The Miracle of a Precious Family

by Pastor Tim White

The picture of the rugged carpenter leading his nine-month pregnant wife, Mary, on a burro 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem is a picture that the greatest romantics have never been able to fully capture in all their paintings, songs, and poetry. There must have been a mass traffic jam since Caesar had ordered a census of the entire Roman world forcing people to return to their hometowns to be counted. The frantic nature and events of traffic jams are something we can all relate to today. And I am sure that the thieves were out in mass and as thick as thieves.

Can I use that metaphor of thieves? Just like today, the scammers come out of the woodwork at Christmas. I was thinking of getting a voicemail installed that says – “If you are a deposed president of a small country and you need to give me $20 million - press one; if you are the IRS and you need a check mailed to you - please press two; if you are stranded in a city and need me to send you $2,000 - press three, if you are informing me I have won a free vacation - please press four.” And then after they press their number give a similar list with different numbers. And after all that a message mail that says, “I totally believe you so if you will leave your home phone number, and your social security card number I will get right back to you.”

I can imagine Joseph avoiding people, muggers and thieves while also steering clear of detachments of Roman soldiers. I suspect they probably met a lot of good people in the land of Israel, just as you would today. People who would befriend them as they too made their own perilous journey. Maybe a little drummer boy or two – encounters and stories that no one will ever hear until we get to heaven?

The Christmas story is the story of a family. Fragile, like many families today, escaping rumors from Nazareth, and at the mercy of a merciless King Herod. So many miracles as this holy family is protected, directed, and selected to experience miracle after miracle. As your pastor I pray that you will experience the miracle of a precious family this Christmas.

There was a gentleman who had more than his share of questions about faith in Jesus Christ. He had an amazing story and spoke with a proper British accent. I would spend hours talking to him. He would always show up at holiday time because he was so lonely for a precious family. One day I was playing golf with a member of our church who was a high-level executive from AT&T. This guy is one of the nicest guys you would every meet. (I meet a lot of nice people.) He was mentioning to me that every Christmas that he and his beautiful family have this gentleman over for Christmas. Wow, I thought this is an answer to so many prayers. Then later I was talking to his friend who was a Vice President for AT&T. I had asked him to help me understand my phone and he was laughing saying “that he did not do that during golf games or any other time.” He mentioned that he knew my British friend also. I said, “This is amazing! How do you know him?” And he went on to tell me “that he was always the guest of our friend at their company Christmas parties.” God does amazing things to put people in precious families. I pray that after this week’s sermon your family will miraculously become even more precious to you as a light of Christmas.

This weekend you will learn Biblical principles to: (1) Give you a higher perspective on family challenges. (2) Practical ideas to bringing peace where once there was tension. (3) Strategies to move tangibly closer to your loved ones.

Don’t miss it - because you will be blessed.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

Christmas Hope

by Pastor Tim White

It wasn’t quite the night before Christmas. But it was getting closer and I was struggling against becoming the grinch or Mr. Scrooge himself. My problems seemed big - I didn’t want to be a failure. I knew that I needed to just trust God, but it was easier said than done. I needed another miraculous “Light of Christmas - Hope.” Why do colds and flu come prior to Christmas? Orange Juice was not healing it and being taken out of the loop of my pastoral care was bad for my spirit.

So, I read the Christmas story again from every angle I could. Looking at it from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wisemen and the angels -- even the sheep. Each time I read the story more hope gathered inside me. I watched as Jackie decorated the Christmas tree, getting ready for her TLC Christmas party.

I needed something more powerful than antibiotics - what I needed was hope. Not just any hope but “Christmas Hope.” I was trying to stir up hope as I counted every time I said, "Merry Christmas and God bless you.” You see, this Sunday I want to win a homemade blackberry pie baked by Nancy McJunkin. There was joy in each blessing I shared with someone, and I was glad because by this Sunday I have to turn into one of the many Santa Claus’ joining in on the Santa Claus Conspiracy. We will visit hospitals, group homes and rehab centers to bring a party of joy to anyone who needs Christmas cheer. Our hope is that no-one will be forgotten in Seattle at Christmas this year.

