On April 22nd, at 12pm MST we are going to be having a very special Good Friday event on Fresh Life Radio. We have never done a service entirely on the radio and I am super stoked about it. There will be worship and a message all live and in person from the studio of Fresh Life Radio in the historic Strand theatre in Kalispell.
The message will be the second to last installment of the Rise & Rise Again series (the series finale will be on Easter Sunday) and we will see the death of Christ on the cross was such a powerful event that it triggered the rising of several people from the dead on the spot. You can tune in at 91.3FM in the Flathead Valley, or catch it streaming at freshliferadio.com everywhere else. If you have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad you can stream the station through the safari app; it will even run in the background like Pandora–only fresher.
How well do you know the enemy of your soul? The Bible says we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. He has a bag of tricks that he has found to be extremely effective in tripping God’s people up. If we are aware of how he operates we can avoid being caught off guard when he comes against us with these wiles.
I think the attack we are usually waiting for is the direct one. Where he comes charging at us like a roaring lion, teeth bared, blood on his mind. It happens. But we need to remember that he also loves to show up as a slithering serpent. I think this is a far more effective tactic. Because while a direct attack causes us to brace ourselves for impact, when he comes incognito as “an angel of light” we are lulled into complacency and then set up for a sucker-punch.
We see this in action in the Old Testament book of Joshua. Moses had died. Joshua was leading God’s people into the Promised Land. Army after army came against them in battle and each time in the end God’s people came out victorious. But then they were bested by the men from Gibeon. This defeat didn’t take place on the battlefield. There was no actual battle. The Gibeonites won by taking off their weapons, taking a trip to The Salvation Army and digging through the trash behind their local bakery.
It sounds more like an episode of LOST than a story from the Bible, but that’s exactly what these original “others” did. Even though they actually lived 25 miles away they made themselves look like they had traveled hundreds of miles. They made a great show of telling Joshua that they had set out with piping hot bread and brand new clothes, but now their provisions were rotten and their clothes were all old and used. They knew that God’s people were not allowed to make a treaty with a nearby enemy, but they were allowed to do so with a people that lived far away. It worked.
Despite the fact that God had instructed them to take out all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan,Joshua signed the peace treaty promising not to fight with the Gibeonites. You can imagine how surprised and angry Joshua was when he discovered they had deceived him. But there was no going back, he had to honor the truce–he had given his word. As a result they forfeited a portion of what God had promised to them.
You need to understand that in the spiritual battle that you are in today your enemy might try to use this strategy. There could be a Trojan horse that is being readied even as you read this. It might already be inside your gates. Not everyone who seems to have your best interest in mind actually does. There are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing, snakes that will try to make you doubt God’s word. Very friendly people who will do their best to separate you from all the promises that God wants you to walk in. Be careful! Don’t let your guard down. Gird up the loins of your mind and stay alert. According to Joshua 9:14 The reason they fell for this trap was, because, “the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD.” We must walk by faith and not by sight.
When our second daughter was born, my wife and I were given a fancy double stroller as a gift. It has practically every feature you can imagine. I’m not kidding, this thing can do just about everything besides pull you a shot of espresso. One feature that is pretty great is the shock absorbers. The designers made it to where if you are cruising along and one of the two babies on board have a hankering for some off-road strolling, with a flick of your wrist you can engage the shocks and boom! it transitions from race car to 4×4. The travel in the shocks eats up any unevenness in the ground allowing for a smooth ride, even on a bumpy road.
I think about this every so often when I am going into a meeting, situation or interaction that I know will bother me. I’d love to tell you that I never get ticked off or irritated. But I would be lying through my teeth. When I walk away from situations where I have responded poorly to something that has been in my path, I try to analyze what it was that got my goat and remember it. The next time I spot similar terrain coming I intentionally try to prepare myself, asking God for grace and humility that will function as an inner shock absorber so that I can properly respond to the bumps that I am about to go over.
