Taking Risks With Jesus

June 2016 Newsletter

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” – Matthew 14:29:31

There are times when being practical is really an excuse for not stepping out in faith.  When Jesus called Peter onto the water, it didn’t seem practical.  When He called the rich young FullSizeRenderruler to sell everything, it wasn’t practical.  Sometimes the Lord calls us to do crazy things that put us in positions where there is no plan B.  Either the Lord shows up or we fail.  Either He breaks through or we look like fools.  Those are the times when God shows up in incredible ways.  He loves faith and He loves when His children take risks that require Him to breakthrough.

Loretta and I have been asking what it looks like to truly live the gospel in America.  In a culture that places so much emphasis on safety and comfort, how should a Christian live?  Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a savings account, insurance, or house alarms.  But maybe we should step out of our comfort zones more so that God can work through us.  We could give that bonus money to the poor instead of spending it on ourselves.  We could take a break from our busy schedules to prophesy over the attendant in the grocery store.  We could invite the “least of these” over for dinner one night.  These simple acts of faith are magnets for the activity of God.  For some, stepping out in faith could mean moving to another country or preaching the gospel in the streets to the homeless.  For others, it could be starting a bible study or discipling someone.  No matter what faith looks like, we want to do more of it!  Stepping out of the boat is one of the best ways to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

One new thing Loretta & I are stepping out in is leading worship again.  Starting this upcoming Tuesday, we’ll be leading worship on Tuesday nights throughout the summer at a church called “Christ Triumph”.  From 6-8pm, people around the city will gather to worship the Lord, receive healing prayer, and grow in prophetic ministry.  We’re excited to lead worship at a local church in the area.  Along with this, we’re still committed to something we mentioned in our last newsletter.  Loretta & I want to give a prophetic word to someone at least once a week.  Though it may seem small, the more we step out of our comfort zones the more normal it will become. 

Here at the IHOPKC mission’s base, summer is usually filled with kids and teenagers.  The base will be hosting hundreds of kids for our annual summer camps and conferences.  It’s always fun seeing kids praying in the prayer room.  They’re more than cute prayers too.  Most of those kids have authority as they pray for healing and deliverance.  If they see someone in a wheelchair or someone who needs healing, watch out!  Loretta and I are still getting ready for our own kiddo as well. We’re preparing a little nursery and reading up on baby books.  Our last prenatal appointment was yesterday and both her and the baby are doing well.  She hasn’t thrown up once and has almost no morning sickness, for which we’re very grateful.  Our next big appointment will be in early July when we find out whether it’s a boy or a girl.  We’ll be sure to tell you!

A Family of Three

May 2016 Newsletter

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them”. -Psalm 127:3-5

The title of the newsletter makes it obvious why we’re excited this baby announcementmonth.  That’s right.  Loretta is pregnant!  She is around 11 weeks now and the baby is scheduled to arrive sometime in November.  This is a huge answer to prayer.  Some time after my Dad’s departure, we started praying for new life and the answer came a couple months ago when we got our first positive pregnancy test.  We are now preparing for our little bundle of joy and seeking God about who this little guy or girl will be. 

Our first prenatal appointment was awesome.  As we heard our baby’s heartbeat, Loretta cried for joy.  I mostly just smiled a lot.  Its fun to know a little life is forming in there.  Aside from hearing the baby’s heartbeat, the visit was pretty typical – doing blood work, asking questions, etc.  The next ultrasound is slated for a week from now.  This is to know for sure how far along Loretta is.  Pregnancy has really got us thinking about Jesus and the incarnation.  It’s amazing to think about God being a fetus in Mary’s womb.  In Luke’s gospel, the angel says to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you”.  Also concerning John the Baptist, the angel said, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15, 35).  Sure, these announcements were for Jesus and John the Baptist but can’t they be true for us as well?  These are the type of Scriptures we’re praying over and thinking about.  I’m particularly excited for the upcoming Christmas season.  Not only will we be able to think about Jesus’ birth, we’ll be able to get new perspective firsthand! 

I finished my second semester in school and will be applying to the physical therapy program in a few days.  Working as an intercessory missionary, going to school, and having a newborn will be a lot to juggle but we’re believing God is leading us.  We’ll continue to rely on the financial support from our partners to continue our missions work at IHOPKC.  If you have never given before or joined our monthly partners team, now would be a great time to ask the Lord if He’s called you to join us.  If you’re interested, please let us know!  If you are already partnering with us, thank you so much!

