Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brad House has transitioned out of MH into Sojourn

Brad House@PBHouse9 Jan
Excited to be installed as a pastor at this evening. Humbled to serve with the elders and members of this church.

Grace Driscoll's father Rev Gib Martin dead

Last Saturday, Grace's father, Gib Martin, finished his race on earth and got to meet the Jesus he served as a pastor. While on vacation a few hours away from Seattle after Christmas, his health took a turn for the worse. Grace's two sisters and mother were there with him on holiday. Our family was out of town getting a break, but Grace was able to come back and be with her dad for a few days before he passed away.

I was planning on taking our five kids to see him after school last Friday, but Grace texted early that morning saying he was declining fast. I pulled the kids out of school early and started the three-hour drive in the snow. Towards the end of the trip we were running low on gas, so I was watching for the fuel light to come on. It did…right after we ran out of gas about 10 minutes away from our destination! I did not want Grace to leave her father's side to come and get us, so the five kids and I hitchhiked a ride from a nice family.

We made it to the hospital, and although Grandpa Gib could hear us, he could not speak. We spent seven hours with him all together as an extended family singing, praying, crying, sharing Scripture, and chatting. I took our kids and their cousin to a hotel where they fell asleep around midnight. Grace stayed up all night at the hospital and was there at her father’s side when he died.

The next morning we all went sledding to enjoy one another. We drove home on Saturday night so I could preach the first sermon of our big Ephesians series the next morning to a standing room only crowd in Bellevue. The energy of the people along with their prayers helped me be focused, present, and on message, despite being emotionally and physically exhausted and distracted.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for my mother-in-law, Grace, her two sisters, and the grandkids in this season. We would appreciate you not sending flowers or gifts, as we truly only need prayer and deeply appreciate it. Grace is grieving well, and I am very thankful that I get the great honor of being her best friend walking through this season with her. A funeral will be scheduled for later this month, and I will be preaching, as Grandpa Gib requested.

Grateful for the life, rest, and work we have through Jesus.

Condolances to the Martin and Driscoll families. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Announcement from Mark Driscoll that Bill Clem is resigning leadership of Mars Hill Ballard, Alex Early replacing him.

For those of you who've read the earlier blog posts about Bill Clem's role in getting Doxa to Mars Hill where it became Mars Hill West Seattle; and for those who read the earlier blog posts about Clem's salary and hours compared to those of co-founding pastor Lief Moi; this update may be of some interest. You can search for all Clem-related posts earlier in this blog at your leisure. 

