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A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 3: Meeting With Jon Klinepeter

You can read this “Public Letter” in it’s entirety here.

You can download this entire “Public Letter” here.

 

– April 30th 2013: The Meeting Between John, Tara and I.

Tara and I sat down with Jon for lunch. After an hour and half of optimistically asking Jon to clarify his position on homosexuality, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption and justify or provide an explanation for his Facebook posts, he told us he would be more careful in the future, that he was sorry that we misinterpreted things and for the misunderstanding it caused.

Initially he said he had no position on same-sex marriage, but when faced with his posts as evidence he claimed, “Nothing in those posts was incongruent with the “Willow’s Elder Statement”. I’d told Jon earlier in the meeting that I had a copy of the Elder’s Statement with me. He boldly told me, “he helped write much of it”, which made no sense for someone who had “no position”.

When asked about same-sex adoption, Jon said, “it’s not an issue until all of the children that need homes have been adopted” and “look at all the abuse that goes on in traditional marriages”. When asked about same-sex marriage I had to hear about how broken traditional marriage is and the astronomical divorce rate among Christians. No matter how hopeful I phrased my questions, Jon couldn’t line up with the Bible. He simply wouldn’t state his position.

After realizing that we had accomplished nothing, and receiving an apology for our misunderstanding, I told Jon that we would be taking this to the Elders. A few days later I began to write the “Elder’s Letter” that we would send directly to Bill Hybels via his assistant.

The meeting between Jon, Tara and I is described in great detail in the Elders Letter found here Elder’s Letter.

– May 28th 2013: I Sent The “Elder’s Letter” To Bill Via His Assistant.

After almost a month of fervent prayer, counsel from other members of Willow Chicago, pastors and Christian friends and family, I finished the Elder’s Letter I initially intended to send to the Willow Creek Board of Elders. After more thought I decided to send it directly to Bill Hybels via his assistant, because I have the utmost respect for Bill, and I knew he could handle this unilaterally and minimize any damage to the church.

So on May 28th I sent the “Elder’s Letter” to Bill’s assistant.

– May 31st 2013: Absent a Response, I Send a Follow Up.

After not hearing anything from Bill’s assistant for three days, I sent a follow up email.  She responded immediately and confirmed receipt of the letter. She also noted that she put a copy on Bill’s desk, adding, “I’m sure you’ll be hearing from him soon”.

– June 23rd 2013: Three Weeks Pass, No Word.

After nearly a month of not hearing anything from anyone, I sent Bill’s assistant an email letting her know that we were not contacted. I also asked her to confirm that Bill was aware of our letter and the issues we raised.

Bill’s assistant responded immediately stating,” Bill did receive a copy of your letter, but he has not had a chance to respond yet.”

After waiting almost a month since we sent the letter, and nearly three months since this started, Tara and I were drained, confused, and disappointed. We couldn’t understand how such an intensely sincere and good-hearted man like Bill Hybels could allow this to take place in his church.

If you’d like to discuss this further you can email me at justinobriecht@gmail.com

A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 2: Matthew 18

You can read this “Public Letter” in it’s entirety here.

You can download this entire “Public Letter” here.

Our Matthew 18 Process

As I said, this all started in March of 2013 when I became friends with Jon on Facebook. But to be perfectly accurate, the issue of homosexuality in relation to Willow Chicago was an issue the Lord had put on our hearts months before. At that time, Tara and I chose to ignore God’s promptings because of concerns for unity in the church, our love for Jon and LGBT individuals, and our reliance on Willow Chicago to run our ministry. We also hoped that God would change Jon’s heart, decisions and actions in regards to homosexuality, in the same way He saves LGBT individuals from same-sex attractions everyday all over the world.

After seeking counsel from several members of Willow Chicago, other pastors and Christian friends, it became clear we’d have to meet with Jon. Even though we had a great relationship with Jon, this wasn’t something we were looking forward to. The following is a brief timeline of our Matthew 18 process with Willow Chicago and Willow Creek Barrington (Willow Creek Barrington is the main campus of Willow Creek Community Church).

