Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Christian Shell Vs. The Jesus Core

God has already shown me quite a bit about myself through my first few weeks of DTS.  One of the biggest things I realized is that, due to my pride, I was afraid to confess some sin in my life and instead wanted to hold onto the Christian Shell I had created over the course of my life.  I wanted Jesus to come into the mold I had created, but God cannot be formed...he is forever and always the same.  Jesus is not something that can be molded to fit our lives, but on the contrary our lives MUST be molded to fit around His solid, unchanging core.  I found there were two options for my life.  The first is that I could keep my shell but have no part of Jesus filling me on the inside.  The second option was that I could have my shell shattered and begin to be pieced back together around the Solid Core of Jesus Christ instead of Jesse Dawson--who is declared dead, therefore the inside of my shell was death as well.  A scripture that comes to mind is Matthew 21:44 which says, "Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed".  The reason that the person who falls on the stone is broken to pieces, is because he is a fragile shell.  Everyone is hollow without God; anything that is frail and hollow and falls on a solid object will definitely be shattered.  The piece may be shattered and never look like the original shell, but now it is something that can remade as the Artist--or God--wishes.  The new creation will not look like the old shell at all.

It is also important that we do not forget the second half of the verse!  We can keep our shell--and that does not have to be Christian shell--but in the end those who are just a shell will be crushed by the Righteous Judge.  Including some people who appear to be Christians or even think they are.
    22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
    24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:22-27

This was how I have felt for quite sometime, but thankfully I can say that is no longer the case!  I am so thankful that the Lord has waited patiently and pursued me until I could not go on any longer living as a shell.  I am not satisfied with that emptiness, I am now satisfied in being a new creation in Christ.  Praise God!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God, Prayer, Work, and Friends

The title basically covers my experience so far at YWAM.  I have already been exposed to different aspects of God, starting to understand the importance of prayer, fulfilling work duties, and meeting new friends!  Upon arriving last sunday I began to meet the most random assortment of people i've ever been around in my life--and I get to spend the next three months learning from each of their different backgrounds!  The first guys I met were from Florida, Illinois, and Colorado.  I have gone on to meet fellow students from Oregon, Georgia, Texas, California, Louisiana, Norway, South Korea, and China.  I was introduced to a new level of southern--or Cajun--through a man named C.J. who literally wrestles alligators for a living!  I am living with 6 other guys, which has been a fun experience so far...ask me again in one month to see if I think the same thing :).  The base is beautiful.  It is a ranch of 360+ acres ranging from open fields, to wooded areas(with wild hogs), and even has four lakes used for swimming and fishing.  The weather has been HOT, and will only continue to get worse I am told.  It has been an average of 97 during the day, and the next 5 days are going to be about the same.

 Every weekday we have breakfast at 7, followed by quiet time at 8, and class at 9.  At 12 we have lunch and then it's back to class at 1:30.  Next is work duty which goes from 3:30 until 5:00.  Finally we have dinner at 5:15 and are done for the night--at least with our set schedule.  My work duty is grounds crew which I am actually very happy about.  We get to work outside, which, even though it's hot, I find is much more enjoyable than cleaning or serving food...plus I get to work on my tan :).

Class has been pretty good so far.  The first day was on "servanthood", followed by "how to have a quiet time", and most recently the teaching was on "intercession".  Class can get pretty intense at times, because the speakers are not afraid to challenge us or put us on the spot.  Most mornings our main teacher will randomly ask people in the class "what God said to them in quiet time."  This forces me to reflect during my quiet time and consciously determine what God is teaching me that specific day.  In class I have also been exposed to things that I am not used to, or have not experienced in my life eg. visions, interpreting dreams, and intercession just to name a few.  I really enjoy the days when we are challenged to practice what we have just learned.

Prayer is a HUGE part in the lives of staff here, and they begin to instill that mindset in us right from the beginning.  We have a base prayer every Monday from 8-9; this is a time of group prayer for specific ministries on this base, and for ministries we support.  Every morning from 7:30-8:00 the guys dorm have an optional group prayer led by our dorm dad--who is extremely passionate for the Lord!  Also, we are placed into intercession groups that will meet at least once a week for an hour in order to pray for the nations!  I have also begun to realize the importance of prayer in my own life/devotions.  I am learning what it means to listen for God as opposed to just talking at God and expecting to get direction in my life.

Weekends here are pretty laid back, and refreshing.  On Saturday I was able to play soccer, read a book for class, play volleyball, and go to a coffee shop for live music with some fellow students on base here.  I got talked in to doing an interpretive dance with C.J.(the Cajun man), and unfortunately there are about three of four recordings to document the dance--one of which was uploaded to youtube.  I have just touched the tip of the iceberg of what my week has been like, but I hope it gives you a better idea of what my time down here will look like :)

Grace and Peace