In January we had the pleasure of having the band Luminate perform at Skull Church. Here is a video from that performance of their song, “New Beginnings.” Check it out. These guys are awesome.
As a rule I generally don’t read letters that come in anonymously. I have found that often times when people communicate without including their name it’s because they are cowards who just want to take a potshot and criticize from the shadows. From the safety of an unsigned letter the venom can freely drip off of the page. The worst part is when you are done reading it, and the barbs have done their worst, you can’t do anything about it. But that was the point all along; damage not dialogue.
But I recently read a note someone wrote me that was clearly left unsigned, not for the purpose of vitriol, but out of shame and embarrassment.
Dear skull church person,
I think your ministry is great and all, but the one think I think you should touch on is what about Christians who have fallen away from God. How to get them to come back. I’m 18 years old, and I have an addiction to pornography and masturbation. I know both are so wrong, but I can’t seem to stop. I know I’m a christian, but my walk with Christ is dead. I need help. Please pray for me.
As I read this note my heart went out to him and a million others just like him that are saved but struggling. It’s clear that he feels that what we are doing isn’t helping him in the battles he is fighting as he tries to walk with God. But here’s the thing: skull church can’t do that. There’s no way it can. Skull church is there to present the gospel to those who have never heard it, with the intention that those who commit their lives to Christ would get plugged in at a local fellowship where they can be baptized, hear the Bible taught consistently, get into a small group to grow as a disciple, and begin serving. If that’s fresh life, great. If it’s another church, also awesome.
Looking to an evangelistic outreach to move forward in your walk with God would be like taking your car back to the dealer anytime it’s out of gas. A dealership is a great place to get a car, but it’s not enough if you want to keep fuel in the tank. You need to go to the gas station every week, sometimes more. When you look at Paul’s evangelistic ministry you see this. People would get saved as he would preach, but then he would point them to bodies of believers to grow in their new walks with God. (1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.)
Don’t misunderstand me, I care very deeply about helping those who are struggling with sexual temptation. I have spent the last decade of my life calling this generation to God’s plan for sexual purity and trying to give tools to help them fight for it at O2 Experience events. And at fresh life we have done whole series on this subject, talking about these topics at length (see here and here) But skull church is a one trick pony. It only has one gear. It’s there to amplify the gospel, from the loudest speakers possible, to as many people as possible, until all have heard or Jesus has returned.
There is nothing I have experienced on the earth that is more powerful, overwhelming, and awesome as the birth of a child. Even though my wife and I have been through it four times now, my amazement has not worn off one bit. Days later, as I hold this little girl in my arms, I find it staggering to think that she is the basketball sized lump that my wife had been carrying around last week.
As I spent the days leading up to Skull Church helping care for our little newborn, both in the hospital and then at home, I found myself thinking a lot about birth and what Jesus had to say about rebirth. Specifically, I couldn’t get this one statement out of my head. One night Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The more I thought and prayed about it the more I sensed God calling me to speak on this verse.
There are so many parallels between physical birth and spiritual birth, and with the miracle of life being so fresh in my mind, the message practically wrote itself. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I wrote a good deal of it while holding little Clover. It was a very personal and special message to prepare and to give. And it was an absolutely transcendent experience to see Skull Church transform into a Delivery Room as many people responded to the gospel and made public declarations of faith in Christ!
One of the great things about this event is the far-reaching scope of the webcast. Last night we had viewers all over the globe, from Mexico to New Zealand. And we saw commitments to Christ made in: New York, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Utah. It was also a real treat to have a musical performance by Luminate. They are a fantastic band, you should give them a listen.
Here is the lookbook from last night to give you a sense of what went down.
I can’t think of a better way to start out the new year than by seeing people walk into forgiveness and grace through Jesus, and that’s exactly what we saw happen at the first Skull Church event of 2012! The Mayan calendar may be signaling the end of days, but for those touched whose hearts were touched by the gospel last night, this year is the beginning of a brand new life. It was also nice to expose Montana to some hip hop; living sixty miles from Canada we don’t get a whole lot of that.
I am sitting here by the Christmas tree, with a fire lit and a hot cup of coffee, reflecting on what I saw God do at skull church yesterday and I am making absolutely no attempt to wipe the grin off my face. I could never “get used” to taking part in something like that.
As always, singing all original songs that have been birthed in our church is always a joy and a treasure. And Gungor, the guest band, was out of control. We have been wanting to get them out for a long time and I have been hearing nothing but great things about their live performances. (if you don’t have any of their music go buy it here) They lived up to the hype and then some. Their music created an atmosphere of worship and expectation that was thick with beauty and texture. The only way I can describe the after party is to use a quotation from the Psalms, “deep calls unto deep at the roar of your waterfalls…” (Psalm 42:7)
The text we focused on was the verse that describes the only Christmas tree in the Bible. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ hung on the tree to redeem us from the curse of the law. Christmas is all about the tree that Jesus came to die on and we played “where’s waldo” finding clues about the cross scattered through out the scriptures. At the invitation we saw many respond to the gospel and commit their lives to Christ. And not just in person, we saw people register commitments to Christ online from 5 states and 3 countries!
Here is the December skull church lookbook.
Fast facts: Tonight at 7pm (MST) in downtown Kalispell, live everywhere on the web at skullchurch.com and broadcasting on fresh life radio (91.3 FM in the Flathead Valley and 107.1 & 88.9 FM in Billings).
