Project 12

Discovering Discipleship in the 21st Century

Archive for the ‘Evangelism / Missions’ Category

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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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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Project 12 Video: “A Call for Discipleship”

Posted by Jon on July 28, 2008

Here’s a new video on our Discipleship Training School, Project 12. The video mixes old and new photos from P12’s sponsoring organization, Jesus People USA (JPUSA), with an explanation of sorts regarding our community’s founding focus on discipleship. Project 12 is our latest attempt to find ever-new ways to express and live discipleship out. Enjoy. And for those who might actually want to attend this year’s Project 12, or just know more, check around this Project12.us website.

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Growing!

Posted by gkaiser on March 3, 2008

Col. 1.9-12

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

I LOVE this passage in Colossians. Paul focuses on the fruitful spiritual growth of those he and others helped to encourage among this group of Christ-followers.

I’m quoting these verses for two reasons- both to enlighten you re. what P12 is really all about at core… and also with a view to how (and what) you can pray with us in seek God’s continued guidance and blessing. We pursue His heart in relationship-building, Bible-study, discipleship and loving service to one another and those we work to bless each day.

P12 has just begun another area of outreach/service, and you can see some cool pics from the first session of our new coffeehouse/concert venue which Project 12 sponsors courtesy of Thomas Ray here:

http://www.thomaswray.com/galleries/JPUSA_Coffee_House_2-29-08/

The plan is to begin with one per month, then two. We’ll break during Cornerstone Festival time and of course during the P12 summer break, then resume again in September. Great coffee, bands and fellowship here! Where’s “here”? 920 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60640

We had a rather full house (and really responsive crowd) -thanks to those who came and made the evening memorable. Brother Red Squirrel and the Acorn Harvest Jam band opened for GKB and I must say jamming with BRS during the GKB set was as always, a blast!

Details are finalized forP12’s major annual outreach trip when we’ll serve in ministry at two Christ-focused Indiana drug rehab facilities, an inner-city New Orleans ministry and church and a church and Christian retreat spot in southeastern Missouri. We’re excited about working with our friends (and making new ones!) in return-visits to these areas loaded with service opportunities. I as well as Project 12 musicians will be offering concerts in each and every stop. Details will be posted as we get closer to the tour which will happen April24-May 6. Nearly all of the concerts will be open to the public so we’d love to see you 🙂
As for most reading this, our next major event is Easter. What a powerful, moving, sad and beautifully joyous time to remember and focus on what Jesus did for each of us! It’s one of the more intense times we share in-house at JPUSA each year and all in Project 12 are involved as well.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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Project 12 ’07 Outreach/Tour- General Report and Thanks!

Posted by gkaiser on March 25, 2007

What an intense and wonderful trip we’ve had-

At Hebron Center with folks in rehab near Bloomington, Indiana; Trinity Church (Covington) and Castle Rock Church (New Orleans) in Louisiana doing follow-up, clearing of debris, evangelism and praying with people directly affected by hurricane Katrina; visiting the old Jesus People Farm (now The Rocks Cry Out Christian Retreat) near Doniphan, Missouri and nearby Pilgrim’s Rest Church in Fairdealing, Mo..

The beauty of this trip was of course, Jesus being so present in all places. Then there was the gift of bonding of the 15 people on the team, great interaction of leaders, meeting old and making new friends, our Project 12 Worship Team leading worship, myself getting to do concerts and all of our sharing with pre-believers as well as fellow Christ-followers in each place. It was a blast!

There are so many to thank that we must apologize for not listing them all, but in Indiana, Allan Bobbett, Dennis, Burt and -all- at Hebron! Thanks for the opportunity to make friends and pray with so many people seeking to grow as disciples of Jesus, breaking the bondages of addiction as they learn loving obedience to Him. We miss you.
We thank our dear friends (and former JPUSA members) Frank and Lauri Fasullo who along with our new (and kind) friend Jack, housed us in Baton Rogue on the way to Covington and N.O.. Jack worked alongside us for two days there and we already miss the Fasullo family and Jack!

Kudos and hugs to Wayne Rogers, both Marys, Joe and so many more at Trinity Church- what a great interaction and encouragement to the P12 team to see the huge work of restoration- both practical and spiritual- that you’ve undertaken all over your part of Louisiana. Ya’ll have inspired us so much!

BLESSINGS on our friends at Pilgrim’s Rest and The Rocks Cry Out Retreat- Alan and Angel Allen are gems, treated us like family and welcomed us with real affection. To be able to see what you’ve done (and are doing) with the lodge and property JPUSA built and used for so many years is such a blessing to us! The family of God truly is a family, that’s clear.