We’ve really been trying to step out of our comfort zone this month.  A couple weeks ago we came across a video.  Todd White, an evangelist who has been used in incredible ways to heal the sick and preach the gospel, was talking about the need for the spirit of prophecy in the Church.  Basically, it boiled down to listening to the Holy Spirit more.  God wants to use us but we have to hear his voice.  As we’re listening, the Holy Spirit will give us words of encouragement and words of knowledge for other people.  These words can then be used as a doorway into preaching the gospel.  Loretta and I really want to operate in this more.  As a result, we’ve committed to try and give someone a prophetic word once a week.  The more we use the muscle, the better we’ll get at it.  We want to hear the Holy Spirit more and we encourage you to do the same!

The Power of a Few

April 2016 Newsletter

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:13-16

It’s amazing how much a small group of people can accomplish.  A few men and women can start revolutions, create life changing inventions, and influence IMG_0997entire generations.  Just look at the twelve disciples of Jesus.  Within a few years the entire world was turned upside down by fishermen, tax collectors, and farmers.  We tend to think the most influential people are incredibly smart and talented.  But it’s simply not true.  The most influential people are usually ordinary laymen who don’t give up.  Who knows what God can do through people who truly walk in obedience?

The ironic thing is that most people who dramatically affect history don’t know it while they are alive.  There are no dramatic theme songs in the background.  Most of the time life seems difficult or monotonous.  But on the other side, many will look back and see how much was accomplished through their life.  Look at the apostle Paul.  I doubt he knew his letters would become 1/3 of the New Testament or that his life would make a worldwide impact.  He was probably surprised at how much the Lord did through him when he entered heaven.  It’s no different for us.  We all have an opportunity to be great in heaven’s eyes and to change history.  We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.  Jesus meant for us to do mighty works in His name and we don’t have to be in “full-time ministry” to do it.  Plumbers, dentists, nurses, baristas – it really doesn’t matter.  God wants to use us wherever we are!

The main reason this is on our minds is because of the Passion for Jesus conference that IHOPKC hosted this month.  It was an incredibly encouraging conference.  As usual, the worship leaders ushered in the presence of God and the speakers were electric.  But our favorite sessions were Saturday night and Sunday morning.  Rick Joyner, the senior leader of “Morning Star” ministries, greatly inspired our community as he shared stories about little bands of people who have changed history.  If you have time, we encourage you to check out the archived messages at: ihopkc.org.  Loretta & I were amazed at the stories he shared of Christians who played a vital role in World War 1 and 2, as well as the Cold War.  He challenged the IHOPKC community to view current events through a prophetic lens.  We often forget that God is sovereign and owns history (HIStory).  He wants to use normal people like us to shape the future.  For Loretta & I, this is done through our ministry of intercession, disciple making, children’s ministry, and healthcare.  These are the main fronts we feel God has called us to fight in during this season.  We encourage you to ask God what fronts he wants to use you in.  Send us a text or email if you’d like us to pray with you.

The last bit of news this month has to do with affecting the lives of orphans.  Some of our dear friends, Jon and Kinsey Thurlow, have took an exciting initiative.  They created a short-term ministry called “40 Weeks of Prayer for America’s Orphans”.  For forty weeks, they are calling believers from all over the world to set aside regular time every week to pray for orphans in America.  Loretta & I are really excited about this & encourage you to check out the website at pray40weeks.com.  Even a few people can change the course of history.

Living Without Regret

March 2016 Newsletter

“Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” -2 Corinthians 5:8-10

We will all stand before God one day and give account for the lives we lived. Every decision, every word, and every action will be evaluated. For Christians, the
judgment seat of Christ will not involve punishment. But it could involve regret. When our life is tested by fire, how much of it will be wood, hay, and stubble and how much of it will be gold? This has been the main thing on our hearts lately. We want our lives to please Jesus when we stand before Him. We want to do everything for the glory of God.

