Fresh Life Christmas Online

From Billings to Missoula, Kalispell to Whitefish, in all we are having eighteen Fresh Life Christmas worship experiences across the state of Montana! There will be five different that will be streaming online. If you know someone who is unable to make it to church in person this Christmas invite them to join us online.

Here at the Fresh Life Christmas page you can find all times and locations, send out twitter and facebook invites and even get the Fresh Life Christmas advent videos sent to you so you can post them on instagram.


Why I love to give

At one point in my life I attended a church that was extremely laid-back about the subject of giving. It wasn’t talked about much at all. There was no offering of any kind and the issue of money came up extremely infrequently. It was downplayed to the point of being out of sight, out of mind. Whether this was in response to an overemphasis that had left a bad taste in the pastor’s mouth or the desire to rely fully on the Lord’s provision I am not sure. I certainly am not judging that ministry decision, but what I do know is that it wouldn’t be until later on that I would discover the richness of all that the Bible has to say about the subject and it floored me.

Consequently, during that period I sporadically gave when I felt “lead,” which, if I’m honest, wasn’t all that often. It was more like a “tip” for a good sermon, or when I felt extra generous. I might have called it a tithe but it wasn’t, it was nowhere near a tenth of my earnings. Things certainly seemed to be humming along at the church though, and for all I knew the congregation was full of millionaires that gave so much that it really didn’t matter if I contributed or not. Also, I made very little in my job at that time and so I felt justified in keeping almost all of what I earned for myself.

Looking back, I am horrified that I would enjoy teaching that I didn’t support, be lead in worship by a team using equipment that I did nothing to offset the cost of, and bring friends to church, taking for granted that a chair was there for them to sit in and hear about Jesus but not help cover the costs to make it all happen. If I could go back in time I would tell a younger version of myself that only having a little to give doesn’t let you off the hook either. God expects us to honor Him with what He has entrusted to us and He is able to do a lot with a little. Yes, the amount I would have given (if I had been tithing) would have been a relatively insignificant amount compared to the staggering costs of all these things, but what I would later learn is that giving is less about my money being needed, and more about me needing to give it.

I could give many, many more but here are five reasons why I love to give and why there is nothing on earth that could stop me from returning the first and the best of all God puts in my hand right back to Him.

1. You only get to keep what you give away
Every penny I keep and everything I buy here on earth I will eventually walk away from when I die. Naked I was born and naked I will return, but every cent I have given to God is waiting for me in Heaven with serious interest. My daughter Lenya who is in Heaven left all her toys and clothes behind, but everything she gave to God is hers to keep forever.

2. It breaks down idolatry and greed
When your hand is clenched and you hold on to things tightly it is easy for your possessions to possess you. When you open your hand to give it is easier to keep a light touch on things. Worshipping God through giving money away is the only way I know to keep myself from worshipping money as god.

3. You get equity in the only thing that will outlast everything
No earthly companies, businesses, institutions or non-profit organizations will be in Heaven, but the church that Jesus Christ is building on earth will go marching on. The church is the only thing that exists today that will be here forever. By helping fund the building of the House of the Lord, as Jesus constructs it out of living stones, there is fruit that abounds in your account.

4. It causes you to be obsessed with the things of God
When you invest in the stock market, be it technology or agriculture, you don’t have to remind yourself to check up on it. You automatically think about it. To a degree that is borderline OCD if you have an obsessive personality like me. It’s the same way with giving to God. Where your treasure goes, there goes your heart. The fastest way to have a greater heart for God is to invest in His Kingdom.

5 You are opened up to God’s blessing
This has been the biggest surprise to me. It shouldn’t really, because He is God after all. I have found that He can’t be out-given. No matter how much I have increased my giving over the years above tithing (fair warning—giving is addictive) He has boomeranged it back to me and then some. Not just in entrusting me with more money to steward, but with opportunities, answered prayers, peace in storms, and dreams that have come true far beyond what I could ask, think or imagine.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Luskos!

Lusko fall 2013

Because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ there is so much to be thankful for. Life, salvation, hope, freedom, family, the promise of Heaven and so much more. I am even thankful for thankfulness itself. It’s powerful stuff. When there is a spirit of thanksgiving in your soul it alters the atmosphere in your life. Grateful hearts have no room for tantrums or pity-parties. It’s impossible to complain while you are busy saying, “thanks!” You can focus on what you don’t have and what you didn’t get, or you can thank God for all you have received and have been blessed with, but you can’t do both at the same time.

