JUST CONCLUDED: ADVENTURES OF THE HEART
I just returned from the Rocky Mountains above Colorado Springs after an Adventures of the Heart (AOH) retreat with 50 other men. Led by long time friend Reese Bricken and our son, Linus Jr. It was a five-day quest to bore deeper into the heart of God for us, and to invite Jesus more deeply into our own hearts.
The five days combined activities, powerful presentations, and times of heart-felt reflection. I could take the whole letter and then some to unpack the sessions.
All around me were young (and some not so young) men who were finding new freedom and power to be the men God designed them to be.
NEXT UP: TRACTION
I leave tomorrow for Europe to speak at several churches Sharon, our family, and I were part of starting. Along with friends Hud McWilliams and Jamie MacPherson, retreat leader Daniel Hahn, and other Christian leaders, I will also be part of the Traction retreat leadership team, designed to encourage “at risk missionaries”—those living and ministering in difficult places.
Each morning our staff team meets to pray for participants, followed by a general devotional session. We then break into small groups to discuss how the devotional relates to the participants personal lives, families and ministries. The afternoons are made up of individual appointments where the “at risk missionaries” can discuss the issues they face and any concerns they have. Please pray for God’s power and wisdom for us in the days ahead.
AFTER THAT: DIVINE EXPEDITION TRAINING IN BRAZIL
After speaking and mentoring missionaries in Europe, I will be home for a few weeks before Phil Graf and I head to Brazil to join our Brazilian team to train leaders in three other cities.
We will conduct two Phase 3s (“Aligning Your Heart with Father God’s Heart”) and one Phase 4 (“The Book of Acts and Multiplying Viral, Missional, Disciple-Making, Leadership-Developing, Church Planting Movements”).
Our goal is not only to train leaders, but to train leaders to train leaders to train leaders (2 Tim. 2:2). We are excited about the team of Brazilians, led by Sammy and Marcia Diab who are becoming Lead Trainers in each of the phases of our Divine Expedition Training.
ONE MORE THING: NO BS BS
When not traveling to train leaders, I lead a Bible study called the NO BS BS. The men in the study are in the work-a-day world where they make tough decisions, face lots of challenges that affect people’s lives, and wrestle with family and business pressures as committed Christians. My challenge is to help nurture a NO BS BS Christian worldview—one that is rooted in Scripture and vibrantly connected to Christ.
Over the years we have studied many books of the Bible: Genesis, Job, all the Old Testament Prophetic books (from 1 Samuel to Malachi), Matthew, John, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Hebrews, Revelation, and more. The current study we are undertaking is entitled, “Big Issues that We Face Today.” The immediate subset of this study is “Where Did the Western World Turn Off?” (fom a Judeo-Christian theistic worldview).
This has led us back to the spread of the early church; great Christian leaders like Augustine and Patrick of Ireland, the rise and domination of the Roman Church, the conquests and spread of Islam, the brutal suppression by the Roman Church and Roman Church monarchies of evangelical movements such as the Hussites (Czech, Jan Hus), Waldensians (French, Peter Waldo), Huguenots (French followers of John Calvin), and many others.
We have also looked at the spread of the Reformation (elevating the Gospel of Grace and the authority of God’s word), and philosophical movements like Rationalism (elevating reason over revelation), Deism (the Watchmaker God who doesn’t involves himself in our world), the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment (English and French), and the French Revolution…all this so far. We will keep pressing forward to understand Western secularism, militant atheism, global Islam, and other contemporary belief systems and worldviews.
The aim of all this, is to equip those in our NO BS BS to engage the contemporary culture with the Gospel in a compelling and compassionate way.
The NO BS BS study takes a lot of work to prepare, as well as to write up the notes after each study for participants to refer back to as needed. Below is a list of some of some of the books I have read this summer when time has permitted. I have included thanks to those who recommended the books or gave them to me. Not all are directly related to our immediate study but were good reads recommended by friends.
All But Normal: Life on Victory Road, by Shawn Thornton. (Thanks Shawn for letting me read your manuscript).
Hidden Agenda: Dropping the Masks That Keep Us Apart, by Steve Brown .(Thanks Rita for loaning me your book).
Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, by Sebastian Gorka. (I forget who recommended this, I think I saw it on TV).
Deliver Us From Evil: Restoring the Soul in a Disintegrating Culture, by Ravi Zacharias. (Thanks Randy R. for recommending it.)
The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War, by Joshua Ryan Butler (Thanks Mark for the recommendation).
What Was I Thinking? (Learning an ocean of grace in a pond of legalism), by Kent McClain. (Thanks Kent, for letting me give some input…get it published).
Bold: How to Go Big…and Impact the World, by Peter H. Diamonds and Steven Kotler. (Thanks Scott, part of being wise as serpents and thinking exponentially).
Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case, by Frank Turek. (Thanks Cedric, I am still chewing on this).
I head out tomorrow so ask you to pray for me and those I will be traveling with and ministering to—and for Sharon while I am away. Pray for much fruit—and thanks for being a fruit-bearer with us.
Because of His great grace and mighty strength,
Linus and Sharon