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Abba Daddy

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IMG_5577You know how we always refer to God as “Father”? What do we really mean when we say that? Is that just another name we have for him? Because sometimes we really don’t see him as our dad. We read the stories of the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, and we see Him destroying people and civilizations and, though we may not question it out loud or consciously think it, we feel like he’s kind of mean. And for many of us, that just doesn’t reconcile with the name “Father”. And a whole slew of problems can come from this confused view of God. Before this week, I was definitely someone that fell into this category of thinking, even if I didn’t necessarily realize it. Chris Failla put a wrecking ball through that this week.

He started by crediting God the Father as exactly that – a father. In Ephesians 1:4-5, Paul writes that “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his IMG_0572pleasure and will.” So we’re adopted into the family of the Trinity. And this was his plan before the creation of the earth. And it’s not only his will but his absolute pleasure. Everything the Lord does is done in fatherly love. All those Old Testament stories of gruesomeness and destruction are illustrations of his discipline and protection – just as an earthly father, in love, would discipline and protect us. Chris said of God’s wrath, “it’s what we call God’s love as it encounters and devours evil, injustice, sin and death.” That makes us see things a little bit differently.

Can you imagine the way faith is transformed when we see God as our Father instead of just calling him that? With this new wisdom, I’ve been able to go back to memories deep 1385010_10151949919855546_1766589233_ninto my childhood that Satan has used to convince me of untruths, and instead replace the lies with the Father’s truth. In realizing the immense love the Father has for me, that he created me out of love, and that he truly delights in me, I realize so much more of my potential in him. I have found it so much easier to believe that he is who he says he is, and I am who he says I am. And there is so much power in that!

Katie Bell- September 2013 DTS Student

Spreading Love Throughout Sri Lanka

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A busy past 5 days is what I’m going to talk about. I hope I can remember it all. It started with a late night bus travel, and this was no private bus even though we had reserved seats. Our escort was Pastor Lester, a man with great English and a great sense of humor. 1422505_10151796934178897_719864676_nOur destination was Batticaloa, which was on the west coast about a 7-hour drive away, and we hardly got any sleep. This area is mostly Tamil, so often things needed to be translated from Tamil to Sinhala, and then Sinhala to English. Our mission here was to begin construction on a church. We would be working with around 8 pastors and people from the village. They offered our team one of their homes to stay in and according to Pastor Lester we were spoiled (but we knew that, since we weren’t sleeping in sand). So after a quick rest we began.
It was probably close to 38 degrees and we had to dig holes in the incredibly hot sand, with a couple shovels, a hoe and some coconuts. This took a few hours, and we were all drenched in sweat by the end. The showers there were an experience. Basically it was a semi-enclosed area, about neck high, encircled around a well, and you would pull water up and dump it on you. The locals really wanted to assist, so they’d run over and draw water for you, and you couldn’t really say no because of translation and culture issues. That night we went around and visited some homes of the church members. We would pray for them, often there was tea, and just visit until we had to move onto the next house. The people here blessed us so much! There was one home that gave us some chocolates that they had saved money for, to give to their mother for her birthday, but instead they wanted to share them with us. The people in Sri Lanka are so loving, and if I only learn one thing from this trip, I hope it’s how to love and give like they do.
The next day involved filling in the holes with cement, and the simplest way to do this was to make a 12-person train, passing buckets back and forth. When we ran out of mixed cement we would carry buckets of sand, rock and water to make more. Sometimes we 1383277_10152353567774126_943195565_neven carried large rocks from one pile to a spot closer. Patrick was insane with the sizes of rocks he would carry; Pastor Lester called him Solomon. This took the better part of the day, with many water breaks. Again after we had a quick wash we went to visit more families. The area we were in was a heavily Hindu area, so persecution was present there. We left that night to stay at a church that was closer to where we would catch the bus taking us to Chilaw, our second location.
This time we went in the day so we were able to see some amazing sights! At one point we passed a group of about 20 monkeys on the side of the road. After a day of rest in Chilaw, we were faced with a 4-hour youth ministry at a church about 45 minutes away at a church in a Hindu neighborhood. Amazingly the ministry went really well, even though we didn’t have our usual supplies, and didn’t really prepare for it. We played games, told a story, skits, testimonies, heard some of their testimonies, it was all really good.
781_557900434280023_1705681759_nLater that day we went to a different church to visit some of the members, and we were invited to go boating on the ocean using their fishing boats. Now I’m not sure why I decided not to go, but I’m glad I did. I ended up staying back and writing my journal a bit, collecting my thoughts. One man stayed back with me, and though he didn’t know very much English we still got to talk. At one point he asked if I wanted to go to the beach so we did, and chatted a bit more. He told me he had a son that was two years old. He’s a fisherman and asked me to pray for his family his wife and him are arguing a lot. He brought me to his home, a small shack by the ocean, showed me his fish and his boat then brought me to his mother in law’s house to show me his kid. At one point when we were walking he asked me if I wanted to keep going or go back to the church, I explained 993455_10151796935338897_452753209_n-1to him that I needed to get back with the rest of the group and it turned into a total confusing conversation where I don’t think either of us knew what we were saying anymore. We returned back to the first house and he invited my family and I back to Sri Lanka. Back at the house everyone was there, wondering where I had disappeared to.
The next and final day we had three church services lined up for us, so that meant three sermons, three testimonies, a couple skits, a few songs and a whole lot of prayer. The largest church had about 60 people and Tyler did his very first sermon… not bad for a man new to Christ this year! Between the second and the last we had a break, where some of us napped and the rest of us braved the ocean with its 6ft waves!
Finally, after a long but rewarding 5 days, we took a van ride back to Pastor Conrad’s house in Colombo. We’re all glad to be back and are curious what awaits us in the final 18 days!