It has been a very hard year in our home, but we have never in our life experienced God more: Through His presence and His peace that surpasses understanding, through the outpouring of love and prayer from Christians all over the world. (those of you who have left blog comments and sent encouraging notes in the mail have blessed us greatly) Through the church that we are planted in that we call home. Our anchor has held within the veil and we are so thankful for Jesus!

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.


Skull Church Helena Recap

We had our final Skull Church event of the year this month. It was also my first time preaching in the state capital. It was amazing to watch God move in so many people’s lives. There is a real spiritual hunger in Helena and I can’t wait to go back!


I am scared of Christmas.

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For the last year I have been dreading the end of fall because I knew that it would signal the start of the Christmas season. Christmas is always a force to be reckoned with. On a normal year it approaches with the subtlety and restraint of a runaway locomotive. We began planning for Christmas at Fresh Life this summer and even then, when it still seemed far away, it was difficult to think about facing the world wrapped in lights, silver bells and and holly. Last week I walked into a Starbucks in New Mexico and saw eggnog lattes were on the menu and they had a big display of Advent calendars near the counter. Ready or not, here it comes.

The truth is, every holiday has been difficult this year. Mother’s day was really hard. My birthday was too. As was Alivia’s birthday, the Fourth of July, Father’s Day, and Easter. These days are when the pain of Lenya’s absence is exaggerated. We miss her every day, but on days when you would always be together or have special traditions the ache just gets a little bit louder. The hardest, by far, this year was Lenya’s birthday. Not being able to be with her on a day that is all about her was unspeakably difficult. We know that Christmas will be very hard. She went to Heaven on December 20th, and we celebrated her life and had her funeral on December 26th.

Back to the runaway train. As I was falling asleep on Halloween I was thinking about how Thanksgiving is all that separates us from Christmas now. Once December begins everything in our society is built into making the ramp up for Christmas as loud and as visible as possible. Twelve days of Christmas. Little numbered doors hiding chocolate. These days and numbers all bring painful memories and traumatizing associations with them. Lenya’s favorite Christmas carol was “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” by Justin Bieber, but truth be told I wouldn’t really mind it if old St. Nick got lost instead. I realize that I sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, and I am ok with that. Naming your fear is a part of getting through it and I am scared of Christmas.

Fortunately, I know that God isn’t scared of what scares me. Jesus is going to be with us, just as He was last year and just as Lenya is with Him now. I don’t have to pretend like I am not frightened either. I trust Him. He will walk with us through the flashbacks and the associations and the sleepless nights and the tears and the lack of tears. We will celebrate the birth of the One who came to destroy death and bring light and immortality to light through the Gospel. We will sing until our voice won’t let us. We will preach and celebrate seeing people come to know Jesus just like we did days after Lenya died in my arms. We will party if we can muster the courage, cry when we miss her and collapse if we have to. Even though He slays us we will bless His name. We always have a choice and I choose to rejoice.


Grapefruit // Great fruit

About once a month we take a day to fast and pray as a church. This is one practical way we live out one of our core-values and that is: “3. We bow before the battle.” On these very special days we get together in the evening, across the state, and pray and worship together. Nothing flashy or fancy, just an old-school Holy Ghost prayer meeting. It’s awesome.

The format changes, but I often have different campus pastors give devotional thoughts. Sometimes we take communion. I love these nights so much. No webcast or time crunch. They are some of the most extraordinary and powerful worship experiences. I often will share something about our vision or something the Lord puts on my heart right then in the moment. Last night we also heard something very special from a daughter of the house, my oldest daughter, Miss Alivia Sky Lusko. Check it out:


This weekend’s party

Skull Church Helena

In 1864 a group of prospectors known as the Four Georgians discovered gold while mining in what is now the capital of Montana. They were at the tail end of an unsuccessful expedition and if they didn’t find gold here they were going to give up and go back home. They hit pay dirt. Gold. News of their success spread and soon others began to flock to the area. The spot was named the “Last Chance Gulch.” The the city of Helena was born.

