The Biggest "But" In The Bible


A single mom who put herself through college in hopes of providing a better life for her family gets the call from HR after interviewing for her dream job. She hears, “You have amazing strengths and qualifications, BUT we just don’t feel like you’re the right fit for us at this time.” Her disappointment seems crushing!

A 15 year old boy spends all summer training and practicing for for high school football tryouts. He gives 110% and feels confident he’s made the team. Until the coach calls him into his office to say...”You gave a great effort kid, BUT we feel you aren’t quite ready. Keep practicing and try again next year...” It's a massive setback for his hopes of being a high school athlete!

A man who God called to do some seemingly impossible things answers, “you’ve got the wrong guy”, but eventually obeys and becomes the leader of an entire nation. Despite his insecurities and fears, he continues to trust God and faithfully leads His people through all the ups and downs with the hope that they would arrive in the land promised to them. Near the end of his days, God leads him to a mountain and shows him the promised land. The long, difficult journey is over and the hard-earned reward is there for him to enjoy!

Until God says this in Deuteronomy 34: “I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, BUT you will not enter the land.” (There’s that “but” word again bringing with it disappointments and setbacks!)

It’s the biggest “but” in the Bible and I can’t help but be gripped with disappointment for Moses every time I read the story. Can you imagine how he may have felt standing on that mountain? Yet the story ends by saying Moses was the greatest of all the prophets. Moses’s life is a model to us for giving our all to God even when we’re going through all of it.

I hope you’ll join me this weekend as we talk more about living lives of authentic worship to God, even when we’re in the mess of disappointments, setback and failures. I’m praying now that people will find hope and strength as they desire to trust God, while navigating their own life’s troubles. It’s never easy, but it is possible!

Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

Living Worship


“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  Yet their voice goes into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”  Psalm 19:1-4

To my recollection, I think my first “Empowering Encounter” of worship was when I was about 12 years old.  It was on a beautiful summer night in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California.

Summer vacation for our family was always a trip to our cabin in Calpine, California.  Being farmers, my parents had few vacations in the summer, but they had a co-op deal with another farmer who would look after our chickens and animals while we were gone and then we’d look after their turkeys and animals while they were gone.  However, the vacations we had were always memorable.  Early morning trout fishing in the streams of the Sierra Valley, delicious trout and egg breakfast, games and swimming in the heat of the day, and bonfires at night. 

One evening, we were having a bonfire at the reservoir above our cabin.  I walked up the levy with one of my girlfriends, Susie, and we laid down in the soft grass and looked up into the sky.  It was the most spectacular sight I had ever seen.  It was a hot August night, the moon was just a sliver, and the only light was the glow of the bonfire in the distance.  The stars seemed to be so bright and the sky was full of stars of all different sizes layered for millions, upon millions of miles.  I could only say “WOW, God is big!”  We both laid there in absolute awe of the majesty of our Heavenly Father. I never felt so small and yet so filled with the sense of God’s deep and abiding love for me.  Amazed that the creator of everything, would love and care about “little ol’ me”.

I don’t think I realized at the time what an incredible act of worship I had just experienced.  But from then on, I was much more aware of the how God’s creation shouts His Glory to all.

Join me this Sunday as we explore together “Living Worship” in our everyday life.  When we can do that, it takes everything to a new level of excitement and joy.

Pastor Linda Skinner

Living A New Song


Sing to God a brand-new song.He’s made a world of wonders! He rolled up his sleeves, He set things right.  Psalm 98:1 The Message

Have you ever wondered where, or how the Church got all of the hymns, praise songs and worship choruses?  There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of them!  Some of the songs we sing in Church every Sunday were written from a place of pain and despair. Others were birthed from hearts full of hope.  But many of the popular hymns and worship songs which have been sung through the years came from a place of excitement and personal, or corporate revival.

In other words...these songs come to us as a response from people who were in the middle of experiencing something new and fresh from God.

When God does something new in us, we should bring new worship to Him!

Now, maybe you’re thinking...”what if I don’t write music, or know how to play an instrument?”  Remember this: Worship is a lifestyle. It’s never just about the songs we sing in church!

