Tag Archives: Jesus

Doable, Cost-Effective, Leading Edge… Life Changing.

Sean Dunn“We can bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. An invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25, in a venue they use every day. This unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working.”

–Sean Dunn

Today’s young people suffer from unprecedented levels of depression, anxiety, pressure, loneliness, and desperation for approval. For many, one nagging question motivates every social media post, short-sighted decision, and attempt to self-harm: Does anyone really care about me?

At JesusCares.com, teens and young adults from across the globe find comfort, guidance, and the answers they desperately seek. An initiative of Groundwire, JesusCares.com follows and expands the remarkably effective model that has touched millions of young viewers and listeners since 2006. Using a multi-pronged strategy, Groundwire leverages media and technology to meet the age 15-25 demographic exactly where they are — viewing, listening, texting, or chatting — and to invite them to voice their questions and struggles so they can find answers in the message of the Gospel. Young people listening to popular radio broadcasts or viewing favorite shows on networks like CW, MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and Comedy Central are interrupted by direct advertising spots that catch their attention, resonating with where they are today.

The JesusCares.com initiative includes targeted, authentic, and well-produced commercials that grab the attention of young viewers and listeners by the millions. As they respond to the broadcast messages, they are invited to visit the JesusCares.com website where they can chat with a live spiritual coach available day and night, as well as find a collection of resources such as podcasts by Groundwire’s founder and executive director, Sean Dunn, and daily devotionals.

“Statistics indicate that 86% of teens believe in God, but most don’t believe He is loving. Even fewer believe they are lovable. What if this generation truly understood and responded to God’s offer of hope, truth, and purpose?” Dunn asks.

Since 2006, Groundwire has interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of the coaches’ ministry. Coaches then do their best to connect visitors to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow in their faith. JesusCares.com looks to grow Groundwire’s reach in contemporary culture.

“Today’s younger generation hungers for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. And that really transcends culture. Unfortunately, a common misconception many older Christians have about young people is that they only desire interaction with others who are young like them and are products of the same culture,” Dunn says. “The truth is that this group is desperately in need of intergenerational connection. They crave it. The Jesus Cares initiative has already shown us that, when we make ourselves available to listen and respond, young people cling to that, and they are willing—even eager—to share their burdens and receive the Good News we offer.”

Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day, and that number must increase alongside launches of the ministry in new locations. JesusCares.com is seeking coaches of all ages and backgrounds to be available when young seekers respond to the TV and radio ads.

JesusCares.com is rapidly expanding, having arrived in Colorado Springs and Chicago during the first and second quarters of 2015. The initiative launched in South Bend, Indiana this summer and fundraising efforts are underway to support upcoming launches in Dallas, Tampa, and Denver this fall.

To bring JesusCares to your community or to sign up as a coach, go to

“One thing I did [in the shelter] was I prayed a lot.”

Shanjula Harris woke up early every morning in the homeless shelter to help her children get ready for school. After she dropped them off, she came back, put on her nicest clothes and started walking. “Every day, Lord knows, I’d walk up and downtown Dallas and ask for work. And I did it every single day,” she said. Shanjula had worked for years as a medical assistant at a Dallas hospital, but when she lost her job in 2009, she had nowhere to go. She and her three children — Deon, Precious, and Twquan, were forced to move into a shelter the day before Thanksgiving.

Her story isn’t unusual. About 85 percent of homeless families in the United States are headed by women — specifically single women with children. “One thing I did [in the shelter] was I prayed a lot,” she said. “There were a lot of things I didn’t understand. And some days I didn’t feel like praying. But I knew I had to because I knew it wasn’t me by myself. I had my kids to think about, too.” In 2010, Shanjula received the break she needed: she was accepted into a self-sufficiency family ministry for single parent families seeking higher education in Dallas. She was also offered a new job. She was able to study and work full time, while her children attended school. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to someday attend medical school.

