YWAM Montana - Lakeside http://ywammontana.org Just another WordPress site Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:04:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 God’s Perfect Peace http://ywammontana.org/gods-perfect-peace/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gods-perfect-peace http://ywammontana.org/gods-perfect-peace/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:50:07 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3238 God’s perfect use of timing and testimonies is something I’ll never be able to comprehend, and I’m alright with that. Prior to my DTS lecture phase, God was working on removing shame from a certain part of my testimony. Part of my testimony that I kept a secret, until this past summer (2013), when I told some of my close friends. God is still working on that now, with me taking this step and putting it out there, where family, friends, and other people will see.

For years I had called myself a Christian, but lived a life opposite of such. Along with calling myself a Christian, I smoked a hefty amount of weed. I didn’t tell anyone about it, because I knew it was wrong, but was totally content with living the double life and didn’t want to hear all the criticisms. It got to the point where I would go to church high, or leave church early to smoke. It was a constant in my life and something that I could control. Something that was there to bring me peace, when nothing else in my life did. I assumed that everyone in my high school either hated me or had preconceived beliefs about me. It wasn’t a place where I could find peace. Having split parents wasn’t a place where I could go to find peace. The only place I could find peace was when I was alone and had a piece in my hand.

For a long time, even though I had quit smoking and had changed to living a God-centered lifestyle, I was still ashamed of my actions. God brought me through a season of showing me that, yes it was wrong, and no that wasn’t what He intended for me, but God still loved me and still wanted to use me for His kingdom.

I didn’t know why God wanted to remove the shame and have me be comfortable with sharing this portion of my testimony….

until I met Jorge. 

The other day, we went to downtown Heredia, Costa Rica to do some street evangelism. We spent the first half of the morning walking around in small groups to just see what God had for us and the people of Costa Rica. We later met up at the park to share some testimonies and for the girls to perform their dance. After the dance, we continued to talk to the people in the park. Thinking my day was done, I nonchalantly walked over to the trash can to throw something away.

There was a group of homeless men sitting there that I had seen earlier so I just said my embarrassingly, american-accented “hola”. One man turned to me and asked in english where I was from. I told him the United States. He kindly pulled me away from the other men and started downloading his life to me. How he had lived in Chicago, New York, and Miami for parts of his life. He told me about all of the drugs he did and all of the sad, hard times he has had. He then told me he has smoked weed for 30 years. And out of all the drugs he’s done, that’s the only one he can’t quit. I asked if I could pray for God to rid him of his addictions and he said “please”. So I did. When I got to praying against the addiction to weed, I asked God what it was. “Why does Jorge, need marijuana?” All of the sudden, I was filled with this anxiety that I had known all too well. I asked Jorge if he smokes to get peace. He started to tear up. “Yes,” he said. I then told him my testimony involving weed. I told him that I have so much more peace with God, then I ever could have had with weed. God brings peace, not weed. I asked him if he wanted the same peace that I had. He instantly said “Yes!” I told him that God wants to give him that peace, and that it is going to change his entire life. That he will be able to spend eternity in peace. I then told him, that if he does this, there’s no looking back, he’s going to have to get rid of his drugs and fully commit to this new life with Jesus. His next response was not something I expected to hear when I first walked over to that trash can, “I’m ready, I want the God peace.”

I then had the privilege of praying a new brother into the kingdom. Jorge will be spending eternity in peace. A full, complete, and true peace. A peace we can’t find in anything else on this earth.

A peace that only our One, True, Heavenly Father can give us. 

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The Love Of A Father http://ywammontana.org/love-father/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=love-father http://ywammontana.org/love-father/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:00:26 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3218 At 30,000 feet my head finally felt clear. This was an abnormal feeling for my introverted self. I was surrounded by people, closely squeezed in on a Boeing 747, and yet I felt at peace. Looking through the little glass window brought a smile to my face. I inhaled and exhaled slowly and fully. As I thought back over the last few months, and dreamed of what was to come, I was in awe. I never would have thought that my life would be like this. I had never really known what exactly I wanted to do with myself, but this definitely exceeded my expectations.

I was flying high above the puffy white clouds and headed to Mexico. I had never left the country before. Goodness, I had never even left the West Coast before. But here I was, on a two month journey across the border. The unknown was present and daunting.

