Tattoo gun

Boundless Evangelistic Campaign

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An excerpt from Boundless: Living life in overflow

 O boundless salvation! deep ocean of love,

O fulness of mercy, Christ brought from above.

The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,

Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!

 My sins they are many, their stains are so deep.

And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;

But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,

Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!

My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,

They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;

Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,

O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!

 Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,

My life has been joyless and useless for years;

I feel something better most surely would be

If once thy pure waters would roll over me.

 O ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood

On the brink of thy wonderful, life-giving flood!

Once more I have reached this soul-cleansing sea,

I will not go back till it rolls over me.

 The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,

I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save;

My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;

I plunge ‘neath the waters, they roll over me.

And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days

Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise

Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea

Of boundless salvation for you and for me.

William Booth (1829-1912)

It took me about eight different tattoo parlours before I found the guy who would be willing to come with me to a large youth conference and give me a tattoo on stage. Actually, even that guy I had to coax to come. I was speaking, together with Stephen, to a crowd of teenagers about living life in a way we were meant to. On this day we were getting to covenant… this is living in promise—living with a purpose—living for something and someone larger than ourselves…and we were trying to communicate it to a generation that had been labeled selfish, fickle, and loose.

Tattoos can be a big deal. They are forever. They are painful. They are obvious—and did I mention painful?  So, in front of all these young people and many surprised older leaders I sat in the middle of the stage as my new tattooist friend started up his gun and began the work. My husband broke down the scriptural significance of living for something bigger than your own life and I endured the pain, publicly and embraced being forever marked with a song.  The tattoo I chose was a song—it is the musical theme of our evangelistic campaign, with words that a man named William Booth penned over a century ago. It was about an idea that has completely changed the world. It wasn’t Booth’s idea—he just wrote about it and lived it out. It was God’s idea from the very beginning.

The world was meant to be good. Actually, when God created it He said it was beautiful. But something happened…With our power came great responsibility (think ‘Spiderman’) and we blew it. We gave over the power to destruction. And we started to get smaller. So did the world. Marred, broken… is there any more accurate way to view our world today? But God had a plan for even that inevitability.


This is a fancy way of saying that you and I need fixing. But that’s not hard to see—we all need fixing.  Individually and collectively. If we are going to be fixed it’s going to take an idea that is larger than our problems.  And that brings me back to the tattoo.

See, the tattoo is a song all about this—a boundless salvation—because Boundless is bigger than our curse.  God’s plan to save us is more than a personal path to happiness or success or even peace. It’s so much bigger than that. God’s plan is to put right everything that’s been broken in the world. Everyone of his children. God’s plan of salvation is a plan for the entire world—it’s, well, boundless.

I remember hearing Bono asked about becoming a politician. He said he had thought about it but then remembered that when a politician gives a speech, he gives it once—maybe if it’s really good people listen to it twice. But when you write a song, it becomes part of you. You feel the song. You live the song. You sing the song.

And I got Boundless tattooed on my arm because I want to live the song. I want my life to be immersed in the message of this salvation— that is larger than me. I want it visible. I want to embrace the pain. I want to live the promise. You know what I mean? I want to believe with everything that I am and everything that I’ve got that there is a better way to live—that my life matters more than the small drama of my own feelings, family, and gifts.

The Boundless Evangelistic Campaign isn’t about ‘steps’ or ‘doctrine’; it’s not even trying to convince you of something that will make your life happy. It’s about a song: A song big enough to tattoo on your body. But even more than that, it’s a song that can get inside of you and become a new way to live. That melody is beautiful. I pray that you’ll hear it, and embrace it as you live.

Our campaign is fairly simple. If you don’t experience this boundless salvation, then read and pray through the book Boundless: Living life in overflow. If you do, then think of some friends who don’t. Pray for them daily for a month. Present them with a copy of the book. And then follow up with them later. Simple. Easy. But the effects could be boundless.

The campaign and the book are based on William Booth’s famous song from 1893, called “O Boundless Salvation.” In seven verses, he develops a story of a person who grows from a limited, stunted existence into a boundless life. It’s captivating! Here are the words. We’re crafting the Boundless Evangelistic Campaign around his story.


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