Haircuts don’t last forever

I want to tell you something that’s beautiful, and redemptive. I specifically feel called to say this to someone who has given something away that God wanted you to keep. And unless you see this you are going to miss out on an opportunity to feel the freshness and the newness that God has for you going into the new year.

Here it is: Haircuts don’t last forever.

It’s true. No matter how bad it made you look, or how horrible of a job the stylist did or how much it cost you. It may feel like it will be that way for all eternity when you look in the mirror, but it won’t. If you have a bad haircut right now, even though it’s growth isn’t perceptible to the naked eye, your hair is growing slowly right now and soon it will be back to where it was.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Now, before you delete my feed from your RSS reader or stop listening to my podcast because you think I’m crazy let me show you, from God’s Word, why you should be encouraged by this.

Judges 16:22 But before long, Samson’s hair began to grow back.

I think this might be one of the most beautiful and redemptive verses in the Bible.

There is no doubt that Samson got the most expensive haircut in history. It cost him his job, his freedom, and his strength. He had his eyes gouged out, was thrown into a prison where he worked as a slave for the rest of his life and never got to see his family again. All for one lousy buzz cut. He was one of the most gifted and talented men who ever lived, but he would die in disgrace and shame. He freely gave away what no one could have ever taken from him.

But the instant the shears had left his head, and with it the strength from his muscles, and the shackles were being placed on his wrists, the tiny follicles began their slow journey back to their former glory. And as they did they sang an unheard song of God’s forgiveness and willingness to forgive. He probably couldn’t tell it was happening, as he ground grain while wrapped up in bronze chains in the Philistine prison, but grace and restoration were at work in his scalp.

He would never get his eyes back, and he would die a prisoner; but he would die with hair. And before that happened he would be used by God in a greater way than he ever had in his entire life.

Haircuts don’t last forever.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.


Christmas in New York

Merry Christmas! We put together this project so that on this special day, the birthday of Christ, families could gather and worship His Majesty while gathered around the tree. The vision is for everyone to watch and discuss before opening presents, having a church service right in your living room–singing and everything! (it might be agony for the kiddos but it will prolong the suspense and hit sustain on the excitement) Regardless of when you watch it I hope that it is a blessing to your celebration.

We have also created a discussion guide that goes along with each of the 4 phases from the different places in New York. You could either hit pause after each segment and discuss or do it all at the end. (here is the link to the discussion guide) I hope you enjoy this at-home worship experience! You could also post a link on facebook or email a link to someone you think it would be encouraging to.

In AWE of Him,

Levi


Merry Christmas!

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Click to view our Christmas Card


Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

I am so excited about the great opportunities that we all have to reach those around us with Christ’s love on this great week of celebration. It is remarkable how open and interested, even vocally thankful, people are when invited to go to church on Christmas Eve. For inviting and bringing people to church this truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ve heard pastors cynically decry the public interest of people in church around holidays. They say stuff like, “sure, they’ll come now but won’t be back next week.” Ok, maybe that’s true. But last time I checked we were meant to cast the net not to ensure which fish remain in the boat. As far as I am concerned any ramped up receptivity to hearing the gospel is a great thing, and an opportunity that we will be held accountable for having been given.

I wanted to let you know about what we are doing to reach out online to those who can’t get to church or for those who are unwilling to come into one:

Christmas Eve
We have two HD webcasts on Christmas Eve, one at 2pm and another at 6pm. (Mountain Time) This will be the grand finale of our Majesty series.
The online experience will stream to iPhones, computers and iPads at freshlifechurch.com. If you have sketchy internet you can listen to an audio only feed at freshliferadio.com
We have built a page where you can tweet, facebook or email a friend about it. Click here to check it out.

Christmas Day
I am super stoked about what we are doing on Christmas and want to invite you to be a part of it. We have put together a Christmas worship experience to-go. It includes some beautiful Christmas carols performed exclusively for this purpose, a message that I filmed on the east coast and an optional interactive question guide for families to discuss what Christmas is all about with their kids. The vision behind it is for everyone to take some time to honor Christ as Lord, though in different places, before opening presents. Plus this way you get to go to church in your pj’s!

We are giving out DVD’s with the content on Christmas Eve, and QR codes that point to the content for those traveling, but I will also post it here for those of you on the blog who would like to join in. Look for it here anytime after midnight on Christmas day.

I have previewed it all and trust me when I say that it is really special and it would be a huge joy to know you were joining my family in this special way.

“The modern Christian has lost a sense of worship along with the concept of majesty and reverence…We must see again how awful [awe-full] God is, how beautiful and how perfect. And we must begin to preach it, sing it, write about it, promote it, talk it, tell it and pray it until we have recaptured the concept of majesty…” -A.W. Tozer


The Blue Light Gospel

After a seemingly endless deluge of the typical variety of news–evil dictators dying, crowds of people protesting, politicians promising change, and corrupt people doing corrupt things–it has been a refreshing change of pace to read of these so-called “layaway angels.” These beautiful actions provide a perfect picture of Christmas and of what Christ came to this earth to do.


use your tongue for good and not for evil

Today you will open your mouth and speak many different times. That in and of itself is quite a feat. Did you know that it takes the coordinated effort of seventy-two different muscles to produce human speech? Complicated stuff. Thousands of different words will pass through your lips to those around you today. What you accomplish with all that work is entirely up to you.

