A prayer for the next generation…

I just finished reading through the book of Joshua. Many aspects of this piece of literature struck me. I was amazed at how much God did for the people of Israel at the expense & devastation of many other nations. I also was impressed with the leadership of Joshua. I feel at times Joshua is kind of this forgotten leader. Moses, well is Moses, and fairly soon after Joshua we read of Samuel and David in the Hebrew Bible. These were two foundational leaders for God’s people. But Joshua was the man God chose to fulfill His promise to Abraham concerning the land. Joshua stepped into amazingly big shoes and led the people with strength and conviction as they inherited their promised land. And as God instructed him in the first chapter of the book he did it “strong and courageously”.

But then in Judges 2 we have this recorded:

“The people worshiped God throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the time of the leaders who survived him, leaders who had been in on all of God’s great work that he had done for Israel. Then Joshua son of Nun, the servant of God, died. He was 110 years old. They buried him in his allotted inheritance at Timnath Heres in the hills of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel.”

These words saddened me greatly today. How could the generation that followed Joshua know nothing of God or the work He did for them? Did the generation before not clearly communicate or did their stories fall on deaf ears? One thing about reading Scripture is that it allows you to step outside of time. In the matter of a few verses you read of one generation passing on and another generation coming to fruition. It is difficult for us to process this at times because we rarely think of what will happen on earth after our deaths. I know I desire to leave this world a bit more like God desires it to be when my time is up.

Today as I read this passage in Judges I became passionate for the generation that will come after me. This generation that will include my 3 daughters, my nieces and nephews, and my friends. Will they “know anything of God or the work He has done” for them? Will my girls follow Christ in all areas of their lives? Will they follow Christ with more reckless abandon than their mom or dad did? Will they imprint on their children (my grandchildren) the way of Jesus?

So with all of this I write a prayer for the future leaders of the global church:

Children born and children to come – I pray for you. May God’s Spirit illuminate your hearts so you know, believe, and follow Jesus all of your days. May you teach the way of Jesus to your kids and grandkids. Jesus promised that He would build His church and the gates of Hell would not stand against it. May you be used of our great Lord & Savior to advance the church in the darkest, most hellish of places. As the years roll on and you wait for the return of Christ may the Father’s Kingdom & will be a reality on this earth just as it is in Heaven. I pray you know the love of Jesus. I pray you know the life He offers you. I pray you love God & people with all of your heart, soul, and mind. I pray you finish strong and leave a lasting legacy for generations to follow. I pray you forgive my generation of our faults and model Christ where we fall short. I pray all of these things for the glory and renown of our great God. He is a great God! Amen”

The Empty Cross

Consumed Publishing is proud to release our latest project – The Empty Cross, by Carol King. The release date is set for Tuesday, March 8 but you can pre-order your copy now. This is a great resource for the upcoming season where we remember both the death and resurrection of Jesus.

From the author:

Words are like paint – the right ones line turquoise skies and fair weather and hope and orchards of lush peaches and fields of plump blueberries and baskets of juicy red tomatoes onto paper. Other right ones paint heavy grey skies, black nights, brown leafless trees, empty but for the granite tombstones, cemeteries.There is not one right word, as there is not one right color. One color only serves the other colors – the understanding of all each one signifies. So I paint with words, some yellow and orange and vermillion and some scarlet and violet and indigo.

I hope as you journey through these pages that you see the colors and listen to the words and, most of all, the God behind them who created them. We create in His image as the first Creator. And though I create in only the dimmest of reflections of His creation, these colors and words are my offering, first to Him and then to you.

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Ball for Lives

One of the privileges I have in life is the honor of serving on the board of directors for Ball for Lives. You may remember that last summer I (Jamie) dribbled the Twin Cities Marathon to raise funds & awareness for stopping the sex slave trafficking that exists in this world. Ball for Lives is the organization we ran for. They truly desire to see the love & justice of God permeated into every corner of earth. There are many great ways to participate with them. NO…you don’t have to dribble a half or full marathon to join in with them. There are other less painful ways (physically speaking) to partner. Take a moment and check out what they do. You will be glad you did!

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind

The title is the question I was asked to answer for a blog my friends at Winona State University run. This was a question asked by a student at Winona. There are several questions like this one and they asked different people to tackle the questions…doing their best to answer them. I was chosen to answer this light question on prayer (insert sarcasm). This was the answer I submitted them. I am open to discuss…


In January of 2009 I was rocked with the news my wonderful sister Penny had been diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. There were only 22 recorded cases of this cancer at the time and the prognosis wasn’t favorable. Upon this news I cried out to God like many of the Psalmists did thousands of years ago. I prayed similar prayers to God like David & Moses did:

“God – hear my cry for help. Heal my sister Penny! She is way too young and has four beautiful children. This is an injustice! Save her from this wretched disease!”