So when I say that we should bring new worship to God when he’s in the midst of doing something new in our lives, I mean that we should, in return, seek to worship, praise and thank Him in new ways, rather than what we’ve always done in the past.

In order to understand this approach to new worship, we need to remember that God is always on the move. He’s never a stagnant, boring God. Neither should our worship to Him be stagnant and boring. The challenge for each of us is to look for how He’s moving in and around our lives and respond with adventurous and fresh worship!

I’m excited to talk more about this at all of our weekend services this week as I’ve invited our new worship director, Eliot Stone to join me in teaching. You’ll enjoy his insights into how music and other forms of art are meant to be authentically worshipful. We hope you’ll join us!


Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

Empowering Encounters


"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." St Augustine

Empowering Encounters from God and the Holy Spirit are something I crave today in my faith. To be newly awakened to His great love and divine presence in my every day living. To experience the supernatural and be freed from the traps of a boring, lazy and mundane faith.

Do you resonate with this? Are you finding yourself with the same desires? Restless for more of God? You're in a good spot, my friend!

Here's what I've learned whenever I crave new and empowering experiences with God...

  1. Receiving this fresh revival of faith almost always begins with worship. Intentional worship that sets my heart and mind in their rightful position where I'm more aware of, and open to receive God's presence.
  2.  My worship cannot be dependent upon feelings. My feelings are in constant flux, therefore, making it almost impossible to experience authentic connection with God who is always unchanging and unwavering.

The unfortunate reality for many of us (myself included) is we have become convinced that worship is music and the worship music needs to make us feel connected to God for it to be good worship.

Eugene Peterson, in his book: The Pastor - wrote these prophetic and convicting words regarding worship:

By the time I arrived on the scene as a pastor, the American church had reinterpreted the worship of God as an activity for religious consumers.  Entertainment, manipulation and cheer-leading were conspicuous in high places.  American worship was conceived as a public relations campaign for Jesus and his angels. Worship had been cheapened into a commodity marketed by using tried and true advertising techniques.  If so called worshippers didn't "get anything out of it," there had been no worship worth coming back for. Instead of calling people to worship God, pastors all over the country were inviting people to have a "worship experience".  Worship was evaluated on the satisfaction scale of one to ten. 

It struck me as a violation of the holy, a secularization of the sacred.  Taking the Lord's name in vain. I determined to reintroduce the idea: let us worship God. I knew this wasn't going to be easy.  The entertainment model for worship in America was pervasive.

Tough words, huh?

If you're craving a more empowering faith and find yourself desiring God to move through you in fresh, powerful ways; I strongly encourage you to join us this month as we dive into the topic of worship.  Our aim is to explore the Bible and the many stories of genuine worship from regular, every day people AND to help provide you with a guide for living a life of worship.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn how much God desires it and how we were made for it.  See you this weekend!

Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

Reflections On The Wonder of Music


Dearest Father Above,

I thank You for music-for in it I get lost in your peace and your grace.  I thank you also for your creation of ears to hear, hands to play, eyes to see, vocal chords to verbalize and to produce melodic tones and for the creation of sounds that loft from instruments conceived from minds that you filled with brains and nerves and feelings.

Lord, your plans are like an ecosystem.  Each note that is produced in praise to you rises to you and comes back to the giver and to all those around them in a sweet, cohesive and connective way.   Music is a love that all can comprehend on some level of their being and it is interpreted by each in their own unique way.   Within this, you also connect your kingdom; for music is a connection TO you and equally a connection BETWEEN all those who love you.

Songs of praise throughout the ages with each word penned had a meaning to he who penned it, and as those songs are passed from generation to generation there is a connective tissue formed that truly connects us to believers long departed from this earthly home.  We feel in each lifting or falling of the notes a rising of souls to reach toward You in a way that words or lyrics alone cannot express.

