My tenth week (November 28th – December 4th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) was really great and I am so very thankful for all of the things that God is teaching me throughout this time both in the classroom and out of the class time as well. The previous week we finished reading the Old Testament in our Bible reading for the school and I really would like to praise God that I did better than I had anticipated on the Old Testament test (I got 80%). Now we are reading full speed on ahead in the New Testament and we will actually finish it by next weekend which blows my mind to be able to read it that fast but it is really such a blessing to be able to saturate in the scriptures as much as we are.
This week we were blessed with having Jeremy Harke come from Colorado and teach us on Christ and culture. It was a real blessing to hear all of the experiences that Jeremy has with YWAM and I also enjoyed that he brought a lot of laughter and joy in the class as he taught with so much wisdom as well. There were a lot of things that I learned this week during the teaching time however I specifically would like to focus on something that God revealed to me on Wednesday but first I will write some of the different highlights from the teaching this week.
Some of the highlights that I learned this past week:
- We were created by community and for community. God is the God of relationships. Only in the trinity you will find the perfect relationship with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. When Christians are suffering it also effects Jesus too because community is central to Jesus.
- Sometimes we confuse the gospel and culture and we make them the same thing but they are actually not.
- The rules to a relationship are:
Respect -> Trust -> Vulnerability -> Commitment -> Giving
- When we read the scripture it is really important that we don’t see it through our western view. For example in Ephesians 6:1-18, Paul wasn’t referring to spiritual warfare being fought on our own as individual people but he was referring to us doing it together with the body of Christ.
- When Jesus said in Matthew 7:4 “How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Something clicked in my heart and mind when Jeremy taught on this scripture because he explained that it is all about having the right perspective so we can see people clearly of how God sees them without judgment.
- God is not about cleaning up your mess but He is all about making you a new creation.
- The most beautiful thing God can do is walk through with us in the midst of our suffering so He can bring about something much greater in our lives. I just love how God gives us beauty from our ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
- Transactional leadership: Leadership that is traditional authority structures. Business model of command and follow without relationship having to be developed.
- Transformational leadership: Leadership that is based first in relationship. Leadership where both the leader and follower are opened to relationship that transforms both.
- When you let the Spirit of God speak through you, you will then speak with His authority that He has given you.
- “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought – forms of that setting.” – Francis Schaeffer
- The transmission of the gospel. You cannot separate the scripture from mission. The great commission texts from the gospels: Matthew 28:18 – 20, Mark 16:15 – 18, Luke 24: 46 – 49 and John 20:19 – 23. From the texts we see that these were four distinct instances of Christ’s commissioning His disciples. The message of the gospel, from its inception, was to reach beyond the local boundaries to transform the world.
- It is really important that we take time to learn the different cultural “hooks” in the different countries we do ministry so people will be able to grasp and to understand the gospel easier and then we will be able to also to share gospel more effectively as well.
- Questions our culture is asking:
- Questions of meaning – What am I here for? – We are here to have an intimate
relationship with God and to be in His presence just like Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day in the garden of Eden (Genesis 1:1-26, 2:7 & 3:8a)
- Questions of trust – A skeptical world needs promise, covenant and trust in the middle of their chaotic world. (Genesis 15 – God made a covenant with Abram and He walks for the both of us).
- Questions of purpose – What am I to do with life? Is school, work and play all there is?
- Questions of belonging and salvation – Need to know a love that is bigger than their mistakes. In Luke 15 – Jesus showed that you can be “lost” at various different levels like in the open country, house and in relationship. Jesus also redefines what repentance is and another scripture verse is Romans 2:4b “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.”
Culture – Gospel Community:
- Culture – A culture is a way of life of a group of people – the behaviors, beliefs, values they accept, generally without thinking about them and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
- Gospel – The message of God’s intervention in human history through the person of Jesus Christ.
- Community – The outward or corporate expression of those who identify with Christ.
