Northshore U: Who Needs Theology?


Northshore U is a ministry of Northshore Community Church and is designed to help you deepen your understanding of God’s word and learn to follow Him more passionately. These classes dig deeper into the text and themes of the Bible as well as offer practical training in following Jesus.

This session, I am teaching an 8-week class called Who Needs Theology? Your theology—your thoughts on God—are your most important thoughts because they determine everything else in your life. If this is true, then we ought to dig deeper into what we believe and why we believe it. In this Northshore U class, we will explore how the Bible reveals who God is, who we are, and how He saves us to be the church for the world. If you want a fancy term for what we’ll explore, it will be a crash course in “systematic theology.”

We’ll cover the following topics:

1 – Who Needs Theology?

2 – The Bible (the nature of revelation, inspiration, inerrancy)

3 – The Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)

4 – People & Sin (The image of God, the nature of sin)

5 – Salvation & the Work of Jesus Christ (the doctrine of atonement)

6 – The Church (the people of God & our mission)

7 – Things to Come (end times, heaven, & hell)

8 – Putting It All Together (how to live a theologically shaped life)

As part of the class experience, we will read Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little.

The class begins Thursday, September 24 from 6:30-8 pm at Northshore. Children’s Ministry is provided for infants through 4th grade.

For more info on Northshore U or to register, go HERE.

My Prayer for Northshore

As I read Philippians 1:1-11 this morning and reflected on Paul’s love for the Philippian church, this became my prayer for Northshore:

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Northshore, including the overseers, staff, and ministry leaders, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Toy Shop 2013

Toy Shop

Northshore, on Sunday, December 8, we challenged you to give to the Toy Shop. The goal was to impact 300 local families that were in need and identified through our local schools by providing toys for their Christmas celebration. We needed an additional 1,200 toys for a total of 1800 toys.

You met the challenge and responded with incredible generosity. We had a total of 2,144 toys donated and over $3,750 donated for grocery gift cards. We had 315 families come through the Toy Shop yesterday, and it took 452 volunteers from Northshore to pull it off. That’s awesome!

And it makes a difference. A volunteer who served at the Toy Shop told me that after one of the families left with their toys, they later returned with a thank you card. The dad wrote in the card, “Thank you for giving my kids something under the tree. It means so much to me. Thank you so very much for being here today.” And it was signed by the entire family. The volunteer was in tears and told me how much it meant to her to serve this family at the Toy Shop.

Each week we talk about being generous as a church, especially as the world around us is watching. Out of our love for Jesus, we give so that others might know this same Love. We’re in a season where giving is celebrated, and Northshore, I want to celebrate your giving.

Summer Series: DREAMER


We all have dreams planted deep within our hearts. We all have hopes and desires for the future. Whether realistic aspirations or flights of fancy, it’s hard when those dreams fall apart and life doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. In life’s twists and turns, we have to ask ourselves some questions: Is this my dream or God’s dream for me? How will I respond when my dreams fall apart? How is God developing my character in the midst of my disappointment?

When those dreams fall apart, we can learn a lot from the biblical character Joseph. He had a God-given dream, yet there were many moments in his life when he couldn’t see how it would all turn out. In the end, God’s character proved faithful, and Joseph’s character proved patient. This summer, come discover how God can and will shape your life and character when your dreams and hopes fall apart.

Here’s the line-up for the series:

June 30 – When Your Dreams Fall Apart (Genesis 37:1-36)

July 7 – The Temptation of Shortcuts (Genesis 39:1-20)

July 14 – Forgotten & Disappointed (Genesis 39:21-40:23)

July 21 – Handling Success (Genesis 41:1-57)

July 28 – Getting Unstuck (Genesis 42:1-44:34)

August 4 – Divine Perspective (Genesis 45:1-15)

August 11 – Restoration (Genesis 45:16-46:30)

August 18 – Summer Sunday at Juanita High School

August 25 – God at Work (Genesis 46:31-47:31)

September – A Life Well Lived (Genesis 50:22-26)

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday services, click HERE.

The Block Map Exercise

As we launched our new series The Art of Neighboring, one of your assignments this summer is the Block Map Exercise. If you’re going to neighbor well, you need to actually know who your actual neighbors are. How many of your neighbors’ names adjacent to your home do you know? How many of them do you know some relevant facts about? How many on your block map do you know something even more in-depth about—their career plans, dreams of starting a family, significant experiences in their lives, what they fear the most, or where they’re at in their spiritual journey?

