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Pinky Promises

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This past week we had the lovely (princess) Tiffany Thompson speak to us on God’s “pinky promises”. She used an acronym with the word pinky… P: we are PRECIOUS to God and worth his time and affection – Psalms 139:17-18. I: Gods power is IMMEASURABLY awesome – Ephesians 3:20. N: God will NEVER leave us and is always here with us – Hebrews 13:5. K: Gods KINGDOM cannot be put into a box – John 18:36. Y: “YOU” Lord are the light and you never dim – Matthew 14:5).

644506_10152030978887667_45260086_n“We are created in Gods image”… For girls we have had Barbie pushed at us from a young age. Many girls have played with Barbies and subconsciously wished to be them. Young girls have grown up with this false image. Scientists have created a real life Barbie and she physically couldn’t live. For guys it’s all about the muscles and “six packs”. Now that companies have sold all they could to girls, they are targeting guys. Guys are slowly turning more and more to what the media is saying it means to be a guy. How we view ourselves directly affects our relationship with God. Since God is beautiful, and we are created in His image, every person on the planet is beautiful too!

“Personally God has shown me that being real with ourselves and accepting what he gave us leads to freedom. When I saw myself the way God does I became a happier me with more appreciation. Also I learned expressing our emotions is vital and when I did I was able to hear God clearer than ever before.” – Jaymie.
“Princess Tiffany definitely spoke light into my life this past week. Her stories, words of wisdom, and love for each one of us – and more 1425756_10152030978937667_1680025789_nimportantly her hubby – truly made her stand out and shone her love for God so brightly. Tiffany was able to make us feel special and like princesses and warriors of God all week; which is how we should see ourselves all the time, because God does! She was an inspiration, and personally taught me a lot regarding the 5 pinky promises of God. We finished our time together by painting our pinky nail, pink, to remind us of Gods love for us ” – Ashley.

“Our fear in life should not be that we won’t be successful but that we will be successful in things that don’t matter.”

Jaymie Poage & Ashley Rowswell- September 2013 DTS Students

Our Homecoming

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How both challenging and liberating it is to discover that space is intimately associated with salvation! Space is freedom from confinement, from preoccupation, from oppression, from drivenness, 1395220_10201557271828676_786109554_nand from all other interior and exterior forces that bind and restrict our spirits. Accept the reality of our incompleteness. Our incompleteness does not make us unacceptable to God, but makes us vulnerable to be built new in him. It has been an amazing week learning from Jeff Pratt. He brought a whole new perspective and teaching style to our DTS with amazing stories that connected the love of God for us through visual movie clips or just thought provoking life stories. Jeff spoke in Spiritual pathways – Freedom is less of and event and more of an awakening, a coming home journey. True spirituality is not a search for perfection or control, but rather a search for divine union now with our Heavenly Father. It is exploring a gift that has already been given. “It’s not trying it’s training”. If you take no risks you risk not 1415683_4955092055612_782867333_nliving. God calls us out of the boat to walk upon the waters. Humility of self, and a boasting in our weakness, to have a sense of pride inside the love of Christ. To the degree you have humility in your life is to that degree you’ll have authority. Who we are inside determines what we see. What we see determines what we do. You can’t offend the dead man. If you’re dead to yourself and alive in God how can you be offended? DTS in its simplest form just means Die To Self. We are on a journey in life to find freedom from our oppression of sin. Without the compass of God we are lost in a storm of darkness. It’s the active pursuit of the spirit and mind that leads us to a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our contemplate journey as Jeff showed us.
• Know yourself better.
• Know God better.
• Know your missional purpose better.
God doesn’t desire solely discipleship, healing, missions, or even preaching His word. He desires a real communion with us, a loving marriage of Father and creation. He longs for a “coming home” a realization in our hearts that God is a lover, a father and a friend. A true living God of love, who wants a real, continual, living, relationship. Dying to self and being made new. We can only be loved to the extent that we are known. And God knows us and loves us inside of that more than our minds will ever comprehend.
1420251_4955092095613_1528952994_n“When dealing with our struggle to experience God the issue is not so much one of Gods presence or absence as it is of the presence or absence of God in our awareness”.
“Live in me. Make your home in me as I do in you.” – John 15:4
God’s love is found in his creation. And His creation reflects his Devine power and grace. If I have learned anything in my growth with Jesus over the past week it is that God wants me where I am now not a future me. I desire to love because He has already loved me. A dying to myself and be made new in him.

John Mark Wheeler-September 2013 DTS Student

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