The Uprising

A brand new series begins this weekend at freshlife. This one’s going to leave a mark.
The UPRISING
Things will never be the same.
Long live the revolution.

Joshua 24:15 Choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.


My visit to Elevation Church

With the exception of vacation, It is an unusual thing for me to have a weekend off. If I am not preaching at my favorite church in the universe, this awesome place called freshlife, I am usually in the pulpit somewhere else. This past week was one of those rare occasions where I found myself out of town but free from any speaking engagements on Sunday morning. So what did I do? I went to church! I know, I am kind of a junkie, but there is never a good reason to miss gathering together with God’s people to worship Him–wherever you are. And it is always eye-opening to see what God is up to in other churches.

Since we were in Charlotte, North Carolina, my wife and I were looking forward to visiting Elevation Church, which is pastored by Steven Furtick. This explosive move of God began five years ago and in that time they have grown to over 9,000 people meeting at 4 campuses. I have been blessed following this extraordinary ministry through the internet the last few years. It is one of the 5 or 6 podcasts I listen to almost every week.

As a church, we have learned much from Elevation. Back when we were gearing up to launch the Whitefish campus, we sent some members of our team out to Charlotte to learn from Pastor Steven’s team. I knew that the team I sent would witness cutting edge tech and get a vision for excellence across a multi-campus ministry. What I didn’t know was that they would come back different and that the experience would drastically change our church. The concept of honor is one of the key values to Elevation church. They honor those above them, those beside them and those under them. It is infectious. Since that visit, an epidemic of honor has swept through our culture and has changed us for the better.

Experiencing the church in person was awesome. Even better than I expected. The work that God is doing there is powerful, and they do absolutely everything with excellence and on purpose. Their facilities and use of media are killer–state of the art and LOUD (it’s the only other church besides freshlife I know of that offers ear plugs at the door.) The message was outstanding. They are in a relationship series and Pastor Steven taught verse-by-verse through John 4 and showed that Christ calls us from the polluted wells of this world to the Living Water that He offers. It was powerful.

What really stood out during our trip is the way that the vision of the church has been amplified and rings out powerfully from every detail and crevice of the experience. Every single staff member or volunteer I spoke to was passionate, enthusiastic and seemed elated that they were allowed to be a part of what God was doing at the church in reaching people far from Him. It was inspiring.

Jennie and I were also very stoked to spend some time with Pastor Steven Furtick and his wife Holly while we were there. Since meeting a few months back, he has gone out of his way to invest in and encourage me. This is literally an answer to prayer. When we launched freshlife, just about all of my ministry mentors and leaders that I looked to were substantially older than me. Men like Pastor Skip Heitzig, Pastor Greg Laurie, my dad Chip Lusko and more recently Pastor James MacDonald. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am extremely thankful and grateful for the fathers in the faith that God has given me and their wisdom has both steered me through turbulent waters and kept me from pitfalls. But I have also specifically prayed for pastor friends my own age. The problem is that the megachurch-while-in-your-twenties club is not a huge one. It is an unusual mixture to have a handful of kids under five at home and a less than five year old church that has exploded.

God has answered these prayers with friendships with men like Pastor Pedro Garcia from CCk in Miami and this new one with Pastor Steven Furtick, younger pastors who I feel a kindred spirit and a common DNA with and who are charging it in a big way. I am also super passionate about “passing it forward” by intentionally making time in my schedule for another generation of church planters that God is raising up to plunder hell and populate heaven.

Check out Elevation church online here. And if you haven’t read Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick go buy it right now here. It will change your life.


the Bible in 3D

When you read the Bible you should expect God to speak to you. It is not a normal book. It’s alive.

I like to pray before I read and ask the Lord to open my eyes so that I can see wondrous truths in His Word (Psalm 119:18). It’s sort of like the spiritual equivalent of putting on 3D glasses. It reminds me that I’m looking at more than history, or poetry or a letter written to someone who died a long time ago. I am expecting for God’s voice to come through the text, speak into my life and change me in the process. I’m looking for it.

Often what will happen is at some point in the passage, something will jump off the page. It will either hit hard, or convict me of something, or catch me off guard. It might even be a very familiar verse that I see in a new light. When ever this happens I stop. I read it again and ponder and meditate what God is saying to me. If there is an action step I am being lead towards or sin I need to repent of or a new attitude I need to adopt I try and do that on the spot, before moving on.

There are going to be times where the 3D doesn’t seem to be working, where you will read and feel like you “didn’t get anything out of it.” Don’t lose heart. Don’t stop reading. Keep hiding His Word in your heart each day. Besides, you might have gotten more out of it than you know. God might have given you a truth that you will need for a trial you will go through next Tuesday. Jesus probably hadn’t read the verses that He used in the wilderness temptations that morning. Furthermore, God could be trying to teach you something that someone else is going to need.