If we make a joyful noise toward you, no man alive can judge it; for it is not intended for them.   When we lose ourselves in music, we can see the glory of your kingdom above this earthly realm…as if the Angels are joining us and we can also hear them. Each generation from the days of Genesis has created musical praise to You, and within all of those generations of music there is a theme; not unlike the Bible.   In fact, much of the music written to praise You has a direct inspiration from your ACTUAL words written to guide us.  Music is a mighty force that can be used for good or for evil, but as believers choose to use it for good it becomes a torch that lights hearts on fire for you.

I thank you, Lord for my fellow believers; those with gifts of musical talent which you have provided them and those who dedicate themselves to sharing that gift with others.  Lord, I thank you for each of my fellow believers who choose to make a joyful noise with reckless abandon and for their gifts or lack of gifts in the musical realm.  For when I hear praises in song lifted above I hear a harmony of hearts and minds united for you.  Your plans for music were for our good and we love you for giving us the chance to connect with you and your kingdom on this level.

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

~LouAn Williams

The Vision of Worship


Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Exodus 20:8 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:23

PROACTIVELast week as we began the series “Setting the Table,” we began to share the excitement the church feels as we develop our vision for the next ten years.  We are not going to be reactive to life but proactive. So we are listening for God’s vision as we find our place at the table for one of the most exciting conversations of our lives.

What will your life look like in the year 2025?  Will they discover a pill to make everyone one of us slim, young and athletic with heads full of hair?

No one knows what the future holds.  We can see the problems, which we hear about every day.  But do we see God’s love and power and how he wants to work through us?

We are going to be dreaming about improving our worship at Washington Cathedral in amazing ways.  As the word of God says in John. “The Father is seeking those who will worship in him in Spirit and Truth. “

  1. How do we make worship a non-entertainment event and yet pursue excellence?
  2. How do we experience the power of the Spirit of God in worship and yet remember that Christ is over culture and our many congregations will worship God with different culture and languages?
  3. How do we grow deep in the truth of God’s word so we are not confused in a shallow understanding of Jesus so that people can grow up strong and put down deep roots?
  4. How do we make worship like Jesus wants it – reaching out to the least of these in our area showing them the grace and friendship we have found in Christ?
  5. How do we launch multiple campuses with many language and cultural groups throughout our area?
  6. How do we teach people to be free to be the people that God created and loves so much, without looking down their nose in superiority turning our Holy worship into a political club?

The questions can go on and on and they will.  Because we are determined to teach people how they can have a seat at the table and engage in our community in the exciting vision we have for the future.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White


A seed of love


Written by Pastor Linda Skinner 

To think of God rightly, as He is, one cannot help but lapse into worship; and worship is the single most powerful force in completing and sustaining the spiritual formation of the whole person. Worship naturally arises from thinking rightly of God on the basis of revealed truth confirmed in experience. We say flatly, "Worship is at once the overall character of the renovated thought life and the only safe place for any human being to stand." Dallas Willard from article “Transformation of the Mind”.

My mom was no Dallas Willard, but she had a deep sense of what was important in life. As a child she planted within me a deep love for Christ and, therefore, a love for the church (His bride).

The church was the center of my experience of worship. Not that worship didn’t happen every day of the week. Every morning we worshiped at the breakfast table as we prayed, read God’s Word and shared together. All through the day my mom hummed or sang hymns, while she went through her day – cleaning thousands of eggs getting them ready to go to market, driving them to market, doing her shopping, cleaning the house. Every activity was an act of worship, but she always reminded me that her daily worship came from connecting in corporate worship every week.

I am so thankful for those seeds planted by my mom. There was never anything that would replace our weekly trek to church. Even when mom was sick, which wasn’t very often, she’d make sure I had a ride to church with one of our neighbors. Because of those seeds, I’m compelled to be at weekly worship and I believe fully what Dallas Willard wrote when he penned these words -- “worship is the single most powerful force in completing and sustaining the spiritual formation of the whole person.”

Over the years, when Rich and I have been on our travels, we have experienced so many different forms of churches and worship. Whether it was the Greek Orthodox section of Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Vineyard church outside of Vancouver, BC, the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Zagreb, Croatia, the Protestant American Cathedral in Paris, or the little non-denominational church in a movie theater in Florianopolis, Brazil all had one thing in common – they came together to honor and worship Jesus in a their own way.

