We've heard about some of the great things that people have been doing with their "generosity stimulous package" that they received during the launch of Smile On Another. Check out some of the responses to the Smile On Another posting here...

This weekend (January 3 & 4), we're announcing the totals of our Smile On Another campaign that we started back in the beginning of December. We can't wait to find out what kind of harvest we'll see come in to benefit Champions Foundation.

Plan to be at services this weekend for the exciting announcement! Service times...

Are You A Humbug? Part 6

Where’s God when life stinks?

a. Holding the dead fish.
b. On vacation, indifferent to my circumstances.
c. Encouraging me to keep going.
d. Right there with me… lighting a Glade scented candle.

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge...

Life Lesson #6: The Presence Of Problems Doesn't Indicate The Absence Of God.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way," (James 1:2-4).

Every problem you face has a question attached to it... which makes it a test. Think about it like this: if you answer the question properly, you advance. That's why the Bible describes testing as an opportunity.

Students don't look forward to testing -especially surprise tests. When there are a bunch of problems laid out in front of you, there is a question that is waiting to be answered. The question might be, "Are you doing the right thing for the right reason?" or, "How do you handle offense?"

Sometimes during a season of testing, you might fell like God is silent. Just remember that in school and in life, the teacher rarely talks during a test. In times of testing, God may be quiet, but He’s never absent.

Are You A Humbug? Part 5

As you were deciding between icicle and regular lights in the store aisle, some guy shoved in front of you and took both boxes… and they were the last ones. You…

a. Angrily chase him through the store, threatening to run him over with your cart.
b. Wait until he’s not looking, tip over the giant inflatable Santa Clause so it pins him to the
ground, then take the lights from his cart and run.
c. Shrug your shoulders and wish him Merry Christmas anyway.
d. Decide you don’t need string lights because the glow of love and Christmas joy from inside
your home will light up your neighborhood.

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge...

Life Lesson #5: You Do Yourself A Favor When You Forgive Others.

Ebenezer Scrooge went through life holding a grudge against the people in his life who had wronged him. He was angry at people and at God. Sometimes people find it hard to forgive because they define forgiveness as opening themselves to being hurt again. They think that forgiving someone who hurt you means that you need to trust them again. Scripture does not teach us to trust people who are not trustworthy, but God does teach us to forgive everyone. Unforgiveness hurts us more than the person we’re holding a grudge against.

Sometimes, we find it hard to forgive because we think that by forgiving, we are doing the other person a favor -and in our minds, they don't deserve to be forgiven. But, we need to remember that whether or not they "deserve" our forgiveness is not the point. By choosing to forgive, we keep unforgiveness from eating away at us.

Are You A Humbug? Part 4

I would be happy if…

a. I don’t believe in “happy.”
b. I looked like my favorite celebrity and had a trillion dollars.
c. I’m pretty happy now.
d. Happy is my middle name (and “supremely ecstatic” is my first name).

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge...

Life Lesson #4: It Takes Courage To Be Happy.

“I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am,” (Philippians 4:11b-13).

How happy are you right now on a scale of 1 to 10? If you answered between 1 and 9, what is holding you back from a 10?

The natural response is to evaluate your happiness based on your circumstances. You might say, "I'm happy because I just met this great guy/girl," or "because I just got a raise," or "because we just moved to a new home." The problem with this approach is that happiness based on circumstances is short-lived and will leave you unhappy most of the time.

Maybe you've assumed that anyone who is happy is automatically happy -that they don't have to work at it. Maybe you've convinced yourself that happiness is for people who don't have any problems and get all the breaks in life. The reality is that happy people don't always feel happy and they have problems just like everyone else. It takes courage to transcend circumstances choose to be happy.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
- Matthew 1:18-23 (NIV)

Join us this weekend at Champions Centre for one of four Family Christmas Services. Christmastime is our opportunity to celebrate “God with us,” so invite family and friends and we’ll see you this weekend. View service times…

Are You A Humbug? Part 3

When I think of change…

a. I want more of it… in my pocketbook.
b. I don’t want things to change. Let’s keep everything just like it is now.
c. I have some changes I’d like to make in my life.
d. World peace… Unicorns and leprechauns dancing on a rainbow… painting public sidewalks bright, joyous colors…. Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote becoming best friends…

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge...

Life Lesson #3: It’s only when we exercise our right to choose that we can experience the joy of change.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live,” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

How would you complete this sentence? “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if…” (and don't make your response something that is dependant on another person).

God gave us an incredible gift: the ability to make choices. What would you see as a wonderful change in your life? Many of the things that we would like to see as a positive changes in our lives are initiated by the choices we have the ability to make.

As long as we keep making the same kind of choices, we’ll always get the same kind of results. This was true for Ebenezer Scrooge, and it's true for us as well. When our choices change, so will our future.

Looking for more insight from the life lessons of Mr. Scrooge? Join us this weekend at Champions Centre...

You bring your Christmas tree home, only to find it crawling with ants and a bird's nest in the branches, so you…

a. Light the whole tree on fire and throw it in your neighbor’s yard.
b. Storm back to the tree farm, demanding a refund.
c. Use it as an opportunity to teach the kids about wildlife and nature.
d. Make a jelly sandwich for the ants, and set the bird free in a glorious meadow, whilst humming a happy Christmas carol.

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge...

Life Lesson #2: We cannot always control what happens, but we can control our response to what happens.

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness,” (Matthew 6:22).

