Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 3 & a porn convention

Do you see the 2500 bibles to the right?  Well the awesome team that Rachel and I were apart of managed to hand all of them out by 7:30 Saturday night! We still had Saturday night and Sunday afternoon yet!  This was a great problem to have but also frustrating because we had a lot of people request them...including vendors!

I'm posting our team leader's write up below because I think it gives a good summary of the last two days...

"There are always a variety of reactions to the slogan Jesus Loves Porn Stars. One man was offered a Bible and he said, “Oh I know Jesus and I know porn so I’m ok, I don’t need a Bible.” We also had one very agitated young lady who was actually very angry and was emphatic that the wording should be, “Jesus loves reformed porn stars.” She told us that premarital sex was sin and porn was a sin and so she could not comprehend, no matter how we worded it or tried to explain it, that Jesus would actually love someone in their sin. I hope one day she comes to realize how much Jesus loves her.
We met a guy named Travis who was really deeply touched that we were legitimate with our message and not mocking. He shared that one month ago he found out that his wife, and mother of their two kids, had been having an affair with his best friend and wanted to be with the friend. We talked about all the different ways that was so painful and would continue to be painful for a very long time.
We will give out the last of our stickers and temporary tattoos but it’s amazing how many people are disappointed to not get the Bible that speaks to what our message is, when they find out we have that. They can be bought on the website but you know that its unlikely people there will go and purchase one, but there is still the hope that they will at least check out the site and make use of the resources available and see the difference it really makes to know that Jesus loves you regardless of what you have done.
The majority of the people take a Bible and continue walking but so often I found people come back and we would offer them another one and they would clarify by telling us they had already been given one, but they came back to find out what we were all about. I love that. It means people were thinking about the words they saw and wanted to be sure they knew what our message is. I know our message is misinterpreted sometimes, but so was Jesus’.
Romans 8:38, 39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Vancouver Team 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 2...At A Porn Convention

Well last night was awesome!  I know it sounds weird that I was happy for more people but more people provided more opportunities for conversations and as you can see by the photo a lot more bibles handed out.

Some people that we had the opportunity to talk with that stuck out was a young lady who had a lot of questions about what would and would not send her to hell.  My friend Andy tried to explain that it isn't about what you do or did, but who you put your faith in.  Another gentleman said that he found one of our "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" bible on the ground and started reading it…he said it was a really cool book.  Finally a group of people in the adult industry came by our booth just to say thank you for the gift bags our team leader made for them. You could see just how genuinely touched they were that somebody thought of them, not as an object, but as an actual human being!

Another cool aspect of the show are our neighbor's booths.  We have a Zombie Portrait booth to one side, a bondage booth behind and a palm/card reader to the other side.  The Zombie booth probably isn't that thrilled with us, actually I know they aren't…and that's okay.  The psychic on the other hand has connected with Rachel a little bit and it is cool to see Rachel hang out at her booth now and then just talking with her.

Yeah we definetly stick out in a room that is promoting sex in a unrealistic light.  Yeah there are those that laugh and walk on by or those who will not even make eye contact. Yet there are so many more that will stop and ask questions. They actually want the stickers and bible. It blows my mind that people actually will take a bible in a porn convention!  They actually ask US for it. As a matter of fact we have had people take several at a time so that they could pass them out to their friends.

Who knows maybe they never open the bible...or maybe, just maybe, when times are hard and they don't know where to turn...they'll pick up that bible with the unusual cover and find the hope they so desperately need!  What I do know for sure is that I need to be faithful to what God wants...and right now God wants me to be at a porn convention.

Friday, January 20, 2012

First Impression of a Porn Convention

Well, seeing as we have never done this before, we didn't know what to expect! Amanda told us that she never requests where our booth is as she allows God to pick our spot. We are on the edge of the convention center towards the front and have a corner booth. On our one side there's "Zombie Portraits"(what that has to do with porn, I am not exactly sure, but ya' know sex sells...just about anything!) and across the aisle is the Psychic Lillyanna...FULLY dressed I might add. There is nothing directly in front of us. This happens to make me very excited...should we expect anything less when God puts things together?! There is an interesting booth down a little ways called "Love Bumpers"...definitely don't want to look that way, so I keep right on going with my eyes whenever I am on that side. At one point last night Mike laughed out loud because all he saw were feet sticking up in the air at that booth! I guess maybe you have to be here to understand that one!!

I can't get over how nice people are here! Mike and I have done a few street ministries, which this reminds me of, and I can't get over the response. I have never had so many people actually thank me for handing them a Bible! Of course, you still have those that won't look you in the eyes because they don't want you to hand them anything, you also have those that say, "No thank you" and then you have a few that hand it back once they find out what it is! But they are even polite with least so far!

I am struggling with whether this is enough. Is it enough to simply hand them God's word and send them on their merry way? In my own human flesh, it just doesn't seem right. However, God reminded of His promise that His word is sufficient. He is all they need and if they are truly searching for Him; they will find Him. I pray they will have their "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" Bible handy when they are finally ready to make that decision! I am also reminded that this is God's work...not mine (silly me)! He is working in and through the people that we meet in ways that I cannot even fathom.

God has also reminded me that I need to be doing more with the relationships and community I have back home. Maybe I am feeling slightly disappointed with this because I am not doing enough with my daily walk with Him. I have really felt the need since being here to start a strip club ministry. We'll see how this progresses during the week!

Overall, I could not have asked for anything more. The night was slow, we were able to ease into things, we don't have a lot to look at (Hallelujah!) and we are bonding as a team. In the end...praising God that He is who He says He is, that He will never change, that we can rely on Him to carry all our burdens (no matter how insignificant we may feel they are) and that HE IS ALL THEY NEED!

