We have been getting a lot of questions about skull church since we announced it–mostly stuff like, “what’s the deal with skull church?” We thought it would be easier and to just answer them in one fell swoop rather than doing so over and over again individually. Here they are for you and they are also up on the skull church site under vital info. Enjoy.
What is Skull Church?
It is a weekly Bible study and worship event at Fresh Life Church in Kalispell, Montana and everywhere else live on the web.What happens at Skull Church?
Each service includes worship, and the opportunity to ask questions through text-messages and twitter but the cornerstone of each night is the expository preaching of God’s Word. @LeviLusko brings a culturally relevant and super clear gospel message and provides an opportunity for people to make a public decision to repent and turn to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.What is the deal with the name?
John 19:17-18 says, “Carrying the cross by himself, he (Jesus) went to the place called Place of the Skull. There they nailed him to the cross.” (NLT)
The most beautiful thing that has ever happened in history occurred in a place of death—God died in our place. Skull Church is a platform to amplify the message of what happened on that skull-shaped hill to a lost world.
Aren’t skulls evil and grotesque?
They can be. But so is sin, and when Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Lord laid on Him the sins of the world. It was so evil and grotesque that it caused Jesus to be separated from His Father. The skull is a reminder of the tremendous price that was paid for us, and of the reality that we all will one day die.
Won’t some people be offended by it?
Probably, but the kind of person who would be into it is exactly the sort of person we are trying to reach. We live in a world where skulls are commonplace. They can be found on board shorts, snowboards, skate decks, pirate movies, even household cleaners have skulls on them. People are used to seeing skulls in connection with just about everything—except for church. We want to use this cultural icon to point to the cross. We hope those who are offended will see our heart.
What target demographic do you have in mind that you are trying to reach exactly?
We are specifically targeting a lost generation that doesn’t know God, isn’t necessarily “into” church, and desperately needs Jesus. For that reason this will not feel like your grandmother’s church—but she’s welcome to come too.
Seriously, can I bring my grandmother to skull church?
What should I do if I am a teenager and my parents won’t let me wear clothes with skulls on them?Listen to your parents. Stay away from the skull church merch table.
Is there a way you can describe Skull Church that involves a shameless plug for an energy drink?Skull Church is kind of like a Bible study on RedBull.
Yesterday I taught on the Marriage Supper of the Lamb from Revelation 19. It is a very cool passage. In the first 10 verses of the chapter are the only uses of the word, Alleluia, in the New Testament. It is a familiar exclamation that means, Praise the Lord! It seems that God is so excited about this event, where as the Bride of Christ we are presented to Him as His church, that He saved the use of Alleluia for the description of it.
To fully understand what it means to be the Bride of Christ we need to understand some differences between modern and ancient Hebrew wedding customs. In our bridal culture the dude pops the question, they engaged for a time, then the wedding day comes. The big deal of the event is the bride’s entrance and after the ceremony is the two hour reception—and the honeymoon is usually a week in Maui. In Biblical times the equivalent of engagement was betrothal this happened when you were kids. Dads picked out a spouse for their kiddos. I see the wisdom in this strategy. It was a decision based on family values and character more than feelings and attraction. You were betrothed growing up, and it was so serious that you had to get a form of divorce to break it off. Finally on the day of the wedding everyone wasn’t sitting waiting for the bride, but the bride sat with friends and family waiting for the bridegroom to come for her. She had to be all gussied up and stay that way, because never knew when he would come. When he got there, took his bride, big parade to where the wedding and reception and honeymoon were all rolled up into a whole week of celebrating where it was a public feast by day with everyone celebrating and a private party by night in the bridal chamber.
There is a spiritual equivalent to each stage—The day you were saved—you were engaged to Christ. 1 Peter 1:8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. We have even been given an “engagement ring,” 2 Corinthians 1:22 …he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
The Helper, Jesus described in John’s gospel, is the diamond ring promising us that one day, marriage will come. In the mean time Jesus has gone to His Father’s house, to build a place for us.
