FRUIT of the SPIRIT
When I think about this earthly life and the purpose of Teen Mania’s mission, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the blessings that we care about most is growing the fruit that lasts an eternity- souls and nations for the Kingdom of God.
With a continuing desire to cultivate good fruit, it only seemed appropriate after talking about “seasons” that the idea of bearing fruit would come next.
In Galatians 5, God says there is no law against the fruits of the Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
I read there are actually 2000 types of fruit in the world, even if we only consume about 10% of them or 200. I’m sure there are probably at least that many kinds of fruit that we can develop in our own personal lives with God as well.
The fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 are LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL.
As Christians, fruit is something that grows in us. Too often we focus on what not to do or “sin management.” With real spiritual growth and maturity, even at the beginning of our walk with Christ, there is a benefit to focusing on “How many good things am I doing?” instead of “What do I have to give up?”
Fruit just grows and develops—we don’t have to announce it, but it should be obvious to others. Just as in the natural world, fruit grows over time. We can focus on what kind of fruit or character we want to have in our lives. Take time to ask God to help you grow in a particular area.
If we want good fruit that grows to maturity, our roots need to grow down deep no matter what season we are in, spring, summer, fall, or winter. Consistency in prayer, reading the Word, and obedience to the Spirit provide excellent conditions to grow good fruit.
In times of dormancy (or slow/gradual growth) such as winter, we need to have more faith and not live by feelings or what we see or don’t see, but do things that develop the growth of fruit. Just because there are no leaves, it doesn’t mean the tree is dead and so it is with fruit=it may be ready to burst forth with time and patience.
Growing fruit is also a strong desire God has for each one of us as found in John 15. He says it is to His Father’s glory that we bear much fruit and fruit that will last. The only way we can do this is to remain in Him, the True Vine as no branch can bear fruit by itself. As we stay close to the Lord, He does allow us to be fruitful and continues to prune us to be even more fruitful in the days to come.
Teen Mania’s Next Season
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Isn’t it interesting that God put practical things in motion that give us real life lessons. We experience seasons in our life, and the nature of seasons is things change.
People who live in areas where seasons don’t change get bored. Think about it – you’ve got “hot” and “hotter,” or “cold” and “colder.” You don’t get to see the color changes of the fall, or the lush greenery of spring if the seasons never change.
There are seasons of life that we have. There was a season where you were a small child. Then you grew up and became an adult. Then came the season of marriage came, and then kids and once you have kids, you forget there even was a season without them. Then there’s a season where they leave, and oh is it good! You can actually go out to dinner instead of having Ramen every night.
There are also seasons in ministries. If you study virtually any ministry – Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, the Salvation Army – you’ll see seasons of change. Billy Graham, for example, started out preaching every weekend at Youth for Christ rallies. Then he had a radio program that was broadcast to auditoriums filled with teenagers. Then he shifted out of that and began talking to adults. Then he went all over the world, and then had a TV ministry. Every season requires a risk, taking a chance and hearing from God.
During each season of ministry or life, there’s something important that must be done during that season. It can’t be done during the next season – it has to be done now. There are lives that need to be changed today.
There’s a season in your life to go to college. If you don’t go to college during that time, you’ll probably never go. There are certain seasons where you plant, and if you don’t, nothing is going to grow.
Sometimes, in longing for the next season you miss what you could get out of the current season. Some people long so much to be married that they miss out what they can only be doing in their single life. They’re always thinking about the next season. Its important to live in the moment! Experience all life has to offer while you are in your current season!
It’s important to finish this season well. If you watch a track meet, you’ll notice the passing of the baton is such a delicate thing. In the passing, the baton can juggle between hands and slow you down. Or, it can be so well-rehearsed and graceful that the pass off happens and the runner takes right off. That’s what we’re aiming for here – a graceful baton pass.
Let’s run in such a way that we can look back and say we did it with the grace of God. What a handoff!
Now some answers to questions that have come up from alumni, staff and others who care about the future of Teen Mania:
We want to take as many of the hearts of the alumni, parents, youth pastors, missionaries and staff with us as possible. These people have poured their hearts out here, and we want to honor that. We want to make sure you know the truth of what’s going on and where our future is going so we all have faith together and strive forward together.