Ebenezer Scrooge really terrible things happen to him early in his life. They were issues beyond his control -circumstances he never asked for or expected. Ebenezer assumed that there was only one way to respond: bitter anger. He saw all of life through the lens of injustice and pain.

Right now, we are facing things in our lives that are beyond our control, but we don't have to view life in the same way as Ebenezer Scrooge. We can respond to life's adversity with prayer, faith and confidence in God’s goodness. We can choose to respond to hardship in a way that is constructive and beneficial. We can know that our God identifies with us in challenging times and that He's here to help (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Looking for more insight from the life lessons of Mr. Scrooge? Join us this weekend at Champions Centre...

When you think of the past, you...

a. Wish you could still be in it.
b. Have regrets.
c. Are thankful for the good times and look forward to the future.
d. Don’t even remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

If you chose "a" or "b," you may have a serious case of humbugitis. The cure, you ask? A good, solid dose of life lessons from our fictional friend, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Life Lesson #1: When we focus on the past, we miss the precious present.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing,” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Ebenezer Scrooge made the mistake of focusing on his past, and sometimes we can be guilty of the very same thing. The next time you're driving, take a second to notice the ratio between the size of the rear-view mirror and the windshield. There's a reason that the rear-view mirror is smaller than the windshield. If you were to drive forward while only watching the mirror, the results would be disastrous.

In your car and in life, it’s not good to give the past more than just a glance. Are you spending so much of your life looking at the past that you’ve become a present-day Scrooge? The Bible warns us about this in Philippians 3:13 and Ecclesiastes 7:10. Make a decision to open your heart and life to what’s ahead of you.

Looking for more insight from the life lessons of Mr. Scrooge? Join us this weekend at Champions Centre...

What Are You Doing To Smile On Another?

Right now, our society is facing major economic challenges that are hitting close to home. Although budgets may be tight, our desires to be generous and make a difference have not diminished. We know that God's people want to help people in need, but may be struggling to figure out how to do that while their own funds might be more limited this year than in the past. The Champions Centre team decided to take this challenge head-on.

Every year, Champions Centre gives generously to people in need and partners financially with organizations that are making a difference in our local and global communities. This Christmas, we did things a little differently... Actually, it's quite the opposite of "little." We made Champions Centre history.

During weekend services on November 22 and 23, Pastor Kevin Gerald launched the Smile On Another campaign. He asked that one member of each household stand and receive an envelope and in each one was an amount of cash, or "seed money" as Pastor Kevin called it. He challenged each person to take their "seed money" and find a creative way to multiply it, then bring it back to services on December 20 and 21. All funds received will be directed to Champions Foundation and be used to resource its many local and international initiatives. In one weekend, Champions Centre invested approximately $30,000 cash in good faith to its members and attendees.

We're already hearing great stories about how people are multiplying their "seed money" for Champions Foundation, and we've been impressed with the resourcefulness and ingenuity of ideas. So, the question is... What are you doing with your Smile On Another "seed money?"

Leave a comment to let others know what you're doing and help jumpstart their own creativity for how they can multiply their "seed money."

Oh, and by the way... If you missed services on the 22nd and 23rd, but still want to participate in the Smile On Another campaign, it's not too late! You can start with your own amount of "seed money" and use your imagination and unique skills to multiply it and bring it with you to services on December 20 and 21.

Random Acts Of Kindness...

It's time to "Smile On Another!" This season at Champions Centre, we're getting creative in how we express generosity.

Have you ever wondered how your generosity really impacts the world around you? Click here to find out...

Sometimes, the small things have the greatest impact on our lives. Have you ever been in line at Starbucks, gotten to the window and found out that the car ahead of you had already paid your bill? Or maybe you received an unsigned encouraging note that made your day. What's the most amazing "Random Act Of Kindness" that you've ever experienced or accomplished? Post your response to let us know...

Updates From South Africa - Part Two

From Jodi Gerald-Cameron

live it - south africa

The past few days have been hectic - not gonna lie. We've been busy preparing our Forever Home for the Christmas season. We've been shopping at dozens of stores, wrapping even more dozens of presents, labeled and taped and sorted and delivered and hid ... and wrapped and labeled and and sorted and delivered and hid AGAIN! :)

Our hotel room was beginning to resemble a small store by the second day of our trip here visiting our girls. We couldn't even let the cleaning service come in while we were away because we were concerned they would get a little friendly with all the new things... The things we are purchasing while we are here can be sponsored by people back home over Christmas, that way we can make sure that all the children and teens in our home get a fabulous Christmas!

Today, a few of our team went to our Forever Home and set up the Christmas tree and some decorations. Some of our girls who were not with us yet last Christmas have never had a Christmas tree let alone any presents for Christmas. It was so funny to see a couple of them slip the Christmas Stockings onto their feet thinking that they looked a lot like fancy socks or slippers... we all got a huge laugh out of that while at the same time realized that even in the smallest of things that we can do for these girls we are changing their lives. We're giving them new lenses to see the world through to know that they are loved, cared for, prayed for and cherished on this planet and that life can bring good things and not just fear or negative things into their life.

My challenge to anyone who is reading this is to step up. Do what YOU can - without worrying about comparisons or doubting your ability to do SOMEthing...

Maybe you can give money to a great foundation like Champions Foundation on a monthly basis...or Maybe you can volunteer with us on the second Saturday of every month with the Justice Project taking it to the streets...or Maybe you can volunteer your time at the Tacoma Rescue Mission or a local community mission where they are changing lives by doing SOMEthing...or Maybe you know of someone who needs help with _______ (fill in the blank) and you can do SOMEthing about it - even if that something is just making a phone call to someone you know who can take action to help them...

