February 2013 Newsletter Update

God loves chicagoTeam Building Update

This last month we have had the privilege of returning to Illinois for a second phase of support-raising to build our ministry team. During this trip, we have engaged in over 30 face-to-face meetings which have resulted in 22 new individuals or families joining our partnership team. These initial team-building trips have been of utmost importance as we have prepared to continue in full-time ministry at IHOPKC. God has laid on our hearts strongly the value of connecting the body of Christ with what He is doing in day-and-night prayer and in global missions. We cannot (and should not) do what God has called us to do by ourselves. It has been exciting to see people respond to God’s calling as we have given an invitation to join with us in ministry!

Recent Thoughts and Meditations on Church Unity

Lately, we’ve been thinking much about the importance of the body of Christ walking in unity of spirit and mission. Jesus, our Apostle and High Priest, prays in John chapter 17, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:22, 23 ESV).

Stephanie and I have such a heart to see the Church come into her fullest destiny as a beautiful bride without spot, wrinkle, or any mark (Eph. 5:27). Sadly, very few today would describe the Church as the “beautiful bride” that she is called to be. One of the reasons for this is wide spread division among and within denominations, locally, and even nationally. It is common to enter a city with 100 Christian churches, but it is a rare thing to enter a city in which each congregation is knitted together with a unifying love and purpose.

The Apostle Paul addressed this same problem in the 1st century Church as he stated in 1 Corinthians 3:3 “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” The Apostle rebuked the Church of Corinth for not living in the glory that Jesus had given to them to be one, even as He and the Father are one. This apostolic rebuke still stands today, but thank God we are not without hope! The Bible prophesies of the Church directly preceding Jesus’ return being mature in love and unity. Jesus will have a Bride that has made herself ready and She will be joined to Her Bridegroom for all eternity (Revelation 19:7)! It is to this end that we labor, praying day and night and washing the Church with the water of the Word of God.

Personal Update

Stephanie is glowing with beauty more and more each day as the baby grows. The baby is now over 3 lbs. and 18 inches from head to toe and is coming in only 2 months! Stuart is really looking forward to the student ministry trip to Chicago happening at the beginning of April (and praying that the baby doesn’t come too early while he is away from Kansas City 

January 2013 Newsletter Update

Stuart and Stephanie BWOnething Conference

Over 25,000 people joined us in Kansas City from December 28th-31st to exalt Jesus as our “Magnificent Obsession.” We personally had the privilege of hosting eight friends and friends of friends who came for the conference. Many who attended committed to start prayer meetings in their hometowns to fuel the missions movement around the globe. Additionally, hundreds of others committed to seek the Lord’s timing and direction about personally going to proclaim the name of Jesus where he has not yet been named. We pray that God would bring forth lasting fruit in all who attended and that the course of many lives would be set to the glory of God’s Kingdom!

Winter Internship Track Has Begun!

The Winter 2013 Internship has now kicked off and in full gear! There are about 50 new interns that have set aside the next three months of their life to spend long hours in prayer and study of the Word. It is exciting to see God send men and women from every walk of life to Kansas City with each new internship. During this track we have students that have traveled all the way from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Denmark, Republic of Congo, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, Mexico, Australia, as well as from every part of the USA. Many of these interns will return to their homelands after the internship carrying a heart that burns for missions and prayer along with ministry skills that will equip them to reach out to the broken in tangible works of God’s justice. We have included a photo of students that are in the current internship with this letter. Please pray for them as the Lord brings them to your heart.

Team Building in February

During the month of February we will be returning to Illinois to complete our second phase of support-raising to build our ministry team. Upon completing our last support raising trip in October we gladly reported that God provided us with over 50% of our fully-funded budget through monthly financial supporters! As we have committed our hearts to respond to the calling of full-time ministry we have been blown away by God’s faithfulness to open doors and make a way for us. We are so blessed to be part of such any amazing team of ministry partners! Your prayers and gifts are enabling us to equip many through prayer and God’s Word to be ready for Jesus’ return.

Day and Night Prayer in Illinois

Stuart has been invited to help lead a team of IHOP-U students on a one week long trip to Chicago in April for the purpose of leading a 24 hour long prayer meeting for God to send revival to that city. Please pray with us as we are anticipating great things from this ministry time! More information to come!

