Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - A Glance Back

Heidi, Jim Caviezel & Larissa, the night I interviewed him for an hour to a full house. I know it was last year, but I like the shot, and this blog is on Chip Time.
Below is a project oriented look back. Not to mention new grandchildren in Montana & New Mexico! I can't say enough about
how gracious God has been to me to give me a family that serves Him. All my children are amazing. It was a good year, tough to leave friends at The Connection, but I am more stoked than ever.

Glancing Back

First- below are the highlights of 2010 projects, not people.

Time and space does not allow me to rave about Becca, Alivia etc.

I do lots of that already!

So, after 20 years, I left day to day staff at Calvary in 2010, Jesse and Larissa went on staff full time. Who knew?

My wife has shown herself to be a talented teacher and special events coordinator. She put together a Summer Boot Camp for Women at Calvary that rocked. I helped with this spot:

Nice job honey!

We need a serious vacation. Yes, we've travelled a lot, but I always weasel in some work, speaking or something. I am leaving the lap top and Iphone behind this time. Wow, I get nervous even writing that.

Top 10 projects for 2010- in flow of mind order, not importance!

1. Finishing Shattered

Now, working on national and international distribution and TV rights.

Featured a dramatic reenactment of Skip & Gino in Mexico. Shot in San Francisco, Sedona and Columbine in Colorado. Highlight was a touching interview with Brian Rohrbough, father of a slain teen.

2. Radio Specials

Wrote and produced some in 2010, three come to mind:

Just As He Is

A Tribute to Billy Graham,

hosted by Skip, dozens of high profile interviews, asked Fernando Ortega to write and record a special song, he did, very touching.

Crystal Lewis Christmas Special

Featured Greg Laurie, Lenya & Levi

Epicenter Conference 2010 Radio Special

Went to Philadelphia for a weekend to produce this one. Featured Joel Rosenberg, Greg & General Boykin.

Next one in Jerusalem again, in May

With Joel Rosenberg at NRB in Nashville

3. Riptide

The story of Calvary & Pastor Chuck.

Two years, three continents, 40 interviews

Glad to get this story told. Honored.

4. Christmas '10 - Denver!

Full circle, back to Colorado from whence I came, to help put together an 80,000 watt station for Calvary Aurora.

Interesting time of year to build a station, but we got it on the air at midnight, 12/23.

Blasting great teaching: Word & Worship

Check it:

New station in Denver! Little perk from the Lord, this couple showed up at a Bronco game with our new bumper sticker! As an 'I bleed Orange & Blue' Bronco fan, this was a treat.

5. Produced Collision Course Prophecy Special. We always need to keep the 'seasons' of prophecy in mind:

6. Calvary Celebration for the Riptide Preview.

Anaheim Convention Center in So Cal.

Jon Courson, Pastor Chuck, Raul, Mike, Skip. With music by Crystal & Band, The Phil Wickham Band & Richie Furay. Let's just say, it was an amazing evening.

Bonus: Larissa, Jaxon, Levi & Alivia at the Magic Kingdom the day after!

7. Life FM - Viva Miami -

This fall I took a more active role in a strong station that comes out of the Keys and roars through South Florida and Miami.

I had consulted with Pedro Garcia as he negotiated the station, but now I have a day to day management role.

Consulting radio in Montana, Miami & Denver means a lot of travel, but the destinations are nice. I am not returning phone calls to midwest markets at this time! MIA & DIA are one thing, but I can't get up for flying to O'hare.

8. The Persecuted

Daniel has written a screenplay and is way down the road to production & distribution. He has attached an Oscar winning producer. It's been a fun ride with him. Learning lots too.



Variety Article:

9. Skull Church

Spurgeon would love what Levi is doing in Montana. Edgy, fresh but solid. I stand in awe.

10. New Video Campuses for Calvary

We were able to start several video campuses for Calvary.

Downtown ABQ came first, then Santa Fe

Worked with Jesse on the Metro ABQ campus.

Jesse also assumed co-leadership of the Vertical student ministry at Calvary

It's a treat to see him teach & lead.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Accepting Station of the Year Award from Focus on the Family for KNKT. Normally, I wouldn't walk across the street for a Christian Broadcast Award. Sorry, most Christian media is so mediocre. Exception, Focus on the Family, so their recognition got my attention.

  • Israel 2010. Overloaded. Overworked. All night in the business center juggling CCABQ stuff and a daytime video crew on the ground in Israel. Special bonus: bus captain every day on the tour. Nonetheless, Israel is amazing even in super stress mode. But never again like that.

