No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: Kansas City

One year ends here!


For well over a year I have been working on a church plant.  This church plant has culminated to the point that we are within 2 weeks of launch.  Our official launch will take place on Easter Sunday on 2013.  Gang….I am extremely proud to be a part of watching God work within our little group.  I am now convinced…if you want to see God work…watch a church plant go, and watch those people latch onto God.

Easter2013

Now I know,that most of my readers are no where in the Kansas City Metro area, but I really want you guys to think about helping in anyway that you can.  Be praying for us as we launch our church this Easter.  If you have family in Kansas City north, call them this weekend and tell them to come our way.  If you live in the Kansas City Metro….COME OUR WAY!

The link to our little church is RIGHT HERE

Like this post if you are praying for us as we launch out to reach Kansas City with the gospel.  If you are interested in helping us out CLICK HERE for our contact form

Beginning a Legacy…


“This is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down…” This is probably the only time you’ll ever see “The Fresh Prince” (a.k.a. Will Smith) quoted in this blog, but a little over 3 ½ years ago that’s exactly what happened. Robert has written in the blog about this event on several occasions – it was the time he and I were both laid-off from our long-standing jobs in downtown Kansas City. That time was one of those defining moments in both of our lives… For Robert, it marked the beginning of a time of unprecedented spiritual growth in his life – and he’s still growing. For me, it was God indicating that it was time for me to dive in to full-time pastoral ministry and He very quickly blessed me with a wonderful ministry as the youth pastor at Heaston Church in El Reno, Oklahoma… Looking back, I remember thinking, “Wow! This is an amazing journey that God is taking Robert on”, but thinking that He had sent me to a destination rather than on a journey. I was SO wrong!

I loved Heaston Church, El Reno, and pretty much the whole state of Oklahoma; I still do… Being called to Heaston was such a blessing and very much a homecoming to me and I believed with all my heart that it was very likely we’d be there until I retired. You see, the senior pastor there was planning on retiring in a few years and I thought that it would be awesome to prove myself to the elder board and the pastor as the youth pastor, finish my seminary and then be named as the successor. My wife and kids LOVED El Reno… Andrea had a job she cherished and was running the local MOPS ministry. Church was great. Sure, there were some ministry ups and downs, but there always are. We were settled – comfortable. But I’ve come to realize that God HATES comfortable and He couldn’t let us stay that way… He was about to turn up the heat.

I’m not sure how to describe the transformation that started to take place in my heart… and it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific catalyst because there were several… I guess the first spark was that I started realizing that while I knew I’ve been called to pastoral ministry for the rest of my life, I definitely wasn’t called to be a youth pastor for the same duration! My seminary classes were also stirring in me a passion for seeing God’s Kingdom built, but also stoking dissatisfaction with how this is only marginally attempted by many churches.

All this caused me to start asking the question: “what’s next”… I posed that question to one of my mentors, Michael Porter, who suggested we face to face the next time I was back in Kansas City so that we could talk through it. So, when I was back in KC for Christmas 2010, Andrea and I had breakfast with him and his wife. I expected a lot of back and forth and some kind of fatherly advice from him… I got no such thing… Michael had founded Fellowship of Grace in the Kansas City Northland in 2006 – and he is PASSIONATE about church planting. So instead of the types of advice I was expecting, all I got was the gentle suggestion that I should consider church planting when I decided God was done with me in youth ministry.

I don’t remember if I laughed in his face out loud or not… but I definitely did at least on the inside! Andrea just looked at him dumbfounded and said: “There are already so many churches… why would we need another one?” That is absolutely the wrong question to ask Michael if you are hoping for a short or easy-going conversation with him. He shared with us the fact that there were so many people who do not know Jesus in the KC Northland and that the population keeps skyrocketing, but the number of churches has remained stagnant and church attendance in many faltering… In other words, we are losing the battle for God’s Kingdom… But that more people come to Christ exponentially quicker through new churches than they do through established ones. I could tell he was broken hearted over it – something had changed in my heart too… In retrospect, I believe that I walked away from that breakfast knowing deep down that someday I was going to be involved in a church plant, somehow, someway… but not yet (or so I thought).