Are all of the Teen Mania programs moving forward?
For the most part, all programs are transferring. The only difference would be, over next few months, rethinking how we’re doing what we’re doing. We don’t have any intention at this point of deleting any programs. We just want to find ways to make them better.
Is Teen Mania involved in legal proceedings?
No vendors have actually filed suit.
Is there going to be an alumni reunion?
We are hoping to plan a giant reunion for alumni, interns and former staff sometime before we move. We want to celebrate and honor those memories that were made at this beautiful campus. Please let us know if you would be interested in coming.
What date are we leaving?
Within the next eight weeks, we expect to have a solid plan for that. The reason we even made the announcement of our move this week is so we could communicate what’s going on before rumors started to swirl about what’s really going on.
Now that we have no bank debt, are we making a commitment to never go into debt again as stated in Proverbs 22:7?
I love Dave Ramsey, but I feel like there are some times when it’s wise to leverage debt. But other times it’s not – for example, never buy a new car. However it might be wise to borrow money for other things. I can tell you this, between myself and the board of directors, we will be very scrupulous to make a good case for it if the time comes.
Do we have to liquidate our assets?
We want to be clear, we are the ones who initiated the action with the bank. There will be no foreclosure proceedings – it’s a transaction. We signed the paper, they signed the paper and it’s a done deal. This is amicable, and we don’t have to liquidate all of our assets. We are getting rid of our debt, and it’s an awesome blessing.
There were a series of miracles that happened to get us to this place. I went to the meeting with the bank and took with me a businessman who’s been in meetings like this hundreds of times with companies over 30-40 years. When we got out of the meeting with the bank, he said what happened in the meeting was a miracle. He’s been in deals where it’s taken two years and dozens of meetings just to get where we got with one meeting.
It usually takes hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. We spent no money and had one meeting. Really, the grace of the Lord can be felt all over this.
The good news is that this move to Dallas sets us up to focus on the vision that has been burning in us form the beginning to impact people around the world with the gospel. Now that there is literally “Global youth culture” we have the opportunity to make impact on so many more lives by leveraging all we have learned about reaching American teens for all these years. We hope that many alumni will join us (either in prayer or coming in person) to spread the Gospel all over the world by helping conduct Acquire the Fire events globally and helping to start Honor Academy campuses to train young adults all over the world to lead their generation!
The world is reaching out to the West to save their youth from Our culture
What an amazing trip to southeast Asia – my son Cameron and I just got back last week, and I wanted to share some of the highlights from the trip.
We traveled through several countries, including some that are closed to Christianity. In one of those countries, I was invited to speak at 2-day seminar on youth ministry with about 100 pastors from across the country. What was so interesting was that, as we began to talk about the challenges young people face here in America, the pastors shared that they face the same challenges as far as their young people being consumed by phones and the internet, too. They are facing the same challenges to connect with the youth there and reach them for the Lord.
I also spoke at a youth conference in South Korea and got to meet with several pastors. One of the most-heartbreaking things in the world to me, that really moved me, was that in Asia, there’s a lot of Buddhism, and in South Korea a huge miracle began to take place and Christianity began to spread so much that it became 25% of the population. But in the last 20 years, that number has gone down. Now the number of Christians makes up 18% of the population, but among young people it’s just 2.9%. South Korea saw one of the biggest movements in the history of Christianity of people moving toward Christ, and they didn’t pass it onto the next generation. The people are stunned, and they don’t know what to do.
It’s a heartbreaking thing. The young people are bombarded with media from the west, and now they’ve got something called “K-pop” that is dominating Asian culture. K-pop is kind of a mirror of what our culture is like, with a focus on pop culture and celebrity. The pastors don’t know what to do, so they are reaching out.
We also travelled to Manila, and there’s a sense of urgency to reach the young people there because out of a population of 100 million people in the Philippines, 65% are under 25 years old. That’s a lot of young people.
We went from there to a meeting in Israel, and there’s a big event happening next year called Empower 21. It’s all about how to pass the essence of the Holy Spirit onto the next generation.