It’s been a pretty slow month here in KC but we’re continuing to stay busy with our house group. We have thirteen regular people coming every Sunday night for food, worship,
prayer, bible studies, and encouragement. We’re so grateful for all of them! A few nights ago we went to a baby shower for one of the couples. A week earlier we celebrated a birthday. This upcoming week, we’re having another couple over for dinner. It’s exciting to do life together with like-minded believers. One goal for this Summer is friendship groupto start a men’s small group. I’d like to get a handful of married guys together to talk about vision. Proverbs 29:18 says that without vision, people perish and cast off restraint. There are so many aimless men in the world who aren’t leading their families spiritually. I’d love to get some men together to talk about who we want to be and what God has called us to do. We’ll see what happens.

The prayer room has been a lifeline lately. Right after my college classes, I get to enter the prayer room and pray for revival on the very campuses I just came from. The next two Wednesdays should be particularly exciting. Over fifty college student leaders from all over America will be coming to IHOPKC during Spring break. It’s called the “Spring Break Fuel School” and according to the website, it is “for all who desire to fuel a culture of prayer on their college campus and to contend for revival in their generation”(luke18project.com/events/spring-break-fuel-school). Various leaders from the IHOPKC mission’s base will be teaching and encouraging young students to boldly proclaim Jesus on their campuses. If you have time, we encourage you to tune in at ihopkc.org. The main set will be from 10am-Noon on March 9 and 16.

Lastly, an exciting opportunity opened up for Loretta to be a guest writer on a website this month. The website is doing a special “40 weeks of prayer for America’s orphans” theme and Loretta was asked to write an article because of her testimony. It was pretty cool because the Lord spoke to her a few days before about sharing her story through writing. Then out of nowhere, she got asked to do it! Besides writing, she has slowly been preparing to be a nanny for two kids instead of one. Her employer is pregnant with another baby, due in June. We’ve been reminding each other lately that no matter what we’re doing – changing baby diapers, doing homework, or praying in the prayer room, we’re doing it all to the glory of God. Lord, we make it our aim to please You in everything we do!

Loving God’s Family

February 2016 Newsletter

“As for the saints who are on the earth, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” -Psalm 16:3Community-144653342

Christian maturity can often be measured by how much we love the body of Christ. It’s easy to say we love God when we’re disconnected from people. But as we encounter people’s sin can we still love them and imitate Jesus? That’s the real telling factor. Are we a friend to the least of these? Are we inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of others? Are we pulling out the gifts and calling of others so that the whole Church is edified? These are the questions Loretta and I have been asking lately.

This has been an exciting month for a few reasons. First, I’m learning a lot in school that is preparing me for the physical therapy program I want to enter in the fall. My Medical Terminology class consists of a ton of memorization of Greek and Latin terms such as rhabdomyosacorma (malignant tumor of striated muscle). It’s really fun learning all these terms and putting them together to speak in the medical language. My second semester is off to a great start. The second reason this month has been exciting is because of the emphasis the IHOPKC community is placing on growing as a Church family. Every sermon last month was about loving the Church, growing in community, being vulnerable, and coming together in unity. It’s so exciting to see the leadership of IHOPKC pushing this more than ever. As a mission’s base, our goal is not to replace the Church, but to serve the Church. This is one of the reasons the International House of Prayer exists. Part of our mission statement is “to work in relationship with the wider Body of Christ to engage in the Great Commission” (ihopkc.org). In fact, I think that’s one of the things that makes IHOPKC so unique. There are so many different streams of the Church looking to this ministry for courage. At the Onething conference in December, we saw Charismatics, Baptists, Catholics, and Evangelicals together on the same stage. That doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with all of each other’s doctrines but it does mean we lay down our differences so that Jesus is glorified and the Gospel goes out to every nation.

IHOPKC is more than just a mission’s base though. We are a Church family and as such, we are committing to grow in our love for one another daily. This is the last reason this month has been so exciting. Our personal friendship group is really becoming a family. We are slowly becoming more vulnerable with each other and are starting to invest real time in building relationships. If someone in the group has a need, we want to meet it. If someone in the group needs prayer, we want to pray for them. If someone in the group has a word, we want to hear it. If someone in the group has a gift, we want them to use it. This is what Paul said in his letter to the Church at Corinth, “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor 14:26). It is only together that we can walk in the fullness of God’s purposes. We need each other. It’s exciting to see different parts of the Church realizing this. The Bride of Christ is beautiful, despite her weaknesses. We are the “excellent ones” in whom is all God’s delight.