Last Sunday, couple folks were baptized at Quest. Their stories of coming to faith in Jesus always moves me. With permission, here’s the story of Rosalind – one of only 30,000 Karaite Jews in the world and now one of two Karaite Jew believers. I want to encourage you to read it and be blessed.
“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…” Genesis 12:1-4
It feels like my faith journey began before I was born. I guess that’s why my testimony might feel more like a history lesson than a story about God’s grace, but the fact that I’ve made it here is almost testament enough.
I am a Karaite Jew; a sect of Jews that has been around since God passed down his laws to Moses. Originating in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris-Euphrates river system (present day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc.), only 30,000 of us remain in the world today, 4,000 of which reside in the U.S.
There are numerous significant theological and biblical meanings behind the Last Supper(Passover Seder) and while the pursuit of those meanings are worthwhile and powerful, here’s the most simple and as significant:
Jesus wants to eat with us.
Let me say that again. The Triune God of the cosmos not only created the world and humanity but desires fellowship, communion, and friendship. And when sin entered the world and humanity to wreak havoc and choas, God intervened again – with the redemptive mission of restoring Shalom – all that which God intended for us.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14 / The Message)
Let’s be honest. There are some posts you naturally want to read and there are others that just don’t interest you at all. I can post about Rob Bell, Mark Driscoll, talk politics, or the uber traffic magnet – Mac computers – and attract at least 4000 reads/post. But bring up something like homelessness and I might be lucky to get 200 readers. That’s 5% for those that don’t have my mad math skills.
So, I’d like to challenge you to do your good deed for the day and read this post about homelessness.
There are two main things I have learned over the years of living and engaging in the urban context.
Homeless is a very broad word that unfairly is used to portray the totality of a very diverse group of people.
Homelessness is a very complex and real problem that will only increase in light of the economic downturn.
I don’t have all the answers but it’s simply not acceptable to not do anything. Several weeks ago, a group of pastors I meet with regularly hosted a representative from the mayor’s office of Seattle to ask, push back, and learn about what the city is doing. It was actually pretty helpful. We learned that the city devotes 38 million dollars in various ways to serve the homeless and displaced. But is it making an impact?
Goodness, these people work quick. Here’s the article [huge front cover of the Local Section] from the Seattle Post Intelligencer on the Quest/Interbay merger and their observations from yesterday’s service.
I tell this to every pastor that I encounter: People are watching your church community more than you will ever now. We have visitors that share about how they’ve been watching, following, and observing for months or even for years before they make their first visit.
Time to come up for some air. It’s been a very BUSY past few months; a little more pushing in the next three months to pound out some “minor” building renovations in August and then a chance to rest in the Fall. Transitions are very tough and through these transitions, trying our best to make sure that people [both from quest and the interbay community] don’t get lost in the transition and translation.
Quest celebrated our first service together as ONE church yesterday [Sunday, June 3]. I was exhausted [mainly because of an intense trip to Detroit] but the gathering was momentous. It almost seems surreal but the merger is now a done deal; We now enter the third season as a church community and missional ministry [The first season was the literal birth and planting of Quest and the second season was the founding of our non-profit community development – the QCafe]. The city of Seattle seems to be surprised and intrigued by this “merger” as well. The Seattle PI published a huge Local Section front cover article [and front page photo] on the Quest/Interbay merger and their observations from yesterday’s service. UPDATE: here’s another article from the Covenant Wire.
Here’s the video we showed to honor the “Interbay community” at yesterday’s service and the ONE CHURCH newsletter [pdf]. The photo below the video is from yesterday’s service [taken by Joanie K]. On behalf of Quest, I am presenting the first of many framed photos that will be hung on the church entrance as a “tribute” to the legacy of Interbay. Pastor Ray Bartel, Interbay’s former senior pastor, is accepting the gift. As of June 1, he joined our church’s pastoral staff.
On Saturday, my family and I, along with some of our church staff and leaders welcomed some of the folks from the “Interbay Community” to our home for a barbecue lunch. It was great to enjoy some time with them outside the church Continue reading “we are one”
This past Sunday, Interbay Covenant Church celebrated their last Sunday together as Interbay. It was such an incredible service. They did a great job not only celebrating their 65 years of amazing history but more importantly, celebrating the creator of their ministry and community – Jesus. Minhee and I and a few other Questers chose to worship with Interbay; I was invited to share a few words to invite them to our first Sunday together as One Church but my emotions completely overwhelmed me and I broke down in tears. It wasn’t what I intended but as I looked out to the congregation and especially those that have been at Interbay for 20, 30, 40, or even 50+ years… They weren’t tears of sadness. Rather, tears of gratitude and amazement because of their courage, faith, and Kingdom mindedness.
As these two churches merge, Interbay will, by name, no longer exist as of May 31 and will join Quest. However, their legacy will continue. And Quest will do its part – to love, honor, and value each of the 50 or so folks from Interbay that will join us. The two videos below is a small glimpse Continue reading “an incredible legacy”