|Awakening Church was planted in metro Seattle to enter into the dark places of our city with the hope of Jesus. A new dimension to this city engagement is to serve women who work in the adult entertainment industry. We are ministering to these women right where they are, in the strip club. Each Wednesday, our Outreach Team gives hope by going into strip clubs displaying the love of Jesus and declaring the gospel. |
Through actions and words, we proclaim Jesus to strippers because He alone is their hope to be free from all bondage. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate and introduce their Redeemer to them.
This ministry can make people feel uncomfortable. But as we model the life of Jesus, we desire to meet, eat with, love, give favor and extend grace to sinners of every kind. He spent time with those whom society overlooked and cast aside. Jesus didn’t leave anyone as worthless, but instead made them worthy with his very own blood.
May we always remember that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). That only the blood of Jesus makes us holy. Jesus was never afraid of walking towards those society had the least regard for (Jn 4:4-42).
Each week, relationships are being built and trust is being established. We pray these relationships lead to social interactions and deeper relationships to display and declare the good news of Jesus. We pray they will come to personally know the love of Jesus and the extent he went to bring them back. Jesus alone can bring heart transformation.
Please partner with us by praying for our outreach team, those they are engaging, and divine appointments. We need you, prayer warriors, to uplift our arms as we engage in this spiritual battle.
The challenging and uncertain days remain consistently unpredictable. I am proud of the resiliency and faithfulness of the Awakening Church family as we navigate this season. The official announcement hasn’t been made yet, but based on the current increase in Covid-19 cases, we anticipate tighter restrictions in the near future. In spite of this lingering news, we remain encouraged about what God is doing in and through this church family. God’s grace and your ongoing support for our church and family are keeping us engaged on the front battlefield lines. Your prayer and financial support are helping us not only survive, but thrive in following Jesus and living out the calling of our lives.
This past month we had many gospel conversations and saw 3 people surrender their lives to Jesus. And this past Sunday, we celebrated one baptism! Praise God for drawing people to Himself! Your prayers are meaningful and impacting us each day. Thank you!
Pastor Jonah Easley
Over the past couple months, Sister 谢 (Xie), has been joining us for worship and engaging in deeper relationships with Awakening Church.
She said, ” From the first time I heard I believed, but I didn’t know how to come near to God. I couldn’t find a place where people could help me. Ryan has been in my life for a while and always told me to come to church. I just wanted to maybe read a little in my home and do good things. But, he continued to encourage me to go to church. Because we don’t speak the same language, I didn’t understand very well. But, I always felt like God was telling me to come to him. But, when Britton told me believing in God means I am a child of God. So, I confess Jesus with my mouth. I believe him in my heart. I believe him with everything. I don’t have any problem with this confession. I feel very happy and grateful. God has allowed me to return to him. This is His grace.”
We have been called and equipped to engage our city so they will see that God is FOR them! We are branding our local GO TIME and city engagement “FOR BELLEVUE.”
- DONUTS IN THE PARK: Each Saturday we gather at DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE PARK to engage people with a FREE DONUT. This is an intentional missional opportunity to show our city that we are FOR them.
This has been a valuable opportunity as we gather to connect with people in our city. Pray that this would continue to open doors for new relationships in the days and months to come.
This past month, we have been using this card as a simple way to bless people in our city that we don’t yet know. We are reminded that we are the presence of God in this generation. He has called us right here…right now to live the life of a Jesus follower. This means selfless and relentless love, desperate for the souls of men, women, and children in our city and around the world.
Pray with us as we continue to engage people without the hope of Jesus, with the hopes of declaring the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
This past month has been a continuation of the challenges surrounding the pandemic. Schools, restaurants, and other indoor gathering areas are still closed or extremely limited in their capacity. Awakening Church continues meeting online each week to encourage one another with the hope found only in Jesus. We thank you for your continued support and prayers as we face a steep uphill climb. Your partnership means more than we could ever possibly put into words.
In spite of our current realities, we see God’s hand at work in and through us. People often ask how we stay engaged during a time of shut-down and digital gatherings. My answer is always, “through intentionality.” We work hard to daily spend time with God, each other, and look for ways to engage our city in new ways. This season is hard, but it’s been good as we’ve been challenged to think outside the box and keep our urgency with the gospel burning HOT!
