Friends,

It's been a beautiful, painful and non-linear 7 years at Unearthed. Many of you supported the Heart of Man film in its infancy back in 2010 when the emphasis was solely on sexual exploitation and trafficking. Others of you found out by word of mouth, fundraisers, email blasts, social media and conferences. However you came to partner with us, I want to thank you. The Heart of Man film saw its official nationwide release in theaters on September 14th, and over 50,000 of you came out to support the film. That evening was by no means the end of the road - we had demand for a theatrical encore on October 17th, and more is ahead in the way of international release and a tour.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE FILM

2017 will be the final year of operation for Unearthed as an organization. We created Unearthed to make the Heart of Man film - and now that the film is complete, we are handing over the duties of distributing the film (and all of its subsequent resources) to some trusted friends of ours. Here are a few things to know moving forward:

  • If you want your automatically recurring donation to stop prior to Dec 31, 2017, you can email me directly and I'll take care of that for you.
  • If we don't hear from you, we will automatically cancel your giving subscription Dec 31, 2017 and you will no longer be charged.
  • 2017 tax receipts will be emailed in January of 2018 for the 2017 calendar year.
  • All information on the film can be found at the official Heart of Man film website
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions (and their corresponding answers) can be found here
  • We hope to release the Heart of Man film internationally in 2018, but no solid release plans have been secured due to a present lack of funding. Jason Pamer can be reached with specific questions.
  • The Heart of Man film has released on iTunes, BluRay, DVD and Amazon. DVDs will begin shipping November 2017.

Once we roll into 2018, all film correspondence will be handled by our Heart of Man social media pages, and emails will be coming from the team at PureHope

It's been a wild, beautiful, transformative journey because of your presence and generosity - and we got the thing done! We actually got it done!

Cheers to the road ahead...and all of the change that will happen because of your support.

Tony

Heart of Man OFFICIAL RELEASE!

FINALLY!

Today, Variety confirmed that the Heart of Man film will receive a nationwide release in roughly 500 theaters across the United States on September 14, 2017. This is a one night event and you can read more about the official release details here.

HOW DO I BUY TICKETS?

Tickets are ON SALE HERE  through Fathom's website.

Please don't be alarmed if the film is not showing in your exact area the evening of September 14th. 500 screens encompasses a broad swath of the US, but it's impossible to hit every metropolitan area with this initial one night release. Depending on the success of this event on the 14th, Fathom may add additional nights, cities, screens or events. This one night theatrical release is just the beginning and we hope a screening is available in your area! If you're buying tickets for larger groups, discounts may be available. All you need to do is email our producer Jason Pamer and he'll take care of the details with you.

HOW DO I SEE THE FILM AFTER THE THEATRICAL RELEASE?

Our team is working towards a much more robust release in the first quarter of 2018 that will include (at minimum): 

  • Physical release of the film on BluRay/DVD
  • Video On Demand release of the film (iTunes, Netflix, etc)
  • An exclusive megachurch tour of the film across the US between January and March of 2018
  • The release of the Heart of Man Roundtable Discussions. Our team filmed followup material in the format of roundtable conversations that include the same thought leaders in the film (and a few new ones, too). These discussions were expertly created and filmed to be experienced after the Heart of Man film. They act as a sort of "curriculum" that help the viewers dig deeper into their own stories, brokenness and healing. Our team loves these as much (if not more) than the actual Heart of Man film itself!

WHEN WILL THE HEART OF MAN MOVIE COME TO OTHER COUNTRIES?

We're working tirelessly  to get the Heart of Man released globally, it's just a matter of money and time and it's not an easy process! We've had hundreds of offers to help translate the film into dozens of languages, but there are more difficulties than you'd imagine associated with a release of this scale. We're excited to engage this difficulty, and have been doing so for years. 

  • We CANNOT commit to releasing the Heart of Man internationally in theaters
  • We CAN commit to releasing the Heart of Man digitally all over the world once we have the funding and resources in place.

Our producer Jason Pamer can be emailed with any and all questions related to release of the film outside of the US. Know that it's our commitment to release the film in every area of the world possible (especially since many of you who donated to see the film come into existence are outside of America). We have not forgotten you, and we will not. This US theatrical release on September 14th is simply the first step to help the film roll out into the open. We are confident doors will open once the film releases in September that will enable us to move the film outside of this country, and for that opportunity, we are ecstatic!

