This weekend marked tremendous moments in the life of our church – from the fifth annual Skull Church on Good Friday at the Majestic Valley Arena, to the launch of our first EP from Fresh Life Worship (get it here!), wrapping up with Fresh Life Easter reaching people in more places than ever .
The party began Friday night as we filled the Majestic to celebrate the most heroic thing that has ever been done – Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins. This Skull Church is extra special because it’s held on Good Friday, the day Jesus defeated death and declared victory over it. Guest artist Trip Lee opened the night with a killer performance, followed by our Skull Church band, with the night culminating in many making decisions for Christ! The sacrifice of Jesus death-proofed our lives and that’s what Skull Church is all about.
On Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Christ with more worship experiences than ever before, reaching from the Majestic Valley Arena in the Flathead Valley, to Billings, Missoula and Bozeman, we gathered in five different cities across Montana! In addition to an online and radio audience, we also had our first ever Fresh Life Easter at our network site in Polson.
I spoke on a verse I’d never preached about before – Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (This verse is particularly special to me – I had it stamped on the first Bible I bought after I gave my life to Jesus.) It was an honor to tell others about the life they were born to live in Christ.
Between Skull Church Majestic and Fresh Life Easter we saw hundreds of people from our different locations and online commit their lives to Christ. There is nothing better.
Our hearts are full of gratitude and adoration because of the gift of Christmas and the triumphant power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Our Savior fit into a womb and then grew up and destroyed the tomb! With hearts full of living hope we wish you a merry Christmas!
(click the image to view our digital Christmas card)
And just so you know the entire Fresh Life Christmas worship experience will be streaming from beginning to end starting over every two hours. Click here to check it out.
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.
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.
The promise of the resurrection has never meant more to me than it does today. I have always loved Easter, there is no day like it on the calendar. Nothing even comes close. Ever since Lenya went to heaven, I have been living, breathing and eating the scriptures that describe Jesus’ triumphant victory over death more than at any other point in my life. The message I preached Sunday about Jesus’ resurrection, and the hope that is ours as a result, is one that has been on repeat inside my heart and home nonstop for months. We have comforted each other with “these words” as Paul said we should, and there is nothing that brings comfort when facing the grave besides the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.
As we celebrated the fact that Jesus rose the anthem reverberated across the state of Montana to more people than we have ever had the opportunity to communicate to. We have never undertaken anything quite so complicated or large as what we did Easter Sunday, but the reality of the message merits our doing everything we can to turn up our megaphone. God blessed the event in a major way and we saw many people respond to the gospel and stream forward in Billings, Missoula, Kalispell to make public professions of faith.
Going into the weekend we knew it would be bittersweet. Sweet to celebrate the best news that has ever been preached, like ever. I’m talking about “He is not here, He is risen!” Bitter for Lenya not to be there when I got off stage to show me her Lion mask craft they made in her Fresh Life Kids class. Sweet to hear story after story of life change and destinies being rerouted. Bitter to not get to see her scampering around the lawn looking for Easter eggs later on in the day.
In the midst of these highs and lows I saw something I hadn’t noticed in the Easter story before. Saturday. I tend to think a lot of Friday, when Jesus died. And of course you can’t think too much about Sunday when He rose, but Saturday hit me hard this year. On Saturday the body of Jesus remained buried in His tomb. He was not in His body. He had gone to Paradise. He would rise eventually, but for Saturday His body, which had been shed in dishonor, lay still. Motionless. Dead. Saturday is a place full of waiting. A place of anticipation. A place where promises had been made but weren’t yet fulfilled. To His disciples, who had been left behind, Saturday must have been the hardest part. I realized that we are sort of in a long Saturday, waiting for the promise of His coming, and we must not lose heart.
We are quickly approaching Christmas, it’s just a week away now! And we are going all out to reach as many people as possible with the good news of Christ’s coming. We are having 9 different worship experiences in 3 cities on 2 days and we are believing God is going to do great things! The will also be two opportunities to join in online. Get all the details, post about on social media and send e-vites by clicking here! And remember Christmas isn’t just about having warm and happy moments with people you love–it’s a rescue mission for people who need love!
This Thanksgiving weekend we are beginning a brand new series at fresh life going through the New Testament book of Philemon. It is an amazing little book (just 25 verses) that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it has a lot to say. R. Kent Hughes called the book of Philemon, “One of the great stories of the gospel and of the Church–a jewel in her crown.” I believe that God is going to do a powerful work in many hearts and lives as take time to study it.
We have set up a page where you can post about the Fugitive series or send out an e-vite to someone who needs to know of God’s love so they can join us at a campus or online. The holidays can be a happy time for people who have the warmth of healthy relationships around them; but it can also be a painful time of regret and loneliness for others who don’t. If you have out of town family staying in your house, what a great opportunity to get them to God’s House! You can visit the Fugitive page here.
Today is a day to remember. That doesn’t happen on its own. You have to work hard not to forget. The default mode of our memories is to gradually let things fade away with time. But if something is important you must fight that entropy and actively work at recollection. That’s why Jesus gave us communion so that we would have a regular reminder of the most important thing there is, His death for us on the cross. He knew that forgetfulness is the enemy of faith.
Though we tend to take it for granted, a price has been paid for the freedom that we enjoy everyday. Memorial day is a day to be thankful for the men, women and families that have sacrificed greatly to defend and protect our freedom of speech and freedom of religion–things that have set aside America as the greatest nation on earth.I like to display my flag, watch war movies and read in the news about those who have recently laid down their lives on the battlefield.These things jog my memory and snap me out of the bubble of everyday life, forcing me to stay mindful about what it’s all about.
And we must be careful to impart the significance of this day to our children. It must not just become a killer three-day weekend and another excuse to overeat. Because, to quote Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
If you are reading this and you are or were a part of the armed forces of this great nation, or are a family member of one, I want to say thank you for the heavy burden you bear. I am grateful.
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.