Please continue praying for our wisdom in making disciples, in our looking for a local venue large enough to accommodate a socially distanced Awakening Church gathering, and for our unity in prioritizing the gospel above all.
Pastor Jonah Easley
The global need for missions is more urgent than ever. Every day there are 154,937 dying without the gospel. Today, there are over 7000 unreached people groups consisting of over 4.5 billion people around the world. Every December, we partner with more than 47,000 Southern Baptist churches with a common vision for every language, people, tribe and nation knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus!
Awakening church has a role to play in reaching every nation. Our generosity through praying and giving will help create momentum as we realize the great commission is not optional for believers.
Throughout the month of December, we will be collecting our annual World Mission offering. With a goal of $12,000, we will be able to support our local, national and international partners that are working around the world for the advancement of the Kingdom of God! 100% of these gifts will go directly to the mission field.
Last week Kathy and I celebrated our 17 year wedding anniversary. We made plans to be kid-free for a few hours so we could have lunch together without asking for kid menus or arguing about why, “you can’t just eat ice cream.” After we dropped off the kids, we sat in the car for about 15 minutes trying to find a restaurant that was open with dine-in seating. How obnoxious! We finally found one, but it got me thinking about the church. We haven’t met in person since March. Some have disengaged and others have just felt distant and disconnected. But for many, it just seems like the church is closed.
If this pandemic has done anything, it’s reminded me of what….or who, the church is. When the word “church” comes up in conversation, the first thing we think of is a building. We have this mindset that church is a place we go to on Sundays. The spiritual gas station where we get to see other familiar faces. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we don’t “go” to church; we are the church.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul describes the church as people dedicated to doing whatever it takes to reach out and help others. We have a responsibility to serve and help others in need as the church. Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives. Too often, we see a need and wait for the pastor to take responsibility. But that’s not the way church works. But I believe that’s why many in the church have had such a hard time. Those “things” that they’ve been accustomed to others doing for them (i.e. creating relational and serve opportunities), have suddenly shifted to their personal responsibility.
Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives.Tweet
Each of us has been given skills, abilities and opportunities to serve, both inside and outside the church (not the building!). In Timothy’s church, for example, the women ran a widows ministry (1 Timothy 5:16), and elders directed church affairs while others were devoted just to teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 5:17).
In the Bible, church is always a reference to people, not a place. The church is a body of believers that live out the Gospel in their displaying and declaring. The church is at its best when people inside the building take Jesus’ message outside the building and serve those they meet. Be encouraged as you live out this perspective of YOU being the church. Yes, we’re open! We’re always open because YOU are the church.
The pandemic has upended the economic stability of our church and community. But with that shaken foundation, we have seen great opportunity to meet needs all around us. Over the past few months, Awakening Church has been consistently working with other local churches in our community to provide much-needed food, diapers, and other personal hygiene items as families in our local area face trying times.
While our personal needs have increased and our resources have decreased, we have stayed intentional about running toward our community needs, instead of away from them. As a result, we have seen many needs met and many lives changed. Each week we pick up and deliver many pallets of food from one of our local partners. That food is brought to a local non-profit that sorts and distributes that food based on the individual family needs. At it’s peak, we were serving over 620 families. Today there are 565 families in the program (approx. 2542 people, 28 churches involved, and over 16,500 grocery orders provided).
Recently, there has been an surplus in food so many of the leftover food boxes have gone directly to a local hispanic church that has faced great challenges. Their pastor has expressed deep hurt and questioned the survival of their church. And he’s not alone. According to the Barna Group, tens of thousands of pastors are unsure if their church will survive the coronavirus pandemic. However, 2020 has given us a glimpse into just how fragile our churches actually are. We are learning first hand how you don’t know how able God is until you find yourself in a situation that you can’t handle and requires the divine providence of God. We need God’s providence in these days!
You don’t know how able God is until you find yourself in a situation that you can’t handle and requires the divine providence of God.Tweet
But praise God, He is providing! And he’s using Awakening Church to help provide for other families, churches, and neighborhoods across our region. This past Friday, 370 food boxes were picked up and delivered directly to this hispanic church. They have 67 families in their congregation, so they are using the food boxes as a way to reach out to their community, minister to their felt needs, and build relational bridges into their immediate neighborhood.
