Monday, October 28, 2013

Finding a Church

Being in a class that studies how churches get started, grow, and ultimately start new churches is really fascinating. Perhaps I find it particularly fascinating because I have visited about a billion churches. Ok. Not true. But I've been to 2 churches in my home area, 4 in Beloit, a half dozen or so in upstate New York, 2 in Colorado, 1 in Pennsylvania, 1 in Idaho and 3 in Seattle. And those are only the ones I instantly recall. 

In any event, people at Anchor are interested in how I found it. Some of the people in my Bible study hadn't known, and there was a new guy at church so we were talking about it, especially because I'd been coming here since my 2nd Sunday in Seattle. I sporadically read The Gospel Coalition, which is a blog run by a bunch of guys who are aligned with Together For The Gospel. It's consistent quality pieces and reviews. They have a list of churches throughout the country that align with certain core principles so I used it in coming to Seattle. 

It sounds ridiculous, but Anchor starts with A so it was high on the list. I looked on the website and seemed like a place I could see myself, and it was also about a mile down the street from my house at the time. On my way there the first time, I saw a sign for another church and I thought, well, if this doesn't work out, I'll try Calvary. 

It worked out. 

Here's why


People at anchor love Jesus. The building, the style, the size, this is all secondary to me. Today Jen asked me a practical real life question and I answered her in terms of Jesus and the gospel and I wasn't sure if she got how it related and she did. She said it actually helped a lot. This is characteristic of a typical conversation between people at Anchor. 

And it's beautiful 

And it's why I'm here 

Jesus, only Jesus

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Picture of Heaven?

Today I was reading about the woman with the flow of blood in Mark 5, whom Jesus healed. I hadn't thought much of this story before. But last spring, Pastor Tim preached on it. And I read about it in the Jesus Storybook Bible. And then I read the Holiness of God (Sproul). And today I was reading Mark 5, and the "after" really got to me:

But the woman, knowing what had been down for her, though alarmed and frightened and trembling, fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth? And He said to her, Daughter your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease. Mark 5:33-34

I read it and wondered if this is what will happen in heaven, when we meet Jesus face to face. When we reach that kingdom, the kingdom of life, and are restored, won't we at least really understand what has been done for us? Will we confess our unworthiness in awe of His greatness? When we bow before the King, won't we be humbled and astonished in Christ's holiness? When there is no more sickness and death, won't we see how our faith has become sight and how God has restored the brokenness? And won't we see how we've been set free from our bodies and pains?

I don't have the answers, but I wouldn't be surprised if her story turns out to be our story.

Thank you, Jesus. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Preach It!

My establishing church class is amazing.  I love getting together with people who love Jesus and are dripping with passion to see the plan and mission for His church as it has been revealed in the Bible. It is so rich! It makes the early morning so appealing. 

We regularly come back to the fact that preaching the gospel is key. How do you start a church? Preach the gospel. How do you encourage a church? Preach the gospel? How do you correct flawed teaching at a church? Preach the gospel. How do you restore relationships within a church? Preach the gospel. How do you grow and engage in missions? Preach the gospel. Jesus Jesus Jesus. Jesus Christ and him crucified is the answer. 

In this, we've also been talking about how important it is to preach the gospel to each other and to ourselves. Jesus died to set you free from that sin. Jesus lives to make intercession for you. Jesus gives you access to the grace you need. Jesus allows you to be most satisfied in God. Sometimes it can be easier to preach to each other, because we hate to recognize our own need. But sinner, do you preach to yourself? Do you remember that you were once dead in your sins but God in his mercy raised you to life in Christ? 

I have had a challenging week. I was given a minor concussion by one of my kids and then it was aggravated two days later. I've had a headache for 4 days now and I'm tired and my kids have been crazy and my coworkers have not been entirely helpful and every time I've complained I've later caught myself and said

Hey, Christ died to give you full joy. 

Did you know that Jesus died to set you free from your bitterness and self centeredness? 

Take heart, God is making all the sad things come untrue. 

You have been raised to new life in Christ. 

Isn't it cool how God is showing you your moment by moment need for grace? And that grace is free in Jesus because God is good and merciful and He fixes all that you mess up. 

Over and over and over again, I tell myself these things. I recite Ephesians 2:1-10, which by the way, is a really incredible passage to have in your back pocket. Romans 5:1-10 has also been pivotal in my growth in grace and in preaching the gospel to myself. I long for the day when the good work that God has started in me in Christ will be brought to completion, when it no longer takes a mess up for me to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith. But until that day, I press on in the pursuit of this heavenly calling. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

What Do You Do When They're Bad

I went to an autumn evening party this weekend. There were classy conversation stirring games, mason jars for guests to personalize for their drinks, adult apple cider, wine, a whiskey tasting and mood lighting and decor. Would you believe me if I told you 5 dudes one year out of college put it on? 

