7 Values I learned at Seattle Christian in the 80’s that still apply today.

Recently the high school I graduated from (Seattle Christian High School) asked me to write an article for their quarterly publication.  Thought I’d share it here as well.

In the mid 1980’s Mr. (Dean) Smith was teaching science in the science lab, Mrs. (Jan) Klerekoper was teaching music in the portable, and Mrs. (Lloydine) Linman worked in the school office. I think she’s still there? We actually had a class in the 80’s teaching high-school students the skill of typing. Ronald Regan was president, people were wearing parachute pants (don’t ask), Back to the Future and Footloose (the Kevin Bacon one) were new movies, & Michael Jackson released the album Thriller.

Navigating the mid-80’s at Seattle Christian was both challenging and informative. There are values that I learned in my time at SCS that helped me develop into the man I am today. Here are seven of the values I learned at Seattle Christian in the 80’s that still apply today:

  1.  The Value of a relationship with Jesus Christ

One of the first things I leaned is that not all students at a Christian School are Christians. Initially this confused me. As time went by I understood that as a Christ follower it was not only my responsibility to live in a way that was honoring to Christ, but also share the love of Jesus Christ with my classmates. In higher education and business, not everyone we’re with has the same belief structure we have. As Christians we need to represent and share Christ in a way that is honoring and inclusive not confusing and judgmental.

How do you share Christ with your friends & co-workers?


  1. The Value of education

As much as the classes I attended at Seattle Christian prepared me for my next steps, the education I received outside the classroom prepared me for life. After graduating from Seattle Christian I completed my Bachelors Degree in Business at Seattle Pacific University and my Masters Degree from Seattle University. In every learning environment I tend to grow more from experiences with the people in my class and then applying these newly formed experiences to my life. I think every teacher would agree that taking what we learn in class and applying it to life is the key to a solid education. As a life-long-learner I believe that we’re always learning all the time.

What is the best way you learn?


  1. The Value of honoring my parents

My parents sacrificed greatly to send their four children to private school.   We didn’t attend private school because we had a lot of money. We had the privilege of going to a private school because my parents held Christian education as a high value for our family. As a result, I watched them sacrifice and go without so my sister, two brothers, & I could attend Seattle Christian. As a father…I get it. Just like my parents, I would do anything to provide the best possible for my children. My parents were honoring me by providing a solid-Christian education and I’m striving to provide the same values for my kids.

When was the last time you said Thank You to your parents?

  1. The Value of connecting in a local church

I attended school at Seattle Christian and went to church at New Life Church. I developed strong friendships at both school and church. Our family didn’t just attend church but we served at our church. My parents instilled the value of creating the environments at church rather than being consumers. I knew that my faith was being influenced at Seattle Christian and I’m grateful that my faith was also being formed at my local church. It was a partnership between the two organizations. Church is not a building we go to, it’s a community of believers that help us grow in our faith.

How do you serve at your church?


  1. The Value of showing grace to others

Near the end of my senior year at Seattle Christian I made a huge mistake. I was having a bad day and, out of character, I snapped and yelled at Mrs. Klerekoper in front of a bunch of students. I instantly knew I was in big trouble when she cleared the room to finish our conversation. I deserved to be punished for the disrespect I showed her that day. The level of grace she showed me by understanding where I was at and how that was not my character helped me as an adult give the same grace to others who have wronged me. Showing grace to those who don’t “deserve” it gives you the opportunity to influence them at a vulnerable time in their life. Don’t miss your opportunity to show grace to others.

When was the last time you showed grace on someone?

  1. The Value of serving our community

Seattle Christian in the 80’s taught us to not only serve our community but also minister to our world. With this value deep in my core, I recently received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and completed an educational film on homelessness and serving. The film, Time to Listen, is honest stories of six people who are currently homeless. This film launched the organization, Change Homelessness. Our desire at Change Homelessness is to challenge people to engage in serving their community. Whatever the cause or issue you’re serving, find the area of greatest need in your community and serve. For more about Change Homelessness go to: www.changehomelessnes.com

Where are you serving?


  1. The Value of finishing strong

As a high-school student there were times I thought I’d never finish. Classes, papers, and presentations tended to cloud my mind and loose focus. I remember one of my teachers challenging me early on to finish strong. They didn’t just encourage me to finish, but finish strong. As I continued through life in education, marriage, and ministry this value keeps showing up. When frustrated, how do you finish? When in conflict, how do you finish? And, when you loose your job, how do you finish? I’ve been frustrated, in conflict, and lost my job. The way I finished each situation determined my success in my next opportunity.

What are ways that you need to Finish Strong?

Seattle Christian exists to proclaim Jesus Christ in all aspects of their program, emphasizing academic excellence and biblical Christian values, partnering with parents and the church to prepare Godly young men and women so that they may impact their world for Christ. For this student who graduated in 1986, Seattle Christian accomplished their mission. Thank You!

Review of Change Homelessness

It’s always exciting with people you respect join in a cause your passionate about.  Today Mark C. Howell posted a review about the project Change Homelessness on his blog.

Thanks Mark.

How are you using your social network resources to encourage others?

“We have a large responsibility representing Christ and our church”!