This weekend, I am preaching on the “The Miracle of the Light of Hope.” After all, Christmas does light the night. I needed that hope - that solid good news of what Jesus could do for others and could still do for me. Our house was full of crock pots as Jackie was organizing a dinner for homeless camp, Tent City 4, tonight. At the same time, on the table laid notes organizing Families Adopting Families. (That’s a 34-year old tradition at Washington Cathedral to reach families in crisis who would not have Christmas if it weren’t for this grace.) Hanging on the refrigerator door were letters from the two children Jackie and I sponsor -- Jose Giberto - grade 3 in Honduras and Edina Kagwiria from Patmos School in Nairobi, Kenya, also in the 3rd grade. Christmas reaches out over a long distance in our church fellowship. I sat on a chair covered with invitations for our “Christmas Lights the Night” services. This year we have the live manger scene, camel rides for children, spectacular music and a candle lighting at the close. Seven Christmas Services in sparkling Spirit Falls Sanctuary which will mean over 2,000 people can experience personal Good News at this unusual church we call Washington Cathedral.

Yes, it wasn’t quite the night before Christmas, but all through the house I needed to remember that Christmas was Jesus finding a home in human hearts and mine needed it most. Another miraculous Christmas light sparked in my heart.

Please join me this weekend as we have a 20-minute deeper study of the Good News about the coming of Jesus Christ through the Miraculous Lights of Christmas Hope…

Light of Christmas Peace

by Pastor Tim White

We were enjoying a particularly inspirational home church meeting at the “Diamonds in the Rough” TLC group last Tuesday at a home in Clearview near Snohomish. It had been a short, dark day. It seemed like morning light broke in on this rainy day about 11:30 am and a dark storm rolled in about 2:30 pm…now that is a short, dark day. We were laughing and sipping blueberry lemonade with our Bibles open in our laps. To hear the voice of Mark Buchanan about the Light of Christmas was so soothing with his soft, baritone voice resonating such sincerity. Carol Gerzsenye shared some insights that I had never thought of, and Karen Kammerer shared boldly and openly about how these verses applied to her busy life.

I was moved to go off-script and asked, “what have you learned about what kind of Christmas you need to really recharge you emotionally and spiritually?” The room went silent because that question brought up so many other questions. What could we learn this year anew, about the love, light and power of the incarnation of Jesus as a baby in a manger? What were our best Christmas memories and why? And could we be pro-active in creating the kind of Christmas peace that we really need to restore our best faith? Yes! We all admitted surprisingly, how we thought of Christmas as being done for us. But have we learned anything at all about how the whole world needs the peace of Christmas?

This week I will be sharing a 20-minute message that, I dare say, we all need to hear.

The Miracle of Peace

(How you can experience the kind of Christmas Light you need to lift your whole life.)

Won’t you join us Saturday at 5:30 pm or Sunday at 9:30 am or 11:00 am to reach out to God and ask him to help us experience the Light of Christmas Peace?

Christmas at the Cathedral

by Pastor Tim White

Yes, a camel at our Christmas service this year.  Do you know how many years we have been dreaming of involving a camel in our Christmas service?  I do – it 24 long years.  And now Jackie announced at the staff meeting we have one and we will be able to offer camel rides to the kids this Christmas weekend. And it is not Pastor David and Michael in a camel suit.  It is a real camel.  We are all so full of thanksgiving.

We are beginning a new series: “7 Miracle Christmas Lights.” It is so dark and cold this time of the year.  And Christmas brings so much light to the world.  So, we are going to impact our world with the powerful message of the Babe born in a manger.

  • November 25th – 7 Miracles of Light (Christmas love)

  • December 2nd The Miracle Light of Christmas Peace

  • December 9th The Miracle Light of Christmas Hope

  • December 16th The Miracle Light of Family

  • December 23rd The Miracle Light of Christmas Quietness

  • The Pageant Message – The Christmas Light of Joy (December 23 @ 4:00 pm, December 24 @ 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm)

  • The Midnight Communion – The Christmas Miracle of Rejoicing (December 24 @ 11:00 pm)

Please make your Christmas plans around Christmas Lights the Night – I believe you will be blessed by making the message of Christmas a central part of all your plans this busy season.  The music will be great the worship will be fun, and we will grow as individuals – as families and as a church.

