Friday, February 19, 2016

Your Dream Come True - do you grab it?

You get the call. Your greatest vocational dream has come true. You have just been hired to do the exact thing God has called you to as part of an organization and with a team of people you dream to work with. Amazing opportunity. Exciting step. Huge impact in the world, needs of real people met.

Your whole salary package is worked out, health insurance, expenses -- the whole package ("I wish I made as much as it costs for me to work here, $96,000 -- not even close, so much goes to taxes, insurance and the like . . . gonna have to cut a few things and simplify, but it is so worth it."

God's Call and Your Decision 

You know God has called you. You know you are supposed to do it.

Do you make the move? [ ]Yes      [ ]No

Here's the catch:  One of your roles -- your first assignment -- is gathering a team that will fund your position on an ongoing basis.

Do you make the move?  [ ]Yes      [ ]No

Reality Check: Most people who answered yes the first time would answer no the second time. Would your answer change?

The Slavemaster Called "Unknown" 

Why did your answer change? What you know didn't change. You still know that God has called you. You still know that you are supposed to do it. The "knows" did not change. Instead, something has been added, a slavemaster had come to town and his name is "unknown." "How the heck is it going to happen." Unknown settles in, infiltrates the known, "maybe God hasn't called me," "what if I'm not supposed to do it?" "Wow, what a disappointment, I had hoped that God had called me; I must have misheard, oh well, I guess not, maybe I will hear for real some day." Or maybe not.

Freedom From The Lies of the Unknown (in every moment)

The truth is that when God calls you to something he invites you into the world of the unknown (understand that this is God calling). When God calls you to the unknown he invites you to go there with the only one who fully knows, the Maker of the Universe who holds you and your wellbeing in his hands -- who knows the answers to the multitudes of the unknowns that cause you to fear and doubt.

My Journey Into The Known 

On January 1, 2016 I moved into my full-time call with CRM Empowering Leaders, heading up the Seattle team of ReWire, committed to transforming ordinary people into missionaries in their own communities. My church affirmed my call and seeded me with two months salary and medical insurance to answer God's call.

As the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into the view of my financial untethering just around the corner, I have been blessed beyond words to meet with so many people, sharing what we are doing and why. People that I share with get excited, they are joining in, affirming God's call and the importance of what we are doing here in Seattle and beyond.

Each and every day my need to be connected in with God, the one whose call I have answered is a more and more, moment by moment necessity. The unknown has not gone away -- it seeks to gain voice, to cause fear, to cause doubt, "you are only at 50% of your funding and the paychecks from the church stop in a few short weeks." "Did God really say . . . ?"

A Dream Come True 

Our dreams come true only when we move into the known. We don't know what the rest of the path looks like but we know who owns the path, we know what has been made known and that has not changed. And so we walk hand in and with the Known, fearless (mostly) in what has been a grand adventure of faith that we would not miss for all the riches of the world.

Where is God calling you to step out in faith? What do you know? Is your dream gonna come true?


My goal in writing this is to share this wonderful faith journey and to invite folks who read it to ask God where he wants them to step out; to free them from the fear of the unknown when they have heard from the Known. This is not intended to be a fundraising vehicle and I don't want our particular need to distract you from asking good questions. That said, because I talked about our need, here is a link to how you can contribute.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Call To ReWire

See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 
Isaiah 43:19

A New Season For Creekside and Me

Dear Creeksiders 

It is with a combination of deep sadness and wonderful excitement for the future of Creekside and myself that I let you know about a new calling. After an extended time of discernment which began this past summer, Kelly and I believe that God is calling us to a deeper role of ministry among the poor and launching other missionaries among the poor. In obedience to that call I will be moving into a full-time role as a missionary with ReWire which equips and mobilizes the Church to create missionaries to the poor. (Below is an outline of my new role with ReWire.)

I suspect that while this likely comes as a surprise, you will see that it is consistent with the mission of Creekside as a missional church and a sending church. While this  presents an initial challenge for me and for Creekside, this move comes at a time where we are all uniquely postured to move more fully into the future that God has designed for us. God is good all the time; he will continue to bless us as we continue to be faithful to him and his call for us to his church here in our corner of Redmond. 

The Leadership Team and I have been working on a transition plan as we move towards the end of the year. We will keep you informed as information develops. Kelly and I will be staying in the area. Our last Sunday at Creekside will be December 27th, 2015 but we will be back on January 10th, 2016 for a special time of commissioning, sending us out as Creekside missionaries.

