Live the Paradox: The life of God in you in the midst of a broken world
God, why? Where are you? How could you let this happen?
Do these questions sound familiar? It the midst of great struggle and pain, particularly, three years ago, when we almost lost my eldest daughter in a devastating plane crash. When we learned that the four young men who were traveling with her on a ministry trip had lost their lives, it felt like there was absolutely no way to process the pain and grief. Our world would never be the same. These questions were on my tongue. There were times when I wasn’t just sad, but I was mad at God. I would pray, “God, I don’t think you caused it, but how could you even allow this?”
I think sometimes instead of getting mad at God we are “polite” with him. Then we give God the silent treatment and walls begin to develop between us. You know, I don’t think God is intimidated when we express our emotions to him. It’s better to let it out and allow him to help us work through it. I did a lot of that—crying, and yelling, and praying, and just letting God hear my heart through all of it.
How do we keep moving forward when tragedy strikes, and frankly, disagrees with my theology! I’ve thought, Lord, you need to get your theology right around here because it doesn’t really line up with what the Bible says! There are things we don’t understand. First Corinthians says “we see through a glass dimly,” we don’t see the full picture. We don’t always get the explanation. But that doesn’t mean we stop following. When we look at people like Paul, he was in jail, whipped, stoned, left for dead, ship wrecked.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” He is living this paradox: outwardly, it looks like I’m destroyed. I’m being emaciated and obliterated. But I am renewed day by day; I’ve got this fountain of life on the inside. He lives this paradox out in front of everyone and I think it’s a picture of resilience. It’s possible for us to have things outwardly appearing to be totally caving in on us, but inwardly we have the life of God breathing in us—it more than compensates for the outward circumstance.
My prayer for all of us is that, in faith, we would walk in this sort of resilience: God breathing life in us as we trust in him. No matter what things look like on the outside. No matter what.
A few weeks back I had the privilege of talking with Susie Larson on the Live the Promise radio program. We had an awesome discussion about navigating struggle and pain, what to do when we don’t understand God, and a lot of stories about how these questions have played out in my life. If you’d like to listen to the full talk, find it here at http://myfaithradio.com/2015/mean-resilient/.
“What Is the Gospel?” from Empowered21, Jerusalem
This past week I had the privilege of attending the Empowered21 conference in Jerusalem with my son, Cameron. Last week at this time I was preaching at the Jordan River. Here is a piece of what I shared:
In the USA, we have 7000 churches closing a year, 3,500 people walking away from their faith a day. It’s as though a massive storm has hit the body of Christ and people are caught in a landslide, falling from a hill; their faith is being washed out.
So let’s talk for a moment about what the Gospel is, and how we can make sure we are communicating it correctly. How do we make sure that, even if everything else gets washed away, our faith remains strong, with our roots so far deep into the bedrock that we still find water and grow? No matter the persecution, no matter the challenges.
What does someone need to do to have a life-altering encounter with the living Son of God? How does this happen?
We must first ask, “What is the premise of our faith?” There is a responsibility on the shoulders of those of us who communicate the Gospel to present the right premise.
We often hear, “Just pray this prayer, just say these words. Repeat after me.” Sometimes it sounds like an auction, like they’re trying to sell something really cheap. Sometimes the Gospel is presented as shameful thing, like “I don’t want to embarrass anyone, close your eyes, no one look around. Hurry lift your hands, no one is watching!” Some people had to be begged to come to Christ, “Please, please, please come!” The problem with that is if they had to be begged to get saved, they will have to be begged to read their Bible, begged to come to church, begged to give, begged to give holy. Everything else that follows will follow the premise upon which they came. A shallow premise will equal a shallow faith.
Sometimes we short-sell the Gospel by preaching the “All you have to do is say these words” gospel. But really, all you have to do is do a complete 1/80 and give your entire life to God; that’s all you have to do!
Often we want so badly for people to come forward or lift their hands that we present the Gospel with the wrong premise. Then, the moment a challenge comes, they abandon their faith because we have given them a shallow premise for faith.
Let’s ask ourselves, are we offering a passive or passionate premise for the Gospel?
If you would like to hear the full message, check it out here: http://jerusalem2015audio.com/store/products/audio/530/what-gospel
Praying at the Wailing Wall. My son, Cameron took this photo.
