Please pray for the Lusko family

Lenya Avery Lusko

With heavy hearts we announce that Lenya Avery Lusko went home to be with the Lord in heaven after a severe asthma attack. We grieve, but we rejoice, knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Skull Church.


Happy Birthday Alivia!

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Today my firstborn daughter Livvy turns 7 years old. She is a source of constant joy, fun and is already a leader. It was her that turned me and Jennie into a dad and mom and her birth caused both of our parents to turn into grandparents. When we started fresh life she was the only child in the church. Kids ministry was pretty simple back then, I held her while Jennie lead worship and Jennie held her while I spoke. Things have gotten a tad bit more complicated since then and she has been a valuable part of the team each step of the way!

She loves the Lord, loves her family, loves the church she is planted in, loves to read, ride her bike, dance, draw and invite people to skull church. And following in her dad’s footsteps, she is pretty stoked on technology. She is just as and potentially more savvy with an iPhone as any of her grandparents. We love her so much! Happy birthday baby!


Our Anniversary

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Eight years ago today my beautiful wife Jennie and I were married. She took my breath away when I saw her walking down the aisle. I can still picture her there in vivid detail if I close my eyes. She is thoughtful, gentle, sincere and easy going. The perfect port to my starboard.

In the past eight years we have put some miles on our tires. We have walked through good and bad days, seen thousands and thousands of people come to Christ and our four special little girls come into this world. And through it all we have remained best friends. There is nothing I enjoy more than making her laugh and I will do almost anything to make that happen.

Life in Christ is already too good to be true, and getting to experience it with her is the cherry on top. Happy anniversary honey!


Introducing…Clover Dawn Lusko!

It’s the dawning of a new day in the Lusko house–a Clover day! We thank God for this beautiful and healthy little girl we have been given. Jennie is doing great as well. Thanks for rejoicing with us!


Merry Christmas!

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Click to view our Christmas Card


Happy Birthday Alivia!

Six years ago today I held my eldest daughter for the first time and my heart was officially ripped out of my chest and stolen for good. She gets funnier, prettier, and spunkier every day. I love being a dad. I love being her dad. Happy birthday Alivia!


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!


A real man

I took this picture just before they wheeled my dad off to open his chest and perform a grueling four hour surgery on his heart. They came to get him 3 and 1/2 hours behind schedule and the anticipation was brutal. We tried to psyche him up as much as we could by praying, singing worship songs and reading scripture. As they finally came around the corner I looked down and saw the Bible on his chest and it occurred to me that I couldn’t think of a single day of my dad’s life that didn’t include God’s Word. An open Bible on the kitchen counter, coffee table, on his desk or on a table at a cafe was literally an everyday occurrence if my dad was involved. He meditates on God’s Word day and night.

As an expert when it comes to Christian broadcasting, for over 30 years my dad has spent his life putting God’s Word on the internet, radio, and tv. Countless millions have heard the gospel because of him. It will be a joy in eternity to hear the stories of those who have come to know Christ listening to radio stations or watching a tv special he orchestrated. But I can tell you that behind the scenes, as much as he has tried to fill the airwaves with Scripture, he has also made sure his own heart reverberated with it. You literally can’t walk into a room or vehicle he is in without hearing a John Macarthur, Chuck Swindoll, or a Louie Giglio podcast coming from a radio, laptop, or car stereo. As kids, we knew whether we were late or on time for school based on whether Jon Courson’s radio program had started to play yet. The morning of his surgery I walked into his room to see him cranking out a few last minute emails and heard Steven Furtick coming from his macbook pro.

It has been a week and a half since I received the phone call that he suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital in Florida, all by himself, but I am still sorting through the emotions from it all. As soon as I heard the news I bolted for the airport and even though it took me four different flights, I got to him as soon as I could. I spent four days at his bedside with my brothers and sisters, praying and trying to be there for him, and then after a whirlwind weekend of speaking in Arizona, somehow I am back in Montana. I can hardly believe it really happened. As a pastor I am around emergencies and death enough to know that these things take time to sink in.

