“Permission” – Part Two…

(Part one of “Permission” can be found HERE)

In His grace, Jesus has allowed us to be a part of these incredible people’s lives. The King Street House Church family was birthed after a group of these young people went through Student CPx in Austin two summers ago, and then helped me run SCPx Austin this past summer. In the last few months I have had the pleasure of watching this house church community flourish & grow into a healthy spiritual family. There are some things about what is happening with this group of radical young people that I think are worth taking a look at. Below are some things that come to my mind when I think about these close friends. (You read in “Permission” Part 1 about the team of 7 this house church is sending out to S. Asia over Winter break to train University students there to plant house churches)

What is unique about this community?

1) It is completely lay-led (There is no paid staff) – There is something powerful about a group of people who are pursuing the Kingdom in radical ways when there is no paychecks or any kind of financial gain attached…They birthed, lead, and pursue the healthy growth of this family out of the pure love for Jesus in their hearts.

2) It was birthed by women in their early 20’s – I almost did not mention this because it seems so normal and natural to me – like, “so, what’s the big deal?” However, after thinking through it I realized how unique and POWERFUL this really is because of the negative view that MANY have towards women in “leadership” or “ministry” in the American Church. Anyone who sees what God is doing in this community would have a tough time arguing their opposing view-point about women not being able to be in positions of leadership/authority in the Kingdom of God.

3) It is healthy, producing NEW disciples, and releasing people to walk in their gifts (Men are being raised up to lead) – This has not been easy, and without much pain, mistakes, failures, etc. I’ve seen and been a part of communities with “strategies for multiplication”, and others who are complacent; both are dangerous. The strategic ones bring death to relationship for the sake of sticking to a formula, and the others never see the beautiful power of the Gospel working in the lives of new people. This community seems to walk out a decent “balance”. They are quick to recognize when things are “off” and fix it. They hear God’s voice, and have faith to obey what He says. It’s hard to be a spectator in this community.

4) They have a deep desire to see new house churches planted all over the place, and have already seen a few planted since August! I have been in many different streams of church planting all over the world in the past few years. Nowhere have I seen twenty year-old’s who have BIRTHED and are leading new churches where new believers are being Baptized as a part of the natural DNA of how they “function and grow”. Not only that, but they are sending others out in two’s to start new “spiritual families”. They don’t have it all figured out, & are not perfect, but what God has done with them in the past year puts most “church planting strategies” I’ve seen in my life to shame. God seems to be showing off through the lives of some humble/passionate young people.

5) The power of God is present. I have also been in various environments in the past few years that seem “spiritually dead”, as well as others that are freakin’ CRAZY, which seem far from the nature and character of God. AKA: very conservative & highly charismatic. This community can be placed in neither of those camps. However, the power of God through the work of His Holy Spirit displayed through the obedience of these radical followers of Jesus is not arguable. They are seeing supernatural physical, spiritual, and emotional healing take place. They are seeing the fruit of the Spirit displayed in people’s lives (Gal. 5:22-23) as well as the power of the gifts of the Spirit on a regular basis. They are not afraid.

6) They walk in a humility & refusal to pursue personal gain/attention that is like nothing I have experienced in most of my life.

I suppose I could go on and on. I want to make it clear that I am not bragging on anything other than the miraculous work of Jesus in the lives of these people. We like to call out the Christ-like qualities of Jesus we see in people as a way to edify them, and bring glory to Jesus. We are not “puffing them up”, but recognizing the redeeming work of Jesus in their lives. Obviously, I care about these people a lot. I am so proud of the Jesus I see in them, and wanted to share them with you a bit. I hope it has encouraged your Spirit.

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Big Transitions Ahead…

Jesus never lets us get too comfortable. He’s always drawing us closer to Himself. This process OFTEN involves the removal of certain comforts, or things that have allowed complacency during our short stay on this earth. This seems to happen a lot with us. It is usually painful, and involves a chunk of our flesh to be burned away. We are so pumped about this latest shift in life, both for our family, and for Intentional Gatherings as an organization. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging in detail about the events leading up to this transition, but in the meantime I recorded a short video for those of you who keep up with what goes on in the lives of the Snow family & I.G. as an organization. It’s about 5 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and stay tuned for future blogs about “why in the world the director of a non-profit would give himself a complete & permanent pay cut…”

If you’re in the Austin area and know of any job openings shoot me the leads! =)

Permission…

The King St House Church Community is a crazy spiritual family of radical Jesus lovers in their early 20’s. This church was birthed after a group of these young people went through Student CPx in Austin two summers ago, and then helped us host SCPx here in Austin this past summer…