So slow down, prayerfully approach God’s Word with an expectant heart, and bring a pen.

Psalm 119:28 My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.


The Huckleberry Hundred

Calling all cyclists!

On Saturday, August 27th Fresh Life Radio invites you out to the Huckleberry Hundred, a bike ride to benefit the music and message of Fresh Life Radio. Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Flathead Valley on the last Saturday of August from the best view possible–behind the handlebars of your bicycle!

There will be family, 25, 50 and 100 mile options so that even if the full Huckleberry Hundred is a little too intimidating, you can still join in on the fun.

Registration begins on June 1 and will take place at www.huckleberry100.com. Until then, check out www.freshliferadio.com where you can listen to epic music and killer Bible teachings 24/7, wherever you are. And if you have an iOS device from Apple you can fire it right up on mobile safari.


The O2 Experience


Seven years ago my wife and I were sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean in Hawaii. We were on our honeymoon and over a light breakfast of fresh pineapple and kona coffee we were discussing how glad we were that we had waited to have sex until we were married. It wasn’t easy. It would be great if your sex-drive was activated only after you said your wedding vows and the ring was placed on your finger. If it worked that way it would definitely be a whole lot easier to remain sexually pure. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. We loved each other and were attracted to each other and long before we were man and wife we had the desire to express those feelings physically.

Those feelings aren’t wrong, God created us as sexual beings. It just wasn’t the right time to act on them yet. An adage we repeated all the way up to the week of the wedding was, “it’s not NO, it’s just NOT NOW.” We didn’t want to cheat ourselves out of any of the joy and surprise God had in store for our honeymoon and marriage. We wanted to open our presents on Christmas morning, so to speak.

Our heart’s desire was to build our relationship on a foundation of honoring the Lord. In the end, it took resolve, commitment, prayer, accountability, planning, hard work, and discipline for us to not sleep together before we walked down the aisle. It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it.

To this day we look back on those difficult but pivotal days in our relationship as a test that we passed. We were showing each other that we put Christ and each other above our selves. The Bible says that love is patient and does not seek it’s own. Furthermore, we were showing each other what kind of husband and wife we would be. How could she trust me to be faithful to her in marriage if I wasn’t faithful with her before marriage? To this day we are reaping the fruit from our decisions during our early days. Best of all, now we get to enjoy God’s amazing gift of sex, without guilt or shame.

That day in Maui God began to put into my heart the desire to do something to help others see that God’s plan for their love lives is the best. I think, quite frankly, sexual purity has gotten a bad reputation. Many see God’s standard of sexual purity as completely unrealistic and as something that will cause us to miss out on having a good time. I believe that we have the enemy of our souls to thank for this deception. He has basically bottled toilet water, packaged it with a slick label and convinced us to abandon the fountains of living water that Christ offers for his toxic and polluted version of sex and romance. (Jeremiah 2:13)

As a result of what God was doing in our hearts that day we came home and began working on an event where we could warn people about the sexual smog our culture is breathing in and call them to something far better. And The O2 Experience was born. Just like our bodies need oxygen, our souls need God. These high-energy events provide a fresh look at life, death, sex and romance. It’s much more than just a call to abstinence; it’s a call to life in Christ.

God has greatly blessed these events. In addition to overflowing crowds, including youth groups who drove across state lines to bring their students, we have seen thousands and thousands of young people make commitments to sexual purity and have seen hundreds make commitments to follow Christ as Savior.

This year we are pumped to be bringing the O2 Experience to the great state of Arizona on June 12 and to Montana on July 8. In Arizona we are pumped to be partnering with Calvary Tucson, a rad church pastored by Robert Furrow that will be hosting the O2 at their brand new East campus. The Montana O2 will be at freshlife. Both events this summer will feature musical performances by The Almost and Dominic Balli.

Tickets are on sale right now at O2Experience.com and based on how past events have gone they will probably sell out. There is a price break for groups and so if you are going to bring a youth group definitely consider buying your tickets together. I also encourage you to buy a ticket for a friend who needs to hear the gospel and bring them with you, you never know what God might do in their life. Even if you don’t live anywhere near Montana or Arizona, please pray for God to move in power at this event.
Check out the O2 Experience website for more info and to purchase tickets. Click here.

Additionally, if you would like to see a future O2 Experience happen in your area or you are a pastor that would like to host an O2 event at your church let us know. Click here.


twenty-eight was great

Today is my birthday. I am 29 years old and pumped to start a new year of life in Christ. Psalm 29 talks all about the power and majesty of the voice of the Lord. This year I want to both listen to and be a mouthpiece for God’s glorious voice, like never before. Over coffee this morning I was mulling over God’s faithfulness during the past twelve months and I was overwhelmed. The last year of my life was wonderful. That’s not to say there weren’t trials. There were. But through it all, good and bad, God proved Himself strong.

