Lakeside Lonnie

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of a fictional character named “Lakeside Lonnie” who has turned out to be not so fictional. Confused? Let me catch you up to speed.

A few weeks ago, when preaching on Hebrews 6, Pastor Matt used a made-up scenario where a man named Lonnie, met my husband, Britton, at a coffee shop and then got connected with Lakeside Church. Lonnie grew as a person in the church community, served with us, gave money, and made some great relationships. The bottom line was that our fictional “Lonnie” never had a relationship with the one who mattered most, Jesus Christ. So, although Lonnie had tasted bits and pieces of Christ through the church, he never really knew Him. Then, last Sunday when Matt spoke I think our good ‘ole Lonnie finally did meet Christ, the real reason for the church. (Yay for him!).

Oddly enough, in between the time of those last two sermons, my husband was meeting with George, our student pastor, at a coffee shop. A man interrupted them and asked if he could join in and be a part of what they were discussing. He wrote his name and number down on a sliver of paper and gave it to Britton. A day or two later, Britton pulled out that paper, and guess what this man’s name was? LONNIE!

Circumstances are not just mere circumstances, especially for Christians. I think about all of the hands shaken by our church body during the week, all of the meals shared, or random bump-ins we have collectively. How many “Lakeside Lonnie”s could there be? The coolest part about that story is that the real Lonnie wanted part in what two guys in a coffee shop were talking about, Jesus Christ.

Let’s put Christ on our lips, and God ever on our minds. People are listening… what do you want them to hear?


Brittany T. Lewis


When my son, Micah, was a little over one year old, we lived in West Texas. In that corner of the country, we encounter a strange foe that Utahans do not face very often…roaches. There is nothing more appetizing than a nice juicy over-sized cockroach scurrying across your floor. Unfortunately, I grew up among them, and I was grateful to our fellow armed men that frequented our house assaulting the enemy with sprays of pesticide.

One morning, as Britton and I were getting ready, Micah decided he wanted a snack. Instead of asking his parents to provide him with his much-needed protein, he munched on whatever was lying around. In this case, it was a half-dead scaly cockroach. By the time we realized his choice cuisine, the insect was squirming around in his mouth, its body no longer in one piece. Britton spotted Micah’s problem before I did, but he couldn’t quite figure out what lay beyond those little drooling puckered lips. For some reason, Britton has never been keen on sticking his fingers in our kids’ mouths; something about the pain of a toddlers relentless bite, but he called me to aide him.

I jammed my index finger through his lips in a hooked fashion without a moment’s hesitation. Then, the first leg dangled out.

If you know me, you can imagine my horror…(I’ve been known to jump out of moving vehicles when I find myself riding with a six-legged creature). Both of us new parents let out a disgusted yell. Micah grinned in delight, drool mixing with creature parts. Despite my aversion to the thing, the thought of it remaining squirming around on Micah’s tongue trumped. I pried open his mouth and rid it of the insect. I then proceeded to power-blast his mouth out with the finger-tip toothbrush and half a tube of baby gum and teeth refresher.

So what’s the catch here, besides of course a fat roach? When I recall that story, I truly laugh, but it reminds me of how sin is to God’s children. We get hungry, and instead of going to the Christ to fulfill us in our purpose, we settle on whatever is right in front of us. What’s so amazing is that God has already come to our rescue by sending Christ to rid us of our sin. Despite God’s aversion to sin, He loved us so much that He sent his only Son to rid us of it. Yet, we go back to cockroaches. Admitidly, often times we don’t even know how harmful and disgusting the sin we meddle in is to us, but God does.

I encourage you to read the passage found in Mark 9:42-50. Jesus speaks about the temptation to sin. How serious is He about ridding our lives from sin? Think about it the rest of this week. And remember always, that the only one who can free you from that sin is our savior, Jesus Christ. No amount of rules and restrictions can do that for you. Focus on the cross, Christ’s sacrifice for you, and see how He changes your view of the roaches in your life.

All the way to Pluto and back again…

Do you know what gets me? My four-year-old’s big brown eyes and my one-year-old boy’s little lips when he purses them together to make a whistle sound. Then there are those deep-belly laughs that make them two roll over on the floor with drool stringing from their mouths. And now that Micah gets older, how he expresses his need for love and to love captures my heart like a clear blue sky does a sparrow.

