The fourth fresh life campus is forthcoming!

We are following the Lord’s leading and taking steps of faith towards opening the doors of another campus where we can make Jesus famous in Yellowstone County and beyond. Onward!

It doesn’t just happen

Warriors are made in the oven, not the microwave. You don’t become an oak tree over night. Not even if you add Miracle-Gro. It’s slow, hard, and hot work to turn into a mighty man or woman of God.

I think that sometimes when we read the story of Bible character’s we forget that we are basically listening to their greatest hits. It’s not exhaustive. We aren’t given every single detail of how they spent their days and years. We are often just given the major moments. Decades are sometimes compressed into into a single sentence. Enormous periods are skipped entirely.

This is vital to keep in mind because failing to do so could create unrealistic expectations as we look at our own lives. If you look at a person like Saul, who was converted on the Damascus road one moment and then blazing trails around the Roman empire planting churches the next, without remembering there was a gap in between where he spent a good chunk of time learning to walk with Christ in Arabia (Galatians 1:17); it could cause you to become discouraged.

Or we could point to Daniel. He risked his life so many times, standing up for God when it could have cost him everything. But his bravery in the king’s throne room and in the lion’s den didn’t just happen, it was forged in the fires of following God over a lifetime. You see this clearly in Daniel 6 when the king had just signed the order making prayer to anyone but him a crime. The Bible says that Daniel went home and got on his knees anyway “…as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10)

We all would like to think that we would fearlessly face a martyr’s death. That if it came right down to it we would be willing to die before we would deny our Lord. That like Daniel we would defy the king’s order and get down to pray even if it meant that we would be killed. But the big issue isn’t would you pray if it could cost you everything? but do you pray now while it doesn’t cost you anything? Daniel didn’t wait until camera’s were rolling and everyone was watching to get down on his knees. He was a senior citizen currently and had been doing the hard slow work of turning into a spiritual warrior since he was a kid.

It’s very impressive to think about being willing to die for God. But first things first. Start by living for Him. Victory in public is always the result of hard work done in private. Olympic athletes are impressive to watch perform, but remember, you are watching the result of thousands and thousands of hours of blood sweat and tears in action. Salvation is an event but sanctification is a process. You become a Christian in a moment, but becoming like Christ takes a lifetime.

Creating culture to achieve a vision

Most people understand that the job of a key leader is to establish the vision of the organization/team/company/family. They are the one who must decide why they exist and what they are pursuing. Vision gets talked about a lot, but by itself it is not enough. In order for your picture of the future to ever come to pass, you must intentionally create a culture that empowers that vision. In this clip from our uprising series I talk about the sister subjects of vision & culture and how they work together.

Knowing when to ignore feedback

Feedback can be helpful. If you run a company you can’t afford to not stay in tune to what people think about your brand and your customer service. People have more options than ever and if you treat them like they aren’t there, soon they won’t be. They will just go to another store, restaurant, website or church.

Having an ear to the ground can alert you to “wow” moments that are happening that you aren’t aware of but you should be encouraging. Things that employees are doing that blow customers away that you can make a more wide spread behavior. Or maybe you will find out that some small thing you have in place is actually doing the exact opposite of what you want it to. Feedback could allow for a small tweak that could make a huge difference.

An openness to feedback will allow you to see your team or organization or church through a new set of eyes. This even applies to individuals. One of the ways to grow is to have people in your life that can speak into your life when they see things that are keeping you from growing. We all have a way of being blind to our own weaknesses. Honest evaluation can be a majorly valuable tool.

The key is to know what feedback to take seriously and what input to ignore altogether. If you listen to the wrong feedback you could find yourself compromising where you shouldn’t. For example, if you have recently given your life to Christ and the negative feedback is pouring in from people you used to party with, you are going to want to ignore their contribution. The same applies to business. Perhaps some people very vocally complain about your sky-high prices and you are tempted to add cheaper items to the menu. But if you are going for a boutique vibe, diluting your higher-end price point could be a mistake and weaken what sets you apart. Pleasing the wrong people could keep you from reaching the right people.

Start by accepting the fact that no one can please everyone. You have got to identify who you are trying to impact, isolate their input and reject all others.

In my world, I am open to hearing feedback from all sorts of different people, but I filter it through the grid of who I am trying to reach. If I hear complaints from someone who comes to freshlife for the first time and thinks that the music was too loud and they didn’t like stuff we did because that’s not how it was in their last church, I’m not phased. The feedback that I key into is the person who writes and tells me they haven’t been to a religious service in 20 years but their life was rocked by their experience and they didn’t even know church could be like this. I want to encourage and foster stories like that. So I care very much about the fact that they were invited by a friend, heard our radio station and were intrigued by the name of the series.