This community is sending an apostolic team to South Asia in December to train 40 university students to plant new house churches in their villages & surrounding towns. Our prayer, and hope is that as these young people go on this trip it will give their generation “permission” to go and do likewise – to realize they don’t need a big organization, church, mission trip, etc. to hear God’s voice and ACT in obedience. (Read the story below of how God miraculously orchestrated this opportunity)

If you are in the Austin area you won’t want to miss the S. Asia info session where the team will share about the trip, and how you/your Spiritual Family can partner with them to go. They truly have the opportunity to partner with the Holy Spirit & equip a few local people to spark a Church Planting Movement in a dominantly Buddhist Nation. The Austin Stone’s 100people network believes in this team & has allowed them to host the session at the Stone’s St. Johns Campus. Details below…

Come hear about something amazing that God is starting amongst the unreached in South Asia using people from Austin and how you can get involved.  **Story below.**

When: Tuesday Nov. 30 @ 7:30

Where: Austin Stone St. John Campus

Who Should Come? Anyone who wants to help make a difference in one of most unreached nations in the world.

What do you do about a nation where the majority of the people have never heard of Jesus?  A nation that is one of the last remaining Buddhist strongholds on earth?  A nation whose doors are closed?  What do you do when Jesus tells you to go there with less than two months notice?

Jon, Meghan, Ashwin, and Lauren said “YES” to the call last year and traveled to India to get as close as possible to the border of this unreached nation (we can’t tell you the name of the nation for security reasons). They lacked earthly understanding of how they would reach the people. But they saw the things that were unseen, the promises of God, and they envisioned a people that were far from Jesus becoming his inheritance. So they moved forward in faith.

The closer they traveled toward the border of this nation, the less likely it seemed that they would have the opportunity to minister to the people. They found themselves immersed among the Nepali people who lived there in India. The believers welcomed the team wholeheartedly, adopted their vision as their own, and began to pray for them.

Upon returning to Austin, however, it almost seemed that their vision had failed.  Nonetheless, the team continued believing in faith that the word the Holy Spirit spoke would come to pass.  Soon they found out about a pastor in Austin who was a refugee from the Buddhist nation. They went to Brother John’s house to meet him, and a door opened!  His heart was still beating for the nation he had left behind. Brother John couldn’t go back, but he could empower the team to go and take the gospel to his people.

Brother John and their contacts in India worked together to prepare a special place for a mighty move of the Holy Spirit. They reserved a Bible school in India that sits right on the border of the Buddhist nation. This January, the team will put on a training at this Bible school to equip students in church planting.  Their Indian friends traveled into the nation and recruited 35 youth to cross over the border and come to the training. They believe God wants to do something greater than they could ever imagine. They believe they will see 35 youth trained to plant underground house churches, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and equipped with a fresh measure of the glory of God. They believe God will use these young pioneers to flip a nation upside down! Let this Buddhist kingdom become the kingdom of our God and his Christ!

The team this year is Jon, Meghan, Lauren, Caryn, Courtney, Cameron, and Michael. They submit to the Holy Spirit and give themselves fully to his purpose, each of them willing and ready to use their specific gifts for building up of the brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. They have come together hand in hand, committed to Christ’s cause, praying together with joy for what God will do, and excited that they get to experience this together as a family.

Please join us on Tuesday November 30th at 7:30 PM for an info-session about this nation and how you can be involved.  Let us all join hands to take the Gospel to this unreached nation!

CLICK HERE to go to the Facebook events page to RSVP!

 

 

 

“Saved FROM Church”

This is a practical story to follow up on a previous post about how often we slip into the trap of thinking “church” is our personal Lord and Savior instead of Jesus. This new post is the story of our encounter with Amber (Name changed for courtesy). If you haven’t already, CLICK HERE to read previous post “Church, My Personal Lord & Savior”, and then come back to read Amber’s story.

“This story has actually led me to believe that many people may actually need to be saved FROM church in order to know Jesus as Lord as opposed to the other way around.”

We made the drive from Austin to San Marcus where Taylor, one of our awesome sisters in Christ lives & goes to school at Texas State. Our primary purpose was to go love on, and encourage Taylor for the day. We also thought it’d be fun to go out on campus to see where Jesus might lead us by His Spirit. While on campus Taylor saw a girl in a knee brace. She immediately approached her, and began a conversation. Over the course of the next 15-20 minutes we got to know Amber. She is a beautiful girl with a deep, but undeveloped love in her heart for Jesus. Because of a terrible experience with “church” as a child she had not known how to pursue her love for Him outside the context of the lovely religious system that had so deeply wounded her. She had stopped going to church, and reading her Bible years before. From time to time she prayed, and tried talking to Jesus, but there seemed to be some blockades hindering her from intimacy with Him. After walking away from our conversation with Amber I am convinced that her biggest hindrance to intimacy with Jesus is something that has been ingrained in her from a young age. She could not seem to get past the idea that “going back to church” was not what she needed to do, or what her heart longed for. Her soul longed for Jesus…

