Category Archives: Lucas’ World

Kenyan Security Officer: Trump is God’s Chosen

For years, Kenya, historically one of the strongest economic centers in Africa, has battled the rise of terror groups, such as ISIS and Al-Shabab, the difficulty of securing their northern border with Somalia, as well as meeting the needs of high volumes of displaced people groups throughout the country. Having spent collectively more than several months in Kenya over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand many of the challenges facing Kenya through my work with The Oasis Network For Churches.

This week, the conservative news outlet, Faithwire, released a shocking video from one of my recent trips to Kenya in which I interview a high ranking Kenyan national security officer regarding border safety under the Trump administration.  The story, which can be found HERE, picked up massive national reach after being tweeted by Tomi Lahren, a leading conservative commentator and Trump supporter.

Actually in Kenya we say that, ‘Trump is God’s chosen.’ Because by him being there so many things to do with terrorism and the spirit behind the Islam has been restricted.     -Officer Harrison Gnota

The original interview, which was recorded as part of filming of Miles Away, a new reality documentary that follows my work with The Oasis Network can be found here:

 

Looking for more content from Lucas Miles?  Make sure and head over to http://www.faithwire.com/podcasts/the-lucas-miles-show/ to listen to the newest podcast with world-class influencers, authors, and thought-leaders, like DeVon Franklon, Kevin Sorbo, Andrew Wommack, and more!

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Drifting from the Truth

augustine-truth

Isaiah 5:20 ESV says this, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

In the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes none of the ruler’s servants nor the town’s people wanted to be seen as foolish or unfit by admitting that the Emperor was really naked. Instead, the masses fell victim to a very small minority (2 traveling salesmen with a sinister agenda to deceive the people and profit off of their fear of being wrong). Because no one would speak up, each individual eventually assumed that all were able to perceive his new clothes, except for them, so they unanimously agreed how wonderful he looked – even though none of them could see his suit.

In today’s world the same is true. There is an agenda that exists to reframe truth – politically, biologically, historically, morally, religiously, and ethically – and those behind it are banking on the masses’ unwillingness to speak out and call evil “evil”. They have gone to great lengths to publicly and brutally disparage and demean anyone who would stand up against them and state what the great majority know, but that most are afraid to say.

This week’s headlines showed just a snapshot of this rising agenda and continued distortion of the truth; an anti-Semitic, radical Islamic sympathizer being appointed deputy chair of the DNC, continued attempts at normalizing and desensitizing the public to transgenderism and other sexual distortions, as well as a convicted cannibal’s charges being dropped from murder to only manslaughter. Each of these represent just a small glimpse at how far we’ve drifted from truth as a society and the extent that morality and godliness have been stripped from our definition of truth, identity, and life.

More than ever we need the gospel.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

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The Sign of the Rainbow: Grace and the Homosexual Community

I regularly receive questions regarding issues of what I call “practical” grace.  Lately some of the most common questions have dealt with grace and homosexuality.  Many pastors have chosen to shy away from answering similar questions, due to the immense controversy, but I personally believe that as this issue continues to gain increased attention both socially and politically, it is likewise important that churches and individual believers know how to respond to such questions.  More specifically, I believe that it’s important to know what the Bible teaches regarding faith and sexual orientation/sexual identity, no matter how controversial the answers may be.

Additionally, I think this topic is important to address, because many homosexuals are in fact seeking a relationship with God, but have been isolated and segregated in the past, or simply made to feel this way, from the church due to hate speech, bigotry, and religious thinking.  My hope is that by addressing properly and clearly what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, sin, and most of all God’s grace, that the church might once again be restored as a place of refuge and healing for all who are seeking a Savior.

With that being said, I would like to acknowledge from the start that issues of gender, sexuality, and identity are quite complex and usually trigger strong emotions on either side of the debate.  In no way, especially in so few words, am I able to adequately answer all questions related to sexual orientation, but hopefully the below questions and answers will serve to give initial insight into what we teach and also provide much needed biblical perspective to readers wanting to understand a gospel oriented view of grace and homosexuality, etc.  I trust not all will agree with my responses, but I very much hope that all will at least see this as a positive step in furthering the discussion.