If I can just be honest, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of people who claim to be passionate about things like "social justice" - especially those in my generation... my peers... they talk the talk, but when push comes to shove and the opportunity to serve presents itself - they are absent.

There are people all over our local community in Tacoma (or your local community if you don't live near me) and all the way across the globe in South Africa who could use a break, a hand up (not a hand out, but a hand up to reach the next level in their life - whatever that means to them at the time)...

What are you DOING about it? I'm doing my best to do my part, and I know that I can do better.

What is your part to play? Are you playing it? If so - AWESOME! If not, why not?

From Jodi Gerald-Cameron

Today’s verse in the Generous Living Guide (8 weeks of Generous Living) is all about how it's better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)… That could not be any more real than it is today. The team that is in South Africa is shopping for the needs at our Forever Home today and at other points during this week while we’re here.

Last night, on our arrival to the house, we celebrated Pastor Sheila’s 50th birthday with all the girls! They were elated to have pizza and cake and party bags that each of them received full of a Barbie, crowns, feather boas, and loads of other fun stuff! Everyone was having so much fun! Especially when our oldest girl “Dorothy” surprised us with spraying Mama Sheila with silly string instead of the speech she told us all she was going to give. Then, our future preacher, 12-yr-old Matty put tears in all of our eyes as she read a heartfelt letter/poem she wrote to Mama Sheila for her birthday.

While we were at the house yesterday, we were able to get some needs on paper that our team can focus on while we’re here. We’re going to be able to leave behind so much love and generosity by the time we get on the plane to return home next week. And it is always such a blessing in our own lives to be able to GIVE those gifts and necessities to the girls in our home.

This trip we are also buying them more than they just “need” we’re buying them Christmas presents. We’re plotting and strategizing what each girl wants and what we can get for her, as well as thinking of Mama Blessings as she will also love some specials things for Christmas. They are all so tender hearted, it is hard to get out of them exactly what they want – they don’t want to come across too aggressive or unappreciative for what they already have… but I hope we’ll be able to get a few specific things that each of them would ask for this year.

Then before we leave we’ll wrap all the pressies and get the house decorated for Christmas – the tree and all its fixings ☺ I can’t wait!

Tomorrow, we’re taking the older girls to Casalinga, a beautiful restaurant, for a tea party – that will be a blast! I can’t wait to see all their faces as they get treated extra special this week! We always come here to bless them with love and kindness and I always end up going home feeling so blessed myself from how amazing all the girls are. It was so great to drive up to the house yesterday and all the girls were yelling our names in excitement again wanting to show us their latest accomplishments. They told us it has been countdown central around there counting the days until we arrived to see them! The older girls pulled out the photo album that we left them to show us the pictures that they must look through so often because the picture holders already look worn and picked through. We’ll have to put that on the list! More photos!

Thanks for all your prayers and support!

How Would You...?

"It's like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same."
(Matthew 25:14-17, The Message)

These guys both took what their boss gave them and doubled it. Could you do the same?

If you were given $20, how would you turn it into $40 (or more)? Tell us your most creative ideas!

We want to know what you think...

We're conducting a series of surveys to find out more about the beliefs, choices and opinions of your generation. Please take a few minutes to participate in each of the surveys that apply to you. Each survey takes just a couple minutes to complete.

All responses that you submit are completely anonymous, so you can feel secure knowing that your contact information will not be collected.

Friends & Family
Friends, family and mentors help make us who we are. We'd like to know more about how your friends, family and mentors have impacted your life. Click Here to take survey

Purpose, Career & Resources
Our generation represents many innovative and talented individuals. We'd like to know how you use the resources that you've been given and how you feel about your future. Click Here to take survey

Beliefs & Influences
Is God for real? Does faith really matter? How has the mainstream media influenced your life? Click Here to take survey

Relationships & Sex
Relationships and sex are intertwined into just about everything we hear, see and talk about. What are your thoughts on relationships and sex? If you ARE married, Click Here to take survey If you're NOT married, Take this one...

"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."- Matthew 18:20 (The Message)

Unite with us this week as we pray together for God's blessing as we go after a heart of generosity. Download this week's free prayer guide here and let's get ready for incredible things to happen as we connect with God together.

By Brandon Stewart

WE ENCOURAGE all Christians to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity to meaningfully participate in building a culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. Our position as Christians on issues should first and foremost be congruent with scripture, our opinions shaped by and submitted to a Biblical worldview. At the same time, we believe that honest discussion and participation in the election process should be positive and uplifting.

"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they say or do something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently." Romans 14:1msg

WE BELIEVE that Christians should be values based voters. We are to take our duty as Christians seriously, and as Americans to value the freedom God has given us. We believe Christians should take the time to research the candidates carefully, to weigh their positions against a Biblical viewpoint, and to vote responsibly.

"Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country." Rom 13:7msg

"It’s wrong, very wrong, to go along with injustice." Proverbs 24:23

WE BELIEVE that Christians should choose to vote for the greater good of society. We believe that voting should not be based on selfish self interest, but that each decision should be thought out in terms of who will bring the greater good.

"Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order it is God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you are irresponsible to the state, then you are irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you are trying to get by with something." Romans 13:1-4msg

"That’s also why you pay taxes – so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, and respect your leaders." Romans 13:6-7msg

WE BELIEVE that war should not be entered into lightly. We believe that the “power of the sword” lies with the government and not with the church. We believe that it should be our earnest duty to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority who must make these decisions. We believe that we should support the cause of freedom throughout the world. We believe that we should respect and honor those who have and are giving their time and lives for the cause of freedom.

