Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jessie Miller Teaches on Words & Poetry

 Written by Allie Sampson
Photographed by JD Gravitt

Here at A Place for the Heart, we believe in the power of words.  We believe that our words hold so much potential and possibility and we have come to learn the value of them.  Jonathan often says that our words create the world we live in. This simply means that what we speak (the way we communicate with others, the perspective that we have and agree with, etc) is powerful and will have an effect on the way we live our lives.  Throughout the course of the Journey, we invite the students into several different moments of choosing to understand the importance of their words. They frequently write declarations over themselves, are given prompts that involve journaling and spend time in sessions about communication.  This week, the students were invited into another way of valuing their words as Jessie Miller taught on the art and importance of poetry.

Jessie shared some of her journey with words with the students and staff and unpacked how exploring the gift of her words has been such an excellent tool for her in seasons past.  Throughout the night, Jessie taught on “Jesus the Poet” and the mystery and beauty preserved in the intentionality of the words of Jesus.  She went on to explain the idea of language as a mirror: that when we approach writing, we are holding a mirror up to our hearts and simply writing down what we find there. Writing and language are an overflow of our hearts; more than something we have to produce, it is simply the beauty that we already find inside of us. Additionally, Jessie explained the value of trusting our words. She taught how, with poetry, we must trust our hearts, our ability to communicate and the heart of the reader to understand what we are trying to convey. Jessie explained that when we craft poetry, the beauty is in the ability of our words to meet people where they are. By creating something more open-ended, we are creating an invitation for people to find themselves more known and understood. We are giving language not only to where we are at, but also giving the gift of language to the reader. So much of this reflects what Jesus did with parables and the way he communicated with people. Always extending an invitation for people to find themselves known and loved.

We encourage you to take time to explore your words with the Father, just as the students are doing. It is our prayer that as our hearts soften before the Lord, our words will reflect Jesus more and more.  It is our aim that our words will empower us, and those around us to be more like Jesus in our creative endeavors and in the practical moments of our lives. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Open Mic Night

 Written by Allie Sampson, Writer for Cageless Birds
Photographs by JD Gravitt

Last Thursday night, we began one of our favorite parts of the 18 Inch Journey: Open Mic Nights. These nights are a chance for the students to share their songs, poetry, art, photographs, dances and any other creative expression that they have found themselves coming alive in. Open Mic Nights are so special to us as a family because these are the moments where we get to celebrate the students, to champion their greatness and to affirm that they are seen and heard. We set aside three of these nights during the school and encourage all of the students to participate at least once. We believe in creating environments for the students to be seen and heard without any comparison– a place for them to share their voice in the safety of family. 

So much of the 18 Inch Journey is discovering that we are not defined by our giftings. Though our gifts are a beautiful part of who we are, they do not make up our identity. We are sons and daughters first, loved before we ever set our hands to anything, believed in before we even attempt prove ourselves worthy. When we come to that place of confidence and security, knowing that the Father loves us and is proud of us regardless of our abilities or success, we can create and explore without the pressure to strive or produce. We are set free as artists when we step into our identity as beloved children. 

There is nothing that excites our community more than seeing people walking in their true identity and embracing their gifts from a place of wholeness. The 18 Inch Journey students blew us away on Thursday night as they shared songs and poems that they had written. After sharing their heart, every student was met with a standing ovation and wild cheering as their fellow students and leaders celebrated their brilliance and their bravery. Standing ovations are not something we have taught these students, it’s simply something they began to initiate as they have learned to love, honor and celebrate their friends. We were joyfully overwhelmed by each of the students, as they shared with us and as they championed each other, walking out of comparison and into wholeness as confident, creative sons and daughters. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Eighteen Inch Journey Book

Written by Allie Sampson, Writer for Cageless Birds
Photography by JD Gravitt

A huge component of the 18 Inch Journey is surprises.  We believe that the Trinity loves to give good gifts and surprise us with extravagant love, and our community loves to do the same.  Journey surprises take on many different shapes, but this week it looked like a pristine, freshly printed book.  

On Tuesday, each of our 32 students received their own copy of The Eighteen Inch Journey book – a compilation of art, writing, photography and prompts from the Cageless Birds community put together by Melissa and Justina.  This book is a dream that Melissa and Justina have carried for 2 years and this is the first official volume to be released. Over the past 6 months, the two of them have been pouring their hearts into these pages – collecting and reviewing pieces from our community and lovingly formatting and designing the layout of each page. Just as the Live at Home album is a culmination of songs from our community, this book is a culmination of art and writing that have come from moments we have spent cultivating friendship with the Trinity. Each of our staff, interns and extended community have contributed to this collection that we hope will inspire its readers in their time with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Throughout the remainder of the Journey, our staff will teach their prompts from the book during our Art/Heart rotation: a twice-weekly rhythm where students spend half of the block in an art lesson and the other half in a teaching session. During this time, students will be able to hear more of the back-story of what inspired our staff to write their prompts and will have intentional time to sit with the Father as they engage it on their own.