THE FUTURE OF UNEARTHED

You'll notice in forthcoming press releases that Sypher Studios has assumed responsibility of releasing the Heart of Man movie. Unearthed was created (and exists) to fund the creation and distribution of the film, but Unearthed is not a professional film studio with capacity to release a film of this grandeur. Sypher is a professional studio. Jens and Jason work with Sypher and are managing the entire process with diligence to ensure that the film sees daylight in as many places in the world as possible, and Unearthed will stick to doing what it does best, which is distributing your generosity with wisdom, frugality and excellence in tandem with Sypher. Unearthed funded the film (and is still funding the distribution), and Sypher Studios made (and is now distributing) the film. After we see the film released, the Unearthed board of trustees will meet in December of 2017 to discern the future of Unearthed and whether or not it needs to continue in its existence. We will make this decision with as much wisdom and patience as we can.

IT'S FINISHED!

We're happy to annouce that the Heart of Man film is finished. Completely. You'll notice we changed the name from "Hearts of Men" to "The Heart of Man." At the core, our film appeals to women as much as it does to men, and as we tested the film in different markets between 2015 and 2016, we realized the title change was in alignment with God's heart for all of mankind instead of just men. Same film, just a slightly different title.

OKAY, SO NOW WHAT?

Our team has worked for the last 15 months to develop the second phase of the film, which is the marketing and release. Both of these run parallel and will be executed Fall 2017. Getting a film distributed to the public in a consumable way is no small feat - in fact, it takes the same amount of energy and attention to detail that making a film does. Thankfully, it does not take the same amount of time.

Q: HOW MUCH MONEY NEEDS TO BE RAISED TO DISTRIBUTE THE FILM?

A: $400,000

Q: WHEN DOES THE MONEY NEED TO BE RAISED BY?

A: THE END OF 2016

Q: HOW WILL THE $400,000 BE USED?

A: The Fedd Agency in Austin, TX has been recruited (thanks to their incredibly generous fee reduction) to be the primary set of hands through which The Heart of Man film will be released to the world. The Fedd is an immensely skilled team women who market, brand and release content for the top names in the faith based world. Their work is some of the best on the planet. The Fedd will work for 9 solid months beginning in Jan, 2017 to coordinate a massive, far-reaching and intuitive release of The Heart of Man in the Fall of 2017. In the Fedd's hands, the launch of the Heart of Man will include (at minimum):

  • Limited nationwide theatrical release of the film in select cities
  • Multiple ways for the public to buy/view the film on all online outlets (Netflix, iTunes, etc)
  • A gorgeous and well-designed comprehensive package for the church that includes not just the film, but ancillary teaching content that takes the conversation of The Heart of Man film deeper in every way imaginable. This back-end ancillary content will be extremely well presented (just like the film) and will be made for small groups, marriages and parenting. We see this being a mixture of writing, film and audio
  • Nationwide tour in select cities (at select churches) to screen the film for the public and invite them into the larger movement of the Heart of Man
  • A website made specifically for the sale and distribution of the film so that consumers can buy it directly online and have the film in digital & physical format
  • Translation (and limited audio overdub) into every major language possible
  • Intuitive & simple resources for those who want to host screenings in their homes or at their churches

If that wasn't already enough, the $400,000 will also go to hire the best publicity firm in the nation, Rogers and Cowan. Their team has been retained (thanks to their overly generous discount) to represent the film in the public eye, which is equally as important as the marketing agency we've chosen. This angle allows the film to make its way into the public and secular streams as much as the Fedd will enable it to permeate the faith based world.

Q: WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

A: First the church, then the secular markets. The church is in a massive identity crisis, and this film has already proven to begin liberating the sons and daughters of God within the church from our broken, moralistic and religious way of thinking and relating to God and to others. Once we begin to know who God is, and as a result who we are, the church actually have something to offer the world. Freedom from performance. Freedom from managing my behavior so I appear acceptable to God. Freedom from addiction, compulsive behavior, secrecy and a double life. This film meets the needs of the church's current identity crisis and enables it to invite the rest of the world to the banquet God is throwing all of us at every turn.

WHY SHOULD I GIVE TOWARDS THE MARKETING EFFORT?