With those boys of mine, I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with love for them it hurts. I’m sure Micah thinks I’m crazy at times when I grab him and his brother and let out a yell as I squeeze them tight. Recently, Micah has created a competition out of explaining his love for me and Britton. He will say, “I love you more and more and more and more…” and the mores go on until his big brown eyes are bulging. Of course, I always win because I just say, “I love you that much and even more! I love you all the way to the moon.” But he fights back saying, “Well, I love you all the way to Mars.” To which I reply, “I love you all the way to Pluto and back again.” What got me again the other night was when I was praying with Micah and thanking God for loving us so much. When I finished, Micah said, “Well, tell God that I love Him more and more and more…” With joy and wonder in my heart, I replied, “But, you know that God loves you even more than that! There’s no way to measure it because it’s way past Pluto.”

Ephesians 3:16-18 says, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

As a parent, my own love for my children astounds me, but I know that, because I am not God, my love is finite. Perhaps it does stretch all the way to Pluto and back again, but it is nothing compared to how much Christ loves my children or how much Christ loves me. As a parent, I seek to show my children how much I love them by explaining it in a way that would blow their little minds and warm their hearts. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

Christ, who was with God in the beginning, who is God’s son and rightly claims to be God in the flesh, sacrificed Himself for you and me. That love goes beyond the Milky Way racing past the trillions of stars reaching beyond unknown galaxies, stretching across the expanses of the universe that is ever-expanding in all directions. The more we get to know who Christ is, the more we understand the depth and pain of His sacrifice. That love crushes us with its weight but yet sustains us with its power. It is perfectly unfathomable. But, oh that we would delight in trying.


I used to have dreams about the past. I was haunted by them at times because they were often about people that had died, a friend that was dear to me, a grandpa that I sorely missed. Many dreams were made up of an attempt on my part to alter my own regrets with that person or relationship, and I would wake, in the stillness of the night wishing for time to unwind itself. Yet I’ve been bound by time, as are we all, and it grips around me weather by the length of my shadow on the ground, the ticking of the second hand, or by the continual progression of numbers on the alarm clock that light their way on into eternity. It is silent in its passing, but we each feel the weight of it.

With time comes the sorrow of death, but also the twinkle of life. Such contrast calls our minds to screech at it’s uncertainty. This morning, I listened to a podcast on the drive down Gentile street from Micah’s preschool. It led me to think of the grandeur of the Sistine Chapel, painted in the latter years of Michelangelo’s life while he was teetering at the heights of the ceiling with oil paint dripping into his eyes. We often see images of the Sistine Chapel, like the Creation of Adam which is most popular. It is beautiful to behold, but, unless you have been there, you aren’t seeing the whole picture. I hope to darken through the doors and behold the splendor of Michelangelo’s masterpiece looming over me. Until then I am limited to images on the internet. If you zoom in on any image, it will become a pixel-ated mess of dark squares and lighter squares. Yet, when you are able to take a leap back, an image comes into view. I think for us life is that way because we are bound by time. Our limited perspective leads us to see things in a way that often neglects the larger picture.



The Creation of Adam








So what is that larger picture? God. God is outside of time. He is present in our past and He is already in our tomorrow. He orchestrates every single atom into the workings of the greatest masterpiece of all. This whole world that we experience will end up bringing glory to God, the Christ, the Word in flesh, whom created all things. When all we see is a dark pixel, God has positioned a white pixel beside it to bring forth the magnitude of His glory. The contrast is what makes the image come into focus and without it, there would be no masterpiece. So we trust that God in all his holiness, will work the darkness in our seemingly insignificant lives into the glory of His masterpiece. Until then, when are able to stand with Him in eternity unbound by the shackles of time, we can stand in awe of the God who binds our lives together for His glory.

Stinky Feet

I have this silly quirk to my personality that gives me an aversion to feet, so over seven years ago, when Britton and I had just gotten married, I distinctly remember telling me that I would, under no circumstances, rub his feet. Oddly enough, after a few months of marriage, I continued to fall deeper in love with Britton, and I began to love even his feet. I confess now, I end up having to rub his feet at least once a day.