We didn’t even need to know the language, you could feel the Holy Spirit at work. You could see on the faces of the people a love for Christ and a love for one another.

hands worshipEvery week I look forward to my time of worship with people who love Jesus. Worshipping with other believers is a powerful soul builder. Especially, if we can leave ourselves at the doorstep and focus on worshipping God.

Doesn’t matter the style of worship, the surroundings that we worship in or even the language that is spoken. What matters is where our hearts are. I think it was what the writer of Hebrews was referring to when he wrote “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

I pray that this may plant a seed in you. A seed of love for Christ’s Body (the Church) and a love and passion for worshipping in it with other believers.

Photo Credit


And Hear the Angel's Voices!

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 4.20.48 PMIt's the final countdown! Just a few more days before Christmas! You may feel busier than ever as you try to pack in last minute shopping and trying to make very moment a family memory. In the midst of the hustle and bustle don't forget one crucial component to your Christmas experience: worship. In the words of that favorite Christmas song, "Fall on your knees! And hear the angel's voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born!" Or as the bible says:

Luke 2:13-14 NLT "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." 

More than anything else, Christmas time is a time to worship God, as we remember the profound gift of His son Jesus Christ. There is no greater gift than the gift of this baby. So as Christmas day closes in, don't miss your chance to worship.

Action Step: Go to a Worship Service 

More important than making time for a tree lighting ceremony, shopping, or a work holiday party, is making time to worship our God for the gift of Jesus. Bring your friends and family to a worship service and make a holy memory. You won't regret this moment to center yourself, remembering what we are celebrating in the first place. You will leave blessed and prepared to be a blessing to others. Washington Cathedral has Christmas Eve services at 4pm, 6pm, and 11:30 pm. It's that simple.

Photo credit: Abby Lanes

Lenten Ideas for Families


40 days of lent: Family Faith Practices

Have you ever celebrated lent with your family? Maybe not at all? Well, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Check out some ideas Pastor Becca has for how your family can celebrate Lent together this year.

1. Read Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount as a family. Matthew 5-7 2. Pray for your enemies or someone who has persecuted you. 3. Don’t waste any food today 4. Pay 3 people a sincere compliment 5. Tithe your time: Spend 10% of your time (2.5 hours) serving at church. (This could be weeding the parking lot, cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming, or asking a pastor for a way to serve) 6. Listen to someone who seems lonely 7. Take 5 minutes of silence before you eat dinner 8. Celebrate! Enjoy a family game night 9. Do someone else’s chore for them without being asked 10. Spend 10 minutes writing out a prayer to God 11. Forgive someone 12. Tithe your money: Give 10% of the money you made that week to the church, helping people in need in the name of Jesus. 13. Thank God for 20 blessings in your life 14. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while 15. Give up social media for a day 16. Tell someone in your family something you love about them 17. Ask someone to pray for you 18. Ask to pray for someone 19. Take communion 20. Buy a couple $5 gift cards to gas stations to give to the families living in their cars at the church 21. Purge your closets, donating unnecessary items to the goodwill 22. Apologize 23. Donate some books or art supplies to your local elementary school 24. Write someone an email, telling them you appreciate them. 25. Turn off your T.V. and go outside 26. Pray for your church 27. Bake cookies for someone 28. Read Psalm 139 as a family before dinner 29. Ask God for help 30. Introduce yourself, or reconnect with one of your neighbors 31. Have someone over for dinner 32. Walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to work/school 33. Thank someone who is in leadership for their service (Like a pastor, teacher, police, etc) 34. Cook dinner together as a family 35. Pray for the current events in the news 36. Don’t turn on music during your car ride- enjoy conversation or silence 37. Go for a walk or hike as a family 38. Ask God to help you know Him more 39. Spend 10 minutes praying for someone you work with/ go to school with 40. Read the Easter story John 18, 19, 20

About The Author:

Becca McCary

Becca is a children's pastor and part of the preaching team at Washington Cathedral. She writes on motherhood, spirituality, and biblical interpretation. She also has her own personal blog with resources for mothers and Sunday School teachers.