  • Easter 2010 --Blew up Comcast, bought every avail on Easter Sunday for a Stephen Baldwin/Skip commercial, I love, love, love blasting the gospel on secular stations.

Easter Shoot with Daniel

  • Teaching at Calvary- several times. After all these years, it is always a privilege for Skip to ask me. I first spoke at Calvary of Albuquerque in the mid 80's. It was a thriving church meeting in a small building, but you could tell it was dynamic. Now, 25 years later, I've taught probably a hundred messages at CCABQ, and the people are still hungry for God's Word. Great body of believers.

Here's a link to a timeless New Year's Eve message.

Finishing out 2010 on 12/26 for three services was a treat. That closes the year. When our Dreams Die, God's Dreams for us can come to life.

2010? Decent. I can do better. Ready to charge forward.

Thank you Jesus

Monday, December 27, 2010

When Dreams Die

These are the notes from my granddaughter Alivia in Montana, she took them from watching me teach in ABQ. That is amazing.
Along with dedicating Bridget at the service, this is really a gift from the Lord I could never have anticipated. The '600' in her notes comes from a section where I talked about there being 600 churches in America for each unreached people group in the world. She gets it. Truly, exceeding and abundantly beyond all I could ask or think.

In addition to teaching the services at Calvary this weekend, I had the bonus of dedicating my grand-daughter Bridget. What a treat. Of course Jaxon had to 'share' the spotlight.
Preparing for a message to teach is an interesting process.
First you have to personally receive the instruction from the passage before you can teach it to anyone. It can be very dangerous to insulate yourself from the Word you study. You must be willing to apply to your own life the truths you uncover.
When Dreams Die is the title of the teaching I gave this Sunday at 3 morning services. It is always an honor to step into the pulpit and I take it seriously. I am still processing the impact of what I learned from Hebrews 11:24-29. But I do know this, we all tend to underestimate God. In 2011, I want to expand my vision, pray big, go deep and push the borders. I am renewed, refreshed and ready to go strong. Take a look, just paste this link in:

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Generation Away, Part 2: One Generation Away From Changing The World

Here's a razor edge series from Stephen Furdick of Elevation Church in Charlotte. This is the guy who wrote, 'Sun Stand Still,' and preached for 24 hours straight at its release. Much more than a gimmick, this was an extraordinary thing to see, and I did. Hope you watch this one:

One Generation Away, Part 2: One Generation Away From Changing The World

Saturday, December 4, 2010

White Week in Colorado & Montana

Park Meadows Mall in Denver. You must love a mall with valet parking, a huge fireplace and a food court with a Paradise Bakery, a place that started in Aspen back in the day.

It's not hard to get in the spirit of a White Christmas when you spend a week in Colorado and Montana. First a day in Vail with friends Pedro and Lourdes Garcia. The slopes were empty and the snow was good. I have always loved the Vail Valley. Fabulous mountain, but the fur coat vibe is not for me. Crested Butte, Telluride and Breckenridge (before the t-shirt shops took over, it really was a Victorian Village, not a faux one) are my style. But the Lionshead Gondola at Vail has world class runs. So that's where I spent one day.
Then a couple of intense days of work in Aurora at Calvary Chapel prepping their new radio station for sign on later this month. Finally, Larissa went back to ABQ for her Celebration of Light while I headed for Montana and Fresh Life Radio work and... the kids!
Alivia with an attitude.
Snow boarding at Vail with Pedro and Lourdes Garcia from Miami. Nice to take a gondola ride between runs where you can relax and hang out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What was I thinking?

I have been offline for about 10 days because of deep grief. For some unknown reason, in the midst of a simple upgrade to my iPhone, I erased ALL my contacts and photo's. This is a major loss. Along with hamstringing my contact with the outside world, I lost all the photo's from the last trips to Denver and Thanksgiving. Thus, no posts.
The upside is that every new phone call is an adventure. And many texts come in and I have to guess how to respond. Too embarrassed to admit the obvious. Above is a random photo that survived, some long, lean guys: Sons, son-in-law & one grandson.
Off to Denver and Montana this week, won't make the same mistake twice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eight Days, Two Oceans, Five States, Little Sleep

Family photo of the week: Jason, Jaxon, Becca & Bridget!

