“Too Proud To Pray To The God Who Made Us”

In a speech made in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

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Father’s Day

As I sit in my office and prepare my Father’s Day sermon for Sunday’s services, I am brought to tears of gratitude as I think about my own Father. 

I’ve found at 31 years old that every year you grow up, the more you learn about your self. Which means every year that goes by I realize more and more that the most positive traits I possess were given to me and taught to me by my Dad. He is the kindest, strongest, and most loyal, God fearing man I know.

I love you dad! I’m so grateful for you! I know you like to be known as Zack Hensley’s dad, but I like to be known as Bruce Hensley’s son!

My First Wedding Homily

Last month I had the great honor and privilege to officiate the wedding of my sister and her fiancé Chris. Not only was it so special to stand there officiating their wedding, it was special because it was my first. For posterity’s sake, I thought I’d post it here.

Welcome:
Dearly Beloved; We are gathered here in the presence of God and of this company, that Christopher and Sarah may be united in holy matrimony.

Charge to those attending:
Today is a day of great joy and celebration but it also comes with the sting of change.
Though we are here to celebrate your union, we are also here to send both you off into a new season of life where our standing ways of relating to you are changing.

For your friends and family, we have dreamt of this moment. God has prepared you for this moment. We have labored in His grace to prepare you for this day. But it is in this moment, that we are delighted to willingly YET soberly release you to one another.

To the family and friends here today today, I charge you to be a source of love, strength and encouragement to Chris and Sarah. As they begin to run this race, may we be their biggest fans, cheering them on all the way.

Giving away of the Bride:
Who here gives this woman to be with this man in blessing and confidence?

Intro:
Sarah, as your brother this day is even sweeter.
In all the stages of growing up, we have not just been siblings, but friends. I have had the privilege of seeing you at your best and at your worst, so I’m an expert when I say that you are one of the most precious, faithful, beautiful, Godly human beings I’ve ever met. Never have I met someone willing to work so hard to serve and love the people in her life. I am proud that I get to be your brother, and I am proud to be adding another brother here today.
Christopher, over the years I’ve known you to be a great man of faithfulness and strength, one who is tender before the Lord. I can think of no better person to be marrying my precious sister.

Marriage:
Marriage at its heart is a beautiful symbol of the covenant keeping love between Christ and the Church. In The story of Christ, we see an all powerful God coming in meekness to serve and love His church to the point of death on the cross, making a way for His bride (the church) to become glorious so she could share in His reign.
We here today are hopeful for your marriage. Not just because we think you both look cute together, not just because we love you individually.

We are hopeful for your marriage because when Jesus came, He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. His resurrection shows that He has triumphed over the curse of sin. He has opened the way to Life.

God placed His first man and woman in a beautiful garden where they lacked nothing.
It was here that we see God’s original picture of what marriage was to look like.
They experienced an intimacy with God that we could only imagine. They experienced love and delight untainted by the sting and shame of our current world.

But when they rebelled, everything changed. The ground was cursed and work became frustrating instead of joyful (as God designed it to be). Something as beautiful and life-giving as childbirth became exceedingly painful (so I’m told). Adam and Eve were displaced from the beautiful home God had prepared for them, and found the entrance heavily guarded.

It has become common to say that relationships are difficult. Every book on marriage, relationships, and communication, assumes that relationships are difficult to maintain. But that hasn’t always been the case. Relationships were whole and untainted by sin and doubt before the fall. We are specifically told that the man and woman were naked and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25), a reality that signifies a complete trust and acceptance in their relationship.

All who trust in Jesus are justified before God and empowered to live in a new way, a way that is not doomed by the dreadful curse of sin. It goes without saying that this marriage will have its high points, and its low points. There will be times of great joy, and times of great pain.

The key to success for this marriage is not to try to simply survive hard times, and spend your time longing only for joyful times. The key to success is to give God glory. God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him.

If you look primarily to each other to meet your deepest needs, understand all of your emotions, and be a constant source of encouragement and strength for you, you will be frustrated.

One of you will surely fail to meet the other’s expectations at some point. If your hearts are as Eph 3:16-19 says: “Rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ” when those times come, you can lend strength to the other.

Strength is easy to lend when its not yours. God has made you such that only He can satisfy you.

Therefore find your delight and joy in Christ every day, so that no matter what circumstances life brings, your happiness is not solely based on your circumstances, but is found in the flame of love for God cultivated deep within your heart.