From that day I began thinking and praying about church planting consistently… in actuality it became a full-time obsession for me… I thought about it several times a day, every day, for hours at a time. The classes I was taking in seminary only fueled the fire more and more! I became massively discontented with how many established churches naturally become more and more inwardly focused, lose their passion to reach people who are far from God and therefore become less and less effective at fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) – don’t get me wrong… this is not a blanket statement saying ALL established churches are poor at reaching people for Jesus, but if they are going to be successful at it, they will have to fight the natural tendency to focus inwardly. I knew that I didn’t want to spin my wheels trying to fight to get a church to bust out of a rut that had been established for who knows how long – that kind of change tends to step on a lot of toes and I don’t naturally gravitate toward the type of confrontation that would require… I realized God shaped me more to begin something new. We kept praying and keeping in touch with Michael, who did a lot of listening and questioning without pushing…

God was working on Andrea too… and by mid-summer we were both on the same page – God was definitely calling us to plant a church… sometime… somewhere… but we didn’t have a clue where or when. We weren’t sure if He wanted me to first pastor somewhere at an established church to “get my feet wet”… All along I was getting more and more restless about getting going on what I sensed deeply God had called me to… But where and how? We knew nothing about planting a new church. Michael said that when we decided to make the move he’d love to help us in any way he could – including allowing me to serve in his church as a church planting intern so that he could take me under his wing and show me the ropes.

About that same time, I started getting more and more home-sick for Kansas City. We had had several opportunities to visit back there and each time it still felt homey… Remember, we still LOVED Oklahoma, but there was definitely a tugging in our hearts over Kansas City. However, we couldn’t imagine going there to plant a new work because we didn’t want to “compete” with Glenwood or Fellowship of Grace. I expressed this to Michael and he chuckled a little… He said that we ARE in a competition, not with any other church, but with everything that distracts people from connecting with God in the fellowship of a local church. Furthermore, he said he wouldn’t care if I planted a church right across the street from his church because he knew that there are people our church would reach that he wouldn’t be able to and vice versa.

It was settled… we were going to KC and we were going to intern with Michael, but we still believed that would be a few years down the road. Then, around September of 2011, Michael dropped a bomb on us… He said that he was planning on leading his church to begin being a church that planted other churches and trained pastors to be planters and… he would very much like it if God would see fit for us to be the first couple that they trained, and by the way… they’d like to get started January 1, 2012!

That rocked our world and started us in a praying frenzy… My ministry was going really well… Andrea loved her job… the kids were doing awesome in school and we had really close friends in El Reno that we didn’t want to leave… The housing market stank and the job market in Kansas City was horrible (I know several folk who have been out of work for years)… If it was going to be it was going to have to be God.

In early October, we communicated to Burge, Heaston’s pastor, that this was what God was calling us to and he was overwhelmingly supportive assuring us that the church would allow us to search for work and housing in KC while maintaining our ministries at Heaston – it didn’t take long for God to move. I found a job within a couple of weeks of looking (I actually had a choice between two jobs) and we sold our house without ever putting it on the market. We also found new housing in KC where the mortgage was over $200/month less than we were paying in Oklahoma! Also, Heaston (and several families therein) caught the vision for the need for a new church plant in Kansas City and are helping support us as domestic missionaries as we lay the ground work for a new church and get it up and running.

All of the Barnes family relocated from Oklahoma to Kansas City and attended Fellowship of Grace for the first time on January 1, 2012. We have been interning with Michael since then laying the practical and philosophical ground work necessary for the plant to be a success… But now the time has come where we are ready to go public. We are trusting God to help us establish a new church in the Kansas City Northland that focuses on ministering to families.

Image

To that end, we are actively seeking partners to participate in our launch in one of 4 ways: 1) Prayer support; 2) Financial support; 3) Joining the Launch Team; 4) Joining as a short-term missionary… Please check us out at www.LegacyChurchKC.org and contact us at https://www.facebook.com/#!/legacychurchkc to hear our vision for reaching Kansas City for Jesus!

‘Occupy’ Whatever….Dismiss God?


So EVERYONE knows about the ‘Occupy’ movement.  The goal of their movement is…well all over
the place.  I just read an article that compares the ‘occupy’ movement with the Anabaptist movement…seriously.  Needless to say within any event like this the ultimate question becomes, would Jesus attend this?  Is it Biblical?  Not gonna discuss that at this point in time (maybe later this week).  Right now… I want to focus on the ideology behind this.