These types of prayers continued on for weeks as Penny began chemotherapy and radiation, but then the theological questions started creeping in. Questions like:

• Does God already know what is going to happen?
• Will my prayers change anything?
• Should I even be asking God to heal Penny or should I simply pray “Your will be done”?
• Is Penny’s future determined yet and will my prayers help God make up His mind?

From January of 2009 until February of 2010 when Penny lost her battle with cancer I prayed for healing, even though these questions plagued my thoughts. And to be completely honest with you today, there is still a part of me that is haunted by these questions. But one thing I know is that it is acceptable to ask God questions. God is confident enough in Himself for us to ask these tough theological questions. Asking questions leads us to understanding and a greater dependence and trust in God.

Volumes upon volumes of books have been written on prayer. There is no way I can adequately answer a question like, “Does prayer change Gods mind?” in one simple blog entry. Questions like this should be discussed multiple times over many pots of coffee and cookies (me likey cookies!) but I live in Bloomington, MN and I assume you, the reader of this blog, are currently living at or near Winona State University. So my hope is that this entry gets you thinking and possibly raises more questions for you. I pray this post is honest and faithful to the Biblical text. I will check the responses to see if further questions are asked and I will do my best to address as many of these questions as I possibly can.

So let me get back to the original question – “Does prayer change God’s mind?” Ready for my answer? Here it is – “I don’t know”. I honestly and truly don’t know. This question raises so many questions nut just about prayer, but also subjects like God’s sovereignty, open theism, etc. I am not nearly adequate or interested enough to write about these immensely deep topics here. I have discussed these subjects with people until all parties involved were blue in the face, but at the end of these conversations there were always questions people couldn’t definitively answer regardless of which side they fell on.

I think the important question to answer here is – “Why pray?” If we are unsure whether or not prayer changes God’s mind is there any real purpose to having an ongoing conversation with God (what prayer really is) anyway? Since I am taking the time to write this entry I am assuming you know that I believe: we absolutely should pray. Prayer is vitally important to our lives as followers of Jesus. Prayer in the spiritual sense is as important as breathing is in the physical sense. If we do not pray, our spiritual lives will suffer immensely. Prayer is a primary vehicle for our walk with God growing on this earth.

So why pray? Let’s let Jesus answer…

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”Matthew 6:9-13

These words of Jesus were spoken during what we call the “Sermon on the Mount” recorded for us in Matthew 5-7. This teaching of Jesus is the longest recorded one we have. Many call this teaching the core of Jesus’ Kingdom proclamation as Jesus explains in these verses the very essence of what it means to follow him. In the middle of this teaching Jesus spoke the above words regarding prayer.

“This, then, is HOW (my emphasis) you should pray” – Notice Jesus assumes these followers are praying. He doesn’t say, “If you get the chance to pray”, or “If you think it is important enough to pray”. NO…Jesus simply says, “this is how you should pray.” Jesus knew and emphasized the importance for every child of God to pray.

“Our Father in heaven” – Jesus says when we pray we should address God as “Father”. How awesome is that! When we talk with God we are privileged enough to call him “Father”! Paul wrote in Romans that we can call him “Abba” or in the English “Daddy”. From the start of Jesus’ model prayer he is beginning to unwrap the purpose of prayer – Prayer is a chance for us (God’s children) to talk with our Father. I am a father of three beautiful little girls. Nothing gives me greater joy than talking and spending time with my kids. God desires to talk with you too!

“Hallowed be your name” – This Father of ours is not like our earthly father. Our Father in Heaven is “hallowed” or “sanctified”, or “holy” or “highly venerated”. He is all knowing, all-powerful, all majestic, amazing, wonderful, and like no other!

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done” – Prayer allows us to reconfigure our lives with the purposes, plans, and strategies of God. Prayer is a chance for us to say to our Father – “What you desire trumps what I desire. Your plans and ambitions are greater than my ambitions and dreams. I submit my life to your will. I trust that what you will accomplish is much more magnificent than what I can accomplish on my own.”

“Give us today our daily bread” – We should depend on God for all things…including our daily provisions. When we ask God for our “daily bread” we learn to trust our Father more. We loosen the stranglehold on our personal lives and we invite our Father into every aspect of who we are and what we do. Our faith become increasingly holistic and less compartmentalized when we lean on our Father for everything.

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” – We are in need of the forgiveness of God and our Father provided that forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus. All of our past, present, and future sins are taken care of. Prayer allows us to live and breathe in the forgiveness of God without the condemnation of our enemy. Prayer also assists us in forgiving those who have wronged us. We must release them from their transgressions against us and release ourselves from bitterness, rage, and hatred.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” – Prayer to our Father enables us to stand firm against our enemy as we resist the darkness of his ways. Just as any earthly Father desires to protect his children from evil, God desires to give us freedom and victory over the evil in our lives.

In this prayer I see Jesus saying to those original listeners – Prayer is vital because it is your conversation with your Father. When you talk, meditate, and focus on God the Father (prayer), you develop a sense of trust, love, and connection with him as Father.

So back to the original question – “Does prayer change God’s mind?” I think the more important thought is this – Prayer changes you! I know when I pray, my heart changes. I love my Father more and I trust Him despite the horrendous things that could be going on in my life.

I am continuing to learn and grow in prayer, but what I learned as I prayed for my sister Penny during her fight with cancer is this – My Heavenly Father wanted me to talk with Him about it. He wanted me to talk about all of it. So I prayed to Him daily and said something similar to this:

“Father, I know you care about Penny because you are her Father and you care for her much more than I could ever begin to know. Father I can’t begin to understand all of what you desire to do in and through Penny and our family as she battles this disease. Father I desire for your will to be done in this situation. God I know that when you created the earth it was created free from disease and death. We brought death and destruction into your wonderful earth when we sinned. Thank you for initiating your redemptive plan to allow us access to you as Father…ultimately through Jesus. Father I honestly don’t know what will happen with Penny. I don’t know if you will heal her, if you know if you will heal her, of if you may change your mind. But I do know this – you care about Penny and regardless if she is healed on this earth she, as will I, spend all of eternity with you. Father, I ask you to heal her though. Do a miraculous work in her body for her sake and for your glory. God give Penny everything she needs today. Provide her the strength and patience to endure. Give her the perspective to see your hand in her life. And Father, protect her from the enemy! This disease is attacking Penny’s physical body but she can have victory over the evil one and resist the attack of her soul. In the name of Jesus I refute the enemy’s ways and tactics upon her soul. May she cling to you and know that you are good no matter what. I pray these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

As I mentioned in the beginning of this entry the reality is I can’t fully answer all of the ramifications of this question in one post (or in one book or a set of books for that matter). But I hope this was at a minimum somewhat helpful. If you have questions, post them here and you will hear back from me in the near future. And if you are ever in the cities, let’s get that coffee and cookies!

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NC Visit

Gretchen and I were blessed to travel to Raleigh, NC last weekend to be a part of the life of Hope Cafe. Eric & Lisa Beavers serve at this church and it was wonderful to see how God is using this church to reach their community. The church facility is not a church building in the traditional sense. They have a store front property in the form of a coffee shop. Throughout the week Hope Cafe is open for business. They have open mic night on Friday evenings, concerts on Saturday evenings, and the church gathers on Sundays for singing, prayer, and teaching. Gretchen and I met many people in the church on Sunday and was a part of the young adult Bible Study that meets at Eric & Lisa’s home. I wrote in the last post about how much Consumed values relationships. I trust this is just the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship between Hope Cafe & Consumed Ministries. I pray the result of this relationship is seeing God’s Kingdom & will done on earth as it is in heaven.

I had the privilege of teaching a few times while we were there. You can find the link to one of those times on the HOPE CAFE PODCAST PAGE

(Open Mic Night at Hope Cafe)

(Gretchen enjoying some journal time on the Beaver’s patio)

(Lisa was excited to take us to a local Raleigh favorite – LOCOPOPS. An entire store that sells nothing but popsicles.)


We (Consumed) say often that we value relationships. This isn’t just some spiritual phrase we throw around to sound good. We truly value the relationships God has formed both organizationally and more importantly…the friendships we have formed with people all over the world. Through the context of relationships we are provided the opportunities to accomplish the mission God has given us – to share the message of abundant life. Last week Dan Shearer, Eric & Lisa Beavers, and I were privileged to share this message through song, speaking, and our resources through Consumed Publishing. But none of this would have happened without our friendships with Ray Lines, Adam “Woody” Evans, and the people of Calvary Baptist & Bible Baptist in upstate NY. And now, as a result of this trip, we have formed even more relationships. It is my prayer that we can serve both these new friends and the friends we have known for a while. The more people that experience abundant life (like the Lines & Evans family) the greater impact the global church will have on our world. So thank you to all that hosted us and we look forward to seeing what God will do next. Below are some pictures from the trip (taken from Eric’s iphone so they are not camera quality) and two links where you can find a few of the talks given while traveling (also available on our Itunes Consumed Podcasts).

