Project 12

Discovering Discipleship in the 21st Century

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P12- “The Gathering”!

Posted by gkaiser on September 25, 2010

Each new P12 year we start at Cornerstone Farm, the home of JPUSA’s Cornerstone Festival grounds. We call this event The Gathering. The core of it is a time to re-connect (for those P12’ers continuing on after the summer break) and for new students to get acquainted with staff and one another, and for about 10 intense days of learning, social interaction and getting to know one another and start the year with a bang.

There are plenty of times for various sorts of both shared and alone time worship, study and play as well.

Most days include five different classes based in Bible, relationship and community. Self-assessment, reflection and conversation are encouraged and we find, helpful for all involved, both staff and students.

This year’s Gathering has been full, as usual, the input challenging and the response very encouraging. God is up-close and personal 🙂

The weather began a bit warm, has just now turned a little colder, but mostly we have seen sun and little rain. The leaves are just beginning to change- and of course our deepest concern is that lives are changed toward Jesus and His own character and personality becoming more clear as well as evident in all of us.

Thanks for your prayers and for stopping by!

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Graduation & Project 12 Year Update

Posted by gkaiser on July 11, 2010

We often refer to our “Project 12 year”… but it really only lasts ten months. And I think at times seems like a year in that so much happens.

Our 3rd trimester graduation just took place! More on that in a moment…

We had recently returned to Chicago after the conclusion of JPUSA’s annual Cornerstone Festival where both staff and students served in a broad list of ways throughout the Fest. We had excellent response at our Project12/Grrr Records venue (newly christened “Chelsea Cafe”) where great music by a long list of bands including yours truly, Ami Moss (P12 staff) and The Unfortunate and several other Grrr artists as well as other bands performed. The coffee was excellent and so was the service by P12ers.

Several also worked with Curt Mortimer and Jon Trott to set up and serve in our on-site bookstore (new and used) complete with tables and chairs where the Fest seminar speakers were able to interact with people who wanted to talk more after each session.

The students got to experience Cornerstone Festival from the host side as opposed to attending as many of them had prior. A lot of work but really fun and valuable in learning practical ministry each summer at Cstone Farm.

And now graduation. The P12 year allows people to join at any point but they must meet attendance requirements for three full trimesters in order to graduate. Due to this we hold graduations at the end of each trimester.

Some grads move on, some continue serving at JPUSA, continue their education or return home and/or to their home church, etc., all as God leads each student.

Staff now takes time off for vacations, then prayer and planning for the next year and opening trimester which will begin mid-September. The cycle of growth continues!

We are truly excited about God’s direction for each of the 12 grads as well as seeing His grace working in each of those who will continue as well as join in the next Project 12 term.

We praise God for His faithfulness to us all- and for your prayers and various gifts of friendship, support and encouragement!

Finally, I will post this year’s past class list as well as my comments from this evening’s event.

Besides living and serving in the Jesus People U.S.A. community in practical service, planned and spontaneous worship, prayer and mission outreach (in general as well as during our two-week mission trip which took us to eight different locations this year); fifteen instructors taught a combination of over 360 hours combined over the 3 trimesters. Here is a list of the classes by title:

Artifacts of God, Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, Doing Community, My Life Map, Lectio Divina, Discipleship, How to Study The Bible, Spiritual Direction, Drama of Scripture, 21st Century Issues, Redeemed Lives, Bible Study, Anger Management, Community and Growth, JPUSA History, Ephesians, Accountability, Romans, Engagement and Marriage, Telling Yourself the Truth, Great Divorce, Mission Business, Beatitudes

We give all glory to Jesus for another year of His incredible presence and grace! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

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Another P12 Graduation- Glenn’s Message

Posted by gkaiser on April 13, 2010

Greetings!

Project 12 just had another wonderful end of trimester graduation. Here is the text of my brief message to the grads.:

Ps. 119
129 Your testimonies are wonderful, Therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The entrance of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for your commandments.

Was Jesus ever really, really hungry?

In Mt. 4 and again in Lk. 4 we find the account of Jesus being tempted by the devil. He was tempted after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. He was… very hungry!

In each case the devil tempts Jesus- including when the devil mis-quotes the Word of God- Jesus responds WITH the Word of God.

In story after scriptural story, the Word of His Father was central and core to Who Jesus was and is -it’s exactly the same for us, His disciples!

In Mt. 4.4 and again in Lk. 4.4 He replies to the devil, “People shall not live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God”.

Though we are by faith in the family of God, we cannot and will not experience true spiritual growth and LIFE in Christ without faith in His Word.

Reflect on what God says as you think, speak, act, make choices along the path. Our story is wrapped up in His Story.

One key thing you’ll recall from this year in P12 is the emphasis on listening to God.

May you CONTINUE to listen through the many ways and means you’ve been taught- but do not neglect the study and application of His Word- with “ears to hear” what God is saying.