We are so excited to present The Eighteen Inch Journey book to our students, and now we have some other exciting news! Beginning July 4th, these books will be for sale at our Cageless Birds online store! If you are interested in supporting the Cageless Birds and the ministry of A Place for the Heart, purchasing one of these books is a great way to do so! It is our great privilege to share with you some of the incredible things that we have learned and created from time spent with the Holy Spirit. Our dream is that each person who reads this book will find themselves inspired in their own time with the Father. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Journey Moments: The Journey Begins // Adam Cox Teaches

On June 1st, our community welcomed 32 new students onto the land of A Place for the Heart as we launched this year’s 18 Inch Journey. Students traveled from all over the world (including Canada, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland and Singapore as well as 13 different states) to be transformed by the Love of God. On our opening night, students were invited to participate in an extravagant dinner where they were welcomed to the land with a beautiful meal, handwritten declarations and intentional gifts. Our staff, interns and Second Phase students spent countless hours preparing all of the details for this night. If nothing else, we wanted to communicate to the 32 new students that they were loved, celebrated and prayed for before they did a single thing. Simply, we love them because the Father loves them. They were showered with love and surprises—and that is only the beginning.

Each week during the Journey has a specific theme as well as a focus on one of the Fruits of the Spirit. Last week was Jesus week and Joy was the accompanying Fruit. We were honored to have our dear friend, Adam Cox, from Kansas City Boiler Room here with us. Adam has come to teach during Jesus week over the past several Journeys and every time, we as a community are changed and transformed. We were blown away as Adam shared the God Story with us again, unpacking the story of Jesus in a fresh and inspiring way. By putting the Gospel within the context of history, we understood the radical love of Jesus that is revealed through the Scripture. This year, the staff and students were undone by the love and humility of Jesus as Adam taught the God Story and the revelation that we are the Beloved. Adam shared that we are “found in the Father and formed in the family”, meaning that our identity is rooted in and discovered in God and that, by His intentional design, we are shaped and grown in the safety of community. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that Adam and his family gave another week of their time to come be with us and invest in the Journey students that we love so much! We highly encourage you to check out Adam’s teaching on The God Story that has impacted our community so deeply!

If you’re interested in learning more about Adam and the KC Boiler Room, check out To purchase The God Story, visit the KC Boiler Room Store.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“Live at Home” Chord Charts

We are excited to announce that the lyrics and chord charts for the Cageless Birds “Live At Home” album are now available online! You can find lyrics and chord charts for each of the songs by going to and clicking on the Media tab. From there, you can click “Live At Home” Chord Charts beside the Cageless Birds option. Clicking on that link will allow you to download a folder that has each of our songs with completed lyrics and chords.  The charts are also available on  Click on the Live at Home link on the menu bar and the chord charts are available at the bottom of the page.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported us in this project. We are so excited to be sharing these with you all!
-The Cageless Bird Community

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cottage Update

As many of you know, over the past several months we have been dreaming with the Lord about building a new cottage for the 18 Inch Journey. We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have given to our vision for the new cottage.  With your support, we have raised $19,000 of our $250,000 goal.  We are so blessed by your generosity! 
Our goal is to build the cottage this fall. Due to delays with building permits, our initial projections for construction have been pushed back.  With the 18 Inch Journey quickly approaching and Phase 2 currently underway, we thought it much wiser to begin construction in the fall so as not to disrupt or postpone either of the schools. Plus, we desire to raise the majority of the $250,000 we need before we break ground on the cottage.

We still plan to accept 32 students to the 18 Inch Journey this summer in addition to the 12 Phase 2 students we currently have.  This will put every inch of space to use and maximize the number of hearts that we can change.  While this will put a stretch on our current space, we are asking the Father for wisdom to steward the growth of this season.  We have tremendous favor with an increase in applications every year, and it is our desire to accept as many students as possible. 

As a community, we treasure each heart that comes to A Place for the Heart and we work very hard to make sure that every student that comes to the 18 Inch Journey is seen, loved and discipled.  We feel the invitation from the Lord to grow and expand while still preserving the intentionality of family that the Trinity has taught us.  As the schools continue to grow, we are expanding our number of staff and interns to help lead the schools and tend to all of the inner workings of A Place for the Heart.  All of this growth simply means that we need more space.  A new cottage will allow us to accept more students, offer better housing and spread out into smaller groups.
Please help support our vision for a more sustainable 18 Inch Journey by giving to the cottage.  We believe one more bed is one more heart that can encounter the love of the Father at A Place for the Heart.  Please consider partnering with us and helping us change the world one heart at a time.

To learn more or give please visit:
You can make checks payable to “A Place for the Heart”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Support a Cageless Bird!

This year, our very own Joel Case is recording a full length album of his songs! Joel has been a part of this community for the past 5 years and has served the dream of this land in many ways - from leading in our schools, drumming with Jonathan and Melissa, being the man behind the scenes, cultivating our music studio, and leading our community in worship. He has written so many amazing songs that have led our community into the heart of the Father, and the love of Jesus, that we sing regularly here at A Place for the Heart, and several news songs! Joel comes strongly recommended to you from our hearts and community as a worthy investment. 
This record will be our first "Cageless Birds" solo project we release! This is also pioneering the way for other members of our family to record and release their music in a similar way through the Cageless Birds collective. We are so excited for the many to come!
But to make this one happen we need your help! Joel has started a Kickstarter (online fundraising platform) to raise the funds he needs to bring this to completion. We have 6DAYS left to raise the money, and Joel will only get the money (and you will only be charged) if we raise the total amount of $15,000. Right now we are over 1/3rd of the way there, with a good bit to go. We need your help!
Would you joyfully consider taking a look at his page, watch the promo video and check out some of the rewards you can receive (like a free copy of his CD when it comes out! or beautiful hand-crafted items from members of our collective) and see if your heart would like to partner in releasing this dream into the earth? 
We pray that in giving you will be blessed even more in return from the sound of Joel's life and the sound of the Father and the Son inside of his heart. We can't do this without you. Thanks for your support!
Here's the link:
- The Friends and Family of A Place for the Heart