Anyway, I didn't know most of the people there. Some people I knew of but hadn't really talked to before. I mustered up just about every once of extrovert I have and talked to some new people. I was talking to this one guy who works at Microsoft and of course he asked me about my job. I love my children so I tend to gush about them. I said something like, "even when they're bad, I just love them" 

And he asked, "what do you so when they're bad?" 

I was struck by this question because I don't think it's been asked of me before. I explained the different times of poor behavior and their solutions. 

And I thought about what God did

He loved us. He was rich in mercy. 

He reached down 

He came 


Jesus was and is God's answer to a rebellious heart and world. 

I do what my Jesus does for me: pursue, lead, love, extend grace upon grace upon grace. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


This is the over the hump slump in the session for me. I have never felt so unmotivated and uninterested in coaching before when I wake up and plan out my day. I've had a mild cold, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite. 

But God. 

I've been leaning so dependently on him and it has been absolutely amazing. Coworkers have noted my enthusiasm and creativity this week. I found myself teaching the same skills in totally new ways. I remembered old drills I hadn't thought of in years. I made up new preschool songs. I found myself not exhausted and exasperated but refreshed and inspired. 

What a double espresso with whip could not do, The Lord did in prayer in Jesus' name. 

Jehovah Jireh God my provider
His mercies do not fail, they only open wider
It is in my weakness that grace abounds
I need only ask and my Help will be found 
Oh, my Jesus, pour out Your redemptive grace 
That I would learn to seek Your face 
In my every need, big and small, 
That I would see You as the God of all 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Yesterday, I was at a clinic on preschool gymnastics. We were discussing the basics of each preschool class, and filling out a cheat sheet to have in case we were ever asked to substitute a class we aren't used to teaching. 

When discussing the Bees (2 1/2-3 years), Tarah said something that made me catch my breath because it was just so Gospel: 

"Don't expect consistency from them but be sure to offer consistency to them"

We are the two year olds. God knows we can't. That's why he sent Jesus who can. We will fail to consistently love The Lord but he will never fail to consistently love us. 

See 2 Timothy: 

If we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself. 2:13

And Ephesians: 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked...But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made is alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - From 2:1-5 

And Romans: 

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 5:8

And 1 John:

We love him because he first loved us. 4:19

And of course, Hosea: 

And she did not know that it was I who have her the grain, the wine and the oil and who lavished on her silver and gold which they used for Baal. 2:8

And in that day, declares The Lord, you will call me My Husband, and no longer will you call me My Baal. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth and they shall be remembered by name no more...I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you shall know The Lord...And I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, You are my people, and he shall say, You are my God. From 2:16-23

God is faithful to us in Christ because he has chosen us and created us and he delights in what he has made. We are a people for himself and God will always be glorified. Like the teacher who remains kind and patient and gracious when her child runs and screams and defies, so The Lord welcomes us when we sin and scorn and reject. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jesus. I Come in the Name of Jesus

From A Praying Life by Paul Miller:

"Imagine that your prayer is a poorly dressed beggar reeking of alcohol and body odor, stumbling toward the palace of the great king. You have become your prayer. As you shuffle toward the barred gate, the guards stiffen. Your smell has preceded you. You stammer out a barely intelligible phrase, but you whisper one final word, 'Jesus. I come in the name of Jesus'. At the name of Jesus, the palace comes alive. The guards snap to attention, bowing low in front of you. Lights come on, and the door flies open. You are ushered into the palace and down a long hallway into the throne room of the great king, who comes running to you and wraps you in his arm".

I was so struck by this when I read it Friday afternoon. I was sitting at a marvelously pretentious new coffee shop, having spent my day off soaking in the Word and this book on prayer. Saturday brought a worship session with my friend Gab, who had received some tragic news. Things fell silent and we talked and then, without asking, I just started to pray. Slowly, out loud. And in the end I didn't know if I'd hit everything she was anxious about but I said in Jesus' name and how welcomed we felt. She said, that was awesome. And we worshiped some more. And I thought about grace and the cross and how that rugged tree is not a wall but a welcome sign. My heart overflows with thanks. Even as I mourned with Gab, I drove home with the music off, saying over and over, Lord You are good. What a wonderful Savior! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Grace

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Especially this:
What are you gonna say to God
When everything you prayed to God
Came your way but you forgot to thank Him?
And all you hear Him say is
My grace

I love that last verse because his grace is not only sufficient for all that we ask for, but also for all we forget. Not only is his grace sufficient in our weakness, it's sufficient in our perceived strength. In our trials, in our blessings, his grace is sufficient. 