In order to truly love each other in this marriage, you must satisfy yourselves in Christ. God doesn’t intend for your spouse to satisfy you. God intends for your spouse to remind you that you need God.

I am hopeful for this marriage because of the work of Christ. Jesus died for His bride and sets the pattern for us to follow in our marriages.

Charges:

Sarah, you are called to submit to Christopher.
Though you are fellow heirs in Christ and children of God submitted to each other, in your marriage, Christopher is the head.
This means the consequences of responsibility fall on Him before God’s judgement seat.
By submitting to Christopher you are not just submitting to who Christopher is now, but to who he will become in the grace of God.
Your trust is in the Lord’s leadership in Christopher’s life, not Christopher’s leadership alone. Your trust is in God’s ability to make him into the best version of who we already know him to be.
Sarah are you ready to enter into Marriage with this man?

Christopher, because you are the head, your task asks more, because Jesus gave more.
Your calling is to lay your life down for your wife in the same way Christ loved the church and gave up His life for her.
That means the cost you are paying today is your life, and the goal you are setting today is her splendor.
Your mission from today until the day you die is to love, serve, protect and lay your life down for your wife until she is the greatest version of the dream God dreamed when He created her.
The command of the Bible to follow you as the head, should be easy for her because you are proving your worthiness to her through your meekness, humility, and daily fight for her destiny before your own.
Christopher are you prepared to enter into marriage with this woman?

I love what John Piper says about marriage: “The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses.” Christopher seek your joy in Sarah’s joy, and Sarah seek your joy in Christopher’s joy, and you will be happy indeed.

Vows:
May we please now have the rings?
The bride and groom have opted to recite their own vows.

Communion:
The bride and groom are now going to take communion and pray with one another.
Parents and family blessing
Those that have been asked to pray for the couple, please come forward at this time.

Pronouncement of marriage:
Christopher and Sarah, you have declared your commitment to each other before your family and God. It gives me the greatest of pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife.

You may now kiss your bride!

Presentation:
I invite you to stand and join me as I introduce to you for the very first time: Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Jackman!

Awakening Teen Camp Quarterly Update!

June marked the 4th year that I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the director of The International House of Prayer‘s Awakening Teen Camp.

Every year we have about 4,000 teenagers come out for 4 separate Awakening Teen Camps, and 2 separate Fascinate Conferences. Last week was the completion of the first camp and first Fascinate Conference. It’s was quite an amazing 2 weeks stretch as we saw God move in pretty incredible ways. We still have a lot of summer to go, but I thought I’d drop in with a quick update.

For me the story of this first quater of the summer so far is my wife Carrie. She came abord this year to help me lead and direct camp. It has been tremendous to get to direct with my best friend and comrade in faith.

The first camp alone we saw 55 teens out of 203 give their lives to Christ. (A fourth of the camp) Much of these commitments happend on the night Carrie preached on the message of the cross. She had a Charles Finney like glare in her eyes as she talked about the supremacy of Christ. A spirit of conviction gripped the room and most were in tears. Many came up to the alter weeping and repenting of their sins and dedicating their lives to Christ. I was not just proud of my wife that night. I remembered yet again why I need to continue to remember what powerful and anointed woman my wife is. She is easily more anointed then I am, and for real a conduit of Revival.

We had 120 teens make commitments to go back to their regions as missionaries and plant bible studies and prayer meetings. We had nearly 800 make the same commitment at the Fascinate Conference. God is raising up burning and shining lamps amongst the youth of our nation. It’s exciting to be apart of what God is doing with teens in this hour of history.

We have thousands more yet to come to KC, and tons more messages to preach, and young ones to disciple. Please pray for us as we labor to lay down our lives for the next generation.

 

Wait.

This is the Preface to the book I’m currently working on.