During our conversation with Amber we never mentioned a word about “church”. One of the first questions she asked us was, “what club or organization are you guys a part of”? We just told her we weren’t, but just loved Jesus and each other. She shared her story with us of being deeply wounded by her church, etc. She kept saying, “I’m just not ready to go back to church yet”. It was funny because we had never even suggested she go back to “church”. We prayed over her, shared some visions and prophetic words we received for her from the Holy Spirit, encouraged her and spoke life into her current situation. Again, she insisted to us that she was not ready to go back to church yet. “Maybe in another year or so, but just not now”. After she had said this several times I looked at her and said something along the lines of, “Amber, I don’t think Jesus is very concerned about you going back to church. I just know He loves you, wants an intimate relationship with you, and it brings Him to tears each day that He is apart from you.”

It was after that statement that I realized how deeply ingrained this thought process is in our culture. Even after clearly sharing the Gospel, and how Jesus had no desire for her to go back to church, but to be with HIM she still had this mindset that “when she was ready” she would “go back to church”.

Our time with Amber was not in vain. She definitely encountered the love of God, and was teary eyed at several points throughout our conversation with her. She got to experience His love through us, and hear that He wanted her to dance again. (She was a ballet performer & instructor until the injury to her knee) She got a small taste of what it could mean to follow Jesus and BE a part of His Body. We got to play a part in chipping away at that mindset that “going to church” was what was going to “save her” or solidify her “standing with God”. She encountered some people who heard the clear call of Jesus to “follow Him”, not the call to “go to church”.

We spent the rest of the day offering up spontaneous prayers for Amber’s heart to let go and love Jesus. I offered up a secret prayer that God would “SAVE HER FROM CHURCH”, and “to Himself”.

As “Christians” here in America we are sometimes the quickest to slip into idolatry. A primary scheme of the enemy is to take things that are “good” and convince us those things are more worthy of our worship than Jesus. (Even “worship” itself! See how sneaky satan is) We get easily distracted, and accidentally start worshiping the created thing instead of the creator of the thing.

For years this mentality that “church” is what will “save us” has tainted our view of Jesus, and what it means to BE a part of the Body of Christ. Of course, nobody comes out and says something like, “salvation is through faith in church”, or “you must go to church to be saved!” But, it is something deeply ingrained into the Christian culture here in America. Because we have lost sight of every believer’s call to make disciples, and settled for a religious system made up of a few select people who do so for us, we have communicated to the lost world that it is in fact “church” that will save them first and foremost, not Jesus. The above story has actually led me to believe that many people may actually need to be saved FROM church in order to know Jesus as Lord as opposed to the other way around. The world needs Jesus. They don’t need church. The beauty is that when the world has Jesus they are automatically a part of THE CHURCH. Relationally they have everything they need, and are being obedient to everything they have been called to as a part of the larger Body of Christ.

Eric’s Baptism…

About a month or so ago I had the amazing privilege of Baptizing my friend Eric Robinson. Eric is a part of the King Street House Church Family that was birthed by some amazing students after Student CPx in Austin. Eric is an amazing man of God with an incredible story. God has been, and is continuing to use Eric for His Kingdom. I can’t wait to see what Eric does after graduating from UT!

“Spiritual Family” Reunion…

Back in October we did a little “Spiritual Family” Reunion for those who have become a part of the “King Street House Church Community” (New network or house churches that birthed as a result of Student CPx in Austin). We had a blast…

NBC News Reports on House Church In U.S.

Below NBC News Reports on House Church Trends in the U.S. This is a great picture of some practical reasons why many American Christians are seeking out more personal, intimate, & financially practical ways of “Being the Church”. Statistics show that billions of dollars are spent each year in America on church buildings. Many Americans are choosing to meet in places that already belong to them…their homes! This frees up tons of money to be used for other purposes. Of course, there are many other reasons that we, as a family, and I.G. as an organization choose to pursue Jesus in these types of contexts. Yes, it is beautiful for financial resources to be freed up. It’s great that in these contexts each individual gets to, for the first time, start playing an ACTIVE role in where their resources are used. But, we also love things like the beautiful intimacy of relationship that cannot be avoided in these contexts. We love that each person involved must play an active role in the community and making disciples. We love getting to see ordinary followers of Jesus empowered to live out the most basic teachings of Jesus for the first time in their Christian lives. This is a beautiful thing…

Check out the NBC News Report…