• Sandi we will miss you

    We rejoice with those who rejoice and we weep with those who weep…

    Larry and Sandi Thomas came to Indian Creek over eight years ago. They immediately hopped into the life and community. Larry participated in constructing a giant cross for the stage that served as a physical bridge for people who were expressing their decisions and desires to walk with Jesus on Easter Sunday that year.

    Larry joyously celebrated with staff the following week and then went to met Jesus face to face a few days later!

    Sandi grieved the loss of the love of her life! She seemed so lost and sad without him and continued to mourn losing his presence here. Just as she was beginning to accept and assimilate that loss she lost the presence of another precious companion, her dear mother. Sandi was heartbroken, very lonely and sad. Her health suffered and she was depressed at the loss of such dear ones.

    Sharon Adams was serving as a Care Giver to Sandi, encouraging her regularly through cards, calls and visits.

    Sandi who walked with a cane could be seen regularly seated on the back row at Indian Creek. Though her health had kept her away, she attended last in January.

    Last week Sandi gave up her fight to remain in this world. We will miss her presence at Indian Creek but we celebrate with her and her family as she is reunited with the love of her life, her mother, many other loved ones and in the presence of her Savior Jesus!

    Friends may offer their comfort to Sandi's family next week.Visitation:Tuesday, May 26, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Penwell-Gabel - Olathe Chapel
    14275 Blackbob Rd
    Olathe, KS  66062

    Service:Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Penwell-Gabel - Olathe Chapel
    14275 Blackbob Rd
    Olathe, KS  66062
    Interment:Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens
    Olathe, KS

  • Praying for Peace in Baltimore

    I've been praying for Baltimore and deeply saddened by yet another scene similar to Ferguson, MO. I'm asking myself, what are we missing? My desire is not to point the finger and find blame but to find solutions. To do that we need an ear that will listen, a heart that is empathetic and a mind that is open.

    I came across this well written, well thought-out blog by Lisa Sharon Harper. 

     "I walked through ash and glass as neighbors and community members swept up the remnants of our neighborhood. The night before, flames touched sky in all corners of our city as news and police helicopters hovered overhead. The city was Los Angeles. The year was 1992, and it was the third day after the police who beat Rodney King were acquitted by an overwhelmingly white jury in Simi Valley.

    That was the day I was introduced to the words of Jeremiah 29:7: “But seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace.”

    On Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called in the National Guard and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a citywide curfew to quell violence that erupted in Monument City following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Gray died a week after sustaining a nearly severed spinal cord after being detained by police on April 12. The reason for the stop? Gray ran after making eye contact with police. An investigation is ongoing — while the people of Baltimore and beyond demand justice.

    The images of fires rising over the Baltimore landscape were eerie, as it was only a few months ago that the nation sat glued to television sets watching the small town of Ferguson, Mo., erupt. And I fear we are becoming numb to it. We turn the TV on to watch our favorite reality show. We see chanting, running black people, and we think: again? Then we turn back to The Voice.

    But what if God is trying to get our attention? What if God is seeking the peace of the ones Jesus called “the least of these” in Matthew 25? And what if God is moving videographers into position to record flashpoints of injustice so that we all might be pushed out of our virtual realities to see — finally — that something really is gravely wrong? Black bodies still bear the brunt of structural and systemic oppression.

    So, how do we turn off the television and seek the peace of the city?

    In a speech, titled “The Other America,” delivered at Grosse Pointe High School in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “a riot is the language of the unheard.”

    I don’t condone violence in any form, but we must understand the source of the riot’s fire this time if we have any hope to dismantle its tinder before the next one.

    In a Baltimore Sun report, a common story unfolds. In 2010 the Gray family settled a lawsuit against their landlord who had refused to clean up chipped lead paint that riddled the Gray home. Lead poisoning can cause delayed development in children; Freddie Gray’s blood test showed he exceeded the threshold for lead poisoning.

    As Freddie Gray’s story goes on, it reveals other common tinder mounted on the backs of the disenfranchised: a single parent who manages more daily stresses than the average middle class family with a small fraction of the resources; a mother who used heroin to anesthetize her own deep pain; an under-resourced education system; and men and boys, like Freddie, who have seen the insides of jail cells three, four, and five times before their 16th birthday for nonviolent offenses, because of an unspoken societal expectation that law enforcement will contain and control the outcomes of poverty’s chaos while we evade responsibility to end it.

    “The voices of poor communities are not taken seriously by city officials,” Pastor Joshua Smith, community activist and intentional living pastor of Gallery Church, told Sojourners. “City officials are building up downtown and Inner Harbor, not poor or mixed income neighborhoods.”

    These are the bone-dry logs, twigs, and kindling stacked high in every corner of impoverished neighborhoods.

    We must listen to the language of the riot.

    In a recent online conversation, Dr. Daniel White Hodge, Director of Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Assistant Professor of Youth Culture at North Park University in Chicago, interpreted the cries of Monday’s riot: “Baltimore reflects the [deep-seated] failure of the system on a people group that has finally said, ‘We can’t take this shit no more!’”

    Baltimore’s clergy are listening: Throughout Tuesday and late into the evening, faith communities gathered for town hall meetings and behind-the-scenes strategy sessions. Trainings in nonviolent resistance and voter registration are planned across the city, and Sojourners is facilitating a faith-rooted organizing training for a diverse network of Baltimore clergy this Saturday, hosted by Gallery Church.