We get it, marketing is not the most exciting thing to give towards. But marketing is how we take something we've all put our blood, sweat and tears into over the last several years and give it as a gift to the world. Our marketing plan is a solid catapult that can launch this love letter from God all over the earth to his wayward children who are being invited back to the table. If we aren't able to raise the funds, we'll need to re-imagine the release in terms of size and scope. Asks are being made around the country to other supporters who have been equally as generous as you. Our team members are making year-end contributions as well as working with the other members of our network to coordinate screenings in select cities this Fall and in early 2017. Together we can get this done. We're confident of it.

Feel free to email Jason if you'd like an advance screener of the film or if you'd like to host a fundraising event or screening.

Hearts of Men Progress | Update 5

WE HAVE PICTURE LOCK!

Friends, contributors, intercessors and fellow warriors in the trenches with us - THANK YOU. The photo above was taken in Phoenix right after the TrueFace community screened Hearts of Men and prayed for our producer, Jason Pamer, and I. Needless to say, it was a landmark moment for us. It's been an insanely long and difficult 7 year road to get to this point, but Hearts of Men has been "locked." This is an industry term simply meaning that we can move forward with the post-production process -  the tedious weeks of making the film look and sound as beautiful as possible so you can see it.

SOME SPECIFIC BREAKTHROUGH:

The team and I are working around the clock on custom music, color grading, sound design, visual effects, title sequences and everything in between until we have the film's final audio mixed, which is usually the last step in the process. Post production will likely take all of the summer months to accomplish due to several moving parts and a continuing budgetary restraint. Now, a few amazing things to report:

+) Hearts of Men has been privately screened in front of roughly 2,000 people - all of whom gave us trusted critical feedback which our producers incorporated into the edit of the film prior to it being locked. Nice to get that feedback before you release something of this magnitude instead of after, right?

+) Private screenings of Hearts of Men were held at Josh McDowell's "Set Free Summit" in partnership with Covenant Eyes and Focus on the Family. Incredibly honest and helpful feedback was given at both events which greatly blessed and challenged our team.

+) Satoshi Noguchi (a fascinating audio engineer who has mixed audio and music for films like TRON: Legacy, Oblivion, Foxcatcher, Dark Knight Rises, Transformers, Man of Steel, Age of Adaline, do I need to keep going?) has agreed to mix the audio for Hearts of Men. We are speechless! This will take our quality to a whole new level.

+) Brian Bird (Executive Producer for Hearts of Men and also the recent film released nationwide "Captive,") recently shared this with us after watching our film, "Of all the projects I have worked on over the years, I’m not sure there has ever been one that is so deeply relevant, moving, beautifully produced and potentially explosive from a ministry perspective. It’s all about how God loves us through our frailties of temptation, addiction and sexual failings, and is already preparing the way back home for us."

+) Jeremy Affeldt (former World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants and Executive Producer for Hearts of Men) recently watched our film and said: "This is the best thing Larissa and I have ever invested in."

+) I (Tony) am writing the score for the film and recording it piece by piece at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville with my orchestrator Brandon Collins. I am blown away by Brandon's talent and his ability to give himself to our film since he's already involved in orchestrating for One Republic as they release their new record. Together, Brandon and I have made great progress establishing a beautiful, rich and elegant sound for the film's musical ethos using just a string quintet. I'm elated.

+) We are looking to finish post production in the next 10 weeks

THE FINAL STRETCH:

We can't wait to finish the film, and once we do you will hear from us about WHERE you can see it, WHEN and HOW. We are intentionally not releasing information right now since we don't want to add clutter or confusion, something I have done in previous updates by trying to predict when we'll be done! Do pray intentionally and specifically for our team and our families. And do let us know if you'd like to give as we have a remaining financial need of $60,000. That cash will go right to the post production process and alleviate a lot of stress and strain from our executive team.

Please let my team and I know if we can help you in any capacity.

Tony

 

YOU ARE NOT A BAD BOY...

The story of your life is a long and sustained assault on your heart by the enemy who knows who you could be and fears you. But it's also the story of the long and mysterious pursuit of your heart by God who knows you truly and loves you deeply. John Eldredge.

I had the chance to spend this weekend in Colorado Springs with 35 of the most honest, broken, hurting and powerful men I've encountered. Spanning the entirety of North America, we gathered together with the team from Restoring the Soul led by Michael Cusick to watch 78 hours of unforgettable pain and transformation flow through the men participating in the intensive weekend program. The takeaway? Men believe they're inherently bad, unworthy and incapable of love. If you take all of their stories and combine them, the one common denominator is that men's hearts are profoundly wounded. And from those wounds, brokenness flows. Men's hearts are the battleground through which the Kingdom of God invades earth.

And what was the takeaway? Did we all learn how to control our behavior? Did we all spend the weekend immersed in spiritual disciplines to eradicate sin in our lives? Did we read books and formulate plans for deeper accountability? Did we cultivate an emotional high? Absolutely not. We allowed God to show up as a Father in our deepest wounds and speak truth in their core. We allowed God to show up as men renounced lifelong lies they've believed. We watched their shame fall off like scales in the light of Jesus Christ. We saw seeds planted by God himself that will result in the fruit of repentance in years to come. And all of it was predicated on the kindness of God who spoke this word over all of us... "You are not a bad boy...you are my boy.”

WHERE ARE YOU GUYS AT WITH THE FILM?

Almost there...

2015 has been the breakthrough year for Hearts of Men, not without several setbacks, financial restrictions and resistance. Despite the tension, we are on the 8th revision of the film's edit. Chiseling away needless excess. Refining. Rephrasing. Moving large sections of story to achieve the maximum levels of clarity and power the film deserves. Our team plans to "lock" or "finish" the edit of the film by the end of January. A locked edit simply means the film’s core message and flow is final. Each day of work since 2013 has been an effort to achieve this locked edit. This is huge. Absolutely the biggest milestone for our team since day 1.

The post production process will begin in early February and last roughly 3 months. This will involve scoring the film (music), color grading (visual aesthetic), sound design, voiceover and self-publishing. Overall, this is the fine-tuning stage of the process that brings every frame, every line of dialogue and every moment to new life. Post-production immerses the viewer in the story and has been the stage of the film I (Tony) have looked forward to with great expectation since I will be personally writing the music for the film.

WHERE WILL WE BE ABLE TO SEE THE FILM WHEN IT RELEASES?

Jason Pamer (Producer) and I are working on tentative plans for a small series of feasts to be held across the United States this spring and summer. These events will be like nothing you've been part of - and they'll actually be the environments in which the film is shown and released in limited format before being released commercially or publicly. We envision a meal prepared by an executive chef using the finest local ingredients. The most skilled local sommeliers and baristas on hand. Artisan cheeses and breads. Good food, good drink and an encounter with the Father. A living experience of grace - and it will precede the viewing of the film. Why? Because we don't think you should show a film about the feast we're all being invited into without immersing yourself in one. We are praying about cities to host these banquets in (5 to start with) and will release information in the coming winter and spring months about where these feasts will take place.

This film needs the next 5 months of finesse and work before it gets out into the wild, and our feasts will be the first place for the film to be seen by our friends, family, supporters, critics and those wanting to know what these last 6 years have all been about. We are elated to begin to see how it affects you all so we can gauge how it needs to be released online, in a public setting and through the church and conference culture.

WHAT DOES UNEARTHED NEED TO FINISH THE FILM?

Intercession and dollars. Committed prayer for the breakthrough of the film is our biggest weakness because it's difficult to constantly ask for help from all of you - especially those who have already given in both areas. Pray for Jason, Eric, Noel and myself - for our wives and children, for our work and for wisdom, revelation and discernment to know the voice of God and respond. We also need an additional $70k so we can actually pay for the post-production of the film. To this point, we've been given (charitably) $830k of the $900k necessary. That's incredible. We are not in debt and we'll owe nothing to anybody once the film releases. Together, let's ask for the Father to release the final amount in his timing so we can move forward - we're as ready as we've ever been. Anticipatory. Anxious. Elated. Thankful. Expectant.

Hearts of Men Progress | Update 3

Progress & Needs:

Our team was just presented with the first cut of the Hearts of Men film last week. Even in its most raw, unrefined and unfinished state, we unanimously saw that the story we're going to release has raw power all over it.

The road ahead is pretty clear - we need our editor to begin cutting away the excess (usually a 3-4 month process to get the story to sit just right, which sometimes involves filming additional content just to fill in missing information). Then we'll move to what's called a "lock" or a "locked edit" - this is a version of the film that we can send out for color correction, sound design, original music, visual effects and translation.

Our producer, Jason, is in pursuit of our primary distribution channel to release the film through in 2016. We've been leaning largely against a large format theatrical release because of the implications of what this film will wash out of people's hearts (secrecy, shame, hiddenness, woundedness) and a theater - especially where a couple is sitting together processing the realities of the film - is not the place for that. There's complexity we've been aware of since the outset of this journey that we're holding; we're hoping to identify the best route to release the film through before the year's end.

Interestingly enough, we're still in need of sizable financial gifts for the film to be finished, but we're somehow making ends meet. After 6 years of this pattern, we are strangely accustomed to the metaphor of daily manna rather than a year's supply of manna all at once - many of you who run businesses and NGOs can resonate here, right? This is the cornerstone and foundation of faith building with anything that's commissioned by God. Our hearts are believing fully that God has the power to carry out what he issued and we'll continue in hope that the funding of this film is largely about who God involves in the financing of it. The who matters more than the when.

How to Intercede

Hearts of Men is a million dollar sniper round intended to awaken the core of many Christians who are under the influence of the religious spirit. Religion puts God at the center of everything, but he's a God who's powerless, disengaged and impersonal. The intent of Hearts of Men is to resurrect the inner being of people who have stopped living, dreaming, adventuring with God - people who have known God in their minds but never known him as a Father (our team set out to make this film because we ourselves didn't know him as a Father).

So what we need is you to ask God to reveal himself to you and to us as a loving Father. That's it. This film cannot be an argument - it must be a scalpel. It must be a relational bridge. A prophetic declaration to many who re far off from God, living their lives in fear that the Father is relentless in his pursuit not only to justify them, but to know them. At the risk of offending, what good is justification of sins unless the one leveling the account can be known deeply and intimately? We want the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him more deeply.

Our next update ought to come at the end of the Fall. Thanks for standing with us on this journey - we are expectant...
 

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Hearts of Men Trailer

We've just completed out first featurette (an extended trailer) for the Hearts of Men film. You'll be able to stream it on Vimeo (above) as well as read the press release on Faithit. Share as you feel led - we know that the film will do the talking.

Our editor has already completed about an hour worth of preliminary editing on the full film, and over the remainder of 2015 we'll be adding score, sound design, color grade and a few other production details as we plan for distribution. At this time, our hangup is a budgetary need to help distribute the film once we release it (we're aiming to release in early 2016) The quality of this film has always depended upon the funding we ascertain, and you can see our progress by checking the status bar on the home page. If we reach our monetary goal, we'll be able to market and distribute in a much more robust fashion.

Thanks for sticking with us on this wild ride. What an honor to be fighting this fight along each and every one of you! Please reach out to Jason if you've got any needs, questions or want to get involved. Thanks!

Tony

Our Executive Director talks in this short video update about the story progress, filming schedule and fundraising efforts going into the film at the moment. Please reach out at info@unearthedpictures.com or www.heartsofmenmovie.com for any questions. Thanks for standing and fighting with us these many months! You all are an incredible gift.

The Changing of Seasons

The last few months have been full of divine appointments, breakthrough and spiritual warfare. Our entire team wants to thank you profusely for your prayer and financial giving since our recent updates on socila media. We have since brought on Dr. Dan Allender as a creative story consultant and even filmed our interview with him in Seattle last week. His story and insight is profoundly deep - and his impact in shaping Hearts of Men is invaluable.

Our team continues to grow according to our budgetary allowance. Hearts of Men Director (Eric Esau) and Producer (Jason Pamer) have united the most diversely talented crew we've ever seen, and not just in the creative realm. They have unique connections to businessmen and entrepreneurs in the Puget Sound area that are enabling our message, our film and our fundraising efforts to proceed nearly effortlessly. Everything that it takes to make and distribute this film has been procured for pennies on the dollar. We are still set for a Spring 2015 release, premiering in Dallas Texas, and the next phase will be incredibly exciting, taking the team to some of the United State's most beautiful regions to film additional story elements and interviews. We don't want to give all of the details away just yet, but you can expect some on-site video updates this summer that will give you an inside look into the way we're telling this story. All we can say is that the last 4 years have all been preparation for what has just started to take place...and it's got God's favor and anointing all over it. All over it.

Funding is still a need, and we have officially raised $331,000 of the necessary $575,000. A few supportive donors have matched large gifts, creating further incentives are we work toward procuring the final dollars. Ideally, we would like all of the cash to move to the next stage, but it's not there yet. We are deciding to walk by faith...having enough resource to begin the filming process, but not enough to guarantee the final production quality we'd like to deliver to everyone. We've got plans in place for the varying financial outcomes. To make a donation, visit our home page or www.heartsofmenmovie.com.

How to Pray...How to Celebrate

Different members of our team are encountering high levels of spiritual warfare in the forms of demonic oppression, sickness, hospitalization, depression, discouragement, and many others. Dr. Allender had a prolonged 6 month long fever the last time he worked on a project similar to Hearts of Men, but admitted that the story we are telling with this film is on a whole separate level...the ultimate hornets nest we could have chosen to kick. We prefer not to give any attention to satan, so we are asking you to pray specifically for endurance, laughter and a release of intimacy with Jesus that surpasses the struggle we're all under. All of you who work with Jesus understand these seasons of warfare...and the one we're in will no doubt be long and drawn out as we plunder hell and populate heaven. Stand with us. Pray with us and for us, and do not grow weary. If we don't pray, none of this will move forward.

This is proof that what we're doing together is actually birthed from God. Division is good, because it means a weapon is being used. A two-edged blade - dividing thoughts and destroying strongholds. We are all being restored back to childlikeness in the midst of a war that's already been won - what a mysterious celebration!

Thanks again - more updates to come on the next shoot!

Hearts of Men Press Kit

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED...

We're in the final season of fundraising for the Hearts of Men film. We've been talking about it, promoting it and refining it, but now it's go time. In order for the funds to come in, we need you to join a small and dedicated group of people helping us locate supporters - and the best way to do that is to equip you with everything you need. We've designed this simple and downloadable PDF as a tool that will help you share who we are, what we're doing and what the need is. Take a look at it, and put it in the hands of someone you know who has a similar heartbeat and the ability to contribute financially.

Thanks for your willingness to leverage your voice - let's release heaven on earth...

What is the Groundswell?

THE BACKSTORY

The foreshocks of the groundswell began rumbling in our hearts four years ago. In the Fall of 2009, My friend Derek and I founded Unearthed. While in college, we had had the privilege of helping produce a documentary called "Baht." The documentary stirred our interest but left us with more questions than answers about how the sex industry operated. We decided to go deeper and make a documentary that would expose the support systems which enable the global sex trade. This led to extensive travel around the world with undercover cameras. Sometimes we posed as sex tourists to gain information that could lead to victim rescues or some sort of usable intel about the operating procedures of syndicates.

In some cities, we saw breakthrough as authorities raided brothels and executed justice for the helpless. In others, we saw exploitation at its worst: vulnerable people being trafficked and raped for profit with nobody there to intercede. Our hearts were continually crushed beneath the extensive weight of a pandemic. Sexual exploitation is a complex injustice that requires a cooperative blend of solutions. There's not a manual to follow because the variables can be infinitely complex and governments receiving payoffs are often uncooperative.  The command centers of the sex trade operate in a hidden and "untouchable" realm that normal civilians don't have access to. Engaging this industry is intesely discouraging, and to stand firm, you need legs of endurance. 

We captured quite a bit of footage over an 18 month period, but our story was unnervingly incomplete when we returned to the states and moved our operations to Lexington, Kentucky, to begin editing. Just about anyone can make a film about a problem—especially one with implications as visible as sex trafficking. So how was our film going to be helpful amidst an ocean of social justice campaigns? Netflix and CNN are already loaded with depressing information and jarring statistics that evoke short term responses that are too often rooted in guilt or some other fleeting emotion. When people saw our previews, they would react strongly and emotionally, but there was never any follow through. Why? Because we never enabled them to see what followthrough looked like. We had documented the poisonous fruit of this pandemic but offered no solutions. So, we pushed pause and entered into a season of listening.

THE VISION

A tree and its roots. You can watch it in an animation here, but a friend was praying over me and I saw an incredibly vivid scene. The central image of my vision was a tree which was rapidly growing fruit. A large group of women surrounded the tree with carts and buckets, picking the fruit. Strangely, the fruit was regrowing in place immediately as it was plucked from its branch. The women, exhausted and overwhelmed by their work, quickly beckoned for my help. I stood at a distance and respectfully declined. Their efforts didn't appear to yield any progress, but I did sense an urgency about their work.

Why are they so committed to doing this? I wondered.

Just then, someone—a man who appeared suddenly—handed me an axe. He told me to kill the tree at its roots. I took hold of axe, approached the base of the tree and raised the axe to begin chopping. Before I could swing the axe, the roots suddenly surged above ground through the dirt and exposed themselves. But these weren't normal roots. They were soaked in blood...shaped and contorted like human hearts and the bodies of men. Then I heard a voice declare, "I care as much about the roots as the fruit they're producing. Go to the hearts of men."

THE GROUNDSWELL

To change the fruit of sexual exploitation, we have to change the roots. Perhaps a more accurate way of saying it is that the roots must be changed. If we rescued, rehabilitated and reintegrated every human being who has been victimized, then what? If the demand does not cease, the exploiters will refill the supply immediately. New victims, new forms of abuse, new pornography. Legislative punishment, although necessary, doesn't bring permanent change to the human heart. And neither does awareness. Short-term emotional responses, which this generation is known for, will not result in the toppling of one of the most powerful demonic strongholds in the history of humanity. We need help from something outside us to heal something inside us. A surgeon who is skilled enough to operate on the cancer of the human heart—a gardener skilled enough to prune bleeding, contorted roots.

The Groundswell is a generation committed to killing sexual exploitation at its root. Victim care is absolutely critical to carrying out the ministry of reconciliation, but so is demand reduction. Nobody else wants to say that because of how messy demand reduction gets. Repentance is hard to hear about and even harder to execute, which is why many of our churches have all but omitted it from their preaching and teaching. But unless men are changed, the fruit they produce won't change, and we'll continue this crazy cycle for another 20 years. We might just be as tired, exhausted and overwhelmed by the problem as we are now - our communities full of men and women who know that God loves them, but still bound by guilt, shame and addiction.

Truthfully, it's good that we've come to a place of helplessness, because now we're exposed for how powerless we are. I'm relieved to acknowledge that the only one capable of healing sexual brokenness in the human heart is Jesus, who demonstrates his power in weakness. Who uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. Who forgives prostitutes and pimps. Who weeps with empty shells of women who sell their bodies for strangers. Who desires intimacy with every single man and woman living a homosexual lifestyle. Who eats with the transgendered. Who touches lepers. Who defends the fatherless and the orphan. Who is after the abused and the abuser— the addict and the user.  

His scalpel goes deeper into the infection of our hearts than we could ever imagine. If this surgeon has his way with us, we may very well be healed...and the landscape of sexual exploitation will change from the bottom up. From the corrupt, twisted, and bleeding roots. Like a groundswell. And the new fruit— the healthy fruit— will be a generation who can break down brothel doors without their own hearts being enslaved.

This groundswell will only work on one condition: We can never look back and be tempted to blame human effort for what transpired. God isn't removing our hearts of stone and replacing them with hearts of flesh for our sake...it's for his. Revival is rising out of the sex industry, and it just might be the resurgence that ushers in the greatest renewal the church has ever seen. 

Fornicating on the Battlefield

I ASK MEN ABOUT THEIR SEXUAL BEHAVIOR ALL THE TIME...

Most guys are surprisingly honest about their use of sex when anonymity is a factor. We've spoken about pornography, oral sex, prostitution, lust, marital intimacy, impure thoughts, immoral behavior, father wounds, strange desires, homosexuality, masturbation, sexual abuse, incest, greed and idolatry. I’ve eaten meals with pastors, executives, bankers, doctors, religious people, church planters, frat guys, students, entrepreneurs, traffickers and average guys that work 40 hours a week and stay relatively pure. Family guys. Single guys. Mentally disabled guys. Prisoners. Abusers. Protectors.

THE MAJORITY OF US ARE SEXUALLY BROKEN. LET’S JUST GET THAT OUT ON THE TABLE...

Most of us had absent fathers. 1 in 5 of us were sexually abused. Every one of us has learned the art of concealing sin. 80-90% of men in the churchare currently using pornography, and some of us don’t need a girlfriend because we’re in full-fledged relationship with our hand or laptop. And some of us know the feeling of cold emptiness after leaving a strip club or a brothel. Some of you men know what its like to go to sleep next to an empty shell of a woman that used to be your wife because your infatuation with photoshopped women has extinguished the intimacy. You’re no longer lovers…you’re roommates with children. Some of you are fathers that see your sexual sin manifested in your children, but you’re too fearful to expose it in your own life…regardless of the damage its doing to your marriage and family. “What if coming out with this stuff makes things worse?” is the only question you’ve thought of.

I know where you’re at. I know what you’re thinking. And I know the lies you’re deceived by. I’ve been where some of you are at.

A good friend of mine has battled sexual addiction all of his life. He’s a graduate of Christian college and is part of a healthy church. He’s got a lovingly invasive community and has had numnerous Godly mentors pushing him towards Jesus for the last several years…but he still uses pornography every chance he gets – finding ways around the accountability software on his phone and computer. If he’s alone for longer than 30 minutes with an internet connection, he begins searching for filth. He still habitually masturbates. He lies about his sin. He conceals his secrets. He manipulates Christian women into sinningwith him…then he lies about that. He exemplifies the epitome of selfishness and a lack of self control.

But he also calls Jesus his Lord…

Are you that guy? I’ve been there…it’s like my conscience is dying a slow death. How can I love Jesus and porn? How can I walk out of a sweet moment of intimacy with the Spirit only to fall to sexual sin 30 minutes later?

It’s a complete anomaly to me…that we can be sexually enslaved while following Jesus…yet that’s what the overwhelming majority of men tend to be living.

I’m not going to quote my favorite authors…or offer free accountability software. I don’t have a PDF to read or an invitation to a men’s conference. You’ve probably already tried those things. You’ve read “Every Man’s Battle” and made countless commitments…which you’ve broken. You’ve tried accountability. You’ve gone through a “freedom session.” You’ve confessed your sin. You’ve been rebuked. You’ve disconnected the internet. You’ve been kicked out of the house. You’ve destroyed the computer. You’ve memorized Galatians 5. You’ve pleaded with Jesus to remove the thorn in your flesh. You’ve shouted, screamed and wept. You’ve tried everything…and you’re still shackled.

LET’S BURN A DIFFERENT KIND OF IMAGE INTO YOUR NEURAL PATHWAYS:

You’re on a battlefield. It’s dark. Chaotic. Cold wind is whipping your face. The stench of death fills the air. Corpses of demons lie all around you…and the field is soaked in blood.

You can hear the sounds of armor and weapons colliding…sparks are flying. Screams pierce your ears.

You see chiseled, powerful beings illuminated radiantly like glass…and they’re destroying shadows…gripping the throats of principalities and slitting them with iridescent blades.

But you’re without armor. You wonder how you got to this place…and why you came unprepared.

Men that you recognize are rushing the opposite direction – spears aligned…ready to throw. Swords sharpened, shields fixed, helmets lowered…they’re ready for battle. They’re calling for you to join them. They’re rushing for the the front lines – and they’re unafraid. They know they’ve been given victory.

But not you…you’ve got your pants down around your ankles. You’re roaming in circles looking for the seductress that’s calling you by name.

You can’t wait to fornicate on the battlefield.

And all the while, the Kingdom is coming. The lost are being found. The sick are being healed. Demonic assignments are being cancelled. The veil is being lifted off of false religion…and the persecuted church is exponentially growing in the face of opposition. Jesus is authoritatively mediating a covenant – and the Spirit is interceding for the children of God…breathing life into dry bones.

But you want an orgasm.

LET ME REMIND YOU WHO YOU ARE...

You are God’s child | John 1:12

You are a friend of Jesus | John 15:15

You have been justified | Romans 5:1

You’ve been united with the Lord and are one with him in Spirit | 1 Corinthians 6:17

You’ve been bought with a price…you belong to God | 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

You’re a member of Christ’s body | 1 Corinthians 12:27

You’ve been chosen by God and adopted as his child | Ephesians 1:3-8

You’ve been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins | Colossians 1:13-14

You are complete in Christ | Colossians 2:9-10

You have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus | Hebrews 4:14-16

You are free from condemnation | Romans 8:1-2

You cannot be separated from the love of God | Romans 8:28

You are free from any condemning charges against you | Romans 8:31-34

You’ve been established, anointed and sealed | 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You were washed…you were sanctified. You were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God | 1 Cor 6:11

You are hidden with Christ in God | Colossians 3:1-4

God started this work in you, and he will bring it to completion | Phil 1:6

You are a citizen of heaven | Philippians 3:20

You haven’t been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind | 2 Timothy 1:7

You are born of God, and the evil one cannot touch you | 1 John 5:18

You are a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life | John 15:5

You have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit | John 15:16

You are God’s temple | 1 Corinthians 3:16

You are a minister of reconciliation | 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

You are seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm | Ephesians 2:6

You are God’s workmanship | Ephesians 2:10

You can approach God with freedom and confidence – not because of your obedience…but because of Jesus’ obedience | Ephesians 3:12

When you are faithless, he will remain faithful…because he cannot disown himself | 2 Timothy 2:13

Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son?

YOU’VE BEEN EATING WITH PIGS LONG ENOUGH.

COME HOME, SON.