Q: Are homosexuals welcome at your church?

Assuming they aren’t coming for nefarious reasons, absolutely everyone is welcome at any one of our Oasis’ churches.  At Oasis, we aren’t focused on sin management or trying to uncover everyone’s deep, dark secrets, rather we focus on love and identity in Christ.  People are very safe at Oasis to engage, learn, grow, and ask questions relevant to their lives.  Our assumption is that every single person who attends one of our churches has “issues” to some degree; shortcomings, secret sins, or character flaws.  It isn’t that we look at these struggles as if they don’t matter or aren’t important to God.  Our character matters deeply to God, because it affects the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us.  The difference though at Oasis is not in what we believe about sin or character, but rather in what we believe about God’s grace.  Titus 2:12 says that grace “teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”.  At Oasis, we understand that the secret to life transformation and healing is experiencing God’s love and grace, and doesn’t come through finger pointing, fault finding, or condemning words – what unfortunately many people are used to finding at church.  Grace doesn’t mean that we approve of homosexuality, but simply that we believe that every person, regardless of their behavior, has value and worth.  Sometimes people hearing this will ask, “So you believe in going easy on sin?”  My response is always the same, “No, I just believe God went hard on Jesus.”  Make no doubt about it, sin can kill you, but Jesus is greater than our sin.  The Bible teaches that Jesus became sin at the cross and received in himself the full payment and penalty for our sin through his death on the cross (Isaiah 53:11, 54:9-10).  This is what we call the “Great Exchange”; that he took our sin and exchanged it for his righteousness.  As a result, we now have peace with God and walk in his grace.  In this way, we extend this grace to others, regardless of their struggles, because we trust God’s grace to lead people into truth and godliness.

Bottom line, if someone is coming to Oasis to hear the message and to explore their faith – that person is always welcome.  If someone else, gay or not, is coming simply to cause problems, that’s a different story and a person like this, assuming they refused to stop whatever issue they were causing, would be asked to leave until their attitude or agenda changes.

Q:  Nature versus Nurture?  How does grace respond to this debate?

First off, the homosexual agenda needs for the answer to this question to be nature.  If the answer is nurture, then homosexuality becomes a result of abuse, pain, and distorted emotions and thus something that can and should be healed.  The temptation here is to make homosexuality about this debate, but it isn’t.  Personally, I do believe that the primary cause of homosexuality is nurture, or lack thereof, (i.e. abuse, emasculation, bullying, etc.) but because of how pervasive I believe sin to be, I have no issue conceding perhaps some causality to nature, with the understanding that science is finding, and I believe the Bible confirms this, that our genes pass down programming and emotions on levels that we are just beginning to realize.  (Please note – this is NOT generational curse teaching, which is unscriptural, and something altogether different.)  So, if the answer is nurture, then certainly there is restoration and freedom in Christ.  But if the answer is nature or both nature and nurture, what should this matter?  If Lady Gaga is right, and we were all “born this way”, this still should not be an obstacle, for in Christ we can all be born again into newness of life.  Our nature, that was once dead to God, can be made alive to God and filled with the fruit of righteousness (i.e. God’s kind of life – life as it should be).

As the church, we need to be aware that to many in the homosexual community, talk like this simply sounds like Christians are trying to change people.  In order to be truly effective in reaching people with the gospel, especially reaching a group like homosexuals that have been subjected to decades of hate speech by the religious, we need to demonstrate and carefully clarify that our intentions in preaching the message go far beyond trying to make converts, and that our main goal is to see people renewed, restored, and full of the life of God.  Grace and sincerity, not debate, are perhaps the greatest tools that we possess in reaching this community.

Q:  Is homosexuality worse than other sins?

The short answer here is, yes and no.  From God’s vantage point, sin is sin.  People mistakenly think that the Bible teaches in James 2:10 that all sins are equal, and although this is true in some ways, this is only part of the picture. What it actually states is that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”  This doesn’t mean that all sin is equal exactly, but that to commit one sin is to be found guilty of all sin.  Obviously, without Christ, the consequencesof this are dreadful.  So in this sense,to commit any sin, makes even a heterosexual man guilty of homosexuality.  Because of this, homosexuality is no worse than any other sin.  This should hopefully wake up some of the legalists out there who see homosexuality as the worst sin imaginable, since in the absence of Christ, they themselves, according to the law, are guilty of the same offense.