I know this for sure, my dad is fortunate to be alive. A million americans have heart attacks each year and half of them die. Half of those that die do so within the first hour of symptoms appearing and before they reach the hospital. That could have easily been him. Because he eats so healthy, and exercises so frequently he is the last person that you would think would have a heart attack. He couldn’t believe what was happening either and waited WAY TOO LONG to seek help. He tried to ride it out in his hotel room, thinking it would pass. It didn’t. He finally made his way down to the front desk and asked them to call a doctor. They did what he should have done an hour earlier and called 911. By God’s grace he was only 5 blocks away from a hospital that is ranked nationally for their heart department and his life was saved.

My dad is my hero. He was the best man in my wedding and to this day, apart from Jennie, he is my best friend. There isn’t hardly a day that goes by where we don’t text, talk or email each other. It is a joy to partner with him in ministry on several different fronts. He pushes me on in my walk with God, and as a pastor. But the bar that he has set so high for me, which I will always aspire to reach, is as a father. If I could be half the dad to my daughters that he has been to me I will be thrilled.

It is interesting, because in the days leading up to the surgery they told us he could go into cardiac arrest and drop dead at any moment, so we felt like we sat on the edge of eternity as we waited. Thankfully there weren’t any apologies or grudges we needed to work through as a family, but had there been we were given a great gift in having the opportunity should we have needed it. Let me give you advice in case there is someone in your family that you are at odds with–call them up right now and work through it! Don’t leave anything unsaid. Life is a vapor. As it turns out this weekend is Father’s day, a perfect opportunity to honor your dad by thanking him or by following a godly example and being apart of his legacy.


I love my dad

*update* I was just able to spend a few minutes in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit with my dad and, while groggy and in a massive amount of pain, he is beginning to regain consciousness. He is struggling and hurting but still cracked a joke, pantomiming a talking head with his hand when we told him the doctors raved about how well he did…so my hero. As he drifted in and out I stroked his head and wept thinking about him holding me as a child. I love him.


PMS

This is going to be a blog about how to deal with PMS. Now that I have your attention, let me assure you that this has nothing to do with “that time of the month,” I might only have 7 years of marriage under my belt but I know better than to go there–something about hell hath no fury… This is actually about dealing with “that time of the week.” And though it is not guaranteed to always occur, it is something that every pastor is going to deal with to some extent or another. I’m talking about POST MESSAGE SYNDROME.

Now there is also a lot to be said about PRE MESSAGE SYNDROME, because both the spiritual warfare and the nervous energy ramp up as you prepare to speak. I have found this is especially true as you prepare to preach the gospel in an evangelistic outreach. But in my opinion the period directly after a time of intense ministry can be even harder to deal with than the period leading up to it so that is where I want to throw down some one’s and zero’s in this post.

It’s not that I think there is more warfare afterwards, that’s not necessarily the case, but as you go into it you know you are at war so you are taking appropriate countermeasures. You are on your knees, putting the armor of God on in your mind. You know you need to be sober and vigilant, and you are. Heck, you are ready to pull a Martin Luther and throw an ink bottle at the devil in the night if he even thinks about showing up. Furthermore, during this time you (hopefully) have a team of armor bearer types around you who are holding up your arms and praying for you, keeping you free from distraction so that you can get your game face on.

I’m not trying to make light of this, or to suggest that even when you know it is coming, the spiritual warfare isn’t incredibly difficult to deal with. It is. Yet, when things go wrong before a message you’re reaction is going to be to filter it through the grid of what you are doing for the Lord. You’ll be like, aha! I’m getting attacked, this must mean we are on the right track! Surely God is going to save the entire city now because I got a flat tire. Praise God! I’m being persecuted for righteousness sake. The devil targeted my tire to keep me from preaching the gospel–but it will never work, I will drive on my rims over a road covered in flaming scorpions if I have to!

