Summer 2012 Turn Signal: Transition on the Way

For my wife Carrie and I the summer of 2012 will go down as one of the greatest we’ve ever had. In my 4th year directing Awakening Teen Camp we saw thousands of teenagers from 27 different countries come through Kansas City for our camps and conferences. We saw hundreds get saved, nearly a thousand commit to, and were commissioned as missionaries to their high school campuses. We saw a counselor team of 50 pour out their lives on behalf of the next generation. In turn they emerged from the 8 week marathon of camp with transformed hearts and appetites wetted to preach the gospel and make disciples. We saw a 40 person camp staff pull off the logistics and content of camp tirelessly and emerge with hearts alive. 8 weeks of non stop ministry, 5 camps and retreats, 2 conferences, 1 intensive, all of it fruitful. God made a significant impact this summer, and we are already hearing stories of teens rallying large numbers of their peers at their churches, homes, and schools to go hard after the Lord. It’s incredible!

This summer was also especially unique, because it was our last.

At the beginning of 2012 my heart began to ache for the state of our nation, and state of my city; Kansas City. The “ache” was primarily felt as a National conference speaker and organizer. I was meeting so many in the church whose hearts were legitimately sparked by the initial messages, but were so lost a month later because there was a lack of leadership where they were to lead them. Different friends and leaders floated the idea of my wife and I one day planting a church. At the time I thought it was a great idea… in 10 years. As things started to pick up for me nationally in conference ministry, the ache only grew. Conference ministry has a true and needed function, however for me I was longing to pick a region and labor with a group of people for a decade or two and make a lasting impact somewhere.

To make a long story very short: (As I plan on writing other posts about this journey)

In March Carrie and I talked with some different pastors, leaders, and heads of church networks, and they offered us the option to take over a church in Kansas City that is needing a a pastor. The truth is, today many churches are without pastors as many, among other things, are quitting at an alarming rate.

Since March, Carrie and I have been on the slow journey of transitioning to becoming senior pastors of a church here in Kansas City. As a result, we took the crazy leap of making this summer our final summer directing Awakening Teen Camp. A role I plan on blogging more about, but a role I have been so privileged to have held as I’ve gotten to see thousands of teens’ hearts and lives transformed by the grace and power of God.

So for those that follow here, pray for us in this transition. I’m being intentionally ambiguous on the details as they are still in a liquid state. I’ll share more when things solidify, which is why this is merely “the turn signal”, and not yet the turn.

Until things become final, we are still on staff at the International House of Prayer serving in leadership and in many various functions including teaching at the Bible School, and in the Prayer Room. We love IHOPKC. We love ATC. And we are excited to see where this journey takes us, and I’ll be sure to let you know when it starts! ;)

 

Church In UK Banned From Saying “God Can Heal”

Worrying about Christian rights isn’t the reason I’m posting this. Truth is Jesus told us where this is going, “The world will hate you because of me”. I post stories like this as evidence to illustrate the hour of history we live in. Christians in many places have enjoyed the comfort of a culture that accommodates our faith. However the times are changing. The time is coming where our culture will no longer accommodate our faith. Apart from a spiritual revolution in the near future, I think we need to be sober about the changing times.  Sober not so we can give up and try to save ourselves. But sober so we can know how to pray, and have boldness to preach the gospel even more knowing what we are up against.

The story below is a small example, but the frequency of them is growing every day. Let’s fight the good fight of faith.

Bath Christian group’s ‘God can heal’ adverts banned

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had concluded that the adverts by Healing on the Streets (HOTS) – Bath, were misleading…. The ASA said the leaflet read: “Need Healing? God can heal today! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction … Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

Planned Parenthood Video: Superhero For Choice

There really isn’t much else to say about Planned Parenthood after watching this video. Their agenda for abortion is not hidden. This video explains why Koman would have defunded them. This was a REAL Planned Parenthood video from 2005. I’ve done some digging to check out it’s authenticity and can’t find anything saying it’s not legit. Honestly I wish it were not for real. If anyone finds out that this is a hoax then post the proof in the comments. Otherwise, God have MERCY.

The Elephant Room Aftermath

I’m a big fan of the Gospel Coalition. I think what they are doing for the church in America

is invaluable. When I heard that they were going to get main leaders, controversial ones and hammer things out, I thought it was a great idea. I’ve always wanted someone to draw back the curtain on certain leaders and give them an actual chance to defend their specific stance on theology. I would love to ask Joel Osteen for instance, about his prosperity gospel message and actually hear the heart behind the words. However in wanting to do so I don’t think you can lose sight of the word that intrigues you to that person in the first place “Controversial”. If you bring a controversial leader onto your stage and ask him controversial questions, well 1+1= I think you catch my drift. The Elephant room experiment worked in that we got to hear T.D. Jake’s side on his view of modelism or as he now calls it trinitarianism. But it backfired in that by the end of it one of the 2 hosts, James MacDonald, resigned from the Gospel Coalition because of the backlash. The aftermath was a bit tumultuous. It didn’t inspire a theological conversation to better help people understand various streams. Instead it seemed to polarize each side.

There is a Proverb here to keep in mind: Proverbs 26:17 “Don’t take a Rabid dog by the ears…”

Here is the official story from the Gospel Coalition:

The Elephant Room: What Really Happened, and How Things Could HaveBeen Different

If you’re a critic of the Gospel Coalition’s response—or seeming lack of response—to the Elephant Room controversy, or if you’re a critic of the Elephant Room and its repercussions, I hope you’ll slow down and read the whole thing. I am under no illusions that it will answer all the questions or satisfy everyone—I’m sure it won’t—but perhaps it will clarify at least a few things.