I see this in action in Colossians 3:12. Paul says, Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; (emphasis added) Those characteristics will help smooth out potholes and dips in life but notice, he says we have to put those things on. They don’t just become a part of our daily lives by themselves, they have to be prayerfully engaged. What situation today is going to require you to be a Jeep and not a Ferrari? Engage your inner shock absorbers!
This weekend we made a very exciting announcement. God has paved the way for us to expand our radio ministry into Billings, Montana. Billings is the largest city in the state and we are amped to bring the music and message of fresh life radio to the people that live there. The story is pretty cool, check it out.
What should you do if you are dating someone who is dragging you down in your walk with God? Should you date someone who isn’t a believer? What if you are in high school and your parents don’t want you to date? What should you do if you married the wrong person by mistake?
What would happen if you put God first in your love life?
This weekend we are beginning a new series that will take us all the way to Easter. Each week, as we ramp up to Resurrection Sunday at the Majestic Valley Arena, our hearts will be injected with a sense of God’s power over death. I am praying that throughout this intense series many people will prepare to meet their Maker.
Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
My mind is still racing to process all that I experienced last night. I can only describe it as a dream come true. Answered prayers. The start of something both beautiful and powerful. A move of God’s Holy Spirit. A team of staff and volunteers firing on all cylinders–all going above and beyond the call of duty in a passionate pursuit of excellence so that those stranded in sin might find life and liberty in Christ. A church that “gets it.” This is not about us. It’s about Him and those that don’t yet know Him. It will always be that way.
Many gathered to pray throughout the entire service. Others who didn’t have anyone take up their invitation to come with them chose not to take up a seat so someone far from God could fill it. Many more selflessly served in vital roles in parts of the campus that didn’t allow them to feel the bass up close. They were every bit as much of the part of what God did as anyone else. Maybe more. I am humbled to wear a jersey on this team.
When the dust settled, over a thousand people had queued up, in a line that went down the street and wrapped around the block, to get into one of our two venues which filled to capacity+ for skull church last night. The music, both by the skull church band and our guest band The Classic Crime was epic. The vibe and the atmosphere all over the campus was electric. Best of all, we saw many people make professions of faith in Christ, both in the theaters and online!What a thrill to watch God move. My ears are still ringing in a very good way.
Here are a couple snapshots that Kelli, one of our very talented photographers, captured last night. More photos from this epic night will be posted on the skull church website,as soon as they are processed, in addition to an archive of the message on the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. We will also be releasing some of the music from last night’s party incrementally over the next couple weeks on the skull church podcast so make sure to subscribe! There is a new episode every week of the month that there isn’t a skull church event. You can get dialed-in here.
“Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull. There they nailed him to the cross.” John 19:17-18 (NLT)
It has been 6 weeks since we shut down the weekly skull church service. In that time we have rebooted, retooled, ramped up, prayed fervently, upgraded, expanded our vision, and put in hundreds and hundreds of hours preparing for tonight and the new format of skull church events that will follow. You are not going to want to miss it. Even if you don’t live in Montana you can join in on what is happening online. Starting at 7pm MST make your way to skullchurch.com for an HD webcast. We have also made some changes to the online experience that will hopefully make you feel like you are with us inside the Liberty theatre.
I pray that many people will use the webcast as an evangelistic tool. Every single week we see people respond to the gospel while watching online or listening on the radio and we are so grateful to see God move in people’s lives through the technological loaves and fishes we are offering Him. Would you take a moment and pray about who in your life needs to hear what Christ did for them on the cross? It doesn’t matter where they live either. You can go to skullchurch.com and click the “invite a friend” tab to let them know about the webcast. (They can even view the live stream on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad!)
Would you also post a link to the webcast on your facebook or twitter, as it starts, inviting your friends to watch? How rad would it be to have some fb friend or twitter peep have their life rocked for eternity because of a status update?!
And finally, would you pray? Pray that God would move in power, that he would draw people to Himself, and that many would respond to the gospel. There will be music by the skull church band, a performance by a guest artist and I will be giving a message called Radical Change on the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. An event that Warren Wiersbe called, “The greatest event in church history after the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.” His story shows that no one is so far from God that He can’t forgive them and use them.