Evangelism is kind of like mining. You turn over shovel full after shovel full of earth but there is no guarantee as to what you are going to find or if you are going to have any success at all. Both take effort and diligence on your part, but at the end of the day you are dealing with many factors that are outside your control. Only God can make diamonds, precious stones and gold and He is the only one who can save a soul. You can tell people about what Jesus has done for them, but they might not care or respond to His gracious invitation.

To me, the unpredictability of it all is what is what makes it exciting. Stepping out in faith, taking risks and launching out into the deep are all essential parts of following Jesus and being His ambassadors. Where everything is certain and known and tame there is no need to trust God. We came to Helena for Skull Church, like the Four Georgians did, on a hunch. We believed God wanted to do something incredible. Like their fateful trip — we experienced a spiritual bonanza! There were 312 people that responded to the gospel in person and another 18 registered decisions online!

We have been doing these events for years now and have seen the Lord bless our faith and His Word again and again. I still find it is as thrilling as it was the first time to watch the nets come out of the water full of fish (I’m mixing metaphors now I know, sorry). I pray that the Lord would never let me get used to this. Our team is full of legends, our church is wide awake, our God is for us and it is the honor of a lifetime to be a part of any of this.

Before this weekend I had never spent any time in the city of Helena but I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to return. Family Force 5 and Britt Nicole were an absolute pleasure to partner with. This was the third time we have had Family Force out to Skull Church events but we had never partnered with Britt before and she was solid gold (pun intended.)

With this event Skull Church comes to a close for 2013. It has been an amazing year of events and extraordinarily difficult too. These events have been funded, in part, by donations that were made in Lenya’s honor and so we have shown footage telling her story at every event. Getting into a frame of mind where I can preach after watching the video is hard, but good. I rejoice in the connection to heaven as God continues to use her life to draw people to Himself.

Here is the 2013 Skull Church Helena Lookbook:

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Skull Church Helena

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Continue reading…


Skull Church Helena

We are on our way to Helena for the final Skull Church event of the year! This has been an amazing year for Skull Church. We have had events in Kalispell, Missoula, Albuquerque (our first event outside the state) and we are finishing it off at the capitol of Montana. Two thousand years ago Jesus was hung to die for the sins of the world at Golgotha, the place of the skull, and the power of what He did that day is still the only way men can be saved. We began doing Skull Church events in 2009 to communicate this message and I have never in my life been more committed to preaching the gospel.

DID YOU KNOW? Both Saturday and Sunday night’s events will be streamed live at skullchurch.com at 7pm Mountain Time. You can watch on your mobile device or computer or by downloading the Fresh Life app. If you know someone who needs Jesus, invite them to watch the webcast with you or send them a link. I am excited about my messages for both evenings, but Sunday night I am going to specifically be talking about death, loss and hope, which functions as an anchor for the soul. If there is someone in your life who has experienced tragedy and needs hope let them know to tune in.

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The O2 Experience is heading to Florida!

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I am so thrilled that we will be beginning 2014 with two O2 Experience dates right off the bat in the month of January! Normally we do O2 events closer to summer, but since it’s always summer in Florida I don’t think this will be a problem. These two events will be back to back, first in Ft. Lauderdale and then in Miami. If you or your church are anywhere near these cities we would love to partner with you!

The O2 Experience is a fresh look at life, death, sex and romance. More details here.


Happy Birthday Alivia!

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Today our oldest daughter Alivia Sky is eight years old! Her birthday is October 13th but in our house we call it “Ockatober-Firteenth” because that was how she first learned to say it when she was three years old. She would constantly ask us if it was “Ockatober-Firteenth.” Well today it finally is!

I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming. By the strength of God inside her she is the head and not the tail. Her love for Jesus and her insight is constantly a source of surprise and refreshment. She is smart as a whip, hilarious, and thoughtful.

She is a night-owl who considers anything before 9am too early and loves to stay up way too late reading. She is an extraordinary leader to her little sisters who look up to her — all three of them.

In her short eight years on the earth she has had to walk through incredibly difficult days, but she has done it with grace through her Savior Christ Jesus. The way she has processed and handled the pain of her sister and best friend Lenya going to heaven has been amazing to me.

Alivia made the decision to give her heart to Jesus a while back and she is very excited to be getting baptized today, on her birthday! I love her so much and it is an incredible honor to be her daddy and her biggest fan.