Here is a story from Jeremy, one of our parking volunteers at New Life Church:


Saturday evening, just prior to service, I had a mom in a mini van pull up at the entrance and open her door.  She let me know it was her first time visiting, she had her two children with her, and where should she take them.  I gave her the quick run down and she drove on in.  I alerted the other team members, “we’ve got a first timer with a couple kids!”  Excited waves from Lars and Dave directed her to a proper parking spot.  Steve pulled up promptly with the offer of a cool ride in the golf cart to church.  The kids were slightly apprehensive at first, but then hopped on in and loosened up.  A high five from Lars as they passed by brought another smile to both the boy’s and mom’s face.  They were safely delivered to the doors of Kidtown.  I know we were all excited by this brief event, and we realize we can make or break their experience coming to New Life.  We have a large responsibility representing Christ and our church.  We don’t know if they will return next week, but if they do, we will be out front with smiles, waves, and high fives!

How are you serving practically to make a difference eternally?

Coming Home for the Hernandez family

The percentage of poor Mexicans is about the same now as it was in the early 1980s – a little more than 50 percent, however the population has grown over the same period, from 70 million to 100 million. That translates to approximately 19 million more Mexicans living in poverty than 20 years ago.

Source: Washington Post Foreign Service, 2003

According to the Mexican government and international organizations, about 24 million – nearly one in every four Mexicans – are classified as extremely poor and unable to afford adequate food or housing.

Source: Washington Post Foreign Service,2003

50% of Mexican families live on less than $4.25/ day.

8.1 million Mexican families are estimated to be living in over crowded or substandard housing.

Source: INEGI

 Currently there are 1.2 billion people worldwide living on less than $1 per day.

Source: UNCHS

In the gospel of Matthew chapter 25 there is a conversation of serving, faith, redemption, humility, trust, and hope.  Here are verses 35-40 from the New International Version:

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This scripture challenges me that when I help those who are in need I am doing that in the name of the Lord.  This allows me to be used by God and bless others while at the same time receiving a blessing myself.

Every May for the last seven years I’ve led a team of 50 people from New Life Church to Mexico so we could build homes for homeless families.  This is how we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with families in Mexico.  Practically serving by getting to know the family and helping build their home.

Children are 47% less likely to contract a lung disease if they simply sleep on a concrete floor.

When we build a home for a family in Mexico, we move that family forward economically by seven years.

The Hernandez family of five helped build their home with us.  They are such a beautiful family.  Dad (Jaime), mom (Norma), 5 year old son, & 3 year old twin boys.

As we finish we gather around to share our thanks to the family for letting us participate in helping build their home.  Then, we give them the keys, they go inside the home, and invite us in for the first time. It’s a very moving moment.

This slide show begins with our team arriving in San Diego, meeting the family in Tijuana, MX, building the home, presenting to the family, and finally gathering to go home.  We went there to bless the Hernandez family and left receiving the blessing.

Song: Coming Home by Gwyneth Paltrow

She said, “My dad has cancer”.


Dave & Glenice Pearson

About a month ago my wife woke me up at 5:00 AM from a deep sleep with tears in her eyes and said, “My dad has cancer”.  Her dad had just gone into the emergency room the day before because he was coughing up some blood and came home with the diagnosis of lung cancer.  We’re still processing what it means to live with and support a family member with cancer.  We’re blessed to have the online tool of Caring Bridge to update, process, and share the journey.  Dave is feeling fine and somewhat perplexed that his body is dealing with this serious diagnosis.  He starts treatment soon.  We believe that Jesus is our heavenly father and is our healer.  Our prayer is that God will heal Dave from this cancer…but greater than that, our prayer is that God’s “will” be done.  As a family we are deeply grateful for this valuable resource of Caring Bridge.  Click the Caring Bridge logo to view Dave’s Caring Bridge site.


How has technology helped you deal with a challenging time in your life?


That moment when….

That moment when....

That moment when you realize that all of your classmates are watching the film that you created. Humbling and nervous as a room full of colleagues observe this project and give input. Fortunately the project was well received and the input was inspiring and gracious. I’m very excited about how the film, Time To Listen will impact the issue of homelessness.

Your turn:  That moment when….


Mexico Home Build 2013

Mexico Home Build 2013

For the last seven years I’ve led a team of 45 people to Mexico to build homes for homeless families. This is the team I worked with a couple months ago. This is only 1/3rd of our team. New Life Church has built 29 homes in Mexico over the last seven years. People ask me all the time why I’m so passionate about building homes in Mexico? I love to lead teams into Mexico because I truly believe that we’re making a tangible difference in the lives of many families by helping them achieve their dreams of owning their own home. When we build a home in one weekend we’re moving that family forward (economically) by seven years. That’s motivating.

Why don’t you join me next year? I’ll be taking 60 people to build 4 homes on Memorial Day Weekend next year. May 23-26, 2014.


Time To Listen

Time To Listen is a 15 minute film focusing on the stories of six different homeless individuals and how they navigate life. Weather it’s the economy, substance abuse, poor decisions, health issues, mental illness, chronic homelessness, or life change. Whatever causes homelessness…these six individuals are opening up and sharing about how they became homeless, what it feels like to be homeless, and how they would like you to see them.

Time To Listen is created to introduce issues of homelessness and start a conversation in your group. There is an accompanying discussion guide to help facilitate your group discussion. This film intentionally does not suggest specific solutions. It’s up to your group to discuss the stories from the film, face your own biases toward homelessness, and determine how you will personally get involved in your community.

Download the full (HD) version of the film, 90 second preview, and one-sheet discussion guide for free. Click here: http://www.changehomelessness.com/download-the-film.html

An Anthropological introduction to YouTube

This is an interesting talk on the introduction of YouTube from an anthropological perspective.  Long clip but very fascinating.

Stumptown Coffee

I’m excited to share that Stumptown Coffee is only 127 steps from my classroom this week.  I will be visiting Stumptown a few times this week.