– April 3rd 2013: Emailing Jon To Request a Meeting.

I sent Jon the following email:

Hi Jon,

Tara and I were hoping to get an hour of your time to discuss gay marriage and how we and our church should feel about it. 

We have a lot of questions and confusion on the issue and have discussed it with our small group and many other members of the church and they’ve all suggested we talk to you since it seems to be a complicated issue. 

Let us know your thoughts. 

– April 9th 2013: Absent A Response, I Send a Follow Up.

Six days later, I had not received a response, so I followed up with a friendly reminder.Jon responded that same day and mentioned he was on vacation with his family. He told me that he forwarded the email to his assistant and she would be in touch to schedule something.

– April 14th 2013: Meeting With Jon Scheduled.

Five days later I received an email from his assistant offering us a dinner meeting on April 22nd 2013. Tara and I accepted and looked forward to Jon’s explanation and hopefully putting this matter behind us.

– April 21st 2013: Jon Cancels and Reschedules.

The day before our scheduled meeting, Jon sees us after church around 11am with some of our homeless friends, and tells us “you’re doing awesome work for the kingdom” followed by “see you tomorrow night”

At 3pm that same day (Sunday), I received an email from Jon’s assistant telling me the meeting would have to be rescheduled because of a meeting Jon needed to attend for his family schedule. She offered two new dates; the soonest of which was nine days away on April 30th, and the latter was May 6th.

Tara and I were really disappointed. It had been almost a month since we requested the meeting and now at the last second it was being canceled in lieu of a date nine days away.

It’s important to understand that the moment our initial email was sent to Jon on April 3rd, Tara and I were under intense pressure. Pressure we didn’t want. This postponement meant another nine days of having this on our heart.

We accepted the April 30th date and continued praying that God would remove this cup from us, and change Jon’s heart.

If you’d like to discuss this further you can email me at justinobriecht@gmail.com

A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 1: Jon Klinepeter

You can read this “Public Letter” in it’s entirety here.

You can download this entire “Public Letter” here.

Hello all,

I write you today with an incredible amount of anxiety, fear and concern in my heart. These are feelings being tangibly soothed by the Holy Spirit as I embark on writing you this letter. I write this letter at the request of my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. A request that He’s made of me in order to protect and warn Christ’s church and His sheep. A request that I’ve prayed for months now would be lifted from me. A request that has caused my wife and I more heart ache and soul searching then any new Christians should ever have to endure. But a request that I’m willing to fulfill because my wife and I owe everything we have to Jesus Christ, and we’re both submissive servants to the Holy Spirit.

I write you this letter in the face of inevitable opposition from people who hold their church and pastor as their idols. People who’ll defend those same entities more aggressively then they’ve ever defended Christ or His Word. People who’ll choose not to see the deceptive, subtle and deliberate ways in which Jon Klinepeter has mislead his congregation in order to push his own agenda and interpretation of scripture. People who’ll misunderstand our motives and heart in writing this letter regardless of the genuine love, concern and pain we express for the LGBT community. People who’ll choose to ignore the clarity in which the Bible speaks on the issue of homosexuality, and the dire threat it poses to the very core of society, the family, Christianity and the church.

However, there will also be people who’ll see this for what it is. Which is a husband and wife disappointingly going it alone to follow these Biblical commands, Matthew 18:15, Timothy 5:19, I John 4:1, Romans 16:17, Titus 1:13, II Thessalonians 3:6 and Titus 3:10. A husband and wife who have a heart for their church, and the congregation they worship with every weekend. A husband and wife who feel compelled to bring this to light in order to affirm everyone who’s butted heads with Willow Creek and came out feeling defeated and without a church, especially ex board members. A husband and wife who live several blocks from Boys Town, and have been loving, accepting and compassionate towards gay people their entire lives. A husband and wife who write this letter on one hand to obey God, but also to speak the truth lovingly to the gay community in the hopes that they’ll experience the love Christ has for all of them.