WE BELIEVE that prayer is not only a freedom and privilege to be exercised it is a conduit for change through which we can seek direction in making God-driven choices.

My final notes...
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel constantly found themselves in trouble when they looked for a savior outside of the Lord. The Israelites regularly would establish other gods...or even political figures...in which they placed their hope for protection, provision, victory in battle, and leadership. This ultimately led to them not recognizing Jesus, because they were looking for a political king (and Jesus came to establish a different Kingdom).

At the end of the day...when the election is over...let's remember who deserves our ultimate faith and confidence. Above a political leader or party, let's seek for the will of God to be done in our nation at this time.

And commit with me to pray for our leaders, both current, as well as those to be elected. Our country needs great leadership for the days ahead.

By Brandon Stewart

WE BELIEVE that Christians should exercise their power to vote in ways that honor all human life. We urge you to see beyond party affiliations and traditional voting. We believe that we have a responsibility to defend and protect the rights of those who are most vulnerable. This includes the unborn, disabled, mentally ill, elderly and orphans. We encourage voters to lay aside party politics and media driven sound bites in order to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose to vote for political leaders according to principle and values that support life, not party affiliation.

WE BELIEVE that a candidates’ position on the sanctity of human life should be a primary consideration when choosing whom to vote for or whom not to vote for. We believe that this issue reveals the heart of an individual. If a candidate does not understand or believe in the protection of human life and the most vulnerable in society, it reveals a character trait that is in opposition to the very nature of God, who we believe is the author of all life. While we acknowledge that the vast majority of elected officials will never vote in any substantive way on abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, or embryonic stem cell research, none the less a candidate’s position on these issues is very revealing as to their values and their viewpoints. We discourage Christian voters from voting for a candidate who does not embrace and support pro-life positions.

"Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb…body and soul I am marvelously made." Psalm 139:13msg

WE BELIEVE that sin is a choice. As such, we do not believe that persons making lifestyle choices should be given minority status, special rights or special laws of protection. We believe that everyone confronts sin daily and has lifestyle choices to make on a regular basis. Without a Biblical worldview and without a clear understanding of scripture many people falsely assume that acting upon a sinful or sexual impulse is merely a personal choice matter, a matter of nature. We do not believe that special rights should be given to individuals based on their decision to actively engage in a sinful lifestyle. Lifestyle choices should not constitute status as a minority. We believe that all people deserve our compassion and respect without us abandoning scripture. As Christians, we believe that God’s grace and forgiveness is for all who ask.

"It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say." 1 Timothy 1:8

WE BELIEVE that morality can not be legislated, but neither should voters encourage the legislation of immorality. We believe that Christians have a duty to vote, but we also believe that Christians have a greater duty to proclaim the gospel. For too long, American Christians have sought to assimilate into popular culture, rather than seeking to win as many as possible to the faith. We have, in large part, been changed by American culture, rather than becoming the change agent for American culture.

"Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking .Instead fix your attention on God, changed from the inside out." Romans 12:1-2msg.

"The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it." Romans 8:4msg

"All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace." Romans 5:20-21msg

WE BELIEVE that democracy is not a substitute for Christianity. Throughout history, it has been proven that nations stand - or fall - with the values which it embodies and promotes. American secular society today encourages people to have whatever moral convictions they please - as long as they keep them on the “private” preserves of their consciences, in their homes and in their churches, and out of the public arena. We, as believers, are called to be “leaven” and “salt and light” in our communities, our school, our workplaces, and our families. It is by our compassion and our witness that we are to influence society. Reliance upon government to be the moral influence abandons the Great Commission mandate we were given by Jesus.
"Make the master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order…exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules…Treat everyone you meet with dignity…Revere God. Respect the government." 1 Peter 2:13-17msg

"If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe then it is wrong." Romans 14:23msg

WE BELIEVE that freedom of religion should be zealously guarded and protected. The state should not interfere in the right of an individual to choose their own religion. We believe that the state should not allow discrimination against the practice of Christianity either. By voting for candidates who support freedom of religion policies, we are ensuring that we will be able to continue to practice our faith freely and openly. We understand that the doctrine of “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution. We understand that our forefather’s intent was to insure that we would be able to freely practice our religion without interference.

"The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rules and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live." 1 Tim 2:2msg

"Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32msg

By Brandon Stewart

A historic election is on our doorstep. No matter which way the election goes this year, history will be made, and democracy will have a great victory in the world. As Christians, we have a Biblical responsibility to seek out the principles of God's Word when it comes to how we vote, above voting tradition or party loyalty.

I have decided to post (in three parts) a recent statement written by a team at our Church (Champions Centre). This is meant to be a guide to a Biblical look at voting, based on how we view the principles of God's Word. In case you haven't read it in it's entirety, here it is (grouped/split into three parts by me)...

Part One: The Role of Governement, Faith Based Organizations, Education, and Science/Technological Advances

WE BELIEVE it is the duty of citizens to participate in their own government for the sake of the common good. Not to do so is to abandon the political process to those who do not have the common good in mind and to those who do not have a Biblical worldview and understanding of issues. We encourage Christians to not only vote, but to be actively involved in the political process and arena.