Below, getting some time of fellowship and encouragement with Matt and Laurie Crouch and Tom Newman!
Mission Myanmar A Reality
For the past few months we’ve been asking for your prayers and support for our historic outreach to Myanmar (Burma), and rightly so. Myanmar is a nation that has been closed to the West and to Christianity for 60 years!
Well, I’m thrilled to inform you that we have met our financial goal, and thanks to the prayers and support of people like you, we will hold our first international Acquire The Fire youth conference July 24-25! God is so good!
There is still much to do, of course, but training and preparation are well underway. Let me give you a quick update of what has taken place so far!
On Location Training
We had a tremendous time of pastoral and church leadership training in early April. In this photo, I’m surrounded by several members of the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Association.
Pastoral Training Here in the States
A few weeks later in April, we brought four Myanmar pastors to Texas to receive advanced ministry leadership training. They learned about growing strong Christian marriages and families—teaching that has not been available in Myanmar. Now these pastors will take their new knowledge home to teach others!
Teen Mania International Project Directors to Myanmar
We’ve dispatched a couple of seasoned Global Expeditions missionaries, Sidney and Crystal Bruton to serve as project directors in Myanmar, now through the completion of this epic outreach. Please keep them in your prayers; they are pivotal to this mission!
Mission Myanmar Partners
We are so blessed to have the partnership of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, The Christian Broadcast Network, and Operation Blessing, to name a few. We are also delighted to have Teen Mania Alum David Joannes and Within Reach Global joining us. David is engaged in reaching the unreached people groups in the 1040 Window, with a focus on evangelism, discipleship and church planting. They have traveled to communities of forgotten villages sharing the gospel for the very first time with thousands of individuals and ethnic tribes.
There’s Still Time to Join Us for Mission Myanmar
Teen Mania Alumni!
Mission Myanmar Needs YOU July 16-30! We need your help, your leadership, and your missionary experience on the field during this nation-transforming missionary outreach. Please pray and ask God for direction and join us if you can! Click Here to get registration information for Mission Myanmar!
Church Youth Groups and Individuals—
Go with Global Expeditions to Myanmar
Parents, pastors and youth leaders—encourage your teens to join us for Mission Myanmar! This mission offers an extraordinary opportunity to see a nation open to the gospel after 60 years of isolation. Youth will minister under the guidance of experienced Global Expeditions team leaders and alumni, and alongside Myanmar church leaders. Click here to learn more or to register for Mission Myanmar.
Pray for Mission Myanmar
Thank you again for standing with us and praying for this historic outreach to the dear people of Myanmar. Pray for our partners; pray for Teen Mania alumni and for the young missionaries who are in the process of raising funds to go with us; pray for the Church in Myanmar as they prepare for the first time for evangelistic outreach to their country. Prayer Partners can find a list of ongoing Prayer Requests HERE. Thank you in advance for praying!
God bless you for standing in the gap for the millions of souls waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ in Myanmar! Keep praying as we prepare for this historic outreach to make Him known.
Consumed by the Call,
Alumni Meet Up
What a blessing it’s been to reconnect and catch up with Teen Mania Honor Academy alumni as we’ve crisscrossed the nation during the 2015 Acquire the Fire: RESILIENT tour!
Thank you to each of you who’ve taken the time to turn out and to say, “Hello!” You are such a blessing!
Alumni, you have been the heartbeat of this ministry for all these decades. It makes me so proud to know you’re out there changing the world for Jesus Christ. It blesses me to hear about the families you’ve started, the businesses you’ve launched, and your work for God’s kingdom in churches and ministries. Thank you for sharing your stories with Katie and me, for encouraging us, and for loving us.
We love you guys and love your hearts! Keep up the amazing work you are doing for the Lord!
Here are a few pictures from our recent meet-ups in Austin and Tulsa! Check out this link to see when we’re coming to the Acquire the Fire nearest you and be sure to take some time to stop by and see us.
We look forward to catching up on what’s happening in your life and to seeing how we can be praying for you. We hope to see you, or to hear from you, soon!
If you haven’t updated your information lately, please take just a few minutes to let us know where you are and how you’re doing! Reconnect here!
God bless you!