Logo

December 2012 End of the Year Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

It is with great joy that we write to you in this final week of 2012! We have had such a blessed and busy Christmas season that we are just now able to write anything resembling a “Christmas” letter and card. Yesterday, on Christmas Day, we returned home from a week-long trip to the Des Moines and Chicagoland area, visiting precious family members and friends for the holidays. Two days from now, IHOPKC’s annual Onething conference will begin, and we anticipate having at least six guests come to stay with us for the duration of the conference, which is always one of the highlights of our year.

We are repeatedly amazed when we consider all that the Lord has done in 2012. One year ago today, we were loading up a moving truck and relocating from the north Chicagoland area to Kansas City, MO, following Jesus’ call to put the trajectory of our lives (or so we thought) on hold for six months to do an internship at the International House of Prayer. During this time, the Lord began birthing clearer vision in our hearts for who we are in Him and the assignments that He has given us to fulfill. As you all know, we have now made a career change and are honored to serve the Lord– first, as lovesick worshippers who intercede for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven; and second, as servants desiring to equip the body of Christ to love Him whole-heartedly and be prepared for His return.

As you can imagine, we are also delighted to become parents as our first child is expected in May! Stephanie has been feeling great, and we both have been able to feel the baby’s movement! We had an ultrasound several weeks ago where we were able to see the little one, which was amazing. We’ve chosen to wait until delivery before we discover if the Lord has blessed us with a boy or a girl, but we are pretty certain that, regardless, the baby has Stephanie’s nose!

God has been so good to us! He consistently takes the weak “yes” of our heart and enables us to live for His glory. Knowing this, we are contending for greater freedom and spiritual power in several areas of our lives, so that we will better love Jesus and others. We have felt as though we have been living from one (mostly) joyful transition to the next for the better part of the past four years, and we occasionally sense the wear of never quite feeling “settled.” We believe that the grace of God, as well as your faithful prayers and partnership, have helped to sustain us through each new season. Thank you so much for remembering us as you pray! Your petitions and inter-cession are precious and effective before the Lord.

This next year we want to commit our hearts to parenting with love, shepherding well the few we are given, and rejoicing always in the work that we have been given to do. We love you all and pray that the Lord would bless you extravagantly this new year!

With Love,

Stuart and Stephanie (and Baby!)

 

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:5). 

November 2012 Newsletter Update

Back at the Missions Base

Worshiping in KCWe made it back to Kansas City and are full swing as leaders in the Intro to IHOP internship. Since we’ve returned, we have had opportunities to pray for and get to know the interns that are enrolled for the fall track. Before returning to the missions base, we thought our responsibility with the internship would be to lead a small group as assistant core leaders. However, we have been asked to join the pastoral care team which gives us the opportunity to minister to individuals from all groups in the internship. We are both very happy with this slight change of plans because we feel we might be able to serve in this role more effectively with the giftings that God has blessed us with. We have also been invited to help lead a weekly 2-hour prayer and worship time by play-ing the drums and guitar. We have had so much fun doing this, although my (Stuart) hands can become pretty sore from smacking a drum for that long. Pray for endurance 🙂

The Powers Ladies

Powers LadiesMeet the Power’s Ladies: Carmen, Nicole, Melissa, and Brittany. We were blessed to meet Carmen for the first time about 3 years ago at a prayer meeting. Carmen is a gifted intercessor and spiritual mentor who is passionate for the Word of God and prayer. She has taught us so much about how God desires close friendship with His people through sharing His thoughts, feelings, and burdens with us in pray-er. Like Jesus and King David, her zeal for God’s house to be called a house of prayer for all nations bursts out of her life in everything she does. These ladies have also spear-headed trips to bring friends from the north Chicagoland area to KC for the annual Onething conference. We are so blessed by Carmen and her girls! Their friendship has encouraged us greatly and impacted our lives forever.

The Life of and Intern at IHOP-KC

We wanted to take a little space to share about the life and involvement of an intern in the Intro to IHOP-KC (ITI) intern-ship. Interns come from all over the nation, and even the globe, to the base for a 3-6 month season of intensive (52+ hours a week) ministry training, spiritual growth, and prayer. The first 3 months of ITI focuses mainly on immersing interns into a lifestyle of prayer, worship, and study of God’s word. They spend 30 hours a week in the Global Prayer Room, a 24/7 place of prayer and worship that has been running non-stop since 1999. They also receive biblical instruction and opportunities to serve around the missions base. During the final 3 months of ITI, the focus shifts more to equipping interns in practical minis-try skills and in reaching out with mercy deeds and works of justice. In addition to serving through prayer, interns have weekly opportunities to try several types of ministry such as: spending time with orphans, serving the poor and homeless, publicly sharing the Gospel, praying for the physically ill, praying outside an abortion clinic, and encouraging people through prophetic prayer (1 Cor. 14:3). Once interns complete the program they transition into ministry in several ways. Many of them return to the city or nation that they call home and strengthen the community of believers at their church by sharing the skills and teaching they received. Some return to the workforce with a fresh wind under their wings and a fire in their heart for Jesus. Other remain in Kansas City and join staff at IHOP as part-time, or full-time missionaries on the base. One thing is certain, no one leaves the same!

 

October 2012 Newsletter Update

Back to Kansas City

November is almost here, and the time has come for us to return to Kansas City! We embarked on our partnership sup-port-raising trip in mid-July and have been in Illinois for the last three months, sharing our ministry vision with over 100 people in face-to-face meetings. God has been so faithful and good to us! Though we faced the challenge of trusting God in unknown territory, everything about this trip has proven to be wonderful and full of His blessing. Throughout the entire trip we have not lacked anything! We have always had a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, food in our stomachs, and our bills paid on time. We experienced great generosity from dear family, friends, and even friends of friends. It has been thrilling to see how God is moving in people to be a part of prayer, worship, loving Jesus, and fulfilling the Great Com-mission! We have currently reached 59% of our fully-funded ministry goal, and the time has come for us to put our partnership efforts on hold for the remainder of the year. As we return to Kansas City, we will jump into the internships as assistant leaders of an already-formed group. At the beginning of next year, we will come back under the ministry partnership department to prepare for another one-month support-raising trip in February.

Bringing it” with the Carters

The Carter'sWe are overjoyed to introduce you to the Carter family! Mark, Mackenzie, and their five children are some of our dearest friends and have been incredible mentors to both of us for the past 4 years. Mark is the lead pastor of Torch, our home church in Round Lake, IL. We have had the pleasure of being part of the initial team that the Carters led to plant Torch Church in 2009. Serving under Mark and Mackenzie’s leadership has been an absolute joy! They have played such an integral role in helping us build a strong marriage and in training us as leaders in the ministry. There have been countless times that Mark and Mackenzie have given their time, energy, and resources for the benefit of others expecting nothing in return. They have shown us the heart of the Good Shepherd by laying their lives down for the sheep. We are so grateful for this precious family who has become such a special part of our testimony in the Lord. We look forward to “Bringing it!” with the Carters for many years to come!

Call2All Missions Congress

Call2AllLast month, IHOPKC hosted the Call2All Missions Congress in Kansas City. It is so exciting to see how prayer and missions are coming together in a very strategic way all over the world. One of the most extraordinary aspects of this gathering was the expression of Christian unity. This was demonstrated through many leaders joining together, leading various strategy sessions and workshops. Steve Douglass (Campus Crusade for Christ), Loren Cunningham (Youth with a Mission), Mike Bickle (IHOP), Lou Engle (the Call), Sam Brownback (Governor of Kansas), among many others, all cast vision for prayer and missions during the gathering. Among the leaders were elders from the persecuted Church in China who have, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, set a goal to re-lease one million new missionaries from China over the next 40 years. Delegates from other nations of the world gathered around them at the missions congress, promising to stand with them and serve in any way that they can.

 

Baby Update

Baby KeismanIn baby news… Stephanie is just now entering the second trimester of pregnancy! The baby is now the size of a peach. We have scheduled our first appointment to hear the baby’s heart beat on November 1st. Stephanie is feel-ing well and we are both excited to experience all of the new changes of having a baby! Thank you so much for your continued prayers, which have been so effective in helping Stephanie feel well during these first few months.

 

 

September 2012 Newsletter Update

Wednesday Night at the Barkules

BarkulesWe would love to introduce you to a very special couple that God has placed in our lives, Byron and Nancy Barkules. This dear mama and papa in the Lord have greatly blessed us in our journey of faith. Byron and Nancy open up their home weekly for many young adults to provide an environment where they can grow in Christian community, discipleship, and greater love for their Creator, Jesus. It was at this ministry that Stuart was refreshed in his relationship with the Lord after a couple rough years of disappointing life trials. Further-more, it was at the Barkules’ home that we met and fell in love al-most four years ago! Our lives, along with scores of other young adult have been impacted for eternity. Needless to say, the fruit of this couple’s ministry is abundant beyond measure!

 

It’s Baby Time

T Baby Alex hat’s right! Stuart’s brother, Sean, and his wife, Lind-say, brought a new little baby boy into the world on September 9th: Alex Donovan Keisman. Alex is the first baby of Stuart’s immediate family, and boy is he cute!!

In other news, we are excited to announce that God has blessed us and we are going to have a baby! Stephanie is about 9 weeks along and the projected due date falls somewhere around May 2nd, 2013. So far Stephanie’s pregnancy has been a very good experience She is feeling healthy and any kind of nausea has been minimal. We are overjoyed that our family is growing, and we embark on yet another ex-citing transition! Stay tuned for more news on the development of our little one!

Additionally, we are blessed to report that we have raised around 42% of our fully-funded ministry budget goal. This is really a little touch of God’s favor on our lives because our ministry partnership team is grow-ing at an uncommon rate. We plan on remaining in the northern Illinois area continuing to build our team at least until the end of October. At that point we will evaluate if we will need to take another support raising trip at the beginning of next year. Please continue to pray that God will connect us with people who are stirred up to be a part of strengthening the Church in prayer, devotion to Jesus, and New-Testament pow-er.

 

Onething Conference 2012

Onething 2012Mark your calendars for December 28-31! Join with 25,000 young adults at the International House of Prayer’s Onething conference, a gathering of believers who have set their hearts to live with passion for Jesus. God has used the Onething conference to powerfully impact our devotion to Him and to give us greater clarity in the calling that He has over our lives. It is our desire to share the blessing of this event with as many people as possible be-cause of how much it has impacted us personally. You can register absolutely free at www.ihopkc.org/onething. If you are in need of housing during the conference, we would love to offer you a place to crash at our house; however, if you would like to stay with us you will need to let us know by October 31. We can semi-comfortably accommodate up to 10 people, beyond that we might be able to talk to some of our friends and find additional housing.

August 2012 Newsletter Update

Fulfilling Our Calling

Our Staff Badges At the beginning of this month we completed our missionary internship training at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo. During that time it became clear to us that God was inviting us to fulfill the calling of full-time ministry we have each felt on our lives for over the last 10 years. We are so excited that we get to be a part of what God is doing on the earth by strengthening the Church to pray and calling a generation to give themselves in whole hearted devotion to Jesus as the day of His return approaches.

Because we cannot fulfill the calling that God has given to us by ourselves we will be gathering a team of friends to share with them our vision for ministry and invite them to co-labor with us through prayer and finances. We are so blessed by everyone who has joined our team so far and we look forward to meet-ing the rest of the team God has prepared for us.

Teens Fascinated With Jesus

Fascinate ConferenceIt’s Summertime at the IHOP-KC Mission Base which means that it is time to kick off Awakening Teen Camp (ATC) and the Annual “Fascinate” conference. The Fascinate conference is based on Philippians 3:8, Only Jesus—His person, His presence, and His power—can satisfy the longings of a generation for love, pleasure, and impact.

It has been amazing to see so many teens from around the Nation commit themselves to whole hearted devotion to Jesus! We know that God is marking this generation in a special way. They won’t be satisfied with anything short of the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.

So Many Exciting Events!

Playing at Carla's weddingWe have had quite an exciting month! Besides taking our first steps in a huge career change and relocated to Illinois to gather a ministry partner-ship team, we have had the joy of celebrating the marriage of Carla and Andres (Stuart’s sister and new brother in law), celebrating a baby shower for our first nephew on the way, and celebrating our 3rd year wed-ding anniversary on July 26th. We have been so blessed by the goodness of God toward us.

We have really enjoyed the opportunities that we have had in the last few weeks to connect with out-of-state family, distant friends, and our church family. It is so encouraging to see the spiritual growth that is taking place in the church in Lake County, IL. From just being away for a short period of time we can see God stirring many hearts to know Jesus in a deeper way.

 

“Uber-Spiritual”

Most of life seems a whole lot less “Uber-Spiritual” than what I imagined it to look like as I looked into the future during my early 20’s. The day to day is full of the nitty-gritty, messy, imperfect, fleshy, human challenges and obstacles that no one is ever exempt from.

When I was a young Bible-college student I thought that if I could pray enough, read my bible enough, and have faith enough then I could rid myself of such hindering obstacles. Little did I realize that God has ordained limits and weaknesses in each life not with the intention that we “overcome” them, but that we embrace each limitation in the light of His wonderful grace (I am not speaking here of sin patterns, but natural limitations such as tiredness, distraction, social status…) The beauty is that He purposefully accomplishes all the pleasure of His perfect will through weak, broken, limited human beings. In this He is greatly glorified!

As this truth relates to my destiny, I have learned that my Creator knew before the foundation of the world how weak I would be and thus He has apportioned the perfect amount of grace to empower me, in the midst of weakness, to live out all that He has purposed for me to be and do during the course of my earthly life. This of course does not exempt me from the part to play that has been given to be by God; I simply now have the right perspective about how to see my destiny come to pass. As Mike Bickle puts it, “God has a role, and we have a role. God will not do our part for us, and we cannot do God’s part for Him.” So I have learned to lean much heavier on trusting God to do His part, and I have owned it is going to take a little more than prayer, bible reading, and faith (though these are the life-blood of my destiny and can’t be done away with) to fulfill God’s will in my life.

Philippians 2:13 “…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Hebrews 4:11 “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…”

That they may be one…

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the importance of the body of Christ walking in unity of spirit and mission. Jesus, our Apostle and High Priest prays in John chapter 17, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22, 23 ESV)

Jesus knew the importance of the Church being united together in the bond of the divine love. If at any point that bond were to sever then the Church would lose sight of its God-given mandate, to be a visible expression to the world that God sent Jesus because of His great love. In observing the course of history we see that division, strife, dis-unity have plagued the Church since the first century (read 1 Corinthians 1). However, the Church’s failure to live up to its apostolic destiny is not the end of the story. Jesus will have a Bride that has made herself ready and She will be joined to Her Bridegroom for all eternity! (Revelation 19:7) When God’s Spirit and the Bride say with one voice, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” (Revelation 22:17) all things will be restored and God will live with man in a new heaven and new earth.

God can, and will, change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation in such a way that the world will see a body of people supernaturally unified by the power of His Holy Spirit. The disjointed expression of “Church as usual” that “lukewarm believers”, “foolish virgins”, and the lost have experienced at large for centuries is over the moment that believers walk in the Glory that Jesus has given to us from the beginning.

Sheep among wolves

Matthew chapter 10 in the Bible is one of the most challenging passages I have read since I began to follow Jesus over 10 years ago. Read some of the statements that Jesus made just in this one chapter of scripture and let them sink in.

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10:7, 8 NIV)

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. (Matthew 10:14, 15 NIV)

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. (Matthew 10:16, 17 NIV)

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:21, 22 NIV)

“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names! (Matthew 10:24, 25 NLT)

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:26-28 NIV)

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32, 33 NIV)

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39 NIV)

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40, 42 NIV)

Oh if we would just live up to this one chapter of scripture how much less plagued our lives would be with vain pursuits and selfish ambitions! I feel sooooo humbled as I read these passages because I know that apart from God’s grace I cannot do what Jesus is telling his disciple to do. However, by God’s grace I know that nothing is impossible to him who believe!