow moving husbands. There are kids popping from table to table as the elderly try to converse with them. There are some that gladly pay for those that are in need, and they all get free refills.  People are so friendly and don’t bury their heads in a book and act like they don’t see others coming.  They even let people come in and experience the environment without paying.  Almost daily I see groups of people that would not even call this their third place, find a place here to meet and gather.   No matter if you are a regular or a newbie coming through the doors, you are treated with dignity.

The beauty of this place is that they actually have the worst coffee in town (it’s really bad), but everything else about it makes it my top pick.  But not to offend all the other coffee shops in town, I don’t want to mention the name, but I think you figured it out.

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

The Message : Hebrews 10:24-25

”That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.”  The Message : Acts 2:41-42


Churchless Pastor on tour.


Today was father’s day and Christy was not home and I was up north with my kids and parents for the weekend.  When Sunday morning rolled along I thought to myself what does a churchless pastor do on a free weekend? Go to as many different churches as possible was my response to my seemingly rhetorical question. So off I was in the morning with my kids still sleeping the summer away.

I first went to Lifeway Foursquare in Arlington pastored by my good friend Chad Blood.  Chad started this church about four years ago in the heart of Old Arlington and it is a great body that meets at one of the local schools.  You will quickly realize that these guys don’t think mobile means you should skimp. If I was doing a mobile church I think I would throw up a sound system and let everyone know to grab a chair on the way in.  Not Lifeway, they have tables, coffee, fake walls, kid corrals, literature counters and a full stage of instruments and screens.  They did everything right to make you feel you weren’t in a gym. I also got to drink a bottle of Dad’s Root Beer during this great service.

I next went back to base camp and picked up my kids and father to head to Stanwood Foursquare for the 11:30 service.  I believe this would be the first time I have ever attended a service at such a late hour and was very curious to see what type of person would choose to mess up the middle of the day by going to church.  Lo and behold they all looked similar to me.  We all enjoyed every minute of this meaningful gathering. For Father’s Day I even kept my youngest with me and he endured well. It was great to see so many friends.

I then stopped of at New Life Church in Everett for their evening service. This is the same service as their morning however you could tell there was no time constraint of another service. Everyone seemed more chill. There gatherings are top notch as you would expect from a larger church. What you wouldn’t have expected was how intimate and unshowy it was.  Real and authentic meet professional. It was really neat to get to see a few of the youth and adults I got to know at camp.

I spent my fourth service online in the car on the way to seatac. Some would say this is not church and even a couple years ago I would have agreed. But with technology we are invited into someone elses house and can partake in what they are eating.  I got to be feed by Joshua Ferguson who is pastoring the people I just left. So for the interim I guess he is my pastor.  It is pretty clear to catch online how relaxed and open he is with his new flock and how they have a gifted communicator of God truths.  It will great to spend next weekend with them as we pass the baton on to them.

The thing that I take away from the day was that the Christian faith is alive and there are a number of places where anyone can grow in their faith.  The cool thing also was that a couple of the places were using similar topics for their messages but yet how and what they communicated was uniquely them. One of them used a Scripture that I used just a couple weeks earlier and his message was nothing like mine. I thought it beautiful to know the Scripture is unchanging but yet new and fresh every morning. Each of the churches also are doing great things not just for by with their respective communities.

It was a great way for me to spend my churchless pastor day.  Which is good sense I was going through withdrawals.


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