The primary (One of the many I guess)  goal  of the ‘occupy’ movement is to be all inclusive.  When I hear something like this, I immediately think to myself…is that even possible? Can all groups be included without excluding a group to be able to include another group?   I would argue no, it Is not possible.  Our faith whether Atheist, Agnostic  or Christian would prevent us  from doing so.  Surely an Atheist would agree with me that if
these events acknowledged a God then you would have a hard time supporting it.  Likewise, if God is intentionally excluded, I would not support this.

So if all references to God are removed, has a group been excluded?  Yes, God has been excluded.  What brings this up…Apparently  the ‘Occupy’ groups do not mention God intentionally.  Yes… in order to be inclusive to Atheists and Agnostics…they have excluded Christians.

Forget the Technicolor Dream Coat… What do we REALLY learn from Joseph?


If you’ve ever been to Sunday school or if you’re an Andrew Lloyd Weber fan, you are probably familiar with the Old Testament story of Joseph… You know, the favorite

Just a musical? Think again

son of Jacob, who at age 17 flaunted that he’d dreamed that his family would bow down to him one day. The one with the awesome (Technicolor) tunic… The one who had brothers that wanted to kill, but sold him into slavery to Egypt instead.  And when he got to Egypt, his master found out that he was quite a good administrator (because he was favored by God)… BUT he was thrown into prison because he rejected his master’s wife’s “advances” and she lied about who assaulted who… Then in prison, his administrative skills shine through again and he is placed in charge of the whole facility and then, one day, interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and butler (one with good news – the other with bad), only to be forgotten by his new-found “friend”.  But when Pharaoh dreamed a couple of “funky” dreams, Joseph is called upon to interpret them… The news:  That the region was going to have 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of devastating famine and that Pharaoh needed to get ready… Well, Pharaoh did get ready by placing Joseph in charge of the preparations and making him second in command over all of Egypt.  When the famine hit they were able to sustain the lives of everyone around including the treacherous brothers who came calling for food, but didn’t recognize their dear bro, Joe… Well, after a series of tests Joseph reveals himself to his family, reunites with them (including dear old dad) and sets them up for prosperity for the foreseeable future, by getting them jobs and homes in the lushest part of the land…

If you are unfamiliar with the story, let me encourage you to watch the musical (one of my personal favorites), or better yet read all about it in Genesis 37, 39-50.

But simply recounting the story isn’t my goal here (nor was it my goal when I preached on this yesterday).  Instead, let’s briefly look at what can be learned from this amazing story.

The way I (and others before me) see it, there are three basic over-arching lessons we can learn from the life of Joseph… Depending on their particular theological bent (Calvinist or Arminian), most protestants will find themselves gravitating toward either the first or the third of these lessons… But I believe that the truth lies somewhere between these two extreme positions and it is the second lesson that brings balance to the issue… I think it’s so cool how God has chosen to demonstrate this truth at the very beginning of the Bible – I wish more of us would recognize that and bring more balance to our theological grids and be more gracious and loving and cooperative with each other (but that, perhaps, is an argument for another day).

The first lesson we see in Joseph’s life is that God is in Control – at ALL Times & in ALL Circumstances (cf. Genesis 45:5 and 50:20). This is true even when things make little to no sense to us… When you’re brothers beat you up and sell you into slavery… When you’re boss’ wife makes passes at you and then cries “rape” when you reject her advances… When you are forgotten and rejected by the one to whom you did that huge favor… When you don’t know how you’re going to take care of your family… When you’re company down sizes… When you have to tolerate a boss that is unreasonable… When you unexpectedly lose a loved one… When disease strikes your family… When the national and global economy seems to be swirling down the drain… When you’re surfing and get your left arm bitten off by a shark!!! 100% of the time God is in control, He is sovereign. His ultimate plans will not be overthrown – He already is the victor over sin, death, Satan and demons and anything else that would dare to rebel against Him.  What’s awesome about this is that if we are His child then we too have been made more than conquerors with Him!

Why are we able to share in His victory and rest in His sovereignty?  Because of the second and most pivotal lesson:  He really does Love us – and always will no matter what it looks like (cf. John 3:16, 1 John 3:1 and Romans 8:37-39).  God cares for us not only as friends, but as His children… and He is NOT a dead-beat dad or disengaged father! He loves us immeasurably and perfectly and wants what’s best for us (even if that creates a great amount of pain and anguish for a season).  He wants to see us grow and He wants us to reflect His glory and share in His Kingdom, but to do that, we’ve got to be with Him in the fight!