Shanjula and her children became part of a “program” that com- bines housing, day care, and access to college education for residents, who are primarily single mothers. On one level, the program offers redemption from abusive, desperate circumstances these moms and their families face. But on a much higher level, the goal and purpose of the program is holistic redemption of the entire person.

Reflecting on her experience, Shanjula says her life “changed from having nothing to having something. It makes me feel good to know I have a goal set. I wanted my children to see me graduate, to say, ‘My mom did it. She was a single parent raising three children by herself. If she can do it, I can do it.’”

Shanjula needed redemption from her circumstances, and she needed a sense of hope for the future. Her redemption began on a spiritual level and later she found full redemption from her circumstances for her, her family, and the next generation. Her world changed as she and her family became part of the story of redemption. She found hope; she experienced God’s unfailing love, and she began to write the next chapter in her story of redemption. Her story represents a cosmic transaction in faith and weaves her into God’s plan of redemption for her, her family, and everyone in her circle of influence.

From the beginning of human history, God’s work and purpose for humanity was to redeem what was lost in the garden. What was intended for harm, over and over again, is made into good through God’s work of redemption. In the Old Testament, we can see patterns of his redemptive work in the lives of unsuspecting people. It is in his nature to redeem broken people.

jesusagendaExcerpted from The Jesus Agenda by Dr. Albert Reyes. For more information visit www.JesusAgenda.com

Q&A with James E. Ward Author of Zero Victim Part One

It is critically important to acknowledge the absolute probability of experiencing victimization. – James E. Ward

ZV-CoverPicChances are, most people will encounter unfair circumstances at some point in their lives. Explain the difference between being the victim of injustice and adopting a victim mindset.

Actually, those chances are 100%! It is critically important to acknowledge the absolute probability of experiencing victimization. I describe the world to be a hostile place that is perfectly designed to make victims out of us. Through years of counseling, pastoring, and coaching, I discovered that because challenges are sure to come, the people who do well in life are the people who learn to manage their challenges well. Failure to mentally prepare for unfair circumstances is really unwise. By preconditioning our minds to strategically and intelligently mitigate the inevitable pitfalls of injustice, while anticipating their arrival, we protect ourselves against adopting a victim mindset. Once an individual adopts a victim mindset, they significantly reduce their chances of successfully navigating their way out of the undesirable circumstances they’re facing.

To better understand the benefit of anticipating injustice, think of the relationship between a pitcher and catcher in baseball. From the catcher’s perspective, it is not a matter of “if” but “when” the next pitch will be thrown. He understands that a 100-mph fastball can be life threatening. To lessen the possibility of him being seriously injured or even killed, he wears the proper equipment to protect himself. You must think of injustice as a 100-mph fastball coming your way. Similar to a catcher in baseball, a Zero Victim Mentality equips you to protect yourself from the danger coming your way and to then “catch” it successfully. Once you mentally prepare yourself to address injustice beforehand, you will be no more surprised by its arrival than a catcher is by a pitched ball.

In your book, you point out that the difference between forming a victim mindset or a zero victim mindset is often shaped by your childhood. Tell us about your own childhood. How did your experiences and your response shape your own “zero victim” mindset?

One day the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. “I am as smart as any other student in this classroom, boy or girl, black or white!” In an instant, my mentality changed forever. At eight years old, I realized that the color of my skin or growing up on the black side of town held no connection with my ability to succeed in school. I understood that my success in life was not about comparing myself to others or competing with them but about doing the very best that I could. I discovered that I ultimately controlled my destiny.

You point to Jesus Christ as the greatest example of a zero victim mindset. What are some simple lessons we can learn from His example?

o Jesus taught a Zero Victim response to injustice—to not retaliate.
• Matt 5:38-42 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

o Jesus commands us to respond to our enemies with a Zero Victim Mentality.
• Matt 5:43-45 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;”

o Jesus forgave, even while experiencing the greatest injustice ever of being crucified as an innocent Man.
• Isa. 53:7 – “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
• Luke 23:34 – “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

o Jesus commands us to practice the “Golden Rule.”
• Matt 7:12 – “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

The Bible also provides some examples of the victim mindset at work. Tell us about the man at Bethesda. What were the factors that contributed to his victim mindset, and how do those issues affect people today?