Did you know? We have taken aggressive steps to improve our webcast so that MANY more people can stream it on computers and mobile devices without glitches or skipping. Invite someone to watch with you or post about it online! If you have sketchy internet or are still having trouble watching you can always listen to the audio-only feed on fresh life radio by pointing your iPhone or iPod touch’s browser to freshliferadio.com
I walk away from skull church events each month feeling a mixture of extreme elation and a sense of shock that I was able to be there. Any setting where Christ is preached and people are moved to repentance has that feeling to it. The gospel should blow your mind every single time you think about it. It’s way out of control. Christ dying in our place, resurrection power being freely offered, hell overcome by the kingdom of heaven–just typing those words fills my heart with worship and awe. I can’t believe that God was willing to save me. I also think it’s pretty insane that we get to be His ambassadors and be a part of Him saving other people.
As though all that weren’t enough, what further lights me up about skull church is seeing our team all perform at such a high level, and with such passion as we unite behind the proclamation of the gospel. It was also an honor to have my good friend and fellow evangelist Pedro Garcia preach last night. He pastors at an amazing church in Miami that is making Jesus famous in South Florida and beyond and has a passion for Christ that is infectious. We have become gangsters for life and share a common DNA in our approach to ministry.
If you weren’t able to be there or join us online, here is the lookbook from last night to give you a glimpse of what we saw go down.
I wish you could have been at Skull Church last night. It was over the top. Having Pastor Greg Laurie come and preach in the skulpit was such an honor. God has used him to communicate the gospel to over 4 million people in person through out the years at Harvest Crusades. There is no other person who has so helped shape and mold my evangelistic calling as him and everything we are trying to do to reach those stranded in sin is fruit to his account.
Leeland was our musical guest and they were so great. We have never had one of these events in the rain but we still had a great turnout and saw people respond to the gospel. That never gets old.
Just a few hours before the party started I got a breaking news alert (on my iPhone) about Steve Jobs dying. It was sobering. I am a card-carrying apple fanboy and I have read several biographies on this prolific luminary. As we thought of this sad news it caused our hearts to burn brighter as we prepared to preach the gospel. Life is short. Eternity is near.
Later in the night we used many different apple products to produce and send out the Skull Church webcast that went out to apple devices (and others) all over the place. Even though we have never had such difficulties streaming our HD video stream, probably because of the whole world rushing to read about and tweet about the news (we heard that many servers were overwhelmed by it all), after the invitation was given I took great joy in seeing commitments to follow Christ made online. It was technologically possible for us to reach out this way because of Steve Jobs.
I am so excited to announce that on October 5th pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie will be speaking in Montana. Ever since God got a hold of his heart as a teenager Greg has sought to share the gospel with as many people as possible. As he has been faithful to proclaim the message God has opened doors for him to preach all over the place–from Madison Square Garden to Dodger Stadium–through the Harvest Crusades. It is an honor and a huge opportunity to have him come and speak at Skull Church.
I am not going to give any spoilers but we have also booked an incredible guest band for this event. It’s going to be quite a night! Pray about who you can invite and bring with you. If you live outside of Montana invite someone over and have a Skull Church viewing party. We stream in HD and have heard stories of people hooking laptops up to tv’s, beaming it from an iPad to an apple tv over airplay or watching thru their playstation. Whatever it takes! And please pray that God will move in power and that many will come to know Christ.
Take a moment and visit skullchurch.com where you can invite a friend to attend or watch the webcast by email, tweet about the event and get more info.
We just finished the first ever, out-of-town skull church event. It was two hours away in Missoula, Montana. Zoo-Town, as it is called, is a college city and has a bigger population than the greater Kalispell area. We have had a heart to come here and preach the gospel for years and I am so thankful that God has given us the opportunity.
This whole thing was a step out in faith for us. We have never done ministry here, my radio show isn’t on the air, and even though we have seen God do amazing things through skull church at home and online, we have never tried to take it on the road. I don’t have a problem telling you that it was a little scary. Would anyone come?
The venue was way rad. A super vibey old-school theatre. (we tend to be drawn to the phantom of the opera type of rock and roll clubs to do church in.) When our setup teams arrived the cleaning crew hadn’t yet arrived to mop up from the previous show and it was gnarly. Their was still the smell of freshly smoked pot in the air and a mixture of vomit and spilled alcohol on the floor. What better place could there be to preach the gospel?
Missoula is a city that needs the gospel. It has the feel and worldview of what you would find in any university town. Pastors that partnered with us in this outreach told me that it is a very unchurched city with very low numbers of the people attending any place of worship at all. We definitely encountered some very vocal and hostile opposition as we sought to shine the light of Christ but we also found many to be very open and interested as well.
Each night we had great crowds. We didn’t know what to expect and were blown away as hundreds poured in. In addition to those there in person we had several thousand joining in on the live webcast from all over the country and other parts of the world. Best of all, by the time the weekend ended we saw eighty-nine people make professions of faith in Christ!
I am overcome by God’s goodness for letting us be ambassadors of the gospel. I am thankful to freshlife for being a church that cares about the lost in other places. And I am blown away by the mighty men and women of my team that not only fought a giant this weekend–they ran to the battle.
Here is a lookbook to give you a feel of what we saw God do.