One Ditch At A Time


When I was in high school, I went to work part time for a contractor who built luxury homes in the Tacoma area. I was excited to learn the trade of building and even bought a really nice tool belt, framing hammer and square. I showed up to the job site on my first day- ready and eager!  As I approached the contractor, he did something that completely caught me off guard. He handed me a shovel and said, “You’ll need your gloves...”  Suddenly, my first day went from genuine eagerness, to a bit of fear as I knew a shovel and gloves meant I wasn’t going to be building much of anything that day.

He instructed me to dig a ditch. A large one. He said it was for drainage and it needed to be 8ft long, by 3ft wide, by 3ft deep. At this point, I had to look around and make sure I wasn’t working at a cemetery! Was I digging my own grave out here?!?

Upon giving me the instructions, he left to another job site. Suddenly, I was all alone. Just me and my shovel. I began the long and painful task of digging the ditch. It was hard work!  A few hours later the contractor returned to look at my progress. He offered some “atta-boy” sentiments, which was nice, but I was really wanting to be done with this job!

Later, I finished the huge ditch, got into my car and drove home dirty, exhausted and hoping I didn’t make a huge mistake taking this job. wasn’t a mistake at all.

The next day, he had me come back to the same site, except there were no shovels. It was a day spent learning the basics of home construction! The contractor told me that while the ditch was indeed for drainage and very important to the house, he had me do that job just to see how well I would follow his instructions. Those listening skills my parents had taught me as a boy had paid off!!

In the book of 2 Kings, there is a story of people who were instructed to dig ditches. A lot of them! The reason for the ditches was quite simple: Listen to what God was telling them to do, then do it in a trusting way and see what happens. The Bible actually has quite a lot to say about faith and action. Psalm 37 tells us to “trust in the Lord and DO good...”

I hope you’ll join me this Sunday, as we explore this story of ditches and trusting God in 2 Kings 3. This will be a conclusion of our series on Trust and I hope that if you’ve heard any of these messages, you’ve grown in your understanding of trust and faith. It’s never something we will perfect. No one does. This is a long journey of progression toward growth and maturity. The key is in not giving up. God is with us and He’s always good and faithful to prove Himself trustworthy!

Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

The One Who Does Impossible


A teenage girl lays on her bed praying...begging God to help her parents stop the fighting and yelling. Her days are filled with worry that they will divorce and her family will be torn apart. She prays- unsure her words are getting past the ceiling of her bedroom. Her prayers come from a real and deep place of desperation, but she’s never met the One who does impossible, so she has no idea what to expect. Who knows what will happen?

A successful man who is well respected within his church and known as a man of great faith prays for someone who is very sick. His prayer is confident and loud as he boldly states...”I CLAIM healing over you!” and then walks away without giving any more thought to his prayer. Will his extreme confidence move God to heal? Who knows what will happen?

A busy, single mother of 2 young children sits exhausted on her couch after finally getting the kids to bed and the house picked up. No energy to even see what’s new on Netflix. She sits in her exhausted state and begins to think about the bills that are piling up. Some surprise medical costs have her very worried about keeping up with the rent, so she begins to pray. She needs a financial miracle! As she prays, her voice trembles a bit with emotion. She’s scared about her future, but also knows that God has never before left her high and dry. She prays from a place of tension where there are the real questions of “what if?”, but also with confidence, because the One who does impossible has always been good. Who knows what will happen?

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist is in real trouble and he sends his followers to Jesus with this question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”. Jesus’s answer is powerful, fascinating and very important for all of us today who are in need of a miracle!

Would you join me with Sunday as we look honestly into the tension of both expecting our miracle and wondering what happens if it doesn’t come?  The One who does impossible is so good and our miracle might be right around the corner! I look forward to seeking, learning and growing with you on Sunday.

Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

An Interesting Time in History


I love the Book of Isaiah.  Maybe because Jesus loved it and quoted it more than any other book. His life mission was Isaiah 61.

