Tennessee Circuit Riding!

As we continue to prepare for the Carry The Love tour, our team in Huntington Beach has been splitting up to make pre-trips all over the United States. Since a lot of our contacts at universities came as a result of people submitting their information during the Outcry Tour, we are purposefully trying to meet with everyone to establish real friendship. Last time I wrote, I was in Colorado doing this exact thing. This time, I’m writing from Knoxville, Tennessee as we start another week of meeting with students and leaders.

IMG_2899This afternoon we (Zach, Alyssa, and yours truly) met with a group of five girls from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. Carson-Newman is a small Christian school of about 2,500 students. These girls are all freshman at Carson-Newman and seem to have been divinely placed on their campus to pursue Jesus with all of their hearts. As we talked with them, they shared about how they want to see their school get set on fire for Jesus and for people to pursue him in ways that are more relational and less obligational. We talked about the Carry The Love tour and then got to pray for them and for their campus. We really believe Jesus is going to move in a mighty way at Carson-Newman that will see worshippers raised up, students sent to the missions field, and every student on campus given the opportunity to experience Jesus in real relationship. It blows my mind that God has even given us the opportunity to help encourage and come alongside students like this who are so clearly placed on their campus by God’s intent and for his glory.

Even though we’ve only been here for a day, the Lord’s hand is so clearly at work in our trip. On the plane yesterday, I sat next to a guy named Gregory who is a middle-aged believer who lives in Chattanooga and is involved in singles ministry. We talked for the entire hour and a half plane ride and then he invited us to join him after the flight for dinner. At dinner, we were encouraged by his father’s heart for seeing people grow in their relationship with the Lord. He also told us his testimony about how he, at the age of 15, was presented with the Gospel and immediately gave his life to the Lord and has never turned back. He said that moment was the first time in his life where he encountered truth. I think the Lord is going to give him more and more influence to teach others and lead them into the same kind of real, life-changing relationship with Jesus that he has. Our team is going to connect with him again when they pass back through in February.

IMG_2889For the rest of this week, we will drive through Tennessee, Arkansas, dip into Mississippi to visit Ole Miss, and end up flying out of Springfield, Missouri. In all, we will meet with 10 different universities Sunday through Friday. Pray for us!

As a quick follow-up to our trip in Colorado a couple weeks ago, God has practically flung wide open the door to schools in Colorado. It is unbelievable! Several months ago we didn’t have contacts at any universities in the state. Now, our spring tour will likely reach 13 campuses in Colorado as well as the University of Wyoming! Not only that, but we will be hosting a Circuit Rider training weekend in the midst of the tour to help equip students to reach their campus.

On my next blog post, I will probably write more about what the Lord has been revealing to me personally in the midst of everything happening. To just give you a sneak peak for now, the answer is simple. God has been taking me (and our whole Circuit Rider team) back to the simple and yet deeply profound and powerful revelation of the Gospel of Jesus. Students at colleges don’t need another good idea. They need Jesus. They don’t need another cool event. They need Jesus. It is the personal revelation of Jesus and his radical pursuit of our lives that changed all of us forever. It is going to be the preaching of the Gospel on campuses that will begin to see our young people stirred into faith and living differently. It’s hard to ask a dead man to live a certain way. However, when that dead man is raised to life by the power that God so mightily exerted when he raised Jesus from the grave, he can live a new life for the glory of God!

I love you all so much and deeply appreciate your prayers and constant support. I have an unexplainable expectation for this spring and what it will hold in seeing students saved and lit on fire for Jesus. To him be all the glory!

Miles

(Pictures from Knoxville)

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Colorado Circuit Riding!

Friends, Colorado is growling with hunger pangs for a movement of Jesus! I am writing from Fort Collins, CO, surrounded by a group of Colorado State University students who are pursuing Jesus with passion! We attended a worship time that happens every Friday morning at 7:00 AM in a student house off campus. This worship group is incredible because it gathers students from every Christian ministry on campus and their only goal is worshipping Jesus! This morning more than 80 students packed into an open living room to worship together.