    A broad interfaith coalition of faith leaders is planning a major march on Sunday. Congregations are designating their spaces as “safe harbor churches.” The church in Baltimore is being the church.

    “My hope,” Pastor Smith said, “is that all of this will catalyze grassroots organizers in poor neighborhoods across the city to work toward sustainable change.”

    “Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you,” said God through the prophet, Jeremiah.

    Then a little later in the text God offers this promise to the people: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your peace and note for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

    Join us in prayer for Baltimore and every city where the dry logs of injustice continue to mount. May communities of faith seek the peace of their city and may God give our cities, our suburbs, and our nation a future with hope.

    Let us pray for the end of the fires, and the end of “next times.”

    Lisa Sharon Harper is Chief Church Engagement Officer for Sojourners and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith.

  • Robert Schuller's legacy

    At the end of last week Robert Schuller graduated from this world to eternity. I paused to thank God for him and to remember the influence he had on my life. Recently I had the privilege of traveling to Garden Grove, CA, and visiting the Crystal Cathedral. I spent the morning praying on the grounds. I had a memorable encounter with God in the prayer room.

    I sat in the first worship space where he had simultaneously spoken to a parking lot full of people sitting in their cars and those siting inside. You kind of have to see it to appreciate it. He started what became a world renowned church and that space was his way of staying connected to the unchurched who would drive up.  When they outgrew that space he and his congregation built the enormous glass sanctuary which the television ministry made the ministry well known globally. 

    I pray that I would have the kind of faith and drive he had. I used to listen and learn even if he said things I would say differently or believed differently than I do doctrinally. God used him in a great way. He influenced some of my mentors Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and John Maxwell in very direct ways. 

    While some would criticize the last decade of his ministry I choose to say, you'll never know what it is like until you've walked in his shoes--and I haven't. I'm not upset with the fact that the Crystal Cathedral is being renovated into a Catholic Church. I think it will be used of God once again just in a different way.

    I came across a blog by Mark O. Wilson who writes under the title: Revitalize Your Church. These are some of the thoughts he shared:

    The news of Dr. Robert Schuller's passing leaves me reflecting on his life and legacy.  I marvel at this man's powerful influence on the world, and specifically the landscape of Christianity in America.  I've heard several great pastors, such as Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, express a debt of gratitude for Dr. Schuller's influence in their early days of ministry.   He taught us that churches need to think outside the box in order to reach non-believers.  He also demonstrated the power of possibility thinking and inspiration.   If there was no Schuller, they may not have been a Willow Creek or Saddleback Church.

    Robert Schuller was willing to go the extra mile and reach out to people who didn't understand church culture.  As a result, he led the actor, John Wayne and stunt man, Evel Knieval to Christ.  He also was invited to preach an unprecedented Christmas Eve sermon on national television in Communist Russia.  Only heaven will tell the multitudes who embraced faith in Jesus Christ as a result of Dr. Schuller's witness.

    Although we certainly had major theological differences, Dr. Robert Schuller personally impacted my life, attitude and ministry.

    Back in 1991, as rookie, preparing to take my first pastorate, I wrote Dr. Schuller a letter, asking if I could meet with him for a few minutes to glean some insights on effective ministry.  He graciously agreed and invited me to his office in the Crystal Cathedral tower.

    At first, he misunderstood what I wanted, thinking it was just a photo op.  But once he saw my heart and realized I was on a genuine quest for wisdom, he smiled warmly, invited me to sit,  and offered refreshments along with sage advice.

    During the course of our conversation, which went a half hour longer than was scheduled, he shared the following suggestions:

    1.  "If there are enough people in your community to keep you going strong, invest your whole ministry in the same place.  Try to imagine what your church could be in 40 years, and then start chipping away towards that goal.  Inch by inch, anything's a cinch."

    2.  "Work with Jesus to build a better church than anyone in your community could ever imagine.  Don't let small thinkers dictate your dreams.  Operate from the perspective of what God can do rather than what we've done before."

    3.  "Some congregations run on positive energy.  Others run on negative energy.  You can grow a church with either kind -- but positive energy attracts positive people and negative energy attracts negative people.  If you want a bunch of negative people, all you have to do is run the church on negative energy. You'll get plenty of them."

    4.  "Knock 'em alive!  Give 'em heaven!"  I swiped these phrases from Dr. Schuller and say them frequently to those who will be speaking or singing at our church.

    5.  "Make a list of ten options.  When faced with a difficult decision, force yourself to write down ten possible solutions.  Then, review the list, choose the best one and try it first. If it doesn't work, you still have nine good ideas to go.  Your answer will be somewhere on that list."

    6.  Look at what you have left.  Never look at what you have left."

    This is great advice and a wonderful legacy from a man who was not afraid to fail or die trying to change the world for God and for God. My favorite phrase was, "find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it." If you can dream it you can do it was another. I'm grateful to Dr. Schuller and I thank God our lives have crossed.

  • Indian Creek's Partnership with Countryside Grade School

    We love the relationship we've developed with Countryside, Amy Hercules, and the teachers/admin team. Our partnership is in its' eighth year. I'll let her tell you how Creekers live SENT there.


  • Brett Eastman Promotes Living SENT

    I had a great time with Brett Eastman and the Life Together team. Many thanks to him for producing and promoting Living SENT. Living SENT is a way to inspire, train and motivate churches to live out their faith.


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