I look forward to upcoming conversations with you all. 

Peace, hope and love

Doug Humphreys,  
Lead Pastor

Doug Humphreys’ Call to CRM ReWire

A Call to full-time ReWire Leadership. 
A Call to be a missionary among the poor. 
A Call to launch others into ministry among the poor.

Church Resource Ministries’ (CRM) Mission is to create movements of committed followers of Jesus by pioneering new ground among the unreached and unchurched, bringing lasting transformation among the poor, and mobilizing the Church for mission. 

ReWire is a missionary order within CRM. ReWire exists to empower the body of Christ to live as missionary people. Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for mission momentum in the local church.

  • Primary Role:
    • increase the broader Church's missional momentum
    • develop self-sustaining missionary training schools (these schools use a process called Missional Spiritual Formation and are dedicated to reproduce missional leaders)
    • help churches with church-wide mission endeavors
    • train new forms of missional communities called mission groups through a 1-year internship process
    • coach churches on the ongoing implementation of these programs as well as other church systems issues as the local church transitions to a more missional model
    • seek opportunities and partnership with ministries committed to the marginalized
    • run solitude retreats for missional leaders
    • develop all ReWire curriculum
  • Secondary Purpose of Role:
    • involved in a place of direct service to the poor
    • networking and other public relations marketing roles
    • telling the story of ReWire through various media; books, web, social, speaking, etc.
    • facilitate creation of new website platform
    • facilitate production of journals and teaching materials
    • develop younger leaders
    • run programs as needed

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Biblical Posture Toward Gay Marriage Decision

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 

This week a lot of people are reacting to a Supreme Court decision by quoting the Bible, and what it purports to say about certain behaviors. This is not the venue that I choose to explore these scriptures and how they apply to our culture (in the Church or outside of it). That said, I do want to make the argument that as Christians we need to be careful lest we end up wearing our biblical clothing inside out.

What I mean by that is simply that the Bible was never intended to be behavior manual. Instead it is a story of relationship, transformation, restoration and grace. While it does speak about behavior, it does so in a way places those admonitions not at the first thing, but at the second thing, not as the cause but as the effect, not as a to do, but as a will do.  

The message of the Gospel is that the God who created everything that has been created and sustains all that he created (including you and me), loves the people he created so much that even when we rejected him, he pursued us, moved into our neighborhood, walked with us and then paid the ultimate price to restore relationship with us. Jesus described eternal life in relational terms, as “knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3. 

You see, it is about relationship first with behaviors flowing from relationship. Jesus even called those who carefully kept every behavior but lacked relationship and love, “whitewashed tombs,” clean looking on the outside but reeking of death just under the surface. Similarly, the apostle Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3) My question to those who want to protest or speak out about behavior on Facebook, in conversations or protests is “do you love the people whose behavior you are speaking out against’? If not, then Bible says stop it. It’s not that difficult of an exegetical exercise to get to the root of the meaning of the word “nothing.” 

So, how do you love people you don’t know? (I think you can answer that question, if you can’t the answer is get to know them). I remember being moved and convicted by a sermon Francis Chan gave when California was preparing to vote on Proposition 9 (The California Marriage Act). He told his congregation, “regardless of their position on the issue, if you are a Christian and you have a “Yes on Prop 9” sign up in your yard, you should take it down.” Do you know anybody who is gay?” “Are you in relationship with anybody who does not believe like you do?” If you don’t than every person who is gay that sees your sign does not see “Yes on 9,” they see “go to hell.”  That is clearly not the message of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Measure of Success

“I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23

You have probably heard the African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Maybe you’ve heard it too often. Even if that is the case, I think we all know that there is truth in these words. It is a countercultural truth -- we know that these words have truth, yet we also know from our experience that other people sometimes just slow things down, we can get more done if we just do it ourselves.

This same conviction often floods over into how we view and live out our lives as followers of Jesus. I have had more than one person say to me, “Doug, I know you believe that doing life as part of a group, meeting regularly, praying and doing ministry together is the best approach, but if I’m are really going to make a difference in this world, I can get more done, faster, on my own.” That might be true -- in the short term. That might be true -- if the most important measure is what we get done.

