stripping away

VOICE history

VOICE through the years (1999-2013)

You’d think that growing up in a Christian family meant I had it easy. I can’t ever remember a day that I didn’t believe in God. I rarely missed going to church on Sunday. I’ve read through the Bible numerous times. I attended a Christian school. I even spent 13 years as a missionary in Taiwan. You’d think that if anyone knew God, I did.

I don’t think I ever said those things out loud, but deep in my heart, that’s what I believed. I knew what to say, how to act, and even how to think about my life and the problems I (or others) faced. I had Christianity packaged in a nice little box all tied up with a bow.

That is also how I went about serving Christ for many years. When others had problems, I had answers, and so I would offer them my little box. It made sense. It worked for me.

Sadly, that is how VOICE (then known as CLEC) first began. I was 15 years younger with much less ministry experience but a whole lot of spiritual ego. I didn’t know what I was doing, but somehow, I helped create a month-long conference that offered Christianity in a box. But after just a few years, I burned out. I grew tired of enforcing rules, tired of trying to convince others that my version of Christianity was better than theirs.

God was merciful. He used what little I had to offer to touch a few lives—not the least of which was my own. In 2004, when we were asked to host a TESOL training for English teachers from Taiwan, we said yes as long as we could run a student conference at the same time. That marked a significant turning point for VOICE—one in which our focus went from selling a specific version of Christianity to deliberately finding ways to introduce the Gospel through various events. That was how the ever-popular holiday dinners were born.

Here we are 10 years later. If I could tell you what has changed, it is this—I may have more ministry experience, but a whole lot less spiritual superiority. God has since brought problems into my life that I couldn’t resolve. He has allowed me to wrestle with anger and bitterness—and find absolutely no way to “fix” myself. Through these hard situations, I began to understand—maybe for the first time—how utterly helpless I am in my sin, how very little I actually understand about my God, and how much I am in need of His grace. As He has been stripping away the things I once used to prop up my Christian faith, so He has been stripping VOICE of those things as well.

As we look ahead to VOICE 2014, we are facing yet another stripping—perhaps the deepest one yet. As I write this blog post, the IBLP board is investigating a number of serious allegations against Mr. Gothard and has placed him on administrative leave. We are deeply saddened by this news and concerned for Mr. Gothard and everyone involved. We don’t know how things will turn out, but here’s what we do know—

1)    “God is real. Live like it.” This is true, even when the integrity of someone we respect is under fire. This is a time to allow God to strip away more of our misconceptions, so that we learn to place our faith solely in Him.

2)    No matter the outcome of this investigation, those of us who serve on the VOICE staff team are committed to living and proclaiming the Gospel in its purest form to the best of our ability.

Christianity is not about Mr. Gothard. It’s not about VOICE. It’s not about any one of us. Christianity is about a God who loved a world of pathetic, helpless sinners so much that He left His glory to become like one of us, to suffer and die an unjust death at the hands of the sinners He came to save in order to give us life and hope that we don’t deserve. I can’t fathom a God like that. He doesn’t fit in any box.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.
Christ alone…

This entry was posted in faith and tagged , , , , by Karen Kallberg. Bookmark the permalink.

About Karen Kallberg

Karen helped found the VOICE conference back in 1999 and has served on staff ever since, her primary role now being conference advisor and internship instructor. She and her husband Luke live in Saint Louis with their three children. When she's not brainstorming ways to improve the conference, she enjoys exploring the city, trying local restaurants, singing with her family, reading books by Tim Keller, and spending quality time with family and friends.

12 thoughts on “stripping away

  1. I really respect the thought put into this post. This says exactly what being a Christian is all about. I pray that Lord will bring the students and staff in His will and THAT will make the best “VOICE” experience. Which is really a God experience 🙂

  2. In light of the recent happenings with IBLP this post was truly encouraging. It is a refreshing reminder for me of where my focus should be as a Christian, not on possible faults of others but on the glory and love of our amazing God. Thank you for this bit of open truthful writing in these days working in this particular ministry.

  3. Well said Karen! God, through His great mercy, molds us, makes us, bends us, and sometimes breaks us in order for us to move from serving Him on our terms to serving Him on His terms. We are all still in that process!

  4. As always, Karen, you touch my spirit, heart, mind, and soul. You reflect the Truth of Christ: meek, lowly of heart, loving, and forgiving. May all of us learn to allow the indwelling Life of Christ to manifest Himself through us. I, as you, am realizing more deeply every day that I have indeed been crucified with Christ, and my life IS Christ.