In a year of uncertainty, we are continually looking for ways to love our community and share the message of hope through a relationship with Jesus. Despite facing ongoing challenges, Awakening Church will continue to operate virtually and prepare for the day when we can worship together again physically. Please continue praying for us and our boldness to proclaim Jesus in a hurting city.
Find more ways to connect and support at www.AwakeningSeattle.com
We know that the impacts of COVID-19 will be long-lasting emotionally, financially, and even spiritually. The future is uncertain, but our goals remain the same. As we move forward with faith and wisdom, we will make decisions based on our vision, mission, and values. These will be our guide as we confront difficult issues in our community. We are committed to serving those around us and meeting as many needs as possible. The needs far outweigh our abilities, but we are putting them all into God’s hands in prayer.
Here are some ways we have had the opportunity to serve…
- Covid-19 Food Drive – Practicing hospitality as a Jesus follower demonstrates Christian brotherhood and good Samaritan care for those whose lives are upended and in need of help. Each week we’ve continued to help provide for this overwhelming need in our community. Here is a message that was sent out by the food drive coordinator this week…
“We didn’t think a market would be possible today, as there just wasn’t sufficient food and items to make it worth it. We don’t want to open the market, if only a small number of families can benefit. Over the morning, Awakening Church arrived with three car loads of food!..Suddenly, we had fresh gallons of milk, hard boiled eggs, guacamole, tomatoes, potatoes, red onion and Trader Joe’s yogurt. Hastily, we set up the market, and it turned out to be one of the coolest yet…Thank you Casey, Pastor Jonah and Awakening Church!”
- In connection to the food drive, we provided 40 $25 Target gift cards to families that needed specific items that weren’t accessible through the food drive.
- Awakening Kids and families are putting together 250 goodie bags for families with children (including Lifeway activity books, stickers, glow sticks, candy, etc.) that will be personally given to families receiving support through the food drive.
- We were able to supply some much needed financial support in providing necessities for families of students in our neighborhood through the Seattle Area Youth For Christ.
- For 7 weeks we prayer walked our church neighborhood followed up with gift bags with encouragement and the hope of the gospel, the Jesus film, and microwave popcorn. This opened the door to reveal new relationships and gospel conversations.
- Several of our Awakening Church family members have been deeply impacted by the coronavirus. We have been able to provide grocery gift cards to help them make it through.
- We helped one of our members relocate to a smaller apartment.
- We contributed to a local back pack drive for children in need. Some schools in our community report 70% of students receive free lunch. Many people work multiple jobs to provide for their families. In our area of continually rising cost of living, the $65 – $100 for a new backpack and school supplies is more than difficult, as many families have to spend increasing more than ever before on just housing and food.
- We continue to gather weekly though digital platforms for prayer and worship. We’ve seen an increase in connection points and a more intentional time of focused prayer.
We believe that the key to a new movement of the Spirit of God will not be in a new technique, but in renewed passion of Gospel proclamation, earnest prayer, and yearning for the Spirit of God.
Please pray with us as we continue looking for ways to engage our city. In addition, we are planing to host 2 Backyard Bible Clubs this summer (Aug. 10-14 & Sept. 14-18). We had planned on a VBS, at the end of June, but had to adjust due to the current reality. We are praying for support from individual partners and mission teams to come alongside us for our Bible Clubs. Please pray about personally coming and/or bringing a team of 3-5 people to support these incredible opportunities. We need you!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
In His Service,
It’s natural that in times of crisis, we turn to God. PLEASE HELP! (Me at the end of a homeschooling day). During this current pandemic of COVID-19, I find myself quarantined and growing more restless by the day. I understand the importance of the quarantine, but that doesn’t always make it easy. Patience has never been something that I feel “good at.” It’s just hard to sit still during trials and wait patiently for God to move.
“THE FULLNESS OF TIME”
I tend to worry when God doesn’t come through when I want Him to, or the way I want Him to. In moments like this, I have to remind myself God is never late or never early. He is always on time! Galatians 4:4, tends to enter my mind when I begin to question His timing. It says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
This phrase about the “fullness of time” is important because it signifies that God was at work behind the scenes as He prepared the exact timing of Jesus’ birth. His timing was perfect…and always is. God’s watch hasn’t gotten slower over the years. Our sovereign God is still calling His people to a deeper trust in Him as His timeline unfolds.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
As we experience storms and seasons of uncertainty in this world, God’s fruit is produced through those storming moments. The way we go through the storms gives us a platform from which to speak from to tell of the “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7 ESV).
