this weekend’s party

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We are just coming down from a powerful weekend in Missoula. Watching God work in people’s lives’ through the gospel message never gets old — there is nothing like it. It has been two years since the last time we had a Skull Church event here and it felt great to be back. The Wilma Theater has a lot of character. It has hosted every kind of concert imaginable — from Skrillex and Macklemore to Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson and everything in between. The last two nights it was a platform where people met Jesus.

Our team did such a great job. Every last one of them. Raul and the entire team at Fresh Life Missoula got after it in a major way, putting many, many hours in before and during the event. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was getting to go to church at our campus here yesterday. Partnering with John Mark McMillan and The Afters was a huge honor. All of the guys in both bands were so kind and excited to be a part of the event.

Missoula is a one of a kind city. It is weird, proud of it and has no intention to change. I love this city and it’s eclectic, eccentric vibe. It is a very different place — you have the whole “A River Runs Through It” vibe mixed with a kind of Seattle-type mindset found in many college towns. I believe with all my heart that Jesus has huge plans for this place and all the people who call it home. It has been and is a genuine joy to love and serve God here.

We have one more Skull Church event this year. We are going to be going to Helena in October. Helena is the state capitol and we have never done ministry there and I can’t wait to see what God will do.

Here is the Skull Church Missoula lookbook:

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Skull Church Missoula

This weekend we will be at the Wilma theater in Missoula for a two night Skull Church event. We will be joined by John Mark McMillan and The Afters. I have been wanting to bring John Mark and his band in for some time. His music is powerful. He is the one who wrote that song, “He loves us” that has wrecked many people in the best possible way. The Afters we have used before and they were such a blessing I couldn’t wait to get them back.

This is our second time doing Skull Church in Missoula. Back in 2011 it was the first place we had ever done an event outside of Kalispell. Now Skull Church has been to Billings, Bozeman, and Albuquerque and we are stoked to return to the Wilma. Both Saturday and Sunday night will be webcast live at 7pm MST at skullchurch.com so even if you can’t make it out you can watch, spread the word, and pray! Details here.


Skull Church in New Mexico

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In the past 5 years we have had Skull Church events all over Montana, but until last week we had never ventured outside the state. I have to admit there were some butterflies as we packed up and headed to Albuquerque. Were we making a mistake? Would people come? Was this all going to blow up in our faces? Even a few hours before the doors opened I still was dealing with the same volatile pre-event nerves that I always do. There was also last minute drama when a fire alarm was tripped just before we let people in that caused everything to get pushed back 1/2 hour while the building was evacuated.

The good and the bad part of venturing out in faith is the madness of it all. I have learned to lean into the chaos. There are no guarantees. Faith requires uncertainty. There has to be a degree of unpredictability to it all if we are to trust God. Ever since Lenya has gone to heaven, more than at any point in my life, I desire nothing more than to take these gutsy, reckless steps of faith, to reach as many people as possible, before this short life is over.

I have to give major snaps to our team considering the fact that this event came just two short weeks after Skull Church Majestic and Fresh Life Easter. You would never know how tired they were by the way they worked. I have never seen them work harder or more fired up to reach people. I’m not just talking about those who were in New Mexico. While many of us were away we still had worship experiences at all five Fresh Life campuses and those who stayed back are just as much a part of what happened as those who went. It takes just as much dedication and faith to stay as it does to go.

God blessed the event in a major way. In addition to the churches that supported the event, several radio stations — Christian and mainstream alike — got behind it as well. It was an amazing thing to see thousands of people line up to get in and the venue filled up to standing room only and beyond. Best of all, many, many people streamed out of their seats in response to the gospel and made public professions of faith in Christ.

It was difficult to not have Lenya with us at this landmark event in Skull Church history but special to see God continue to expand the platform that we have to reach people with the message of His love and grace. The stories that come in from those impacted are always incredible. None more so than the young girl who wrote of her former suicide attempts and the hope she has now found through the death and life of Jesus. That is what it is all about.

Here is the Skull Church Albuquerque look-book:

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Skull Church is Coming to Albuquerque!

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Fresh from our most fruitful Skull Church event ever, we’re gearing up for another milestone – taking Skull Church out of state for the first time. On April 14 at 7pm we’ll be sounding forth a message of hope from the speakers at Calvary Albuquerque in New Mexico. Located in a city of more than a million people and led by pastor Skip Heitzig, friend, mentor and father in the faith to Pastor Levi, Calvary Albuquerque sees 14,000 people come through its doors every weekend. This free event will feature music from the Skull Church band and a life changing gospel message. It can be watched live online at www.skullchurch.com. Invite everyone and bring someone who needs to know Jesus.

If you’re a church in the Albuquerque area and you would like to get behind Skull Church check out our CONNECT page for more info.