I feel this sense of the world asking us, would you help us somehow know what to do with these kids? They’re watching the junk that’s coming from America, and we don’t know how to reach them anymore.
Please be in prayer for the pastors and young people in Asia, as well as here in the U.S. Our challenges are so similar, and we need to be prayerful about how we can break through the culture so young people can receive the gospel.
Son of God: Why Teens Should See This Movie
The story of Jesus is one we can all relate to in a personal way. After all, it’s the story of God coming down to earth as a man to live with us, love us, and ultimately take our place on the cross in payment for our sins. Jesus was a man who breathed our air, experienced our emotions, and loved us “while we were yet sinners.”
I think young people especially can connect with Jesus. Teens are constantly searching for love and acceptance, and no one embodies the ultimate kind of love than Jesus. That’s why I want to encourage you — if you know a teen, have a teen in your family, or lead teens in ministry — to take them to see the “Son of God” movie on Feb. 28.
“Son of God” is the latest project by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. The couple also produced The Bible miniseries, which was a sweeping success on television last year. It’s exciting to see the momentum building behind movies like these, that unabashedly present the light of Jesus to a world that is still steeped in darkness.
Please check out the preview, and after, watch the video (below) of an interview Mark Burnett and I did together at the Acquire The Fire event in Anaheim last year:
Son of God
Mark Burnett and Ron Luce Interview
Here’s a little more about the movie:
The New Testament gets a larger-than life treatment in the stand-alone feature film, Son of God, opening in theaters nationwide February 28, 2014. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. Created by movie-producer husband and wife team, Mark Burnett (The Voice, The Apprentice, Shark Tank, Bible Miniseries) and Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel, Bible Miniseries), this film marks the first motion picture about Jesus’s life since Passion of the Christ.
Make a Big, Hairy Start to 2014
No, this blog post isn’t about Duck Dynasty. It’s about having the expectation that God’s going to do great things this year.
There’s a phrase in the business world called BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. It’s about setting reach-for-the-stars kinds of goals, and then galvanizing your team to achieve them.
Christianity has their own version of this, but it involves prayer – Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayer. It’s reach-for-the-stars kind of prayer, asking God to do things in your life and ministry that only He can do, and expecting Him to do them.
God is interested in answering BHAPs that glorify Him. These are faith-filled prayers that bring about heart change. Changing hearts is something God loves to do because it’s something ONLY He can do. He gets all of the credit!
So what does a BHAP look like? It looks like a prayer for the prodigal son to return home. It’s a prayer asking God to help you love someone who’s not-quite-loveable. It’s a prayer of pleading for the ability to forgive someone who has wronged you. It’s asking God to woo the hearts of an entire generation of young people, so they will be passionate followers of Him, ready to change the world.
That’s my BHAP. I want God to use me as part of His wooing of an entire generation. I wake up every morning asking Him to fill my mind with new, creative ways to demonstrate His love for young people and to encourage and inspire them to put their faith 100% in Him.
I want to provoke young people to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and take His life-giving message to the ends of the Earth! It’s a big, hairy, audacious prayer that ONLY the Lord can do.
The awesome part of praying a BHAP is seeing God work through you and me to accomplish the prayer. That’s right! He works through individuals to achieve these awesome things for His glory.
He’s inviting you to be a part of this. He’s galvanizing His team to achieve a reach-for-the-stars kind of goal. I know what my BHAP is for 2014, and I’m waiting expectantly for the Lord to see it through.
The opportunity is before you. Place your trust in the Lord, make a choice based on faith, and rest in His grace to accomplish the impossible!
What is your BHAP for 2014?
How America’s Youth are Not So Different from Teens in “Closed” Countries
I am asking for your covering in prayer as a great door for effective work has opened to me in Asia. As I write, I am traveling with my son Cameron within several Asian countries, some of which are not very open to the gospel. I am here at the invitation of several pastors who have asked me to minister to thousands of their young people, church leaders, and pastors. The heart of these Asian nations is burning for their teenagers to know Christ, to place their hope in Him when the world around them seems so hopeless.
