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FINDING THE PATH

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“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”  –Matthew 7:13-14

10891858_10205732359611962_8045026448632121539_nI love how the word “find” is used in the second part of this verse in contrast to the word “enter”. The path of pursuing Christ is something that we all must find but we can’t do it without His help.

Over the past five months I have learned a lot more about what it looks like to be a follower of Christ. I have learned what it looks like to walk with God along the hard narrow path. Before I joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), I had a very different idea of what the path was supposed to look like. I thought that God was just waiting for me to spend enough time with Him so that He could download His plan and I could see exactly what I was supposed to do for the rest of my life.

I am so thankful that I was wrong.

Let me put it this way. Have you ever received directions to someone’s house all at once? “Drive four blocks down this road then take a right. Then go seven blocks until you pass the green house with the brown roof and turn left…” I don’t know about you but when people give me all the directions at once I get overwhelmed. I end up saying something like “just let me know when I am getting close to the next turn, then tell me what to do.” Why do you think that GPS or Siri (for all us iPhone people out there) tells us the directions one step at a time? They know that if they gave it to us all at once it would be too much so they give us just enough information to make the next turn then they give us new information so that we don’t get overwhelmed.13060_10206170061554237_2915423060406082681_n

When we want to assemble a bookshelf or drive to a location or learn to draw we expect there to be step by step instructions. If the instructions go to fast we say “Wait, how did they do that? How do I get to that part? Why is the person who wrote these such an idiot?” because we expect them to go slow and to not show us everything at once. Why would we expect God to do anything different? If an Ikea employee in charge of assembly instructions loves us enough to not give us too much at once so we don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed, then why would we expect the God of the universe, who loves us unfathomably more than that employee ever could, give us more than we can handle?

I have heard a lot of people say that they are trying to find God’s plan for their life which is awesome and something we should all do but they are going about it the entirely wrong way. They expect the whole picture, or at least to see twenty years from now all at once but don’t realize what they are asking for. God wants us to walk WITH Him, he doesn’t want us to meet him at twenty years from now.

10446647_902422239809168_1753206571061415444_nA lot of people say, and I completely agree, that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Don’t you think God knows this? God doesn’t call us to a destination, He calls us to a path. If the purpose of life was to reach the end then don’t you think there would be something a little more glamorous waiting for us than old age and poor health? I believe that God wants to go on a journey with us. He calls us to walk on a path because that is where life happens. That is where the adventure is.

1965075_10205795014018283_3614310884445875201_nIt takes a lot of faith to walk out this adventure, to take life step by step. But it also takes a lot of faith to live life anyway. Every time you use any kind of directions you are putting your faith into the person that made the directions to get you to that location or to get that bookshelf built in a better way than you could have done it on your own. Yes it takes faith to walk with God but if we give Him the directions and let Him guide us step by step He can give us so much more life than we could have ever lived by trying to do it on our own.

Joshua Lake – 2014 DTS Alumni

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

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

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

Just Be

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DSCN1855Throughout my outreach, God has been teaching me that He can use me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. One theme He’s shown me again and again in these past two months is “just being there.”

Prior to my YWAM experience I had been on several short-term mission trips, on each of those we did hands-on labor for what felt like sun-up till sun-down everyday. I was able to serve God by physically doing things for people.

When my team reached our destination, the Solomon Islands, many of us were surprised that a part of their culture is to let their guests be served. Hospitality is a HUGE part of the people of the Solomon Islands. This meant they would prefer to serve us rather than allow us to serve them.

IMG_1409This was especially evident in the Western Province where we spent weeks three through six of outreach. From the time we stepped off the boat, we were all blown away by how eager people were to serve us. This persisted as we moved around from place to place, island to island. Cooking us meals, to sweeping our floors, singing and entertaining us as we eat the food they served, eager to show us the best hospitality, which often meant that they were strongly against us doing things for ourselves and especially for them. With time, we had to simply accept that this is a part of their culture.

As we realized this, our eyes were opened to how God was truly working through us by us “just being there.” The people we spent time with were so moved and touched by the fact that we had come all the way across the world to spend time with them. They were touched that we wanted to experience their culture, to do life with them, to eat their food, to learn their music and dances, and to exchange our culture with them.

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As the only white people in the area word spread; it was like the whole town knew why we were there and what we stand for which blessed us with so many more opportunities to speak at different churches and youth groups, to share our hearts and share our passion for God.

God was able to move through our team by us “just being there.”

I am so privileged to have been a part of God moving in this way! God is so powerful and so good, we have loved discovering new ways that He can work in and through us but also in other people for our benefit.

One thing that is often said here in the Solomon Islands in church services is: “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.”

It is so simple, yet so full of truth, it has been amazing to see it in action throughout our time in the Solomon Islands.

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January 2013 Solomon Islands outreach team