The sick man at Bethesda clearly possessed a mentality of defeat from which he desperately needed to be liberated. Four key factors contributed to the sick man’s victim mentality:

• He settled in the wrong environment and maintained relationships with the wrong people. – The sick man resided in the company of sick people for thirty-eight years. I don’t want to seem insensitive to people experiencing health challenges, but this man lived in an environment for thirty-eight years where sickness was normal. When everyone in a community suffers from the same negative condition, dysfunctional behavior becomes normalized, and functional behavior becomes abnormal. When individuals live in an environment where undesirable conditions such as poverty, broken families, and crime are “normal,” they tend to become accustomed to those environments and see themselves as victims of their surroundings.

• He subscribed to time delay. – Over the years, the sick man had become programmed for delay. He never anticipated nor prepared for a specific moment when his condition would permanently change and he would be free from his infirmity. He became a victim of time by becoming complacent in his condition. The sick man became accustomed to waiting instead of taking control of his circumstances. Ongoing deferred hope can eventually become hopelessness.

• He lacked genuine desire to see his condition changed. – Jesus asked the sick man, “Would you like to get well?” The man never answered Jesus’ question. We want him to say with confidence, “Yes! I want to be made well!” Yet he doesn’t appear to have a firm desire to be healed. Victim mentality encourages tolerance of undesired circumstances, which eventually breaks an individual’s will to change. In some cases, victims actually prefer the comfort of the familiar, choosing to keep things the way they are as opposed to the discomfort of making things better.

• He made excuses to justify his undesirable condition. – Though the sick man did not respond by answering, “Yes!” he did respond with three excuses that justified his condition: 1) he didn’t have anyone to help him; 2) he needed to wait for the water to be stirred before jumping in; and 3) someone else jumps into the water before him (the people believed that when the water began to stir, the first person to jump into the pool would be healed). A victim mentality perpetrates the idea that someone else—a parent, spouse, boss, church, or the government—must do for you what you are unable to do for yourself. This man believed that someone getting into the pool ahead of him caused his condition, making him a “loser” to those competing against him. As a victim, their win meant his loss.

For more about Pastor James E. Ward and his book Zero Victim visit



Q&A with Sean Dunn Founder and Executive Director of JesusCares.com

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Q: What motivated you to create the ministry of JesusCares.com?

A window of opportunity now exists for us to bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. Not with an invitation that can be rejected, but with an invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25 through the media that they use every day. Our unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working.

Q: Through the JesusCares initiative, the parent ministry, Groundwire, is continuing to grow and to “interrupt” the lives of teens across the entire country. What has been your strategy for gaining exposure?

Groundwire’s strategy is to buy ad time on television and radio stations. Our thirty and sixty-second, Christ-centered radio spots proclaim the message of God’s unconditional love to millions via some of the most influential secular stations. We also reach our target audience through television buys on MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Comedy Central, TruTV, and Nick at Night.

Q: What happens after someone views or hears a JesusCares spot? How do you then go beyond the radio and TV spots to share the message of the Gospel?

After encountering a JesusCares ad, young people are directed to our website to download podcasts, read online devotionals, or talk with a spiritual coach. Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day. Since 2006, we’ve interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue we offer about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of our coaches’ ministry. We then connect as many as we can to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow. We are praying for more volunteer coaches to join our ministry.

Q: Some Christians might be hesitant to volunteer as a coach because they feel they aren’t qualified. What kind of person makes a good spiritual coach?