The authors of the book The Art of Neighboring share this statistic:

About 10% of people can fill out the names of all eight of their neighbors. About 3% know relevant information and facts about all eight of their neighbors. And then less than 1% knows in-depth things about all eight of their neighbors. Take a step back and consider what this means. Jesus said to love our neighbors. Sure, the teaching extends to our metaphoric neighbors—people everywhere in need. This extends to the people we work with, the parent on our kid’s soccer team, and even to the person on the other side of the world who is in need of a meal. But it also means our actual neighbors—the people who live next door.

How are you doing actually loving our actual neighbors? The goal of the Block Map Exercise is to help you move from “Strangers to Acquaintances to Relationships” in your neighborhood. By the end of the summer, make it your aim to know all eight of the neighbors you live adjacent to and begin to discover more meaningful things about their lives. Remember, neighboring creates opportunities to connect your stories and your neighbors stories to God’s story!

New Series: When God Got Dirty

Have you ever watched the television show Dirty Jobs? Host Mike Rowe takes an up-close and personal look at some of the dirtiest jobs people do to earn a living. From cleaning a sewage backup to counting salmon carcasses, Mike Rowe isn’t afraid to get dirty. Now, imagine if the President of the United States or the Queen of England guest starred on Dirty Jobs. Half of the world would tune in to that episode. Now, imagine the God of the Universe guest starring on the show. If that happened, we might begin to understand the essence of the Christmas story.

The Gospel writer John told the Christmas story this way: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The Christmas story is the story of when God got dirty. It’s the story of the God who entered into our pain and brokenness with tears and a broken heart and offered a new story of hope. It’s really the story of the God who gets it. That’s why Christmas matters. If you’ve ever wondered why God came and what difference it can actually make in your life, in your relationships, and in our world, this Christmas series is for you.

Here’s the schedule for When God Got Dirty

December 2 – “God with Dirty Hands” (We’ll talk about the God who gets it)

December 9 – “God with Tears” (We’ll talk about the God who enters into our pain and disappointment)

December 16 – “God with Hope” (We’ll talk about the God who brings hope in unexpected places)

December 23 – “God with Nails” (We’ll talk about the God who provides a way forward in life)

I look forward to seeing you during the month of December at Northshore as we talk about the God who gets it. For more info on Northshore’s worship gatherings, go here.

Dollars & Sense: Getting Out of Debt

This past Sunday, we continued in our series Dollars & Sense with “The Debt Principle.” With over $852 billion dollars of revolving credit (credit without a fixed number of payments such as credit cards) among U.S. consumers, we are constantly enticed to go further into debt. Here are some helpful steps to getting out and staying out of debt:

  • Commit to being debt-free now. Whether you are debt free right now or whether you are struggling with debt, make a commitment to being debt free. Don’t wait until next week, next month or the new year.
  • Start giving. If you want God to bless your financial efforts to get out of debt (not make you healthy or wealthy), then you need to put Him first. Giving sacrificially puts Him first in your life and in your finances.
  • Start a repayment plan. Use the Debt Snowball Plan, paying off your smallest debts first and then adding the money to the next smallest debt and then the next, etc. In addition, call or write your creditors asking them if they’d be willing to renegotiate the terms of your debt. They might even be willing to stop adding interest to your debt. They might say “no,” but they might say “yes.”
  • Add no new debt. If you struggle with credit cards, do some “plastic surgery.” Get rid of them.
  • Get help. Be sure to tell your small group about your plan to be debt free. Ask for prayer and accountability. I also highly encourage you to go to our next Financial Peace University class that begins January 7 – Register Online.
  • Stick with it. Remember the story of Mary Hunt, author of The Complete Cheapskate and founder of Debt-Proof Living. Through perseverance and patience, with God’s help, she and her husband paid off $100,000 of debt. Stick with your plan.

Here are some great resources to help you manage your money wisely and get out of debt.

Imagine the freedom of being debt-free in your personal finances. And imagine the EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT we could make for Jesus as a church of ordinary people if we were free of the $7,660,240 of consumer debt we have as individuals and households at Northshore. Imagine the real needs of real people we could meet locally and globally as we seek to model the generosity and good news of Jesus in our world.

I am praying for God’s grace, peace, and perseverance for you as you commit to being debt-free and follow your plan to get out of debt.

Fueling Extraordinary Impact

Sunday’s launch of our new Extraordinary Impact series was incredible. From our worship gatherings to all of our ministries and small groups talking about what it looks like to be a group of Ordinary people making an extraordinary impact for Jesus, the Spirit was and continues to be present in our midst.

At the beginning, middle, and end of the day, it’s all about Jesus! The first-century church grasped this reality. Empowered and emboldened by the Spirit, Peter declared, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This reality was their fuel. It formed who they were. Their focus was Jesus.