Thank you for your continued prayers,

Day 1...At A Porn Convention

Today was a roller coaster of emotion.  We started with some team training...which was awesome!

The first thing that struck me was that here were people from all over North America and you would have thought we all knew each other already.  Amazes me how people with the same hope and focus of Jesus Christ can connect.  We really enjoyed each other.  The other thing was that we were all normal average people.  I know that sounds weird…like what else would they be?  What I realized though was that anybody can do this…you and I don't need to be super christians, having all our stuff together.  All you need is a willing spirit and a heart to let other people know that Jesus loves them.

The first night of the show was awesome with many cool conversations with people.  We had a lady do the Tebow after receiving her bible, a guy said no to the bible until he saw the cover which says, "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" and then turned around to pick one up and a lot of people who were curious stopped by.  So many people were very appreciative.

One guy especially sticks out…he came up to me, speaking really fast and kinda harsh about how he thought we were there to bash porn and tell them that they were going to hell.  I immediately told him that was not the case.  That we just want to share the love of Jesus with him and anyone else who would listen.    His defenses came right down and he was very thankful for our ministry and the bible I handed him…so much so he invited me to his after party so that we could share our message with others!  Seriously, how cool is that!  That is really what people desire…to know that they are loved and not judged.

Read what a girl in the industry said via email to our team leader...
I (Amanda) messaged one of the industry girls I have on facebook this morning as she posted some pics to be sure she got her gift bag and here is what she wrote back:
Thank you I'm glad you told me I'll pop by the office today. Thank you so much 
I feel so loved

We count it a win here when people feel loved...some, unfortunately, for the first time.

I encourage you to share the love of Jesus with someone you encounter today.  It maybe the only love they receive.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Go Fish

Last night I had an agenda!  I was going to take Ana to her dance class and while there read a book that I'm really into as it benefits me in work, my counseling practice, leading a marriage small group and in my own marriage.  That is why I quickly became annoyed when Rachel suggested that we all take Ana to class and while we wait hang out at the coffee shop and play cards.  Obviously I hadn't read much of this marriage book or even started to apply spending time with my family is such a chore!?!

But then the goals I had put in place for myself came to mind.  I remembered that I was committing to spending more time with my family.  I now had a choice to make and fortunately I made the right one. So often it really is the small things in life. Why is it then that we overlook them or downplay the time?  Why is it that we plan for big events and fill our calendars with "important stuff" and yet not set aside time or allow for interuptions to spend time with those who really matter and need our friendship?

For thirty minutes it was like everything was right with the universe...just drinking smoothies and playing Go Fish.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

John or Peter in 2012

Today I found myself reading about the Resurrection in John 20 and I was struck by the two different reactions of John and Peter.  They both heard the news that the tomb, in which Jesus lay, was empty and they both immediately took off to go see for themselves.  Peter, who apparently was a better sprinter took an early lead but John was more of
an endurance runner and eventually past Peter arriving their first.

Here is where it gets interesting.  John doesn't go in!  He comes to a screeching halt and just pokes his head in. He saw that it was empty. He saw the linens lying there but yet his feet didn't move. Why? The text doesn't tell us so we can only assume…maybe it was fear?  They had been hiding out in a locked room fearful of what the religious leaders may do to them.  Maybe he thought this was a trap to get them out in the open.  On the other hand he might have been in shock or just taking the situation in, either way though he stopped.

Peter, on the other hand, who had been lagging behind did not!  He just shot right through the entrance and into the tomb…there was no hesitation!!  Peter had that type of personality.  A lot of times he spoke or acted before thinking…and sometimes that got him into trouble and other times he had incredible experiences.  Its interesting that after Peter went in John then too decided to enter and he believed.

As I start this new year of 2012 I wander if I will be more like Peter or more like John?  I think there are times that I need to be like John.  I need to take a moment, assess the situation and then move forward like John did.  On the other hand there are times when I need to be more like Peter and just act, trust in God and see what happens.

Like many things in life there needs to be a balance between the two. There will be times when I need to slow down, possibly stop to assess the situation and there will be other times that I need to push back my fears and hesitations, put my trust in God and move forward. I pray that in 2012 I will have the wisdom to know when to act like John and when to act like Peter.

So who will you be more like this year?  John, Peter, or both?

Goals for 2012

Physical: I plan on running a 1/2 marathon either in the late spring or early fall...depends on how the other goal works out!  I'm striving to exercise 5 to 6 days a week alternating between cardio and strength training.  I would also like to start playing ice hockey again.  I also want to play more golf with my son this summer.

Mental: I desire to read at least 24 books this year.  To consistently journal my thoughts and occasional blog them.  To work on my intensity vs. consistency with my children.  To take a 1/2 day a quarter to reflect, refocus and evaluate my goals for myself and for work.

Spiritual: I will strive to read my bible for 30 minutes 5 times a week for personal reflection and not for work.  Memorize two verses a week. (To be honest this is the one I look the least forward to.  Not a big fan of memorization.  Yes I'm in ministry and yes I just admitted that.)

Social: I want to date my wife more...I hope to take her out twice a month.  Have a father/daughter, father/son at least once a month.  Have a couple or someone over at least once a month for dinner so as to get to know them better.  I would like to call or visit a friend I haven't kept in touch with once a month.

Misc: I WILL graduate with my M.A. in counseling this year...hopefully spring.  I strive to be more organized.  By that I mean planning my calendar out a quarter in advance then evaluate every week...then actually follow it to the best of my ability!

As you can see I will definitely need your help...and prayers in 2012!