"Remind the people to respect the government and be law abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand." Titus 3:1"Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others." Hebrews 13:16msg
WE BELIEVE that government should reward ambitious labor and encourage wealth creating ingenuity rather than penalizing hard work with stiff tax penalties. We believe that government’s role in society should be to maintain order, uphold the laws of the land, and offer its citizens encouragement to be responsible and productive citizens. We do not believe that government’s role is to redistribute wealth.

"The diligent find freedom in their work: the lazy are oppressed by work." Proverbs 12:24
WE BELIEVE that people should be encouraged by the government to be self reliant and independent. At the same time, we recognize that aid is necessary for those who are elderly, sick, mentally ill, or otherwise disabled and unable to work. We believe in programs and faith based partnerships that offer dignity and reward people based on their effort to overcome the obstacles and hurdles they face, while not abandoning the need for compassionate assistance for those in need.

"Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did." Romans 15:23msg"Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person." Proverbs 3:27msg

WE BELIEVE that God has blessed America and that we have a moral obligation to help other peoples and nations who are less fortunate than we are. This obligation should not simply be a governmental handout philosophy but a “hands up” philosophy. We believe that the best chance of success for helping others comes when faith based organizations are involved. Reliance solely upon our government alone to solve the world’s problems and poverty is destined to fail.

The Apostle Paul tells us of his own concern for those who are in need. “First though, I am going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the followers of Jesus there. The Greeks…decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor…it is only right that that they do what they can to relieve their poverty.” Romans 15:25-28msg

WE BELIEVE that we are to be good stewards of the earth. We have an obligation to God to preserve and protect His creation as much as possible. We believe that God has placed man in the role of taking dominion over the earth in order that we might enjoy it, and use its natural resources responsibly to sustain life. We recognize that we have a responsibility to support and promote not only conservation principles and practices but also science and technological advances that will help us apply good stewardship principles.

"God took Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in good order." Genesis 2:15msg

God blessed Noah and his sons: He said, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the earth! Every living creature…You’re responsible for them.” Genesis 9:1-2msg

Because God made humans in His image, reflecting God’s very nature, you’re here to bear fruit, reproduce, lavish life on Earth, live bountifully! Genesis 9:7

WE BELIEVE that science and technological advances should be encouraged in the realm of medicine. However, we believe that moral considerations should be at the forefront of any new scientific advances and that the end does not justify the means. We believe that creativity and ingenuity can be encouraged without abandoning the respect for human life.

WE BELIEVE that parents should have choice in where and how their children are educated. We believe that those who work with educating children should be applauded and supported. We believe that parents should be allowed to choose where their tax dollars and education dollars are spent. This includes charter schools, private schools, Christian schools and home school options as well as the right to place children in the public school of the parent’s choice. We believe that parent’s have a responsibility to participate in their child’s education. We believe in supporting leaders that can help us find ways to provide a good education, in a safe environment for all children.

Putting God First

When Pastor Keith Craft was here at Champions Centre a couple weeks ago, he talked to us about the value of the first fruits tithe. When we give God our first 10%, we acknowledge Him as the source of our income and our ability to create wealth. It's the best and clearest way to demonstrate to God that He's takes first place in our lives.

But, life gets busy and sometimes it's easy to forget to make sure God gets the first check. If you've found yourself in this spot, take a few minutes to set up online giving through championscentre.com. It takes just a few minutes to set up a secure account and it's an easy way to make sure God gets the very first 10%. Once you create an account, you'll be able to schedule donations and you can track your giving 24/7.

Ahh... the beauty of technology to help us make first things first.

Will You Pray With Us This Week?

Prayer is powerful. And, when we pray together, God does pretty amazing stuff.

"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."
- Matthew 18:20 (The Message)

Unite with us this week as we pray together for God's blessing as we go after a heart of generosity. Download this week's free prayer guide here and let's get ready for incredible things to happen as we connect with God together.

Fighting... In Church?

Check out this clip from last weekend's message from Pastor Kevin...

Bringing Social Justice This Saturday

We could no longer stand by and just exist when the comunity and world around is hurting. This compelled us to action -to step up and bring the hope and love of Jesus to this generation by setting out to restore the broken, hurting and helpless to the place of hope they were designed to live!

The Justice Project team hits the streets every month, and you're invited to join us. This month, we're helping our local community in practical ways, like yardwork and street clean up. If you'd like to participate, just meet us at the Tacoma campus (youth entrance) this Saturday, October 11th at 9:45 am.

Check out this video of one of our latest Justice Project events:

Joel Osteen & Kevin Gerald Invite You...

Check out the video invite here or watch it below...

What were you born for?

This weekend at Champions Centre, we're beginning a brand new series that will inspire you to discover your purpose and destiny. October 11th and 12th marks the start of Pastor Kevin Gerald's three-week message series, based on Joel Osteen's book Become A Better You.
It's time to break free from the past and realize your full potential -the life God is calling you to live!

Join us this weekend and begin the journey to become a better you!

Check out the video message from Kevin Gerald and Joel Osteen here...

Video Highlights From BOLD Conference

BOLD Men's Conference was awesome this past weekend! Check out the video highlights:

Who Will You Bring?

Are You BOLD?

Guys... This one's just for you! In just a few weeks, it's time for all the men to get together for BOLD Conference 2008! We're packing 2 days full of riveting teaching from Keith Craft and Kevin Gerald, plus plenty of time for man-stuff... hanging out with the guys, competitions, food, sports... all the good stuff.

Invite a friend to this unfogettable experience. And... you don't even have to register. This one's on us.


