Tuesday, April 26, 2011


“Everything in my life has been leading me here.  Now I am on the doorstep of destiny and it is consuming who I was and remaking me into something more.  Something unstoppable through the power and grace of God.”

My friend Aryk wrote that to me yesterday.  What I want you to understand is that a month and a half ago Aryk wouldn’t have said anything close to this.
I grew up with Aryk and we have been good friends for years.  About a year ago we sat down and I shared the Gospel of Jesus with him.  He didn’t respond at first and we politely agreed that he didn’t want it and I wasn’t going to push it but what is so amazing about the Gospel of Jesus is that it is relentless.  Over the past year Aryk and I have had countless talks about Jesus and life and Purpose and every single time we talk he is the first to bring up Jesus (although he said he didn’t want Jesus? Ironic?) and those talks have been some of the highlights of both my spiritual journey of the last two years and also of my life.  Over the past two and a half years I have been pursuing the Lord, my talks with Aryk were some of the most genuine because he didn’t take what I said without proof and sureness.  He challenged me with my own words and pushed me to be solid on my relationship with the Lord. 
A few short months ago things became very serious as he came with me one night to a presentation of the Gospel at Fellowship.  I asked him to come and told him very clearly what it was and why he was coming, so not to trick him into Jesus.  See, Aryk has heard the Gospel from me, but I wanted him to hear it in a different light and I can truly say that the Lord used Brandon B. in huge ways that night as he discussed how humanity went south in the Garden.  I remember Aryk saying something along the lines of “damn, Adam and Eve really messed that up” shortly after the sermon was over.  That night he came to my house and what awaited me was one of the most monumental discussions of my entire life.  For four hours we sat in my room and discussed why we were breathing.  For just as C.S. Lewis so prophetically reminds us, “If the universe has no meaning, we should never have never found out it has no meaning.” 
And side note here, you must understand that Aryk has one of the purest hearts for people that I have ever seen.  He authentically yearns for people who hurt and wants them to be happy and would give his life in a moment for another to live.  But the problem was that Aryk wanted to offer hope to people, but in turn he had no hope to offer.  I told him over and over again that if Jesus is true then He is the only hope and there is no way offer others hope if you yourself have no hope. 
What Aryk couldn’t see is that Jesus is the only way.
As the weeks went on after that night, Aryk became more and more fervent in our talks.  He seems to be rushed and wanted something more everyday but couldn’t find it.  Finally one day he told me that He had had an epiphany. I remember turning around in my seat in English class eager to hear as he told me how the night that he came to my house he had talked to my brother Cody for a few minutes and Cody had told him to read John.  So in turn Aryk decided to try it out and was stumped after the first chapter.  He went on to explain how he sees clearly how there is no way to God except through Jesus and why Jesus had to come and so on and so forth.  Then he looked in my eyes and said, “Chris I am going to life to Jesus.”
Weeks went by before he did and later he would explain to me that the devil really got into his head and convinced him that he couldn’t follow Jesus with all the crap he had done in his life. 
But on March 15th I was sitting at Starbucks when I got a Facebook message from Aryk saying, “Well, I'm not sure if I did it right, but I swore my life to Jesus, or however you put it.”  I called him right away and was driven to the most joyous tears I have ever cried.  I could have died right then with a full soul.  One of my best friends was now my Brother. 
Over the past month or so Aryk and I have been meeting and I have had the privilege, the honor, the blessing of watching him fall in love with Jesus and people.  He has only read half of John and he already understands the Spirit-filled life more than most will ever grasp.  He sees and knows that Jesus is the only hope.
What is so beautiful about this story is that he didn’t give his life to the Lord as a result of some really emotional experience, a conference, a high intensity sermon, or out of guilt.  Aryk gave his life to the Lord because he knew there was no other way to experience life and he desperately wanted life. 
I heard once that since Jesus is the Bridegroom in this relationship, He does the pursuing.  And it’s much harder to run away from the Groom than it is to embrace Him because His furious love is chasing us because He desires us.  I got to witness, first hand, the furious love of the Almighty God chase Aryk for over a year until Aryk finally fell to his knees and looked with love upon the face of his creator. 
I do not tell this story to bring glory to Aryk or to me but simply to Jesus.  I tell you all this story to challenge and push you to live Christ because I promise you it’s the greatest adventure that has ever been known to man. Just as Aryk wrote sentences before the quote I used to open the blog, “Nothing compares to this.”  And my dear friends, he is right, nothing compares to this.  Nothing in all of the world compares to getting up each day to walk with Jesus, to get to know Him and to make Him known. 
