What Re:Train is doing to me…

Devastating me.

That about sums up how I feel after a day and a half of Re:train on Preaching & Teaching.  We’ve had some great teachers come in and guide us into the study of God’s Word.  God is revealing to me just how much I think I have something to offer, something to give, or something to bring to the text, when in reality,I don’t.

I have nothing to offer, nothing to bring to the bible.

Scripture stands on its own, it doesn’t need me to interpret it.  Scripture is God breathed, not Justin breathed.  Understanding this has been devastating to my personal image, humbling, but absolutely freeing.  I’m so thankful for God’s power in his word, and for the opportunity to learn about it, and how to study it.

One of our teachers drew this illustration that totally sums up how I have been approaching the bible.  He says some approach the bible like a drunk does to a lamp post, they use it more for support rather than illumination.  We need to come under the authority of Scripture.  I’ve always thought that I did, but now I see more clearly that I bring to the text my own views, my own framework, my own agenda, rather than letting the text speak for itself.

The Holy Spirit, God, has written the bible, and he has does so with purpose and intent.  It’s exciting to come to text now, humbly, looking for the Holy Spirit’s meaning, his direction, his insight.

The Bible is deeper and more sufficient than I ever thought, and I am eternally grateful for it. Thank you Jesus.

Here’s what happened today…Meet David

Please be praying for David.

As some of you may know, I am currently enrolled in the Re:Train program at Mars Hill Church.  Part of our assignment today was to go out into a local neighborhood of the city of Seattle, and learn about the culture.  So myself and two others set out to our particular area.  After walking about 10 min we came across a grungy looking fellow name David, asking if we can get him some food.

One of my friends piped up and said, sure, what would you like?  Turns out he’s a big Mcdonald’s fan, so we took a walk to the nearest McDee’s.  We bought him lunch, got to know him, shared the gospel with him and invited back to the church that evening where all of our teams were going to reassemble.  Surprisingly, he said he would come back.

So we all jumped in my pathfinder and headed back to church.  David had a cup of coffee and we just hung out some more.  Told him about some of the things we do at church, invited back for a service and to a community group.  I then took him home.  It turns out he lives in a one bedroom, but just doesn’t have any friends, or any real motivation.

We prayed for him, bought him some snacks for dinner and made an appointment to see him at church during the 9am.

Now, imagine the sequence of events from his perspective.  He wakes up this morning much like every morning and wanders around the city asking for money.  He occasionally gets money, sometimes a meal, sometimes a coffee or a cigarette.  Sometimes he gets high, sometimes he may have a drink.

But today, he sees three dudes walking down the street and calls out for help, as was his custom.  And they say yes.  Maybe he’s just gonna get a quick meal, but instead he gets three friends for about 4 hours.  They ask him questions, get to know him, act like they actually care about him and keep talking about this guy Jesus.

Well he gets his favorite meal, and then these guys invite him to church.  He figures what the heck, I got nothing better to do, plus I can get some free coffee.  Comes into a church building, which he hasn’t been in since he was a boy, and just rests.  He meets some more people, who share with him different ways the city can help him, gets prayed for again.  Now it’s getting late and time to go home.

So he politely asks for a ride back, and again, they say yes.  So he gets a ride back, gets invited to church again and they say we’ll be looking for you at the 9am, cause we’d love to see him again.  He gets told about Jesus and how his church is full of people that love God and love others and want to be in community with him.

He then is offered some more food for dinner instead of cash, and figures, might as well.  So get’s one last store run and a prayer, and encouragement to come back on Sunday for a service.  We’ll be looking for you!

And then we part ways.

So, pray for David.  That God would get his heart, bring him into the church, hear the gospel, get saved, start living for Jesus, live in community and share in the love of Christ.

Pray for David.

(PS) Lesson re-learned

How many times will I learn the same lessons?  Praise God that he is patient, abounding in steadfast love.

Why is it that I insist that worshipping God can only be in front of a bible or in prayer?

Is not worship the constant outpouring of all that we are?

“Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God.” (Col 3:17)

Why is that so hard to grasp?  Here I am running around this morning getting all frustrated because I’m so busy with things and not having a nice quiet time to sit and be with the Lord.

Am I not with Him all the time?  Is he not with me?  Indeed he is.  Josh 1:5,9, Matt 28:20.

Why can’t I be worshipping and praying to God as I’m meeting with a friend?  Or answering an email?  Or doing my job?  Or putting in a load of laundry?  Grocery shopping, cooking breakfast, etc.

I am so wired to think that it has to look a certain way, namely me sitting with my nose in the bible contemplating his Truth.

The truth lately I have been struggling with that.  I have been trying to wake up early for months to get some good devotional time in.  And the truth is that it wasn’t the physical tiredness of it that kept me from getting up, it was that in my heart I wasn’t really valuing it above sleep and comfort.  It was that I wasn’t seeing it as infinitely more important than anything I could be doing in the day.

But more than that I think God is teaching me that I can be worshipping him throughout my day, being in constant prayer and thanksgiving.  Being a Christian is not a couple hours on Sunday or an hour in devotion to start off your day.  These are things that flow out of a heart of adoration towards Jesus, not things we can use to get closer to Him.

The goal isn’t knowledge.  The goal is Jesus.  To know him more, to trust him more, to love him more, to become more like him (2 Cor 3:18).

And so now, Lord I pray, help me worship You in spirit and in truth…in every minute and mundane task I accomplish this day…and every day.

GCM approved!

Hey all,

Well, after an intense week of training, it is official; I have partnered with Great Commission Ministries.  Praise God.  We went through 8 days of 12 hour training sessions.  Who would have thought there was that much to teach.

But I learned a ton and am excited and scared at the same time.  Please be praying for peace of mind for me and trust in God for raising up a team of support.

This is all about Him.  I love this verse that Elise pointed me to months ago:

Proverbs 30:8-9

“give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”

(PS) Praise the Lord

Just feeling very encouraged this morning about what God is doing.  GCM is a go, and I’ve finally gotten an account to which people can donate.  Training is weeks away.  Wedding planning is going forward.  Work is going well.  Some very encouraging conversations this week with people.  Just wanting to praise God for all that he is doing.  Father, glorify your name!  (John 12:28)

(PS) – God Answers in Scripture

Every time I go over my budget I am hit with the reality that the money is going away. I am always reminded of the reality of this world…that it is run by money. Whenever this happens I start to question God’s call on my life, and his call to raise support (see The Confirmation), rather than get a job.  At this point I usually go to God in prayer and ask for help, for more confirmation, for strength and peace.  And as it happens, in my yearly reading plan, God brought me to 1 Cor 9 yesterday, which was a huge encouragement to stay the path.  Praise God for his faithfulness and his willingness to meet me.  Amen.

1 Cor 9:14

“In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

(PS) Prayer and the Word

I was struggling with taking the time to pray and be in God’s word this morning due to being “so busy”, when He brought me to one verse.

Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning while it was still dark, he departed and went to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

Usually, I try to wake up around 6am to spend time in prayer and the Word, but yesterday, being Easter, was a really long and wonderful day.  So I slept in a bit today and was feeling like I needed to get to the many things calling for my attention.  I prayed for a bit and then decided to jump in to email since I couldn’t really focus on the Word.  When God convicted me and brought me back to where I am in my reading plan.  Mark 1.

I read Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on this and he says:

“No matter how much the Servant labored to help others, He still took time early in the morning to meet with His Father (Isa. 50:4). This was the source of His power, for Jesus served on earth just as you and I must serve: by faith, depending on the power of the Spirit. Workers who are too busy to pray are too busy, and God will not bless their efforts (John 15:5). If the Son of God had to spend time in prayer while ministering on earth, how much more do we need to pray!”

And I felt refreshed, and spend some time in his Word.  He is our source.  He is all we need.  Amen!  Isaiah 50 is a good read on this as well.  He will provide!