Through the ups and downs
The promise of Hebrews 13:5 gives us hope no matter what the circumstances. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (ESV). He is always with you and always provides what you need to do exactly what He has called you to do. God is faithful. Don’t worry! Don’t panic! Trust Him!
The command to “be still” before God comes from the Hebrew word (raphah) meaning, get your hands off it! Let it go and surrender it to Him! Let God have the problem! He is the one in control of your safety. Problems always show up when we fail to give God total and complete control. When I impatiently throw my hat in the ring, things always get worse. As a control freak, it’s hard to take my hands completely off. When I do, worry comes too easy.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 (ESV)
Whom should we fear?
You can run, but you can’t hide! BE STILL! Go to the “stronghold of your life” and release the reigns completely to Him. Don’t panic!
- We trust in the God of limitless power! (Zechariah 8:1)
- The battle is not yours but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
- Wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
It’s difficult to watch the current pandemic unfold. It seems to worsen by the day and it’s hitting too close to home. In this unprecedented season, we see God calling out the church in “old” ways. We have been forced outside the walls! I pray that through it all, we rediscover first-century tactics that result in reaching our own generation just as they did. Peyton Jones says in Reaching the Unreached, “Before faith comes to others’ ears, movement must first come to our feet.” This is NOT a time for us to pause, hoard, or panic… it’s a time to be on mission. This is our moment to display Jesus and declare the good news to our neighbors and the world.
We believe that in the fullness of time (when He receives the most glory), God will remove this pandemic. The promise of God’s endless power and presence gives us the rock-solid foundation that so many are searching for right now. Let us “be still,” “wait for the Lord,” and share the hope of Jesus with our world.
A testimony of changed lives
When we planted Awakening Church, we had great plans to reach our city, but didn’t know fully what that meant. Joining God where He was working meant hitting the streets and following Jesus’ example to mingle with the people in front of us. We are a missions focused church and that mission begins the moment we step out of our homes. The Kingdom of God can’t advance if we are stuck in a holy huddle. So we deploy each week across our city to display Jesus and declare the hope of the gospel.
When we prayed for ministry opportunities to engage our city, God brought us people that had personally experienced the brokenness of being homeless and a passion to reach them for Christ. In the Seattle King County area, there are currently about 12,500 homeless people living on the streets or in shelters. This is an overwhelming number, but we’ve learned that being overwhelmed is the first step in getting back to where we belong…dependent on Jesus. The door opened wide to bring Jesus where He wanted to be. We knew that if we wanted to reach the ones that nobody is reaching, we needed to go where nobody else is going. So we began to pray and God began to bring homeless people into our lives. Each week (before COVID-19) we pick them up and welcome them into our Awakening Church family with open arms.
Over the past month, we have seen several people radically changed by the gospel. Not only that, but this past week one of our new sisters led two others to Jesus! Our social distancing has kept us from our “normal routine,” but it hasn’t stopped God from working in the hearts of people. This past Friday we held a baptism service at one of the local shelters and baptized five people! God delights in transforming people. And when we are willing to embark with Him on the journey He set out for us, we help facilitate that transformation.
J. Hudson Taylor said, “Unless there is the element of extreme risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith.”
May our faith grow as we risk more for the sake of Jesus.
“…my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
God is at work in the hearts of His people! Over the past couple of months, our men’s groups have been reading through a powerful book on prayer called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Through this book, God has been igniting our souls with a passion for prayer and a deeper dependence on Him. In our own way, we are beginning to understand what Pastor Cymbala did…that “no matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer. This is the engine that will drive the church.”
This month we are increasing the ownership of what God is doing in our hearts. Each weekend, we will be prayer walking a 1 mile radius of where God has planted us. We believe that God has placed us in our community with the purpose of bringing hope through the good news of Jesus. On the fourth week of our prayer walking, we will be knocking on doors to introduce ourselves, church, and the gospel. We pray that over the course of this month, our intercessory cries to God will break up the hard soil of our city and prepare the way for the seeds of the gospel to be received.