In 1973, I was seeking God’s mission and vision for my life when the wind blew my Bible open to Isaiah 61 on a mountain nearly 10,000 feet high, and the mission for our church was born.

I love the start of the book when the old prophet is telling the people of Judah that they have a choice ahead of them and that it is a pivotal time in history.  The first chapters are full of warning for the consequences of turning away from the Lord.  But there is hope also, when in Isaiah 1:18-20 God says…Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I am not a pastor in order to be a politician.  I had thought seriously about a political career and was called to be a pastor.  As I have said from the beginning, I want people to come to church who disagree with me and I with them.  Church is not a holy huddle. It is preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God that will change our lives and the world.  While I am very politically active, I have always preached Christ first and last and I will do so till the day I die.  Now, I do ask, even plead, that everyone vote.  I pray for 100% participation. In Romans 12 it tells us “to be subject to those put in governmental authority over us.” When faith grows deep and people’s lives are changed that is how revolution happens.  Government changes because “government is only a reflection of the people” as Thomas Jefferson said.    I want to tell you that our faith in America is three thousand miles wide and one inch deep.  We need deeper roots and spirit-filled faith. 

That is why Saturday night is becoming our discipleship night.  We have chosen that night because our people are busy and weeknight discipleship does not catch the people we need to grow deeper in their faith.  Some radicals may want to go Saturday and Sunday. Others will choose between the two, and that is alright.

Nothing in this election has surprised me.  Our Christian faith is so shallow today.  But that does not relieve us of the right, privilege and responsibility to vote.  There will be a day, maybe in our life time, when we won’t get to vote and we will realize the gravity of this age that we are living in.  Also, don’t let all the hate speech take you away from being a Christ-follower.  You need to be able to speak kindly and forthrightly with those with whom you disagree. As there is so much division in our society it is Christians who will hold our communities and nation together with civility.  That is why I ask, beg and preach that you and I should pray for the candidate and their followers, that we are not voting for. It is the only Christian thing to do in that we are supposed to love our enemies.

I have written a novel on American patriotism called Ulysses Dream and asked the publisher to rush it to be published during the election.  I wrote it in a year and it took six months to bring it to market.  Yes, it deals with human trafficking - something that is an abomination to God.  Yes, it deals with immigration, something that is a hot political issue for both parties. President Obama deported more immigrants than at any other time in history and as you know, nominee Trump wants to put up a wall which will prevent illegal immigrants from entering our nation.  That would at least stop the coyotes (smugglers) and they would not be able to abuse people.  I think both sides can agree that good-hearted immigrants need to be treated with the same humanity and dignity that our forefathers were treated with when they came to this country.  Yes, in my book I argue for patriotism for our nation and for what it might become. It is a great and honored responsibility.

On Thursday, October 20th,  from 7 to 8 pm, there will be a launch for my novel Ulysses Dream at the Spirit Falls Sanctuary.  There will be an original composition by Rhonda Jones, including choir, violin and viola, and soloists.  There will be comments from Vietnam war veterans, Seattle Police detective (Retired), and others about the book, maybe even a Native American Chief.  I will give a brief synopsis of the book, and a Spanish actress will read a page from the book.  The book will be for sale and the proceeds will go to retiring the last of Washington Cathedral’s long-term debt.

Let’s all be in prayer about this election and make sure that you register and vote.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

Who's Got Your Back?


My child, never forget the things I have taught you.  Store my commands in your heart.  If you do this, you will live many years.  And our life will be satisfying.  Never let go of loyalty and kindness!  Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.  Then you will find favor with both God and people.  Proverbs 3:1-4

Have you noticed how music sticks with you in an unexplainable way?  Great music sets the mood for everyone who is listening while giving them unique thoughts, emotions and memories.  I was praying for healing this morning for a person that I dearly love.  I dared in the name of Jesus to ask that his digestive system would begin to work again after surgery.  The Christian nurse listening in commented that my prayer reminded her of a song by Danny Goekey Tell your heart to start.  It came from a true story of a lady named Mrs. Johnson who had open-heart surgery and when they took her heart off the heart and lung machine her heart would not start.  The surgeon, who was a Christian, kneeled down at the bed-side of the lady.  He prayed, “Mrs.  Johnson we have repaired your heart. There is nothing wrong with it so please tell your heart to beat again”.  Her heart began to beat. 