Then we had Micah, and my perspective continued to change. Micah was flesh of my flesh, almost another extension of myself, and his little toes were so perfectly made. Even now, with our littlest boy, Judah, I feel as though he is still part of me. I share my cereal with him; he shares his boogery face with me, and we are very much connected. One of my favorite games to play with my boys is at the end of the day to take off their socks and shoes and crawl around the living room by the fire and tickle their little toes while they squeal in laughter trying to crawl away from me. I delight in their stinky feet because they are my blood, a part of myself.

As silly as this is, I think that with family, we love things that may be a little gross to other people. We put up with moody attitudes, with temper tantrums, with even blatant selfishness in our family because we are bound together by blood.

At Lakeside, you will often hear us refer to each other as our ‘church family.’ We seek to be that for one another and I rejoice when I see this play out in our little community. When someone has a need we generally do a great job of meeting that need. Yet, when we get a whiff of someone’s stinky feet, it offends us. At times very difficult to cast that offense aside. Christ has commanded us to act differently though.

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go . First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:22-24

We all come together because we stand forgiven. Because of this, the blood that binds Lakeside’s members together is even stronger than any genetic code, than any bloodline. What has delivered our souls oxygen is Christ, and that knits our church together with roots that run deeper than even family.

We  live life together at Connection Groups, or over a cup of coffee, and even Sunday mornings all because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Christ has saved us, and out of gratefulness to Him, we should also be gracious to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are bound by the blood of our Savior who forgave us freely despite our mishaps.  I think we all have stinky feet, don’t you? We can make much of Christ when we see His power over our offenses and as we forgive and forget.


My fingers pressed against the cool glass as I waited, the blue salt water just on the other side of the pane. The show wouldn’t start for fifteen minutes, but my family and I had arrived early at my insistence to get the closest spot. Then, he came. Water sloshed over the rim of the glass above me as the whale slowly hovered in place. His body was an unending eight-ton mass of black and white inches from me. Its dorsal fin peeked  through the top of the water, the black skin glistening in the sunlight. Awe swept over me. My breath caught in my chest, I was frozen, but delighted. I had never been so close to a creature so magnificent. He so big and I so small. With one swipe of his great fluke, the orca cut through the water leaving me stunned.

My fascination with whales has lasted since I was six or seven years old, and still to this day, I am enamored by their sleek gracefulness and mystique. In truth, I had lived far away from any whales with our two by four foot bathtub being the closest thing I had to an ocean in West Texas. But, Free Willy had left me yearning for the spray of the ocean and the creatures of the deep. I researched them at every opportunity through my youth, determined  to understand more about them, but no picture or film could compare with standing inches from the powerful sea creature as a high school kid. What I had once read on a page, I was experiencing in real-life.  Its presence evoked a sense of awe in me that I will never shake from my memory because the sense of awe is a powerful thing. When we are in awe, we understand that there is something much bigger and stronger than ourselves, than our own circumstances, than our own lives.

In Acts Chapter 2, Scripture give us a picture of the community in the first church. Tucked away in those lines is this verse:

“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”

Acts 2:43

The early church lived in awe, in a holy fear that compelled them to thrive in a state of reverence and submission to Christ. Their view of God was not restricted to a leather-bound book with printed words or the confines of a church building; Christ was actually in those words. He was actually moving in their hearts and in their lives. Just this morning, God lead me to yet another scripture that describes this holy state of reverence towards God that truly, we should thirst for.

“Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob…”

Psalm 114:7

As a body of believers here in Syracuse, my prayer is that we would be in awe. I want us to breath Him in the fresh chilly air, to marvel at His majesty displayed in the snow-covered mountains, to realize how huge He is in comparison with ourselves. I challenge you to take fifteen minutes and let your mind go there because once you’ve been in the presence of the God of Jacob, awe will overtake you… and awe is such a beautiful thing in the believer.

Gospel Truth

For the past month, God has kept me silent in a lot of ways. He has had me listening, observing, and taking in all that is around me. He has met me often and gracefully showed me Himself and revealed to me His desire for the fullness of my own joy in Him. In this time, God has been breaking my heart again and again for a message that is so simple, and one that in church we hear often, but in the world is often misunderstood or not known at all. The gospel.