Please join us in praying for the increased impact of Awakening Church in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue. We are reminded in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The enemy has a stronghold that will be broken as the people of God cry out for souls to be awakened.
If we don’t do anything else, we have to pray. During the early days of planting Awakening Church, we knew that according to Matthew 16:18, that it was Jesus that was going to build His church, not us. Last year, as we began laying the groundwork for who we desired to be, we went through the book of Acts to discover the core values and principles of the early church. We found that the makeup of the early church was made up of Jesus followers that were dedicated to the gospel, community, mission and prayer.
For me personally, prayer has often taken a backseat to the “active” pursuit of people, systems, and the logistical organization of the church. I know first hand how easy it is to neglect praying for the city to which we were called. Here are a few reasons…
We like to “do” stuff
We may say that Jesus is building the church, but our actions can oftentimes appear the opposite. Our execution of “doing church” can look like we are trying to program our way into a healthy body of believers. We tend to focus on services, groups, classes, and events…and of course these things are important.
However, when it comes to prayer, as my friend Jeff Vanderstelt says, we look like “functional atheists.” We say we believe in the power of God that comes through prayer, but our actions prove we don’t.
We forget the importance
There are many reasons we have for praying, but the primary reason we pray is because prayer is important to God. In the book of Jeremiah, God instructs the prophet to…“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf…” (Jeremiah 29:7)
The command to cry out to God in intercessory prayer for our city is commanded in scripture and not something to be forsaken. As a child of God, wherever you live, work, and play, God has placed you there as His image bearer and ambassador.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 is a constant reminder that the work, glory, or city does not belong to me. This is His work! By the grace of God, making prayer a priority for our city reminds us that God alone saves and God alone deserves the glory.
As disciples of Christ, our primary calling is to be with Him and on mission for Him. In humility, we must admit that we don’t have what it takes to fulfill His mission for us. We need His power! Only He can break up the hard soil of our cities. Building the church isn’t the work, prayer is the work. We were called and sent to plant Awakening Church in Bellevue, Washington. We are crying out to the God that can change hearts. Our city and neighborhoods desperately need the life-giving renewal and restoration that flow from Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
May our lives be marked not only by living on mission in everyday life, but as people who intercede daily on behalf of our cities. We are in the city, for the city.
Check out awakeningseattle.com for weekly updates.
This month we are launching new City Groups. In a nutshell, City Groups serve as the main growth point of Awakening Church. In its purest form, we define our City Groups as, a safe place where people can encounter God, and find the resources and relationships to nurture their spiritual growth.
We love to worship together on Sundays. But larger group settings restrict opportunities to personally connect with others and there just doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to share personal prayer requests in the Crowd.
City Groups, on the other hand, are perfect for creating a sense of intimacy and close fellowship. It’s in your City Group that everybody knows your name. When you are absent, people notice. And you are missed if you don’t show up.
Carey Nieuwhof speaks of the paradox of our current age, He says, “we’ve never been more connected as a culture, and we’ve never felt more alone. Churches must prioritize community. Real community.”
Relationships are the glue that holds a church together. And at Awakening Church, our methods of ministry flow solely from engaging our city and the relationships that form.
- Please pray for our new City Groups and group leaders as they live out the great commission.
- Pray for new relationships, gospel conversations, and ongoing disciple making.
We are rejoicing in God’s faithfulness in working though our mission team in India. Thank you for joining our team by your praying for God to work through us. May God continue to bless our partners as they give their lives each day to serving Jesus in India.
- The orphan camp had 86 children in attendance and we saw 16 of them give their lives to Jesus.
- The pastor training was an encouraging time as we poured into 65 pastors from the region.
- During our Sunday worship gathering, 17 gave their lives to Jesus!
It’s with great excitement to introduce our new church partner, Chinese Baptist Church, Seattle. We thank the Lord, who continues to bring partnering churches along side us to further establish the roots of Awakening Church. Most of our partners are geographically far from us, but CBC is a local church that makes local partnership in city engagement possible.
- Please pray for us as we seek ways to unify, pray for, and work together to push back the darkness in the Puget Sound.