I wanted you guys to take a few minutes to get to know 6:22 Ministries. Matthew Lilley, the founder of 6:22, was one of the “kids” at a youth camp I served at years ago and has now become a man of God who inspires and challenges me in my walk with Christ. He, his wife, and the 6:22 family have been such tremendous friends and supporters of Lisa and I and Higher Place Ministries over the years. The 6:22 story is one that ignites my heart and stirs my soul to pursue God’s heart with abandon. It is a story of students who not only had a passion to worship and serve God, but actually took it to the next step. So many of us at various times get stirrings from God, but we don’t pursue them beyond that point and we miss the amazing favor of God.
Today 6:22 Ministries facilitates weekly worship gatherings, times of prayer and fasting, outreach to the ECU Campus, internships, and support of many missions and ministries. It is amazing when we desire God’s will and then are actually hungry enough to step out and do it. What was a vision for to see undignified worshippers has become a growing reality in Greenville, NC. It all began with a young man who received a vision from God for students to become undignified worshippers and was willing to take God at His word.
I would encourage you to pray for them, support them, attend at Friday night, and certainly buy their music!
“We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God” ~ from “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit” by Francis Chan
Last Sunday at our church, Liberty Christian Fellowship, we had student Sunday. It wasn’t a time where our student pastor gave a sermon or the kids sang a song for the offertory. The students conducted the entire service. They greeted, ushered, did the children’s message, led the worship, and gave the message. What’s so amazing about that? Other than in this day and age to have passionate, anointed, and bold students being leaders for the body, which is powerful in itself, there is a supernatural move among these students. They are having mid week bible studies in addition to their main meeting each week, 3 to be exact and about to start a 4th, that are having 15 and 20 students show up for some of them. They are proclaiming the gospel in their schools. They are creating a “culture of honor” in the youth group where they choose to do things that put others first. Each month they load the whole gang up to visit at a local rest home and their attendance on that night is almost the same as their other meetings. It’s not all hype and games. They are digging deep in study and serving hard.
Why am I going on and on about our student ministry? Is it that our student pastor is just that good? No. (He does do a great job, however) The answer is, it is un-explainable outside the movement of the Holy Spirit. Only God transforms hearts. Only God can move these students in mass to run counter their culture even when it means losing friends and missing out on some of what the rest of the culture is engaged in. It is only something God can do. The youth leaders have been faithful, desperate in prayer for the move of God, proclaimed and taught the Word to these guys, and been active in their lives relationally. That’s our end of the bargin, but only God could be producing the ridiculous fruit that we see.
That quote from Francis Chan really hit me hard. So much, in our western churchy lives can be explained by human effort and money. We can create inviting atmospheres that tug on peoples emotions in our services. We can follow up and keep tabs on folks in our databases, social networking, and fancy marketing. We can sound great with our sound systems, great musicians, and trained communicators. All of those things can grow our churches and draw people to our programs. But only God can change our hearts. Only He can take us from what were and are and conform us into the image of His Son. We need to be desperate for His Spirit to move and be active in our lives. We must not get trapped into feeling like we’re getting in done because of our church services. None of it makes a difference without His Spirit.
I will be obedient to what He has called me to and I’m hungry for the unexplainable. I want what only He can do. He wants my heart and I want His.
It has been a week or two since we’ve posted much. It’s been quite overwhelming settling in to this new season the Lord has placed us in. The spring is shaping up to be a powerful time of ministry, recording, and grand adventures. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.
We just returned yesterday from a multi-purpose road trip back to Delaware. Lisa had to take our daughter, Victoria, for an Orthodontist appointment in Lewes, DE. I needed to pick up some items that were left in Milton, DE from our move (I also got to crash the worship team practice at Eagle’s Nest on Thursday night, it was awesome worshipping with the gang!). We were able to visit some of our Delaware friends and meet with Pastor Bob Weed. Finally, we had a student ministry training engagement in Wilmington, DE. It was so refreshing to hit the road again for a bit. It’s amazing how our perspective can change when we step out of where we are and interrupt the routine. Lisa and I had the chance to minister to more than 60 student leaders and see God show up in power. It really was an incredible time.