Ballard | Priority Topic
Pastor Mark Driscoll
From Pastor Mark Driscoll:
Dear Mars Hill Ballard,
I look forward to seeing you at the members meeting tomorrow night. I’ll be present with the other Mars Hill executive elders (Pastor Dave Bruskas and Pastor Sutton Turner) and the Ballard leadership team to announce the transition of my friend Pastor Bill Clem. Obviously this is a very significant meeting, and I hope you can join us from 7–8 p.m. at Mars Hill Ballard (childcare provided). Before we get together in person, I wanted to write you this letter to convey the details and help you prepare.
My friendship with Pastor Bill began before he joined the staff at Mars Hill. He was part of our Acts 29 church-planting network. I witnessed Pastor Bill care for his first wife, Jeanne, as she died of cancer. It was a devastating experience that lasted for years.
Pastor Bill has taught me a ton about suffering, faithfulness, and how to be a pastor through the darkest of days. He was planting a church in West Seattle while caring for his wife when he joined Mars Hill and his church plant became Mars Hill West Seattle. Pastor Bill has since made a huge deposit in our church, particularly through the content in his Disciple book that we published. He is well loved and respected. Therefore, it is with many mixed emotions that I announce my friend’s resignation.
To be absolutely clear, Pastor Bill’s transition is not the result of any conflict or sin (in fact, we will honor him publicly at all services on January 27). Mars Hill Ballard is in a season of major change. After sending out dozens of leaders, thousands of members, and millions of dollars as the longtime launching pad for a church that now spans 15 locations in four states, it’s time for Ballard to find out what the next season of fruitfulness looks like as a local church. It’s going to be a big project that takes a lot of years, energy, and effort. After months of prayerful consideration, God’s made it clear to Pastor Bill: he’s not the man to lead whatever’s next for Ballard.
I would gladly have Pastor Bill serve in another position at Mars Hill Church, but he is feeling called to something new in his next season of life. He has my full support in this decision, and though I am sad to see him go, I am forever grateful for his service. He remains my friend and should remain yours.
To help make this announcement, I asked Pastor Bill to share some thoughts from his perspective:
Dear Ballard Family,
My heart is torn as I write this joint letter with my friend and pastor, Mark Driscoll. While I look forward to what God has in store next, there is sadness in closing a chapter of my life that has been so rewarding. I have enjoyed so many relationships and profound experiences at Mars Hill.
At the very time our churches merged, Shoreline was just launching, and a third location in West Seattle immediately catapulted Mars Hill into the multi-site world. I came to Mars Hill at a time of major expansion, I served on the team that developed our Redemption Group ministry, I helped design our training for Community Group leaders, and I was also given the opportunity to be on the launch team for the ReTrain—all of this in addition to the privilege of shepherding the flock at Ballard as lead pastor. I am truly grateful. I have never felt more loved or respected than I have by you. I have needed a grace-filled family to process the loss of a spouse while trying to stay in step with Jesus and starting my new life married to Sue. More recently, I was responsible for shepherding the Ballard church through our transformation from Mars Hill hub to local ministry focus. We have made the shift from audience to army.
These assignments have been challenging to me and clarifying for me. As Mars Hill Ballard moves into a new chapter in its life, I realize I am best suited for the design and launch aspects of ministry. This has led me to believe that God is asking me to join a church team where I can serve in many of the ways I have served here. Mars Hill Ballard needs a leader who can mobilize the people as well as engage Ballard’s changing culture and growing population. I am grateful and believe that God provided just such a leader for Ballard in bringing Pastor
Alex to us.
As Pastor Bill mentioned, Alex Early will be the new lead pastor of Mars Hill Ballard, effective this month. Pastor Alex and his family are new to Seattle in the past year, but he has a proven track record and many longstanding relationships at Mars Hill Church from his years as a church planter in Georgia with Acts 29.
Pastor Alex brings a ton of experience and education to his new role. At the age of 32, he already has three degrees, two kids, three years of church planting, and eight years of marriage to his wife, Jana. He just finished up his first book, which is due out next year, and he’s currently a doctoral candidate at Reformed Theological Seminary. In 2009, Pastor Alex planted Four Corners Church in a bar with a core group of 14 people, and the church grew to 400 in three years. He is a man who loves people, loves the church, and loves the Bible because he loves Jesus very much.
We’re incredibly blessed to have Pastor Alex on the Mars Hill team. He joined us last year as a member of our Lead Pastor Residency program. Since then, Pastor Alex and his family have moved to the Ballard area and built strong relationships with many people at Mars Hill Church, especially the Ballard leadership team. His original plan was to head back to Georgia to plant a new Mars Hill Church in Atlanta, but God gave him a heart for Mars Hill Ballard instead. I asked Pastor Alex to share what that process has been like:
I love Mars Hill Ballard for a number of reasons. For starters, we share a history together. In 2006, it was from Pastor Mark’s podcasts distributed from Mars Hill Ballard that I first learned about what a missional Christian life actually is supposed to look like. This led to my decision to quit my cushy church job and become a barback at a gay bar with the intention of becoming a friend of sinners and sharing Jesus. That experienced snowballed into a church plant, which began in that very bar where the lesbian owner converted and gave us the meeting space for free.
In addition to Pastor Mark’s preaching, Mars Hill Ballard launched Acts 29 and Resurgence, ministries which helped me define my convictions and gave me a tribe to belong to (I’m more “Ballard” than “Southern”).
In 2009, I got on a plane and came to Mars Hill Ballard, right after I planted our church and my father suddenly passed away. I came here to go to an Acts 29 Boot Camp and just escape and seek encouragement. I bumped into Pastor Dave Bruskas, and he prayed over me. That moment, God filled my heart with love for his people and this place in a way that I can’t quite articulate.
While living in London, my wife and I would download Mars Hill podcasts, transcripts, and music and listen to everything we could coming out of Mars Hill Ballard. I became well acquainted with the church while commuting on the tube and finishing my second Master’s degree.
Mars Hill Ballard has been used significantly by Jesus to literally impact the whole world! It doesn’t make any sense outside of the fact that Jesus loves Ballard and continues to confound the world by using unlikely people in unusual places for his unrivaled kingdom. From obscurity like Nazareth to hot spots like Ballard, Jesus has his fingerprints all over the world and his presence is seen and felt everywhere!
The Ballard neighborhood is on the verge of a massive influx of new families, new people, new opportunities. Businesses will boom and our church is PERFECTLY poised to welcome thousands to our city and thousands to the family of God!
Many cities are struggling to survive. Ballard is the opposite—bracing for the impact of thousands of incomers. Historically, one slogan that has marked the neighborhood is “Free Ballard.” That’s exactly what Jesus has come to give: true freedom. Freedom from sin, death, self, and Satan.
Our family moved here on August 26. Since then, I have had numerous opportunities to share the gospel with people all over our city. In pubs, the gym, coffee shops, at Rudy’s barbershop, in the park—you name it. I’ve been able to connect with many people that are far from God, and I’ve been able to become friends with them and share with them how Jesus has changed my life.
After a church event a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I walked into a pub in Ballard for dinner and were invited by two other couples walking in at the same time to sit with them. We had never met! We sat down with them, and I had the opportunity to tell the group about how Jesus changed my life. Everyone else in the group was agnostic, and they looked at me totally shocked and asked to know more about my faith and why I trust Jesus. I had the great privilege of telling them about him. Since then, I’ve been texting with one of the guys and plan to meet up soon to talk more.
I’m genuinely humbled and excited to be here. I never dreamed that I would get to be part of such a significant church that so loves Jesus, his people, and those who have yet to become his people.
I hope you can see it, Mars Hill: God cares deeply about the people of North Seattle. Though he has called Pastor Bill to a new season of ministry, he has provided an excellent leader to carry on with the mission. What that means is there is still work to be done. God has people he wants to save in Ballard, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Northgate, Greenwood, Maple Leaf, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Broadview, Fremont, and beyond.
All across the city there is new life about to take place, and Jesus has uniquely prepared and called this church for the harvest. Pray for Pastor Bill. Pray for your new leader, Pastor Alex. Then, follow the Holy Spirit boldly as he calls this congregation to step out in faith and share Jesus with a people in great need.
I love you very much, Mars Hill Ballard. Thank you for all you’ve done for the sake of our church and the cause of Christ.