Now, maybe Lucifer blew out your tire or maybe it was a pot-hole. But I’ll tell you what, you get that same flat tire driving home from church on Sunday after you give the message and you’re gut-level reaction will be different. It will probably be more like, seriously? after I poured myself out all day trying to help these dang people come to know you? what the heck?! Are there no breaks in this world for a man of God? stinking, lousy tire and stupid awful roads. Lord, can I call down fire from heaven and blow up this wretched highway? Why did you call me to a town with so many pot-holes anyway?

All right, I was probably being a little melodramatic there but you get the idea. And if someone is reading this who holds ministers to unrealistic standards and you are appalled at this–please remember, pastors are people too! And this is nothing new either, didn’t the pouting prophet Jonah want to die when the worm ate his shade plant just hours after he gave his sermon to the Ninevites? Didn’t Elijah curl up in the fetal position and get emo after the showdown at Mt. Carmel?

This funk can strike differently at different times. Maybe you will be discouraged because it didn’t go very well, not as many people came as you hoped, or your delivery was off. Or maybe you will be discouraged even though it went really well. Last time I checked Jonah had a pretty good response to his preaching in Nineveh. And Elijah’s ministry on Mt. Carmel couldn’t have gone better. They still got bummed out. I have had times of ministry that exceeded my wildest expectations and yet I found myself full of melancholy for no apparent reason.

I don’t know why this happens. Maybe it’s to keep you humble, perhaps it’s because you’re tendency is to let your guard down when the bell has rung for this round. You are sitting there on the stool with your eyes closed trying to catch your breath, and that’s when the sucker punch comes. Neither your flesh nor the enemy play by the rules. Part of it is biologically understandable, there is no way for there not to be some kind of an emotional crash when the adrenaline, preparation and excitement that has gone into an outreach or a big service like Easter Sunday gives way to reality and the endless stream of Sundays that are coming. And love it or hate it, ministry in the past is like toothpaste–once it’s out of the tube there is no going back.

Some weeks it’s clean and simple and you move right on. Other times you agonize over it for a day and a half. If it was a really bad message you think, I made a mistake, I shouldn’t have quit my day job. If it was killer, you think I peaked, I can never do better than that, and next Sunday they are gonna be back with friends. You inevitably drive home playing the game tape over and over in your mind, sometimes wishing you could get in a time machine because you just thought of something you should have said…it’s quite maddening.

Of course the solution to all of this is to get your eyes off yourself, and give it all to the Lord because it was never about you, it was always about Him. And you have to keep telling yourself that lest you sink into self-adullation or self-flaggelation. Both are mistakes. It’s all about Jesus, not you.

The best advice I have ever got on dealing with this came from reading Greg Laurie’s autobiography Lost Boy. He describes the process of coming down from a crusade and how he learned from Billy Graham to not strut around like an exultant quarterback who has just thrown a game winning touchdown. He said the best thing to do was to normalize as quickly as possible, get some food, respond to some emails, get on with it. He described a time where he hung out with Billy after preaching and Billy was wearing pajama pants with loafers while eating dinner in a hotel room. It’d be difficult to get a big head wearing an outfit like that! With that in mind I try to move on quickly: erasing the glass whiteboard in my office where my message had been brewing in different colored markers, clearing off my desk, playing with my kids, watching a movie, taking a nap, reading a novel, going for a bike ride. That stuff is the preacher equivalent of midol.

Sure there are things that are going to come into your head that didn’t go well at the event. That’s bound to happen. I used to call everyone up whose dept misfired and have it out right then and there. I have learned to take notes in a moleskine and save them for the debrief, unless there are immediate ramifications. And I have also been challenged by the reality that regardless of how you feel you have to celebrate what the Lord did, not just for your sake but for your team’s sake. (read 2 Samuel 19:1-8 to see this in action)

Above all things when you come out of a battle, don’t let your guard down. Expect the attack as you come down from the mountain. And keep praying! I hope this has been helpful for other pastors who will read this, even if it’s just to let you know that you aren’t crazy if you have been experiencing stuff like this. You are not alone! Take heart.