I think my prayer right now is for us to pay attention. It is so easy for ministry to become familiar. I know how to prepare a worship set. I know how to organize for church ministry. I know how to prepare a talk and share with a group. This weekend really kept us on our toes. It can become so routine and comfortable that we become less dependent on Jesus as our source. Then we begin to miss His move. What has been refreshing for us over the last several weeks through this past weekend was that we’ve been out of our normal element, learning a new culture in the OBX, leading some ministry exercises for a group that we knew it would be a stretch for them at the student leader training event, and figuring out God’s directions for the church here. We’ve had to really focus to hear God’s voice, make intentional choices in faith, and pray for boldness. I want to pay attention. I don’t want to be so used to how “it” goes that I miss the leadings, promptings, and direction from the Holy Spirit. I want to do the hard things. God is really moving in some tangibly powerful ways here and I don’t want to miss it.
We are excited and are feeling a refreshed sense of vision. The kids are doing great. Victoria has turned into quite the evangelist in her new school situation! Joseph is plugging right in, Olivia is a cute little mess, Lisa is feeling great and we’ve been able to have some really powerful times of worship together.
Thanks for the prayers and support! It’s going to be an exciting season!
We put some of our songs together for you guys at the following link for free download. It’s just some of our ruff and raw worship. We love all of you and are so thankful for your support and prayers. We are looking forward to 2011 and all of the new things the Lord has in store. We believe that this is a year of “divine pursuit”. Download, share, worship, have fun!
Check out this post, I pray that this truth will settle deep in your heart. Eternal life is to know God.
Matt Kozma is the Youth Pastor at Chestnut Hill Baptist Church in Virginia. I would encourage you to spend some time checking out his blog.
This past Friday night, I lead the OBX Renewal Service here at Liberty Christian Fellowship. As I prayed through and sought the Lord about the service, God was really stirring my heart about the word “new”. I dug into Isaiah 43 and was astounded by it’s personal significance at this time in my life, the life our Liberty, and I feel, so much of the Body of Christ. Here are some of the passages in Isaiah 43:
“But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”
8 “Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
9 All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.”
“18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
These passages were written in a time that despite the disobedience of Israel, God has mercy upon his people and promises favor because they are His. I believe we are in one of those seasons where the Lord is unveiling some new things and favor to His people. We can call it opportunity if nothing else. Wars and rumors of wars, famine, economic uncertainty, violence in the public square, open hostility to Christianity and its principles. It is a time where we can sacrifice our pursuit of comfort and self indulgence and invest in our walk with Christ and service to those around us. We can celebrate the grace of God manifested in Christ to us with passion and abandon. He remembers our transgressions no more! I believe that God wants to do a new thing in His people and we can lay hold of it as we let go of all the other things that so easily beset us. I believe He wants to empower us to walk in joy and freedom regardless of our circumstances. That we can, because of grace, be instruments of peace in a great time of chaos. We have the opportunity in a time of brokeness and disobedience in our world to brightly reflect Christ and bring renewal.
Let’s press into Jesus this year like never before. Let’s worship like we mean it and not go through the ritual. Let’s pray like we are really talking to God. Let’s give outrageously because it doesn’t belong to us anyway. Let’s share the Gospel like it really is people’s only hope. I believe it is harvest time.
God is all about new. His mercies are new every morning, He makes us new creations in Christ, We are challenged to sing new songs to the Lord. He gives us a new heart, trading our heart of stone for a heart of flesh. He says right in Isaiah 43 that He’s going to do a new thing. Someday, those of us who die in Christ will receive new bodies and enter into the new heaven and earth.
Embrace God on a deeper level in this new year. Let go of the old, the bondages, the broken dreams and painful past. Allow God to do a new thing in you today.
Read Isaiah 43 this week and pray!