On the other hand, it would be foolish to think that horizontally, that is on earth, all sins are equal or that the consequences are the same.  The consequences of lying are typically less than the consequences of sexual sin, but likewise, the ramifications of murder far outweigh those of both deceit and any sexual sin.  In this way, homosexuality does have detrimental effects to one’s emotions, sense of self-worth, and at times, health.

All considering, I think it’s important that we keep in mind that the goal here isn’t to manage sin, rather to lead people into true,unhindered relationship with God.  Sin management is shortsighted and stems from a performance driven view of sin that does little to actually restore and heal those who are hurting.  To truly restore people, at a heart level, regardless of the sin, we must focus on identity in Christ, grace as God’s power for change, and most importantly the love of God.

Q:  If all sins are equal, and we all sin, should homosexuality disqualify you for ministry?

In regards to homosexuality disqualifying a person for ministry, part of the problem here is that the question is flawed.  The question begins by isolating homosexuality as a special class of sin, and thus makes it nearly impossible to answer the question in such a way that doesn’t trap Christians into saying that homosexuality is worse than all other sins. With this in mind, the better question is, does sin disqualify a person for ministry?

To answer that, let me remind us that in the New Covenant we understand that Jesus took upon himself the sins of the entire world and removed the dividing wall of hostility between God and man.   As a result, when approaching God, sin is no longer our problem.  With this in mind, we see that it isn’t sin that disqualifies a person for ministry; rather it is his belief about his sin that does.  If sin disqualified us for ministry or Christian service, then we would all be disqualified, for all have sinned.  To make sense of this, let’s look at 1 John 1:8-10 where it says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make himout to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  This means that a man or woman who has homosexual thoughts or feelings, but acknowledges these tendencies as sin or desires of the flesh, chooses to honor the word of God and takes responsibility for their own heart.   This person, with time and grace, will find freedom and wholeness and I believe the church should model God’s grace towards them, by embracing them, as they would any other brother.  On the contrary, to deny homosexuality (or gluttony for that matter) as sin and to embrace it as part of one’s nature is rebellion and as John states, “makes him (God) out to be a liar.”  In this case, it is a man’s belief about his sin that disqualifies him, not sin itself.  Referring back to the previous passage, John illustrates this in verse 8, where he states, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

On the other hand, in verses 9 and 10, John reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make himout to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  The Greek word used here for “confess” literally means “to say the same thing”.  Commonly, people think of the word confession as having to do with rehashing all of your secret sins to a priest or even to God, but biblical confession really has little to do with this. Biblical confession actually entails agreeing with God about our sin; saying the same thing about it that he does.  Yes, we do this when we acknowledge that our sins are in fact truly sins, but we only fulfill the true definition of confession when we agree with God that our sin has also been covered by God’s grace and is no longer counted against us.  One who either fails to acknowledge sin as sin or fails to confess their sin as forgiven in Christ, both fail to “say the same thing” as God and really have no business ministering to others, when they themselves are still not walking in God’s grace.

So to the person struggling with sin, but who desires to live for God, I would say:  Simply agree with God that your sin was covered and paid for on the cross and receive his grace in your life.  Jesus is your qualification, both now and forever.

Q:  If you could share one thing with the Homosexual or LGBT community, what would it be?

To those in the homosexual and LGBT communities, I want you to know that at Oasis, our message is simple – God loves you and he’s better than we think he is.  I also want you to know that God’s not mad at you, but crazy about you.  In the book of Genesis, God gave Noah the sign of the rainbow in the sky, as a testimony of his promise and faithfulness towards all of creation.  Isaiah, the prophet, takes this a step further in Isaiah 54:9-10, where God says, “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.  So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.  Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”  In all of this hopefully it’s clear, God wants a relationship with you – with all of us.  He wants to fulfill your hopes and your dreams.  He wants to give you wisdom, truth, and his abundant grace.  He wants to show you the real you.  Not the person you see when you look in the mirror, but the real you; the deep reality and beauty that is in your spirit, beyond the sum of your sexuality and your outward behavior – the person you’ve been searching for all these years.  He wants to show you who you were created to be.  God is extending to you the greatest offer that there ever could be – to be made truly alive.  But understand this, he won’t force himself on you, he won’t make you receive him.  That is your choice – you must invite him into your life.