Aryk is going to go out and make more disciples for Christ and then those disciples are going to go out and make more and so on and so on until this world is overrun with disciples of Jesus. 
In the midst of this Revival, we must open our mouths because how many more Aryk’s are there in this city who are just waiting to hear about Jesus?  But not the Jesus many of us teach in church or the Jesus known on billboards around America, but the real Jesus: the loving, merciful, passionate, compassionate, and enemy-loving Jesus.  The Jesus who takes you no matter where you have been and changes you, the Jesus who offers much more than the American dream and a good life but the Jesus who offers a rich and fulfilling, purposeful and satisfying life in Him.  The Jesus who offers hope.  The real Jesus. 
My prayer is that Christ-followers will start having their hearts broken for the lost and start telling everyone about this King and Kingdom they serve.  I pray that Little Rock will not be able to contain the fire that will spill from our hearts as we draw near to Jesus.  For just as Jesus said in Luke 12, “I have come to set the world on fire, I wish it were already burning.”
It’s time my brothers and sisters.  Here’s to our King and here’s to a new world where we will not only die for Christ but we will also dare to live for Him.
In that same note Aryk wrote a charge to not only me but to all who claim Christ.  He said this, “Chris, if we all live like Jesus, helping others, we can change/save the world.”
Welcome to the revolution my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The ground is shaking underneath my feet. Even as I write this, I feel like the foundation of this Starbucks, this table, and this chair are shaking.  My friend Christy blogged a couple of weeks ago saying how she could hear the whispers of Revival and the murmurs of Awakening and I am here to tell you today, I am not just hearing them, I am seeing them, I am feeling them, I am looking at them, I am tasting them.  Revival and Awakening are real and they are staring us in the face.  Over the past two and a half weeks there has literally not been one night I have gone to sleep where I have not been completely and utterly overwhelmed by God.  What He is doing is absolutely incredible and beyond anything I could have ever imagined while I was praying for Revival just a few short months ago.  I am sure that what is happening with people giving all of themselves to Jesus and how people are coming together as the Church (outside of Sunday morning and Wednesday night? What?!) praying for one another and loving others just because Jesus loves them is so much more than even what the men and women who have been faithfully on their knees, asking God to purify His Bride for years, could have imagined. 
As I have said before and will say again, I am sick of being a Christian the way we know it today.  I am ready to follow Jesus.  I am ready to know Jesus, I am ready to live Christ and die as gain.  I am ready to pledge allegiance to one King and to one Kingdom. I am ready to taste and see the goodness of God.  I am ready to wake up each day for Purpose.  I am ready to risk the ocean.
This post is very simply to give all the glory and all the praise to Jesus and to tell of what He has done and what He is doing and to invite you, my brother or my sister, or my soon to be brother or soon to be sister, to join in on what the Lord is doing.
Just two and a half weeks ago Bill Elliff spoke on not quenching the Spirit at Summit Church and what followed was nearly five hours of people getting up to confess their sins and be prayed over and people being baptized and giving their lives to the Lord.  Every weeknight since that Sunday believers have gathered at Summit to speak of what the Lord has done and there have been shouts of joy as beautiful people are submerged in the deep waters of Baptism and the endless love of Christ.    There have tears of joy as people drop to their knees and give their lives away to find true life and tears of sorrow and pain as hearts have been broken over those who do not know Jesus.  But know this my friends, this Revival has not been held inside the four walls of Summit.  As people have come, hearts have set ablaze and the love of Jesus has been shared at every place you can think of here around Little Rock.  I am literally receiving texts messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, and emails every day about some new crazy story of what Jesus is doing.  At different high schools, middle schools, colleges, church campuses, God is moving.  He is revealing how American Christianity is so longer the Church and He is changing us from the inside out. 
Before I go on with any specific stories I have to stop and remember the words that my brother and sister, Britton and Niki, reminded us all of when all this was starting;
“Look around at the nations; look and be amazed!  For I am doing something in your own day, something that you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” –Habakkuk 1:5
So look and be amazed folks, for God is doing something in our day, something that you wouldn’t believe even if I told you. 
