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Archive for April, 2010

Nice Round Number

22 Apr

75 + 25 = 100

One thing people always ask when wanting to know how the new church Epic Life is doing is this question, “How many people do you have?”

I never quite know how to answer this question, mainly because I don’t know quite what is being asked. Do they want to know how many adults show up on a Sunday morning? How many families? How many people attend our house church communities? How many people we get to serve on a weekly basis? How many business owners we are establishing relationships with? How many people we have given resources to? How many kids and families attend our school?

And each of these questions have deeper questions to frame the answer by. I think often people will judge the “success” of a church by the attendance on a Sunday morning, but that doesn’t quite cut it for Epic Life. Don’t get me wrong I love to count people who are attending, because I believe every person who attends is one life that God cherishes and desires to transform. In this respect numbers are very important. But at Epic Life there are so many other places to count people. There are so many other “Front Doors” and “Living Rooms” for people to check things out and to gather.

We want to be a church that is in the community; a church that constantly shares the Good News of Life with everyone we come into contact with. Some times that is in the form of building a relationship with a shop owner, sometimes it takes the form of buying coffee for the officers of the North Precinct at Starbucks, sometimes its sharing a story with a homeless alcoholic on the curb, sometimes its sitting and teaching the Word to a student at North Seattle Community College, sometimes its gathering at the local pool club with our House Church, sometimes it takes the form of eating lunch with the local Rotary club, sometimes it looks like picking up garbage or planting flowers or cleaning bus stops, sometimes it is a worship night, or a baptism at the beach or a celebration at the Oaktree Cinema, and the list goes on and on and on.

So where do we count? Well for the most part people just want to know how many people on the average are showing up at Sunday morning’s worship service and to that I will always average on the low side – I never want to be accused of being one of those pastors who stretch attendance numbers to look good or feel good. I have been answering the question with, “Oh about 70ish.”

But this past Sunday it was 75 in the main theater and 25 in the children’s theater. that rounds off to a nice clean 100.

“How many?”

“Oh around 100.”

Keith Carpenter

 

Finishing John

14 Apr

John has been awesome!

The next two Sundays at Epic Life we will be finishing up our seven month journey through the Gospel of John. It has been a fantastic ride as we have followed Jesus and his Twelve as they discovered who the Messiah was. We sat on the shore of the Jordan as John the Baptist introduce Jesus and sent his disciples to follow this new Rabbi. We attended a wedding feast and watched the servants of the master of the banquet nervously dip water out of large jars and pour pure the best wine into the master’s cup. We sat with Nicodemus and a Samaritan woman as Jesus taught about eternal life with thoughts on being “born again” and drinking “living water.” We followed Jesus to the Pool of Bethesda where he healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 years and then walked up a hill followed by thousands of men, women and children where Jesus took a small lunch from a peasant boy and distributed it to the entire mass of people, allowing them to be filled.
Throughout these instances Jesus kept teaching about how the old is changing to the new and death is turning to life. He taught about how he himself, as Messiah, is the Bread of Life; the Living Water; the Light of the World, but many questioned his identity and didn’t believe and stopped following him and started to look for ways keep him silent.

We had front row seats as a woman who was caught in adultery entered into an arena where she was about to be stoned, but as Jesus spoke, the accusers dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus offered forgiveness, not condemnation, teaching about how he would lead as the Good Shepherd caring for his sheep because he knows them by name. Specifically this teaching came after we got to see Jesus heal a blind man by spitting in the dirt and putting the mud on his eyes and sending him to the Pool of Siloam to wash, which he returned seeing. From here we followed him to his friend’s house in Bethany where he raised Lazarus from the dead and Mary anointed him with an expensive perfume, preparing him for his death just a week away.

That week we watched him enter Jerusalem as a hero King, share the Passover meal with his disciples and prayed earnestly in the Garden as a mob approached to arrest him. Sadly, as we watched, his disciples fled and denied him, he was beaten and mocked and tortured. We were on the road watching him carry his cross to Golgotha and be crucified between two thieves. We stood and watched with horror at the brutality of the entire environment.

Jesus took our burdens on his shoulders, taking the penalty of sin for us. He willingly gave up his life as we heard his last words spoken through his shallow painful breathing. We followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the grave and buried him.

Then we waited…Saturday was long…Saturday was silent…But Easter is coming…

We were there with Mary to see the stone that was rolled away and the angels and got to see Jesus as he appeared to his disciples. He is alive! He fulfilled all of his teachings in John and showed the ultimate death to life transformation.

Two more weeks and we will finish the Gospel of John. We will get to go fishing with the disciples and eat breakfast by the sea with Jesus as he teaches one last time and restores Peter, helping Peter make the shift from what was to what is.

John has been awesome!

 

Easter

03 Apr

Our first Easter service at the Oak Tree Cinema is upon us and I can’t tell you in printed words how excited I am for this Sunday. It is going to be such an amazing morning. David has been working with our first worship choir, which is going rock the house! Epic Life is so blessed to be ministering along Aurora in this moment in the history of Seattle. We are committed to being a church for the city, who prays for the city and invests in the city to be a light that cannot be hidden shining a light towards the risen Savior as people discover life transformation through Christ crucified and the power of the empty tomb through Christ resurrected.
I am looking forward to meeting many new people and rejoicing with our Epic Life family who are living life abundantly. John 10:10