This is 1000 gifts. 

More grace

Grace upon grace

More grace

O to grace! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I am shamelessly in love with the book of Hosea. I read it at least once a week, often more than once. It whispers gospel with its every breath. 

Hosea + Gomer= 

God + Israel = 

Jesus + Me. 

It's that simple. And maybe it's harder to see if you haven't loved the written word and poured over it, but I see Jesus on every page. The whisper of the gospel has become as shouting to my heart. 

Just look at chapter 11 verse 4: 

I led them with cords of kindness, with bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. 

Does that sound like Jesus or what? 

The woman who came to draw water and was drawn by living water instead

Come to me for my yoke is easy

I am the bread of life

My heart just melts and I won't even read the rest of the chapter tonight because I'm resting in awe of the love and tenderness my Jesus has shown me. 

More Grace

It's October, so I think I can say with relative assurance that the most convicting thing I'll have read outside of the Bible this year is John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin in the Life of the Believer. I wrote earlier of how he challenges the reader to ask himself if he hates sin because of its consequences, be it a specific event or action that follows sin or the guilt and bad feelings he feels; or if he hates sin because God hates it, because it is treason against his holiness and the cross of Christ. 

This question often comes to my mind. I spend time after each of my block of classes repenting of sin in my teaching and my interactions with my coworkers and my children, and I ask God to make me hate sin because he hates it and to help me love Jesus more than my self. I want to repent not just because I feel bad, but because I love Jesus. And then I am ever thankful that when I come, he always supplies more grace. 

More grace

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Grace to those who come to him to know his holiness. To those who know that they have nothing to bring, but want all that he has. 

More grace

To be made holy. To be made like him. 

More grace. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gym Life

Me, to my five preps (5 year olds): hey girls, we're missing some friends today. Do you know who? 

Them: Lucy! And...sayer. They're not here! 

Child: yes Lucy and sayer and God. God's not here

Other child: God is here! He's everywhere

Another child, running around the room: he's there and there and there

Fourth child: yeah, and he made me! 

I LOVE kids! 

One of my 8 year olds said if I like kids so much I should have some. 

I'll get right on it...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love Incorruptible

You know how at the end of the epistles there are greetings? Grace and peace to you all, etc. I have tendency to gloss over those, but today I was reading for my Bible class and the very last verse in Ephesians caught my eye:

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. 

What a thought! My kindle gives 2 primary definitions

1) not susceptible to corruption, esp by bribery

2) not subject to death or decay; everlasting

Oh for my love for Christ to be incorruptible! Because my heart is so prone to deceit and growing cold. 

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, 
Oh for grace to trust him more! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Forget Grammar

Came home last night to a quiet refrigerator. Got it running. Stopped running. Too stressed to sleep soundly. Wake. Still nothing. Preschool crisis. Called in early. Crisis averted. Roommate text. Fridge running. Hoping it stays. Paper due in two weeks. Just kidding, first third due today. Type type type. Type about the gospel. And then


Remember the gospel of life

Remember that it's October 2nd and a year ago I got that call that said my sister became a sister in Christ

Heart stills. Gratitude. Grace for the long day to come.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Saying Sorry

At both SGA and the Seattle Preschool, we hold a policy of never making a child say he or she is sorry. When I was first told this, I was somewhat skeptical. But here's why:

1) Kids are usually not sorry. They are often far too self-centered for that. They may be not like the outcome of what they did, but they did it on purpose. 

2) It teaches them that they can do whatever they want and then say sorry and there are no other consequences. 

So instead, we (the observer and the offender) make sure the other affected person(s) are ok and assure them it won't happen again. 

Yesterday, though, I had a tender moment with one of my four year olds (oops, sorry, she's four and a half!). Her mom saw her not listening at the end of class. So when it was over, her mom took her in her arms and explained why that was not ok. As I made my rounds to check in with all the parents, Grace looked at me with sincerity and said, I'm sorry for not listening. She looked to me for acceptance and I opened my arms and thanked her. I told her I like having her in class and that I want it to be fun and safe for everyone. 

In that moment, I tasted so much grace. Oh how our Heavenly Father rejoices when we come to Him with sincerity. 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17