At a charter school here in Little Rock, there are two girls who have had their hearts burning for the lost and have acted upon the flames.  The first girl decided to share Christ with her friend no matter what her friend thought of her, and so she wrote her a letter explaining the gospel.  When this girl got the letter she read it aloud to her class and they all made fun of our sister.  When she heard that everyone was making fun of her, instead of crying and being torn, she rejoiced as she pondered the words of Jesus in the greatest sermon ever taught, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake”.  And then there was another girl who was sharing Christ with a friend of hers at lunch and a teacher told her to go to the office.  At the office she was scolded and told not to bring her Bible to school anymore and that she couldn’t talk about religion anymore, ever.  I’m sure you can imagine what she had in her backpack the next day… her sword. 
I was talking to a guy at work about everything that has been going on and he stopped me and exclaimed, “wait bro, you wanna know what’s crazy?” And of course I did, so he went on to tell me a story about a lady he heard speak once.  The lady was on a plane flying over Arkansas and someone on the plane exclaimed out loud, “what state are we flying over?” After asking the flight attendants and everything they found they were flying over Arkansas and this woman says, “I feel like there is going to be a great Awakening in the American Church and that it is going to start here in this state.” (by the way, he heard this story months ago)
My brother Seth has held bitterness and anger in against the Church for a long time (for many righteous reasons) but it came to a point where it was sinful and he knew it.  So we were at Summit church one night and I could almost feel the weight on his shoulders.  From the very beginning of the service I started praying over him and that the Lord would deliver him from whatever was going on in his heart.  So as the night went on, we kept praying for him until he finally got up and confessed his sin and to ask forgiven from the Body.  We prayed over and sang over him. 
Reconciliation is a glorious thing.  I cannot even begin to capture the start of the countless stories that have come from the past weeks.  People repenting of sin that has not seen the light of day in years, husbands and wives having their marriage healed, children holding hatred towards their parents, so many things.  (even as I type this Bill Elliff is sitting two tables over from me talking to people about the forgiveness and love of Jesus. And again I am blown away)
On the Sunday night of this whole thing a kid named Byron gave his life to the Lord. Immediately after surrounding to the Lord he felt like he had to speak to his school about the forgiveness Jesus had given him, so he got up at Chapel TWO DAYS after that and shared.  Here’s the kicker, after he shared he led another girl  named Helen to start a relationship with Jesus just minutes after he stepped down from the stage.  The only thing I can think of is the line from Amazing Grace that says, “how sweet did that grace appear the hour I first believed”.  Oh and to add to that, Helen is declaring her love for Jesus to the world next week through baptism.
Here’s the thing about this Revival, this Awakening: Satan can tempt us and we can easily get to the point where it stops becoming about Christ and starts becoming about Awakening just for the sake of Awakening.  Every night the prayer at Summit and the prayer of people who are involved (from so many places) is that we would be falling in love with Jesus and telling more and more people about Him.  After all, if we’re alive to know Jesus and to make Him known, we should probably start soon.  Because correct me if I’m wrong here but the last time I checked the Church as it has been, isnt so much about knowing Jesus and making Him known as it is about Christianity, as it is about money and saying the right things and doing the right things.  No longer my brothers and sisters.  No longer will we sit in our pews and close our eyes every now and again to worship.  We will jump and dance and be undignified.  No longer will we keep our heads down when the Spirit tells us to look up.  No longer will be silent, no longer will we pretend like we do not know Jesus.  If Jesus is our life, shouldn’t we speak of Him? 
A couple of Fridays ago there was a gathering of around 90 students and all we did was get on our faces to seek the Lord.  For hours we prayed and worshiped and told about our King.  Near the end we had a time of prayer in which students from different churches, different schools, and different walks of life went up to their family in Christ and prayed over each other.  The scene of watching the Body of Christ actually being the Body of Christ was unexplainable and awe striking.
Earlier today I was meeting with a kid and he looked at me with tears saying how he desired to truly be in love with Christ.  As I cried with him at the thought of one day seeing Jesus face to face, he told me “Chris your tears are tears of joy but mine are pain” because he knows he not to point yet where he is in love fully with Jesus.  But as I prayed over him I know the Spirit of God is alive in him and is leading him and pushing him to the day when the head knowledge he has becomes heart knowledge.  And oh, what a magnificent day that will be.
This Revival is not slowing down, if any thing it is taking speed.  Every night at Summit people are meeting to pray and this Saturday there is a group of students and adults meeting to pray at Fellowship at 8 o’clock.  And I know that there are other places people are meeting and every day more people are hearing about the real Jesus.  In Fayetteville there is a group of students organizing an all day prayer gathering.  In Russellville there are students every night meeting at 11:11 to pray.  Come, be a part of this with us.  Do not the Lord pass us by.  Risk the ocean with us.  We want to see the Holy Spirit set us on fire.