A: Spiritual coaches are sold-out Believers who are committed to the Great Commission and love people. They realize that although they are not perfect, God desires to speak through them. They realize that technology offers amazing opportunities to minister to people all over the world. Coaches need to be over eighteen and willing to submit to a background check and go through the necessary training. The key qualifications are compassion, a teachable spirit, good listening skills, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading, patience, resilience and authenticity.

Q: What does the process of becoming a coach look like?

A: Training begins when an application is completed and returned to the Director of Ministry. From that point, the majority of training is done online and consists of learning how to deal with the different types of conversations that might take place. There are a series of written responses that take place in email format and then an online mock chat as well.

Q: Describe the issues JesusCares coaches address most often as they interact with young people.

A: The most common issues include:

• Self-Image: Students are trying to figure out who they are. They are looking for acceptance, belonging, and meaning.

• Loneliness: An abnormal number of people live lonely and desperate lives in the midst of families that care and with crowds all around. They feel isolated and as if no one cares.

• Hopelessness: Many students feel that their life will never get better. They are trapped in painful circumstances and can’t envision a time when things will get better.

• Fear of Failure: They are afraid that they won’t live up to others’ expectations for them. Some respond by placing all of their value on their achievements. Others stop trying all together. They won’t disclose their goals, so that no one will ever know if they fail.

• Transition to Independence: Many students rely on their parents’ faith, morals, and convictions without developing their own. When it’s time to venture out and make their own choices, they give leadership of their life to the first person or group that comes along.

• Lust, Immorality, and Sexual Addiction: Many people (even Christian young people) are caught in this horrible battle with lust. They are drawn in by sexual images and fantasies but then feel dirty and guilty after giving in to them. The shame that comes from sexual mistakes continues to hold them in a difficult cycle. They want to be pure but don’t know how to get there.

• Spiritual Connection: They hunger for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. They long to know God intimately but have never been taught how. It has not been intentionally modeled for them. So, they wonder if the person down the street, who appears so close, loves them more than a seemingly distant God. They think something is wrong with them.

Q: Through JesusCares and other initiatives, Groundwire targets not just teenagers, but young people in their early twenties. Why do you think young adults continue to struggle with so many issues that were once associated just with the teenage years?

A: Young adults do not have the stability of healthy families, strong spiritual lives, and distinct purpose that used to be more common. They are struggling to find themselves, find purpose, and find hope. To quote scripture, this generation is “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” When Jesus recognized these conditions in Matthew 9:35-38, he came to a conclusion. “The harvest is plentiful”.

Q: How have you seen JesusCares impact the families of the young people you counsel?
A: One young man we coached first responded to a JesusCares spot because of fears over his parents’ constant fighting. During the chat with our coach, “Taylor” accepted Christ. A few days later, he discovered that a friend on his lacrosse team was a Christian. That friend invited him to church. Soon, Taylor’s family visited the church to witness his baptism. Before long, the rest of the family responded to the gospel, and his parents sought relationship counseling through the church. In Taylor’s words, “My home feels different now. It will take time, but my parents say they want our house to be `full of Jesus’ from now on.”

Q: Not all the individuals reached by JesusCares are non-believers. How have coaches encouraged Christians who are struggling?
A: There are countless stories. Recently, one of our coaches encouraged a teenage girl from a believing family to tell her parents she needed to take a pregnancy test. Praying with the coach and experiencing the support of her parents has helped this young woman deal with feelings of shame and fear and withstand pressure from the baby’s father to get an abortion.
Q: What is your vision for the future of JesusCares?
A: We are working towards a national launch and anticipating this impacting millions in the US before we take it into some other strategic nations. The goal is to flood the culture with pictures/messages about Jesus as He truly is–kind, loving, compassionate, and forgiving.


Pain is Inevitable. Suffering is Optional.

262_James_Suit_-_BlackThe Zero Victim Mentality Offers Hope and Healing.

We are all destined to confront pain in our lives. Some of us experience unspeakable tragedy, while others are subject to ridicule, discrimination, mockery, or even violence. At times, the ones we love the most treat us with scorn and disrespect. But have you noticed how some people rise above their victimization while others sink into mental and spiritual defeat? Despite their similarity, some people thrive while others wither away.

In Zero Victim, author and corporate executive James Ward shows how repeated victimization can destroy your positive outlook by permanently creating negative memories and damaged emotions. Victim mentality is a conditioned mental tendency to regard yourself as a victim of the negative thoughts, actions, and ideas of others. Ward reveals that this damaged outlook, not your set of unfortunate circumstances, is the real problem standing between you and a better life.

“Let’s face it. We live in a hostile world where imperfect people develop imperfect systems. We all endure difficulties at no fault of our own. Each of us has been a victim in some way. Many people allow that victimization to define their future,” Ward says. “But that doesn’t have to be your story. What if you could immediately and permanently improve every area of your life, regardless of the hardships and injustices you have suffered? Imagine a life filled with satisfying relationships, in which you are more effective and productive in everything you do. Yes, it is really possible when you apply the Zero Victim principle to every area of your life.”

Drawing on real world examples and his own experiences growing up in the era of school integration in the South, Ward outlines the process of developing a programmed mindset to overcome injustice and recognize victory in every situation. His revolutionary “Zero Victim Mentality” will set readers free from their days of fear, depression, and discouragement. Topics covered include:

• When bad things happen to good people—confronting the universality of injustice
• How the victim mindset threatens family relationships
• The power of negative words to perpetuate the victim mindset
• The link between the victim mentality and personal character and morality
• Practical steps that will liberate anyone from the victim mindset

Ward’s challenging message directly contradicts the culture of blame that has become a hallmark of American society. “The victim mentality produces a perception that a set of circumstances, particular person, or group of people is holding you back,” Ward says. “I wrote Zero Victim to equip people with the tools necessary to control seemingly uncontrollable events. When you control your mentality successfully, the way you experience life will immediately change for the better.”

Zero Victim
James E. Ward
Sunesis Publishing | ISBN 978-0-692-29583-0

Q & A with Dr. Albert Reyes Author of The Jesus Agenda Part 1

Albert L Reyes Buckner President CEO.jpgQ: Your new book is titled The Jesus Agenda. There are some conflicting ideas in our popular culture concerning what that would be. Based on your study of Scripture, what does the Jesus agenda look like?

A: The Jesus Agenda is the vision for Christ’s ministry on earth as He outlined it in His first sermon recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Simply put, Jesus came to redeem the lost—not just for eternity in Heaven but from lives of darkness here on earth. This is the Jesus agenda – preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, recovering sight for the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. I believe every redeemed person—that is, every Christian—is called to become an agent of redemption. The Jesus agenda is not for the few. It is the responsibility and privilege of every believer.

Q: What inspired you to write The Jesus Agenda?

A: Looking back over my own ministry roles, from pastoring in economically depressed areas, to expanding educational opportunities to Hispanics, to heading a global relief ministry, the Lord sent me to places where I would have ample opportunity to preach good news to the poor, to help set captives free, to help people find healing, to reverse situations of oppression, and to introduce the hope of the Lord’s favor for their lives. I chose to write this book because I wanted to tell my story of redemption and encourage followers of Jesus to accept their commission as agents of redemption.
I first delivered this challenge in 2005 as I addressed the Baptist General Convention of Texas, comprised of 5,500 churches and 23 institutions (universities, hospital systems, human welfare agencies, and other affiliated ministries). My year as President of Texas Baptists came to a close, but the message of the Jesus Agenda continued to stir my spirit. Does the church that Jesus died for reflect the vision of His first sermon?
Today, I serve as President and CEO of Buckner International based in Dallas, Texas, a global multi-service ministry focused on making life better for vulnerable children, orphans, seniors and their families through redemptive transformation. Every day, I hear stories of redemption. I live with the conviction that I was blessed to bless others, saved to share with others, and redeemed for a purpose in God’s story of redemption.

Q: Describe the qualities of an “agent of redemption.”

A: An agent of redemption is a person of courage, compassion, and conviction on mission with Jesus to turn what was intended for harm into good. An agent of redemption has a personal calling to actively engage with people in his or her circle of influence to demonstrate a transformed life and to work, pray, and focus on the redemptive potential in everyone around him. They look at their family, neighborhood, community, state, nation, and world to ask, “How could this place look more like the Kingdom of God – right here, right now?” Then they take action. This person lives life in view of eternity.

Q: Who was The Jesus Agenda written to reach?

A: My first audience is the follower of Jesus who does not have an official leadership role or title in vocational ministry. I am writing to business leaders, lawyers, educators, engineers, teachers, professors, skilled-workers, homemakers, accountants, health professionals, middle and high school students, college students, graduate students, and service workers who long to make a difference and want to be on personal mission with God in the world. I want these readers to prayerfully consider this question. “How would your profession or vocational skills benefit the poor, those in prison, the physically challenged, and those who are oppressed in your community?”
The second audience I am addressing includes seminary students, bible college students, theological faculty and administrators, leaders in Christian higher education, pastoral leaders, missionaries, and vocational ministers. These people are the key to developing and unleashing agents of redemption in their ministries and circles of influence.

A third audience includes ministry leaders, mission leaders and strategists, mission executives, agency executives, and denominational leaders. I am hopeful that we will find our way toward collaboration for the sake of the Redeemer’s Kingdom.

Dr. Albert Reyes serves as the sixth President and CEO of Buckner International, a global Christian ministry founded in 1879 in Dallas, Texas focused on serving vulnerable children, orphans, seniors, and their families.

For more information visit www.JesusAgenda.org

Q&A with Bill Myers about The Jesus Experience PART 2

indexIn chapter four of The Jesus Experience you lay out three cornerstones that changed your life. Can you briefly touch on them and how they impacted your life?

First up was Romans 8:28. We throw that verse around like a Frisbee, but what if it really was true? What if all things did work together for the good to those how love Him? Not some things, not most things, but ALL things.

Next came James 1:2-4. “Count it all joy when you face trials . . . knowing that they will make you whole and mature not lacking in anything.” Again, there’s that superlative — not some joy, not most joy, but ALL joy. (And James had the gall to write this when Christians were being tortured and their children set on fire as human torches).

Finally there was 1 Thess. 5:16-18, a real killer. “Rejoice always . . . in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice when? ALWAYS. In how many things do we give thanks? EVERYTHING.

So with those three verses, I had to make a choice:

Door A: God is a liar. Or Door B: God is faithful.

I chose Door B and that’s made all the difference in the world.

You shared many stories of being abroad working on films and how other cultures experience more persecution for their faith. Which experience impacted you the most?

I think it was when I was in the Soviet Union (now Russia) secretly interviewing persecuted Christians for a film we were preparing to shoot. At the end of our meeting I rattled off some platitude like, “I’ll be praying for you.” The man just shook his head and said, “No, my brother. We’re praying for you. Our persecution is making us strong. You in the West are the ones growing weak and are in danger.”

Of all the characters in the Bible, you have chosen Balaam’s donkey as your role model. How does a donkey encourage/inspire you?

If God can use a donkey to accomplish His purposes, He can use an unqualified, sinful, failure like myself. It has very little to do with my skills and everything to do with my trust and willingness.

Bill Myers is an award winning author and filmmaker, whose work in Christian media has impacted millions across the world. Through a casual, friendly tone and humor peppered throughout, The Jesus Experience is an enjoyable roadmap to a deeper relationship with God through freedom found in Christ. Myers has created the perfect crossroad between approachable and attainable that all believers can appreciate.