As it was for Jesus, Scripture is part of the foundation of our spiritual house, our anchor in the storms, our source of life and direction, of godly wisdom and absolutely essential to the authentic faith, hope and love God gives us.

Jesus tells us there is not only the true God but a real devil, not only holy angels but fallen angels, not only a church who lives in Him and His Word but also about temptation.

We may spend countless hours focusing on anything and everything but the Word of God, the Word of the Father, the Word of Jesus, the Word the Holy Spirit gives us in THE Word by which all other words shall be judged.

Listen… Hear our Lord Jesus and REMEMBER: “People shall not LIVE by bread alone… BUT [WILL -LIVE-] BY -EVERY- WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD”.

What we, His people say may be helpful- what HE says is crucial.

GOD BLESS each of you as you continue to seek and find the Lord, grow in His love and serve Him and those around you. Thank you for joining with us this past year in the Greatest Story of all! Amen.

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Glenn, Toronto & P12

Posted by gkaiser on March 1, 2009

Tonight at a Toronto concert I spoke a message laced with things I often emphasize with Project 12 students.

Core issues included: We cannot live our Christian life vicariously through our Christian heros, our parents, pastors or musicians, etc.. We MUST have a genuine personal (though shared and accountable) walk with Jesus. My other key point was that our first mission field is exactly where we are, not where we think we’ll eventually be.

It does no good to think that we have a growing spiritual life when we are in reality camping out on a plateau of sorts, fairly dead in the water. Some think “I’m saved, I’m a believer, what else is essential?” My response is that Jesus calls us to follow Him, not simply know we’re saved by grace and end up living a kindergarten Christian life for the next 30 or 40 years!

I’m often reminding P12’ers that if they have at times rightly judged older Christians in terms of lethargy, stagnation and surface living, they will not be one bit more mature in Christ themselves unless they take God’s Word (commands as well as promises) seriously and apply the simple teachings in their daily relationships.

Loading up with information -even the very Truth of God’s Word itself- does not automatically equal spiritual formation and growth.

I support, uphold and -do- a lot of travel in the world as a missionary. JPUSA as most all churches Christians would consider healthy and full of life, does daily mission work on many levels. But some of us think we can pay others, pray for others and basically expect others to BE missionaries -for- (or instead of) us.

Nobody reflects Jesus to your neighbor, the needy person in a church service, the stranger near you or your next-door neighbor much less the person you see in school or at work or socialize with: like you can or must! It’s largely relational and your favorite Christian leader likely doesn’t attend your school or work where you do. It’s not their job to do your job in terms of reflecting Jesus to those around you.

Regardless of spiritual gifts and callings, all Christ-followers are called to such ministry.

Therefore, all of us can make a difference as opposed to merely “doing Christian stuff” and taking a “Whatever?!!” attitude toward the Lord, His Word or our neighbor.

Sadly, many choose “average” when in fact average is nearly synonymous with “shallow” if not fully “slack”.

A. W. Tozer said “Refuse to be average”. Amen! We must not pretend the “average” Christian life is what we should aim at!

God help us move beyond “the norm” if/when the norm is sterile and uninspiring to those around us.

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GLENN’S 2009 JAN. 1 MESSAGE: “ON COMFORT, VALUES AND SERVICE”

Posted by gkaiser on December 31, 2008

First, thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

Project 12 will resume from our holiday break in the next few days, and just as I bring this charge to JPUSA, I bring it to P12 staff and students, myself… and you 🙂

God give us grace to truly walk closer with Him and really reflect Jesus in more caring, serving ways in 2009!

Blessings in Jesus,

-Glenn

GLENN’S 2009 JAN. 1 MESSAGE: “ON COMFORT, VALUES AND SERVICE”

2 Cor. 1.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies and God of all comfort;  4 who comforts us in all
our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any
affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted
by God.

Jesus Christ Himself must become our ultimate Value, the Holy Spirit
our actual Source of comfort. It’s just too common to seek comfort and
thus place undue value in other forms and places. In fact, seeking
comfort chokes our ability to grow spiritually just as it affects our
ability to empathize and serve others in their area of need.

I am convinced that if we will go to God the Holy Spirit as our real
Comfort -THE Comforter- we will find our deepest needs met. This is a
simple but needed word for me as well as any follower of Jesus,
especially when so many other things call for our attention, time and
energy.

In one very real and deep sense, our spiritual growth is connected
with and affected by where we go for comfort.

Quoting John Ortberg: “The decision to grow always involves a choice
between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus
you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.”

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Project12 Continues to Track, Target “God Hates Fags” / Westboro Group

Posted by Jon on December 8, 2008

Last Thursday, a van load of us Project12ers went downtown to protest a group called “God Hates Fags.” The latter, however, didn’t show as they’d said they would (though did show up elsewhere later in the day after we’d gone home).

