What would some entertainers do without Vegas and the Native American Casino's to prolong their careers?
What would Caesar think? Simple, he would want his cut.
I know Las Vegas takes a lot of heat as 'Sin City,' but there are actually some things I appreciate about this place. It is a city that is not lukewarm about its passions. Las Vegas is both extravagant and excellent in how it expresses itself. Granted, the message is often depraved and the toll in human lives is beyond comprehension. What Las Vegas does say to me is, 'look what man is capable of when he fully gives himself over to his pursuits!' In this case, avarice, carnality and sex.
I'm thinking this is pretty much what Babylon, Rome and Egypt were like, without neon and the Hoover Dam.
The excess and success of Las Vegas would make Bugsy Siegel smirk, (I would say, rest his soul, but....). Christians should be determined to make the Lord smile, not by building exorbitant ego trips or palaces of worship, but by exercising extreme faith and determination to light up the world for Jesus. We should work to see that 'what happens in the church, does not stay in the church.'
Click this to see a nice (ab)normal stroll in a Vegas mall.
The church will also close on the purchase of the Strand Theatre, which it was previously leasing, on April 30. It already owns the Liberty Theatre. The two theaters and café location were formerly owned by Phil Harris, the developer of Hutton Ranch Plaza.
First Avenue East Café, a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant, will have its last day on April 8, according to owner Beth Sparby. Sparby, who owns and operates the restaurant with her mother, said she has found a buyer for most of her major restaurant equipment but will hold a sale on April 9-10 at the restaurant to get rid of what’s left.
Sparby said the recession has been rough on her business, and she said the road doesn’t appear to get any easier with the Montana Club moving into town and more restaurants starting to serve breakfast. When she heard Fresh Life Church was looking to purchase the building at the beginning of the year, she started searching for people interested in purchasing her equipment. She said she was fortunate to find a buyer.
With no kitchen-ready locations available for an affordable lease, Sparby said she has no plans to reopen a restaurant.
“It’s going to be sad, but we would like to thank everybody who has supported us,” Sparby said.
Since being established in Kalispell in 2007, Fresh Life Church has grown to about 1,500 congregants and has established a prominent presence downtown, occupying both the Strand and Liberty theaters, along with a rented space on the corner of Second Street East and First Avenue East. The rented space is used for a kids’ ministry.
The church has services on Wednesdays and Sundays at the Strand and Liberty, with one theater holding the service and the other offering live-streamed feeds. The Liberty has an espresso bar in its foyer. In the upstairs of the Strand, the church has offices, classrooms and other spaces.
The café location will be called “The Lab,” according to the church’s 27-year-old pastor Levi Lusko. Lusko said it will be used as a meeting spot for the church’s college and high school ministries, and to host any other event, including wedding receptions and meet-and-greet sessions for the many bands the church brings to town.
Currently, Lusko said the church doesn’t have an appropriately sized meeting venue to accommodate crowds in between classroom and theater size. Lusko said Fresh Life is under contract to buy the café building and will close on the deal on June 30.
“Our goal isn’t snatching up properties,” Lusko said. “Our goal is to accommodate the growth of the church.”
He added: “All of the purchasing and the buildings are for the people who are stranded in sin so they can find liberty and life in Jesus Christ.”
Though Lusko said the church doesn’t have an official membership, he has a good idea of how many people attend the services.
“We’re seeing about 1,500 with adults and kids,” he said. “In January of ’07, it was just me and my wife and a few friends.”
Though only 27, Lusko already has a ministry resume that spans several states. He has also done missionary work across the world. Before starting Fresh Life in 2007, Lusko had served as youth pastor at Calvary of Albuquerque, one of the largest churches in New Mexico, and was the director of student ministries at Ocean Hills Church in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., another large church. Today he lives in the Flathead with his wife and their two daughters.
Fresh Life Church is a non-denominational Christian church that takes a modern, laid-back approach to religion. The church has a radio station and an interactive Web site with streaming videos and podcasts to better broadcast the church’s services and messages. Both pastors and congregants alike often dress in casual attire.
With its “Skull Church,” Lusko said Fresh Life is able to preach in a way that is relevant to young people and folks who aren’t heavily involved in religion. Lusko said many young people have skull tattoos or skulls on their snowboards or elsewhere in their lives.
Using the skull as a “relatable point of reference,” the church meets every Wednesday and attracts a large youth following. Out-of-state Christian bands frequently play.
“People are coming to Skull Church who haven’t been to church for years or ever,” Lusko said.
Lusko said church officials looked at other spaces downtown, but when they heard about First Avenue East Café’s availability, it seemed like the right location.
“To us, it was a fully opened door,” Lusko said. “We didn’t have to kick her out, she was really sweet. It was perfect.”