This public letter is the culmination of a six-month ordeal that started in March of 2013 when I became friends with Jon Klinepeter on Facebook. This is a letter that I intended to keep short, but soon realized that God didn’t care how many people read all of my words. But rather He would warn the people He chose to warn, by leading those individuals to this letter.

In March of 2013, my wife and I had a great relationship with Jon. I was pleased to see that my pastor had a public Facebook page and that he accepted my friend request. However my excitement soon turned to disappointment and disbelief as I scrolled through his page and found post after post condoning, normalizing and affirming homosexuality and same-sex marriage. You can see digital proof (screen shots) of his posts and personal comments in this letter (Elder’s Letter), which I sent to Bill Hybels via his assistant three months ago.

These articles were posted in the face of what is still a powerful and public effort to normalize homosexuality in the church. My spirit was in chaos; I hoped there was an explanation. So I started reading the sentiments Jon wrote in reference to the articles and videos, and they were more alarming then the posts themselves. Worse yet, the subtle and subversive way in which the comments were worded exposed Jon’s motive and heart on the issue. This was no accident, Jon had his talking points down perfectly, and he knew how to word things just right to avoid blatant conflict with the Willow Creek Elders Statement and the Bible.

Now I could feel the Holy Spirit telling me this isn’t right. I wanted to let it go, but God wouldn’t let me forget what I saw. I felt a strong prompting to take screen shots of the material in the hope that irrefutable, digital proof would be enough to get Jon, Bill Hybels, or the elders of Willow Creek to take action. After I finished collecting the proof, the Holy Spirit’s promptings to take screen shots were affirmed independently by one of my closest Christian friends.

After much prayer and counsel from many members of Willow Chicago, my wife and I decided we needed to follow the Matthew 18:15 process, which started by meeting with Jon. This began the long painful journey that has culminated in the writing of this letter. A journey which I hope to describe to all of you in order to follow Timothy 5:19 which states, “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.”

If you’d like to discuss this further you can email me at justinobriecht@gmail.com

The Hole: By Tara Obriecht

There’s a God shaped hole inside of me.

Why can’t I have more faith to set me free.

Only Jesus Christ holds the key, but my sins make me suffer and humanize me.

I pray to get strength and comfort from Thee.

Die to self daily because no matter what I do there is this hole inside of me.

I fill it with the wrong things and they never completely satisfy me.

I fill it with TV, competition, hate, worries, media and mindless things that placate me.

Not only to placate me but create a distorted reality.

I’m so blinded by this world sometimes I even forget because I can’t always see.

There is this gaping, black hole inside of me.

If I don’t seek the truth and fill it with the love of Christ it will be the end of me.

Please father my loving God don’t let me be tricked by this world, the evil one’s plan.

I get so over worried by this life’s span.

Help me fill that hole with grace, love, fellowship and reading your word so my unfulfilling desires flee.

I pray that You will continually remind me Lord of this hole inside of me.

Another Amazing Testimony

Darrin
It was nearly sunset when three does trotted out of the dense bedding area, giving life to the dead funnel I had guarded like a sentinel throughout the cold November afternoon. They glanced over their shoulders to tattle on the monster 10-point buck that was following close behind them.

I slowly arose to a shooting position and prayed that the swollen, wide-racked trophy would make the mistake of traveling into bow range. I held my bow steady but still released an arrow into the ground beside it. The magnificent buck bounded into the timber. I was disappointed, but I was free to pursue the trophy buck another day. I sank into my stand and began to reflect on times when I hadn’t been free.

Read more…

Truth Of The Day: The Reliability And Accuracy Of The New Testament Is Unmatched!

If you throw out the New Testament you have to throw out Aristotle, Plato, Caesar, and the Iliad.

http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

The Lords Path: By Tara Obriecht

This is another poem written by my amazing and beautiful wife Tara.

 

The Lord’s Path

When I can’t do it myself
I pass it to my Lord
He always provides a path

I know his directions are good
I follow him
Away from sin’s wrath.

Tears may stream
Cries may feel unheard
Yet with him I’m okay

My soul always needed more
To you Lord I look
For a brighter day.

In confusion
Lost in this cold world
I feel

Only armed with his love
Around me
His love is insanely real.

When others disappoint
I’ve always felt your truth
I beg to receive

Daily strengthening my faith
In you father
In your goodness I believe.

 

This is a very cliche verse but it explains it all in a couple words. John 3:16

Our Truest Form: By Tara Obriecht

Hello All,

I’m writing you today to share an amazing poem my wife emailed me the other day. While I’ve known her to be an amazing poet, this poem took my breath away. I had tears in my eyes while I read her description of the lives we lead and the world we live in.  Reading in amazement as she described in a few words things that take me paragraphs to explain.  The Holy Spirit is doing amazing things in her life and this poem along with a few others, which I’ll be posting in the future, are evidence of it.

 

Our Truest Form

To be in this world, not of it
Is what He wants us to be
Take away all these masks
That hide and masochistically comfort me

We all disguise ourselves with something
Make up, clothes, work outs and hair
We get trapped in what doesn’t really matter
And start to lose hope that He still has care

When I think of all the things I do
Just to conceal my ongoing pain
It hurts because only in Him
Is our salvation to gain

We make it a battle
We are sure to lose
While we hurry to
Cover up each and every bruise

I’m stripping this down
Like an onion, myself I peel
Uncovering me
To my truest form, so I can feel

If we all just let go
Of the fake confidence we have from things here
Our insecurities would vanish
And our hearts could finally draw Him near

 

I’ll leave you with three Bible verses to Google and ponder.

Proverbs 2:3-5

Romans 1:20

Psalm 14:1

 

Jordan Kurecki Testimony

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech,

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:20

Hello All,

I’m writing you today to share another of my friends and past co-workers testimonies. His name is Jordan and coming to know him was another amazing benefit to sending my testimony to everyone in my life. If I wouldn’t have shared my testimony that way, like most Christians, I would have stayed in the dark to the people GOD wants me to connect with.

Fellow Christians, you have to give GOD a chance to work in your life! You have to mix it up. You (non-truthers as well) have to change every habit, ritual and pattern you have that doesn’t include GOD. You have to go towards what makes you uncomfortable. You go against His word when you are quite about your faith. There is no downside to obeying the command given to us in The Great Commission.

Most truth fearers wont think twice about your testimony but the benefit and love you’ll gain from the faithful you don’t know will be immeasurable. And on the off chance that your testimony hits the right person at the right time you could have saved a persons life and have a friend for eternity. There is no downside. As I’ve said before and the Bible says clearly “If GOD be for us, Who can be against us!” He wants you to do the opposite of fear, which is trust Him. Fear is of the Devil and nothing else. When you fear (insecurity comes from fear), you’re not trusting. When you worry, you’re not trusting and when you’re quite you’re neither obeying nor trusting nor allowing Him the opportunity to bless you fully.

Read more…

Chuck Martin’s Testimony!

Hello All,

I plan on getting much more personal as soon as I have the time to write. In the meantime I’ve decided to post my friend Chuck Martin’s testimony. Chuck owns several Culver’s franchises in the Chicago market and is a great guy in every respect. He’s bold, genuine and caring with a big heart.

I got a taste of that big heart at dinner when his wife Lynnaea joined Tara and I at Seasons 52 in Schaumburg a few weeks ago. We talked about a lot of things including how sometimes Lynnaea wished she had a testimony of her own. She went on to explain how she’s always had a relationship with GOD because she was lucky enough to be raised that way. I can’t imagine having what I’ve had for the past five months my entire life. How many less mistakes I would’ve made with the Holy Spirit guiding me. The fact that she’s had the Holy Spirit guiding her is clear in every aspect of her life. Neither of them drink at all, both look about fifteen years younger than they are, they’re visibly in love and you can see and hear the Holy Spirit radiating from her at all times. It’s amazing!

Read more…