Started the trip in Denver doing some consulting for Grace FM- a new Calvary station. Brought Heidi along to check out Colorado Christian University. Highlight: met up with my niece Jasmine and toured the King Tut exhibition. Despite the make up and strange hair, at least the Egyptians thought about eternal life. Came to so strange conclusions however.
Then to Santa Monica: At the American Film Marketing deal at Loew's Hotel. This is where the deals get done, Daniel is making serious progress on his film, 'The Persecuted.'

Ended the trip in Miami, with Pedro & Pastor Chuck. Then three days on air with Pedro on Life FM. Jammed it home to make a nice dinner with Joel Rosenberg who was in ABQ for the weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blurry two weeks

A few weeks have flashed by, starting with Heidi as Hope Homecoming Princess during the weekend Levi was in town to host a Love Life event with Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church.
From there, let's see, a couple days in Denver for radio consulting, off to LA for a film meeting and some time at the Trinity Broadcasting Network, followed by a week in Montana for the Fresh Life Board meeting and another in Miami to work with Joel Rosenberg and Pedro Garcia. Travel is playing havoc with my training, as I am ramping up to a ride in December from Key Largo to Key West, Fla. I have to be very creative finding spin classes and health clubs. Challenging.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Five Guys in Colorado......

....this is not a hamburger joint! As I was sitting in a ReFresh Conference at Calvary, Aurora last week, I noticed five guys in the room who had moved from Albuquerque to Colorado to start churches: Gino Geraci, Al Pittman, Fernando Ortiz, Mike Montgomery & Larry Eckton all came from CCABQ. Who was the one guy in the building who moved from Colorado to Albuquerque? Moi. The way of a lone wolf is a solitary path! No complaints & no regrets over the honor I have had to serve in New Mexico, but now I get the opportunity to consult with a new metro radio station in Denver, and I see the Lord bringing me full circle. So ABQ will be my home base while Montana, Miami & Colorado are my new stomping grounds.
Looks like Freq Flyer miles will mount up, while I bring some Connection projects in for landings. Launching the Shattered the DVD is high on my radar, as are putting two new radio Connection stations on the air in Arizona & south New Mexico. After a few days in Colorado last week I spent a day in LA, where I toured the Trinity Broadcast Network with Paul Crouch Jr. TBN has a tremendous global footprint and I have high hopes for what could happen with this platform.
Also dropped into KWVE to see Pastor Chuck and hand deliver a copy of Riptide to him,
almost 2 years to the day when we conducted a two hour interview with him to launch production of the project.

Aisley Rebecca makes her appearance
No words for Jaxon!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Few Days In Fla & A Birthday In the City Different

You might hear about 'monsoon season' in New Mexico, well I went through a minor tropical storm last week in Florida. Nicole rolled through Miami and they cancelled church!
They said it was mild, but man, 20 inches of rain later.....
Amazing thing was, no thunder, no wind, no warning, the heavens just opened and poured warm water. Very tropical, and with no lightening, the pool at my hotel stayed open and swimming was a trip in the storm. Of course I did get wet.
It is going to be nice escaping to South Florida this winter for work, the team at Calvary in Miami is in for a wild ride- it will be fun to go along.
Celebrating my birthday in Santa Fe at Larissa & my favorite place, the La Posada near the Plaza.
Only 45 minutes from ABQ, but a whole different vibe. Great place to write, eat and soak it all in.
This pic is of the Plaza at sunrise.
Friend of animals- sun rising at St. Francis' church
Happy Birthday to me, after 2 years of production, the first shipment of Riptide DVD's arrived.
Thank you Lord. I am very pleased with the outcome, I think it tells the story.
Dozens of interviews, six countries along with blood, sweat is the trailer: - let me know what you think.

Friday, September 24, 2010

North to Montana

Skull Church! Finally- able to see my first Skull Church in person in Montana. This is one of the reasons I am now known as 'Levi Lusko's Dad,' though I used to be someone (not really!).
Skull Church is the real deal: smooth, powerful and gritty at the same time. Not for the faint of heart, Skull Church roars into action every Wednesday at 7, ( from the Strand Theater in Kalispell, Montana, but I am thinking that very soon, the Strand will not be able to hold it, and it will bust loose to parts unknown.Homage to the Original Mermaid: Home of the first Starbucks - in Seattle
Second Childhood? On my way to Montana I had a meeting and significant layover in Seattle. That is a good thing, great city. There wasn't time to go to the San Juan Islands, and check out the Orca whales, so I did the obvious, headed for Pike Place to watch fish get tossed, have some salmon and reverently drink coffee at the Original Starbucks.
Also found time for some bike shopping. Interesting, when I was 12, I did not care about cars, all I wanted was a Schwinn. Now, I have a convertible Mustang, and could not care less, all I want is a newer bike. Granted, the Litespeed above goes for double what my first new car ('73 Ford Maverick) cost!