Thoughts on Sex and the decline and fall of society- pt. 1

Over the last couple of months I have been in expectation mode. I have a beautiful wife whose belly grows larger and larger every day. She is nauseous, sick, achy, excited, happy, and hopeful; She’s pregnant. As she and I embark on the journey of parenthood, we are mindful of the weighty responsibility and glorious entrustment that we’ve been given with this child. It’s something indescribable, it’s a feeling you can only feel when it actually happens to you.

As we start out we do all the usual things people do when expecting. Go to the doctor, talk with insurance companies, head to Babys -R-Us and gawk at the ocean of all things cute and adorable available for these little miracles. Once the euphoria of expecting subsides a bit you realize the status of those around you also expecting. You realize that parenting, family, and new life isn’t what it used to be.

Every doctor office we go into, greets us with surprised people to so elated find a married couple having a child. The insurance office first refers to me as “the boyfriend” until she looks down at my left hand and realizes we are married. The lady at CPC certifying our pregnancy is elated with joy that we are having the child within wedlock. No one assumes that we are married, they first assume we are coping with unfortunate but potentially exciting circumstances.

And why wouldn’t they? It makes sense. We live in such a sexually driven society, where the two most popular stores  among teens and young adults have just hired Porn Stars to model their clothing naked in XXX poses. (would post links but even the news articles were too racy for me to even read) American Apparel selling their tubes socks on a model completely naked in a position I had to repent from even seeing on the Billboard. Music, movies, TV shows, even Time magazine is talking about how shocking the sexuality of our culture is growing at such a rapid pace that monogamy is rare, and orgies are in vogue. It makes sense that the majority of pregnancies are found to be out of wedlock, and usually deemed “accidents”. It makes sense.

But is this shift the product of an ideological change? A sort of philosophical revolution bent on deconstructing the moral absolute of a previously Christian influenced culture? I submit that while the ideology is changing, it’s changing to cope with something greater; the absence of an active God.

It was René Descartes who started the ball roll’n in the 1600’s with: “I think, therefore I am”. Officially moving the culture from collective thinking to subjective thinking. Which has had many positive but also many negative effects. Fuerbach come along and said- yes you think, but so much so that God exists because of it, with his famous statement: “We made God”. Saying that sure God exists if you think he does, in other words he is a figment of ones imagination. Others then like Nietzsche and Freud applied these principles differently over time feeding into the birth of a new nation; The United States of America, declaring that all men are meant to be free to live, worship, think, act, and love however they please. This coupled Jean Jacques Rousseau’s theory that if you ‘love your self, and accept yourself for who you are, you are then therefore a good person’. Then leading us to modern day Abraham Maslow stating “your greatest need is self actualization”.

Humanity has found a way to rationalize away the existence and activity of a living God. Once you do this there is only one conclusion: “Do as thou wilt”.

If there is no governing objective moral truth, than the only other way to go is the way of moral relativism.

Sex has become the greatest stage to watch our society crumble into a moral relativistic ideal that is killing the human race. Why? because people deny, run from, and refuse to accept the ONE truth that has the ability to and desires to save them: The living and active God.

Because we (humanity)  have exalted individual rights and thoughts above that of the only sovereign and wise God we are reaping the wages of that sin. Let’s look at how “profitable” Sexual sin is to our world:

  • We have an entire continent (Africa) literally dying because of Aids. While Asia and South America closely following.
  • We have millions upon millions of children world wide being enslaved for the purpose of sex literally selling.
  • We have millions of people in this nation dependent on the government for money because they were born into situation where their parents chose themselves over there children.
  • We have television movies and video games that regularly promoting families that are so screwed up by sexual immorality that they require more attention than Abraham Maslow could’ve ever offered. Yet families pattern themselves after and end up like those being promoted.
  • We have a porn industry and escort (prostitution) industry making more money than this present economy, yet the life expectancy of a “porn star” or “escort” is about 40. Because of the lifestyle of Drugs required to cope with the pain of hundreds and thousands of sex partners. Many commit suicide.
  • We have 50 million human lives that never saw the light of day because they were killed by people who thought they might be to inconvenient to their lifestyle or situation.

We have a crisis in the land. Yet those turning from God scoff at God’s reality, and those accepting God generally only scoff at them. In this current state of crisis Christians have wasted so much time doing only as I have done above: pointing out the problem. Few have spent their energy promoting the solution. Therefore I digress:

THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU! THERE IS GOOD NEWS!- If only these were the calls the church was making in our society. If only we were the kind of believers that stood up amidst the dross of human sin and declared triumphantly, “God is Not Dead! Jesus lives! He is active! and He is coming to back to make the wrong things right! Turn from your sin, accept Him and he will give you freedom to overcome sin and shame! He will grant you strength to endure the trails of life because HE LOVES YOU, and desire that you be free, so that you can love Him and know His glory, So that when he splits the sky and returns to the Earth you can join with the redeemed and rejoice and not shrink back in Shame.

If only to the gays and the lesbians in San Fransisco we presented the solution instead of damnimg them over and over with the problem. Homosexuallity is a sin, instead of being “taddle tails” for Jesus, what if there was a church that had the boldness, and the compassion to say: “There is a way out of your shame!! There is a way that you can be free!”

If only there was a Faithful witness declaring to this nation: Jesus is God, he died for your sin, and we have a great hope in this, that He is returning to the Earth to make every wrong thing right, if you choose him there it is a blessed hope! If you deny him it will be terrible.

This post took a direction I hadn’t planned, but one I like. If we as believers did less bickering over theological disagreements and positioning our ministries to be the next big things, or new cool church model. And instead did more linking arms, rallying behind the absolute truths of the Bible that have given us life; maybe we would see the revival we long for.

Oh Lord, give us wisdom, and strength to be faithful witnesses of the gospel of your kingdom.