This drama became a great song because it resonates with so many of us.  We have suffered injury but now that chapter is over and we need to have faith in Jesus Christ that He is greater than our fears and we need to tell our hearts to beat again. 

This is just a sample of the wisdom that God provides for us.  It doesn’t mean much unless we remember it and lean not on our own understanding trusting Jesus to lead and guide us to choose the right paths.  If you would like to listen to the You tube you can find it at

I hope you find encouragement in this wisdom

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim

Surprise Visits


What hinders me from hearing is that I am taking up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. Oswald Chambers

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!  1 Chronicles 16:11

Setting my heart on what He wants, thinking His thoughts… it is at those times that He will appear and make himself known to me.

How does He do this? I would like to think it is at those times when reading something in the Bible that just jumps out at me and an ‘ah ha’ thing happens. Or when a compliment or comment is made regarding something I have been praying about and it is confirmation that I am on the right track. A sermon or lesson that really zeroes in to a specific area of my life. The opportunity presented to step up and help someone without prompting, just knowing it is what He would have me do - just because…Being at a place of peace and contentment no matter what the circumstances and knowing that they are all under God’s control and not mine to manipulate. I am finding that ‘sweet spot’ more and more in my life. That place where things are good, not because of the surrounding circumstances but in the place I am standing, next to Christ and trusting in Him with childlike trust and expectation.

Father, thank you for your promise that, when I seek You, You will draw near to me; for the desire to grow more like your Son in attitude and thinking so that my mind is looking farther ahead than to the immediate. “Trusting that all things will be made right as I surrender to your will”. Trusting you for my family because I have put them into your hands…


How To Pray In Times Of Stress


becca This is me with a few of the kids from our church’s Cathedral Kid ministry getting ready to worship and pray at camp.

This Prayer technique developed for me during the season of pregnancy, labor, and lack-of-home-ness. In the past 3 years we’ve had 2 kids. We’ve had roofs over our heads, but not a home of our own for the last year. In other words, this has been a season where prayer has been essential. I thought I’d share how I like to pray and how I teach the kids in my ministry to pray too.

Think of this practice as a chiastic structure, where each step is essential.

Part 1: “The second commandment is equally important, love your neighbor as your love yourself”

1. Listen to yourself

a. Set a timer for 60 seconds. Take one full minute to sit still in silence. Try to breathe.

2. Understand yourself

a. Write down on a piece of paper the main thoughts that occupied your mind during that time of silence. What worried you? What felt out of your control? What feelings were alive in you?

3. Respond to yourself

a. Take a moment to care for your body. Stretch, breathe deeply, reflect on what you’ve eaten, how you’ve slept, and if you can, take a short walk outside.

Don’t stop here. Step one only prepares yourself to listen.


Part 2: “Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…”

1. Say thank you.

a. Write down as long a list as you can of what you are thankful for.

b. Now go deeper, write a paragraph on why you are so grateful for one of the things from your list.

2. Remember who you are talking to.

a. Listen to the noises in the room, how it smells, how your seat feels under you. Think of where you are located in your building, then your street, then your city, then your state, then the country, then the continent, then the world then the universe. You are in the presence of the creator of the universe.

b. Picture Jesus with you. How is he sitting or standing? What expression is on his face?

3. Turn from Sin. Turn to God.

a. In light of the greatness of God and His intentions for humanity, is there anything in your life, in your heart, in your relationships, in your workplace, the way you vote, the wat you’re spending your money, where your thoughts have been that are out of line with God’s best intended life for you?

b. Ask God’s forgiveness. Trust that God is powerful enough to forgive you. Set your heart back on Jesus.