We thank all the JPUSA and P12 family who were back in Chicago praying for us, ditto the families of several P12 students. We’re certain your prayers sustained us on this couple-thousand mile journey.

For me, it was just awesome seeing the joy, team-work, multi-faceted witness and plain old camaraderie between the team. They worked very hard and kept quite “in the Spirit” over some tough and long drives, work periods often with little sleep. From the comments our leaders have heard, God did and continues to provide lessons of discipleship via these experiences.

A principal concern of mine for the trip was to give them truly varied ministry and church experience and exposure- rehab work in (and Clove and crew’s painting of a very cool wall mural) in Indiana, working alongside many hundreds of Christians doing spring break in practical as well as direct verbal ministry re. Katrina in Louisiana, interaction with a rural church and just down-home good Christian people as well as outreach to local kids in Missouri. This and more took place -in spades!

What a God we serve! What a team I’m blessed to serve with!

We’ll post pics here via my photobucket.com account. Enjoy 🙂

http://s164.photobucket.com/albums/u40/kaizbucket/

-Glenn

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Outreach

Posted by justthischris on March 14, 2007

March 16-27 Project 12’s Outreach Team will be serving at a
ministry/discipleship camp for recovering addicts near Bloomington,
Indiana including practical work/painting, interaction with the guys and their wives, girlfriends and camp staff, helping setup and cleanup at a wedding, doing the entire church service Sunday, visiting/interacting with a local Christian “at-risk and recovery” group one evening, sharing our classes and worship times with those
at the camp and visiting a local coffeehouse.

We then move on to Baton Rouge, Louisiana staying with the
Fasullo’s (friendly former JPUSAs) working several days with other believers
who are using Spring Break to help clear and clean up hurricane
wrecked areas around Slidell and Covington, Louisiana just above
New Orleans. There as in Indiana we’ll be sharing Jesus, music and
witness with those we meet.

We’ll have daily devos, prayer, worship and a class as well as a
little free time… so lots of work but also fun… maybe even eat
a lil’ alligator 🙂

We truly appreciate all your prayers!!
-Glenn

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REDEMPTION ANYONE?

Posted by gkaiser on January 18, 2007

What’s in a word? And does the meaning of a word really matter over/against experience? Perhaps one or more experiences bring fresh and real meaning to a word?

These are deep questions but in any case I have a simple comment and a simple plumb line that has served me for years and it’s based on the word “redemption”.

One way of analyzing the spiritual value of things is to ask oneself the question “What’s redemptive about this”?

Is there anything truly redemptive in my present attitude, this or that relationship, the media I’m taking into my mind, the stuff my eyes are viewing, you-fill-in-the-blank?

The core subject of the movie “Shawshank Redemption” and for that matter, many, many movies and stories is that of redemption. Interesting that even pop culture therefore raises the issue. It often boils down to personal questions such as “How can I change, what’s not only good, but best for me?” and the like. This is a common theme and one worth considering.

The basic definition of “redemption” relates to Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins which “redeems” us, bringing us into right and healing relationship to God the Father as well as one another. But there’s more.

Redemption has to do with the act of redeeming or the condition of having been redeemed, recovery of something pawned or mortgaged, payment of an obligation, deliverance upon payment of ransom, rescue, salvation from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice.

If something or some relationship proves over time to be something less than redemptive, I have found it best to let it go and sometimes to purposely avoid it. Why?

There is plenty of temptation in my life, plenty of things to take me away from God, His Word and loving, serving, God-honoring relationships. I just don’t need more of those!

There are those things, people and events which have helped my life be positively transformed in Christ and toward Christ. Some things prove spiritually and practically fruitful while others tend to simply gobble up my time, energy and seem to be if anything, more a waste than a service to God, others or myself, spiritually speaking.

Why waste the little time you’ve got on this rock tearing yourself down or simply passive to the needs in yourself, your church and this broken world when you can be effective in the plan of God to be an instrument of redemption?

What’s redemptive about “it”? I think that’s a question worth considering. It’s a question worth answering too.

-Glenn

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Chris Rice added, Glenn to Come…

Posted by Jon on January 18, 2007

I’ve just added Chris to the growing list of authors / contributors / people with fast-moving typing hands here. Still to come… Glenn Kaiser. He’s leading a P12 seminar in the room next to my workspace as I write, and just mentioned the days in which he still had all his hair. That was a long time ago. For him and me! Anyway, Chris should show up with contributions of his own here soon. I’ll let everyone know when Glenn is also on board.

Posted in Abortion, Bible, Evangelism / Missions, Family Issues, Homelessness, Homosexuality, Poverty, Prisons, Project12 info, Uncategorized, Women, Women, Men, and God | Leave a Comment »