Up to this point my life had been a mess of broken emotions and frustrations. I grew up in a Christian home and knew God and all the rules of do’s and don’t’s that come with it. But I didn’t KNOW Him. I constantly struggled with not being good enough. I believed I was a failure, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Compared to everyone else, my list of mistakes seemed much shorter. I had never been drunk, didn’t touch any sort of drug, didn’t mess around with guys, obeyed my parents, and yet I still wasn’t satisfied. I still didn’t feel like I was good enough. I still sat on my bedroom floor and cried for hours. I still didn’t feel God near to me. I never doubted that He was out there, but I believed I had to earn it for Him to be near to me. I just couldn’t do it.

This pattern of life hung onto me as I began DTS. I knew I was weak; I knew I was insecure. I was frustrated and desperate for answers. I knew there had to be more to my relationship with God. There had to be, right? I was on the edge of revelation, either good or bad. Looking back I can see that what happened in those five months truly changed my life  for the better.

About halfway through our lecture phase it came to the point where I finally had to make a choice. I had wrestled with God and the truth He spoke about my identity for too long . I wrestled with the idea that I didn’t have to earn God’s love. People would praise me and I would brush it off, unwilling to believe I had worth. And then one day, it clicked. I realized that I could either continue this life that I was living, and believe my own truth, or I could say enough and begin walking in God’s truth. It sounds so simple and easy, but when you live your life a certain way for twenty years, it makes it hard to break the habit. On that day I chose to no longer believe the lies that had surrounded me for so long. I decided to close my ears off to the lies that had been whispered into me for so many years; lies of condemnation, shame, and lies about never being good enough. I took a stand and chose to believe what God had spoken to me, that I am His beloved child ­ wanted and desired because of who I am, not because of what I do.

My life will never be the same.

Our two months in Mexico wrecked me even more. This trip was nothing like I thought it would be, but nonetheless God did an incredible work. My wounds from my past were still fresh, my heart still tender, but God held me close and didn’t let me go. For the first time in my life I understood that God is my Father; He is my daddy and I am His little girl. I didn’t have to work for it, I didn’t have to earn it or convince Him to give His love to me. It had been there the whole time, waiting for me to accept it. On that ordinary day I said no to the lies and burdens I had carried for so long and took hold of the love that God was giving me. I didn’t realize then just how much that decision would change my life.

Don’t get me wrong, this journey hasn’t ended yet. Every day I still have to remind myself of this truth and the decision I made. I still don’t understand everything, and I still have many struggles. But when I remind myself of everything that happened in DTS I remember that I am a different woman because of it. I remember that I have to choose HIM. Every day He says, “You are my beloved child.” When the world tries to take me under, I can rest in the secure embrace of my father. His freedom, healing and love wash over me in ways I’ve never experienced before. It’s been a hard, tough journey, but it’s been the best one I’ve ever been on.

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Always Good http://ywammontana.org/always-good/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=always-good http://ywammontana.org/always-good/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:00:26 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3185 Sometimes in our lives we are faced with circumstances that would not be considered our ideal. When we plan out what we want our lives to look like, seldom it includes walking through difficult things, and actually seldom our plan includes even moments that are among the greatest we have lived. I don’t know of a person who would plan their ideal life saying: “Oh, I think that when I’m in my twenties I’ll include _____  that sounds marvelous and life-giving, and I know I’ll really glorify God through it.”

It’s not what I planned… but something that I am learning is that His plan is actually much better than mine. His timing is better. His pace is better. And He includes lessons and moments in His decree that are far better than anything I could conjure up in my finite mind: because He is good, and apart from Him, I am not.

So, do I actually believe this? In the midst of the difficult things, I’m not going to lie and say I always believe that what I am going through is ultimately for good. I see the depravity of my behaviors, my thoughts, my motives, and all I can see is sin

I’ve actually been very discouraged lately; I am even finding myself questioning the goodness of the Lord-the sovereign goodness of God that I have been reading about consistently for almost six months now… because all I can see is my problem.

We assume that once we commit ourselves to following Jesus that everything is going to get better. I struggled with _____ (fill in the blank) before I knew Jesus four years ago, stuff like that is expected from a non-Christian; but a Christian who battles this… is that even possible?

Yes, it is possible. And it happens when our eyes unfix our gaze from the finished work on the cross. See, right now all I am able to see before me is my problem: I have lowered my gaze from the cross to the world and I have lost sight of the hope and the life that is found in being a Christian. No wonder I don’t see any good: I’m not looking at anything good.

Hebrews 11 begins, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Being a Christian is fixing our gaze, in faith, at the unseen.