4. Trust God; Ask for help.

a. Based on the worries that most occupied you in part 1, ask God for help, knowing that he loves you, he wants to help you, and he is capable of helping you.

5. Listen.

a. Set aside time just to listen to God. Listen in the way that is most helpful for you. Listen while walking, listen while playing a worship song, listen with a pen in hand and blank sheet of paper in front of you.

Don’t stop here. Step two only prepares yourself to obey, change, and grow.


Part 3: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”

1. Act on what God has told you to do

2. Keep Listening and involve your community- you are not alone!

a. The 10 commandments are not a suggestion, be involved in your church community, honoring the Sabbath day so you have the support you need to follow God.


-Pastor Becca

A Response To A Tragic Week


Lord, you have poured out amazing blessings on your land! You have restored the fortunes of Israel.  Psalm 85:1

Last week was a great weekend at Washington Cathedral.  It was the kickoff of our Summer of Family Fun.  I shared something very near to my heart:  the importance of Godly patriotism to heal our nation.  I know that times have changed and that other generations have high percentages that question patriotism of any kind.  One note sent to me told me that it is impossible to be a Christian and also be patriotic.  I accept the challenge to communicate this core value for many reasons but, most of all, I believe that Christ is the answer to the problems of our world.  That is why I have taken the time to write an historical romance novel about patriotism called “Ulysses Dream” to come out in the first part of September this year.  The publisher might change the title and if you are interested you can follow its development at the site  

The following is a response to recent violence in Dallas that I wrote on another blog and it is followed by a response from my Assistant, retired police Detective Karen Haverkate, after someone referred to her as a hero for having been a law enforcement officer.  It should give us something to think about….

I am praying for the families of the police officers shot in Dallas and for those whose loved ones died in other shootings in America. I don't pretend to understand everything that is going on but I do know that as a nation we are so divided and racial tension is real. Public servants often take the brunt of this division. Each situation breaks my heart and the only answer is that we work diligently to come together as a community. More simplistic pronouncements just cause further division although I know they are easy, knee jerk reactions by people who care but don't know what to do. We need to make friends with people in our nation who are not like us. We are all human beings. One tragedy is a travesty against all humanity. We who live by love have our work to do. We must be more loving, better bridge builders, standing with victims, their families and police families. We must practice everything we have been taught by Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa. We have terrorists that are determined to destroy our freedoms.  We don't need to be terrorists ourselves. We need to be ‘reverse terrorists’ or People of Love.

In response to being referred to as a ‘hero’ by one of our church family in a discussion about the events in Dallas, Karen replied:

“Thank you, but I am not a hero. I got into law enforcement because I really wanted to help people. ALL people. I worked patrol for seven years, event planning for three, background investigations for almost two, and fraud investigations for 14. I believe I treated all the people I encountered equally, no matter their age, race, gender, economic status, religion or life style preference. Even so, I can't count the number of times I heard, "You're only stopping/arresting me because I am _________". I got into more than a few fights, and used force on more than one occasion, but only in response to an act of aggression/violence against me or others. Never did I go to work with the desire to get into a fight, assault or kill someone. And I truly believe none of the officers I worked with did either. None of us took the job with the desire to kill people. I had to draw my weapon several times but I only came really close to shooting someone once, and I cried afterward; partly out of anger at the guy for putting me in that position, and partly from relief that I didn't have to shoot him. But, I was prepared to. I had no idea that the gun he was holding as he walked toward me, ignoring repeated orders to stop and drop the gun, was empty. That the shots I heard prior to encountering him had been the last of his ammunition. Fighting with and using force on another person is not "fun". Hurting or killing someone is not "fun". The paperwork involved in either is not "fun". The media and social scrutiny afterwards is not "fun".  Do bad things happen? Yes. Are there some bad officers? Sadly, yes. Are they the majority? Absolutely not. Did they start out that way or did something happen in their career to make them that way? I personally feel it would be the latter. When I was in background investigations, we took measures to weed out any applicant that showed a propensity for bias or violence. We DON’T WANT that type of officer working for/with us. So, thank you for your compliment, but I am not a hero. I was just a cop that tried to do her job fairly and justly for everyone, no matter what they looked like. And I believe that the majority of officers out there are trying to do just that.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