Can you imagine how exciting it must have been for the first-century church to see over 8,000 people give their lives to Jesus? That’s an extraordinary impact. Peter’s bold declaration of Jesus as the only source of salvation was at the core of the first-century church. Those first followers of Jesus had “seen and heard” the message of God’s unconditional love through Jesus. Many of them listened to Jesus teach about the kingdom of God. Many of them saw Him nailed to the cross. Many of them walked by that empty tomb in absolute astonishment. As the Holy Spirit filled them with the truth of Jesus’ lordship and saving power, they were emboldened to share this message with their world.

My prayer for you and for Northshore is this:

Lord Jesus, fill us with the power and courage of the Holy Spirit. Cause us to believe and trust in Your lordship and saving power so deeply that we will long to live out Your love and share Your grace with our world. Inspire us to give every part of our lives to Your mission and for Your glory. Jesus—our Lord, Master, King, and Savior—thank You for loving us so extravagantly. Thank You for rescuing us from sin and death on this side and the other side of eternity. Thank You for inviting us to join You in Your mission of restoring and re-creating this world. In Your awesome name, Amen!

How will Jesus use you to make an extraordinary impact in your world for Him?

Love Where You Live

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).

It’s such an interesting thing for Jeremiah to say. Remember, these Babylonians, they brought all of their military might and power against Jerusalem. They sacked the city. They killed many of the city’s inhabitants. They destroyed the temple. And here Jeremiah, led by God, is telling the Jewish exiles to seek the welfare of Babylon. The word “welfare” used here is actually the Hebrew word shalom. It’s the word for “peace.” It means to seek wholeness and healing, to seek its flourishing. The Jewish people are to even pray for the Lord to make this happen in this city. God was calling the Jewish people to be peacemakers, agents of peace, even in a city with values vastly different from theirs.

Tim Keller, in one of his most recent books King’s Cross, said this about Jeremiah’s word to the Jewish exiles:

I want you to seek the prosperity of Babylon. I want you to make it a great city to live in. I want you to serve your neighbor—even though their language is different and they don’t believe what you believe. And I don’t want you to do this merely out of a sense of duty. “Pray for it” is another way of saying “love it.” Love that city, pray for it, seek to make it a prosperous, peaceful city, the greatest place t live. If Babylon prospers through your service to it, you prosper, too.

God called the Jewish exiles and God still calls us as followers of Jesus to love where we live and seek the welfare of the cities we live in. So how do we love where we live? Here are four things we do when we love where we live.

1. Invest in relationships. When we love where we live, we’re ultimately talking about people. And when we love people, we invest in relationships with people. We listen to their stories. We listen to their hurts and hopes. We simply love them. That’s what our Summer Block Party has been all about. Simply loving the people in your neighborhood. Inviting them over to share a meal and to share some life so that you can get to know the people you live next door to.

2. Pray for people. I love what Keller said in his explanation about Jeremiah 29:7—“Pray for it is another way of saying love it.” When we love people, we pray for them. We pray that God would meet them where they are. We pray for them to come to know Jesus. We pray that God would provide for peoples’ real needs. We pray for our leaders. We pray for our teachers. We pray for law enforcement, firefighters, and other public servants. When we are seeking the peace and welfare of our cities and love where we live, we pray for people.

3. Serve our cities. When we love where we live, we look for tangible ways to serve our cities for their good…ways to serve that bring flourishing be it economic flourishing, social flourishing, and spiritual flourishing. From providing food and clothes to low income families in our school districts to starting schools in some of the poorest countries of the world, as followers of Jesus, people who love where we live, we are called to serve our cities. We have an amazing opportunity to serve our cities this Saturday with Community SERVE Day. This is our fourth year to serve our local school districts to help teachers get ready for the start of school at the beginning of September. This is such a great way for us to serve our cities.

4. Point people to Jesus. Good works create good will so that we earn the right to share the good news. Ultimately, we seek the welfare and peace of cities by pointing people in word and deed to the Prince of Peace… to the only One who can bring ultimate shalom, ultimate healing and wholeness, ultimate flourishing and ultimate delight. We point people to Jesus. This is why we are here. This is our mission. This is what it’s all about. As we invest in relationships, as we pray for people, as we serve our cities, we do it in the name and the power of Jesus. And our ultimate pray and hope is that as we invest, pray, and serve in the name of Jesus, the people of our world will see our love and mercy, and then we can point them to the One who provides us with His love and mercy.

We are called and invited to love where we live… to seek the welfare, peace, and flourishing of the people in our cities and in our world. My hope for you, your family, your small group, and for all of our ministries in our church is that we’d be all about loving where we live. That we’d be all about investing in relationships. That we’d be all about praying for people. That we’d be all about serving our cities. That we’d be all about pointing people to Jesus, the only One who ultimate provides the peace and welfare we so desperately need.