Let me close by leaving you with the words of John in John 3:16-21:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

If you are interested in ordering more life giving resources from the Oasis Network For Churches or to receive additional information about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit www.oasnet.org or call 574.247.9800.

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Flying Cockroaches

Who would have thought that you could learn something from a cockroach?

We arrived in Mexico last night after a long day of travel. Overall the trip was smooth, other than the usual Chicago traffic and a lost bag upon arrival; nothing we can’t do without for a day or two.

Our hosts were waiting for us at the airport, helped us load our baggage into their pickup truck, and drove us to their beautiful home in Madeiro, Mexico. After some wonderful refreshments and some even better conversation, we made our way to our rooms for the night.

But shortly after Krissy and I got settled in, we realized we weren’t alone. La cucarachas, aka a giant flying cockroach, had invaded our space uninvited. Now before I start, let me just say that I’ve traveled the world, I’ve seen big bugs before, handled wild snakes, but there is just something about a lightning fast cockroach that still makes my skin crawl. But tonight my fear would have to wait, because I’m a man, and duty called and my wife wasn’t going to be able to sleep until that nasty bug was dead, right? So to battle I went, moving furniture, throwing shoes, checking under rugs, and even swatting my arms a few times; I mean I tore that place apart, but you know what, no matter how hard I tried, I was just no match for that flying beast, that is,…until I finally turned on the light. Man, with just one flicker of incandescent glory that bug ran for the hills never to be scene again. Who would have thought that it was that easy?

That reminded me of something. Problems are a lot like cockroaches, they surprise us, scare us, and despite our best efforts often times leave us feeling defeated and uneasy, that is, until we flip on the light.

Psalm 18.28 says, “You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.”. See problems, just like that pesky cockroach, have a way of fleeing at the first glimmer of God’s light. God’s light, his truth and opinion, lights up our darkness and causes our problems to flee.

I don’t know what you’re dealing with today, but keep this in mind, darkness doesn’t like light and can’t ever overcome it. Walk in God’s light today and begin to see your circumstances change.

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Current Reading List

I love to read and always seem to have a few books I’m juggling at one time.  I prefer reading books for knowledge rather than fun, but every now and then I’ll throw in a good fiction book for balance sake.  Here is a list of the books I’m currently tackling.

1.)  What Every Body Is Saying – Joe Navarro (Excellent book on body language and reading people…a topic of study for me which I would like to think has greatly improved my situational and emotional intelligence.)

2.)  The Revelation of Jesus Christ – Lynn Hiles (Lynn is a friend and fellow “grace guy”.  His book is presenting a pretty new (for me) understanding of the book of Revelation.  I’m still processing and doing a self study along with his book.  This will probably be one of those books I chew on for awhile. )

3.)  Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe (Krissy and I have been reading R.C. for around a year now.  We read a few pages a week before falling asleep.  It’s a terribly awkward book (language wise) to read outloud, so I mostly make her read.  Good story overall and I’ve found it fascinating how much religion is discussed in the book.)

4.)  The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla – Nikola Tesla w/additional material from David Hatcher Childress (I may create a lab0ratory in my basement upon finishing this book.  Anyone seen the Prestige?)

5.)  Be the Pack Leader – Cesar Millan (With a new doberman, I can’t finish this one fast enough.)

6.)  Against the Protestant Gnostics – Philip J. Lee (Heavy read, but really insightful.  Amazed at how much gnostic thought has influenced and confused the church.)

7.)  The Hidden Messages in Water – Masaru Emoto (haven’t started yet)

8.)  Science and Human Transformation – William Tiller (This book is mostly over my head, but the topic intrigues me.  I’m a physics nerd trapped in a liberal arts mind, so topics likes, metaphysics, consciousness, and intentionality are right up my alley, especially when they point to God.)

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Introducing…..Living Grace!