I am a firm believer in the absolute sovereignty of God, working all things for the good of His elect, and ultimately to provide Him the most glory. It was mentioned to me recently, relating to a popular theological debate among us SBS students, how the concept of believing in the absolute sovereignty of God can give ground for skewed understanding of man’s role in relation to that, and thus result in behavior that is not consistent. Determinism is appealing in that it perceives to take away man’s responsibility for any action- “for it’s God’s will,” and give man the perception of having no obligation to walk out holiness in their life- “for God is working for good regardless.” Free will is appealing in that it gives man a perceived control, which appears as if ultimately man is in control of his life and decisions. I think that its unsafe to land on either extreme, or there will likely result behavior that is dictated by this theological misconception, or in other words: the book of James was incredibly correct if summarized as: “you behave according to what you believe.”

I believe that God is indeed working for good, and that it is Him who is in control, but with that we are given responsibility to walk it out. (Which I conclude is actually God doing it through our doing.) My favorite theologian, Jonathan Edwards, states it this way in his Writings on the Trinity, Grace, and Faith:

“In efficacious grace we are not merely passive, nor yet does God do some, and we do the rest. But God does all, and we do all. God produces all, and we act all. For that is what he produces, that is, our own acts. God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors.

We are, in different respects, wholly passive and wholly active. In the Scriptures the same things are represented as from God and from us. God is said to convert, and men are said to convert and turn. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart.

God circumcises the heart, and we are commanded to circumcise our own hearts; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty. These things are agreeable to that text, ‘God worketh in you both to will and to do.’ (Philippians 2:13)”

I know that the good might be the lessons that others learn through witnessing the struggle, or walking besides us on the rough days: pointing to the Bread of Life. It might be the testimony that will once bear after having overcome. It might just be a daily lament before the presence of the Lord, giving His children what is always best: Himself.

I am, though, proclaiming to you today that I love Christ; I know He is actively working in my life, I know He is worthy of all of my life, and I know He is still good. Oh, how He is good.
With Christ in me, equipped by the Holy Spirit, I am equipped to live a completely sinless life in the Spirit. But I know that’s not going to happen, because I am not glorified yet. I am still sojourning in the world that is not my home, corrupt and fallen, but at the same time perfectly righteous before God. Why? Tension.

Look to none other than the Apostle Paul here in Romans 7: 14-25,

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

Paul recognized that there was a spiritual tension going on. His heart was filled with the Holy Spirit, he resolved good, but his body was a product of this world and a servant of the flesh. What then? How can you overcome such battle? This may sound elementary here, but I do have an answer for you: Jesus.

Because of what Jesus accomplished in his sacrificial death on the cross, I do have victory. Every day that my flesh wins the battle, I know that there is grace because Christ has won the war. He rose again defeating sin and death, and it was only through the sin of man crucifying Him, the most wicked of sins ever committed to my regard, that there is this goodness. The ultimate good was secured eternity for God’s chosen people, promised life with God forever; and it was only through sin that it could have been accomplished- the sin of man crucifying Jesus, God the Son.

With that, I know that despite the most-wicked of sins, there is always goodness for those who love God. There is always good, because God has promised to work all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. So who am I to define goodness in my finite regard to struggling or not struggling in life in our unglorified bodies? I’m a daughter of God, that’s who I am; and I know that God is good, God is totally in control, and I am totally secure in His promise of full sanctification on my last day. There is victory…there has been since three days after Jesus was crucified. All glory to God.

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Originality and Failure http://ywammontana.org/originality-failure/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=originality-failure http://ywammontana.org/originality-failure/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:51:03 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3174 The thought of creating always brings a sense of trepidation. Even as I type this short prose on my laptop, I am filled with consternation. Why do I have any fear over writing a short article? Perhaps the source of unease is from eating that day-old sandwich too quickly which now, an hour later, is distracting me. Or maybe there are just too many brilliant thoughts inundating my mind. More likely, it is that all-too-familiar fear of failure. As many have already discovered, failure should not prevent anyone from moving forward. In fact, when an endeavor results in what seems like failure, it ought to be embraced as being part of the process to create or become something original.

