Calvary Celebration

Last night I attended an event in the Anaheim Convention Center called the Calvary Celebration. It was organized by my dad and KWVE 107.9 radio in here in SoCal as a celebration of all that God has done through Pastor Chuck Smith over the years. For the last 18 months my dad and brother have been crisscrossing the globe working on a documentary called RIPTIDE that is examining the effects and impact of the “Jesus Movement” in general and Pastor Chuck’s ministry in specific and at this event a portion of the film was shown. It was a killer night and there was a full house at the venue.

A number of Pastors who were saved during that period spoke and there was music and then Pastor Chuck gave a message looking to the future–which is key–because he isn’t just sitting around remembering the past but pressing on for what is to come because he knows Jesus is still on the move!

The best part was getting to see so many friends who I love and respect–Pedro Garcia, Skip Heitzig, Jon Courson, Mike Macintosh, and Raul Ries to name a few. (In addition to my dad and brother Daniel, who I am super proud of) There was also music by Crystal Lewis, Phil Wickham and others and it was great getting to show Phil how his song, “the time is now” brought our sheep blog vid to life!

And for more info on RIPTIDE click here, you can watch a trailer for the film there on the site–which I recommend you do because it is awesome!!

serious suffering (not)

I’m on the final flight that ends a quick overnighter in California, where I filled in for my friend Greg Laurie, at his Thursday night Bible study, while he is in Israel. It was an awesome evening of ministry and a thrill to teach God’s word to such a stoked and well-fed group.

As much fun as it is to minister in different places, traveling always takes a toll. And what was the most difficult part of this particular trip? Getting only 4 hours of sleep after preaching at skull church the night before? (Partially due to the adrenaline in my system from seeing so many make decisions for Christ and also because I had to arrive at the airport at 5am to catch a 6 o clock flight) Having to land back at home and be ready to hit the ground running for the weekend services at fresh life? The wretched airplane coffee? Being in harms way while surfing with a gray whale?

Nah–that stuff just makes it fun! What made this trip difficult was not having the delightful sounds of fresh life radio streaming in my rental car over my phone’s mobile browser, like I normally do on the road, because I stupidly forgot my 1/8 inch cable, that connects the phone to any car stereo’s aux-in input, at home. Oh man, it was bad, terrible, no good and awful. There was no exquisite blend of groundbreaking indie, alternative anthems, modern worship and delicious jams stimulating my senses as I sat in socal traffic. Woe was me.

By the way, fresh life radio is now streaming on the web 24/7 at on computers and certain mobile devices. No matter where you live,you don’t need to suffer unnecessarily, crank it up!

prayer is awesome

Last night I saw a prayer answered right before my eyes. A couple approached me after I spoke at a Bible study in Orange County. The man had tears in his eyes and had responded to the gospel invitation that night. I had met the woman before, 3 months ago, the last time I was in California speaking at that same study. After the service she had come up to me and asked me to pray for her husband, that he would give his life to Christ. We prayed together and I encouraged her to keep praying and living righteously so that he would be won over like Peter says, “without a word.”

In God’s great providence, He allowed me to come speak again on a night when, unbeknownst to me, her husband had agreed to come and I got to be there as He answered her prayers and her husband gave his life to Christ. It was wonderful to celebrate and have the chance to pray with them together, thanking God for His grace and committing them to the Lord as a brand new couple in Christ. I don’t always get to see such a nice bow put on people I pray for, especially when I am speaking for a night and then gone the next day–I have to trust God and wait until heaven most times–so this was very special and encouraging.

In short, prayer works! It is powerful. Don’t stop praying!

James 5:16 “…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

highlight reel

Today is my birthday. To tell you the truth I was sad to see this one come. Since I was born on a 7 it became my favorite number and I always enjoyed any age that had a 7 in it. Is that weird? I think that 27 is my favorite age I have ever been. I was thinking last night that 77 might be cooler but by then I might be too crazy to really enjoy it fully. But then again, I might be just the right amount of crazy to enjoy it ALOT. You never know.

My wife has this habit of taking the Psalm for her age and making it the anthem of her prayer life that year. I tried it last year and really liked it. One year ago today I woke up and immediately read and latched onto Psalm 27:1 which says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Last night at 11:50pm I read the psalm again in the closing moments of my 27th year and reflected on the last 365 days. Here are some of the highlights:

Launching Skull Church
Skull Church is special to me. God gave me the idea for it several years ago and it has been a thrill to see it come to life. In the same way that when I am road-biking and draft behind another rider and it gets easier, Skull Church feels like a sort of spiritual slipstream, it fits the way I feel God has called & equipped me to minister like a hand in a glove.

The 20th anniversary Harvest Crusade at Angels Stadium
I have had the chance to be a part of a lot of Harvest Crusades but nothing can really compare to this weekend–a capacity crowd, thousands responded to the invitation, Chris Tomlin singing during a fireworks show, and Greg reached the amazing milestone of getting to share the gospel with 4 million people at crusades that weekend. Off the charts cool.

Fresh Life Radio
We went on the air this past year and it has been killer to have a nonstop source of killer Bible teaching and epic music 24/7 in the Flathead Valley and everywhere else streaming on the web. Plus, listening to Fresh Life Radio is 67 percent more fun than high-fiving a goat.
Continue reading…

sheep blog

We just kicked off a five week study of Psalm 23 on the weekends at Fresh Life. This series will last for the month of May and will hopefully be a refreshing and invigorating time of growth and transformation. I know God has been quickening my heart and pruning back the unruly growth of winter as my soul has been steeping in these 6 familiar verses in preparation for the series launch.

What better way to experience the season of spring on the inside than exploring this beloved passage? Alexander Maclaren once said, “The world could get along without many a large book better than this sunny little psalm.” It is written from the perspective of a stoked sheep who is so pumped about his Shepherd that he takes to his blog, bragging about how awesome He really is.

As a whole, our art and graphics tend to have a dark and somewhat macabre feel to them (it’s kind of a part of our vibe–we do have a service called skull church…) And our series media, by and large, tends to be either very hard-hitting, in your face and explosive, or melancholy, mysterious and a little haunting. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, it’s what we like and we are good at it. But an unguarded strength can become a double weakness.

In a creative planning meeting a while back we were talking about how any one style can be fatiguing and lose it’s impact if it is employed exclusively. We decided that we would go in the exact opposite direction for this series. (As much as I personally would have loved to see an emo sheep shuffling through the valley of the shadow of death to a song in a minor-key.) One important thing to remember in life and in art is to change it up every once in a while and not get stuck or defined by any one style.

So we declared a month-long moratorium on dark colors, war-drums, thundering anthems, and challenged ourselves to paint with a different atmospheric palette. I reassured my creative team that this wouldn’t be permanent, and that they could get back to producing media that depresses people and scares children soon. I begged for some sunshine, lollipops, and a few woodland creatures–just this one time. The end result was a happy “spoonful of sugar” type of a campaign that makes me smile every time I see it. Enjoy.

For the series launch we had live sheep, in pens, at the entrances to both of our theaters to set the pastoral mood as people arrived at church. It was a lot of fun.

What are some things you have done or could do to change the vibe up in your world?