Pike Place: Home of Flying Fish 

Meeting Daisy Grace for the first time,
Queen Alivia and her court
What a sweetheart- Daisy locks eyes and just laughs

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Few Connection Flashbacks

As you can see above, I was very young when I started managing Connection Communications.
Well, maybe I haven't been there quite that long, but I did start supervising The Connection Radio and TV broadcast 20 years ago this summer.

The Past
The Connection Brand actually was born 1n 1980 in Southern California when a friend of mine, Kent Bagdasar and I began a weekly contemporary Christian radio program on KFOX radio in Redondo Beach. I came up with the name, The Calvary Connection and then it all began. Kent eventually moved to Albuquerque to manage KKIM Radio, where the Connection made its New Mexico debut. Soon, Skip and Lenya moved to New Mexico and started a Bible study; Kent then applied this name to the CCABQ radio ministry on his station.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I moved to Colorado to manage a radio station and start a church.
Eventually, Kent and I owned two radio stations in Colorado Springs and I became General Sales Manager of a new Fox TV station. Here, Skip and I began producing The Calvary Connection TV program and I started producing the Connection daily radio broadcast.
So that's the ancient history. Oh yeah, I also moved the Lusko tribe to Albququerque and went on staff full time, at that time there were 1 and 1/2 people working at the Connection, Dawn Chancellor in art & Dan Elliot in audio. Who knew we would one day have our own building with over 40 people on the media team? God knew.

Career Highlight: Bibleman hugged me

What's Next: On the Road with Jaxon

The People
I can't say there is one singular lesson from this experience during my time on the Calvary Campus, but high on the list is this: I have learned to value people over projects. There it is, as a sometimes maniacally driven individual, I can be focused to the point of obsession. That trait doesn't always translate well into horizontal relationships, and just maybe this passion can come across as a bit aloof. It's been a process, but God has gradually helped me appreciate the people around me more than my own productivity. No one will confuse me with Dr. Phil, but I am making progress.
The team at the Connection is a talented group of dedicated professionals, my basic job was to turn the lights on for them. I served with some for 10-15 years, they rock.
Levi, Daniel, Heidi, Becca & Jesse

The Fam

One amazing opportunity I have had at Calvary is to work with my kids. In turn all have been a part of ministry at CCABQ. The campus has been a magnet for each of them and I am so grateful for the activities and events that have kept my kids off the streets and walking with the Lord. I am way blessed to have been able to serve in ministry with them, and there is more ahead. (Josh, not pictured, but he did his time at Solomon's Porch & the Skate Park!)

The Highlights

I won't even try to be remotely exhaustive here, but flow of consciousness goes like this:

  • The first Harvest Crusade at old Dukes Stadium
  • Signing on KNKT with Skip at midnight on a Good Friday in 95 (I think)
  • Israel Trip #5, with Chuck Smith, Skip and Joel Rosenberg.
  • Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, Jesus Boat Shoot in the Galilee
  • Easter Sunrise Service (Pick one)
  • Levi coming from Montana to teach his first weekend at Calvary of Albuquerque
  • Debut of Massive Radio
  • Preaching in a soccer stadium in Ghana with the Kry
  • Making the Epicenter Documentary with Daniel, Skip and Joel in Israel
  • Road to Rome Video shoot with Daniel in Israel, Turkey, Greece & Italy
  • Daniel's multi-media auto biography event: Zeal!
  • Meeting Benjamin Netanyahu for Epicenter interview
  • Two hour on stage 'Actors Studio' type interview with Jim Caviezel at CCABQ 
  • Connection Celebration in Belize. Clive!
  • Set-up trip for Lifeline with Becca in Manila
  • Calvary Celebration in Anaheim for Riptide
  • Watching Larissa teach at Women at Calvary
  • Having Jesse in my Shepherd's School class
It almost sounds like bragging when I review these spiritual resumes. But not at all, I am boasting in the Lord, He did it. The kids have all  avoided the PK syndrome, gone voluntarily to Christian Colleges and are certain to surpass my accomplishments. Jesse is now co-leading Vertical and also still on campus is my lovely wife Larissa who is working with Lenya in management of Women at Calvary. She is a fine teacher, strong administrator and keeps me on the straight and narrow, generally.