I am very excited to introduce to you the brand new book, Living Grace, by New Nature Publications.  This book is a joint project put together by New Nature and 13 like minded authors, including, yours truly!  My chapter is titled, Unstoppable Grace, and parallel’s the lives of Jonah and Saul/Paul while looking at grace as a modern reformation/movement.  I really believe in the revelation that I shared in this book and I would highly recommend it for anyone who is part of the “Gospel Revolution”.

Here is a list of the authors and chapter titles:

Chapter   1 – Union by Benjamin Dunn.

Chapter   2 – Totally Forgiven, Totally United, Totally Filled by Ryan Rufus.

Chapter   3 – Guilt Free Living by Arther Meintjes.

Chapter   4 – The Grace Hating Spirit by RobRufus.

Chapter   5 – Grace and Leadership by Fini deGersigny.

Chapter   6 – Ministering in the Glory by Joshua Mills.

Chapter   7 – Dealing with the Demonic by Cornel Marais.

Chapter   8 – Grace and Finances by Andrew Wommack.

Chapter   9 – The Place of Grace in Balanced Preaching by Chad Mansbridge.

Chapter 10 – A Case for Divine Complacency by John Crowder.

Chapter 11 – The New Covenant in a Nutshell by Paul Hernandez.

Chapter 12 – New Covenant Motivation by Wayne Duncan.

Chapter 13 – Unstoppable Grace by Lucas Miles.

If you would like to order a copy, here is the link!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

http://www.oasnet.org/resources-store.cfm#ecwid:category=1466683&mode=product&product=10445086

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God Speaks: Thoughts on Lost and Avatar

Let’s be honest, God can reveal truth through anything; burnt toast, puffy clouds, and even Hollywood productions.  Now before I get started, I just want it to be known, I’m a Word-guy.  Although God can speak through anything and everything, I believe that His main ways of communicating to us is through His Word and also through the person of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it seems that religious people can be easily offended by the thought of God speaking through other avenues, especially one as seemingly unspiritual as television or movies.  What I would like to point out from the beginning here that it isn’t that God is “speaking through” movies or discolored patterns on pieces of toast, but rather that the Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to our hearts, revealing Christ to us, and that because of this, whatever is in front of us, can become the object lesson of his choosing.  For me, though I typically prefer to learn about God through His Word, talking or listening to other believers, or even a walk in the woods, recently I was deeply impressed by 2 different media productions that I saw; Lost and Avatar.  Here are a few revelations that I got from each of them.

LOST:  Though I came into it a few seasons late, I really fell in love with the series.  My staff and some others at our church were all pretty into it, and we spent a lot of off time (and probably some “on” time) discussing theories and plotlines.  I’m proud to say that I figured a few things out, but going into the last episode, I still had a few pretty big questions.  Prior to watching the final episode, I had said on several occasions that no matter what, as long as the main characters live, I’m going to be happy with the ending.  So you can imagine the utter disappoint, when in fact, not only did some of the main characters die, but in fact, everyone died and they flashed forward to some sort of politically correct unitarian afterlife.  From a literary standpoint I felt it was a major copout, and I was pretty frustrated that I had even wasted my time with the show.  What about the island?  What about Jack?  What about the polar bears?  I mean, I needed to know these things.  Or did I?  Now weeks later, God has really been teaching me something about this life….most of what we hold so crucially important isn’t.  Like Jack, I can easily be so focused on “the island” that I miss the fact that this life isn’t about the island at all, but rather it’s about the next, and for me, I believe that to be knowing Christ.  In thinking back, how stupid and arbitary was Jack’s mission, to plug an oozing energy drain in the center of some random island, but how fitting.  Most of my best efforts aren’t much better, but they mean so much to me.  And like Jack, it seems that I am sometimes still frantically trying to hang onto my life, not realizing that in order to find my life, I must lose it.  As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live….”  For me, the themes of Lost, whether intended or not, have been reminding me that my island isn’t near as important as I would like to believe, and in the end, for those in Christ, as Desmond said, “Everything is going to be okay.”