To be blunt, I don’t care if a person who is already saved doesn’t like it. If they are already going to heaven, they are good. They can just go to another church and I am more than fine with that. The person who isn’t going to any church is the one whose head I want to get in to. In order to reach the right people I am willing to not please the wrong people.

If you know who or what you are targeting you can practice selective hearing when you listen to what people say about your organization and not find yourself deviating from your primary objective. Define success and then pursue it wholeheartedly.

The Montana O2 Experience

This weekend we had our second O2 Experience of the summer. I have been putting these O2 events on for the past 7 years in different places ever since God told me to call out a generation and warn them about what they are giving up when they abandon His plan for their sex lives. They are trading their destiny for a bowl of soup. In exchange for temporary pleasure they are not only forfeiting the highest and fullest enjoyment of the powerful and beautiful gift of sex, but they are sacrificing their spiritual birthright that is theirs in Christ.

It may seem like a good idea in the moment when the bass is pumping and the lights are dimmed, but when you think of the big picture, it’s not a good deal. In the end it’s your eyes being poked out, your spiritual power being amputated and your life cut short, in exchange for a night with Delilah. What I want them to see is that choosing to embrace sexual purity isn’t missing out, as the enemy of their souls would have them think. It’s just the opposite! Choosing anything but God’s plans for purity is how you miss out, on much more than you know.

This was the first time we have done an O2 in Montana, and it was awesome to see the event completely sell out. Our team did such a killer job, and all the bands and guests that were on the stage put their hearts into it. It was a lot of work, especially with a Skull Church event the same week. But it was all worth it. Seeing God move in hearts and watching people respond; making first time decisions to follow Him, or rise up and embrace His plan for sexual purity moving forward, (regardless of what was behind them) you just feel humbled and in awe that you get be there in the room. I can’t believe God let’s me be a part of this. Above and beyond.

Here is a photo lookbook to give you a sense of what went down.

Breaking News

We announced something pretty exciting at the Montana O2 Experience last night…

You had to have heard the message to get the part about “we think we’re going to keep it” but we are really excited!

Last Night’s Party

There are sounds that I love: the soft steady hum of bicycles spinning down the road, the roar of a jet doing a fly-by, the crackle of fireworks exploding on the fourth of July. Those are a few of my favorites, but there is no sound that can compare to the voices of people praying to God, turning from their sins and putting their faith in Christ in unison. Whenever I listen to a person call on the name of the Lord, I am filled with joy and am grateful to be listening to eternity unfold.

As we did our best to lift Jesus high and amplify the gospel at Skull Church last night we saw a great number of people stream forward to make a public profession of faith in Christ and vocalize their commitment to God in prayer. One touching sight was watching a father and a son come together. A spiritual legacy in the making. I always try to visualize those who are joining in digitally as I preach as they outnumber those there in person. Last night, for instance, we had people joining in from all 50 states and from over 30 countries. And even though we couldn’t hear their voices, there were also people who prayed to receive Christ joining us online as well.

It was a joy to have music from The Almost. They are in town to perform at The O2 Experience on Friday night and partnering with Aaron Gillespie and his band is always a pleasure. His heart and perspective in ministry are in lock step with our DNA. He’s all about making Jesus famous and thinks outside the box. And I will tell you, Kev and our house band were in rare form. I have had their new song stuck in my head all day. I can’t wait for their album to drop…

Here are some snapshots to give you a glimpse of what God was up to last night.

Skull Church is tonight!

Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, was once addressing a group of young preachers and he told them, “Young gentlemen, do not allow any sentiment to keep you from warning men to prepare to die.”

That is what Skull Church is all about. We are pointing to Jesus’ death and telling people to prepare for the day when they are going to stand before God. He is our maker and one day there is going to be a manufacturers recall. (Hebrews 9:27) I will be giving a message that I have called, “The best way to die.” And as always there will be great music, including a brand new song from the Skull Church band which blew me away when I first heard it.

If you can’t make it in person, you can join us online or on the radio and I hope that you will view the webcast as an opportunity for you to partner with us in the proclamation of the gospel. Beginning at 7pm MDT at the HD stream is available for you to link to on fb, tweet about and email to your friends–no matter where you live. You could even hook your laptop up to your tv and invite someone over to watch it with you. If you are on the go, check out our mobile stream, which works on iPod Touches, iPads and iPhones, by pointing your browser to the website.

And please keep the event in prayer!