Monday, January 07, 2013

HT Jim West: But You See, The Thing Is, You Just Don't

I'd quote from the post but it's short and easy to read.  Rather I'll quote from a comment West makes in subsequent discussion.

my greek teacher, once responding to a question in class, said to the questioner- ‘we aren’t washed in the blood of the subjunctive mood’. his point, in its context, was that the ancient greeks were no more slaves to grammatical rules than modern ‘common’ speakers. to build a doctrine on grammar rather than the context of texts and sensible and simple readings of texts is a rather poorly thought-out move. i would simply say, again, that in its context, and in the context of paul’s entire theology, divorcing faith from gift is a bad move.

I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to go read the rest.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

you can learn something new every day if you want

Or maybe it's more accurate to say you can learn all sorts of new stuff month by month if you just stay alert.

For instance, I learned that a cellist can improvise a set of solos that use just harmonics.

That's pretty awesome! 

I knew that it was possible to create a lydian canon by retuning a guitar to raised F (6) and then exploiting the fact that the guitar and viola have an overlapping set of natural harmonics to make a sweet contrapuntal waltz in C lydian using harmonics alone ... but that a cellist can improvise a solo just using harmonics was something I didn't know until today.

Again, that's pretty awesome!

I may have to write another sonata for cello and guitar just to make use of this new knowledge. 

Indian/first nation tribes in the Pacific Northwest and environmental advocacy

The Haida salmon cultivation scuffle has to do with an iron dump in the ocean by an Indian tribe in the Pacific Northwest, the British Columbia area.  This has sparked controversy because, well, the belief is that even if the iron dump in the sea managed to increase the salmon run the concern is that the salmon will have fed off toxic algae and that that, in turn, will be toxic for the people of the tribe.  Another argument is that the method is inefficient, though precisely what method of cultivating agriculture or animal food staples is efficient might be exactly the sort of production-line approach that might be considered problematic for the environment, couldn't it?

It would appear that the person who came up with the idea of the iron dump was trying to develop a creative solution to salmon cultivation while accepting that global warming is a significant issue.  But this has not necessarily kept some environmentalists from saying the idea is too risky.  The tribe, however, has been willing to put its own money into the project and has done the deed already.

For those who remember Pacific Northwest tribes and ecology from the last decade, we got the Makah tribe getting criticism from environmentalists for a whaling tradition dating back millenia.  Now here I put my bias in plain sight, I've descended from a tribe in the Pacific Northwest and while ecological concerns are certainly things I can respect ... it does strike me that in the first two decades of the 20th century it looks like Pacific Northwest Indians in the US and Canada can run afoul of environmental groups for either doing what they've always been doing and on a very small scale (Makah) or taking some initiative to remedy a significant staple food problem in a way that accounts for global warming (Haida).  None of these tribes have ever been near as big as the white industrialist and post-industrial cultures that, say, have industries that get mercury into the water supply to a degree that PNW Indians are four times more likely to get cancer.  Why?  Well, because those trace toxic metals accumulate faster if they're in fish and you're four times more likely to eat fish because it's been one of your staple foods since before white people showed up, that "might" be why.

So whether it's white people taking the land or then using federal laws and ecological paradigms to tell them what they can't do with the land they still have it can kinda, sorta seem like American Indians can't win for losing.  Of course you'd hope that this kind of scandal could by itself obliterate the stupid cliche of the American Indian in touch with Mother Nature who cares about the magical land, eh? ;-)