Year end update 2016

It has been another incredible year for us here at InFocus ministries! I have been to 12 different states, shared the Gospel with thousands of teenagers, and seen a “bunch of teenagers get saved” in all 12 of those states! There is no doubt in our minds that this incredible year is a direct result of God leading us last year to make some changes in the way we handle the business side of this ministry.  Beginning in mid summer of 2015 we made the commitment to go to any church of any size regardless of what they are able to pay.  We have always been willing to work with people to make events happen but in the last year we have taken that to a whole ‘nother level! Our prayer has become simply: “God, fill my schedule and meet our needs!”

Ministry-wise it has been the best thing we have ever done. I have had more events and seen more teens saved and lives changed than ever before. God is on the move and it is amazing to watch Him work in this generation.   I can’t begin to tell you how awesome it is to share this experience with you via Facebook. Each time I share about teens getting saved it’s so awesome celebrating with y’all via likes and comments.

Financially it has been a journey, as week to week we step out in faith not always knowing what each church will be able to pay. Over and over again God has been faithful to take care of us. Sometimes more kids sign up than ever before and the church is able to meet the goal. Other times the church is unable to meet the goal but we receive a donation that makes up the difference.

We are asking you to prayerfully consider being that difference.

If you feel led to join us in reaching teenagers for Christ, please consider us in your year-end giving or partnering with us as you feel led. Donations can be made online here or you can send a check to InFocus Ministries, 1006 Cactus Dr., Levelland, TX 79336.   All donations are tax deductible.

We are so thankful for your prayers, your friendship, and your support.

Merry Christmas and God Bless y’all!!

Runks & Joanna

 

Washed and Waiting

Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill is an incredibly powerful, challenging, and brave story of a real guy that loves Jesus yet wrestles with homosexuality and rather than choose to embrace and indulge his homosexuality has chosen celibacy as his “cross to bear.” It is a truly awesome testimony of what it means to Live Weak, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.  It’s also an incredibly eye opening look at how difficult it is for a real person with same sex attractions to live out their faith in a Christ honoring manner.

For the Christian struggling with same sex attractions, other sexual sin, or really any temptation or “thorn in the flesh” this book is for you!

Everybody should read this book

check it out here: Washed and Waiting

Here is a short video about the book from the author Wesley Hill

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Be Blessed,

Runks

Football, Family, & Fall Schedule

My son, Nick aka “BigRunkDaddy 6” is playing varsity quarterback this fall for the Levelland Lobos and I’m determined not to miss a single game for three reasons: 1. I’m his dad and he wants me there. 2. he’s really good and I want to see him play, and 3. its just the right thing to do.  So we are simply trusting that God will provide unique opportunities of ministry this Fall that will work around Nick’s games.

As a result my Fall Schedule through November will be limited to Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday events or Sunday – Wednesday type events.  I only have two full weekends available until November because of a Thursday night game and the bye week.  So if you’re interested in booking me for a weekend before November, I will only be available The weekends of August 27 & October 1.

Fall weekends available prior to November:

August 27-29

October 1-3

Other than that let’s get creative and do some one nighters, short weekends, or maybe even a souped up, modernized youth revival!

So give me a call and let’s get together and make some unique plans to reach teenagers for Jesus!!

God Bless Y’all

Runks

Somebody nail me to this cross!!!!

Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to die on a cross than it is to die to myself.  Not to belittle in anyway the brutality Jesus endured for us on the cross but sometimes it seems like it would be a lot easier for me to take up my cross and follow Jesus if somebody would just nail me to it.  The sad fact is that I don’t really have a problem taking up my cross, I have a huge problem with laying it down.  Denying myself, taking up my cross and following Jesus (Luke 9:23) is way too often traded in for indulging myself, crawling off my cross, and following my own selfish desires.  Bottom line, I love Jesus with all my heart and I follow after him as hard as I can but I’m just not very good at it.  The key is to not beat myself up for a week when I lay my cross down but confess my sin, climb back up on my cross as quickly as I can, and try again.

I doubt very seriously anybody is going to nail any of us to our crosses any time soon so we’re going to have to get better at getting back in the saddle every time we fall off. For that to happen takes a strength much greater than we have so we must daily not only take up our cross but also learn to live weak by daily recognizing our weakness, choosing to trust in God’s grace, and absolutely depending on God’s strength and not our own.  We still have to climb back on but we are not alone, and never without help.

Hang in there!! – Runks

“Me Too”

I’m sitting on an airplane with my 6’6” totem pole body crammed into a regular, no leg room, non-exit row, teeny, tiny airplane seat. I’m sitting next to a guy who is also circus freak tall and we’re both cramped, crunched, and fighting for leg and elbow room like sardines in a tiny can but at least we’re not alone! I don’t think there is anything more encouraging than knowing that whatever you’re facing somebody has either been there or is there right now and feels your pain. I think the most comforting words in the English language are, “Me Too” because those words scream out “YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!” My 94 year old grandmother, Maw-Maw, would put it this way,

“A burden shared is a burden halved and a burden born alone is a burden doubled.”

The problem is not so much finding someone who has been where you are but finding someone with the guts to be real enough to admit it. Sadly this is especially true in the church where often times rather than helping our wounded we shoot them and that has got to stop! I say its time we take off our masks and stop pretending we’ve got it all together. We need to start being real and transparent about who we are and what we’re struggling with so we can make it safe for others to do the same and hopefully all get better together. I’ll go first. To those who have faced the horrors of childhood sexual abuse I say, “ Me Too.” To those who have had their butts kicked by an addiction I say, “ Me Too.” To those who are fighting through the 12 steps trying to get well I say, “Me Too.” To those who have been beat down by the reality of depression I say, “Me Too.” To those who struggle to let Jesus take control I say, “Me Too.” To those who are sick of going to church and pretending everything is fine when its not I say, “Me Too.” To those who have feared that if people really knew you they wouldn’t love you I say, “Me Too” To those who battle insecurity I say, “Me Too.” To those who just want to be loved and accepted, warts and all I say, “Me Too.” To all the broken, hurting, and struggling people I say, “you are not alone. You have never been alone!” Somebody, including Jesus, Heb 4:15, has been where you are and you do not have to suffer alone!!! So let’s take off our masks, get real with each other and with God and start saying “Me too” as loudly and as often as we can!

Me Too – Runks

Live Weak

We live in a society that tells us we need to be independent and self-sufficient, pull ourselves up by our boot-straps (whatever that means??), and do everything in our own strength.  It sounds good on the surface but in reality it is so contrary to the way scripture says we are to live our lives.

II Corinthians 12:10 says, “When I am weak then I am strong.”  So if we really want to be strong we have to learn to Live Weak.  What a radical concept!! Living weak is a paradox that goes against everything the world teaches or believes.  Everybody wants to believe that they can Live Strong and handle all their junk on their own but the fact is we can’t.  We try and we fail because it can’t be done.  In fact, none of us can do anything in our own strength.  Compare John 15:5 with Philippians 4:13.  John 15:5 says that without Christ we can’t do anything and Philippians 4:13 says with Christ we can do anything!  That is the heart of what it means to Live Weak!!! On our own apart from Christ we are absolutely powerless to accomplish anything of any value but by walking daily in absolute dependence upon Jesus we can accomplish anything!!  That doesn’t mean, however, that we just sit back, do nothing, and watch Jesus do everything for us.  Living Weak means living in a partnership with Jesus where we strive to balance dependency with discipline.  You have to have both or you won’t get very far.  It’s like the wings on an airplane.  Which one is more important? The right one or the left one?  BOTH!!! If your plane just has one wing then your going to crash every time!  The same thing is true with dependency and discipline. You have to do your part and God has to do His.

Colossians 1:29 says, “I labor, struggling with all His energy, which works so powerfully in me.”  What that means is that we labor – we strive to follow Jesus with our whole heart. We daily dig into the Word of God and rub up against Jesus all the while living in absolute dependence upon Jesus to give us the strength to do it.

Living Weak is a radical concept in our world but the fact is it works because when we are weak, then and only then are we strong!

Live Weak – Runks

Images of India

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all that I saw and experienced in India.  It was such an amazing experience and I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to be a small part of what God is doing in such a dark place.  I’ve been home for a week and I’m still having trouble finding words to express what I experienced over there so I think just let pics and video speak for themselves.

Here is promotional video for Asian Partners International

put together by our fearless team leader Coby Colley:

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Churches

The vision of A.S.S.I.  – the ministry we were working with, (it stands for Asian -Hindi word-Hindi word- International) – is to plant churches without attempting to change the culture so their worship services are like nothing I have ever seen.  All the worship is in the language of Hindi and the style is typical Indian music.  I couldn’t understand a word of it but  worshipping with my Indian brothers and sisters was awesome and some of the sweetest worship experiences I have ever had!  Here are some pics from some of the house churches we worshipped with. Continue reading

"Runks Summer 2k9 plan B"

This has been one of the most jacked up years ever!  My ministry schedule was basically empty for most of the Spring and I only had 2 camps booked for this summer – down from a normal 6 or 7.   For a long time I tried to blame this on “today’s wintry economic climate” because it was easier than admitting that God was trying to get my attention.  Somewhere around March I quit being so ding dang hard headed and accepted the fact that I couldn’t continue to blame the economy for my empty schedule because if God’s hand was still on my ministry then the economy wouldn’t matter.  So I started practicing what I preach and started digging into the Word – searching- seeking- praying- trying to wrap my head around what it was God was trying to teach me.  Over time I begin to realize that at least part of what God was trying to teach me was humility.  Which is not a fun lesson to learn especially the 2nd, 3rd, or 29th time!  Anyway I got it in my head that if I just humbled myself and let people know that my schedule was empty then God would open the heavens, the phone would start ringing, and everything would get back to normal.  So I made a video titled “Runks Summer 2k9 plan B”, emailed it to a bunch of Student Ministers, and waited to see what happened.  Here’s the video I sent out……

As you can probably imagine, it generated a lot of response, just not the response I was looking for.  I got lots of positive feedback, encouragement, and funny emails but no bookings.  What really surprised me was how many of my friends called to see if I was OK.  It caught me off guard because at the time I was honestly just trying to make a funny video, humble myself, and do what I thought God was leading me to do but when I look at it now I can see the reasons for their concern.  I can hear the desperation in my voice and see the fear in my eyes.  I have a tendency to be  glass half-empty guy.  I don’t like it.  I’d pay money not to be that way but because of the abuse in my past when things get bad I tend to freak out and think the world is coming to an end.  I know that’s crazy but sometimes that’s my reality and that’s exactly what was going on when I made that video.  I still think the video is funny and have no doubt that I was being obedient to God when I sent it out but at the time I was literally freaking out.  I was so worried that my days as an evangelist were over and that God was done with me.  I know that’s pretty extreme but I’m just being honest.

The crazy thing is, that stupid video turned out to be the catalyst God used to turn things around. My plan B turned out to be a stepping stone to get me to God’s plan A.  Out of nowhere, God dropped the opportunity of a lifetime in my lap.  A friend of mine, that saw the video, called and asked me to pray about going on a two week mission trip to India in July! I told him I’d pray about it but I knew from the second he called that this was part of God’s plan for me.  The day after that a former student of mine from my Youth Minister days who is an internet marketing Guru offered to help me come up with a new marketing strategy, redesign my website, and start this blog.  I thought for a while that I was supposed to write a book this summer but I think this is taking the place of that for now.  I can already tell that this blog is going to be good for me and hopefully offer some hope and help to others.  Then through a series of crazy events, God made it clear that I needed to leave the agency that had done my booking for 5 years and go back to doing my own booking.  Nothing against the agency, I just wanted to get back to a ministry based approached where we discuss, dream, and plan for ministry before money, contracts, and all that junk ever come up.  This is where lesson number 2 came in:  Re-learning to trust God for everything.  Once again, God has reminded me that I cannot depend on my talent, my gifts, or a big shot booking agency to make this ministry a success.  I’ve simply got to put my trust in Him and not in myself.  I’ve learned this before but somewhere along the way I got wrapped  up in ME and forgot about it.

And then I went to Super Summer Arkansas.  An event that could have easily been an ego trip deluxe but I went there broken and humbled with a renewed trust in God as my provider and it proved to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  Every compliment I received, every student that was saved, every life that was changed – rather than stroking my ego brought me to my knees.  The entire time I was there I kept pinching myself because I just could not and cannot believe that God was letting me speak at such an awesome event.   A young youth minister friend of mine that knows my situation bought every one of my meals at the time-honored tradition of late night dining after worship at youth camp.  It was so humbling for him to do that for me but also an absolutely incredible blessing!   And then on Wednesday afternoon of that week, I booked the first event I’ve booked myself in 5 years.  We shared ideas, dreamed dreams and made a plan for what is going to be an awesome event.  Afterwards, I went outside, called my wife, and wept like a baby.  I kept saying over and over, “Its not over. Its not over. Its not over! God is not done with us.  He’s got more for us to do.”  That may seem silly to some but I can’t tell you how awesome it is to know and believe again that God is not finished with me – that He has more for me to do.

Its been a crazy year and an even crazier summer but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I wouldn’t want to go through it again but I wouldn’t trade for what God has done in my life.   My schedule is still a little thin but God is meeting our needs and I’m not worried about it anymore.  I’m just going to stay focused on being broken, humble, and faithful and do whatever I can to meet the needs of every hurting teenager God places in front of me.

I’ll leave with you with the words of a rap from Will Smith which oddly enough seems to fit here:

“I got my X-ray vision through all in my way. No Plan B, it distracts from Plan A.”

No more plan B for me.  I’ll stick to God’s Plan A.  Its safer there and a lot more fun.

God Bless ya – Runks

Journal Entry – September 5, 1999

Well. Let’s see. It has been a long time since my last entry because I have been on the road almost all summer and the last thing I want to do, when I am only home for 2 days a week, is to spend anytime at all updating my website. It was an awesome summer and God did some amazing things. I did 7 camps and students were saved every week except one. The most encouraging thing for me about the summer was that none of my camps turned into the usual mushy, gushy, emotional mess that they usually turn into especially on the last night. I have been very concerned lately that so much of what happens at camp is an emotional experience and not a genuine encounter with Christ so this summer I did everything I could to make sure that things did not get out of hand and become a big pile of emotion. At some of my camps that meant having the students deal with God right where they were sitting rather than coming to the front. I challenged them to learn to deal with God on their own and not depend on whoever was next to them for their experience with Christ. My fear is that students and adults as well don’t know how to deal with God on their own. When ever we have a problem or a question, rather than going to God about it we go to every one else. As followers of Christ we must learn to depend on Jesus above all else. There is nothing wrong with seeking the advice of others but it must never come before seeking the counsel of Almighty God!! He knows our situation, our needs, our problems, our hurts, our doubts, our questions and He has all the answers. We must learn not only to trust God with our lives but to also include Him in it as well. He must be the center of every aspect of our lives. So next time you have a problem, hit your knees before you pick up the phone. Learn to deal with God on your own. Learn to really trust Him with your life whether you can “feel” anything or not.

God bless ya, 
Runks