In the Midwest where I grew up, I used to swim a lot in rivers. I learned at an early age that there were powerful currents underneath the surface that I could get caught in and potentially drown. Merging streams and rivers that would pull in all opposite directions created these currents. I knew that they were dangerous and I had to be careful not to get pulled down by them.

The same thing can happen anytime people come together. Wherever there is an intersection of relationships, there is the potential for under-the-surface currents to exist. Hidden agendas, unspoken expectations, negative assumptions and unhealthy comparisons that exist beneath that surface can cause otherwise good relationships to get complicated and be pulled down to their destruction. Now, don’t get me wrong -comparing ourselves to others is not entirely a bad thing. If someone is a strong, positive example that you can pattern your life after, then their example can be of great benefit to you. It’s when we compare our lives with others in a negative way that can cause resentment, envy and jealousy.

Character inconsistencies can also complicate relationships. When you are with someone who becomes a different person when they are around other people, or they act one way at church and another way outside of church, there will be constant tension. Those around them never know what to expect from them, wondering, “Am I dealing with Dr. Jeckyl or Mr. Hyde?”
If we want to uncomplicate our relationships and avoid being pulled down by dangerous undercurrents, there are some things we must do.

To enjoy fulfilling, healthy relationships, make a commitment to:

- Treat people like you want to be treated.
- Expect nothing in the relationship that has not been talked about and agreed upon.
- Resolve issues quickly and move on.
- Look for the good and believe the best about people.
- Refuse to harbor any offense or bitterness in your heart against another person.

What's Your Story?

September 27 & 28 is Friend Day weekend at Champions Centre. We know that there have been many of you who have brought friends to church or were brought by a friend to Champions Centre and now lives are changed forever! So, we want to hear your story.

Take 2 minutes to fill out this online survey and tell us about your experience. All we ask is that all parties are currently attending Champions Centre. Your story could be featured in our weekend services or online at championscentre.com. Fill out the survey, and you'll be entered to win a $50 gas card.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thou Shalt... Laugh

When the movie projector malfunctioned, Michael Jr.'s friend dared him to walk to the front of the 400 person audience and entertain them. Michael Jr. discovered his gift that night and soon afterward, he was performing comedy in clubs and on TV (The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and more).

In his clever (and hilarious!) way, Michael Jr. finds the humor in everyday experiences... including church life.

Invite a friend and plan to join us September 27 and 28 at Champions Centre as we welcome Michael Jr. as our special guest in services. Get ready to laugh... a lot.

When was the last time you asked?

Chances are, you first came to church because a friend invited you. Maybe you came out of obligation or because you were sincerely looking for a change in your life... but you came. And your life was never the same again.

Every weekend brings with it a new opportunity for each of us to put out an invitation that just might change someone's life. A few times each year, we have "Friend Day" weekends where we encourage everyone to invite someone to church. It's a weekend when we go the extra mile to make our guests feel welcome in services. This September, Friend Day includes a guest appearance from comedian Michael Jr. -so be ready to have some fun!

Mark it on your schedule and start thinking of who you can invite to church. Our next Friend Day weekend is September 27 and 28 at both the Tacoma and Bellevue campuses.

Team Church Conference Was Amazing!

We had an incredible time here in Tacoma during our annual Team Church Conference last week. It was a great opportunity to connect with friends from all over the US, and even some from Canada and the Philippines. We were inspired by great speakers and experienced God's presence in a big way during the Night Of Worship with Hillsong London. It was awesome... and we can barely wait for next year's Team Church Conference!

Take a minute to check out our video blogs from the conference here...

Next summer might seem far away now, but it will be here before you know it. So... make plans now to join us next August for Team Church Conference FUEL.

Guest Blog: Steve Shackett

I love sports, all sports but especially baseball. There are so many nuances and variations to the game that you can certainly lose yourself in its complexities. Yet for all intents and purposes, it’s a very simple game. I also played on and managed a slow-pitch team for nearly 30 years and enjoyed every moment. No, this was not your average softball team playing local recreational ball down at the neighborhood field, but a team that traveled extensively around the nation and won three world titles along the way. This was a team with a national sponsor and one that had a six figure budget to accomplish all of its travel and competitive desires. One thing that I did learn however, is that there are many similarities between managing a ball club and managing a business or even a church staff.

First, there is an overall goal: to WIN the game! Certainly winning can be described in a variety of fashions, but suffice it to say that for the church, it’s reaching the lost and seeing many come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. There are many aspects that go into accomplishing this and the most important is that our staff functions together as a TEAM. As in baseball, there are many individuals playing different positions, but when everyone performs together as a team and does their job, winning becomes the end product. We love to “hit it out of the park” every week with staff and volunteers coming together in a cohesive way to have another winning weekend, which ultimately means 30-40 new believers coming into the Kingdom of God.

I also love the SACRIFICE play in baseball. This occurs when a batter sacrifices his “at bat” to move the runner into scoring position. This also takes place in the church when a staff member understands that he doesn’t need or require accolades, to be “up front,” or even to get credit, but is concerned more with putting others into a position to SCORE. Ball players can get hot, sweaty, tired, have sore muscles and get worn out playing late into the night. That sounds a lot like our church staff following a big event or annual conference like Team Church Conference. (By the way, if you haven’t been to Team Church before, don’t miss this year’s –it can be a life changing experience). The “whatever it takes” attitude to win is a must for anyone committed to ministry. Late nights, fatigue and even sore muscles can be indicative of a long weekend at church doing whatever is required to have outstanding services. This attitude of sacrifice is a must if you are to be part of a winning team.