Avatar: Was it the greatest movie ever?  Probably not, but I enjoyed it.  Visually impressive?  Most certainly.  And again, I have no idea what the intent was of the actors and producers, but the places that it took me, or rather that God took me while I was watching it was incredible.  The basic storyline is that a disabled marine who is unable to walk, takes over for his deceased twin brothers research project for the military on another planet.  The project was that they had cloned or created an “Avatar” which was a host body replicated by human and alien DNA, through which the military was able to project their consciousness into the large blue creatures.  These bodies were identical to the nature of those on the alien planet and were able to almost effortlessly master their surroundings by running, jumping, and climbing.  As you can imagine, if you haven’t seen it, for this disabled marine to “leave” his human body and to enter into the body of his Avatar produced instant freedom and joy for the man.  He was crippled, and now, in his new body, had virtually no physical limitations, in fact, he was able to move in ways that he could never imagine.  For me, it was just a perfect picture of the new creation and even more so, death in Christ.  You and I, we are ALL crippled.  We might not realize it, but we are so limited and disabled in our flesh and bodies, to the point that we can’t hardly move at all in the way God intended for us.  We are so crippled in our flesh, that we can’t even imagine what it would be like to be free, to be masters of the world around us.  Now I’m not starting the first church of Avatar, but this simple picture of a crippled man entering into this new body and discovering freedom and life like never before….how perfect!  As a kid, and even sometimes as an adult, if I’m honest, I’ve been afraid of death.  And not just death, but I’ve been afraid of heaven.  I mean, what are we going to do for ALL eternity!  Though God has been bringing revelation of his goodness to me for sometime of these concepts, this picture in Avatar really was influentual to me.  It made me excited.  Once this guy got into his Avatar, he never wanted to come back.  How much more so when we receive our new bodies in Christ, will we be so filled with freedom and joy, finally released of the limitations of this physical realm, to be able to experience life, and the life God intended for us.  As believers, we can get excited about being with Christ.  I’m confident that HIS imagination and plans for us, are far superior to the imagination of James Cameron (Avatar ‘s director) or even ourselves.  We can’t out think God’s goodness and plans for us.  He didn’t say that He was going to prepare a place for himself, but rather for us.  God’s intent is to build a home for us, and I’m confident that our creator will no just how we like it and what we are desire.  Rest easy, death is but a moment, after which we awake to true life!

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Staff Envy

As a church planter, I  spent several of our first years planting very jealous, but perhaps not about what one might think.  I think most would assume that pastors would be jealous about attendance or perhaps money or buildings or something, but not me.  I was jealous of other churches’ staffs.  There I was, with a home office or sitting at Bella Vita Coffee (God rest her soul 🙂 ) all by myself trying to do the job of 4-10 people.  Granted, I live for stuff like this, but there were plenty of days when it was really hardwork and it would have been nice to have a couple other people around to help.  As I looked at other churches and pastors, they had people.  You know “peope”.  They would say things like, “no problem, I’ll have one of my people take care of this” and  things like that.  I had no people; heck, I didn’t even have a copy machine to talk to.  In thinking back, it wasn’t so much that my lack of partners in crime caused me to be lonely, afterall, Krissy was very much around and always engaged in the ministry with me (and let’s be honest, she can do the work of 5 others), but I really wanted a team.  I wanted to strategize, plan, promote, engage, attack, foster, and one just can’t imagine how difficult that is to do over a decaf latte all by yourself.  I mean, I know, I’ve tried it. 

Now, 5 years later, I have a team, but not just a team, but a SUPER TEAM!  It’s like the Justice League, but for Jesus.  To be honest, it’s hard to recall sometimes how they all got here, in fact, for many of them it seems like they’ve been here the whole time.  But somewhere along the way, God started bringing some amazing people along side of us.

I first met John Eicher Jr. while enjoying a  Sunday lunch at Houlihans with my wife and parents.  I love talking with servers and John equally loved talking with his tables.  Sometime after the appetizer, I discovered that John was a bible college graduate and had just returned from a 2 year mission in Hondorus.  Next thing I knew, we were at the driving range at Bobicks, and later traveling to Kenya together to minister in the urban slums.  From day one, John just fit.  He still does.  He is a man of wisdom, humility, and tremendous giftings.