Engagements can be rough—all the difficult work of preparing for the wedding—none of the benefits–don’t get to live together, have to keep waiting for the fullness of the relationship, to make love, trusting that God’s plan is better and that it is worth the wait. And so it is challenging as we walk with Christ without seeing Him, having to trust that this world is not our home and the mansion He has prepared for us is better than anything this world can offer. And we are waiting on that day—when Jesus will come for His bride—in the rapture and claim us for Himself:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
In the mean time, we need to make sure we are “dressed” for the wedding. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. We have incentive to stay pure—because He could literally come at any moment. John said this hope should purify our souls:
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
At the end of the message we invited people to RSVP for this feast, by giving their lives to Christ. We called them to publicly walk down the aisle of the church, just as a bride would, pledging their hearts to Christ. It was wonderful to watch 15 people take that radical step of faith. LOVE IT!
Here is a hd video of the service, check out the song we sang just before the message. It is definitely not a traditional worship song. Etta James originally sang it and it is a love song written to a person, but we know that human love is a mystery that shows us how much Christ loves us, and so we sang it to Christ. Interestingly enough, the song itself ends up in “heaven.” Our worship team came up with a killer version of it and Crystal’s voice is epic.
Headed back from the 2009 Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor's conference in Southern California. Had a good time–I haven't seen so many floral patterned shirts in a long time. 😉 Battled a cold for the first few days and the weather battled the conference too–during one main session it lightning and thunder killed the power and a speaker had to address the 1,600 person in the dark with no amplification…spurgeon style…but spurgeon had an accoustically designed room. Bummer because it was one of the best sessions of the whole conference and it won't be available on the archive! The time away was refreshing and I had some great time with some of my dearest friends who serve the Lord around the country. Glad to be home where it will be warm. Today it was 67 in socal and 80 in Montana–that's Cali June gloom for you. Also I miss my family. So stoked for skull church–just two weeks from yesterday.
I had a very fun time yesterday biking in glacier park. After a day of studying and meetings, I dragged one of the guys on pastoral staff (I tried to make them all come) up to the park to bicycle going to the sun road. I had heard from several people how you can pedal the road before it is opened to cars and is an amazing ride. It was breathtaking. We rode from 7pm to 9pm and had a half hour of sunlight to spare at the end. You could see where avalanches had snapped trees down like they were toothpicks (made me think of Psalm 29:4-5 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars) and there was definitely some hazards in the road but it was one of the coolest rides I have ever been on. I did have a close encounter with a mountain goat at a spot where there was no guard rail between me and a cliff and at one point a deer ran beside me for at least a hundred yards before finally giving up. I guess it realized that resistance was futile, it was only a matter of time before I won. Jk. The view was drastically different than from a car, you appreciate just about every tree chugging slowly up hill. I couldn’t help but call to mind Romans 1:20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. I love reading books by authors that I know, and as I rode I smiled thinking how proud I am to be a friend of God. Then I realized, I better start paying attention to the road, I was flying down a hill at the moment. Here are a few mobile pictures that I can assure you don’t do the the view justice.
The end of the line. I always get sad when I reach it and tonight I am at that point of termination yet again. No, I’m not moving, but that makes me feel sad too. Tonight I will teach the last chapter of the book of 2 Samuel and be done with the study. In my two and a half years here I have taught all the way through: Acts, John, Ephesians, 1 Samuel, and Song of Solomon. Each time I come to the end I get nostalgic knowing I am going to miss the book. While teaching through I bond with the characters. Paul, Jonathan, David, Solomon, the Apostles and I become close friends as we hang out for hours and hours at a time 3 days a week, then–just like that– it’s over. I get Bible character emotional whiplash. I will even miss obscure people from the stories, like in 2 Samuel, I know I’m going to miss Asahel (who was as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle.) Fortunately, I learn way more than I teach each week so I am bringing much out of the study to take with me and I know I can go back for a cup of coffee with any of them as often as I want in the future. But it won’t be the same, you can never really go back.