Skull Church Majestic

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Meeting Billy Graham

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Last week Jennie and I were given the opportunity to meet Billy Graham. We traveled to his mountainside home in North Carolina and were honored to sit down in his kitchen and spend some time with him. I’m not kidding when I say that there is not a single person on earth that I would be more excited to meet and talk to. He has preached the gospel to more people than anyone in human history. Hundreds and hundreds of millions have heard the good news because of him. Amazing.

Yet through all the historic crusades, counseling presidents, heads of state, and being considered, year after year, one of the most influential people alive, he has remained humble and driven by the simple desire to focus all the attention on the man in the glory — Jesus Christ. Even more amazing. He grew up the son of a dairy farmer and is a testimony to what God can do through a life that is fully yielded to Him and to His word.

As a young pastor and evangelist I have been greatly impacted by him. I vividly remember getting to attend one of his crusades for the first time. It was on my birthday my sophomore year of high school and I was thrilled to hear him preach in person. All these years later I still watch his messages regularly. It is part of my Skull Church warmup routine. I have many memories of sitting with Alivia and Lenya on those mornings watching grainy, vintage black and white footage that was shot at some of the historic crusades. His booming voice coming through the ages as fiery and powerful today as it was when it was first recorded.

Billy is 94 years old. He has fought the good fight for many, many decades — and he continues to still. He just finished writing a book on the subject of salvation that will release soon. While we were there he was picking out the cover. His beloved wife Ruth, who is a heroine to Jennie, is in Heaven. It was a joy for us to not only talk about Fresh Life and our desire to follow in his footsteps through preaching the gospel at Skull Church events, but to reflect on the hope of the resurrection, the reality of Heaven and the joys awaiting us that Lenya and Ruth are experiencing now. It was very special and an experience that I will treasure all my days. The opportunity for us to meet him came just before Lenya went to Heaven. We leapt at the chance at the time, and it meant even more to us in light of her sudden departure.

I am so thankful to Wil Graham, Billy’s grandson, who is an evangelist and a man of God and has become a great friend. He hosted us at their training center, The Cove, showed us all around Montreat, N.C. and told us so many amazing stories about “Daddy Bill.” It was a joy for our family to spend time with him, his lovely wife Kendra and their kids.

If you are ever in North Carolina, you for sure need to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. It tells the story of what God has done through his life and ministry. It is very well done and so inspiring.

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Last night’s party

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Christmas came early as we got to experience a bonus skull church event last night at the record release party. It’s been such an incredible ride to watch God use these songs as they have gone out on iTunes and radio stations all over the country and it was appropriate for us to take a night to celebrate.

Not only did the skull church band kill it in the best way possible, but we all got front row seats to the most amazing work of God –souls saved–as eternal destinies were changed in response to the gospel! This never gets old. Like ever.

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Album release party

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Tonight we are having a very special skull church event, an album release party for When Darkness Shakes. Though we officially released our first record back in November at the Bozeman event tonight we will celebrate it properly. It will be the final skull church event of 2012! In addition to a live performance of the entire album (which we will also be filming for a later DVD release) I will be giving a message and we are praying that God uses the night to reach people. You can join us live or online at 7pm Mountain time, no matter where you live at skull church.com. Bring a friend!


A Glimpse of Skull Church

We put a little recap video together to show what we saw God do at the recent Skull Church event in Bozeman.

We are dialed in for Skull Church 2013 but are still praying about 2014 and beyond. If you would like to request an event in your area you can do so here.


This weekend’s party

If I had a bucket list I could definitely scratch off, “Preach through a blizzard named Brutus in Bozeman.” That actually sounds worthy of being on a bucket list. And that is exactly what we did during Skull Church this weekend. We had no idea that the normally nice fall weather we typically enjoy this time of year was going to be disrupted by violent winds, crazy amounts of snow, single digit temperatures and icy freeways under weather and travel advisories throughout most of our outreach. To say that it was sketchy getting to Bozeman from across the state would be no exaggeration, but God got us here without any accidents, though we saw plenty of them. I didn’t even bring a proper winter jacket with me and froze for it…lesson learned.

Despite Brutus’ impact, we still had an amazing weekend of ministry. Releasing the Skull Church record and watching it take off was crazy fun. The two nights at the Emerson theater were beautiful. Hawk Nelson and Leeland were both extremely great to partner with and not only brought great music but had a heart to minister. In all we saw 58 people respond to the invitation and commit their lives to Christ! I met a group of students from Montana State University who received a flyer on campus and they came and gave their lives to Jesus the first night and came back the next with another friend who also responded to the invitation. I also heard a story of someone who gave their life to Christ at Skull Church Billings this summer and brought a friend to this event and saw them respond. There were parents who saw their children saved and siblings who watched brothers and sisters respond. It’s these kind of stories that are what it’s all about. It was my first time ever stepping foot in Bozeman and I gotta say how much I like the city. It has a really neat vibe and I am looking forward to coming back. And next time Brutus is officially not invited.

Here is the Skull Church Bozeman lookbook.