- Culture + Community – Gospel = Liberalism
- Community + Gospel – Culture = Fundamentalism
- Gospel + Culture – Community = Individualism
Now I would like to share a huge revelation of what God had opened up my eyes to that Jeremy shared with us in class on Wednesday which was “Jesus valued people and not validated people.” The example Jeremy used from scripture was John 8:1-11 which is really such a beautiful example of God’s heart of how Jesus showed value to the woman who was caught in adultery (I think it was Mary Magdalene). Jesus knew about the sin Mary had committed but he didn’t focus or validate her sin but instead he chose to place value on her and focus on her as an individual person. I believe this short encounter that Mary had with Jesus completely transformed her life by the love that He showed her especially how Jesus did not condemn her but encountered her with the love of God. I am so very thankful of how God revealed to me His truth of how His heart is longing to encounter people with His love and to bring a true transformation that shows of how He values people and sees people through His compassionate love.
On Wednesday, I went to Hollywood with my class for our weekly outreach ministry time.
At the beginning of the school, I went to Hollywood to do an urban plunge which was a scavenger hunt we did in the city. When I went to Hollywood the first time it was during the afternoon so there were a lot of families outside and the younger generation but this time when we went there it was in the evening and it was like a night and day difference compared to the first time I was there. I noticed there were no young families there at all but there were mostly homeless people outside and I also sensed in my spirit that there was a lot of spiritual darkness that was happening there as well.
I have to be honest I actually felt very uncomfortable and uneasy to be there in Hollywood that evening however I am so very thankful how God drew my heart to speak to this one woman who had a cat. I just love how God is such a personal God and how He delights in the things that we care about as well. We went to Hollywood to give out hugs, high 5s and to pray for people. When I saw this one homeless woman who had a cat with a leash I wanted to stop and talk to her but then my class continued to walk further down the street so I was only able to talk to her for a few minutes because I didn’t want to get left behind but thankfully a bit later we returned to the same area and I ended up spending almost the entire time with her.
I thought it was pretty amazing how God highlighted her to me because she had a cat and I also love cats too. I am so very thankful that God gave me an opportunity to talk to her, hear a bit of her story, speak into her life and pray for her. Lately, I have been missing my cat Minnie, a lot so I thought it was pretty neat that I got to hold her cat for a bit of time that I was able to hear more of her story, encourage her more and pray for her again.
I rarely ever buy anything for homeless people but just before it was time to go I felt in my heart to ask her if she had anything to eat that day and I just sensed in my heart that God wanted me to ask her. She didn’t eat all that day so I ended up buying her a combo dinner from MacDonald’s. In Romania, I often saw poverty around me quite frequency when I was there but honestly you cannot help everyone so I have learned to have more discernment about when to help people and to ask God when to do it.
My heart really broke when I heard her story because she has been going through a very difficult and dark season in her life lately but I do praise God that when I prayed for her I sensed in my heart of how He is turning her hopeless situation into a new season of hope in her life. I don’t know how to write her name but God knows her name and if you could please say a prayer for her that would be such a blessing. Thanks so much.
I really would like to say thank-you for keeping me in your prayers during this time I am
doing this leadership training school at the YWAM LA base this fall. I cannot believe that the last ten weeks have flew by so quickly and I only have two more weeks left of the school until I fly back to Toronto on December 18th. I am still believing and pressing in by faith for God to do a couple of huge breakthroughs in my life before the school is over. I am definitely extremely very grateful for the prayer chapel that is here at the YWAM LA base.
It is such a gift from God that I can go to a place here anytime I want to spend time with Him and it is open 24/7 as well which is such a huge blessing from God. I would definitely appreciate your prayers for these breakthroughs to take place before the school finishes. I do praise God that He truly does save the best wine for the end and I believe by faith that God will bring these breakthroughs to pass in His perfect timing.
I would like to leave with you a couple of scripture verses that have been an
encouragement to me:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 – 30)
“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)