That brings us to our third lesson: Our Choices Matter – Because God wants to use us (cf. Joshua 24:15; Romans 12:1-2). Because of the personal cost, many don’t want to join with God or be a part of His family, others who are on His team try to stay on the side-lines as much as they can… They’d rather bop along doing their own thing while giving deference and “worship” to Him once a week (or less) and the rest of their lives they act as if there is no God… This is much the same as was the case with Joseph’s family and this path has devastating consequences.  I told my church yesterday that because of God’s love and faithfulness, He was going to get Joseph (or someone else) down to Egypt to preserve the family (so that He could keep His promise to Abraham), but because of the horrible choices on everybody’s part (Joseph’s early arrogance, the brother’s jealousy and deceitfulness, Jacob’s favoritism, Potiphar’s wife’s lust, Potiphar’s indiscretion and lack of justice, etc.) Joseph was forced to travel just about the most painful road possible to save many lives and preserve God’s promise.  There are several points in the story where Joseph’s suffering could have been short-circuited had someone made a better choice, but they never did until the end.

You might be thinking, well, that stinks for Joseph, and those are nice lessons, but how do I apply them today?  First and foremost, we must Love Him and Trust Him with our whole lives (Past, Present and Future – Heart, Mind,  Body, Soul) (cf. Mark 12:30 and Proverbs 3:5-6)! Much like Bethany Hamilton did when faced with horrific tragedy (her wonderful story of faith and purpose is retold in the new movie Soul Surfer).

We then demonstrate our Love for Him through making right choices (unlike much of Joseph’s family and “friends”).  Of course, the first right choice, after we have trusted Jesus with our lives, is to choose to obey Him (cf. 1 John 5:2-4)! The next choice is also a matter of obedience to Him and that is to love other people (even the ones who are hard to love) (cf. Mark 12:29-31 & 1 John 4:7-8, 20-21)… and part of loving them is to forgive them when they fail you (even if that has massively painful consequences for you – cf. Colossians 3:13) – We see this played out beautifully in Joseph’s life when he forgave his brothers and chose to continue to walk in that forgiveness even after their father had died… I know that is no easy task.  In fact, CS Lewis once said “There is no use in talking as if forgiveness were easy… For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offense and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offenses but for one.

It’s never easy, but desperately needed because when we get on board with God’s program things far more amazing than a Technicolor Dream Coat happen!  Like, He will work out all circumstances for our good and for His Glory (cf. Romans 8:28)! Also, our hearts will start to change from unfulfilling selfishness to a life that overflows with our hearts’ desires… IF what we most love is Him and what we most desire is what He loves and desires (cf. 1 John 3:21-24)!

So, I guess what both stories (Joseph and Bethany Hamilton) boil down to is this: Because of His sovereignty and love, God is worthy of our trust and our Praise and our adoration, even when things don’t make any sense, and we get to choose to give it to Him!

I am second….are you?


About a year ago I found some video’s on YouTube with people talking about how they were second.  Some of these folks were well known individuals.  I saw a video of Tony Dungee.  I started watching more videos and then I starting watching more videos.  These videos are incredible testimonies to the incredible transformational power of Christ.  These videos are powerful.  I have been watching ever since.  You wanna see how powerful?  Watch this:

And this is just the beginning.

All of us have our own testimonies.  All of them are a powerful testimony to Christ.  This is the point of I AM SECOND.

Folks, I attended the kickoff for the I AM SECOND campaign last night here in Kansas City (Click here to visit the site).  WOW!  I thought the videos were good…try seeing them in real life.  This isn’t some hokey video or slick campaign.  This is scripture being put to work in our culture and our time.  This is real life.

In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Paul says that we are letters…to be known and read by all.

 2You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and

Are you?

 read by all. 3And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

What does that mean?  That our testimony,…every one of us, can touch somebody.  We are to show that WE are a letter from Christ not written with in pen, but forged with the Spirit of a living God. A story not written in a book but written in our hearts.  This is I AM SECOND…

 If you are curious about where I am second came from…GO SEE FOR YOURSELF.