When he was given a solid block of marble, Michelangelo could have considered the risk that he might fail, saying while shrinking back, “It really is a perfect piece of stone anyway.” Instead, though he knew that one wrong move could ruin the statue-in-process, he moved forward with the confidence that he could see the statue within the stone and created works such as his David sculpture. As perfect as this masterpiece appears at first glance, however, it becomes evident that the body parts of the statue are disproportionate—for instance, the right hand is larger than the left. This was a technique Michelangelo intentionally used to give the figure a dynamic look, making it unique just as the physical features of each individual truly are.

I have long understood the idea that imperfection and failure do not disqualify me from being a good musician, speaker, leader, or human being. Albeit this fear has continually kept me from doing, well, just about anything—and all the while, the choice is mine whether to give in to fear or to live in victory. I was again faced with this choice when I went on a two-month trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti with with a team of 20 other people last December. This presented a number of challenges: safety, unity, and uncertainty of what the conditions would be like in La Hispaniola Island, to name a few. Reality, it seems, often goes beyond even one’s most vivid imagination, and I learned that firsthand when the circumstances of our outreach turned out much worse than I anticipated.

We had arrived fully prepared to teach english, run health classes, and hold events in different parks, most of these events fell through due to issues beyond our control. Problems with our team’s physical health began within the first week. My hand blew up like an inflated latex glove when I was stung by a bee. The sting was incurred while clearing away foliage at the YWAM base where our team was staying in Azua, DR. Another teammate was the recipient of several such bee stings. Thankfully, her reaction was not as severe as mine. In the middle of our “open air” events in the park, the electricity would spontaneously cut out and we could not attract a large crowd. Such challenges are easy enough to endure, but the worst was yet to come. About one month into the trip, the team travelled to Haiti. Within days, virtually the whole team was overtaken by vomiting and diarrhea. These setbacks made it extremely difficult to be effectively involved in the work projects and revival meetings we were scheduled to help with. Complicating matters even further was the sad reality that hospitals in Haiti are poorly-equipped to handle malignant illness.

Everything we had planned turned out to be either completely different than what we expected or fell apart entirely. I instinctively wondered, “Was all of this a complete waste of time?” Much of what we came to do, we simply did not do. The remainder of our time in Haiti was cut short due to illness. Yet at the same time, the trip was immensely successful. The way the team met each other’s needs and encouraged one another in the midst of sickness was a living example of the Church in action not only to ourselves but to those around us. As soon as a team member recovered, he or she was back in action immediately. When technical problems arose, as they frequently did, everyone quickly adapted and kept the focus on caring for the people we were there to minister to. In that way, our work there was incredibly engineered, as only God can do. Through word and deed, the life-giving message Jesus offers was spread either through organized functions or individual connections.

Originality is often accompanied by failure. As C.S. Lewis writes, perfection is not the first step, for “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas, if you simply try to tell the truth…you will…become original without ever having noticed it… Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.” God did not wait for us to adjust our behavior to save us (see Romans 5:8). To walk in the freedom He promises, we must give up trying to make ourselves into something original and let God take over the endeavor no matter how messy it appears. We do not have the whole picture, but we must trust that God does. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV). This is not some quaint platitude, this is the cost of becoming the true original you were made to be.

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Light To The Darkness http://ywammontana.org/light-darkness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=light-darkness http://ywammontana.org/light-darkness/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 17:33:16 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3120 As I sit and look back on my outreach, I realize that I will never be able to wrap my mind around how much grace and mercy God showed me during that time. I will never fully realize how blessed I am and how much of a privilege it was to go to Taiwan and be able to reach out and touch the broken. Going to Taiwan to talk about God was a privilege. The fact that I was on an adventure half-way around the world was a blessing in and of itself.

Throughout our whole outreach, there wasn’t a day that went by where we weren’t surrounded by people that have never even heard of the name of Jesus. They have grown up in Buddhism and have known nothing else but Buddhism. In the past I would look at that fact in such a hopeless way. I used to see the world as a broken object, something that could never be fixed. I saw all the injustice in the world and I would say to myself, ‘Where is God in any of this? How could he let whole generations die without letting them hear of his name?’ But throughout outreach my outlook on all of that shifted. Instead of looking at the world’s brokenness in a condescending way, I started to look at all this hurt and unawareness as an opportunity. You don’t look at people the same way. You don’t look at someone and think, ‘That person is so lost’, but you look at them and all you can think about is how to approach that person about God. You get this overwhelming urge to plant a seed and I truly believe that it’s God’s encouragement to us when we feel that way about someone. He doesn’t want us to just be friendly and kind but to take that next step and tell them how much their heavenly father loves them.

