The ministry I work for changes lives. And for many, it all starts with Training Camp. Training Camp is a chance to swallow the red pill. Participants (we call them Racers) have been raised in a society that doesn’t look much like Jesus. How will they ever get out of the Matrix-like life they’re living?
You remember in the Matrix when Laurence Fishburne gives Keanu Reeves a choice: “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Training Camp is an opportunity to see that American society looks like the Matrix. We’re oppressed by fear. Fear of failure. Fear of terrorists. We don’t see our addiction to comfort and entertainment for the idols they are.
Racers arrive here and we introduce them to a community where speaking the truth in love is an everyday reality. They begin to come to grips with dysfunction. They get glimpses of the Kingdom and think, “I was made for that!”
Working at the office during Training Camp, you can’t help but get distracted by the periodic cheers outside as Racers complete an activity. The atmosphere feels electric. Worship is nightly awesomeness.
The night Deon Vanstaden taught about the Holy Spirit, Bill Swan texted me to say that this was the best night he’s ever seen at Training Camp in seven years. Coaches who have been taught to fear Charismatics later came to me and said they loved it.
They learned the magic of confronting one another in love that we call feedback. “We don’t even do this with our family!,” they said. And my sense is that they’re ready to start.
What is you at your best?
If we could do everything as well as we do Training Camp, I think the dream of a movement that reaches the world for Christ would happen within a generation.
Training Camp makes me ask, “What is it that I do best and how can I do it better?” All of us pull together and do our best work.
I have that red pill experience from time to time as I go through my day. My old friend Jack Larson and I were at lunch yesterday. Jack and I went through a very painful time in our relationship 27 years ago that still stings at times. Choosing to work through that pain was some of my best stuff.
Don Rock walked up to us. I introduced him to Jack, and it turns out, Don got into missions in part when he was a teenager because of Jack’s ministry in my life. Who knew? It was all of us doing our best stuff.
Commitment and Bleeding
I have watched Maureen Gray give two long years of her life to our World Race Documentary Project. It has cost her almost everything, and because she has been so committed, many of us have seen the Kingdom along the way. Sunday night I will travel to L.A. and the next morning Tim, Maureen and I will meet our production company.
Nothing great happens without commitment. One of the enemy’s most insidious weapons in the lives of Millennials is the fear of commitment. They need to see what the red pill looks like.
Maureen is showing us what it looks like to take the red pill. We don’t just pray “may your Kingdom come,” we bring it with our commitment to make it come. We dream and we fight tooth and nail for our dream.
Maureen and Tim have faced a host of critics and uncommitted people as they have fought for this dream. It has been discouraging to see the body of Christ not support the dream. But in October, we’ll see the pilot episode. If Netflix picks it up, I’m betting we’ll have a few people on the bandwagon.
Teddy Roosevelt showed us what a life of commitment in the face of fear looked like. Once he was shot in the chest by a would-be assassin while giving a speech. He didn’t let the bleeding or the pain stop him from giving the speech.
Roosevelt gave us a brilliant summary of his philosophy:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Do you have that kind of commitment? Have you been set free from fear? Do you dream of helping others become free? If you’re a dreamer who is struggling to swallow the red pill, let me challenge you to read what Roosevelt said about the man in the arena every day for a month until it begins to trickle into your soul.
Living in America is toxic. We need to stop bowing down to the god of comfort and get a little dust, sweat and blood on us. It’s then that we step out of the Matrix and into the Kingdom.