As a writer or teacher, there are often lessons that have to be retaught or rewritten. The challenge of the messenger is to deliver that message in a way that is new and refreshing so that the person hearing it would be affected. But Christ is pressing me for simplicity now because no matter how it is written the truth remains the same: Christ, the son of God, was sent to save us. He lived a life of pure perfection, and died deliberately on the cross as a payment for our sin to give us righteousness before God because nothing we could nor can do would save us. Out of God’s love and grace, we can now come before Him. That is the bare-bones gospel, a message that has been preserved for over two thousand years, an old old story that continues to move with the same power and authority it did in the days just after Christ rose from the dead.

Last Sunday night was a big moment for Lakeside Church; another vision was given for us to build on. As I looked at images from Lakeside’s earlier days, I was overjoyed at what I saw. What caused a young woman to open up her heart to a stranger in another country after battling with guilt and oppression from her mistakes? What caused a man from Canada to pack up his family and venture into another country? What caused mission teams to set foot in Utah and stay there? The answer is simple: the gospel. The message that Christ saves us and offers us full undeserving grace is still working in and through our lives to this very day. Here in Syracuse, Utah, Christ is living and breathing in us, aching for the hearts of the lost around us. What an awesome thing to be a part of!

As we move forward with the vision of this church, we get to be involved in spreading the message of God’s grace and forgiveness to the nations starting here in an old horse barn.  I pray that the Lord would bless our small body of believers just as he did in the early church and that Lakeside would echo the same blessings of God from the days of old.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

~Acts 2:42-47~

Thank you, Lord, for letting us be a part of spreading Your fame.



Brittany Lewis



It’s been years ago since I sat alone on the hard wooden stool in the art room of my high school hunched over my self-portrait in frustration. My figure looked lifeless in the purple and yellow hues. My only solace with the painting was the collage background that represented who God made me to be.

I sat, completely absorbed in brush-strokes and colors when the dangling of metal met my ears, and I looked up from my work. A boy walked in. His name was Mark, and he was the picture of gothic attire. The black clothes didn’t worry me as much as the large symbol of a pentagram, Satan’s symbol, weighted around his neck like the dog-tags of a unseen war that Mark knew nothing about. That necklace disturbed me, so I hunkered back down and kept to myself.

God had other plans though. After a few minutes of Mark and me working silently on our self-portraits, I felt that still small voice stir inside of me, willing me, compelling me to speak, so I did.  It was small talk at first, but I knew where God wanted me to take the conversation, so before long, I let out the first awkward mention of God. Gratefully, Mark didn’t storm out of the room, but instead told me everything he believed about God.

Sadly, I learned that because of some misguided teaching, Mark understood the Lord to be everything other than good. Mark’s view was distorted, and I was burdened with the thought of him not understanding the God I had come to know. I wish I could say that I said something incredible, but honestly, I don’t quite remember what I said in response to him. But, I firmly believe that God spoke through me.

Whatever came out of my mouth, I do remember Mark’s response. He said in his low voice, “Your words have broken my prison.” Then, with one swift movement he clutched the chain with the pentagram and ripped it free of his neck.  With amazing aim, he then pitched it in the trashcan.

Just then, his art teacher, Mrs. Cain, bustled in with a puzzled look written across her face. Mark smiled, grabbed his things and walked out of the room.

A few days later, on my way to my art class, Mrs. Cain stopped me before entering and pulled me into her classroom. “I don’t know what you and Mark talked about the other day, but he is acting so differently! Look at this.”

She then pulled out his drawing. In the middle of the paper, it looked like there had been some vigorous erasing right where the charm had been on his necklace. Instead of a pentagram symbol, the symbol of Satan, there hung a cross.

It amazes me what Christ does to us when we get the chance to see Him for who He really is.  Just like with Mark, God changes our perspective on life, He alters what we stand for with one whisper to our souls. I am grateful for that. God changed Mark’s portrait that day, but He also changed mine.

How has God changed you church?  Think about it, and then lets thank Him for those differences and even more for how He continues to change us in the years to come.


-Brittany Lewis


If you spend anytime around my husband, Britton, you will notice something pretty quickly; he is a drummer. There are always beats playing through his mind that he spills out to those around him through the tapping of his fingers or a beat-box bouncing off his lips. In fact, just the other night, Britton was holding Judah, our 6-month-old son, and started flinging Judah’s stubby arms around like he was an odd-shaped pair of drumsticks. Judah enjoyed it.

Britton is a musician at heart, it comes naturally to him and he sees music in everything he’s doing.