What is the Gospel and How to We Live It – Part 2
To our project directors we asked this question: This gospel that needs to be preached, what is the Gospel? What is the message that we are supposed to preach to the world? What exactly is the good news?
There are a lot of different ways we can express what the Gospel is. In fact, if we all went around, we’d likely each have a different way of saying it.
I want to present to you a picture, another way of thinking about this.
Think about yourself as a human in these concentric circles:
You’ve got a body, mind that is supposed to control your body (it doesn’t always—how many every did something out of habit without thinking about it?), and your will that controls both your mind and your body. You choose what you will your body and mind to do. Your soul is the real you, hopefully, working in harmony with all three of these parts together—this creates an integrated life, based on integrity. The problem, the brokenness of humanity, comes when we know our will and our soul gets vexed and crushed, living in constant anger and self-loathing—I hurt that person, I made that compromise, I can’t believe I did that . Whether it’s that you left your wife, or abandoned your children, or lied or stole; it gets heavier and heavier, this brokenness of the soul that is inevitable. It is impossible to live an integrated life, harmony with our soul without first living in harmony with Him.
Another word for soul in scripture is the heart—Scripture talks about how he comes to mend the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3).
When we talk about the salvation of our soul usually we think, “Oh that means going to heaven.” But that is your spirit that lives on for eternity. Your soul is that part of you that God gives that very easily represents whether you’re a wholesome person or not. If you see someone who is vexed and broken, they are a broken soul. They may not even realize all that is going on.
When we are thinking about what the Gospel is and how do we preach it, one of the things we talk about with our Project Directors is this. The best way of learning anything is to discover it rather than being told, as a child experiences the wonder nature for the first time. Often when we think of the Gospel we imagine a lot of shouting and finger pointing from a pulpit, or maybe even telling someone in a kind way the Truth of the Gospel.
When we allow people to discover the Gospel, there is this awesome, God-breathed wonder that we can’t manufacture ourselves.
We often hear the telling: 1. You’re a sinner 2. You need to repent 3. You’ll be forgiven and go to heaven. But we know that sin isn’t just something we do it’s who we are, in Psalm 51 it says we were born into iniquity, like a disease. This thing on the inside. As a result, the symptoms are that we do bad things that destroy ourselves. The evidence is all around us. We don’t get mad at a dog because it barks; it barks because it’s a dog. Sinners sin because they’re sinners. Many times, the Gospel is preached in an angry way, “You’re a sinnerrrrrr!” When the person is thinking, “It came naturally; I didn’t even have to try!” We were born with this thing.
How clueless of us would it be to say to a dog, “Hey! You’re barking!” The dog knows it’s barking! Why would we yell the same thing to a sinner? It’s obvious; everyone knows this brokenness and felt this disease that overtakes our lives and turns us into humans we don’t want to be, hurting others and ourselves. However masked by, drugs, alcohol, intellectualism, the right words, sex…you name it, we have all felt the brokenness of the soul.
So if we help people discover their own brokenness. Evangelism is like taking a glass of water with a crack in it and asking someone to find the crack. It’s not a big mystery. You don’t have to tell them where it is, you help them unearth the brokenness it all over again.
These is what we’re doing as followers of Christ, as we love Jesus and follow him with all our hearts, we work toward this life of integrity. What I say, what I do, what I think—I want it all to harmonize. And as we reach out to other people, our job is to help them understand the brokenness in each of our souls. Salvation is not just about going to heaven, it’s about God healing us now, bringing wholeness, new life, and freedom to our brokenness when we know Jesus.
It seems that the “quick, pray the prayer so you can go to heaven” mentality has developed in America over that past 100 years sometime. But then we would still live in hell on earth because we haven’t received any wholeness here—no integration of the soul with the mind, body, and will. When we begin to walk with Christ right now, he begins to make us whole right now.
So as we think about what we’re here to do—to raise up an army of people who will go and change the world. Jesus said,
Matthew 5:14-16The Message (MSG)
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
This has to do with the right now, who you are today. Sharing the Gospel is not simply, here’s a track, let me tell you about God and you’ll go to heaven. God is saying I put something on the inside of you that is so illuminating you can’t keep it a secret. He doesn’t ask us to force information on anyone, he tells us to light up the place! This about all the ways you can light up the place, by seeing people, loving people, live a life that people want to be influenced by. Why are you so kind? Why are you so patient when you should be out of your mind right now?