Words are a powerful thing. They can build up and tear down. They can unlock potential and they can crush spirits. Indeed, death and life are bound up in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Your allotment of words today could be used to encourage someone who is depressed, inspire someone to do something beautiful, or give hope to someone who is lonely. Each word becoming a brick to restore broken things around you. On the flip side you could use your thousands of words as an arsenal of bullets as you go on a verbal shooting spree, cutting into those around you with sarcasm, cynicism and pride.

I’ve reached the end of days where I’ve gone both ways. And I want to tell you how much better it feels to speak words of life. Not just for those who are on the receiving end either. It feels better to use your tongue for good and not for evil. For loving and not for lashing. That’s no coincidence. When your words are like medicine they bless you as they pass through you. And if your mouth is like a Komodo dragon, teeming with bacteria, it won’t just be those you bite that are infected–you poison yourself in the process.

Make the decision with me to speak words of life today. Build up. Choose to inspire, to beautify with your mouth. Be an encourager. Since out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, hide God’s Word into your heart and regulate what else you let in there. Garbage in, Garbage out. And in case of emergency, if you sense you are slipping and your tongue is about to talk some trash…Bite it!

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.


Last Night’s Party

I am sitting here by the Christmas tree, with a fire lit and a hot cup of coffee, reflecting on what I saw God do at skull church yesterday and I am making absolutely no attempt to wipe the grin off my face. I could never “get used” to taking part in something like that.

As always, singing all original songs that have been birthed in our church is always a joy and a treasure. And Gungor, the guest band, was out of control. We have been wanting to get them out for a long time and I have been hearing nothing but great things about their live performances. (if you don’t have any of their music go buy it here) They lived up to the hype and then some. Their music created an atmosphere of worship and expectation that was thick with beauty and texture. The only way I can describe the after party is to use a quotation from the Psalms, “deep calls unto deep at the roar of your waterfalls…” (Psalm 42:7)

The text we focused on was the verse that describes the only Christmas tree in the Bible. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ hung on the tree to redeem us from the curse of the law. Christmas is all about the tree that Jesus came to die on and we played “where’s waldo” finding clues about the cross scattered through out the scriptures. At the invitation we saw many respond to the gospel and commit their lives to Christ. And not just in person, we saw people register commitments to Christ online from 5 states and 3 countries!

Here is the December skull church lookbook.


Skull Church

Fast facts: Tonight at 7pm (MST) in downtown Kalispell, live everywhere on the web at skullchurch.com and broadcasting on fresh life radio (91.3 FM in the Flathead Valley and 107.1 & 88.9 FM in Billings).

Did you know? We have taken aggressive steps to improve our webcast so that MANY more people can stream it on computers and mobile devices without glitches or skipping. Invite someone to watch with you or post about it online! If you have sketchy internet or are still having trouble watching you can always listen to the audio-only feed on fresh life radio by pointing your iPhone or iPod touch’s browser to freshliferadio.com


Word is going to get out

Mark 7:24 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret.

Jesus had just had a super gnarly clash with his enemies who were constantly following him around and nitpicking his every move. They never did anything to help people but they had a lot to say about how he was doing it all wrong. That is usually how it goes. Those who do the least complain the most. And it gets draining after a while.

So he decided to get out of town for a little bit. He left Galilee, where he was well known, and crossed the border into Gentile territory. There is no way the messiah-police would be willing to follow him there…they would for sure get cooties from all the wicked sinners if they did. So he and his disciples would be able to get some rest and recharge their batteries.

That was the plan. But it didn’t turn out that way. He didn’t blend in very well. The text says, “he couldn’t keep his presence a secret.” Even though he was trying to keep a low profile he ended up attracting a bunch of attention when he healed a woman’s daughter after being there for a short time. He couldn’t help himself. It’s what he does. News quickly spread that Jesus had come into the home as the shockwaves of healing and change reverberated through the community.

Morale of the story: if Jesus has come into your house you won’t be able to keep it a secret. It will get out. You won’t be able to help it. That’s because he will never come into a home and leave things the same. He’s an applecart kicker over. A sin forgiver. A life-changer. A destiny re-router. Once inside your life his healing touch and out of control blessings will creep into every crevice of who you are and it will soon be visible on the outside. The kind of change he brings can’t be hidden for long. People will notice.

Take some time today to ask Christ to invade every nook and cranny of your being. Make sure he knows that your heart is his home and he can do whatever he wants in your life. Is there some area of your schedule or a relationship where you have been holding back? Give him an all access pass to your soul–no holds barred. But be prepared for others to notice, because word is going to get out.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.