 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
    He has torn us to pieces;
      now he will heal us.
   He has injured us;
      now he will bandage our wounds.
 In just a short time he will restore us,
      so that we may live in his presence.
  Oh, that we might know the Lord!
      Let us press on to know him.
   He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
      or the coming of rains in early spring.” –Hosea 6:1-3

We are no longer Christians in a religion, we are Christ-followers in a relationship with the God of the Universe.  We are no longer hearers, we are doers. 
Our only response from here until the Eternity will forever be, Hallelujah. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Know Nothing of Religion Here

I think that we have lost so much in our churches and in our Bible Studies and in our Christianity.  I think that we have lost so much in our ways of every day life.  There is a haunting scene in from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce in which two men are talking and one of the men is explaining how great Jesus’ ideas were and how great of a moral teacher He was and what a great thing religion is and blah, blah, blah.  Then the other man (who is indeed a citizen of Heaven) stops him and says, “We know nothing of Religion here: we think only of Christ.”
I often take a step back from my life and am sickened with what I see.  I am so lost in the activities, in the hustle and bustle of the American life.  I can spend hours at church but only short moments on my knees or in the Word.  I can spend hours in front of people speaking about Jesus but only short moments actually talking to Jesus.  It breaks my heart to see how I get so caught up in Christianity that I miss out on Christ. 
Earlier today I sat down and picked up my Bible and all of that just hit me right in the face.  For the last 11 days there has been nothing but excitement in Little Rock, and I believe that it will continue because Jesus is moving in such an amazing and beautiful way!  Lives are being changed and Christians from all over are becoming Christ-followers.  Church bodies are awakening and students are getting on their faces and opening their mouths.  The stories of Revival have literally left me overwhelmed.  I am so excited to see how the Spirit continues to move and set our hearts on fire.  However today I opened my eyes to the sad truth that since last Wednesday I have picked up my Bible (with the soul intent of meeting with Jesus and nothing else) only twice.  I have picked it up and read it out loud with my brothers and sisters many times since, which is so important and vital in our spiritual growth, but I have only attempted to meet one on one with the God of the Universe twice. 
Here’s what I’m trying to say: the only reason any of this Revival is happening is because of Christ and we cannot forget Christ in the midst of this Awakening.  And you might be sitting there reading this thinking, “well no duh”… but truly stop for a moment and think about all the times in your life you have been jazzed up for Christ and how many times you have lost it because you focus on Him.  All the camps and conferences you’ve been to where you “got saved” or “rededicated” but got lost in that experience and didn’t instead get lost in Christ. 
The single greatest gift in the entire universe is having the chance to know Jesus.  But not just pray a pray to Him every now and then but intimately and deeply knowing our Creator.   Paul went so far as to say in Philippians “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord.” I’ve heard that verse over and over again in Sunday school but as I read it now, after Jesus has wooed my heart, I sit with my heart yearning to know Christ with the intimacy that Paul did.  Could I say that I count everything else as worthless compared to knowing Him?  Could I say that I count my family, my friends, my school, my writings, all of the books I love, music, everything! as worthless? 
            How can I replace the hours of talking about Jesus with hours of talking and communing with Jesus?
            James said draw close to God and He will draw close to you.  Paul prayed that we would learn to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His Love is.  Men and woman throughout history have died because of their love for their Savior.  Bill Bright would bust into tears when he was asked who Jesus was to him. 
            I want to know Jesus.  But I do not just want to know Him on Sunday mornings or on Wednesday nights or when it’s politically correct to know Him.  I want to know Him on Saturdays at 3 am when the choice of loving Him or loving my computer becomes a reality.  I want to know Him on Tuesday afternoon when the barista at Starbucks is giving me a hard time or on Friday mornings in my English class when everyone is talking about their plans for the weekend.  I want to know Jesus when I that scholarship falls through and when I don’t get accepted into my dream school.  I want to know Jesus when everything else fails and when my face is in the dust.  I want to know Jesus every second of every day.  I want to know Jesus when my house is burning and family and friends are dying.  I want to know Jesus when the world is caving in. 
            But it’s a scary thought to me, because it’s a completely real possibility that many of us when we are on our knees before Jesus may not be able to say we ever actually knew Him at all...  I want to know Jesus when I fall to my knees before His throne. 
            One day I hope to know nothing of Religion.  One day I hope to know only Christ. 
            "O, the fullness, the pleasure, the sheer excitement of knowing God here on earth." -Jim Elliott


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let's Risk the Ocean

"I believe we are amid a great awakening in the slumbering body of Christ.  I once heard someone call us the Lazarus generation, for we are a generation rising from the apathetic deadness of this world, a church that is awakening from her slumber.  There’s a beautiful verse in which Jesus scolds his listeners for having grown numb and cold, for having forgotten how to laugh and cry and feel.  He says, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the pipe for you and you didn’t not dace; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn’” (Matt 11:16-17).  A new day is dawning.  We are playing the flute and folks from Wall Street to the ghetto are beginning to dance.”