And in a way that’s a good thing. Because the next time I journey into one of these books–there will be brand new lessons and truths waiting for me that I didn’t notice this time through, in addition to the lessons that I will need to be reminded of again. The Bible is a mine of inexhaustible truth. You can never reach the end of what God has for you there. That’s how you can read a verse or a passage you have read a million times and see something you have never seen. It’s a mistake to tune out a sermon if we have heard the text preached before or if we think we are already familiar with the doctrine in a particular passage. God always has something new and fresh waiting for us if we are willing to listen and engage with the right heart. Remember, it is a living book.
Martin Luther once said,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me,
it has feet, it runs after me,
it has hands, it lays hold on me.
I hope you are having a relaxing memorial day. I am truly enjoying the warm weather we are experiencing in Montana. Right now I am relaxing on a comfy chair by a lake. Happy to have just had a great barbecue lunch and I have no plans except to read a little and enjoy the day. I am so thankful for all the brave soldiers who have died in the line of duty while protecting beautiful days like this in America. In a few hours I will put on a war movie, a yearly Memorial Day tradition that I find helps me to not mindlessly go through this holiday without feeling it’s significance. Watching Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers, a few episodes of Band of Brothers or The Patriot brings to mind all the sacrifice so many have made in the name of Freedom. Without that intentional kind of reminder it can be easy to forget significant things. Kind of like taking communion reminds you of what it took for Christ to make us free from sin. I have also been praying today for those who have had loved ones die in the service. To any readers of this blog who are or have served in the armed forces–thank you so much!
I can check Mt. Rushmore off my list of things to see. I had the chance to check it today and it was awesome. (here is a pic in front of the famous, granite presidents with my good amigo, Jonathan Laurie) I am out in South Dakota hosting Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade. We ran into a few of the the guys from Relient K while we were scoping out the monument, they are cool and I am looking forward to hearing their music tonight. They were great last year at Harvest NYC at Madison Square Garden. Then we stopped for some ice cream at this little place called Fjords that I had seen on the food network (yes, I have been known to watch it on occasion–but it has to be when I can’t fall asleep really late at night–confession–I actually love the show “unwrapped” hosted by Mark Summers) The sunflower/honey ice-cream was surprisingly good. For behind the scenes action tonight check out my twitter.
This weekend at fresh life where we announced a new service that we are calling skull church. It will be the name of our newly tweaked midweek service starting June 17th. In this video I explain what that means exactly.
The idea goes back to when I was teaching a series of messages in Orange County, California on the death of Jesus called, “The events of skull hill” because Jesus died on Golgotha–place of the skull. In one of the teachings, I remember saying, “Someday I’d like to plant a church and call it Skull Church” because the most beautiful thing that was ever done in human history took place on an ugly hill shaped like a skull. I was so into the idea I bought skullchurch.com so I would have it in the future. Well, a year later I did plant a church but, as you know, we called it fresh life, and saved skull church to use down the road. The idea has been simmering in the back of my mind for the past 3 or so years and the Lord never let me let go of it. Now in just over 38 days it will come to life. I am stoked to see what the Lord will do through this new service.
you can help get the word out by:
Today driving to church I almost hit a large fox that was crossing the street right in front of me. I had never seen a fox outside of a zoo before. I looked but didn’t see any hounds chasing it down. Then, after church, I was walking from my car into a restaurant (Mexican) and witnessed a large hawk taking off 20 feet from me. In it’s talons was a squirrel that was twitching and struggling to get away, I was rooting for it. It did not get away. It was, however, very awesome to see.
Just thought I’d share.
Also this weekend we are making a big announcement at fresh life that I am super excited about. If you do miss it, look for it here Sunday evening or Monday morning.