April – what a month!! Easter was a record breaker. Way to go Church on the Ridge. Because of you, we were able to reach more people in a single weekend than any Easter in our 14-year history.

Easter Sunday 2004 was our very first weekend Gathering. During that year we planned and prepared. God put a picture in our hearts of thousands of people who would be transformed by His message of love and grace. His amazing plans have restored marriages, helped families affected by death, lives torn apart by drugs and alcohol, and helped those simply lost without Christ and looking for purpose. It’s a picture that’s painted every day.

A week after Easter my oldest son Stephen was married. I couldn’t have planned his steps any better. When he was a little, not even able to talk, Sandy and I saw a glimpse of a future where he and his wife were passionately serving God. At times I thought he might never get married but never lost sight of the future we knew God had for him. It kept us going through challenging times and allowed us to pray specifically for the things we believed were God’s will and the picture He was painting.

The day after the wedding my youngest son Caleb asked Caiti Corbett to be his wife. Caiti is the daughter of one of COTR’s founding pastors. Her family was here 14 years ago and, through their influence, helped give COTR a strong foundation. When they were six years old, imagining that Caleb and Caiti would someday be together was not on our radar. What was on our radar was that Caleb has incredible gifts and God would use him to touch the lives of others. He went through difficult seasons, but we never stopped seeing the huge talent God deposited in him. Sandy and I prayed and continued speaking life and encouragement into him. Caiti has recently been hired as the campus children’s pastor at Victory Church in Lakeland, Florida. Caleb will complete an education degree at Southeastern University. The two of them will impact their world for Christ. God is painting their picture.

This month the architect for our new building had his gall bladder removed, along with other procedures. It slowed the project down at a crucial time. Other hang-ups have created delays. The key players are concerned (namely me). I consistently go back to the message I heard from God two years ago, “Don’t coast the next 12 years. Do the difficult and help leave a cornerstone on Snoqualmie Ridge that will be there for generations to come, and I will do the impossible. Don’t leave it to the next guy to get out of an office building and establish a permanent place, you do it. I will bless it and thousands of people will be reached and brought to faith in my Son.” It fires me up and allows me to rest on His promises as I watch Him paint the picture even when some paint seems splattered.

Another thing to mention about April, if you’ve not heard, is that Mark and Karen are leaving us and moving back to Sacramento. Almost eight years ago when we brought them on I knew this day would come. Mark’s abilities and talents are amazing. The hole he leaves behind will be sorely felt. I have prayed his departure would be delayed but God has a wonderful future of ministry for them. Experience has taught me to let God’s plan be worked out, no matter how hard that is. He will bring about amazing results. It is a beautiful picture that He paints.

What picture do you need to be reminded of? What plans in your life seem to be going south? I encourage you to refocus on the picture that God is painting for you. Unless you have something greater to focus on, the present reality will seem daunting and untenable. With a clear vision from God, you will eventually see it pass and a beautiful portrait come to fruition. Let me leave you with two scriptures. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). And, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). Don’t give up and don’t perish. He is painting a masterpiece for you.

In Him,