We all travel this planet for a short time. In that time we work, we love, we hurt, and we die. We toil in life to obtain the things that keep us alive. We love in life to find enjoyment and happiness to remove the sting of that toil. We hope throughout all of our existence that our experiences during this short lived journey meant something somewhere, to someone. The expectation is that our life will either climax to meet our dreams, or transform into an eternal state of bliss. However we are not the subjects of our existence, instead we are the objects of one creator and subjected to Him. This truth is the genesis of real Hope.
Our world is consumed in the darkness night, waiting for the dawn. In this night we long for change. We long for someone or some movement to lead us to a world free from war, famine, poverty, and personal torment. We long for something to give purpose to the strivings of our life besides the standard cycle: learning, working, resting then dying. We yearn for something to answer the questions of our heart when we lay awake in bed at night. The questions humanity tries to hide by making money, consuming substances, and partaking in endless forms of entertainment. Questions like “Why am I alive?”; “Why is life filled with so much pain?”; “What is the meaning of life?”
The questions are the fruit of poor human leadership. Leadership tainted by sin and evil that has progressed since Adam. Men and woman who have held governmental positions over the last 6,000 years who have misused their God rented authority for their own gain. Leaders who have failed to lead their subjects in giving glory to God by obeying His law. Because of this oversight, humanity has been in a spiral of unrest. Wars have ensued as power hungry leaders struggle for ownership of the Earth and its glory. Poverty has spread like a disease crippling many, as rulers use their talents to enslave others to their lust and greed. Yet in all of this, there is a place in the universe where a man was always intended to rule our planet in righteousness and justice. That place, that man, and His throne are what we are waiting for, longing for, yearning for. They are the dawning of a new era for humanity. Their arrival gives us exodus from the night, and entrance to the day.
The place better is known as Heaven, and the man as Jesus the Christ. Soon and very soon there will be a ceremony in heaven, just before it makes it’s decent to join the Earth forever. At that event there will be a scroll, the title deed for the Earth. Whoever possesses and opens that scroll, owns the Earth forever. Whoever opens it must be wise enough, humble enough, and kind enough to break open the scroll’s seals to cleanse the Earth and pronounce judgment on it. With great zeal, and great fervor those seals purge the Earth of it’s wickedness and sets in motion God’s restoration plan. So glorious will that ceremony be as we will watch the final point in the story of humanity in this age.
Though all of this sounds quite epic, as if it should be scrolling up a screen as an orchestra plays some sort of concerto that would cause one to expect the Death Star to slowly fade up in the corner, I assure you this is not a Sci Fi novel. Heaven is a created structure that is really coming down out of the sky to rest on Earth. God is really going to make His eternal AND physical home on our planet forever. No human imagination in history could have conjured up this imagery. Therefore I digress.
Jesus having been fully God made Himself completely man, while never suspending His deity. He joined His own creation, so that He could interact directly with us forever. Only He can own that scroll. Only He can rule our Universe in justice because ONLY HE proved Himself worthy by proving His humility, meekness, and kindness by shedding His blood for all of Humanity. Only His government of peace will grow endlessly because He’s committed to not only restoring the Earth, but allowing Humanity to have part in ruling it with Him forever.
We wait not only for a righteous ruler to restore our lives, but also give to us the eternal purpose of giving Him glory. Our world gets restored and we get to function as the rulers of (not minions of) creation that we were always intended to be. For those who love Christ the future only holds for us Hope and opportunity. For those who can’t see past their human angst and reject Christ, the future remains terrorizing.
If we are waiting for a human movement of unity to overcome the evil plight we’ve been battling for 6,000 years, we will be found wanting. If we are waiting for the human spirit to triumph and cause our race to overcome the wiles of lust, greed, ego, and arrogance that have beat it down in the past, we will be found wanting. If we are waiting for a revolution in politics to change and better the way we govern the planet, we will be found wanting. Only one man is qualified to own the scroll. Only one man has proved himself worthy. Only one man can restore all that we are. He is God and man, and there is no one like him inside or outside of creation. We define existence by him. We define truth by Him. We live for Him. We die for Him
We wait for Him.

August Update: A Summer Like No Other

Sigh.

That is the current status of the Hensley household. As what could be called the busiest and craziest summer I’ve ever encountered, without exaggeration, has finally come to an end. As most know I have the privilege of ministering to a couple thousand teenagers every summer. This summer we had the same overwhelming response to the messages as most years. Most teens committing to start bible studies and prayer meetings on their High School campuses. A lot of one on one discipleship happening where teens left free from bondage with hearts healed and a game plan to pursue Christ at home. Though that alone would be enough to walk away from the summer with incredible testimonies of god’s power, it seemed evident that the lord was doing more this summer. It seemed that not only was he calling them to be faithful Christians, but he was also commissioning them as messengers of His gospel.

A few months before the summer I woke up in the middle of the night hearing the Lord say with clarity “I am raising up Samuels in a day when the word of the Lord is rare.”  Going into the summer that phrase kept repeating in my spirit as I prayed. The interpretation is simple enough, the Lord is raising up a young generation to testify of Jesus in a day when Jesus is becoming a scarce focus in our culture and in some places even the church.