The Open and Closed Door Myth


“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For I know that when our faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow….”  James 1:2-4 NLT

For many years I operated under that assumption that when I was “walking in God’s will,” and things would go smoothly that “doors would open”.  I discovered that God can use “closed doors” to also get me to the right place.  As a matter of fact, those “closed doors” shouted much louder to me than “open doors.”

As I shared this past weekend, I felt my business career seemed to be a big open door. I was proceeding under the assumption that God was going to use me in the business world to honor Him.  I had great success in that area.  I was advancing and, at a time, when very few women achieved the level of Vice President, I was being groomed for that position.  We had moved to Seattle for a job opportunity for my husband, Rich and I was able to transfer to the Bellevue Office. 

About 2 years after working in the Seattle office and getting rave reviews, my boss, the Vice President of the NW Region, decided to move back to his home state of Alabama.  I felt I was ready and he felt the same.  As a matter of fact, he recommended me for the position.  In my mind, it was a “done deal” and I was preparing myself for the new task at hand.

Shortly, I received a call from the Western Regional VP informing me that the decision had been made and they decided to hire a new young guy who lived in Texas.  He had no experience with our products and services (or with marketing for that matter) and he hoped I would be available to help train the guy.  As a mature business woman, I thanked him for the call, told him I was disappointed and would have to think about the training thing.  I hung up the phone; went into the bathroom and bawled my eyes out--and then I called my “mommy.”

After much prayer and talking to people of wisdom in my life (Pastor Tim for one), I decided not to stick around to train the new guy.  I gave up my career with that company and quit my job (Something I most often advise people not to do, by the way).  That was an event that was a changing point in my life, and through a series of events it brought me to my new career as God’s sales and marketing person at Washington Cathedral.  Which is where, I know now, God was getting me ready for and pointing me to become.

I only know this as I look back at the series of events in my life.  I had no idea at the time, instead I had to claim in faith the words God gives us in James “when trouble comes your way, consider an opportunity for great joy.”  I have come to believe with all my heart in soul the words of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understand, acknowledge Him in all you do, and he will guide your path.”  It doesn’t really matter whether the door is open or closed, when you are walking with your Lord he will guide you through, around or turn you the other way.

May you find His joy even in the face of troubles.

Pastor Linda Skinner

Grace...A Wonderful Word


A few years ago I was on a quest to rebuild my broken faith when I decided to read books by three particular authors. Philip Yancey, C.S. Lewis, & Brennan Manning. These three men came from different denominations, different generations even of different ages, but all came with a great understanding of the word Grace.

I love the book by Philip Yancey What’s So Amazing about Grace?”  where he examined Grace from many perspectives. I learned so much about this one word and the different forms in which it is found. We believe that God’s grace is “unmerited favor” meaning it is not something we can purchase or earn. It is usually found in places where the person who extends it does so because there is nothing else that can be done, but trusts that a good outcome will result. He goes about showing many situations where grace is lived out in real life from the story of a young girl coming back home after running away for a ‘better life’ and her family take her back with open arms. He tells of a situation where many scholars had met in Britain to discuss the different religions and what was the fundamental difference between them and Christianity? C.S Lewis walked into the room during the discussion and responded that Grace was the biggest difference. It is the only religion where God reaches down to man, whereby other religions are man trying to please or reach God by their actions.

He states that Grace is one of those words that has never lost its meaning. It has stood the test of time. Other words can change with cultures or generations and take on different meanings. For example: gay used to mean happy or bright and gentleman used to be a Title not a description. Grace is a multi-faceted word, but the meanings stay clear. Take for example grace note: extra notes in a song that add depth. Grace period: when you get time extended without penalty. Grace editions: more magazines than you paid for.