This effort is now coming to Kansas City…and I am excited. 

I am second…

Are you?

Dear whoever cares…


Yep...I root for these guys...

Please…allow me to lament for just a moment.  As I was watching Mizzou get trounced by Cincy in the first round of the tourney I thought to myself, isn’t that typical.  I mean after all why should any team that I actively root for want to go out on the floor and fight for a victory.  For that matter why should any team I root for even SNIFF a championship.  Think about this for a second.  The three major teams I pull for are Mizzou, the Chiefs, and (as much as I hate typing this) the Royals.  I know many of you who read this blog outside of Kansas City probably just spit out what ever you were drinking, or eating.  Stop laughing… It is true.  I root and pull for these perennial losing powerhouses. 

To be completely honest Mizzou does win more games than they lose.  But, and if you are a fan of Mizzou you can appreciate this, they always lose or choke away big games.  Anyone remember the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma?  I actually flew to San Antonio to watch that travesty under the delusion  we stood a chance.  How about Tyus Edney?  What about losing to NAVY!  Winning one road game in the Big 12 this year…really?  Not showing up in the Big 12 tourney?  Yes….I am the one dummy that actually picked them to beat Cincy.  Told you I was a homer.  I can count on Mizzou losing games that matter.  Always.

The Chiefs…what can I say about this team.  I bleed red and gold.  I can honestly say that I was at one of the last two playoff wins they had….in 1993.  This was the last real time I had any sense that we could actually win a championship…the AFC championship.  Since then…a decade of losing, blowing playoff games, and unfulfilled playoff expectations.  I have some sense of hope here…though I have been beaten into submission.  Show me some victories.

And then there is the Royals.  Anyone who knows ANYTHING about baseball knows the agony about rooting for this minor league team.  Every year we are getting one step closer to be competitive in baseball.  Unfortunately that year is always a couple of years from now when our talented minor leaguers come up.  2011 is going to be a terrible year for the Royals…but you wait for 2012 or 2013 and we will be good and competing for a championship.  Unfortunately, this logic has been used since the early 90’s.  The Royals are the best minor league team in the Major’s.  I guess that counts for something.

I thought of all of this while watching Mizzou fall all over themselves to blow that game to Cincy.  I got angry.  WHY CAN’T I ROOT FOR A WNNER?!  WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO ROOT FOR A TEAM THAT CAN ADVANCE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND WIN?!

After about a half an hour of pacing back and forth in my basement I came to a realization.  I am actually a part of the winningest team in the history of man.  I am part of a team that has not and never will lose.  Jesus didn’t choke when decision time came.  When He stood by Pilate to be judged, he didn’t turn to Pilate and the crowd and say, “Nah…I was just kidding.”  You want to talk about one of the all time clutch performances look at what Christ did and tell me he didn’t pull it off.  At any one moment during that whole event he could have ended it.  He could have walked away.  But when the pressure came Jesus stood and delivered!  Folks, all of us who love sports have been disappointed by a sports teams we root for.  Keep in mind though that, as a Christian, you play for the winningest team in all of humanity.  In the end…GOD wins.  He is the ultimate champion; He has an overall record of like a ba-jillion – 0.  Nothing can compare to that.

God is undefeated.  Jesus, stood and delivered, in his toughest match.  He stands and delivers every day for you.  When people talk about having victory through Christ (NOT the Kenneth Copeland victory) it isn’t metaphorical!  His victories come every day,  in big ways, and in little ways.  But Christ remains the UNDEFEATED champion of your salvation.  Nothing and I literally mean NOTHING can defeat him.  Do you want that?  Do you want to be a part of a champion?  Do you want to play for a champion?

For non-believers on the fence…you are seeing the game being played.  You are watching as the home team wins EVERYDAY!  But unlike any other sports team that you have seen, you don’t have to be athletic to join it.    If you want in…YOU ARE IN!  But…you have to want it.  YOU have to commit.  Repent!  Turn from your sins, and trust in the only undefeated Champion of all time.  That victory can be yours.  There will never be any upsets.  You don’t have to worry about being disappointed in your team (cf. Romans 10:9-11, NASB).

For Christians…I simply ask this one question.  If you are part of the team are you in the game?  If not…what are you waiting for?  GET IN THE GAME.

%d bloggers like this: