Woe unto Me if I Preach not the Gospel

Back in October, 2007, a blogger posted on the Spectrum blog about questionable youth ministry tactics. He was jumping off of a New York Times article about church youth groups using the violent video game, “Halo.” That’s a rather shocking methodology for evangelism. I don’t see how it can be excused.

But I don’t see how anyone can compare that with another program cited in that post, Jesus Loves Jeans. That is a program of youth discipleship developed here in Houston by three pastors, Kendall Turcios, Jose Pagan, and Josue Murillo. It starts with a retreat for youth, to invite them into discipleship and to reach out to their friends with the good news of Jesus. There are several weeks of follow-up sessions, to prepare them for an evangelistic series, to which they invite their friends. The evangelistic series is run in Spanish and then in English, and the youth are involved (Kendall and Jose preach). The sermons proclaim the unconditional love of Jesus for youth who are struggling (various kinds of jeans are used as metaphors for different lives and struggles). They are invited to accept him, to open themselves to his transforming love, to walk as disciples.

The author of that post hasn’t attended “Jesus Loves Jeans.” Neither have any of those who commented on the webpage.

I have. So have my kids. My son was baptized during the Houston series, after Kendall told a remarkable story about a chance meeting between two young people in the Harris County Inmate Processing Center, one of whom (my son) was wearing a “Jesus Loves Jeans” t-shirt. Both were baptized together that night. (You can read the full story here).

I will stick with Paul’s words:

What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. Philippians 1:18.

7 thoughts on “Woe unto Me if I Preach not the Gospel

  1. Hi Good Bill,

    Fair points. True, I haven’t attended a Jesus Loves Jeans event.

    But I have spent six summers (4 as a leader) in summer literature evangelism for the Central Cal. Conference. From working with my fellow academy students to do a Dan & Rev seminar as an academy junior to preaching with my senior class with the Quiet Hour in the Philippines to spending a summer with the Andrews field school of evangelism during my Religion, I have spent a fair amount of time in situ practicing and thinking about young Adventism and evangelism. In all I’ve worked with hundreds of youth. I also have read through the couple of the JLJ sermons in Spanish and read the testimonies. (It appears that not much has been done on the site for the last year or so, the English resources page in empty as is the video page and the latest photos date from April 07.)

    Furthermore, let me say that I really respect pastors who work hard with youth and I raise questions not to create discouragement and simple critique, but because I spent a lot of time with the kids after the emotional weekends, after the baptismal water dries.

    My bottom line is: Jesus lovin’ jeans, like Halo-playing youth groups dumb down Christianity, are me-centered (my relationship with God) rather than community nurturing and associate faith with unstainable spiritual environments, i.e., the high.

    I would just not want Adventist young people brought into emotionally manipulative environments just so someon can pump up their baptismal numbers. As Calvin Rock points out so well, baptism is not the primary moment of Christianity, maturing in the faith is.

    It’s telling that Bill uses the baptism of his son as the justifying end of the method. But my class at PUC is full of kids who have little sense of Adventist or Christian identity, the same applies when I was a student at Andrews and it applies to the academy kids that hang out with my younger brothers. Not only are they ignorant of basic Adventist theology or Christian beliefs, but their choices are not particularly reflective about their choices.

    And they are almost all baptized.

    In distilling Jesus down to a lover of jeans, I worry we’re promulgating a form of cheap grace, scratching at the easy itch of adolescent guilt and existential confusion, while missing the chance to really empower them to transform the culture that belittles them as consumers, sex objects, minor and passive members of the status quo.

    Although JLJ and playing Halo differ on process they both connect due to a similar approach of trying to distill religious commitment down to some sort of pop culture symbol. I believe that at its fullest Christianity is counter-cultural or even transformational of culture. Now we may apply Neibuhr’s frameworks of Christ and culture differently, but I would suggest that a better ministry approach is to create ways for young Adventist to change the culture, not just employ it to entertain them or bring Jesus’ radical conception of equality and grace down to the level of denim difference or serendipity.

    The second looming problem lies with an aspect of JLJ that Bill doesn’t bring up, but appears on their website. This stems from the much wider critique of current orgs like Folkenberg’s ShareHim or the ERC that prioritize preaching as the young witness.

    http://www.spectrummagazine.org/blog/2008/01/10/sau

    Let me quote from the JLJ website:

    “Have you been preaching? Well, if you haven’t that’s ok, because it’s never too late to take up the challenge. Just because you haven’t been fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’ doesn’t mean you can’t start today.”

    I would rather see them inculcating their inchoate faith through individual creative expression on their own terms rather than being handed pre-made materials and being told to preach.

    The truth is that most of those kids will lose faith later, especially when it is based on “chance meetings” or emotional alter calls. The problem with teaching with the goal of baptism is that it doesn’t create a sustainable connection and it collapses faith into moment rather than the work of a lifetime. What would happen if our church treated baptism not as the goal at the beginning but as a byproduct of an already maturing faith? Rather than treating it as an outward symbol of private salvation, we treated it more its community-joining aspects, which get at more of the historical roots of baptism. Not something that happens after a 13 year old assents to beliefs, but once someone has begun to express those beliefs in personal identity and practices.

    I talk with kids who have “given their life to Jesus” at a campfire or WOP and now it’s mostly a joke (now there are exceptions, but the stats reveals a majority loss).

    And adding some construction to the critique let share an idea or two:

    At the Graduate Theological Union it’s really interesting to see flourishing youth groups that don’t treat meetings as means to the end of baptism or just play video games. From taking teens to spend a night in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and then discussing what they saw and Christ’s statements about the poor and our responsibility as well to creative art projects allowing teens to express their nascent understandings of their relationship to faith and their environment there is a whole social aspect that we Adventists are missing.

    We’ve got to get away from the unbalanced method that preaches more about being sinners and needing baptism than what we do afterward. I read 18 testimonies and I see their craving for the spiritually strengthening community that big emotional events create. And there is no doubt that kids do convert, but the problem is that those mountain top experiences don’t last and it’s unfair to create a tender faith dependent on these sorts of unsustainable environments. Like Pavlov’s experiments, too many young people associate the Christian journey with the good feelings of repentance and too few understand the maturing (sanctification) process of creating a faith that lasts beyond the call.

    James 1:14-17

    14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

    15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.

    16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

    17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

  2. “I haven’t attended a Jesus Loves Jeans event. … But”

    Again, Alex, I’m going to suggest that you aren’t in a position to speak to it, since you don’t know what is preached over the course of a week or what is said about discipleship either during the series itself or the preparation.

    “It’s telling that Bill uses the baptism of his son as the justifying end of the method.”

    Yes, indeed it is telling. But not in a negative sense. It serves for me as a reminder that one lost sheep is all that matters to the Good Shepherd. And everyone in my church will tell you of the transformation that he has experienced.

    “My bottom line is: Jesus lovin’ jeans, like Halo-playing youth groups dumb down Christianity, are me-centered (my relationship with God) rather than community nurturing and associate faith with unstainable spiritual environments, i.e., the high.”

    Perhaps that might be a valid point if you were basing it on a critique of the actual content. But I will once again suggest that you can’t say something is “dumbed down” if you don’t know its actual content.

    As to focusing on an individual’s relationship with God–I’d say that my relationship with God is pretty important. That’s the starting point. Being in a group of any kind can’t substitute for it. Christ called individuals. He said, “Follow me.” He spent time with individuals in need, and spoke good news to them. He healed them. He forgave them. That’s what his ministry was about. “Jesus Loves Jeans” does the same thing. It also incorporates them into a community, the church. It teaches them about life within that community, i.e., discipleship.

    “I would rather see them inculcating their inchoate faith through individual creative expression on their own terms rather than being handed pre-made materials and being told to preach.”

    The Gospel is “pre-made”. It’s the simple message that Christ died for our sins and was raised the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). And we are called to preach it. There’s no substitute for it.

    “I believe that at its fullest Christianity is counter-cultural ….”

    So do I. If you went to “Jesus Loves Jeans,” you might see that this is an important aspect of it.

    “The problem with teaching with the goal of baptism is that it doesn’t create a sustainable connection and it collapses faith into moment rather than the work of a lifetime.”

    And JLJ doesn’t do that. It speaks of the importance of discipleship, and gives a model for living it. If you had been in Dallas for the NAD youth and young adult summit this past weekend you could have spoken to many of those who are involved in the church and sharing their faith and reaching out to others because of JLJ.

    “We’ve got to get away from the unbalanced method that preaches more about being sinners and needing baptism than what we do afterward.”

    I haven’t seen that method. I have seen some methods that want to avoid talking about being sinners and needing baptism, though–and they may do some good in this world, but they’re not going to lead to eternal life.

    That’s all I have to say for now–a few quick thoughts. I’ve asked someone with a little more knowledge and experience of this to respond.

  3. Hey Alexander,

    I’m not sure where to begin, but I can hear in your writing a frustration with what I characterize as the ‘Laodicean Syndrome’ i.e. the frustration with the apathy and lack of true spiritual fervor we are all interested in seeing and living.

    I don’t pretend to have already arrived, on the contrary.

    “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.

    For this reason and more I continue to look for evidences of things that are going well in our church. There is plenty that we can criticize, yet I’m concerned as you have spent an enormous amount of time ‘blogging’ about the things which are going ‘apparently’ wrong…

    You don’t seem to have anything to share about any of your own personal successes or alternatives that are the ‘true and pure’ strategies for reaching the lost. (No need to address your grossly inadequate comparison of “JLJ” to “Halo” laughable, but I am interested in how you apply the invitation of the Bible to contextualize the message of the gospel, you know the whole ‘to the Greek I became a Greek’ thing.)

    It’s somewhat hypocritical and disingenuous, of you to use your experience with young people in the Philippines with the ‘Quiet Hour’ in response to Bill’s questioning of your credentials in regards to youth evangelism experience when later on in your other blog you refer to it in your similarly cynical assessment of youth evangelism:

    “This type of evangelism teaches Adventist young people to plagerise (plagiarize) their faith, don’t study it, just present it and you’ll be fine. That is a lie.

    “How do I know? Because I have done this, with the Quiet Hour before. Of the young Adventists with me that “preached” in the Philippines in 1997, less than half care about the church anymore. Of course I have no idea about the 70 some folks baptized. I remember visiting a women’s ramshackle house — on stilts over water — and hearing the numbers-obsessed bible worker assure her that she would have a golden helicopter in heaven.”

    A couple of questions: in your Philippine experience, did you feel cynical from the get-go, or after coming back from your trip? Did the bible worker actually promise a golden helicopter, or could it be possible you misheard what she said? — bottom line, how can you judge this bible worker’s motives and actions?

    (So of all of your ‘youth’ experience which one do you NOT have a cynical response to?)

    What I am most interested in hearing about is what you seem to gloss over…

    “…but because I spent a lot of time with the kids after the emotional weekends, after the baptismal water dries.”

    So what is your ministerial impact on these kids in these moments where you are leading them to the ‘true’ experience of Christianity? Share with us the practical of what you are doing, what is working, what is the ‘right’ thing we all need to be doing?

    I could spend more time responding to how misinformed you are about “Youth Discipleship – Jesus Loves Jeans.” but I’m afraid it’s time wasted. In your continual rush to judgment you have made an enormous amount of assumptions.

    Discipleship is the cornerstone of where we need to return in our leading young people! This involves baptism but is not the end all and be all. You might be interested to hear about a young lady named ‘Dolores’ who came to one of our “Jesus Loves Jeans” rally’s and gave her heart to Jesus, she turned her back on drugs, and even that night as she was planning to go to a club to keep living it up, chose God’s path instead. It was an incredible moment, she came forward crying, real emotional and all, several months later she was baptized at the Garland Spanish Church in Dallas, TX, also a real emotional and alot of crying took place, I just saw her this weekend in Dallas at the NAD Young Adult Convention. She gave a portion of the Jesus Loves Jeans seminar where alot of people got real emotional and cried at her moving testimony. She’s now being invited to speak at different conference events division wide.

    All in all, she’s been clean and living the life of a ‘Disciple’ (did i mention jesus loves jeans is about discipleship?) for about 7 months now, I’m not sure when all this emotionalism is going to wear off, but as soon as it does I’ll let you know so you can invite her to join your ‘post-campfire WOP, curriculum for young people who’s baptismal water has dried off.’

    It’s interesting I didn’t hear about your October blog ranting about the evils of ‘JLJ’ till about a week ago, I’m too busy doing the work.

    You would do well, to check your cynicism and antagonism, it has led many to leave the church and begin to look elsewhere for sources of truth…(Graduate Theological Union?)

    So what do you do with the scripture that Bill keeps asking you to consider?

    What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. Philippians 1:18.

  4. My friend Alexander recommended this blog post to me because I have been worrying about this trend happening in the wider Church: not just Adventists fall prey to the tendency to want to simplify their faith to a pop culturally-acceptable catchphrase, with the attendant wham-bang initiation process, hoping that somehow, by putting most of their energy on the form of the faith instead of its content (which is, admittedly, easier), they’ll keep kids around for a while. It’s a common experience in evangelical and mainline churches across the country.

  5. Editorial Note: My original blog post responds to a discussion on another blog which I felt did not accurately represent an evangelistic program, “Jesus Loves Jeans.” After giving Alex Carpenter, the author of that post, the opportunity to respond, I touched on a couple of his points and then asked him to hold off on further debate with me until Kendall, one of the developers of the program in question, had a chance to weigh in. Now that Kendall and Josh have posted their responses to Alex, I have invited Alex to respond, and that will be posted if and when he submits it.

  6. I will be honest, I do understand and agree with many of the things Alexander is worried by. I worry about the same. I worry that people will rush to say amen, and here I am, take me after adrenaline and high emotions (coming from a very right place) fill up a heart that sometimes hasn’t quite grasped the reality of what it is they are buying into. Or haven’t they? Let us not forget that the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

    He who has ears, let him hear.

    Is it really that the fact that many of this baptized kids than eventually end up leaving the church a consequence of “bad evangelism” or is it that there is a bigger picture in which there is a massive movement of lukewarming all across the church and that the easiest explanation as to why people leave the church is blame the method.

    I definitely think that the jeans metaphor is overdone and maybe drives too much the attention of people to the flashy name and creative concept. I should know, I was the one who shot and edited the videos, authored the DVDs, and helped carry out on of the first conferences in Houston.

    However, the seed that lands in fertile soil will flourish. NOT EVERYBODY IS THAT SEED. A lot of people land in the rocks. Most people are the seed that lands among the thorns generally speaking. There is so much going on in life that it just chokes the life out of the seed. But only some will land on fertile ground. Our perception of failure is simply the reality of the human condition, because it is not us who have the power to make the seed flourish, God is.

    So my heart goes out to Alexander. Rock on! I totally identify myself in your methodology. I wish Jesus Loves Jeans would ease a little bit on the jeans analogy (they began to sound a bit corny in my opinion), but that may be kind of hard since the word Jeans is embedded in the ministry’s name.

    However the efforts, and I speak truthfully, made in here are not to be culturally relevant but completely as counter-cultural as possible. The jeans metaphor is just that. But the Truth and the Life come from God.

    Let’s focus our efforts in letting go and letting God.

    I do have a confession to make. We started a young adults ministry here in Houston just after JLJ wrapped up their campaign, because if they did anything for me it was to inspire me to move forward in the knowledge of God in a more mature way. So Revive was born. We are still leagues away from doing anything of significance in the eyes of people but we are pursuing the Glory of God with all of our hearts and actions. So, Alex, loosen up man. Let the name of Christ of magnified and let the seeds that need to flourish do so; and the seeds that are not God will take care of.

  7. Alexander:

    Although I surely have a lot to comment about your blog at Spectrum, as well as your response to Bill I just would like to share a couple of concepts with you.

    I’ll be blunt and direct but I don’t intend to offend you in any way, please take my words in the spirit of love since we serve the same Lord and care deeply for His flock.

    I must warn you though, that all of my friends agree I possess a unique sense of humor, so please relax and read.

    By reading your blog I can tell God gave you a bright mind, you are articulate and smart, but in this case you come to several incorrect conclusions since you are just ignorant about Jesus Loves Jeans!

    If you feel God has called you to judge new ministries arising today, the least you can do is thorough research! If you don’t have enough proof or resources to properly understand something like Jesus Loves Jeans, I would strongly recommend silence.

    I don’t have time to debate with you some of the arguments and ideas you espouse so I’ll only focus on the ones regarding JLJ.

    I must say that I believe your intentions are honorable and sincere, but instead of speaking of the unknown you should consider seriously your words (this includes the written ones), after all, every single one of them will be taken into consideration at the time of our judgment…

    If any of the young disciples that are truly fighting to be spiritually strong and to defend their faith while sharing Christ with their peers would read half of your article, they would be extremely discouraged.

    If you are in such a leadership position as you describe, don’t you think your words and ideas should be weighed and chosen more carefully?

    If you haven’t, you better start looking for a strong rope and a good size stone!

    Again, I believe you just jumped to conclusions without gathering the necessary evidence.
    Is your opinion based only on what you’ve read on a website? If so, it’s like tasting an orange by licking it without peeling it!

    By the way, you are backing your judgment on only a phrase taken out of context!

    Do you have the DVD with doctrinal bible studies in hand to determine it is just about emotions?

    Have you seen the icebreaker cards that help young people test their beliefs and open up their hearts to their friends? Have you read the devotional booklet that describes what JLJ is about? Were you in any of the trainings? Do you know about the core values and 4 basic principles for discipleship? Did you attend any of the small group bible studies or a single reaping meeting? Have you been in contact with any of the 167 who got baptized through this ministry last year and are now actively serving as Christ’s disciples? When was the last time you got involved in youth evangelism? (I must confess I thought about asking you if you didn’t have anything better to do… your previous responses leave me with the impression that you’ve decided to play the devil’s advocate just for fun man! But that’s another story)

    And maybe the two most important questions:

    1. Did you approach the only reference you analyze with an impartial mindset?

    2. Are your words and thoughts in harmony with Jesus teachings?

    Without assuming JLJ’s philosophy on youth discipleship is completely right, I don’t recall any phone call or personal interview to know about what this ministry is about. You may want to argue about this one later, but last time I checked in Matthew 18 we are expected to do so, aren’t we?

    If you were looking for an excuse to support your arguments in a blog, I honestly believe you chose the wrong ministry.

    I sincerely hope that what I’m about to write, will open your eyes and give you a better idea of what this is about. If you decide to keep your position about this ministry it’s up to you my brother!

    There is a lot of prayer, studying, effort and sacrifice behind this. There is a team of God’s servants that is fully committed to enable young disciples for service; as a matter of fact, several experienced pastors and well-known and respected Church leaders have endorsed this initiative. They, of course, saw not only the results of this ministry, but also the steps taken in the process.

    None of them placed JLJ into the category you placed it, but of course, they were not ignorant about it.

    I know that the term “Jesus Loves Jeans” might sound uncommon to you, but the fact that sometimes people do things outside our small box of preconceived ideas does not make them necessarily wrong!

    You must know that Jesus Loves Jeans is not about a fashion statement or encouraging young ones to come to Church wearing jeans.

    JLJ is an initiative of 3 pastors that realized the main reason to stay in this wonderful church was that someone was brave enough to give them the opportunity to serve while they were still young. Pastor Jose Pagan was about to leave the Seventh Day Adventist Church when he was 16 of age but someone empowered him for service. Kendall and I are “PKs”, we were born in this church and both are 3rd generation pastors. Our experiences are different, but all three of us stayed in this Church because we realized Jesus trusts in us to finish the work. Evangelism is our passion and we wanted to share it with our young members.

    I’m tired of hearing that our youth is the tomorrow of our church… if we continue saying this they’ll keep on leaving in droves and saying “call me tomorrow then!”

    I heard this not long ago: “If we give young people a piece of the pie, maybe they’ll stay for dinner.”

    If we truly believe that God can use an army of youth, rightly trained to finish the work, it’s about time to stop whining (or writing) about what’s wrong and DO something right about it!

    Originally we wanted to do something for our local churches, but God has led us to launch this Division wide.

    When we decided to start this ministry we called it Jesus Loves Jeans because we found that jeans are the “uniform” of youth today; each pair of jeans tells a story, about the owner and his (her) tastes and experiences. You have expensive ones, torn ones, low cut, and even daisy duke jeans!

    What kind of jeans would the rich young ruler wear if he lived today? What about Mary Magdalene or the demon-possessed man? What about their challenges, temptations and shortcomings, are they pretty similar today?

    We present 4 basic principles in discipleship: Prayer, Friendship, Proclamation and Challenge (since you have worked for so long in youth ministry I believe you can understand the meaning of each one).

    We don’t think Jesus Loves Jeans is “the” youth discipleship ministry, there are many others doing the same with the only intention of glorifying God with their faithful behavior and actions. Ours is just an option that allows youth to reach youth.
    I must stress this a bit more. You must know that our objective is to empower our youth to share their own personal experiences with their friends, and not about packing some nice illustrations or irrelevant and fictitious stories.

    By the way, there is a reason for not having more “sermon outlines” on the website. First of all, there are no “sermons” since the materials are intended to use primarily in a small group setting.

    We did not want “David fighting with Saul’s armor” so we train young disciples to use the DVD slides only as a supporting tool while speaking about what that particular doctrine means to them and the difference it has made in their own lives.

    We do this because the best argument to bring others to Christ is to uplift Him with the testimony of our lives. It’s about being relevant and true to the Word.

    When Bill mentioned his son’s experience he was just speaking about what is close to his own heart (by the way, you should inquire about the details man, it’s unbelievable!).

    I believe he did it because it was the best argument to show that this ministry is effective and you should respect it. I’ve found dozens of “extremely effective” tools that have produced zero results (by this I don’t speak of baptisms, but transformed lives!); by this I conclude that Bill used his own son’s life to testify that Jesus is actually working in this!

    I must anchor this by stating that it is not the only amazing story about what God is doing with and through our youth to reach this post-modern generation.

    I can tell you about Kenia & Denia, after attending one of our trainings these extremely introverted and shy twin sisters invited their friends over to their home for their sweet sixteen party only to surprise them with a bible study; I was there and witnessed God’s amazing power! I have the privilege to testify that none of their friends attending that afternoon had ever opened a Bible before.

    Kenia and Denia have had a rough life, filled with abuse and neglect, but finally understood that God was eager to use them to reach their loved ones. They fasted and prayed for their friends and right now are conducting a series of studies using the JLJ materials inside one of the toughest public schools in Houston! And even when none of their teachers are SDA they are there to support them and to study together.

    You must know also about Israel, in his early twenties came back to church through JLJ. He got baptized and took his discipleship seriously. He decided to pray and fast 40 days in order to get ready to start ministering in his own family. His radical approach turned into a wonderful blessing and we experienced the joy of baptizing 15 of his loved ones in our reaping crusade in Houston last spring. He got married last week and is planning to become a pastor.

    Believe me, I could keep on going telling you about what God is doing through JLJ, but I don’t have the time, by reading you I feel you might not be interested.

    If you dare to question the relevancy of JLJ I must tell you that it is making a difference in their lives and for me, it’s enough motivation to keep going, despite any attack!

    JLJ is not “it” or a panacea for today’s Church. It is just an option that is bearing fruits for God’s kingdom.

    I must warn you to be extremely careful. If you dare to question any of their experiences you will be also questioning the power of the Gospel and God’s power in the life of people!

    If you do so, I only have left for you an old Hispanic saying that my grandma use to say: “The worst blind man is the one who refuses to see”! (chuckles)

    While reading your blog I could not avoid this final two-part question: Is it necessary to bash any other working and effective ministry? When will we learn not to do what belongs only to the Creator?

    Old Gamaliel’s words are still wise: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do… For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5: 35-38)

    By the way, if your first hand experience serving God “out there” by taking the lost from the Enemy’s hands is any different from what we face every day let me know so we can improve our efforts.

    I have only one more bit of advice. Instead of spending so much time in writing negative things about what Andrews, Share Him and many others are doing why don’t you concentrate your efforts on reaching the lost? God has given you talents that can be put for better use!

    Your personal opinion matters little, what’s more important is the dialogue. My schedule is extremely busy, but after considering whether or not to invest the time to write this, I decided to do it mainly because I believe we all deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    I’m sick and tired of witnessing soldiers on the same army shooting at each other “in the name of truth”.

    I apologize if my words have offended you in any way; please believe me, my only intention has been to encourage you to change your perspective by sharing a clearer view of JLJ.

    After reading and considering this with prayer, please feel free to write whatever you want!

    May God bless and multiply your ministry.

    Sincerely,

    Pr. Josué “Josh” Murillo
    Texas Conference Youth Director

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