Sunday, August 21, 2011

JC Awakening 2011: Banning Liebscher Part 2

Here are some more tidbits from Banning Liebscher's message at the Jesus Culture awakening conference in the beginning of August 2011.

We have all been called to be different than the world. On this topic of our calling, and how we are all called to something, Banning quoted the story of the King inviting people to his wedding celebration, and how the esteemed had excuses and didn't come, so the King invited anyone his servants could find along the highway, "both good and bad." Banning continued with Matt. 22:14, saying "'Many are called, but few are chosen' because few say YES."

"Jesus makes it easy to leave and hard to stay." Banning stated that, "It is the most hardcore thing in the world to follow Jesus...When He calls you, he is asking for your entire life." Jesus doesn't make it easy. In fact, in John 6 it recounts when He stated that to be apart of what He had you would have to eat his own blood and flesh, and many were offended and left him. But the worth is incredible.

Count the Cost. In Luke 14 we are told through a parable to count the cost of following Christ before we embark. "Salvation is a free gift," Banning reminded us, "but salvation will also cost you your entire life."

He laughed, and then told us that he is sympathetic for those who genuinely have a difficult time giving their tithe of 10% of their finances to their local churches, because God does not want 10% of your finances, He wants not only 100% of your finances, but 100% of your life. He also humbled me, and probably many others in the room, when he acted out our thoughts of debating back and forth with God. "Well, God, are you sure you want me to give that up completely? I mean, it's really only worth this, right?" and continued with the usual auction-style dialogue. "No," Banning said. When God asks or commands something of us we must remember: "God does not barter."

Things that don't cost anything aren't worth anything (2 Samuel 24:24). With the full weight of seriousness, he said, "I am concerned about a generation who's salvation costs them nothing."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Prayer & Worship

For many years now, God has put prayer on my heart. Whenever I ask Him about how He wants me to spend my time, He has repeatedly exhorted me to press into prayer, specifically interceding for others and what God wants to do in this world.

God has been so faithful to answer my prayers, too; time and time again He comes through with new income for our family, physical healing, breakthrough in perspectives, and so many other provisions.

And prayer, when partnered with worshiping God, always seems to open up a new level of experiencing God's presence. This is why Peter and I have decided the best thing we can do for WorshipArts and the students we want to grow this semester is to have a night of Prayer and Worship!

We are going to be specifically focusing our prayers on this next semester of WorshipArts. We want the students who participate to have their lives changed and encounter God in new ways. We want them to be given boldness and opportunities to step up in their local churches and start impacting the people in their lives for the Kingdom of Christ. We want the youth of Kalamazoo and beyond to know Christ intimately, and take Him boldly out into there communities with the power of the Holy Spirit!

If you believe in the power of prayer, I'd love to have you partner with us and pray for this next semester of WorshipArts and the greater Kalamazoo area this coming Tuesday night. All the details you need are right here on Facebook. And even if you can't come out, I covet your prayers for God's blessing and favor over these next four months!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Message Team

Some of you may have heard about a big, exciting change coming up in my life this fall. (No, I'm not having a baby.) I'm going to be leading a passion-filled team of youth resolved to use their writing and speaking skills to bring God glory.

I am charged up about what God is going to do in the students own lives and through them as they impact the community. I hope to empower them to both explore different writing styles and be able to hone in on whichever style they are most passionate about.

Most of the time we will be using a less traditional style of teaching where students receive a themed prompt and then they get to choose to run with whichever specific writing style they want. I'm excited about this because we will get a variety of topics but also they won't be forced to write in a style they hate for the majority of the time.

Here's an example of what this might look like:
Tommy reaches his hand into a hat and pulls out the topic “Proverbs 17:9 “Disregarding another person's faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends.” He decides it would be fun to try and do this week's assignment as lyrics to a song, and what do you know, that's allowed!  
As long as the theme is evident (through a story, real-life example, through direct quotation, etc.), he can be as creative as he wants. Throughout the season Tommy will have to do a minimum of 2 persuasive papers, 1 reflective paper, 1 informative paper, 1 song lyrics or poem, 1 fiction paper, and 1 script (drama or video) but he has to write a total of 12 assignments—meaning 5 of his assignments are completely up to him to decide on the style. (Actual required assignments subject to change before season starts.)  
Tommy will also have to share at least 3 of his works publicly, and he will also have the opportunity to work alongside other tracks (like the video production and drama tracks!) to bring some of his work to life. 

I'm telling you, this is going to be amazing—I definitely wish I had been able to be a part of something like this when I was in high school! If you know anyone age 14-18, send them on to to get them plugged in with this awesome experience.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

JC Awakening 2011: Banning Liebscher Part 1

Banning Liebscher spoke during the afternoon session (following Kim Walker-Smith) the first day of the Jesus Culture Awakening 2011 Conference. His message centered on leadership and our callings, and was, to be expected, packed full of challenges and truth.