Halfway through the summer I ministered at a conference in Houston Texas, that is one of many to come called the Elijah Revolution. I had the opportunity to preach and minister with a man I’ve always considered to be a role model for my life in Lou Engle. His faith for God to change our nation through prayer stirred my heart. Whether back stage where he would begin weeping over this current generation’s need for God, or on stage where he called the teens in Houston to fast and pray and give their lives on behalf of the gospel, his love for God and faith to see God transform hearts provoked me. I saw hundreds of teens in Houston crying out for their peers in prayer long into the night.

I encountered God in Houston while ministering to that group. Coming home with 400 teens waiting for me in Kansas City, I felt like the Lord gave me a greater grace and anointing to call this generation to take their love for Jesus to the place of prayer and begin to transform their regions through prayer and preaching the gospel. My first night back I was supposed to preach and had a great message on Revelation 5 and our eternal destiny planed for the night. I felt that phrase the Lord spoke to me months before echoing in my spirit. “I am raising up Samuels in a day when the word of the Lord is rare.” I gathered my leadership team and the 50 counselors that serve all summer with such faithfulness. I told them I was going to cancel the service and the special activity we had planned for that night and were going to pray as a camp instead and see what God does. I figured we at least would be able to get the group to pray for 2 hours or more and then maybe I’d preach still if things fizzled out.

We started praying and instantly I and most in the room begin to feel the presence of God. I felt an increase of faith and the delight of the Lord as if he’d grant us anything that night. We cried out for the youth of America, for President Obama, our government, our parents, families and friends for 6 hours. I kept waiting for different teens to disengage and start getting tired. However all 450 teens in the room stayed engaged into the midnight hour.If you’ve ever done youth ministry, this is a miracle.

For the rest of camp you could see in the faces and in the conversations teens were having in the cafeteria that many had been awakened that night. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have, not only because things happen when we pray but prayer in itself is like a seminary. It reveals to our hearts the heart of God. It takes our perspective of  life and world and ailigns it with God’s. When we partner with him in prayer it tranforms our hearts to trust God for our wants and needs and gives us a vision for the people in our life and world.

Since the teens have all gone home my inbox on Facebook has been flooded with testimonies of teens who are leading prayer meetings on their highschool campuses and having their peers get saved, delivered, and begin giving themselves to Christ. Teens are already beginning to fill their churches with young people as they are dragging their friends to church and telling them about Jesus.

I have been so blessed to be apart of the move of God this summer. All around the nation I’m hearing testimonies of God beginging to raise up teenagers to be messengers of truth. I ask that you join me in praying for them. God is raising up young messengers  to testify of His son in a time in our nation where the word of the Lord is rare. Jesus is the reason why I’m alive. My ambition is that in all my labors of ministry the result is that the name of Jesus becomes great.

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Quick Update: For those that may be reading this update for the first time, Carrie and I serve as missionaries. We do not receive a salary for the work that we do.

Even our camps and conferences run at cost so as to be able to allow as many teens to attend as possible. This means our income is purely donations based.

I heard one of my favorite preachers John Piper say recently “There are go-ers and there are sow-ers, if you can’t go SOW!” So our ministry is based on those “Sow-ers” so that we can continue to labor on behalf of the next generation and serve the prayer movement.

Right now we have 3 prayer needs and invitations for you to give:

  • We will be traveling to Phoenix, AZ for the month of October for the purpose of support raising and speaking at various churches. Please pray that this is not only a fruitful time for us in ministry but financially.
  • We are in the process of wanting to adopt. We want our home to be a haven for the homeless. The cost of adoption is extremely high.
  • We are behind on most bills and in need of money to repair our second car. We need about $4,000. to get our heads back above water. Please pray for us in this as we need to take care of this debt in order to be able to adopt. Pray and consider giving both to the immediate need but also sowing monthly.

3 ways to help:

Pray– As I stated above this is a powerful way to partner with us.

Invite– As a preacher I’d love to come to any church or ministry and serve in any way I can. This both can can us grow our network of supporters but also give us an opportunity to witness what God is doing in other areas.

Invest– Partner with us through finances. We are in need of both one time gifts and monthly commitments to donate.

2 ways to invest:

To donate ONLINE click here:

If you would like a tax deduction for your donation, make the check out to: IHOP-KC and mail it to:

Support ATTN:

Zack Hensley

3535 E  Red Bridge Rd

Kansas City, MO 64137