This was especially true a few months ago when Brit was helping James Cha and some of the other church men work on the dry-wall of the children’s area at church.  As the fine white powder clung to their hair and shirts from the hours of constant sanding of the drywall. James Cha said, “We need a banjo.” To which Britton replied, “Yeah, that would be awesome!” and then he played out a few lines of banjo music on his tongue with an expert twang that an actual banjo would have. Though I wasn’t there, I can imagine the strange looks pointed Brit’s direction when someone responded, “No, he means a wall banjo.”

Context, context, context.


  1. The parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.
  2. The set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

When Britton told me that story I could hardly contain my laughter. It perfectly demonstrates how important context is in any situation. Through my personal growth as a Christian, I have been through many tense moments in my personal Bible study in my attempts to understand the truth in God’s word. Most of the times my struggle with scripture was based on my lack of understanding of the context. In fact, I have listened to many teachers who carelessly took scripture and molded it to fit their message in a way that compromised the scripture’s actual meaning.

With this, I say that we should be a people like the Bereans written about in Acts 17 who were described as a people of noble character. “…they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so,” (Acts 17:11b ESV). As we read God’s word on a daily basis, we should do it with eagerness. As we listen to teachings of others, we should be examining the text to grasp the concepts as the Bible teaches. In this way, we can become students of God’s word, and I am confident that God will bless us through that knowledge as we gain a deeper understanding of our Creator.

The Roundabout

On the red-brick streets that grid the downtown area of my hometown, Lubbock, Texas, there is  one intersection that’s decorated with an odd circle of raised cement plopped right in the middle of it. When I was a a teenager, I found myself lost on numerous occasions running errands for my dad whose business is stationed in the heart of the downtown area. Every now and then I would come across this circle feature and, thanks to my driver’s ed classes, I would properly yield and then proceed to drive around the circle until I reached the road leading to my destination; that is, when I knew where my destination actually was. Then, years later when Britton and I  drove our college students from Texas to the distant lands of Utah, we experienced the Roundabout with regularity. Anytime we would come to the circle near Lakeside, we would exclaim, “Let’s go on the roundabout,” in a very proper sounding  British accent (This is only fair being that the inventor of this odd intersection was a English gentleman named Frank Blackmore, and he surely said the term that he invented in his native British accent as well). Now that I live in the city of roundabouts I have found that they are valuable for a number of reasons:

  1. When you can’t decide where you want to go, it gives you a few more circles to make the decision. After three times, the car-sickness will inevitably make the decision for you.
  2. Great excuse for a legal reason to do excessive donuts in the car.
  3. A perfect place to play a game of “corners” in the backseat of the car.
  4. Apparently, its real use is also to have a continual flow of traffic; the others are just bonuses.

Despite these definite positives, I have one major issue with the Roundabout. On more than one occasion, I have left the roundabout just west of the church with smoke pluming out of my ears because the people coming down one of the roads leading to the circle fail to yield to any other drivers. It’s like they think their road is better, so they should be able to continue through the circle without a single tap on their breaks despite other people having properly yielded in the other entrances. Okay, I’ll admit that when I come down that road, I tend to act the same way from time to time. It’s just so easy to cut in front of everyone else on the Roundabout.

I think our British friend, Mr. Blackmore, had a certain decency in his time that maybe over the years we have lost in our culture. Yielding is a courtesy isn’t it? When you yield, you momentarily pause from the direction you were heading and think about someone else. If you continue forward without the pause, you could possibly plow over another unassuming motorist. Somewhere along the way, from sea to shining sea we have etched this idea of entitlement into our minds where we fail to yield to anyone that comes our way. Our life has become about our own destinations, about what we think we deserve. But where has this sense of entitlement gotten us but buried in debt living in a crippled economy? Then, think about our churches. When we bring this idea into the body of Christ, we fail to be the church who is supposed to reach out to others.

1 Corinthians 11:17-22 is a revealing piece of scripture. Paul is rebuking the church for how they partake in the Lord’s Supper. The wealthy bring their food for the meal, and they scarf it down before the poor people have had even a nibble. Even the early church struggled with this sense of entitlement.

So what do we do now? Well, let’s yield. Yield to the God who created you, and yield to each other, considering others needs above our own. And, let’s also thank good ‘ole Frank Blackmore for testing our decency and giving us the chance to yield to others.