Wednesday, November 25, 2015


My lovely bride and I attended the Truth Conference this past weekend. If I said that it was incredible I would be understating it. There was a large amount of information in a short period of time and some fantastic resources. For us, the key moment came in Josh McDowell's opening address.

Josh talked about the barriers to the Gospel we face in this modern age. The first is the information glut that is the internet. There is a lot in great stuff out there but there's even more garbage. His point on this one is that we all need to do our homework before we teach or speak publicly. The Science of apologetics is more important than ever. On this point, I can't really disagree. I've debated too many atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians over the years. I'm very grateful for my background in science and history fanaticism. Even with that, I still need to know more to be effective. However, the need to study more was not the key moment.

The key came from the second barrier, the vast increase in pornography especially online. If you've listened to my podcast, Jesus' Outsider, you know I do a lot of work in this area as does my lovely bride. That sexual and pornographic addictions are increasing wasn't a surprise neither was the shift in cultural attitudes created by the growing acceptance of its use. The thing I had forgotten was how few of us are talking about it. Living in this world with all of the resources we use, sometimes it looks like the conversation about sexuality in the church is in full tilt. Unfortunately, it isn't. No one, outside of the ministries we get our resources from, is really talking about just how bad it really is in the church. Porn, sexual addictions, and all sorts of other "unique" sexual lifestyles are deeply embedded in the Body of Christ.

Why do we talk about it? Because we get it. We both have very interesting backgrounds, to put it mildly. We have fought this junk continuously for years. We have to take extra precautions to prevent falling back into it. If, as people who have served Christ for many years, we need to work extra hard to keep our sexual purity, then how many others do as well. Worse, how many don't bother to work to stay pure and just give in to the lure of sexual sin?

The need to do something real was driven home. We have had a conference in mind for a long time dealing with this issue directly and honestly. In fact, we started to work on it but a series of circumstances forced us to put in on the back burner. That has now changed. It's time to do the work to make this happen.

I already have a good format in mind with a shortlist of possible speakers beyond Kim and me. One of the most important segments will be Kim giving her story for the first time in public. It's more than a little scary and heart wrenching but it highlights the results of living a lifestyle that millions of women have been introduced to through Fifty Shades of Grey. The truth behind this supposed romance is very dark. For my part, I'll be sharing statistics and the technical side of porn including apps, filters, and other helps for breaking the addiction. We have other speakers in mind but until we have them confirmed, we're not going to share.

Now, for the challenging part. To pull this off, we need a lot more money than we have at our disposal. We're going to need at least $3000-3500 to cover all of the expenses of putting on the conference. We are going to charge admission with the proceeds going toward the launch of Freedom Church but we would like to have the resources to put it on before the first ticket is sold. Once we hit the first $1500, we will set the date.

To raise the funds, we're seeking individual donations on the support button on the Freedom Church page until a separate page is set up. We are also seeking ministry and business sponsorships including setting up tables in the resource area, banners, and other recognition. If you're interested or know someone we need to talk to, please get in touch with us at

We will be sharing more information as it develops and can be made public. We will also throw out some hints on the content as we approach the day to wet your whistle.

Pray for us as this is going to be a difficult to do for a host of reasons.

Pastor Mike

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Signs of Change

A recent conversation on a ministry group I'm a part of sparked some thoughts far too detailed to post in a short comment on Facebook. The group is aimed at those of us who find ourselves classified as subculture ministries which merely means that we reach out to people who are considered to be outside to cultural norms, whatever those are.

The post, by a good friend and big part of the start of Freedom Church, posted the following:

"God is not looking at your forearms to determine whether you can share His Gospel with others. He’s not looking to see if you have too much makeup on or are wearing pants instead of a skirt. It’s ridiculous to think that God is so shallow that He would stop you from coming to Him because of something external. No, God is concerned with your heart and your mind. When you allow Him, not people's ideas, to transform the way you think, it will always be a positive thing."

This started a short series of posts about transformation. One commenter asked that if people do not leave their culture, how will the world know that they are changed? He did state that outward appearance wasn't necessary for salvation but did wonder about evidence speaking to the change. It was answered in brief and quite well by the moderator for the group, but there is still more to be said.

I had to set back and really consider where to go with my thinking and how best to express it. The question boils down to this: When you accept Christ, do you have to leave your particular subculture as evidence to the transformation Jesus brings?

It's a loaded question that needs to be broken down a little further. There are some cultures built around that which is sinful, usually around some type of sexual immorality. If this is the culture you're in, then yes, leave and be free from the sin. This is a much broader group than many people realize and includes a lot more than the first one that pops into most Christian's heads. These groups are ones that Christians do not become part of to reach but stand and show them the door to His freedom through love and relationship without participating in the sin.

Most subcultures do not fall into these categories. Most are just outside of what is considered to be normal society but aren't in and of themselves sinful. There's nothing wrong with being Goth, a biker, metalhead, punk, nerd, or any other group that you can think of that fits the outsider label. If they are not sinful, then why do we expect them to adopt cultural normative dress and lifestyles?

This is the same mistake that Christian missionaries from Western countries have made when preaching the Gospel in nations with different cultures. As much as preaching Christ, many also tried to Westernize the people in the name of Christ and civilizing the people. This resulted in a lot of failure in reaching people who truly need Jesus. Fortunately, most modern foreign missionaries have learned the lessons of the past and embrace local customs and attire as part of reaching the culture.

I do not mean to say that we need to alter the word to fit a culture nor that Christ needs to change a culture. But, that doesn't mean changing clothes, removing a tattoo (unless the tattoo is pornographic or directly blasphemous), or musical style preferences. It does mean abandoning sin and changing from a follower of the flesh to a disciple of Jesus. That is a change of the heart and mind and will be evident in the life of the person through behaviors, both leaving some behind and developing new ones.

Who better to see the change that the people you identify with, the group you are most comfortable? They will see the change first before anyone else could. They know the person best as they were before Jesus and are most likely to notice when that transformation begins. This is one of the most effective tools in Jesus' toolbox when it comes to reaching sinners in need of grace, the word of our testimony.

Instead of expecting people to adopt to church normative culture so they can fit in with us, why not let people be who they are yet transformed by the renewing of their minds? It's not the job of the church to make everyone look and think exactly the same but to preach the Gospel of Christ where it is needed. Last time I checked, that was to everyone for we are all in need of Jesus and His freedom through salvation.

-Pastor Mike