(General Sherman author Danielle O’Keefe & Illustrator Devon O’Keefe with their friend Kyle. The group is known as Carrier Pidgin)

Jamie speaking at Alpha Team in Clarks Summit, PA – Knowing God, hope, and power

Jamie speaking to Calvary Baptist in Norwich, NY – Forgiveness

We are working on seeing if Dan Shearer’s talk to Bible Baptist was recorded. If we get an audio file of that we will post it too.

Your Faith is Greater Than Mine

From Rob Stearns

I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time–the many ways to Heaven/Paradise/the afterlife. It ultimately boils down to a question of faith…but at some point faith needs to be based on some basis of logic and/or facts I would think. As a Christian who has placed his faith in the person, life, actions–and ultimate death and resurrection–of Jesus Christ, I have to admit people who place their faith in theories that can be disproved through basic math, or with definitions which cannot be defined or following dead prophets into the afterlife…all I have is Christ, his death, and resurrection; all I have are prophecies that can be proven to have come true; all I have is a man who claimed to be God and then backed it up.

To those who have placed their faith in anything else than the death and resurrection (as in: being dead and then coming back to life) all I can say is, your faith is greater than mine.

Your Faith is Greater Than Mine

A theory of numbers
exponential senselessness
A theory of mutations
inverted advancement
A theory of laws broken
facts, figures, overlooked by blindness
Your faith is greater than mine

A search for inner peace
completed on astral planets
A search for personal truth
polluted, perverted delusion
A search for perfection
definitions for perfection not defined
Your faith is greater than mine

A journey to paradise
weighed down by burdens and guilt
A journey to the afterlife
led by prophets long dead
A journey forward
while living in centuries past
Your faith is greater than mine

I believe…

I was at a joint church gathering recently and the following poem was read. I found the writing to be beautiful so I thought I would share it here…with the author’s permission of course. Speaking of the author – her name is Chandler Weir

I believe in the Almighty
The omnipresence of the church I can feel,
For it is not a building, a structure, an address,
It is a community, a feeling, a family,
Where protection and comfort can be found,
Where support can be given or received,
And the sinners of the world may come together,
United by their love and passion for God
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
Often forgotten and rendered less important,
Or maybe, it is just that it is less understood.
But this is the spirit that feels our very being,
Never leaves us alone,
Fills the space in our hearts,
Whispers that help is always near,
That Jesus,
The Son of God
Born of the Virgin Mary
Sent from Heaven
He walked the Earth to show God’s love, to save us all from sin’s wrath.
I have chosen to follow him forever,
To give my heart and soul to him,
Honor and love him,
For he is Lord of all,
Who created the Sun and the stars,
Hearts that beat, bringing both life and compassion.
It is in my heart to continue the work of Jesus,
To live a life not for myself, but for him,
To show his mercy and compassion,
And prove,
That he loves us, sins and all
That he is the rock to hold fast to,
When life is hard or the future is unclear,
And know that with him, and only him,
Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, Lord of all,
Can we weather the storm.

Annual Ohio BBQ

Thanks to everyone that came out to this summer’s Ohio BBQ. Tim & Charlie did an amazing job cooking pounds and pounds of brats, burgers, and hot dogs. I can’t even express my thanks to everyone else that just showed up unannounced to help. There is an army of people with servant hearts in Columbus! I hope everyone that came learned a little more about the mission God gave Consumed Ministries – share the message of abundant life! Here are some pictures…

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Never Asunder

from Rob Stearns…a poem about hope


A bond between two

through blood now one

one bond, one love

simply one–together

I slip away

this bond remains

I fade further

I’m drifting

this bond anchors

keeps me at bay

close to you

despite myself

away I walk

further, farther

your love, your embrace

patiently await

run–I run

never looking back

for just a glimpse

running to foreign lands

I’ve run

your arms–never tiring

spread like the wings of an eagle

reaching out with the love of a father

open remain for the touch of your child

for this bond

for this love

for eternity shall be

for eternity still is