His message conveyed that when we were saved, we became the head, not the tail, meaning we are all meant to be leaders in some way or another. He challenged everyone present in Allstate Arena in Chicago to remember that what happens in America is dependent on our leadership.

Banning said a problem he has seen is that many of us would be content to simply sit back and believe that we will not be a part of anything, say, a revival, and that we think it is acceptable to just "be along for the ride" with Christ.

Wow. Talk about a slap in the face. I can, unfortunately, say that the majority of my days I have settled for just going through the motions and routines without actually diving into any pursuit of fulfilling my calling or being a leader. I so often think, "Oh, that day will come...but for now I can't do much." Lately I definitely think about it often, and plan a lot, but so little of the time do I actually take action into real pursuit of the calling God has for me.

But I want to be different. I want to actually pursue God every moment, and that choice has to be made every day. I need to take ownership of my identity as a "co-laborer" in Christ and actually WORK more for His kingdom!

So, how about you?


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jesus Culture Awakening 2011: Kim Walker-Smith

Kim Walker-Smith kicked off the Awakening 2011 conference in Chicago's Allstate arena with a concise, power-packed message. She shared what has been the theme of her life and what Peter and I have heard in many of her youtube videos (like this one) before hand, but hearing it again was fantastic and challenging.

Fighting for a constant connection with God throughout the week is not only important, but essential. She said we should never live without it. Even if you don't always feel it, you need to know and be aware that His presence is there, and that alone will completely change how you live your life.

 Fighting and pressing into God throughout the week empowers us to experience corporate worship on Sundays that goes above and beyond what we expect or consider "normal" now. Kim is eager for where corporate worship is headed, and is passionately longing for the day when everyone enters their sanctuaries ready to start deep and intimately praising Christ, rather than requiring anything (such as a particular type of song) to get the congregation's focus right.

Kim mentioned that she has had times and seasons where her prayer life felt dry, but she kept on diligently seeking. This truth would keep her going: "Someday I will bear the fruit of this moment." She credits this attitude and discipline for where she is today--an internationally renowned worship leader and songwriter.

Jesus took that phrase even deeper into my heart. I will bear the fruit of EVERY moment someday. I knew this as head knowledge earlier in my life, but it has taken root and I have realized every second I spend I am sowing into my future and reaping from my past. I will reap from the moments I spend in worship, from the time I invest into reading scripture, from the idle moments (ahem...hours) I have spent on Facebook. I will harvest something in my future from the encouragement I give to my friend, from the tip I give my waitress, from the words I say to my husband. I want to be mindful in every moment and be certain I am using every opportunity to bring God glory. Every moment you spend sows into a kingdom, be it Christ's Kingdom, your own, or your enemy's.

Kim Walker-Smith leading worship at Awakening

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jesus Culture Awakening 2011

I'm writing right now from the parking lot of Allstate Arena and let me tell you, Jesus is here!

My husband and I drove down to Chicago yesterday and the moment we entered the parking lot, I've felt the Holy Spirit's presence like a thick joy here. It is incredible. Even from the parking lot volunteers greet you with the most sincere handshakes, smiles, "Praise God!" and "Are you ready for what He's going to do!?" exclamations.

God is moving powerfully. This gathering is nothing like the many other youth conferences and adult conferences I've been to. From the moment you walk in the door you feel Jesus. These people came for a different purpose. They did not come to salve their wounds, or to spend day the first third of the conference "getting right" with Jesus. These people didn't even come to get healed or have their problems solved. These people are here with one purpose--to seek God and give Him glory. They are seeking first the Kingdom of God, and all these things are being added unto them. It is astounding and it has opened Heaven to rain down the love and freedom of Christ!

I have been so impressed and inspired by these faithful people. The biggest thing I've noticed is unashamed worship and adoration. Seeing 30,000 hands raised in praise for entire worship sets is unbelievable. And it hits home with incredible impact when the majority of the time it is unprompted by a leader on stage (though they do that often too!!). On top of these, it happened from day one. Day one, and people are pressing in so hard and Jesus' power is being released in love, hope, and miracles.

I can't wait to share more with you about what our Great and Mighty God is doing in America and the world, starting right here in Chicago! Today has been even more incredible than yesterday. God is moving, building, and this revival is going to be birthed in our nation!

I urge you to tune in tonight at You can watch free from your computer. God is pouring out His power, blessing and authority and you have the opportunity to partake of it with more than 15,000 people tonight! Please, spend your evening tonight with Christ and share with me what He highlights to you!

Other posts about Jesus Culture Awakening 2011:
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