Many might not know this, but I first met Jaime Hilton, who oversees our  worship ministry, at a job interview.  Krissy and I, for a short season, owned a Sylvan Learning Center in Niles, MI, and Jaime applied for a marketing position there.  It’s better to hear her side of the story, but essentially, she came in for an interview, we talked about the church most of the time, and I didn’t give her the job at Sylvan, which I really felt horrible about.  And which is why I was mortified when she showed up one Sunday AM at Oasis.  (This was back when we were meeting  at the bar.)  I was so embarrassed.  I thought, “man, this girl is persistent….didn’t I tell you that you didn’t get the job.”  After that her first Sunday at Oasis, I didn’t see her for awhile (which I couldn’t blame her, I wouldn’t want to go to the church of someone who didn’t give me a job either), but later ran into her several times at Bella Vita Coffee (I was there trying to strategize all by myself).  We would always exchange small talk, and inevitably, just like her interview, I would always talk to her about Oasis.  That was years ago.  Now she is overseeing our worship ministry and is writing some of my favorite worship songs. 

Ryan Knox was one of my youth group students at Oasis Wauseon.  He was one of those freakish kids that knew God’s call on his life at a really young age.  His freshman year of high school, he came to Krissy and I and told us that he intended to join us in Granger and help with the church plant.  I was like, “oh, that’s nice” in much the same way you pat an 8 yr old boy on the back after he tells you “when I grow up I want to be an astronaut.”  I just didn’t know he really meant  it.  Now Ryan, and his lovely wife Brittany, oversee our youth ministy and Ryan also oversees much of our building maintenance and construction. 

Lindsey “Sey” Blackford and I first met several years ago through a mutual friend.  After a series of events, Lindsey wandered into Oasis (she was serving on a church staff that had essentially dissolved).  She quickly assimilated into the people and culture of Oasis and with her came her amazingly large family.  (Lindsey has 6 other siblings)  Since then, Lindsey has proven herself to be an invaluable part of the team.  She spends much of her time behind the scenes, but Lindsey is responsible for much of the administration of our staff, major church events, and she also is part of our children’s ministry leadership team.  Beyond that, her family is dynamite…they’ve really made their mark here at Oasis, especially on our worship team (Thanks Chris and Michael).  (Mark and Sandy, you both are champions and have raised a great family.) 

Justin Prawat, who landed here just shortly after Lindsey arrived, continues to impress me.  I got into a pinch awhile back and needed someone to lead worship.  Lindsey suggested this guy she knew, named Justin, aka Superbomb.  Little did I know, that at that time, Justin had never lead worship by himself on a Sunday before – anywhere.  But he must have done a decent job that first Sunday, because now he is on the stage almost every week.  Beyond that, Justin’s day job is to be my assistant, at which he really excels.  Justin puts  up with my crazy schedule and always seems to find something funny to say while doing it.  He has become a good friend.

Though she technically works for OasNet, it probably would only be right to also mention, Becky Gritton.  Becky and I have been friends since youth and was one of the first people to come alongside Krissy and I when planting the church.  She has a tremendous heart for missions and coordinates relationship with many of our international pastors.  Becky, Krissy and I are both thankful to have you here at Oasis and in our lives. 

Last but not least, my wife, Krissy.  I already mentioned that she is essentially a work force on her own, but she is so much more than that.  Other than Christ, I’ve confident that I wouldn’t have made it this far without her.  She has spent countless hours listening to me ramble, complain, dream, and always seems to find some way of challenging me and encouraging me in the process.  She stood by me when no one else would and continues to be my number one cheerleader and friend.  (I love you babe.)

So that’s my team and ironically, I don’t have lattees all that often any more.  Thankfully, now, God has surrounded me with a group of sincere, hardworking, creative, and wonderful people to help carry the vision and see it through to completion.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for all of you.  My sincerest thanks.

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Drum Roll Please! Introducing the New OasNet Logo

new-oasnet-logo

The new OasNet Logo, seen above as “the lily upon the water” was designed by Milesdesign and is symbolic of the life that springs forth from the Living Water found in Jesus Christ.  As OasNet has been undergoing many changes over the last few months, we wanted to echo those changes with a new look.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  Keep checking back for more updates regarding OasNet and the new, Global Pastor Outreach.  Merry Christmas! 

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Kenya Videos

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