If Love is Contagious - I Hope You Never Get Well. By Pastor Tim

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

A whole bunch of us are responding to the Love Chapter Challenge and memorizing these sacred words. It is a definition of Agape Love that is a lever to change the world.

This week’s message is “Love Is Contagious”. It is taken from the passage in 2 Corinthians Chapter 9 where the Bible says that “God loves a cheerful giver”.  It explains how planting seeds of love can change the world if we have the right attitude.

In our confused modern age people look at those who are committed to the way of God’s love as somehow being unhealthy. That is why I was tickled by the book entitled: If Love is Contagious - I hope you never get well. My mom and dad have given their lives to loving people with no expectation of return.  I can see so many people in our world that feel the way I do. They look up to people with Godly world-changing, astonishing, Agape love and it is contagious. So, unlike influenza, (that is contagious in a bad way) we don’t want those with ‘contagious love’ to get well and give up their mold-breaking ideals and conform to mediocrity.  We want them to stay contagious! 

Is that the way you feel about someone?  I can think of hundreds of Christ Followers that are like that and my heart is thrilled by them.  My wife Jackie is contagious with Agape love.  Our three kids are like that and so are our grandchildren.  Tony and Cindy Woods are like that as are Duff and Carmen Simpson, Russ and Diana Smith, Josh and Gigi Zappone, Becky and Mike Mettler, Bob and Mary Ann Pease.  Please stay contagious - don’t ever become normal, because we need to infect the whole world with the love of Jesus.

Join us this weekend to discover how to become a little more contagious. You will be lifted by hopeful love.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White


The Love Chapter Challenge

by Pastor Tim White

We have been studying the use of the Greek word AGAPE in the New Testament to give us a God’s eye view of his plan to change the world. We see a God who is relational more than just contractual. When Jesus talks to someone it is not a practiced sales pitch that never varies. He listens and responds to their greatest need. It might be: Love your enemies. You must be born again. Count the cost. Worry about nothing. Everyone is your neighbor - even Samaritans. Judge not or you will be judged. Take care of my sheep. Give away everything you have, take up your cross and follow me… My prayer is that our church can follow Jesus’ secret plan to change the world. It is not supposed to be a secret, but it has become one. Reach outside of the bubble of your Christian Circle and build friendships with all kinds of people -- listening to them, loving them, encouraging them, and praying for them.

This week we look at the heart of the series: The Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. There are all kinds of social media challenges that have gone on. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Now there is the 30 Days of Sex Challenge that people are talking about right now. (Don’t worry I am not talking about either of those.) But, in this day and age of so much division and hate, I am offering the Love Chapter Challenge.

Memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and say it or pray it for 30 days.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Do four agape love things.

L. Love your wife. (This is for married couples, but I am sure that Christian singles are praying for marriages.)

In my marriage counseling I often tell people about Elling and Barb Halvorson. Elling calls his wife hot lips. They are senior adults, but at the marriage of their grandson, Elling challenged all his married grandchildren to kiss their spouse every single day for the rest of their lives. And he added make it a good one. Then he demonstrated - like a bull getting ready to charge he pawed at the ground with his feet and gave his wife a kiss that made all his extended family cheer. Kiss your wife (a really good smack) once a day for 30 days.

O. Offer to pray daily with someone you normally would not pray with.

I’m going to call all my grandchildren every day and pray with them over the phone. And I am going to add someone outside my circle to pray with once a day. If that sounds uncomfortable, then just pray for them and don’t tell them. But if you really want to stretch, try praying over the phone, for someone you love but don’t see and see if it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye. It doesn’t have to be a complicated prayer just pray from your heart.

V. Verses 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – memorize these and pray them daily and live them for 30 days.

E. Encourage someone outside your normal circle.

Ask a neighbor if you can clean their rain gutters; take a homeless person to lunch or put them up for a night in a motel. Stop and help a person stranded on the road or give an extra gift through the church to send a kid to camp. Help in a mission project. Contribute to a Benevolence Fund for helping people caught in a crunch in our area. Go feed people at a homeless camp or help out at the Union Gospel Mission; but do something that reaches out of your normal circle.