Here are a few memories that came to mind and brought a smile to my face…

The book of Nehemiah. The lessons that emerged from studying this book significantly changed me as a person and freshlife as a church forever. This series was a defining moment. We went in as cupbearers. We came out as snakebirds. Sanballat and Tobiah be warned–Our God will fight for us!

Daisy Grace. This little girl came into our home and has lit up our lives.

The launch of the Whitefish campus. There was no shortage of drama, opposition and craziness but we held onto the promise that Jesus will build His church and NO ONE CAN STOP HIM and that’s just what He did.

Skull Church 2.0. Enough said. All that’s left is to take this event to the ends of the earth…

Meeting Kanye West. Too bad I didn’t have any skull church invites on me at the time.

The No txt is worth dying for initiative. The cool thing about this project is we will have to wait until heaven to find out what it’s significance was. If it works we will never know about it. There simply won’t be accidents that might otherwise have happened. love it.

All will rise. Church at the Majestic on Easter Sunday was an unforgettable experience.

It’s was a killer year. But the best is yet to come.

Onward!

Psalm 29:4,10 The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever.


last night’s party

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I am writing this blog while on the way to Missoula, Montana where we are meeting with a group of local pastors and casting the vision for a two night skull church event that we are planning for September of this year. The event will be held at the Wilma Theater which is a killer venue.

As I write my heart is full of joy over what we saw God do last night at the skull church event, in the Flathead Valley, for the month of May. The weather was beautiful and that was definitely a blessing for the hundreds of people that formed a line wrapping around the block long before the doors opened.

The skull church band was in rare form (as always) and I especially loved when they played the song Someday that Kevin wrote. With these lyrics:

“So we wait
for you to break the clouds
show your face
with ours laid on the ground
hear Your voice
calling out our names
to rise and sing
the song of the redeemed”

It dovetailed with the message perfectly. I gave a message called The End is Near which was all about the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ. There are over 1,845 references to Jesus’ return in Scripture. If the Bible teaches anything it teaches that Jesus is going to come back.

We were also pumped to have music by Phil Wickham and his talented band. I have been friends with Phil for a long time and he is one of my favorite artists out there. His sound is huge and his heart is even bigger. The room was charged with electricity during both sets and the after party was a taste of heaven. This is the third time we have had Phil out to Montana to play and I already look forward to the next time. If you don’t have any of his music, buy it here.

In addition to those there in person, people tuned in to our webcast from all over the country and even outside of the country. Best of all, we saw 47 people make decisions for Christ! It is always amazing to watch people turn their lives over to God. Every one of those people has a story and God has plans to use them in huge ways.

Here are a few more snapshots to give you a glimpse of what we saw God do last night.


Just reel it in!

I’m not good at fishing but some of my favorite childhood memories involve trying to catch fish. Growing up, my dad would take my brothers and I on excursions where we would camp and fish. These “manly man fishing trips”, as they were called, involved a lot of laughter and running around in the woods but I don’t recall all that many fish actually being caught. Maybe that’s because my dad hardly ever got to drop his line in the water because he was too busy untangling our rods from the tangled mess we had inevitably gotten them into because we hadn’t listened to him.

I had a mickey mouse fishing pole and I vividly recall my dad doing everything for me. He would set it all up: hook, bait, weights, and even cast it out, telling me to sit still (so as to not scare the fish away) and keep my eyes on the bobber. That was it. I just needed to not be hyperactive and when I saw the bobber bounce just slowly reel it in. When ever a fish was caught he would even take care of getting the hook out of it’s throat and do the dirty work of cleaning it. All I had to do was reel it in. He took care of everything else.

The cool thing is that I have discovered when you follow Jesus’ instructions and go fishing for men it works the exact same way. God takes care of everything! He is the one who nailed our sins to the cross making it possible for us to have a relationship with Him. He is the one who works in hearts, drawing people to Christ and giving them the option to respond to Him, He is the one who sets up situations where we can invite people to church and share the gospel with them, and He is the one who knows whether someone is genuinely saved or not. All we have to do is to be faithful to cast out the net and reel it in.

As we preach the gospel and bring people with us to hear the gospel we must not trust in ourselves. For all practical purposes, we are like me as a little boy, sitting there on the dock with my mickey mouse fishing pole. But just like I have a great dad, we have an amazing Heavenly Father who sets everything up for us and, even though we often get things tangled up and make it more complicated than it needs to be, He loves us and allows us to play a part in the ultimate fish story!

Matthew 13:47–50 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

By the way, there is an opportunity for you to go on a fishing trip tomorrow night! Skull Church is the first wednesday of every month and for the month of May that is tomorrow night. After music by the skull church band and our guest artist we are going to be casting the net and dragging it in. Is there someone you could invite to come with you (if you live in this neck of the woods) or to come over to your house to watch the webcast with you? It all starts at 7pm MST and streams in HD at www.skullchurch.com.