  5. I always believe God will provide anything for people who has faith in Him whatever the needs are on His plan. What God provided us through VOICE are the strengths and wisdom to help us reinforce our faith in Him. It’s just like what you said, “It’s not about any one of us”, it’s about Him. Even the greatest man will fall someday, only God will remain on His throne. Thank you Karen, your words really touch my heart. (-:

  6. In the last weeks these are scriptures the Lord has highlighted in my mind as we’d had our times of devotion.
    By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
    ” Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19

    “Yes, if you forgive others for their sins, failings; [trespasses], your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins [transgressions; failings; trespasses].” Matthew 6:14-15 Healing comes when we forgive others and when we are forgiven by the Lord.

    “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”Proverbs 18:17

    ……and be sure your sin will find you out. Those who show mercy will also receive mercy. Numbers 32:23
    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5-6

    “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5

    The righteous person is delivered from trouble; it comes upon the wicked instead. Proverbs 11:8

    PS
    This whole situation with Mr. Gothard is a reminder for us all to abstain from even appearance of evil. “avoid even the appearance of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22
    Be sure your husbands are not alone with women or young girls at any time!
    Coaching, driving them home, tutoring, teaching, counseling. Let they fall into temptation of are wrongly accused. Also protect your children from being alone with anyone, friends at parties, sleepovers, uncles, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, babysitters, etc. You’ll never have to question or wonder if they have been molested. You will also protect your own good name.

    “For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5

    We need to speak and act in humility and gentleness, with patience..being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…”Eph. 4.2,3

    We need to be quick to hear and slow to speak, slow to wrath. Wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Being tenderhearted, forgiving one another for Christ’s sake as He has forgiven us. We will be forgiven as much as we forgive others. Reconciliation is truly a gift from the Lord.

    Galatians 5
    For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

    Walking in the Spirit

    I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:16-26

    For your obedience has become known to everyone, and I am full of joy for you. But I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Romans 16:19

    The truth will set everyone free! Proverbs 11:8

    “When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, Your comfort encourages me.” Psalm 94:19

    ” And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

    We’ll hang our hats on these for a while.
    Proverbs 3:5 & 6
    Romans 8:28

  7. In the last weeks these are scriptures the Lord has highlighted in my mind as we’d had our times of devotion.
    By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
    ” Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19

    “Yes, if you forgive others for their sins, failings; [trespasses], your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins [transgressions; failings; trespasses].” Matthew 6:14-15 Healing comes when we forgive others and when we are forgiven by the Lord.

    “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”Proverbs 18:17

    ……and be sure your sin will find you out. Those who show mercy will also receive mercy. Numbers 32:23
    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5-6

    “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
    ” Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” THEN COME BACK and offer they gift!” Matthew 5:22-26

    “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5

    The righteous person is delivered from trouble; it comes upon the wicked instead. Proverbs 11:8

    PS
    The situation with Mr. Gothard is a reminder for us all to abstain from even appearance of evil! “avoid even the appearance of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22
    Be sure your husbands are not alone with women or young girls at any time!
    Coaching, driving them home, tutoring, teaching, counseling. Lest they fall into temptation or are wrongly accused. Also protect your children from being alone with anyone, friends at parties, sleepovers, uncles, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, babysitters, etc. You’ll never have to question or wonder if they have been molested. You will also protect your own good name.

    “For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5

    We need to speak and act in humility and gentleness, with patience..being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…”Eph. 4.2,3

    We need to be quick to hear and slow to speak, slow to wrath. Wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Being tenderhearted, forgiving one another for Christ’s sake as He has forgiven us. We will be forgiven as much as we forgive others. Reconciliation is truly a gift from the Lord.

    Galatians 5
    For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

    Walking in the Spirit

    I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:16-26

    “You will know them by their fruits…” Matthew 7:16

    “…… want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Romans 16:19

    The truth will set everyone free! Proverbs 11:8

    “When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, Your comfort encourages me.” Psalm 94:19

    ” And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

    We’ll hang our hats on these for a while.
    Proverbs 3:5 & 6
    Romans 8:28

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

    Praying for unity & love in the body, respecting one another’s views and experiences. To God’s glory~
    The Dauers~ Monte, Marci & Cooper

    LOVE this! AMEN!
    My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus blood and righteousness
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame
    But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.
    Christ alone…

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