Larissa. Yes, way over my pay grade

The Lowlight
No contest: It's the loss of relationships through the transition from hell a few years back. I received a crash course in crisis management that Michigan State did not offer, and lost some lifelong friends in the mix. Very sad. Did get a glimpse of what it is like for the media to smell blood in the water. Fins were circling, and no Jimmy Buffett music.
I learned that bloggers in bunny slippers can become spiritual criminals, lucky for them, I am not the judge and jury. We shall leave that to the Lord.
In the Romans 8 department, I saw that God's hand is on the thermostat, and He will let you get pretty well broasted.

The Next Pasture

Hope to spend some time in Montana with the Fresh Life Team, work with Daniel on his first feature film and launch Heidi properly. There are also a few movies I want to make while I pray large and push the borders. There are some good friends who are inviting me on mega-adventures. As Will Smith would say, Gotta go, gotta go!
Just want to stay hungry, and go hard till we  go home. Okay, and maybe dive Tahiti too.

Parting Shot
I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve at Calvary. Skip has always been very gracious to give me a shot at pushing the edges. Usually it worked, there were 'other' times when my ideas led me out to thin ice, but not many.
It has been an amazing ride watching God blow up this work. Calvary has an incredible pulpit and I have learned a great deal about pulpit faithfulness from Skip.
At the end of the day- it's about getting God's word out in as many echoes as possible, that's why I came to ABQ, and that's why I got up this morning too.
Or as Joey B says, 'It's all about the kids.' True, true.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home Crawling with Grandchildren

Touchdown! Larissa, Levi, Heidi & Alivia

Levi was in town recently to teach at Calvary and was able to bring Alivia- happily. great weekend, here are some snapshots

Levi was in the main sancturary-while Jesse led the Vertical teaching in the Hub
Fresh take on the book of Jonah: God Rocks the Punk. Jonah was a punk. So are we.
Who's watching who? Lusko's at the zoo.
Liv does the pink flamingo.

Levi joins me and Team Rio for a 40 mile ride.
Jaxon & Alivia
Pre-game: Levi and Jesse preparing for Saturday night teachings. I am a blessed dude.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Collide Magazine | Church Spotlight: Fresh Life Church

Officially one of my favorite coffee places on the planet, (and that is saying a great deal) Montana Coffee Traders in Whitefish.Daniel directing as I interview Levi for Riptide at the Liberty Theater

Three and a half years back, Levi left the warm vibe of Southern California for the frontier of Montana. Quite a leap. Levi could have stayed comfortably on staff at a mega-church, but elected to take a serious spiritual adventure. He did not choose a soft landing. The Flathead Valley of Montana could not be more different from Orange County. Let's just say Levi is not a
flannel and pick-up kind of guy. Long story short: God has moved and a remarkable work has sprung up. Levi took some homies (sp) with him, a spiritual bratpack from ABQ & SoCal.
Best analysis came from a Calvary ABQ team that visited, after walking through the church and seeing what God was doing through a bunch of former youth group leaders, he said:
'Where are the grown-ups, and who tells you guys when to go to bed?!" Answer: No one does.

Here are some links to check it:

And here's an article from Collide Mag:

Collide Magazine | Church Spotlight: Fresh Life Church

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Calvary Celebration Afterglow

Pastor Chuck Smith prepares to go onstage at the Calvary Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Jon Courson and his wife, now this is celebrating.
Sunday night in Anaheim we put together a Calvary Celebration to recognize what the Lord has done through Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith. Epic venue, great crowd and lots of good friends.
Also ran a preview of Riptide. ( see the trailer at
Familiar face and that friendly voice. I've been listening to Pastor Chuck since 1977 when I picked up my first blue and white Word for Today tape at a Shiloh House in Honolulu.
'Oh let the Son of God enfold you....'
Nice crowd.
Raul Ries and Mike MacIntosh.
Phil Wickham and band. That's the way to open & close the night.
Richie Furay, from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a Calvary Pastor in Colorado.
Also one of THE nicest guys you will ever meet.

K.P. Yohannan flew in from India for this. He has helped start 7500 churches and broadcasts in over 100 languages. He credits Chuck for his philosophy of ministry. Now that is fruit. Dude.
Some of the fella's. Senior CC Pastors on hand Sunday night.

Levi and Phil Wickham amused as they communicate by texting each other.
Pancho Juarez and Jon Courson
Pastor Chuck and Kay Smith. This is why we did this.