So, expect to see this challenge on my Facebook page, LinkedIn site and Twitter feed – 20,000 people in all will see it. And I am going to challenge other Pastors to join in this Love Challenge. From other churches I am going to challenge Pastor Brian White from Hill Song Church, Pastor Monte Ingersoll from Living Room Church, Pastor David Hamlin (retired Baptist pastor), Pastor Rich Warren, Pastor Ron Wilbur, Pastor Mike Mugford of Friendly Street Church of God; Austin Svangren from Word of Faith Church, Roberts A. Schuller from Robert Schuller Ministries. And of course, Pastor Helio Silva, Pastor Chet McVey, Pastor Su Jong Beck, Pastor David Gerzsenye, Pastor Linda Skinner, Pastor Michael Fernandez, Pastor Josh Zappone, Pastor Rhonda Jones, Pastor Eliot Stone, Pastor Jackie White, Pastor Marty Folsom, Pastor Becca McCary: Executive Director of Sisters of Mary Catholic Ministries, Pastor Dale White Fellowship of Joy, Pastor John Bangs and Father Lou Martin of the Baltimore Archdiocese.

If each person will only call out two people to the Love Chapter Challenge who knows how far this thing can go!

So please join me this weekend for a 20-minute sermon on the Love Challenge - it just might change the world.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ...

by Pastor Linda Skinner

 …..This was one of my mother’s favorite Bible passages.  Whenever she was unable to read the Bible for herself and I asked her what she wanted me to read to her it was almost always Romans 8. 

 A time that sticks out most vividly in my mind is after she had her first stroke and she was very confused and anxious, not really knowing where she was or what had happened.  The stroke was caused by a clot that had logged in the part of the brain that controls emotions and fears.

I knew that reading God’s Word to her would be the best medicine, so I pulled out my Bible and began reading.

 Romans 8:26–28 (NLT): And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 As I read those words I could see mom relaxing.  I kept reading and when I read — “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ....No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”— mom looked at me and smiled.  All the fear and stress were gone from her face. 

The Love of Christ and the Word of God have tremendous power in our lives.  Mom had a long, tough recovery ahead, but those ancient words of love gave both of us the strength we would need to face the months to come.

 This weekend Dr. Marty Folsom will be sharing about God’s Agape Love found in Romans.  He will be continuing the great “Life Vines” series that Pastor Tim has been teaching this Fall.  You won’t want to miss another opportunity to experience the love of Christ in worship.

Build A Vineyard

by Pastor Tim White

Have you ever seen a farmer who is launching his first vineyard? It is an exciting endeavor. All over Eastern Washington, where I grew up, there are beautiful wine and grape juice vineyards being pioneered. And this has been going on for 40 years. I remember performing a wedding at a vineyard which, at that time, was one of the largest wine vineyards in Eastern Washington. It was for the daughter of the entrepreneur farmer who was launching this endeavor - and it was beautiful! That was long before I moved to start Washington Cathedral and since that time Yakima through Walla Walla has become a new wine country. And these great vineyards have been a blessing for our whole state!

As you know the ancient world was completely dependent on the wine and olive oil business. Wine because it was one of the few safe liquids to drink. And olive oil because later she would become “Popeye the sailor man’s” girlfriend. (That is a joke in case you didn’t catch it or don’t know who Popeye the sailor man was). In the hundreds of hours, I spent studying ancient history I can’t tell you the percentage of time we spent studying pottery which was the main storage utensil used to transport these two necessary items. At one time, I could distinguish with some degree of accuracy, Late Bronze Age Greek pottery from Middle Bronze Age Egyptian pottery.

Jesus used the language of wine and vineyards to describe his secret plan to change the world by showing a love that people could not resist and aiming it at having an exponential impact. In other words, instead of adding by addition, it is growing by multiplication. Each vine attached and pruned is set to duplicate itself and to grow a great fruit-bearing vineyard.

I love our Tiny Little Church which meets in Snohomish (just off Highway 9) at 7:00 Tuesday night. The friends in the group are some of the most caring, down-to-earth people that you would find anywhere. And we have fun together. In the last two weeks we have had a new person visit our group each week. What if someday those people become so fruitful that they themselves start a Tiny Little Church which has a world-changing Good Samaritan project in our community. What if they help the people they know to find their faith and gifts and some of those people go on to start new vineyards. That is exponential growth for a church that is not dependent on buildings, property or any other change in the wind.