As we’ve been working to setup the Carry The Love tour for this spring, God has been opening incredible doors to build relationships with student and staff leaders. I have been working primarily to setup the tour stops in Montana, Idaho, Eastern Washington, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Since we have not been to these regions before (except for Missoula and Spokane), the Lord led us to come to Colorado from the 18th – 25th this month. Since Monday, we’ve met with students and leaders at Colorado Mesa, University of Denver, Metro State, UC Boulder, Colorado State, and University of Wyoming.

As one testimony, I cold called a leader from Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Grand Junction at Colorado Mesa University just last week. I asked if we could meet her for lunch as we passed through Grand Junction. We ended up meeting with her and found out that they recently gathered 1,500 people at their football stadium to hear testimonies and share about Jesus. The leader’s name is Tina and she is dreaming to reach the whole city with Jesus. Grand Junction has a suicide rate three times the average and she is working with ministries and community resources alike to help bring down the suicide rates. We’re planning with her for how to best reach Colorado Mesa’s students this spring through Carry The Love.

I’m keeping this short for now, but I want to conclude by proposing some ways that you can be praying for us. You know this already, but prayer really does lead the way in everything we do and is a serious battleground! As the Lord leads you, please pray for the following:

  • Open doors to reach and unify students on college campuses
  • University of Colorado – Boulder. This is the flagship school for the state but has a reputation as a pot-smoking, depressed party school. In reality, Jesus is yearning to send evangelists into the campus to see a massive awakening of students!
  • Financial provision for our whole CR team. As we prepare to go to roughly 300 campuses nationwide this spring, we will be incurring a lot of travel costs that go beyond our monthly budgets.
  • Personally, the Lord has been burdening me with the desire to be a clear messenger of the Gospel. As Paul requested in Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” We can’t just come to campuses for a night where students go home the same. We need the power and love of Jesus to show up and mark students to reach their campuses with the Gospel!
  • The Lord is really working on my heart in the area of trust. I want to trust him with everything I am! It’s interesting, because I’m finding that God is strengthening my trust in him through pain and suffering. To be transparent, I lost both my Grandma and Grandpa this year. I also recently started dating a girl who I really care for deeply, but we found that we were headed in different directions and were unable to continue the relationship. It has been really heart-breaking, but is forcing me deeper into the Lord to fill that gap that was left. Please pray that God would use all of this to deepen my trust in Him.
  • Finally, I will be touring January 17th – February 6th in the Northeast, February 14th – March 5th in Colorado, and April 12th – May 1st in Idaho, Montana, and Eastern Washington. Pray for these regions!

IMG_2835Thank you for all of your continued support and prayers. If there is any way that I can more clearly articulate what is happening in my life with Circuit Riders, please let me know! I want my life to be an encouragement to you as we partner together in the spread of the Gospel. I’m praying for all of you and wish I could be with you right now. Lots of love!

Miles

p.s. If you want to hear a fun trap song that one of my roommates just wrote, check this out: 

 

 

Azusa Now! Saturation

In my last post, I mentioned that we were starting 40 days of prayer and fasting at USC with Lou Engle. This time has been absolutely incredible in pursuing the Lord, gathering in unity, and believing God for the greatest outpouring of his Spirit our nation has ever seen!

As we have partnered with Lou and laid down our time and cravings, we have really experienced the Lord accelerating our initiatives and meeting us in prayer. As I mentioned last time, we are doing the Carry The Love tour again this year all over the nation. We already have over 300 universities that have said yes to hosting a tour stop. It’s honestly incredible to see how the Lord has opened some of the doors to get us onto campuses. We’ve been in dialogue with some students who don’t even know us and they are instantly willing to bring us to their campus to help go after God’s plans for their campus.

In addition to praying for campuses, we are praying intensely that God would send revival again to this nation and send another Azusa Street revival. On April 9th, 2016, Lou Engle is renting the LA Coliseum to fill it with 120,000 people on the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. We have been praying specifically for unity in bringing together leaders from all over the body of Christ to come to the stadium. We really believe God wants to pour out his Spirit in salvation, healing, and miracles. However, we feel like he will only do it if every major denomination of the body is represented amply. He won’t pour out his Spirit as fully if it is just Charismatics or just Evangelicals because he won’t do anything to cause a schism in the body. However, in full unity, He is desiring to pour out His Spirit! Pray Psalm 133 and John 17 over the American church with us! Check out this video below of Lou sharing a few days ago in Toronto about the event and why God is primed to move! This is a rough recording, but it gets the point across.

Isn’t that incredible?! It’s so fun to be a part of what is happening. Keep praying for this nation and for the college campuses that Jesus would revive the church and bring salvation to the lost!

As far as planning Carry The Love goes, we are currently skyping with students from different campuses and building relationships with them as well as trying to lock-in new universities. I’m very involved right now in forming the Rocky Mountain region of our tour. This region will include Montana, Idaho, Eastern Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. We are taking students through four steps in the process of hosting a gathering at their school. Check out this comedic video below to see how we are guiding students through phase one.

If you’re in the mood for another video, check out this Circuit Riders video that my friends Tory Ruperto and Hayley Dent made. I love you guys and appreciate your prayer and support so much! On September 21st, I actually hit my one year anniversary of moving to California! The Lord’s faithfulness in this last year is worth celebrating.

Feel free to call me anytime to let me know how you’re doing or email me at miles.pennell@yahoo.com.

3 Things You Need to Know About The Circuit Riders!

Carry The Love is coming to a campus near you! No really, it is! Last spring, the Circuit Riders college tours, called Carry The Love, spread across the nation in a 60-campus tour. This year, thanks to the Lord’s incredible leadership, we have already locked in well over 200 campuses that want to host a Carry The Love night. Not only that, but we are reaching to try to make it to 400-500 campuses. Imagine if we reached 500 campuses and were only able to gather an average of 100 students each night. This means we would reach 50,000 students with a message that God is truly moving in America and that we are on the verge of an outpouring of His Spirit! What if at each of these nights, 10 students were truly catalyzed unto being love activists and seeing God move on their campuses in powerful ways? 5,000 students across the nation would be living and breathing a revolution of love!

I know I’m getting a little wild right now, but I’m really excited about the prospects of what God is doing in this upcoming year. To give you a more holistic picture of what’s ahead for us, I’ll just quickly hit the highlights on our schedule for you.

Saturation: 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

On September 1st, we joined with prayer leader Lou Engle (TheCall) for 40 days of prayer and fasting at the University of Southern California (USC). We felt that the Lord wanted us to start this academic year by resting with him in his presence and encountering him more than ever before. As we are all fasting and praying, we are asking that the Lord would come in signs, wonders, and miracles, that would change our college campuses and our nation. Part of the fast is actually in preparation for a stadium gathering that will happen April 9th, 2016, in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at USC on the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. Did I mention that William Seymour (catalyst for the Azusa Street Revival), prophesied that 100 years later there would be a greater outpouring of God upon this nation? Check out this short article from Lou about the event.

http://www.thecall.com/Groups/1000097936/TheCall/TheCall_Azusa/TheCall_Azusa.aspx

Together 2016

Next summer, we are joining with the Reset Movement and believing that God will accompany our work to gather hundreds of thousands of people at the National Mall in D.C. for one day, around one man, Jesus Christ! What could God do if we gather together (during an election year mind you) to lift up Jesus? There is something catalytic about gathering people that spurs us all on in our faith and gives up hope for what God is going to do. At some point, the body of Christ needs to gather together in unity and pursue God like never before. Why not now? Check out the promo video below for the gathering.

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Like I said earlier, we are hoping to reach 400-500 campuses this spring with a message of Jesus’ love. Why are we attempting to reach so many campuses? The answer is twofold. First, the more campuses we can reach, the more people we’ll reach with Jesus! Second, Carry The Love is also hoping to gather students unto going to the Mall next summer as part of the Together 2016 campaign. Almost like a political campaign, we are the grassroots movement hoping to gather college students together unto the cause of Jesus Christ.

To reach this many campuses, we are looking to form roughly 10 teams that will start touring in mid-January and wrap up at the end of April. Each team will spend three weeks touring and then take a week to rest. I will be co-leading a team during this tour and will have more information on which regions I will be going to by mOnStageAt21y next blog post! To prepare for these tours, we have all been participating in a preacher’s class every week with one of our leaders, Brian Brennt. He is teaching us how to preach effectively on campuses and is getting us reps for this spring. I hope I can post a sample on here sometime of a message I preach. They’re still a little rough at this point, but they’re getting better!

Thanks to everyone who has supported my life with the Circuit Riders! Continue to prayer that God would revive and awaken the college campuses of America! This year is going to be incredible.

Check out this link for our 40 day schedule at USC. http://www.thecircuitrider.com/schools-and-events/saturation-40-days-prayer-and-fasting-usc/

A Circuit Rider Summer

Hi Friends and Family!

My first summer as a Circuit Rider has been incredible. Coming out of our tent outreaches in May, we dove headfirst into preparing for 21 Project. We spent all of June and the first two weeks of July doing everything we could to fill up the school. We spent long days calling, emailing, and answering questions for prospective students. I lead the registration team and in the end we drew around 140 students representing over 40 different campuses to join us for 3 weeks in Pasadena. We were really excited with these results given how difficult it is to gather college students at all, much less for 3 weeks.

21 Project was a massive success! We jumped into the first week of the school by receiving message after message of amazing material on what it means to carry a kingdom culture. One of the fun parts of Circuit Rider material is that we always respond to messages by repenting of ways we haven’t lined up with God’s kingdom and then joyfully changing our lifestyles to align with the Lord. One day in particular, we became so gripped by a call to live according to God’s words and pursue him fully, that students were coming up and renouncing addictions and ways of life. One student even came up to me and said he had been in a bad relationship for the last four years and was going to cut it off so he could pursue Jesus fully! These messages can actually be found on the Circuit Rider website at http://www.thecircuitrider.com/podcast/. I recommend listening to at least one to get a flavor of the messages! They are dynamite!

In the second and third weeks of the school, we split up and spent a lot more time in our individual tracks. I was involved in the Circuit Rider / College Gatherer track. In that track, the goal was to raise up Gospel messengers and students who know how to gather students on their campuses and see transformation. The days were so fun Summer 2015 075as we were surrounded by about 60 students standing in groups and preaching as wildly as they could to one another. How important it is to have young people who really understand what the Gospel is and communicate it to others!

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” – Romans 10:14

The final weekend of 21 Project rocked us all as we ended with a conference that a high school ministry (and one of our tracks) called One Voice hosted that gathered around 1,200 people. This conference was highlighted by keynote speakers Todd White, Daniel Kolenda (Reinhard Bonnke’s successor), and Nick Vujicic (high school Summer 2015 097motivational speaker with no limbs). Lindy Conant, a Circuit Rider worship leader, also recorded her first full-length album (shown to the right), which was produced by a man named Gabriel Wilson who produced Bethel’s Tides and You Make Me Brave albums. I was so moved by her album because every song is about glorifying Jesus and seeing people sent into the mission field to reap a harvest for heaven. Her songs evoked many to tears at the heart of God over living a missional lifestyle. To get a glimpse of what her songs are like, check out this video that someone who attended the conference posted on YouTube. Lindy’s full-length album and accompanying videos will be released sometime around January.

As you might expect for a three week school, it’s impossible to encapsulate everything that God did and how many lives were changed. My final highlight from 21 Project is actually called 22 Project. As a result of the school, somewhere between 15-20 students will be moving to Huntington Beach on September 1st to begin a 6-month internship that will have them immerse themselves in everything we are doing. To give you a sneak peak for my next blog (which will come much sooner than this one did), this internship means they will be accompanying us on what looks to be a 400-500 campus tour this spring! Stay tuned!

 

Compton Outreach

Yesterday we went to Compton. Yes, Compton, the next door neighbor of Watts (Watts Riots), stomping grounds of the Bloods and Crips, and the creative space for gangster rap and artists like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E. Despite its tarnished reputation, it’s easy to acknowledge that Compton somehow holds the ability to influence the nation. Haven’t we all heard that guy driving down the street with his windows down and playing his rap music frustratingly loudly? What if it was possible that Compton was created to actually spark a national movement? Furthermore, is it possible that the enemy realized this and distorted this God-ordained calling by instigating violence and immorality? Now, could God possibly redeem the ground of Compton to kick start a movement of love? Time will tell.

IMG_2528Yesterday was one of the best collaborative outreaches of which I have been a part. Five churches were united to help host the event; 21 vendors appeared to offer assistance in jobs, healthcare, and training programs; and the city of Compton was fully supportive of the event from the mayor’s office down to the city recreation center. From noon to six, we had several hundred people pass through, enjoying free hot dogs, gospel music (a local favorite), sports activities, and bouncy houses.

FullSizeRenderAs the crowd was eating, our boy Sammy Rodriguez took hold of the microphone. He shared for about twenty minutes on how Jesus sees us exactly as we are and loves us in the midst of our circumstances. In the end, he invited the people to give their lives to Jesus and hands shot up all over the park! Following the message, we invited people to come to the stage who were in need of physical healing. A few people stepped forward including a guy named Alex. I asked Alex what pain he was experiencing and he said that his back was really tight and in pain. I placed my hand on his back and prayed for him. I asked him if he felt any change and he said he did. What kind of a change, are you 50% better, 25% better, or what? He said he felt 100% better! Praise God for his miracles!

Following all of this, several members of Compton churches were asked to share their testimonies. As you might expect, some of the testimonies were wild! People went off praising Jesus and giving him glory for the way he saved their lives from drugs, promiscuity, and whatever other sins to which they were enslaved. It was refreshing to see people boldly declaring their testimonies of how Jesus has saved their lives!

The event was called Love Compton and it went so well that the park manager said we needed to make this at very least an annual event. We also received an invite from the neighboring city of Watts to run a park outreach there. Even one of the managers running the Los Angeles International airport booth was so pleased that she asked if we could collaborate with them in the future to plan events.

FullSizeRender (1)All in all, Jesus is opening doors that we could never open and providing opportunities simply because he loves us and his desire is to save. His creativity in arranging opportunities for us is unparalleled and his wisdom is beyond what we could fathom. Continuing on this journey he has is so much fun and I hope you’re encouraged today by reading that Compton, of all places, is also falling on its knees in worship of our wonderful savior, Jesus Christ!

Carry The Love 60 University Tour: Summary

Hey guys, I just wanted to share with you the recap of the Carry The Love tour written by one of our regional coordinators, Yasmin Kahan-Groves. She did a great job of leading the northeast region of the tour as well as writing this article. Enjoy! – Miles

Most people enrolled in college courses today are there because they want to make a change for the better.

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This generation is full of activists at heart. Taking up expressions through business, social work and politics, art, or the sciences, this generation has by and large committed their time, money, and effort to improving something about how the world works.

What if a student’s understanding for how the world should be improved—could be changed? What if the word ‘success’ for the American student started to align more with principles of love and compassion?

Carry the Love launched this Spring semester as a 60-campus national tour. The theme: Jesus. The pledge: to carry His love and compassion.

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Jesus walked the earth as the ultimate activist, constantly living for the ultimate change. For God so loved the people of the world, that he sent His son. Through his years in ministry, Jesus flipped the system of what success and life objectives should be upside-down. He pointed constantly to the fundamental importance of love. After all, it was because of love that he was sent.

And it was that same love that He left for us to take up. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34). This new paradigm and life perspective was heavy on his heart, and he called it the kingdom.

On every college grounds, there is some proportion of students in Christian groups. The average across America is about 5% of the campus that is involved in one of these groups. At some schools it’s more than 5%, like in the South of America. And at some schools it’s drastically less than 5%, like in New York City.

Research on the dynamics of social movements point to the golden 10%. As a group of people who agree on certain values start to reach this number, they have enough social influence and connectivity to seriously change their environment. Malcolm Gladwell names this 10% phenomenon in social movements ‘the tipping point.’

What if the reality of Jesus’ love reached a tipping point on America’s campuses?

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What if it reached a place where those who are coming and going on a campus couldn’t help but be aware of Jesus’ love? His burning love and compassion has the power to bring alive the most turned-off hearts. What if 5%, 6%…10% of a campus was not just in a religious group, but was actively living in that same burning principle of Jesus’ love?

To reach this tipping point usually takes more than just one Christian group. On this past 60-campus Carry the Love tour, college groups had the opportunity to unite together for Jesus’ love. Most of these Carry the Love nights included at least 4 different groups in the room, which at many schools rarely happens. The students in each group were then committing to work together to live out Jesus’ love on the campus and after college life. What a powerful concept; and what a box-breaking reality to see this occur.

At Lee University in Tennessee, 250 students packed a room and pledged together “WE WILL” to the invitation to “Carry the Love” of Jesus. This included major campus influencers and leaders. From there, the students are getting together to plan out next steps of how they can actively express that love to the rest of their campus.

This discussion is taking place at each of the 60 campuses from this tour: How can our campus know and experience Jesus’ love? What is the next step on how we can display His Love get together?

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Courageous student leadership, met with God’s unfailing love, is what is turning campuses more and more toward a tipping point. At Penn State last summer, just 4 campus leaders, which included 1 Penn State alum-turned-ministry-staff and 3 active students, organized a 2,000 person outdoor concert that launched in September. Though there was not much history of collaboration between the Christian groups beforehand, nearly every fellowship eventually joined in to spread the word for this concert. Students gave their lives to Jesus for the first time at this event, the buzz from it radically impacted social interactions and friendships on campus, and it kicked off a whole new level of collaboration between the groups on campus that has strongly continued throughout the year. This Spring, these groups hosted a Carry the Love night amidst a week-long united gospel-sharing campaign, where hundreds of students signed on to share the ridiculously good news about Jesus with a handful of friends. From that place and after the Carry the Love night, the groups are now planning their next expression of love and outreach concert for the Fall.

Some schools are planning major outreaches like Penn State, and others are facilitating the first coming together of their Christian groups in years. Across the board, God is bringing teams together to pull off what used to seem impossible. He is stirring a tipping point nationally, that America’s student would experience His love.

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As the Carry the Love team traveled from school to school, we were struck by the reality of just how much of a history-making season this is for the campuses of America! No other generation has experienced this level of social connectivity, unity in the Body, and a rumbling national drive for activism and positive change than we do now. The campuses of America are ready to Carry the Love of Jesus, and many already are in such box-breaking ways.

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Will you Carry the Love? Will you lead your school with Jesus to a tipping point, that displays His love to your generation? You’re a part of a much larger family, and our team wants to help connect you. Dream and pray together with your team at your school, and feel free to email us at contact@oneloveinitiative.org. Check out www.21Project.com to spend a month together with a like-minded activist family, and be released to make an impact with the good news.

What a joy that our generation gets to share the ultimate solution to every problem on earth; what a privilege that we get to Carry His Love.

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