Another favorite author, Brennan Manning, wrote the fictional book “The Prodigal” where he puts into words the story Jesus told in The Lost Son in Luke, but in a modern situation. Beautifully expressed, it deals with a man’s actions alienating himself from family and church and the road back to faith, which was started by his father going to him and extending grace while he was at his lowest point. (I highly recommend this book)

Grace is a great word and a great reality.   In practicality, its offering something of ourselves to another person when they don’t deserve it. Maybe not passing a judgement on someone’s actions, but trusting that God will bring good out of it. Look beyond someone’s action to the cause and reason behind it. Being a friend in need, with no expectation of payback. As it was extended to us, let us extend it outward to others and in that we are living in that grace given to us.

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

The profound beauty of God’s world

Interview and post by Pastor Linda Skinner with artist Kathleen Henderson “Creation and creatures applaud you, God; your holy people bless you. They talk about the glories of your rule, they exclaim over your splendor, letting the world know of your power for good, the lavish splendor of your kingdom.” Psalm 145:10-12 (The Message)

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing a very special lady in our church, Kathleen Henderson. Kathleen is a painter and right now her art is being displayed in our very own Inscape Gallery located in the Spirit Falls building. (Inscape Gallery is a part of Washington Seminary one of the 5 non-profit organizations affiliated with Washington Cathedral.)

Kathleen has been a part of the Washington Cathedral family for many years and she has been painting under the instruction and mentoring of Kay Barnes for the last 5 years.

K_Henderson2She feels that God planted a seed in her life when at the age of seven she received a Christmas gift of watercolor paints and paper. Later in college she dabbled in painting with Acrylic.

A few years ago, and after experiencing loss, she saw some paintings that a friend had done. She liked the style of painting, she called it a “realistic style”, and she wanted to give it a try herself. She wanted to try creating something beautiful.

She got in touch with her friend about an art instructor, Kay Barnes, and she signed up for weekly classes. Kay has been a wonderful mentor and friend to Kathleen as she has helped her discover the gift she had buried deep inside.

Kathleen told me that she found painting very challenging and hard. So I asked her “Why do it?” She passionately answered that it brought her satisfaction and she liked learning and seeing the progress she was making.

When I asked her what she did if she finished a painting and looked at it and just didn’t like it, she immediately replied, “I throw it away.” “How many have you thrown away?” I asked. Her reply was “Very few.” Then she added, “But when I’m painting I pray to God.” I responded back, “Maybe that is why you don’t throw many away.” She looked and me nodded her head and smiled. Kathleen brings God into her paintings and it shows.

K_HendersonKathleen paints the two things she loves most – flowers and dogs. She loves using exciting colors, and painting from a very up-close perspective. Her hope is that her paintings will urge viewers to stop and look closely. When they do, her prayer is that they will see the profound beauty of God’s world.

While I looked around her house, I saw many picture hangers with no pictures hanging on them. Curiously I asked, “Is that where all your paintings normally hang?” And with a little sadness in her eyes, she nodded her head. So I inquired of her if she missed her paintings while they are display. And she responded “Very much, they are my friends.” She said “People ask me why I don’t sell them. I can’t sell my friends.” But if someone commissions me, I love to paint their dog or flowers that mean something to them.”

I hope Kathleen doesn’t mind me sharing this, but she started painting in her 60’s. She’s had a number of very serious health challenges and I think God has used her painting to help her through. At the same time, He blesses us through her.

If you would like to see Kathleen’s beautiful art. Come by Spirit Falls building on a Saturday night or Sunday morning and you will experience some beautiful paintings. On March 11 at 7:00 pm there will be a “Closing Conversation” in Spirit Falls Sanctuary and you can meet Kathleen and let her know how much you appreciate her using the gift God has given her and for sharing “her friends” with us.