Here are a few images captured during Redline Conference this weekend. For those of us fortunate enough to have been there, our lives will never be the same because of King Jesus.
Tomorrow morning at 3:30am, I begin the long voyage to China. I’m excited to see a new land, one which I’ve read so much about. But I’m sad to be leaving my family, and will miss deeply.
For the interests of security, my mission will remain simply that I’m going to encourage leaders dedicated to shaping China’s future.
I’ll be back on the 24th, eager to see my wife and kids, and to share all the exciting news from the trip with those nearest me.
“Souls or I die.”
Thanks for lifting me and my team up.
This shot of “new believers cards” collected during tonight’s altar call at the BCY event in Syracuse, NY says it all for me.
All I desire for 2013 is more souls won to Jesus. Keeping that at the forefront helps put everything else in perspective.
I was honored for the opportunity and privilege of sharing the Gospel with some amazing teenagers who heard heaven’s call to wake up and walk into the light.
Happy New Year everyone. Let’s endeavor to esteem and promote Jesus this year more than ever before.
Yesterday Luik accompanied me to Jefferson Community College in Watertown, NY where I addressed the Intro to Business class. Having him beside me was a great encouragement (and let us have a Daddy/Son date to CiCi’s afterward, followed by some indoor rock climbing at Black River Adventures).
During the final Q&A section of my “lecture” (how tedious sounding!), I addressed a question that lead into the subject of what makes us qualified to do what we’re doing.
Certainly, I want my doctor to have gone to school and be qualified to operate on me.
But often the people that accomplish the most in life are sometimes the least “qualified.”
In my address, I mentioned Igor Sikorsky – father of the modern day helicopter – and his famous if not endearing quote about doing what we should not be able to:
“According to the laws of aerodynamics, the bumblebee can’t fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know anything about the laws of aerodynamics, so it goes ahead and flies anyway.”
Most of what I’m doing today I’m technically unqualified for. I’ve never been to college for music, art, pastoring, film, design, literature, creative writing, business development or franchising, let alone fathering or parenting. By all secular accounts, I shouldn’t even be allowed to operate a candy bar stand.
But I don’t know that I shouldn’t be able to do this stuff, so I just keep doing it anyway. (Thanks Igor).
This is certainly not a cop-out for getting an education; but an education should also never be a cop-out for hard work and diligence. (Nor is entering into a mammoth amount of ambiguous debt my recommendation either).
Qualification has far more to do with experience than it does with approval. Test results and certificates approve us, but only time and our capacity to embrace correction truly qualify us. ch:
Why is it that good things go quickly, and the mundane inches along?
Our final day at Camp of the Woods was bittersweet. In a little over 36-hours, all of us had formed new friendships, spent powerful times in God’s presence, and been challenged to love people like Jesus.
My final message was on Daniel’s call to faithfully serve a totally godless king and culture. The cost was often his silence, and potential death. He also put his own desires to rest, including the tendency we have to rejoice when wicked people meet their demise, as well as not trying to usurp those over us especially in their absence.
Instead, Daniel was responsible for leading the Bible’s most demonic and egotistical king to the Lord when the king returned from insanity.
Are we that faithful to serve people above self-righteousness?
When it was finally time to leave, little Evangeline had the hardest time; she has her father’s gift of making fast friends and getting attached. She sobbed for a good 30-minutes despite our best efforts to calm her down.
I feel extremely honored to have been a very small part of a powerful weekend where God clearly showed up and breathed life on all of us.
It’s a privilege to serve Jesus no matter what the context; make sure you relish the invitation to act – it will go quickly. ch:
Yesterday was quite possibly one of my favorite days of 2012 yet.
When you see God do so much, and you have the privilege to experience so much with your family, you can’t help but feel blessed.
It went down something like this:
Quiet time with God.
Jennifer speaking to girls; me speaking to guys.
Air hockey, 1980′s arcade games, and soccer in the rec center.
Snow tubing at Camp of the Woods.
Indoor rock climbing.
Snow tubing at Oak Mountain.
I preached on what it takes to contend with God for souls, and Jesus’ ultimate example of forgiveness. Pastor Rich Ryfun held an powerful altar call for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
And then I collapsed in bed. ch:
Sunday morning I did a very bad thing.
It was the final keynote address to the teens gathered at the Watson conference and I introduced Pastor Joseph Gilchrist as the speaker.
Why is that so bad?
Because he found out he was speaking as I introduced him.
While Joseph is a dear friend and brother in the Lord, he’s also someone I mentor. And as such putting him in safe but precarious situations is part of my job.
There is no teacher like experience.
We can prepare, practice, and plan all we want, but we as humans learn things faster and more deeply in moments of real-world, first-time pressure than we do in any classroom.
God understands this too. That’s why we normally don’t get a heads up when testing comes. It simply arrives. And how we respond under pressure is who we really are. (Thanks to Joseph’s dad, Pastor Kirk Gilchrist, for burning that one into my head).
God is after our authentic response and our genuine growth. He’s not into the superficial, the temporary, or the transient. He wants long-term development enough that he’s willing to risk short-term setbacks.
So how did Joseph handle it? After a minute of humorous shock – which he played very well – and a brief moment of strategizing, he pulled it off in style and shared a powerful message on one of his trademark themes “Going Public” for Jesus. Everyone was inspired and challenged to resist the fleshly urge to remain selfish with the Gospel.
I’m very proud of him and believe he’ll make a better Youth Pastor than I ever was.
Be on your guard, you’re probably “out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) in some area that’s about to get called on. ch:
Last night was more than just a good opportunity to serve a wonderful youth ministry in a sister city; I love me some BCY in Syracuse.
It was a great opportunity to keep the ball rolling.
I see bold youth ministries across the country stepping up to the plate of addressing the topics of sex, homo-and-trans-sexuality, and marriage, like never before.
If your ministry isn’t, it must.
The conversation has already started. If you’re not talking to a teen about these subjects, you can guarantee someone else is.
And if anyone should, shouldn’t it be Christians who are directly connected to the Inventor of sex and marriage in the first place?
I love just how much God has to say about the subject, and I’ve made my notes available as a free PDF download in yesterday’s post. Communicating truth that’s utterly, painstakingly drenched in a long-term demonstration of love is essential toward rescuing broken, disenfranchised teens and restoring their identity.
I also have some guest bloggers coming up that I believe will be incredibly poignant.
When we do things God’s way, we always get the best results.
Keep talking; keep learning. ch:
Jennifer and I had our final night of ministry here in Switzerland last night. I walked into it knowing my body was failing, and I’d have no voice by the end, so I asked Jenny to be prepared.
The band played amazingly well, and this was the most I’ve seen the Swiss dance yet! But sure enough, my fever, cough, and soar throat took their toll, so by the time I finished our 1.5-hour set, I could barely speak. I managed to squeak out a few lines for the expected message, and then passed the mic to Jennifer.
What followed was about 20-minutes of profound encouragement on the pursuit of intimacy with God and being more concerned with his heart than the condition of our own. You had to be dead not to be moved.
Like Paul, I’m slowly learning:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Cor. 12:10]
Sometimes the strength we’re looking for is the gift found in other people afforded only when we step aside.
Continued prayers are greatly appreciated as we fly for Madrid, Spain this morning. This is the first trip in years that Jennifer is at 100%, and Levi is rocking Europe like a champ. I, however, am far from being on top of my game.
Thanks for all your encouragement and prayer. You are the best readers ever. ch: