Archives For Penn State

Note: This guest post is an open letter from my wife to the members of the Penn State fraternity in our hometown, who photographed nude pictures of women and posted them online.

Take a moment and dream with me:

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cs_heinz_as_jerry_sandusky_thumbLast week I wrote an article called, “It’s Not Possible To Be A Christian And Hate Jerry Sandusky.”

But of course it’s possible to be a Christian and hate Jerry Sandusky. Had I called the article, “Christians Shouldn’t Hate Jerry Sandusky,” only half of you would have read it. That title sounds like I’m scolding you for what is a natural and reasonable response. But I’m not scolding anyone. I’d like to hate him, too.

On June 22, 2012, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, using his nonprofit organization and status as a hometown hero and father figure to find and groom his young male victims. Like Pastor Dan Nold wrote, I don’t have God’s knowledge of the events, but the evidence seems overwhelming.

For this reason, I would like to hate Jerry Sandusky. It’s easier this way, there are lots of fellow haters to join me, and it’s what my heart wants to do. But hating Jerry Sandusky does no good.

Hating Jerry Sandusky is a sin, which before God puts me on the same level as him—needing salvation. God says to love our enemies (Matthew 5.44). Just who is my enemy? Could it be Jerry Sandusky? I can’t think of a better one. But hating Sandusky violates God’s command. God says if I break one command, I break them all (James 2.10). So if I hate Jerry Sandusky, then before God, I’m guilty of breaking them all. Hating Jerry Sandusky is a sin that necessitates salvation, and therefore I need salvation as much as Jerry Sandusky does. I also stand convicted, so to say.

Hating Jerry Sandusky is not supporting the victims. At times I felt that unless I hated Jerry Sandusky, then I wasn’t supporting the victims. I felt I had to choose between the two, and the choice was easy, I’ll hate Sandusky. But hating Sandusky won’t help the victims heal. Hating Sandusky won’t change the past. Actually I think that hating Sandusky keeps the victims stuck in the past. Hate burns heavy in the heart, calling for constant attention. That’s not what I want for them. I want them to move forward because these deeds do not define them. But hate will hold them back, and my hate approves of theirs.

Hating Jerry Sandusky is a road block to healing.  Some say justice was served for the victims because Jerry Sandusky was convicted. But justice isn’t enough. There’s got to be healing. Healing is impossible without forgiveness, and forgiveness is impossible with hate. I wish I could walk out the painful process of forgiveness for the victims, but I can’t. That’s a road for each of them. Their abuse is not a road they chose, but they can choose to walk in forgiveness. I can pray for their courage to forgive, and I can work on loving my own enemies, then praying for them to do the same.

So with God’s help, I will not take the easy way, will not sing the chorus of haters, will not do what my heart wants to do. I will not hate Jerry Sandusky. For if I can’t overcome hate, how will the victims? If I can’t learn to love my enemies, how will the victims? If I can’t forgive, how will the victims?

Hating Jerry Sandusky does no good.

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On June 22, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, using his nonprofit organization and status as a hometown hero and father figure to find and groom his young male victims.

But it’s not possible to be a Christian and hate him.

“Why do you look down on your brother? We will all stand before God’s judgment seat,” says Romans 14.10.

I’m from State College, PA, which is where most of the crimes were committed. Aside from a few loyal friends and family members, many of us think we’re better than Jerry Sandusky. We hate him for what he did to those boys and for ripping apart Happy Valley and Penn State football.

But God’s judgment seat is the great equalizer. None can escape it, regardless of our accolades or accomplishments. The judgment seat awaits the sinner and the saint. We’ll all stand before the seat (although I think we’ll fall not stand).

If there’s an advantage for any, it’s that Jesus did the unthinkable and died in our place. We deserved punishment, but received grace. And that grace opened up the Kingdom of God, delivered eternal life, welcomed us into the fellowship of the Father. God’s grace is undeserved and unmerited.

But we withhold grace from people whom we think don’t qualify, people who abuse children, people like Jerry Sandusky. We withhold the free gift to those who haven’t earned it. Ironic, isn’t it?

This brings us back to the judgment seat. Wonderful as grace is, judgment is stronger than grace. Judgment humbles us all. So we can’t offer grace to one but not the other. We can’t receive grace ourselves but refuse it to Jerry Sandusky. Grace doesn’t work that way.

My elementary school kept a spare set of clothes for emergencies. If you saw a kid wearing the brown corduroy pants and brown striped shirt, you knew something went wrong: he had soiled himself or thrown up or ripped his clothes.

Thus he was doomed to wear the full body dunce cap all day. We used to laugh at the schmuck who was forced to dress as a turd.

Until one day I peed my pants, and begged to call my mom, but the school nurse insisted I wear the spare pair instead. So I pulled on the spare, and stepped into the world. The kids laughed at me.

Suddenly I felt how every kid who had worn the brown body suit had felt, our embarrassment paraded in front of mockers. Stinging shot through my heart that I had put others through this cruelty. I never laughed at the spare again.

Jesus wondered why we look down on our brothers. The reason you look down on them today might be the same reason others look down on you tomorrow. Maybe not the exact same reason, but a reason nonetheless.

So while many might hate Jerry Sandusky, it cannot be the final response for the Christian.

cs_heinz_as_jerry_sandusky_thumbThe follow-up to this article is called, “Why Hating Jerry Sandusky Does No Good”.

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Thick were the thorns thrust on Jesus’ head.

Just when the body was almost spent, flesh ripped open by violent lashes, they placed it on his head. The crown of thorns. The blood flowed even more.

It takes us back to the Garden where it all began, Eden. It takes us back to the Cursed Day when the Curse entered Eden and our world and humanity was changed forever. In response, God said the ground would produce thorns. That is, sin would produce thorns. Sin would call forth the bristles. And they flowed freely.

Thick were the thorns thrust on Jesus’ head. There was no other crown for him on the Cross, for he became sin. He took our thorns upon himself. The Father turned away.

Arthur Bennett writes:

“O LORD, I have a wild heart, and cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man,
how little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer, by thinking I have prayed enough earnestly,
by knowing thou hast saved my soul.

Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
Who sins more safely than grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for he is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives unholyily…

Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.”

Since I released the prophetic word on Dec. 12, I have known of three people brought forth in sexual sin. I know there are more out there.

Do you think God’s kidding?

God said that He will confront sin in private, but for those who harden their hearts, and cover their ears, and silence the Voice-Beyond-Time, He will expose in public. And such exposure will be harsher for everyone.

Let us not be hypocrites, and more, evangelical hypocrites. Let us not allow our salvation to condemn us. Let us not allow our positions to inflate us. Let us not allow pride to destroy us.

Jesus wore the crown of thorns so we wouldn’t have to.

So let’s throw off the sin that so easily entangles and embrace our broken hearts so they can be mended by the one who was broken already.

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This article appeared in the Centre Daily Times on Dec. 21, 2011.

There are many brokenhearted in our community.

Many are walking around with shattered hearts. You can’t tell it from the outside — we have smiles on our faces and clothes on our backs. We have games on our smartphones and presents in the mail. Our talk is sophisticated and our schedules are full.

But we’re hurting on the inside. We just won’t admit it.

Christmas is the perfect time to tear open the wrapping, break the adhesive, lay the pieces on the table. Christmas is the perfect time to get real because our hobbled hearts won’t hold, no matter how much tape and ribbon we try.

This honesty runs contrary to what’s expected. We’re supposed to tinsel up, wear a bow, look our shiniest. Profess goodwill, sing a carol, bake some cookies. Why? Because it’s Christmas — and everyone wants a happy holiday.

But what if we changed Christmas this year? What if we unwrapped our hearts and placed them on the table? What if we didn’t care that they were broken?

You see, Christmas is not about putting on a show, it’s about drawing near. At the original Christmas, God came to Earth. He came to a pregnant teenager and her unemployed fiancé. He came to a stable and a manger, to shepherds and to sheep. It wasn’t shiny or pretty.

So where do we get the idea that we have to be?

Probably the worst we can do this Christmas is to throw some sugar and spice and act all nice and dangle some twinkling lights and pretend every-thing’s OK. The worst we can do is parade in the pageant when our hearts are broken.

Because that won’t get us anywhere. It’s more of the same fluff and icing.

Instead, let’s have a real Christmas. God came to Earth. Now He wants to come to you. May you lay down your shattered pieces so God can put them back together.

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On 11/3/06, I was praying when the LORD spoke to my heart.

I quieted myself to listen and closed my eyes. I saw a map of the United States with pins dropping on certain cities:

Atlanta, GA
Portland, OR
Omaha, NE
Cleveland, OH
Topeka, KS
Washington, DC
Bangor, ME
Montgomery, AL

Then pins started dropping all over the place.

I heard the LORD say He is getting ready to expose sexual sin among leaders. He said a crackdown is coming where prophets and God himself will be sent in private to confront leaders involved in sexual sin.

If the leaders reject the opportunity, the sin will be exposed publicly. It will be harder on everyone and will benefit no one. For those who do repent, there will be a grace released to deal with the consequences.

Then the LORD said a new wave of holiness will hit the Church that is based on the fear of the LORD.

I began to pray for God’s mercy and He interrupted me and said that prayers need to be for soft hearts, contrite spirits, and those involved, the violated and the violators. He said He is already merciful in all His ways.

When I heard this word, I submitted it to my spiritual leaders for judgment and confirmation. They advised me to hold on to it because it wasn’t time to release it.

In October 2010, I contacted them again and asked if it was time. Again they didn’t think so.

Then on 11/5/11, almost five years to the day I received the word from the LORD, my hometown of State College, PA and main campus of Penn State, was rocked by allegations of child sexual abuse by a much respected and revered hometown hero. Its shock waves reverberated across the United States. Suddenly my hometown was famous for allegations of sexual atrocity.

In response, we started the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU because we needed a new season. As news of the 40 Days spread, we heard from others around the country. They were praying not just for Penn State, but for their cities and the United States. I approached my spiritual leaders again, and this time, we all agreed it was time to release the word.

I hope the allegations aren’t true. But whether they’re true or not, the fact remains that God will start publicly exposing leaders who are involved in sexual sin, and it will not be pretty.

I believe God has already started confronting leaders in private. To those leaders, I say it’s time to repent. Stop what you’re doing, confess your sins to God, tell a group of godly people who will help restore you, and accept the due consequences for your sin.

When we started the 40 Days of Prayer for Penn State, we felt it was important to say what God was saying. That’s why we designed the 40 days the way we did—40 days of prayer centered around four things we believe God is saying:

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”
“Worship Me alone.”
“Turn your sex lives over to Me.”
“Look at the plank in your own eye.”

But why say what God is saying? Why does it matter?

I want to share three tangible results of saying what God says.

Do you remember the Tower of Babel? This story is told in Genesis 11. These people are the first generation after the flood, God’s fresh start on humanity. At the time, there is only one language.

Using their common speech, the people say, “Let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. Let’s build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.”

Do you catch that? Their common goal, spoken in their common language, is to make a name for themselves. But God says, “Worship Me alone.”

So God confuses their common tongue and scatters them across the earth.

Contrast that with Matthew 18. Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

The people from Babel want to make a name for themselves. The people in Jesus’ teaching want to come together in Jesus’ name.

This verse is often misunderstood that when two or more are gathered, then Jesus is there in presence. As if he’s not there with the single individual. But Jesus already said he will be with us to the end of the age. God already promised He will be with us. Being in Christ means he is in us and we are in him.

So I don’t think Jesus is talking about his presence. I think he’s talking about agreement.

Coming together in his name is a lot more than closing the prayer with, “In Jesus’ name.” It means to legally represent Jesus because his blood is flowing in us. It means to speak for him because he has put his words in our mouths. It means to be called by his name because we abide in him. It means to be a people set apart for God.

Let me show you three results of saying what God says. We’ll look at Luke 10 as an example.  In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 disciples to towns and villages. He tells them to go two-by-two. We don’t know their names. They represent the Body of Christ: there is no one greater than another, we’re called to labor together, and we’re called to obey Jesus.

Result #1: Obedience shifts the spiritual climate.

Jesus charges the 72 to go to the places and say what he tells them to say. He instructs them with three messages: “Peace to this house”, “The Kingdom of God is near you”, and if the people reject them, “Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.”

The 72 disciples, who represent the Body of Christ, obey Jesus: they gather two-by-two, they go where Jesus tells them to go, they say and do what Jesus says to say and do. And the result? They return with joy and say, “LORD, even the demons submit to us in your name.” This means people were healed and experienced the kingdom of God.

Obedience shifts the spiritual climate.

Result #2: Agreement with God builds the Kingdom of God.

Notice that Jesus tells the 72 that if people reject them, they should still say, “The Kingdom of God is near you.” That’s because the 72 are obeying and bringing Jesus to the disobedient. That’s because the 72 bring the Kingdom of God through their agreement with God. This is a great reason to persist in obedience even around disobedient and rebellious people and places.

When Jesus teaches in Matthew 18 about agreement, he says, “If two of you on earth agree.” Tell me, why does Jesus say “earth”? He’s talking to his disciples. Of course they’re on earth.  Could it be that Jesus is making a point? That something spectacular happens when we on earth agree with God? When we do, Jesus says the Father will do whatever we ask for. This is because we (God and us) are speaking in a common language.

Agreement with God builds the Kingdom of God

Result #3: Submission to God weakens Satan’s kingdom of rebellion.

What happened to Satan’s kingdom when the 72 went out? The demons submitted to them, according to Luke 10.17. But that’s not all. They submitted to “Jesus’ name.” This is an important point. At the name of Jesus, all demons must bow. But not just at the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus with the spirit of agreement behind it.

Remember the story of the sons of Sceva in Acts 19? They were the sons of the Jewish chief priest, pastor’s kids. They invoked the name of Jesus over a man possessed by demons. But the demons said, “We know Jesus, but who are you?” Then the man overpowered all seven sons and left them bleeding.

It’s not enough to invoke the name of Jesus. It must have the relationship behind it. When it does, Satan’s kingdom is weakened. His kingdom is based on rebellion. Created as an angel, Satan rebelled against God and brought other angels with him, forming the kingdom of rebellion. His goal is to build his kingdom, composed of those who reject God. That’s why every act of rebellion strengthens Satan’s kingdom.

But submission to God weakness Satan’s kingdom of rebellion.

This is why we’re saying what God is saying in this hour. We want to change the spiritual climate, we want to build the Kingdom of God, and we want to weaken Satan’s kingdom of rebellion. We want the Lion of Judah to roar over this land.

God, make Your name famous. May your Kingdom come!

40 days psu prayer

As the events unfolded at Penn State starting in November 2011, we believed God was saying important things.

The best hope for change is to agree with God by saying what He’s saying. The lion has fallen, and we are in free fall. But if we heed God’s words, a New Lion will arise in Lion Country.

With this goal, we created an email series called, “40 Days of Prayer for PSU.” It began as 30 days, but as it started, we felt like it deserved 40 days.

We prayed for the brokenhearted and the accused. We prayed for humility and self-reflection. We prayed for things to change.

For 40 days, subscribers received a daily email with a different prayer point, scripture, and short devotional.

The emails were based on, “The Lion Has Fallen: Four Things I Believe God Is Saying To Lion Country” and its prayer guide, “A New Lion Rising.” If you would like to pray the Bible verse in each email, here are some pointers on how to do that.

There are three supernatural results of saying what God is saying. The 40 Days of Prayer for PSU are part of a bigger story of what God is doing.

We partnered with Beyond the Silence, which is dedicated to telling the stories of the sexually abused and helping those in need.

News Articles:
Breaking Christian News
The Christian Post
Centre Daily Times

Press Releases:
Universities Join Penn State in Email Prayer Series
CS Heinz Launches 30 Days of Prayer for Penn State at PrayPSU.org

Interviews:
YES FM (Toldeo, OH & Detroit, MI), Dec. 16
KCBI (Dallas-Forth Worth, TX), Dec. 3
KFIA (Sacramento, CA), Nov. 22
WTLR (State College, PA), Nov. 9

It was also a Facebook event.

Thank you for praying for Penn State. May the New Lion arise in Lion Country!

We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

Thank you for joining us.

History was made at Penn State recently. The lion has fallen. But you can help write a new history. The Lion can rise. Ready to be a history maker? It’ll come by prayer.

Throughout these 40 days, there is a message a day with a short devotional, prayer point, and Bible verse.

The messages are centered around four things we believe God is saying  to Lion Country. By praying the same thing, we expect God to show up and change our community and ourselves.

Before you get started, we recommend a few things:

Make time to pray. Clear out time in your schedule to pray the email every day. You might want to combine prayer with fasting. Here’s guidance on preparing to fast.

Spread the word about the 30 Days. Here’s a link to a logo. Replace your Facebook or Twitter picture with it. It’ll make a statement and encourage others to sign up.

If you want to share something from your prayer time, click on “Comments” below. This link appears in every email.

Thank you for praying with us. A New Lion will rise in Lion Country.

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We invite you to join the 40 Days of Prayer for PSU. Your 40 daily emails will start when you sign up. If you prefer to not receive the emails, they are posted below.

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34.18)

Once there was a man, and he had a broken heart. He heard God was coming to dinner. So he gathered the shards of his scattered heart and taped them together. He hoped the adhesive would hold. After all, when God comes to dinner, you have to put yourself together (at least he thought).

The man made it through the greeting and the first course. He made it halfway through the second. But it was too much to hide. The man’s hobbled heart wasn’t holding. So he said, “I have something to tell you. My heart is broken, see.” And he placed the pieces on the table. “You can leave if you want to.”

God placed His hand on the broken pieces and said, “I knew it was broken. That’s why I came.” The man began to cry.

“But God,” the man said, “Why didn’t you say something?”

“Because,” God said, “you needed to tell me first. That’s how the healing begins.” And the man began to heal.

There are many brokenhearted right now: alleged victims and their families, past victims of another abuse, people who hoped for more, the accused and their families. But God is close to the brokenhearted. And He wants them to lay down their pieces so He can put them back together.

Pray for the brokenhearted to admit their brokenness.

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