Let me suggest that while words like “faster” and “more efficient” have their place in a life of following Jesus, they are not meant to be the leading or directing principles. These words need to be viewed with some suspicion. To not do so is to misunderstand the countercultural upside down Kingdom of God. Our culture -- the world’s kingdom -- will tell us that the measure of success is how much we get done. Jesus’ message is far less quantifiable, far more mixed and organic. Jesus uses words and phrases like rest, don’t worry, be content, yet he fuses them with an urgency that tells us to get up and do something while we can. Jesus is interested in process as much as he is in results. Jesus is interested in modeling dependence upon him far more than in what we might think of as measurable success. At the same time, Jesus believes that we can have a far greater impact than we do. How do we balance these seemingly incompatible ideas?

As we move into the places and spaces, the dark and the broken, the places where God invites us to bring light and healing, we must avoid the temptation to be obsessed with the arrival, completion or end. God has called you and me to a journey, with him, to learn from him and to do the things that he shows us. To seek him, to trust in him, to depend upon him and then to be moving outward in his love toward the world. It is an amazing opportunity, the beauty of which will be missed if you choose speed over companionship.

Are you intent to travel alone? Think this week about who your spiritual companions are. If you do not have any, think of who they might be. Are you in a Small Group? Consider joining one. Are you meeting with someone regularly to share life with? Consider asking someone. If you want to go far, you must go together.

Peace, hope and love


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Outworking of Grace

In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. (Romans 1:17) God will give to each person according to what he has done. (Romans 2:6) It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9) Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

It is a hard task for many of us to reconcile the duel realities presented in the Bible: 
  1. We are saved the grace of God, not by anything that we have done or will do; and, 
  2. We will be judged by what we do. 

On Sunday I asked folks if they had ever struggled with how to reconcile the seemingly  different messages found in these passages. The near universal nods indicated that most had. 

So, which is it? Do we need to do good deeds or works in order to be saved? Or, are we saved by Christ’s work alone, regardless of what we have done. The answer really is quite simple. We are saved by what Christ has done, period, end of discussion. And the things we do from a heart transformed by Christ are the evidence that we have appropriated what he has done, the evidence that we are indeed his. 

Let's go back to the basics: What is the goal of Christianity? It is not a trick question. The goal of Christianity is Chris. As we seek after him and get to know him more fully, we long to spend time with him, to do the things that bring us close to him and that reveal his heart in us. Jesus is not a means to an end, he is the means and the end. Jesus is not a ticket to go to heaven that we “accept” and then we hold until we need it for the afterlife. Rather he is the end, heaven is about Jesus our King and our life with him in his Kingdom, hear in the now, and forever when we die. Jesus is the means, he purchased our way into a restored relationship with him and he empowers a life that moves toward the way of his Kingdom, lived in and with him. This way of being, the things we do as citizens of his Kingdom, do not earn our status as citizens, but reveal that we are indeed citizens. 

On Sunday I mentioned the story in 1 Kings where two woman asked King Solomon to decide between them who was the true mother of a child. (Read 1 Kings 3:16–27 if you are not familiar with the story). When King Solomon threatened to take his sword and split the child in half, giving each woman a piece, the reaction of the true mother -- her action -- revealed to him the true relationship. It was not that the woman became the mother by her actions, but rather that her actions revealed that she was indeed the mother all along. It is like that with our works, deeds or behaviors. They do not make us fit for an eternity with Christ, they reveal whether such an eternity is really what we desire -- or, tragically, if we are just going through the motions.  So, what do you do with this? 
  • Do you see evidence in your life that indicate allegiance to God? 
  • Do you allow yourself to be shaped by him? 
  • Do you ever make decisions that but for the reality of Christ would not make sense? 

If the answer to these questions is no, the invitation is a simple one. It is not do do more, but to seek more. The solution is to draw near to Christ, to his ways, to his life in you. If you do not know how to go about that, let me know. We are all on the Journey with Jesus together, it is a journey toward life, and it was meant to be traveled together.