Finally, creating a winning team means putting your individual personal issues on hold and recognizing that for “the good of the team” my problems are not paramount. The Prima Donna does not do well on a baseball team and certainly not on a church team. Navigating through individual personal issues to push through, mature and grow as a team is vital to winning. In my day, when a pitcher got into trouble in a game, instead of taking him out, I would leave him in and tell him to pitch his way out of trouble. I think sometimes we too quickly relieve individuals and allow others to mop up. This doesn’t help the team and certainly doesn’t allow the individual to grow through these challenges. I love baseball and I love the church --- it’s interesting to see how many principles can be applied to both!

Guest Post: Sue Kahawaii

Building Teams That Build The Church

Leadership thought: The size of your dream should determine the size of your team.

If you are dreaming of big things for the church, then you should also be doing things that increase the size and number of people involved on the team. We cannot achieve the dream without the team.

There are some basic principles that have to do with building teams within the church. Church is a unique organization in that our mission is to take as many people possible with us on the journey called the Christian walk of faith. So why is it that we seem to have trouble understanding that just as it is our responsibility to win people to the Lord, it is also our responsibility to recruit people to be on our teams?

Everyone belongs on a team. But not every team is for everyone.

You cannot fire volunteers. If a volunteer fails to stick, more often than not, it is our fault and not theirs. When volunteers don’t fit it is usually because they have been positioned in a wrong role, or it is a personality mismatch between team members. In almost every circumstance, the leader should see this in advance. Repositioning the volunteer to a different team, a different role, or a different place usually works. The best way to avoid misfits is to prevent them. But remember this: a volunteer should never be “fired.” Firing a volunteer is devastating to the volunteer and can result in their leaving the church or leaving their faith altogether. Find a win/win scenario if you need to reposition someone.

Not all positions on a team are equal, but all people are equal. The person doing the smallest task is just as important as the person doing the biggest task. The tasks may be more or less important, but the people are equal in value. If you operate out of this thought, you won’t have people on the team acting like they are more important, striving for titles, and acting self-important. The leader of the team or department needs to be very clear on this – all people are equal on the team, but their roles may be different.

It is better to have many people doing small things on a team, than it is to have a few people doing many things. When you have just a few people doing the work, you close the doors of opportunity to many other people who would and could enjoy the benefits of being on the team. People who say that they only want a select few on their teams are usually just making excuses for their lack of ability to recruit, train and keep people. It’s selfish. The benefits of being on a team are so huge that they cannot be ignored.
- People receive a blessing when they do the work of the Lord.
- Everyone wants to feel like they belong to something greater than themselves. The team opportunity gives people a chance to be part of growing a church.
- In a big church, the best way for people to make new friends is for them to be on a team.
- People can learn skills, try things they have never done before, and expand the interests in their lives through involvement in the church.
- People who are happy on a team will overlook minor and petty things that happen at church.
- People who are on a team are much more likely to financially support the church in tithes and offerings.
- People who are on a team will speak positively about the church to others.

The person who has the most influence –either positive or negative –is the team leader. The team leader can make or break the team.
- fun v. not fun
- organized v. disorganized
- growing v. shrinking
- successful v. unsuccessful in the duties of the team
- positive v. negative experience
- atmosphere that promotes friendships and relationships v. an atmosphere that is all about work and the job at hand

The growth of the church is totally dependant upon our ability to grow our existing teams. We can only reach people if we are able to care for them when they come. It does us no good to pack the place out week after week if we are not taking people beyond that first visit. Our ability to grow the size and number of teams we have is the essential key that will make or break our future. The way that we have done things in the past is not sufficient to carry us through today, and certainly not into tomorrow. Connecting people is the number one priority we should all have.
- The strength of our church is impacted by our weakest link. Are you the weak link?
- Do you have trouble keeping up with everyone else?
- Are you growing in your area of responsibility?
- Do you see the big picture?
- Do you recognize and are you working on your personal weakness?
- Are you working by yourself or are you working with the rest of the team(s)?
- Are you consistently fulfilling and meeting the expectations of your team and/or pastor?

We are not called to be like eagles, that fly alone and live a solitary existence. We are called to be more like Canadian geese.
- They fly together in tight formation with a leader up front. No one flies outside the formation doing their own thing.
- The geese follow their leader.
- If the leader tires, another moves quickly into place without the team every missing pace.
- If a goose falls ill or is injured, two healthy geese will stay back and accompany the injured goose to the ground remaining there until the goose is able to fly again, or until it dies. They will not leave it to die alone. Afterwards, the two geese will return to the flock as quickly as possible. The flock does not miss pace or is not held back, but there is a compassionate attendance made to the sick or injured goose.
- The geese at the back of the flock are very noisy as they cheer those on in front of them.
- Alone, the single goose’s flapping of wings propels at a slower pace per hour than that of the group flying. The wind draft created by a multitude of wings actually increases speed of the flock together. The synergy of the team is greater together than the single strongest bird could ever create on their own.

Always make new mistakes (reads the magnet that is on a board at my desk).

Becoming a great leader includes making mistakes.

As a young leader, I feel as though I live in a dichotomy of observing what it takes to be a genuine and successful leader while constantly being observed to see if I have what it takes to be one. I am in positions of watching decisions being made and decision making; learning and teaching; listening and speaking; witnessing mistakes and making mistakes myself.