Today, I couldn’t get our Project 12 students sprung from their job and class responsibilities to go downtown with me. The G. H. F. people again had promised to show up, this time to picket President-Elect Barack Obama, who they (so predictably) say is the Antichrist.

And they were there this time as advertised.

“God Hates Fags”… and Barack Obama. Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church
displays their signs on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wabash, Dec. 8, 2008.
[Photo: Jon Trott]

I took up a spot across the street from them, not wanting anyone to think I was part of their group. My own signs read “Gays are Our Neighbors” and “Jesus’ Answer to Hate was the Cross.” Holding both signs was awkward, and it was quite cold, but since Monday had also prevented anyone else from showing up in opposition to Westboro, I stayed until they left around an hour after it began.

Chicago’s well-known gay newspaper, Windy City Times, did cover the event (the reporter is an old friend from days when she was part of Queer to the Left and we worked on homelessness and poverty issues). A van pulled up, a guy jumped out and… well, let’s say what he did with a water bottle mimicked one of Westboro’s signs. A few minutes later, that van pulled up to me and I noted they were filming. Those inside told me they were doing footage for Showtime, asked me for a waiver (which I gave), and then drove off.

I handed out fliers to a few passers-by, mostly those who saw I was in opposition to Westboro and stopped to thank me. (The flier’s contents I’ve posted in my Dec. 4 bit on Westboro.)

We hope to be present when Westboro shows up again in Chicago, perhaps this Saturday. By the way, Westboro… God LOVES you. Just thought you should know.

Posted in "Church (the)", Accountability, Bible, Christian Experience, Evangelism / Missions, Family Issues, Homosexuality, Philosophy, Women, Men, and God | Leave a Comment »

NO SHOW!! Fred Phelps’ “God Hates Fags” Fails to Appear after all…

Posted by Jon on December 4, 2008

Where was everybody?!

A few passers-by were the only people we initially saw where the “God Hates Fags” /
Westboro Baptist Church had said on its website it would march
against Barack Obama. Ah, well. We’ll save our signs and try again!

As I posted yesterday, our Project 12 program’s students went downtown today in order to picket the picketers. The infamous Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church (actually all members of his own biological family), were set to tell Barack Obama, the Canadian embassy, the Chinese embassy, and the Democratic National Party, that Phelps’ gawd hates them. We thought Jesus ought to be represented. So we made signs, wrote up a press flier, and drove our old rickety Project 12 van downtown to the Federal Building on South Dearborn.

But… We were there. Numbing cold weather was there. Lots and lots of police were there. Barracades were there. After a while a self-proclaimed satanic group called “S. I. N.” (Sodomite Insurgency Network) was there. (We tried to talk with them but they had no interest in our message.) Who was not there, however? Westboro Baptist Church. No idea on why.

UPDATE: It appears that Westboro changed the time of the event as well as the targets of it. They may or may not be appearing later today (near noon) at 233 N. Michigan Avenue. That is a severe scale-back from what had been planned. They also plan (if they’re to be believed) to appear at the same spot a number of times this month (as this pdf from their website lists).

At any rate, here we were:

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Project 12 Response to “God Hates Fags” Chicago-area protests

Posted by Jon on December 3, 2008

Project 12 students will be gathering in downtown Chicago tomorrow to voice our opposition to the message of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church. The latter will be picketing the offices of Barack Obama, the Canadian and Chinese embassys, and the Democratic Party headquarters.

Below is the text of a flier we will hand out at tomorrow’s events downtown. Hopefully, photos and perhaps even video will appear here and on http://bluechristian.blogspot.com tomorrow.

God loves Fred Phelps. God hates Fred’s hate.

God commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We affirm that loving our neighbor means robustly loving the homosexual, the non-Christian, even loving Fred Phelps and his family. This is the message we of Project 12 (a discipleship program sponsored by Chicago’s Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church), offer here today. Our message is an attempt at one Christian response to the very unchristian message of Westboro Baptist Church.

Fred Phelps and his extended family misrepresent both God and the Bible in their continuing assault on homosexuals, Jews, U. S. servicewomen and servicemen, other Christians, Swedes (?), and various others. Selective and out of context interpretation of Scriptures does not make one’s own moral darkness into Christian theology. From our biblical viewpoint, Mr. Phelps’ teachings are not Christian in any way, shape, or form.

We mourn the spiritual wasteland Mr. Phelps has led his family into, as well as the incredible pain he and his family have inflicted on others all over the world. Mr. Phelps over and over again violates the heart of the gospel – Grace.

The book of Proverbs, Chapter 26:4-5, says two things about someone who refuses wisdom:

“Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself.” And,
Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.”