Peace, hope and love,


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Land of Nowhere

Where do you live?
I'm not talking about where your mail is delivered, where you eat dinner or where you sleep at night. I'm talking about the place where your heart, dreams and imagination live at each moment of the day. I suspect that if you are like most people, there is really no one place but rather a moving target of places, tragically few of them where you are at any given moment. If you are like most people, you live in The Land of Nowhere.
Most of us are rarely fully present in the moment, in the here, in the now. When things are not going well we cast our eye toward a time when things will be better -- or harken back to a time when things were. In the good times we quickly move towards wondering what will be next, how the goodness of now might become greatness to come -- or we cling in fear that the goodness of now might vanish in the days that follow, as it has in the past. And so we miss the fullness of the now, the time we are in; preoccupied with land of the past and land of the yet to come, not really present, living in The Land of Nowhere.
I am in the midst of a particularly difficult couple of months of surgery and radiation, replete with side effects that include painful sores throughout my mouth and throat, difficulty eating and talking, lack of mental clarity, and a general drug-induced fuzziness. It would be natural for me to want to be done with it all, to be on the other side. And I do (as of this morning, I have completed 21 of 30 treatments)! I cannot wait to be done. At the same time, I have to wait. But, if it is only a waiting season, how much will I miss while camped in that waiting.
I don't want to just "get to the other side." I don't want to lose these three months of living in the now because my focus is only on the goodness that I expect when I am through the now. I don't want to miss the uniqueness of this time. In the midst of pain, there has been wonderful sweetness and grace. I have experienced an increased empathy for people in difficult times, a special sweetness in my times with God, an amazing prayer life and the revelation of how short I can be with others when I am in pain -- how pain highlights my already existent selfishness and how God wants to refine that. These experiences and revelations among so many others are gifts of God only realized as I choose to live not in The Land of Nowhere, but in The Land of NowHere.
God's plan is for each of us to live in The Land of NowHere, to be fully present in the moments he gives us as we live the moments of our lives with him. It is only with such an intention to the NowHere that we can live the life that Jesus envisioned; a life without worry, a life without anxiousness about anything, a Kingdom life, fearless as we dare to fully live it, moving into the future with a dependence on God in the present. Jesus said that this Kingdom life requires the characteristics of childhood. Perhaps it is because children live in The Land of NowHere. Brennan Manning in his book Ruthless Trust, writes:
 Almost all children are born with a natural inclination toward contemplation -- toward long, loving looks at the Real -- and a tendency to moments of thoughtful silence. A simple thing may absorb children for a long time. Wriggling their toes, for example, is such an engrossing experience that it is difficult to divert their attention to something else. However, their gift starts to wither when we insist, "Hurry up, I don't have all day."
None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow; by God's grace you will have one. Instead of "hurry up, I don't have all day," perhaps we should say, "slow down, I may not have tomorrow." As it is, we hurry through the now to get to what's next and in the process we miss the joy and the grace of the moment.
There are a thousand yesterdays and a thousand tomorrows, but there is only one now. It is only in The Land of NowHere that we can really meet God. It is only in The Land of NowHere where we can truly live.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Kingdom Inbreaking, Kingdom Outflowing

“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29

When Jesus walked onto the pages of Scripture, he announced it right off:: "The Kingdom of God is at hand." He brought good news, he was good news -- the old ways of doing things are done he announced, the new ways of doing things are here: 

  • Light, not darkness 
  • Courage, not fear
  • Laughter, not tears 
  • Hope, not dispair
  • Life, not death. 
"The Kingdom of God is here," he declared, "and it's available to anybody who wants to be a part of it." And, this is what it is like -  it is like a treasure that is better than all competing treasures, it is like a pearl of great value, it is like a net that is broadly cast out, it is like yeast that spreads, it is like a small seed that grows big, it is unpredictable and uncontainable, it is organic, beautiful and untamed. It is something that we are caught up into, something that we are not called to be spectators of, but to be participants in -- here and now, and forever when we die. “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message,” (Mark 1:15 MESSAGE) change your life and enter into it with gusto. 

This is good news! Do you believe it is? Not just good news in general or for some people, but for you. Do you believe it? 

Our actions belay our beliefs, the content of our lives convey our convictions. Do you believe it? Maybe you believe it a little bit, but you hesitate to appropriate it in the actual stuff of life -- the letting go of worry, the control over the things you can't control, the change you want to make but don't believe you can, the sharing of your faith, the inviting of people join you as  you live out your faith. Jesus once was asked by a man to heal his son. Jesus asked him if he believed he could. In one of the most honest answers I can imagine, the man said in essence, "well, I believe a little bit, help me to believe more." And that's what Jesus did. 

This Kingdom life is good news, and Jesus is not keeping it to himself. He wants you to know it, to believe and to step out in it in action -- in our own lives, in the service of the least, the lost and the left behind -- and to share it with others. Take a look, step in, step up and see the reality that God will meet you there. Because, he is already at work in the places you are led to go.