Having the courage to stay in the game despite mistakes that are made by people around me or mistakes that I make is a huge lesson that I have learned in leadership. I am convinced that as long as a potential leader is afraid to fail, they will indeed fail every time. I am convinced that unless I approach leadership with a “whatever it takes” attitude (even if that includes miscalculations and misunderstandings from time to time) I will never become the leader that God is calling me to become.

This is a journey that we are on as leaders – from start to finish we must never stop growing and expanding. Successful leadership comes when we take the time to hear from others, learn from their mistakes and each of us as individuals give something back. 1 Peter 3 (MSG) says, “Bless -that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.”

Since I was a kid, I have been attending camps and conferences, learning what it takes to walk in relationship with God. Now, as a leader, those years mean even more because the things I do in my life –the way I live my life –is more than just about me. It is about God’s larger plan. That is why I love this time of year so much in the life of our church. Our annual Team Church Conference is right around the corner, and I am expecting to not only be refreshed and inspired myself, but also to fuel the cause of the local church into business leaders, church members, and church leaders who attend in a couple weeks.

I’m excited to be a part of hosting TC’08 because I am anticipating that this conference is going to reignite pastors and church members to build that which God loves so much – the local church. Even though the local church has never been perfect, I believe God is calling us to step up and take the challenge to advance the Kingdom of God on the planet today –even if it means making a few new mistakes along the way.

Guest Blog: Brandon Stewart

One of my greatest passions is the local Church. Ephesians 5:25 shows us that “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” I believe that the Church represents the plan of God for our lives, our communities, and the globe. Within the power and strength of the Church lies hope and answers for a world that desperately needs to know their creator.

I often think about it like this… If all it took to build a great church was beautiful buildings, great music and the right programming…then the Church would be booming! We’d have everything we need, and the House would be full every week. However, I believe it takes something more than all of this to make the Church great (and don’t get me wrong…all of these things are important!).

The truth is that it takes a team of people who are committed heart and soul to the cause of Christ, prepared to rise up in the Luke 2:52 principles of “wisdom, stature, favor with God and favor with men.” In other words, it takes great leadership. It takes commitment & loyalty. It takes Team Church. I’m so excited about our upcoming conference – Team Church Conference. It’s a chance that our team has every year to host people from around the country and the world to come together around one cause – Christ’s Church. We come to build relationships, receive from some of the finest teachers in the world, and sharpen ourselves as leaders.

I encourage you to not miss the opportunity that this conference presents…come be part of all that God is going to do in us individually and corporately during these few days! And come to sharpen yourself as a leader. There is something significant found in being together for a few consecutive days that has an impact on your life. TC08 promises to be an event not to miss!

Above all – let’s never grow weary in this incredible mandate we have to build the Kingdom of God here on earth, and specifically in the Northwest. It is my honor and privilege to serve on the awesome team at Champions Centre…the great men, women and young people who give selflessly of their time and talent every weekend to see people reached with truth and salvation. If you’ve ever wondered if your life would serve a significant purpose…look no further than what you are doing at Church. Your labor is not in vain.

I’m looking forward to a great conference in just a few weeks.

Better To Give...?

“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.”
- Romans 12:1 (MSG)

This weekend at Champions Centre, we’re launching a full-on volunteer campaign for our annual Team Church Conference. We’ve been talking about the value of volunteers and the incredible impact they make in our world. Amazing things happen when we “take our everyday lives and place them before God!”

We love God’s House - and we love it when people are committed to serving with passion! And, there’s a place for everyone when it comes to serving. When we hear the word “volunteer,” we could list many ways others benefit from our work, but sometimes we forget all the ways our own lives are blessed when we give of our time and talents.

Here are a few (ok, more than a few...but worth reading) ways that our lives are blessed when we choose to be volunteers:

1. Being a volunteer offers you a way to serve the Lord where you are planted (Deuteronomy 11:13).

2. When you’re involved in a ministry, you are helping your church advance God’s Kingdom in the earth as His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20).

3. Ministry involvement is the way you press toward the mark of your high calling, becoming the servant God designed you to be (Philippians 3:14).

4. Your faith is made visible and alive through your works of ministry (James 2:17, 18). Anyone can attend church, but involvement brings life and shows others what faith means to you.

5. Your own feelings of self worth are strengthened when you’re involved in a ministry team (Matthew 25:21, 23). Just as with any activity, as you begin to excel, your self-worth starts to grow.

6. Ministry involvement will challenge you to self improvement and spiritual maturity. God must do something in you before He can do something through you.

7. When you’re involved as a volunteer, you feel like a part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). God understands our need to feel a sense of belonging and by being part of a team, you fulfill this need while also making a difference in others’ lives.

8. Ministry offers a way to serve others (Galatians 5:13). Not only do you serve God while you’re volunteering, but being part of ministry allows you to help others live successful Christian lives.

9. Your ministry efforts will be rewarded in eternity (Romans 2:6, 7). Serving in ministry where God has planted you causes a life of rewards in the present, as well as in eternity.

10. Ministry provides a place for you to work with other believers to achieve a common goal (1 Corinthians 12:18-20). When we work together, we can achieve anything. Through working together with other volunteers, you’ll also become friends with people with common goals and interests.

11. Involvement in ministry moves you beyond the place of hearing into the place of doing the “good works, which God predestined for us,” (Ephesians 2:10). Hearing God’s Word is important, but to do good works, we must get out of our seats.

12. People who stay committed to a ministry team are less likely to drift out of fellowship with God and other believers. If you want to live up to your potential, stay committed by serving God in a ministry team with passion.

So, what about you? How has volunteering blessed your life? We'd love to know...