This is a rare opportunity for me to preach Christ in places where the gospel has been unwelcome, but where new generations are discovering the light of life it contains. I would like to ask you for specific prayer as we share the Gospel in these countries right now.
As I travel on this mission, I think about the mission field that surrounds us every day, right here in the United States. All around us are young people who are hurting and lost without a relationship with Jesus.
As the new year begins, I want to encourage all of us to be mindful of the power of prayer, the blessings of sowing into Kingdom works and influencing others for Christ. Three things will make a huge impact in the lives of teens at this critical time:
1. Pray. Set aside time to pray specifically for teenagers. Most people accept Christ before age 20, so this is a critical time in their lives, and Satan knows it. Teens today are under a barrage of spiritual attacks, and they need our prayer for protection and for the Holy Spirit to break through!
2. Give. If you can, support faith-based organizations on a monthly basis. Organizations like these are in the trenches every day, reaching the lost and empowering the saved to plant the seeds of the gospel around the world! They depend on your support to continue their mission. If you’d like to support Teen Mania in our mission to provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take his life-giving message to the ends of the Earth, you can do so here.
3. Support. It only takes a small amount of time to be meaningfully involved in a cause you believe in. Make a phone call, or sign a petition. It takes a few minutes, but your involvement can make a difference for eternity for someone desperately in need of Jesus. All areas of our culture need the influence of Christians like you and me, whether it’s government, business, social causes or the media. There’s definitely a place for you, and it doesn’t take much to make a big difference!
Let this be our uniting verse for 2014, as we stand together in our mission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth:
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 16:8
I cherish the knowledge that you are praying for me and my son as we minister to teens, churches and pastors in Asia this month. Would you let me know you are praying by leaving a comment below?
VIDEO: The race to end unbelief and empower teens in Jesus Christ
It wasn’t just a 26-mile race. It was a message to America: The time to reach teens is NOW!
Even though we had to change locations at the last minute due to the ice in Dallas, I am glad God gave me and our team the determination and heart to head down to College Station to run 26.2 miles in the BCS marathon.
A good friend of the ministry, Angie came from Houston to run the first half of the marathon with me. I was so encouraged that my daughter Charity showed up from Chicago to surprise me the day of the race and ran the last 7 miles with me!
We had 2 vans of interns sprinkled around the 26 miles with signs and another intern ran the half marathon as well!
We came to the BCS Marathon to raise awareness of the need to reach teens for Christ. All across this nation you responded–with prayer, with sponsorships, and by turning your hearts toward the plight of teenagers today.
Unlike any other time in America’s history, living out the Christian faith has become a challenge. Today’s teens live in a culture where half of all depictions of religion on television are negative, and half of all Americans think it doesn’t matter what religion you believe because “they all teach the same lessons.” Because of this, about 8 million teens are giving up on church and Christianity once they leave high school.
Thank you for partnering with me in this marathon — because that’s what it really is. It wasn’t just a 26 mile run. It is an endurance race to turn the tide of unbelief among teens, a lifetime of love, prayer and discipleship to empower a generation to live fearlessly in faith in Jesus Christ.
Please check out this short, 3-minute Youtube video showing highlights from the race, and sharing my heart for reaching this generation:
Ice Won’t Stop Me — I’m Running in the BCS Marathon
You may have heard that the Dallas Marathon was canceled due to inclement weather this weekend. But I refuse to give up! Katie, myself and a friend of Teen Mania’s are running in the BCS Marathon on Sunday in College Station! Yes, It is true.
So please keep praying, especially so, and continue to reach out to your friends and loved ones today and tomorrow about the importance of this race. It’s more than just a marathon — it’s a race to Empower Teens through the power of Jesus Christ!
Below is an amazing, short testimony from several teens who have had their lives changed through what we do at our Acquire The Fire conferences all over the United States and Canada. In 3 minutes you will get a glimpse of our heart. This is just one example of why we do everything we can to bring awareness to the spiritual poverty and heart-breaking brokenness that is plaguing our teenagers. Click on the image to watch the video now:
Remember, $6 can change a teen’s life! If you pledge $1 per mile, $5 per mile, or $10 per mile that I run, you can potentially reach 43 teenagers with the gospel of Jesus! The return on this investment in teens’ lives will be eternally exponential!
Friends, every person you know either has a teen in their life or knows one. I ask for your support in every way to help us minister to the masses of teens who are starvingfor truth and hope. They need forgiveness and freedom, they need their minds to believe in the real, almighty God and their hearts to find healing.The times are perilous, but they hold promise. God assures us that a seed sown for Him will leave a legacy for this generation and generations to come.Thank you for all you do out of your love for the Lord. Thank You for this. I pray the Lord blesses each one of you. I am so honored to know and serve with you.
Please pledge your support for me on this run by giving online at http://www.teenmania.com/
May God Bless you as you bless others. Your friendship and support are such a encouragement to Katie and me and we thank God for you!
See how $6 Can Transform a Teen’s Life
We all know kids are in trouble, but not a lot of us know what we can do about it.
I am face-to-face with teens every weekend at Acquire The Fire. We tailor the message of the ATF conferences to address the new and ever-increasing challenges teens face in a cutting-edge format.
See for yourself how teenagers’ lives are transformed by these events:
I’m asking you to join me this Sunday, Dec. 8, by sponsoring my run in the Dallas Marathon at $1, $5, or even $10 a mile. Every $6 raised means another teen’s life has opportunity to change!
Will you join me? Will you sponsor this race? Will you pray for teenagers?
Find out more by going to www.TeenMania.com/EmpoweringTeens
Social Media vs. Real Relationships: Join me NOW to change teen’s hearts!
These days teens can become trapped in the false reality of social media. Instead of getting what they really want—authentic relationships with people with whom they can connect and share their heart — teens are feeling more and more isolated.
Shocking statistics from several recent studies show how teens are using social media to build empty relationships based on false premises, and the dangers that this activity entails:
- In less than three years, the mobile messaging app Snapchat has exploded in popularity, with 400 million messages and photos sent through its system each day. Snapchat’s main audience is between thirteen and twenty-three years old, and at least 13 percent of teens admit to using Snapchat regularly. The FBI has warned that the app is being used by pedophiles to lure young victims.
- While some teens go online for support with issues they feel uncomfortable discussing with family or friends, many experience how quickly these apps can become an outlet for aggression and hostility. One in five teens say they have been harassed within the last 12 months, and 16 percent of them were tormented online or via text.
- A 2012 McAfee study revealed that 70 percent of teens actively attempted to conceal their online behavior from their parents.
- A 2012 Stanford study found that too much screen time could be detrimental to the social and emotional development of teen girls, and that the powerful antidote was simply spending more time having face-to-face conversations.
Bringing teens into a relationship with Christ is the heartbeat of our dream.
This Sunday, December 8, I will be running in the Dallas Marathon to empower teenagers to rise above their own struggles, emotions and circumstances to be better prepared to succeed in today’s world. The goal is to bring awareness to the pitfalls that teens in this generation face every day: addiction, bullying, suicide, and violence — not to mention the traps of atheism, agnosticism and universalism.
We want to reaffirm to teenagers to how much their lives count, and that each one has a unique purpose to fulfill. Each mile represents a challenge or difficulty that our teenagers face on a daily basis, but the completion of that mile should represent to them the power they have to overcome the challenge through Jesus Christ.
Would you join me and the Teen Mania team to relay this message of hope to young people?
Please consider how you can help in preparation for the Dallas Marathon on December 8, 2013!
Here are several ways you can help:
- Go to www.teenmania.com/
empoweringteensand see what we are doing!
- Join us as an intercessor by praying over this teenage generation.
- Please spread the word about our campaign “Empowering Teens” (http://www.teenmania.com/
empoweringteens) ….. rally your friends and family to the website, share on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media that you have.
- Would you pledge $1, $5, $10 per mile to reach teens for the Lord this year? Sponsor the effort to reach teens HERE.
Thank you for joining me as we stand together for this hurting generation. We have got to be the keepers of the fire and remember the ways of the Lord to pass them on to our children and our children’s children.