In short, Project12 understands that to come here today is somewhat of a fool’s errand. By speaking out we are calling more attention to Mr. Phelps, thereby fulfilling his felt need for media attention. That is frustrating. But as the second half of the above verses point out, if we do not answer Mr. Phelps’ assault on our neighbors, we are not fulfilling the calling of God to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Proverbs also says:

“Lying lips conceal hatred, and whoever utters slander is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18

We are here today to bear witness to the Triune God of Love, who to bridge the relational gap between human and human, and God and human, sent his own Son. That is the good news of the gospel.

Fred Phelps’ failure to understand that God is a God of Love rather than Hate lies at the heart of his own agony. We sincerely pray that Fred will hear God’s truth and learn of God’s all-encompassing love, but in the meantime we must stand against his false message that God hates our neighbors.

Hating human beings on God’s behalf is a hellish deception, and smolders at the heart of much darkness in the world.

Sincerely,
The Students and Staff of Project 12 Discipleship Training School
939 W Wilson Avenue, Chicago IL / 60640

Contact: Jon Trott (jon@jpusa.org) Phone: 773 633 6026
Websites: http://project12.us  http://bluechristian.blogspot.com  http://www.jpusa.org

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Discipleship & The Vote

Posted by gkaiser on November 3, 2008

Regardless of your chosen candidate in the U.S. presidential election, true Christ-follower, disciple or not… real love for God, country and for that matter, world- is all about Jesus, not winning or losing

I had a friend recently send Wendi and I a brilliant email listing the top 10 things that would happen no matter who won:

Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed teaching and preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him..
-God has approved this message!

Pretty right-on, no?! Further, it does seem a real follower of Jesus votes conscience, not simply on the basis of self-interest, status quo or under pressure of this or that group.

It must be about being prayerful, being informed, caring deeply about God, one’s neighbor as one’s self, caring about the world and the literally billions of people affected by our government.

I’m on record as being a fully independent voter and have been for many years. My wife and I already voted last week and were happy to be able to do so.

Many pundits have made much (and I think they’re correct) about how the younger generations of voters will or could surely make a huge impact on the election. In the near future we’ll know from stats how they did or did not. One thing I strongly urge- though there may well be times to abstain I don’t personally think this is one of  then. Younger voters are often frankly, not as willing to patiently stand in line, etc., but getting engaged in the political process is so very important I’m praying and encouraging all who are of voting age to show up and vote.

Just as a biblical disciple is a listener, a learner, so we must listen, learn, pray and get directly involved in the process that affects so many souls throughout our nation and world.

No matter who wins/won… pray for your leaders and ask Jesus to bless, guide and direct them that there may be a climate in which those who love and serve Jesus first may find favour to share Him in greater measure! Let’s also pray our younger people will become something other than angry, mean, cynical and fully DISengaged from the process as too many adults have.

Faith, hope and love will in the end conquer all- no matter who “wins” this or any election of humankind.

-Glenn

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The Danger of American Christians as “Embedded Reporters”

Posted by Jon on October 9, 2008

Today in my Drama of Scripture class we discussed this quotation from the book:

Everyone has a basic story. How are we to relate the biblical story and the… story of western culture? In its different versions, the modern western story has been so dominant and has so strongly asserted its right to be the story that it is often assumed that we should use it for understanding the grand narrative of Scripture. But biblical Christianity claims that the Bible alone tells the true story of our world. [Italics mine]

Shelby Monroe, a reporter embedded with U. S. Troops in Iraq, learns how to fire an assault rifle.

Shelby Monroe, a reporter embedded with U. S. Troops in Iraq, learns how to fire an assault rifle.

In one of my usual digressions from the text, I asked the students if they remembered what the reporters who traveled with American troops during the invasion of Iraq were called. “Embedded,” I reminded them. And what did that term, “embedded reporters” mean? It meant that these reporters were having what they saw, what they were able to learn from others, filtered to them through the official channels of the United States military. “This meant,” I said, “that often what they reported to us was in fact the ‘official story’ of the United States government.” We viewers did not get the story of the invasion, but rather a story which had been sanitized and defined by our own government.

I contrasted this to the Viet Nam war, which I watched reported on television as a child. The reporters during that war were free to go anywhere, and to see and report on anything. I remember seeing actual firefights and wounded and dead soldiers and “unauthorized” footage which exposed American wrong-doing in Viet Nam. The result of such reporting? A rejection of that war by the so-called “silent majority.” Those reporters were not embedded, at least not in the way those in Iraq later on were.

But all that was illustrative, I suggested to the Project 12ers, of how we Christians in America are also “embedded reporters.” We hold cultural assumptions which, more often than we realize, are at direct contradiction to and variance with the Scripture’s clear teaching. It behooves us as believers to re-examine, and continue to re-examine, our assumptions and beliefs in light of the Word. American values should not determine what we see; biblical values are the lenses through which we are meant to perceive our neighbor, our enemy, our self, and Our God.

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