One example of this longing to share the gospel occurred when we performed a skit in front of some Taiwanese students. Before we performed the skit, one of us would ask the kids how many of them had ever heard of the Bible before. Usually only about 10 kids would raise their hands. If I was still my old self, my heart would have sank. But when my new self saw those few hands go up, I would get excited because every kid in that room would be soon able to raise their hand. Every time we performed that skit, hundreds of seeds were being planted and it was so encouraging to have kids come up to us and ask more about this Jesus person. Telling them about God and watching their faces become more curious is one of the most fulfilling things I saw on outreach.

Before outreach I was very skeptical about being in missions but now, I don’t want to do anything else with my life. If I can travel the world to reach out to the broken and bring light to the darkness for the rest of my life, I will be the most content person in the world. I will be that light to those kids around the world, to those people that have grown up without the truth of Jesus, and to those that are hurt and are seeking something bigger than themselves. We are all children of God and I want to live out my life in a way that points to Jesus.

When I was on outreach, and even now that I’m home, there were many times where I felt overwhelmed or completely out of energy, but now whenever I feel that way, I just look back to this verse and I am encouraged. I hope that it can be an encouragement to you as well.

James 1:2-6, 12
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. Let steadfastness finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and have no doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind…..Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

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The Goal. [pursuing a life of love] http://ywammontana.org/goal-pursuing-life-love/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=goal-pursuing-life-love http://ywammontana.org/goal-pursuing-life-love/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:36:35 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3109 Thinking back on my time in DTS and on outreach, I’ve concluded that I’ve never felt more love from a group of strangers than I did from the little children in the Haitian village we went to on outreach. They are so ready to receive love and that love then pours out of their generous hearts back to those who are loving on them.

I realized this is how it is with God. When we allow His love to wash over us every day, we become filled and ready to pour that love back to Him which means pouring it out on those He loves–anyone and everyone around us. Along these lines, one of my leaders preached a sermon towards the beginning of my time on outreach that is still impacting me to this day. I’ve spent a good portion of my life asking for more faith. I’ve pursued faith, radical faith, continually. Now although faith is a great thing and I do believe God has given me a gift of Faith, I was suddenly challenged and humbled as I listened to my leader preach a simple yet profound message in a very tiny and crowded church in Azua, Dominican Republic.

Why have I spent so much time asking God for more faith and so much less time asking God for more love? I’ve heard and read 1 Corinthians 13 more times than I can possibly remember. 1 Corinthians 13. The “LOVE” chapter. You know, the one that says if you don’t have love you have nothing? The chapter that says there is nothing greater than love? You know…”Love is patient, love is kind, etc….” This is not a new passage to most Christians and it certainly was not new to me. But all of a sudden, it hit me in a new way when I compared it to my pursuit of Faith. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” [1 Corinthians 13:1-3]

Wait, say what??
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom ALL mysteries and ALL knowledge…ALL KNOWLEDGE!! That means I would know EVERYTHING there is to know! And if I have a FAITH that can move MOUNTAINS…isn’t that the greatest faith we can imagine?? But even if I have all of that and do not LOVE, I am nothing. NOTHING!!

If this really is true, then shouldn’t our prayers every single day be more like…
…”Lord, I need more of your love.”
…”Jesus, teach me how to love better.”
…”Father, I want to be consumed with your love.”

I realized that I do not want to be someone that is characterized by people as just someone of great Faith.
I want to be known as someone of great Love–someone who embodies the love of Christ.
I want to be remembered not as Hannah Pickens, a Woman of Faith.
I want to be remembered as a woman who gave away her life on behalf of other people.
I want to be so consumed with love that people would look at me and my life and as a result would experience the radical love of Jesus.

So from this point forward, my prayer is no longer just to have more faith, though yes faith is necessary. But my new prayer is something like this: “Jesus, I want to let You love me more so that I can love like You have loved. I want to fulfill Your greatest commandments not as a duty, but as a way of life. Let me experience Your love in a greater capacity every day so that I cannot help but pour out that love to the people around me.”

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Perseverance: Stand up Saints http://ywammontana.org/perseverance-stand-saints/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=perseverance-stand-saints http://ywammontana.org/perseverance-stand-saints/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 23:37:41 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3095 I write all of this as a biblical christian. One whom desires and seeks foundational truth in scripture, that will help edify us all to persevere and give glory to God along the journey. There is a modern day notion that has been carried through the centuries. In which, as a born again christian you could still somehow lose your salvation, faith, or belief in God completely. This non-biblical concept is one direct reasoning for many believers struggling tremendously in their walk with the Lord today. And even with non-believers, not seeing the point of coming to Christ at all, in fear of eventually losing their salvation all together. However, God is very clear throughout scripture on how He keeps His children in the palm of His hand. Firm and secure, forever. Many people don’t agree, or just don’t like the doctrinal terms: Perseverance of the saints, Assurance of Faith, and even, Once Saved, Always Saved. So, I personally have chosen to use my own: Once Secured, Eternally Kept. As a way for myself to stand firm in perseverance.

“I give them (believers) eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:28 | Jesus, addressing the shepherd (Himself) and His flock (believers) having eternal life secured in Him.

 “Neither height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us (believers) from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:39 | Apostle Paul, urges that we are more than conquerors in Jesus, our assurer and sustainer.

“They went out from us, because they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” - 1 John 2:19 | Apostle John, examines the non-believers going out from the faith because they were never truly saved in the first place. Along with the true believers who had remained and persevered in faith.

So, we can see through the clarity of scripture, the question is not, Could I lose my faith? Or, Could I backslide (sin) far enough to completely lose my salvation? But rather, the real humbling question is, Am I truly saved? Moreover, Am I securely kept in God’s hand until He brings me home to glory? Because, if you are a born again christian there is no question about it. “He who begun a good work in you will carry it onto completion.” – Philippians 1:6 | Believer, that’s a promise. Hold onto it in glorious times, and in the disastrous times that you have. We are promised many troubles and struggles in this life. Therefore, we will fall short often, and even backslide into worldly pleasures that are ingrained in our sinful nature. There is no question about that. However, the persevering believer must have a new heart that breaks towards that sin, and must always come back, humbly seeking God in genuine repentance and reconciliation towards a pure communion with Him. In Christ we can do all things. He is the one keeping, sanctifying, and sustaining us along the way as we walk out our salvation, and as we fight the good fight of the faith.

“The saints shall persevere in holiness because God perseveres in grace. He perseveres to bless, and there believers persevere in being blessed. He continues to keep His people, and there they continue to keep His commandments.” – C. H. Spurgeon

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Why did You call me to Mexico? http://ywammontana.org/call-mexico/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=call-mexico http://ywammontana.org/call-mexico/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 17:00:44 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=3028 When DTS began, I was doubting God.

I questioned His existence. I tried analyzing and putting Him into a box. And even though He was performing signs, wonders and miracles in front of my eyes, I refused to acknowledge that His presence was real in my life.

I was scared. I was sure that a King so mighty would never love someone like me. I began DTS as a girl whose heart was so weaved into brokenness that I was convinced my story could not be redeemed. I wondered why He would call me to be His disciple. A girl who refused to proclaim His name.

I walked into outreach still carrying many of those lies with me.

Outreach was difficult, but God is a gentleman. He knew that I needed time to trust that He genuinely wanted us to have an intimate relationship. That His plan for me was far greater than the title of “human.” That I am to be a disciple, a friend, His daughter.

Days passed by quickly during the first few weeks of outreach in Mexico, and my relationship with God still felt weak. I knew that I wasn’t leaning into Him as much as I should. Or as much as I wanted to. My prayers were still desperate pleas for God to show up. I felt unworthy, and I wanted Him to wreck me with a sense of value. To wash over me in great waves of grace and love and restoration. I doubted His existence, but I still was passionate about rising up a new generation of disciples that would love His broken people. That would love people who were scared, and lonely, and seeking Him, no matter what baggage of hurt they hauled everywhere with them. Men and women who had been told that their stories and testimonies were too heavy to be shared. Not pure enough to be brought out of darkness and into light. That their gifts would never be adequate to serve the Most High in the world. People like me.

A few weeks in, I was struggling with questions like: “Where are You, God?” and “Why did You call me to Mexico?”

I began to pray that He would reveal Himself to me in very specific ways. He was so faithful to those prayers. All of the sudden, it was like a click of a light switch, and He was there. When my heart was empty, He would pour His love into me. On days that I was grieving over moments from my past, God would place someone in my path to show me where He had been. He began to teach me that my past pain can be turned into a ministry opportunity, an empathy that will help heal others. That I can be a wounded healer by sharing vulnerably about where I once was, and with a boldness declare where He now has me.

Mexico is a nation full of broken hearts and people content with living a life that doesn’t satisfy the callings God has placed in them. My presence in Mexico was not necessary for God to work in His people of that nation. He wanted me there so He could work on my own heart.

God is faithful, present and listening. He called me to Mexico to show me those characteristics. He hears my cries, is faithful even when my doubts overpower my belief, and is present by constantly showing me that He wants to heal my heart.

When DTS began, I was doubting God.

I left Mexico confident that I am loved and desired by a God who knows all of me, and still calls me to be His disciple.

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Destroy Despair with Joy http://ywammontana.org/destroy-despair-joy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=destroy-despair-joy http://ywammontana.org/destroy-despair-joy/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:09:25 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=2997 Walking into the children’s hospital on the coast city of Guayaquil, Ecuador I thought we had everything planned. We would set up our speakers, do our planned dances, preach the gospel, and pray for the people who came. So when no one showed to watch us dance I began to become discouraged, it was my “job” to make sure we had ministry for our team. I didn’t anticipate the better ministry God had prepared. After waiting for a half an hour after our planned starting time, our contact came up to me with the news that it was visiting hours so most likely no one would show up to watch us perform. So we began to pack up, but I didn’t feel like our time was finished at the hospital.

Just before leaving, a hospital attendant came up to us and asked if we would like to pray for the children who had terminal cancer. What an opportunity! I gathered our team and asked how they felt about praying for these precious children. The decision was unanimous; we would take this opportunity the Lord brought before us. Apprehensive and full of compassion, we entered the small portion of the hospital designated for the terminally ill. We placed the given masks over our faces and half the team entered into this sacred place. I told our team before we went in to listen to what God was saying and be prepared for anything. As we let the Father’s heart consume us we couldn’t help but do what we do best, worship. We began to dance in worship over these beloved ones. Tears began to stream down the faces of the children and parents as hope flooded the room. After we began to pray healing and restoration over all five patients in the room, hope was released. One of the children and his parents gave their hearts to God that day.

After our time of prayer and worship I felt God telling us to destroy despair by bringing joy. So we began to make jokes and in no time colored rubber bands were flying around the room and so was laughter. I left that day not only amazed at how good God is at planning but also in awe of how He used a small team of dancers to bring hope to a very hopeless place. This is just one of the many things God did through our small precious team. God is so faithful!! And he longs to partner with us. Take advantage of the opportunities God places before you to be His hope in hopeless places.

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Trust Him in the Good and the Bad http://ywammontana.org/trust-good-bad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trust-good-bad http://ywammontana.org/trust-good-bad/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 22:48:18 +0000 http://ywammontana.org/?p=2986 Today marked our last day of ministry here in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As I looked back and though about the past 2 months I felt God asking me what I learned, after thinking for a moment I responded with “Well God, what did you want me to learn?”

SO… What is it that God wanted me to learn over these past two months in Haiti and the Dominican Republic? I mean, I know that God sent us here as a team to bring Hope, Discipleship, and Restoration to these two countries. and I know that as a leader I was here to walk along the students and help them reach personal/team goals and grow into men/women of God. But what is it that God had for me here and how did he want me to grow and learn?

Could it be that he wanted me to come to the realization that despite my age I can be the leader that he tells me I am? Could it be that he wanted me to learn that his plan is better then mine? Could it be that he wanted to remind me that he is always in control? Could it be that he wanted me to learn that walking out in obedience is the best example of walking out effective ministry? YES… I fully believe that these are all things he wanted me to learn, but I also believe that the number one thing that he wanted me to learn was to simply trust in him.

Simple enough right? Yes… But… I can promise you that it gets a whole lot harder to trust in him when all the pre-planned ministry that was set up falls through in the first week of outreach; or when Co-leaders and students are extremely sick and you have to make the decision to leave Haiti (despite being where God has so clearly called you) to head back to the DR early for everyone’s safety and heath… Oh yes, trust me, it is one thing to tell God that you trust in him, but it is a whole lot harder to still trust in him when everything is falling apart.

That being said, over the past 2 months I have had so many chances to trust him in the good and the bad. To trust him when everything is going great and when everything is falling apart. To trust that what we are doing here will have a lasting effect. To trust him that my mess ups won’t effect what the students receive from outreach. To trust him with my future plans. To trust him with finances. To trust him with problems back home. Or simply put, to trust him with everything in every situation despite the outcome.

Was it easy?

NO

Was it worth it?

MORE THEN WORDS CAN SAY!!!

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