Those prophetic and poetic words are written by an ordinary radical named Shane Claiborne.  Mr. Claiborne has been one of my many spiritual mentors this last year and as I read those words a couple of weeks ago, I specifically remember having to close the book and let the Spirit pour his love out of my eyes and in my heart.  For months I have been praying and begging for this awakening.  I have been on my knees and crying out to the Lord to send His fire upon us, because as I have known and many others for years is that we have missed it as the Church.  We are dead.  But here’s the kicker: I believe that Jesus is far too passionate about His Glory to let us sleep much longer. 
For months as I have talked about this revival, many people have been quick to hush me and tell me to not expect too much, I mean really, we haven’t ever seen anything like that before have we?  At least, not in my lifetime. But just as my friend Kayla told me this last weekend, “Do not put God in a box.”
What I realize about myself is that I can get far ahead of the way things are.  What I mean is that sometimes, since I am a Dreamer, I can get so caught up in what could happen that I miss out on what is happening.  That has been a weakness for me since day one of following Christ but the difference in this prayer for awakening is that it isn’t just for me, it isn’t just to make me feel good, it simply and purely has to happen.  There is no alternative.  For too long has the American Church been asleep, letting people be content with their health and their wealth and their false gospel.  For far too long have we sat back and given out “get-out-of-hell-free-cards” without so much as once mentioning and focusing on Jesus’ words in John 10:10 about living an abundant life now.  Was John the Baptist lying when he said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaving IS AT HAND”?  We have become completely at rest with preaching comfort and acceptance.  The time to stop is now.  We are doing no one any good by sitting around our church pews and commending our rich and American Dream lifestyles. 
On Sunday at the Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas God began to answer those prayers.  The 11 o’clock service ended up going to 4 pm as they did not dare quench the Spirit.  The members at that church confessed their sins, people were baptized, and others gave their lives to Jesus.  On Monday night they met to pray for Jesus to continue this and again on Tuesday night and again last night and from what I hear they will meet again tonight.  And all they are doing is simply getting on their faces and begging Jesus to light them on fire so they can therefore go tell everyone about the Real Jesus, the King of Universe, our great Savior.  They are praying for fire because we as the Church must awake because the truth about us hurts: God is not impressed with us.  God is not impressed with our million dollar buildings and our worship services, or our Bible Studies or anything because they produce no fruit.  We have convinced ourselves that that all is enough when in reality we are so caught up and wrapped up in Christianity that we have missed Christ!  We have bypassed the greatest gift in the world, which is knowing and walking with the God of everything.
Last night at Fellowship God once again released His Spirit.  It was incredible to see high school kids on their faces in front of Jesus begging Him to become their everything, kids repenting as they knew without a doubt that they hadn’t been living for His Glory. 
I am honestly blown away by how Jesus is moving.  I am stunned because we have been praying for this for so long, and here it is!  The time is now! 
On Friday there will be a group of students who are meeting outside of Fellowship at 9 pm and all we are going to do is pray for Jesus to set us on fire.  This Revival is alive and is not contained in four walls.  
However what would be easy to do right now is get so lost in Awakening and Revival that we completely miss Jesus.  And the Devil is very cunning and he hates how lives are changing and how the Spirit is taking control and he will stop at nothing to stop this.  The only way this will continue is if each of us, before we get so jazzed and pumped about Revival, get on our faces and beg Jesus for us to all fall in love with Him first.  Because the question is not whether Revival is happening or is going to happen, the question is are we going to let it happen?  And my friends, it’s happening… are we going to let God use us?  Because one of the most wonderful things about our God is that He doesn’t need us but by His great grace, He desperately wants to use us and He is standing in front of each of us and asking us if we want to come along. 
I am not sure about you, but I am sick and tired of living a life that is all going through the motions.  I am ready to breathe and live the Scriptures as the early Church did.  I am ready to see Miracles.  I am ready to not only fall madly in love with Jesus Christ but also see the whole world fall to their knees and profess Him as Lord.
David Crowder issues an amazing challenge to all of us as Christ-followers.  He is speaking of wherever God goes, we will follow and then he says this:

“Don’t be afraid, just set your sail and risk the ocean.  There’s only grace”

That is our challenge, and as for me, I am ready to risk that ocean because if God is for us, who could ever be against us?  If the Holy Spirit of the Living God lives and breathes through us, how could we ever be defeated?  Christ is risen and death is swallowed up in victory.  All glory to God.
Strap tight my brothers and sisters, God is on the move.