Sri Lanka Outreach Team- July 2013 DTS

Pursuing Spiritual Growth

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Kent Hughes once wrote, “Integrity characterizes the entire person, not just part of him. He is righteous and honest through and through. He is not only that inside, but also in IMG_0562outer action.” What a perfect quote to set the tone for such a powerful and challenging week here at YWAM DP. Students here this week had the privilege of hearing from one of the awesome YWAM DP staff members Ally. As interesting and fun as it is to have speakers come in from around the world, it was so cool to have a familiar face up in front speaking this week, challenging us and sharing their personal wisdom and knowledge with us.
We began the week hitting the ground running, diving right into the concept of integrity and what does it truly mean to live a life of integrity. Analyzing what personal integrity truly was and how to begin to walk down a path leading to a life of integrity was quite a challenge but quite an encouragement. As we sat and pondered the idea of integrity, we were challenged even more, exploring the Fruits of the Spirit and which ones our Father was calling us to work IMG_0563on. In a fun exercise we left the classroom and ventured to the dining area to snack on some fruit while we took time to journal and listen to God on what Spiritual Fruit He was calling us to grow, and what that would look like. A feeling of peace and calmness took over the area as students and staff members together opened their hearts to God and the desires He has for our personal Spiritual growth.
This time of silence and listening set one of the major themes for the rest of the week, listening to God. Throughout the week we continually found our community striving to connect with God in a deeper and more intimate way, as well as gain understanding in what it truly means to listen to God. Whether we were spending time in Intercession, or evaluating past events in our lives we were continually encouraged to be still, and to take time to listen to God, to let Him speak to us and help us grow closer to Him.
IMG_0547It wouldn’t be a typical week at YWAM DP without a little emotion though, and as the week continued Ally challenged the students to take a genuine and honest look at our own lives and hearts. As we sat in the sand room and listened to Ally speak on Thursday, she asked us to create what she called a “Spiritual Timeline”. After pursuing ways to truly listen to our Father, and to recognize that we need freedom from situations in our lives that have encouraged false beliefs in our lives this proved to be quite a powerful exercise. We spread around the room and began to write on our sheet of paper challenges, struggles, and inspiring experiences throughout our lives. Personally I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed with many of the images, situations and encounters that God brought back into my memory. Times that I no longer saw as relevant, and situations I thought I had dealt with. I could feel my eyes begin to fill with tears as I recognized that there were many situations that for years had been hindering my relationship with my Father. As I glanced around the room I saw many others wiping their eyes and letting tears escape, clearly feeling the same way I did. What a powerful moment! After years, Christ was bringing up situations in our lives that had never been dealt with properly, and giving us freedom from them!
IMG_0560Despite having a hard week, one filled with struggle, big issues, and constant challenges to go deeper with our God, He was still so good and providing so much freedom. With His help alone we had come out on top and conquered the week, and what a great victory. As we released the feelings of inadequacy and hurt, our Father continued to have more room inside of us to fill, an exciting and powerful image. Philippians 4:6-9 has truly been one of the themed verses of this week. At the end Paul writes, “Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.” (Message) What an encouragement for this time in our lives, as we continue to be challenged, broken and transformed day by day, we continue to put into practice all Father is showing us, pursuing our path to be true Christ Followers.

Will Richardson- September 2013 DTS Student

So Much Work, So Little Time

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In America, there is a problem. So many of us follow a day-by-day routine. Wake up, go to work/school, go home, and sleep. How messed up is that? This was my day by day, just 4looking more and more like the world around me. Then something amazing, irreversible, climate happened in my life, God saved me. My heart of stone was replaced with a heart of flesh. I was raised from the dead, took my first breath of air and truly started living.
As a new believer, I didn’t realize how important it was for me to tell other people about what had happened to me. How Jesus came into my life and saved me from my unrighteousness. Now, though still a young believer, I realize how important it is for me to spread the love of God to everyone. Reflect the image of God, look like Jesus.
This is why I am in Guatemala right now. When I read the great commission in Matthew 28, I don’t see “go and make disciples if you feel like it”. Or “go and make disciples only if it’s not awkward.” No. “Go therefore and make photodisciples of all nations” is what Jesus says. It is not an opinion, it is a command. That’s why I am here, trying to be obedient as best I can to what the Word of God tells me to do.
After saying all of that, I guess it would be proper to discuss what kind of ministries my team and I are doing here. The past two weeks we have been in Guatemala City, which has been great! We were blessed to be apart of so many ministries that the YWAM base already had going. Ministries like feeding the homeless, visiting orphanages, participating in Bible studies and evangelism at the town square. Not to mention preaching in more than 10 churches. We saw God work in all of these ministries.
Although I loved all the ministries, there was one that spoke to me the most, feeding and evangelizing to the homeless. Recently I discovered how high the homeless population is 2in Atlanta (where I live) and I believe God wants me to do something about it. It was hard evangelizing to the homeless people In Guatemala City, but after I could not stop thinking about how easy it would be to do it back home.
God has taught me so many things while being here in Guatemala. Which brings me to why I titled this Blog “so much work, so little time”. The more I read my Bible, the more I come to the conclusion on how important it is for us to share the Good news with people. The Bible talks countless amount of times about how short our lives are, “for what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” 3(James 4:14) or “teach as how short our life is” (psalm 90:12) or even the whole chapter 11 of Ecclesiastes. Here, God has been teaching me that my time is limited and there is a lot of work to be done. Ultimately God has been telling me, “Don’t waste your life”.

Michael Becker- July 2013 DTS Student

All You Need Is Love

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Well, it’s no coincidence that Jesus IS love. Brenda Lewis, our first guest speaker, introduced a simple life motto to us this week—“Jesus+nothing=everything”. So, not 1381127_10151942233373656_1962046273_nJesus+popularity=everything? Or Jesus+the perfect family=everything? No. We solely need Him and everything else will fall into place.
We are all trying to find our place in this world. We want to discover our destiny or the will of God for our lives. Not that these things are bad, but sometimes we can get so lost in trying to figure them out that we forget where we are at now. Where has God placed you at the moment? BE THERE. He will provide opportunities and lead you to where you need to go next. Let me hit you with the simplest statement from this week that can completely transform your thinking. Ready? I’m about to answer all your questions about your destiny in this world. This is a huge deal.
Our destiny is Jesus Christ.
John 17:3 says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Jesus is all about intimate relationship with us. Relationship would be cut out if He were to tell us our future, because that would become 1374551_10151942232418656_1777257097_nall we could think about. He longs for us to trust and focus on Him, and He will take care of the rest. Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Another quote that resonated with many of the students was “make it easy on yourself and hard on God” because, really, He can handle it. He created the universe. Your life is a piece of cake for Him. Don’t you worry. All you have to do is say “yes” and let Him guide you where He wants to use you. He is just looking for obedience.
This week really hit home for me. I almost feel like I got everything I needed, and I can go home. That’s it—all I need is Jesus, but I am just not ready yet. I came into this school with a pretty significant weight of anxiety regarding my future. I don’t like not knowing what God wants me to do especially when the majority of my friends are off at college pursuing their dreams. I doubted if He would even find a place for me to serve in the future. Here is the good news though. I have had this dream to open up a coffee shop for almost five years that I could never seem to get out of my head. I dream over this idea so blogoften and am constantly thinking of new ideas to serve through it. I have various ideas that I won’t go into detail sharing on here, but I want to financially support a specific country or organization that hasn’t been identified yet. I want to meet their needs. I want to help others while still doing what I love. I know this thought is from God because it’s the only career idea that really makes me excited about my future. I learned this week that God tends to use our desires to do His work. He wants us to be just as excited about it as He is. As long as my relationship with Him is first priority, then it’s okay to do what I desire as long as I allow Him to use me through that. So until God has other plans for me—I am going for it. I trust that He will work everything out for the best. If I don’t have the chance to open this coffee shop that only means He has a better idea for me. The same goes for your life.
I am so hungry to learn more and it’s only the third week into our school. I can only imagine where I’ll be at the end of my DTS. God is good in all that He does.

Taylor Christianson- September 2013 DTS Student