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He Knows Just What I Need

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Coming to YWAM DP I desired answers. Answers of what the Lord has for my purpose, where I am supposed to go after my DTS (Discipleship Training School), how I was going to get to that point, and when that was going to be. In other words, I wanted to know God’s plans. I was thinking that getting these answers, God would just snap His fingers and unfold my future before my eyes. I never would have imagined that God was going to dig into my past as well as confront how I am doing right now, but oh boy He is!

I do not have a horrible past or childhood; just a broken home and what I viewed as normal teenaged troubles. I did not think these things really affected me but I have learned over the past few weeks, that these things have a massive grip on my life. I am challenged daily to assess what I hold to be true, what others say is true about me, and what God reveals to me to be true. Amid the challenges and newly found knowledge of who I am in God (which I’m still finding daily) I find myself surrounded by people that are on fire for God and I find myself growing closer to Him and all that he brings. I see others around me, who in a matter of a week I could call family, struggle to uncover the same strongholds in their lives.

YWAM DP has set-up a community that allows us to connect with one another rapidly and deeply; doing so many things together, lectures, worship, cooking, small groups, homework assignments, chores/work duties, going to town, swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving to name a few of many. We experience how one another processes, grieves, expresses excitement, etc. Community living here causes us to naturally bond with one another and allows us to have someone to grow with and relate to while still being from all walks of life and coming together for one common purpose; to be better equipped to share our love in Christ with others.

In this time, I have found myself diving deeper in relationships, I come from a family of secrets and I have learned I don’t put my trust in others, God has been doing many things within my heart. He knew that coming to my DTS I wanted to know more about myself and He gave me just that, but in a raw version, in our first week of lectures we touched on foundations: the character and nature of Christ. Then we did identity.  This week was a week God had crafted just for what I had asked. As a result, with this newly discovered knowledge of who God sees me as I then find myself struggling to let go of what I see myself as because is it far beneath what God has. After being reminded and gaining yet again, a new understanding of who Christ really is it changes the lies that I believed to be true.

All in all, these first few weeks of DTS have been God-inspiring, being able to learn so much and growing closer to God. I have received more than I thought I would from my entire DTS, but only in the few short weeks I’ve been here. You’ve got this Lord, and you continue to show me repeatedly!

Akira Murphy

Known by Love

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John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-3If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Wouldn’t it be great if I could be judged by my fish bumper sticker not by the amount of homeless I drive by with my windows up? Or if on Sunday, my outfits and raised hands in worship made me a better Christian and it didn’t matter that I don’t talk to my neighbor of 3 years. How nice would it be if I could be a jerk to my incompetent coworkers so long as I did my quiet time each morning? If I could just wear a Kerusso t-shirt and not have to interact with anyone in public it would be so much easier. There are so many ways I have wished that I could be judged as a Christian, so many things that I hope people, and sometimes even God, will notice. Despite all my attempts to re-brand and shift the focus, the world (all people) only look at one thing; how I love others, and I fail at that more than anything.

pexels-photo-210585For a long time Christians have tried to define themselves by anything and everything other than the words of Christ in John 13. If you go to church regularly, if you give a tithe, if you don’t swear, if you repeat this special prayer, if you check yes in the box, if you read the right books, etc. Take your pick. Christianity has become a fad, a social class, a political party, it’s become a club that we join because membership promises some great benefits.  We treat it like our alma mater and buy license plate covers and coffee mugs so that others will know that we are part of the group. However, the kingdom of God is not like the things of this world, a message Jesus tried so hard to get across. My eyes were recently opened to this as I observed it in others and God was quick to reveal the hypocrisy and striving in my own heart.

Finding a person who has been personally hurt by a Christian is often as easy as looking at the person next to us. We all have stories of either pastors, leaders, parents, friends, coworkers, or just random strangers yelling on the street who have carried the name of Christianity yet their impact on our life left us hurting. This happened to me recently when a couple individuals, with whom I had a relationship with, attacked my character behind my back and spoke some very hard and hateful words to my face. As I watched these individuals worshiping in a corporate worship session a short time later the sincerity of their worship did not convince me that they were Christians. Why? Because I did not feel loved by them. It was then that God opened my eyes to the truth spoken 2000 years ago; it does not matter what we do, if we do not love, we are not Christian.

This is why so many individuals have been hurt by Christians, because we have defined what a Christian is on our own terms and not God’s terms. We have believed this lie that we get to define what it takes to be a Christian and therefore we do not worry so much about loving others because that’s not a criterion. There are people all over who call themselves a Christian but don’t love, because why would anyone when we are taught to think that going to church and putting a fish on our car is enough to get us to heaven. The problem with this is that God gets the blame for what people do under the name Christian. So when a pastor beats his wife God gets blamed because this man was a “Christian”. God is a god of love and it is by love that his followers should be known. When we substitute anything but love as an identifier for Christianity it ends up with God getting the blame for our sinful actions.

pexels-photo-496283Following Jesus has never been about what we will get out of it. It isn’t an investment that we get to cash in on upon death, or a golden ticket to ride on the long black train. Following Jesus is about realizing that he loved us more than we could ever deserve and therefore we should love others. It’s about giving grace because we received grace. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story about a man who had his debt forgiven by his lord and then turned around and demanded that his debtor pay him. The news of this comes to the lord and he calls this man a wicked servant because he received grace but did not give grace. This is the essence of Christianity, we must love others because he loves us. If we do what Jesus does we are like Jesus, a Christian, if we do not do what Jesus does (i.e. love) then we are not Christian.

Loving others is hard, it is much harder than most of the other ways we try to define Christianity, and I am the first to admit that often times I do a lousy job of it. It is something that takes practice and lots of work because it’s not always our first instinct to love one another. Thankfully we have an example in Jesus and scripture that teaches us how to love (1 Corinthians 13). So let us return to the words of Jesus and let our religion and our faith be defined by our love for one another. Then, slowly, we can hope that the name Christianity will leave a pleasant taste in the world and not as bitter of one.

Micah Hampton

From the Field: Mayreau Outreach

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IMG_1361  This past week in Mayreau the team and I were blessed enough to have an amazing group of 8 students ranging from 10-17 years old, from St Vincent come down to Mayreau for a jam packed 5 days of fun, games, and Jesus lovin! Six of us had the opportunity to be small group leaders (yours truly being 1 of them) and speak into these kids lives. Every second of camp was scheduled with team building games, worship, teaching by fellow leaders, service projects to help others in the community, water games, crafts, cleaning schedules, and more! From the perspective of a small group leader, this has been one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve faced on outreach yet. Roughly 14 1/2 hours a day for 5 days straight we laid ourselves down to build these students up. Making ourselves available and stretching to our limits. The conversations we had with these amazing students will continuously ring in my heart for some time to come. Watching, in such a short span of time, these students grow and learn in the knowledge of our king has been one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed/been apart of.

 
IMG_1170Service projects included; beach garbage clean up, Cleaning up near and around the dump, and blessing an elderly man here in town by cleaning up his home and providing food for him. The students were definitely pushed by the service projects, but I honestly think they found a lot of joy in getting to help others.

 

 
IMG_1195Getting to be a small group leader for the 2 girls Sarah and I had, was one of the greatest honors I’ve had yet. I personally was so stretched and pushed throughout this week. I truly realized the meaning behind the saying “if you want to be a good leader, be a better servant”. I feel as if this week has impacted me, as it did for them. Watching them grow, as I too grew. Knowing that the best way I could lead them, is by giving everything we did, my 100%. And that proved to be so fruitful. I loved watching my fellow teammates leading as well. Seeing them step into these shoes we had been equipped for was an amazing honor. And I can not wait to see and hear of the ways they will continue to lead others in their lives. This week was truly amazing, and I can not wait to tell all about it when we get back to Belize.

Kate Huling

Six Things Missionaries Wished You Knew

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I have been in the mission field full time now for four years. I can honestly say it has been some of the best and hardest times in my life. Like most full time volunteer missionaries I rely solely on the support of family, friends, and believers. It can be a very rewarding yet challenging thing to allow God the freedom to move and cling to Him during financial hard times. Unless you are a missionary yourself who has had to raise support and/or you’ve walked alongside missionaries in the field there may be things that you are unaware of when it comes to support raising. Here are my top six things I believe missionaries wish people knew about us when support raising.
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Love Your Enemies

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My name is Kristen and I’m a student on the Bible Core Course, here in San Pedro Belize. As a class we are starting off our 9th week of classes and it’s funny because we are just now studying Genesis. Something we do in this course is read the Bible cover to cover and as we do so we are looking for a timeless truth about God, or in other words something that was true when the Bible was written that is also true for us today.

In my study so far, I have found countless truths about God, humanity, and our relationship with each other. I wish I could list all of them here for you but I think God would want to personally show you the truths Himself. But the one that I just can’t get away from and one that I think all people struggle to believe is that God loves everyone, even those considered to be the enemy… Of all the things I came here to learn about, I didn’t expect it to be the elementary idea that “Jesus loves.”

I desperately wanted to understand the controversial and complicated parts of the Scriptures, and while I am learning some of those things too, mostly I’m learning that the inhabitants of this world are deeply and incredibly understood and loved by God. And not just in Psalms 139 but in Romans, Philemon, and yes even Revelation. Every bit of it is either a story or a reminder of the mercy God has on us doubtful and fickle bunch. The whole idea of having mercy or love for everyone feels like a big pill to swallow.  And while I look at the harm that we cause each other…I see it’s also difficult for the rest of us. Maybe this elementary idea requires a lot more than what we all thought.

Whether it’s nation against nation or brother against brother, Jesus just isn’t like us in the sense that He would rather die than harm His enemies. Jesus just won’t be enticed to anything other than to love, which in His case ended in death on a cross for all. As much as I have tried to move past such a simple idea of love, I just haven’t been able to move fast enough. God is love. God is love to those some consider enemies just as much as God is love to me. If God took me over halfway cross the world just so that I would understand this timeless truth, than it must be important for my daily life. This has changed for me the way I see the rest of the world. The way I see other countries, other religions, old friends, and even at times my own brother. So I guess the elementary idea that “Jesus loves” turns out to be one that we are not to live without, justify because “it’s too hard”, or ignore.

Can you imagine what would happen if you decided to love your enemy or brother again? If this is really what Jesus did, than it would probably change everything. And how good would that change be for our world?

Kristen Robbins

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