No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Oklahoma

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.

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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!

The Magic eight ball


Everyone is amazed when someone is able to predict something and it actually comes true. The general feeling is one of awe, one of amazement.  I mean….predicting the future must be incredible, then it coming true is all the more amazing.  What if I were to tell you that I have read multiple predictions, and those predictions came true some 700 years after it was written.  What would you say to that?  Forget 10 years, where one could easily trend a prediction and get it right.  We are not talking about the prediction that Mizzou would have beaten Oklahoma this year in football.  We are talking the equivalent of King Edward the II making a prediction that Obama would become president in 2008.  We are talking about pin point accuracy.  Nothing like the two SS of Nostradamus’s famous Hitler prediction.  Pin point accuracy about where Obama was born.  The predictions would have been written about 1310 or so, and would have been 100% accurate.  Can you imagine that?   America had not even been discovered.  The renaissance had not begun.  Flying was for the birds.  The sun revolved around the earth. Newton had not yet described universal gravitation, or the three laws of motion! Can you imagine this for one second?

I have read such a document, and you can too.  These predictions or prophecies can be found generally in 7 books in the Bible.  These are the key messianic prophesies in the Old Testament.  These are the Bible verses that foretold the coming of Christ:

Genesis

3:15                        Messiah to reconcile men to God; fully human, born of woman, he  will utterly defeat Satan.

22:18                     He will be of the family of Abraham

49:10                     He will be of the Kingly tribe of Judah

Deuteronomy

18:15                     He will be a prophet who, like Moses, revealed the Word of God.

Psalms

2:1-2                      he will be tried by gentile rulers and condemned by his on people

16:10                     Through resurrection, by the Father, Jesus’ body will not see corruption

22:1                        He will experience the rejection of the Father at his death

22:6 – 7                 He will be mocked at his crucifixion

22:22                     Christ will glorify God in his church after His resurrection

40:6-8                    Christ delighted in all the Fathers will

69:7-12                 Christ would be rejected by men

89:4                        Christ will be of the eternal seed of David

89:26-28               Christ will be God’s eternal son, his unique first born

110:1                     He will ascend to the right hand of the Father and be coronated

110:4                     His priesthood will be eternal, after the manner of Melchizedek

132:11                   He will be of the lineage of David.

Isaiah

7:14                        Christ will have  a virgin birth, he will be called Immanuel

7:15-16                 He will grow up in a land dominated by a foreign power

9:1-2                      He will minister in Galilee

9:7                          He will be of the line of David, but his kingship will be eternal and he   will be the Son of God.

11:2                        He will be anointed with The Holy Spirit

11:4                        He will minister perfect justice regarding the poor and the meek.

24:16                     Christ will offer salvation to the entire world

40:3                        He will have a forerunner

42:1                        Christ will be the great anointed Servant of Yahweh

42:2                        His ministry will be gentle

42:6                        Christ will be the fulfillment of God’s covenant

49:6                        Christ will be a light to the Gentiles

52:14                     He would be disfigured by the abuses he suffered prior to crucifixion

53:4                        Christ will bear all our diseases

53:5                        He will provide atonement for sin

53:9                        He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb

53:10                     The Father will prolong Christ’s days by resurrecting him from the dead.

Daniel

9:24                        His public ministry to being in AD 26. He would be crucified 3 ½ years later.

Micah

5:2                          Jesus would be born in Bethlehem

Zechariah

9:9                          He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt

11:12                     Christ  would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver

12:10                     He would be pierced for our transgressions.

Is this pretty amazing or what?  Try to go through that list and find one criteria that Christ did not fulfill.

Remember these words were written anywhere from 2000 years to 500 years before Christ was born.

There is only one explanation for this, God.  Divine revelation to these prophets.  Incredible.

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