We shouldn’t compartmentalize the Gospel. We’ve got to live within it. It’s who we are; we are lit up with the love of Christ. What if our lives made people ask what is that? That light provokes an insatiable curiosity—this is illogical, unnatural behavior for humans. Then you can tell them why.
That is my challenge for us that we live in such a way that makes people what to know Jesus. Ultimately, our job is to be this person specifically in places where they’ve never even had one chance to see the light, as we preach the Gospel to all nations. We will go ourselves and we will raise up an army to go.
What is the Gospel and How Do We Live It – Part 1
Matthew 24:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
When I first got turned on to Jesus I heard a lot of different ways people would say, “Hey, Jesus is going to come back at any minute.” There was a book that came out in 1988, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Is Coming Back in 1988. I guess it’s out of print now…
People say that he could be coming back any day; it could happen at any minute. But Jesus was very clear that the end is not going to come until the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached throughout the whole world.
We live in a world chock-full of terrors, ISIS and Ebola, war, and natural disasters. In an atmosphere where there is tension in the world, bombs going off, and people being kidnapped- all of these things going on, the Gospel still needs to get out. The passage earlier in the chapter (Matthew 24:6) is clear that, “There will be wars and rumors of wars…but the end is still to come.” Just because we are faced with intimidating circumstances that make us logically think, oh we couldn’t dare to bring the Gospel into a world like this, we must! Because the end will not come until we do. Every person has not yet been reached.
The word “nations” in this passage often makes us think of countries, but it actually comes from the Greek, ethnos, meaning ethnic groups. In the theology of today, we call them “people groups,” groups of people with their own language and their own culture. They are all going to get the chance to hear the gospel of the Kingdom in a way that makes sense to them before the end comes.
The fact is, there are still over a thousand people groups, millions and millions of people, who have never heard the gospel. Some live in the middle of nowhere. So this Great Commission that we talk so much about has still not been completed. Everyone has still not yet had a chance.
So this is what we labor for. This was the last commandment, the Great Commission for all believers. This is why we push, why we pray. I honestly believe this is why the Lord has given us favor for all these years with Acquire the Fire. It’s truly a miracle that a youth conference has been sustained for over 20 years. I believe it is because we always emphasize the Great Commission. We’ve presented missions in all different kinds of ways; we talk about it all weekend long.
All the work and all the sweat is for this. Our job as a ministry is to build an army of young people to go change the world. Our mission statement is:
To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth!
That’s building an army! We don’t want to just have a Christian raw-raw session and a Holy Ghost goose bump, high five each other and go home. We want people’s lives to be changed in a way that they want to then go and change the world. All the while, we are still thinking about all these ethnos, all these groups of people who have never gotten the chance to ever hear.
What If Judas Had a Blog?
We have all felt that sensation. You are scrolling through social media and it seems as if a few people’s steady stream of negative comments shout louder than if you could hear all the new babies picture that flood your feed scream simultaneously in one voice! Those comments that mock, criticize, and slander others, most often people whom the author has never met.
Explore with me for a moment what it would have been like if Judas Iscariot had a blog…
Maybe he would have talked about how Jesus was so cruel because he cast out the money changers, or how he made us walk all the time and he made us work even though we were hungry, we had to pass out food to other people then pick up the crumbs afterwards. Jesus is so rude, so selfish. We are carrying all this money around, but look at all the poor people around us. Why doesn’t he give it away, or at least buy us some decent food?
One day we had to row back across the lake, and then we had to walk another 10 miles. Day after day, we walk. What does Jesus think we are, a bunch of camels?
You get the idea. These would have been reasonable accusations that people around Jesus could have made, if perhaps, they didn’t know his heart in each situation or trust it. This is how the events would have been interpreted through Judas’ lenses because he had a poisoned heart, therefore he believed the worst.
It’s a good thing that Judas didn’t have a blog because then the people who hadn’t really met Jesus would have only seen him through his jaded eyes.
When we read anything online, consider the credibility of the writer of a blog/post etc. Are they seemingly always trying to demean or build up? Do they spend their time trying to make lives better or the opposite? Are they experts? Is their dialog constantly negative? Why should their opinion influence your thoughts? How do you know they are not simply a Judas of some sort dressed up in a beautiful web site? If I do not know their credibility why would I use my time to read their posts? It has the potential to put unjust doubt in my mind as I think about the person to whom they are referring.
We all like news, information and hearsay especially about leaders. We know if someone were to say “hey I want to gossip to you about this person…” Most of us would not give that person the time of day. But then we find ourselves from time to time spending our precious time soaking up hearsay on the internet. Why would we read the random post of a would-be Judas?
As we write or repost what we read, let’s exercise some discernment and caution before we are tempted to pass on what we “know” in a conversation about another person (whether true or not). Would this edify? Do our ego’s want kudos for being the first to share some news about another? We must continually weigh what we say or write if we are to be ones whose words are valued as credible.
Let us be careful lest we become the pen in the hand of Judas.
Consumed by the call,
Worth Risking Everything
Here at the beginning of this new year, I’ve been asking myself some soul-searching questions, such as: What is the vision that God has given you? Are you pursuing it like there’s no tomorrow? Are you giving your all to him and for him?
These are tough questions, but they are important ones.
During the years 2004-2007, Teen Mania embarked on a campaign that we called “The Battle Cry.” Some of you will remember that we released The Battle Cry for a Generation. This book, based on the compelling research of leading experts, showed how our nation was facing a make-or-break moment: If we did not do something radical to shift the millennial generation, we would lose not only that generation, but also our future as a predominately Christian nation.
During those years, I did whatever I could to awaken leaders to what was at risk for the Church and society at large. We helped rally the Church around this cause. I traveled more extensively than I had—and I already traveled a lot—and we held leadership events all over the country. In a 40-city tour, I shared with thousands of senior pastors and youth pastors the research and implications about this generation, and what they could do about it. I preached at denominational leadership conferences and met with leadership teams, as they would ask, “What can we do to reach kids through our youth groups? How can we build our ministries?”
Over and over again, I shared with leaders the message God gave me: “It is for such a time as this that you were born. Now is the time to do everything possible to reach the kids in your community, to make your church a “next gen church!” To this day, my heart melts as I remember altar after altar filled with senior pastors weeping, crying out for this generation, pledging to do their best.
I was compelled to impress on these leaders the urgency of the moment. The only thing I knew to say was that it was worth risking everything to reach this young generation for Christ, even worth “selling the farm.”
I repeated that statement over and over again. Of course, what is embedded in that phrase is the urgency of it’s worth taking great risks and making every effort we can make. If we don’t seize this moment, and it passes us by, then we are going to live with regret.
Next, we took our message directly to the youth. We held a number of “Battle Cry” stadium events in addition to dozens of Acquire the Fire events. We hosted massive amounts of youth—groups of 10,000, 20,000, and up to 40,000 young people in major cities from Philadelphia to San Francisco to Detroit and beyond.
These events came with great financial risk, but I was willing because we had asked pastors and donors to also take a risk as we sowed into this generation in every way possible. The staff and interns worked passionately and tirelessly to sound the “Battle Cry.” Thousands of people supported the initiative, and I made the decision that we would give our all to change the course for this generation.
So I, along with our staff, advisors, and board members, did everything that we knew how to do. Making decisions like that always requires a step of faith—a step of faith financially… a step of faith toward humility not knowing if you’ll be successful in accomplishing what the moment asks of you. It requires utter trust and confidence in God, and a personal resolve that says however things turn out, I don’t want to live in regret.
Looking back now, I can tell you that all that traveling (about twice as much as I normally would, with the permission of my family), all the financial investment and all the challenges were worth it.
While in many regards, the battle for the soul of this generation continues, we saw thousands of youth and their leaders take a stand for God and give their all to him! And though there is no longer a Christian majority in the millennial generation, I trust that God is raising up extraordinary young men and women who will help reach their generation for God’s glory. There is also still much that Teen Mania can do—and is doing—to rally the Body of Christ to help nurture and direct this generation for Christ.
It’s true that some of the challenges we experience today, as an organization, are because we gave everything we had to the cause. We spent and invested in a tremendous effort to reach the young generation. I feel like this is what God requires of us when he puts a calling on our life—whatever your calling might be—if it’s a calling from God, it’s worth whatever it takes.
Whether we have a robust bank account or a humble one, we must have the same dependence on Him. To God’s glory, we have the same dependence on God now as when we started Teen Mania 29 years ago! And the dreams that God has put on my heart for the future—for impacting young people here in America and around the world—are bigger and brighter than ever!
Wherever you are on your journey with God, I want to encourage you right now to live with no regrets. Pursue your dream. Pursue the vision God has put in your heart like there’s no tomorrow. Make sure you have a dream that is worth giving your all for and then throw yourself into it. Because it’s not just the attaining of a dream, it is in the giving your all in pursuit of the dream God has put in your life that fulfillment is found.
Consumed by the Call,
Remembering our Friend and Brother, Myles Munroe
Here in the Christmas season, our thoughts naturally go to our family and dear friends.
In this spirit, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my memories of Dr. Myles Munroe. As you know, this great Christian leader died in a plane crash Sunday, November 9, 2014, along with his precious wife, Ruth, and other dear souls.
I met Myles when I was a passionate and yet still green-behind-the-ear student at Oral Roberts University. He was a couple of years older than me, and had a staff role on campus.
Myles held these prayer meetings that were unlike anything I had ever experienced. He’d teach on prayer, then we would pray fervently for an hour, then he would teach again, and then we would pray. It was awesome! It reminded me of what it must have been like when Jesus took his three disciples to the Mount of Transformation. He didn’t take them there to be transformed; he took them there to pray. That’s what we felt like Myles did with us, he showed us where he went every day and by following him, he would teach us how to pray.
When Myles left to start the church in the Bahamas, he allowed me to come one summer to serve and learn. This was my first mission trip ever, and the entire experience was revolutionary on a number of levels. Still a young college student, I didn’t know anything except that I loved Jesus like crazy. During the six weeks I was there, I read through the entire Bible. It was like a fire hose from heaven!
Later, Myles officiated Katie’s and my wedding, and when we started Teen Mania, he coached us through every step. We spent our first summer of marriage living in the Bahamas under Myles’ and Ruth’s roof, soaking in the way they lived their lives and did ministry.
Myles served on Teen Mania’s Board for about 10 years. He ordained us and prayed over us as we entered into ministry. So many of our roots and foundations, from a faith perspective, were cultivated under Myles’ ministry and leadership. During this time, we grew very close to the founding members of this church.
He remained my mentor and friend. When my daughter, Hannah, survived a plane crash, he called me immediately afterward, preaching to me and encouraging me for more than an hour over the phone.
Now it has become our time to comfort those who are mourning. In this plane crash, Bahamas Faith Ministries body lost not only the father and mother of the church, but essentially its entire core leadership.
Many people have asked me to share a little about the couples’ home-going ceremony. Katie and I actually attended a series of funerals while in the Bahamas. We landed at noon in the Bahamas, after getting up at 3 a.m. to catch our flight, and went straight to the first funeral which was for Pastor Rich, who was also on that flight. We feared we might have arrived at the end, but after two hours, they were only half way through the service. We spent the rest of the afternoon with the people.
The next day, the Bahamian government had a national memorial for Myles at an enormous stadium. There must have been 10,000 people in attendance. It was broadcast live on national television. The Prime Minister of the Bahamas was there and a number of important people flew in just to give a few minutes of condolences. The ceremony lasted five hours.
The following day, at Myles and Ruth’s home-going service at their church, you had to have tickets because there was limited room. It was a state funeral so they had military carry the coffins; the Prime Minister was there, as well as the Governor of Generals. This funeral was also broadcast on TV and lasted six-and-a-half hours.
Myles was the type of person and the kind of teacher, if you ever heard him preach, that kept you listening to his every word for two-hour sermons. The details of his life, ministry, and service to God were just as captivating.
The processional to the gravesite was another two hours—and was deeply touching. There were 1,000 wailing and weeping Bahamians lining the streets as the coffins went by, and people were reaching out to touch them. It was very moving to watch these dear people who loved and admired Myles and Ruth.
On Sunday, I spoke at Myles’ and Ruth’s church. I shared with them how Myles had called me right after Hannah’s crash, and I told them many of the same things he spoke to me in terms of how to reckon with the pain and walk through the grief. I don’t think it was an accident that we were able to help and be part of this experience with them.
Pastor Dave and Angie Burrows, who will now lead the church, are our longtime friends. They both went to ORU, as well. Dave would stay at Katie’s and my apartment when he would visit Angie during their courtship. Our hearts are for them and we have committed to do anything we can to support them as they transition to the next chapter as senior pastors.
It was an honor to be there for that week and to walk with them as they start leading the church. We did whatever we could to love on them and their congregation. In the days to come, if you would, please continue to pray for Dave and Angie Burrows as they walk their congregation into a new season of ministry.
God bless you for praying for us. We felt your prayers and were strengthened by them. We love you and pray that you are finding comfort and joy in Emmanuel… God with us.
Still Consumed by the Call,
Press Release – Myanmar
P.O. Box 619010 || Dallas, TX 75261 || www.TeenMania.com
TEEN MANIA INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES HISTORIC OUTREACH TO MYANMAR
Outreach to Include First Acquire The Fire Youth Gathering in a Formerly Closed Country
(DALLAS) Dec. 8, 2014—Ron Luce, founder and president of Teen Mania International, announced that the Dallas-based ministry will embark on a history-making missionary venture this coming summer to Myanmar, the nation formerly known as Burma.
The announcement was made live on YouTube from Myanmar with Luce informing ministry friends and partners that, “After 60 years of being closed to the West and to Christianity, Myanmar has once again opened its doors—and has invited Teen Mania International to come share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their people.”
The unprecedented invitation came after Luce established a relationship with the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Alliance, a group representing 90 Christian denominations. Rev. Dr. Zin Hla, chairman of the alliance, told Luce that Teen Mania’s partnership at this moment in time is an answer to prayer.
With a population that is 90 percent Buddhist, the vast majority of people have never heard the message of salvation. But Teen Mania hopes to change that July 16-30, 2015, with Mission Myanmar, which will have the added distinction of featuring the ministry’s first Acquire The Fire (ATF) mass youth gathering on the continent of Asia.
While Acquire The Fire youth events are well known in North America—with 3 million teens having participated in 500 U.S. and Canadian events— this will be the first Acquire The Fire held internationally.
No stranger to big events, Acquire The Fire has reached crowds as large as 71,000 in recent years. In this case, Teen Mania has identified a 10,000-seat venue for the historic event in Yangon, the nation’s most populous city. Luce wants to fill it with Myanmar youth from villages near and far to attend the two-day Acquire The Fire event.
Teen Mania will rely on Global Expeditions, its youth missions division, to organize and lead the two-week outreach. The ministry has already opened registration to American youth pastors and their youth groups, as well as to teams from across Asia, to join this historic missionary outreach to the recently opened country.
In the past 28 years, the ministry has taken 76,963 teens into 67 countries to share the gospel—and has led 1.3 million men, women, and children to Christ.
Some of the youth-led activities in Myanmar will include music and drama, children’s ministry, sports activities, and service projects, among others. The ministry believes that every expression of love, care, and compassion will communicate to Myanmar that God has not forgotten them.
Luce summarized the importance of this historic opening this way: “There are moments in history that arise for just such times. This is our moment to stand with the Christians of Myanmar. We can inspire their youth to live for something bigger than themselves, to take their nation for Christ, and to fulfill their destinies as tomorrow’s leaders,” Luce said.
Those who wish to know more about Mission Myanmar or who desire to participate in this historic outreach, are encouraged to visit www.TeenMania.com for more details.
About Teen Mania International
Since its 1986 inception, Teen Mania International and its partners have been engaged in a passionate battle for the hearts and minds of America’s teenagers in a society that has largely turned its back on God and His ways. Teen Mania engages teens through two primary outreach ministries: Acquire The Fire (ATF) youth events and Global Expeditions (GE) mission trips. ATF, to date, has challenged more than 3 million teens not to settle for the things of this world but to live totally sold out to Jesus. Global Expeditions (GE) has become the worldwide leader in teen missions, taking an unprecedented 76,963 teen missionaries into the mission field, both internationally and domestically. To date, Global Expeditions teen missionaries have led more than 1.3 million men, women and children to Jesus Christ.
For more information, contact:
Kerry Park || Director of Communication || Mobile: 405.568.7482 || Email: KerryLPark@msn.com
Teen Mania International
P.O. Box 619010
Dallas, TX 75261
To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life giving message to the ends of the earth.