This Sunday I am going to be sharing the Agape words used in John 15. I know we referred to this passage when we first started studying Agape in Matthew, but we never really dove into it the way we will this week. And the goal is to teach you to build a prosperous vineyard in your life with your neighbors, spouse, children, grandchildren, employees, employers and friends. It is Jesus’ secret plan to change the world. And I will be so blessed if you join us this week for this very inspirational event. In fact, I can say that God will be blessed by future world-changers taking time to huddle together and getting inspired about building vineyards.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

The End of the Old and the Beginning of the New

by Pastor Tim White

That is what “Agape,” God’s kind of love, represents. Last Sunday was a great day. Right after our 11 AM worship we headed out with all the kids and their parents to travel up, around, down and through the beautiful Sammamish valley to my secret fishing hole set back in the woods. And if you want specific directions it is just south of Canada, just West of Idaho, just north of Oregon and just east of the Pacific Ocean. In other words, it is somewhere in Washington. As I approached the keeper of my secret fishing hole, he said, "get your group around so I can go over the rules." A mass of kids and parents surrounded the kindly man and his wife. He pointed at me and said, “whoever this is - your grandpa, uncle, dad, pastor or friend he will be helping you.” I was massed by a joyful onslaught of sharp young parents, cute kids full of mischief, and trout being caught by tiny ones who didn’t need any lessons - they just needed someone to take the fish off the end of the hook. Many of the kids and young families I was just getting to know. One of the kids came up to me and said, “you smell like fish.” It was a delightful day (although I think I still smell like fish) and what a joy to get to know so many young families in our church.

This week as we study the word “Agape” through the New Testament. We are learning to be very intentional about how we impact the lives of the people God has positioned us near and we are looking for an action step. After studying God’s Love (“Agape” in the Greek), I wanted to name this message “Love is a Verb.” I looked that title up and there must be a 100 books and essays with the same title. Jackie tells me there is a DC Talk song called “Love is a Verb.” (But I wouldn’t know because I am too young to know that group.) But in studying the context of “Agape” in all the Gospels I like the idea of the “End of the Old and the Beginning of the New.” It matches the force of Jesus’ message in the gospels.

We kicked off our Small Groups this week and it was great to see all the new people trying out the Tender Loving Care groups. The discussion in my Diamonds in the Rough TLC was insightful to me. The main point being it is easier to say “love your neighbor” than it is to actually love your neighbor. What a resource our church family is when we look at a revolutionary concept like this. Our church was founded on Showing People a Love They Cannot Resist. Now how do we do it better? After all these years and all the experts God has placed in our congregation, we really should be able to put together a new and improved strategy on loving the people in our lives.

Please join me this weekend. Your attendance really makes a difference.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White


By Pastor Tim White

It’s a brand-new Fall season. The kids are excited to go back to school. New sports are beginning. Leaves are changing color and people are starting to wear jackets. It is Autumn 2018, and we are preparing for the greatest year in the history of Washington Cathedral. I love my life-long friends at our church home. And I would not trade places with any other pastor at any other time than to be here, right now, and ready to tackle the next adventure facing us as a church.

We are out to spread the revolution of Jesus Christ’s love and grace. Jesus said, I am the vine and you are the branches and any branch that remains in him will bear good fruit. When Jackie and I met with Pope Francis’ Ambassador, Dr. Carlos Avila, he shared with us that this was going to be the strategy of the Roman Catholic Church to change the world. To motivate their people to befriend as many people as possible and build a life-long relationship with them using the power of God to help them take another step on their spiritual journey.

How intentional are you about pouring your life into your children, your neighbors, your in-laws, the people you work next to, or play sports with? Well, get ready to kick things into gear for a great adventure and really getting some traction. Together we are studying Agape in the New Testament. This week, we look at Matthew where Jesus tells us that God’s love teaches us to view everyone as a neighbor - even our enemies. And how we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Some churches, such as the Friends Church, call everyone their friend because of Jesus Christ. I like that. But we are also supposed to treat everyone as our neighbor. The music will be better than ever. There is a barbecue in between services. Jackie and I are taking all the kids in the church to my secret fishing hole, the trout farm. It is going to be a brand-new beginning. Won’t you join us?

Your neighbor for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

P.S. I have a dream of how we, as a church, can double in growth this year 2018-2019. Come hear this exciting dream from its beginning.