Still the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 2)

I think the biggest revelation from the five books we have covered so far is that we don’t have to be perfect.  Not just we as individuals, but we as a community aren’t always going to get it right.  It’s fun to criticize the Israelites and how whiney they are in the wilderness; it’s pithy to recognize that we aren’t much different from them.  What is beautiful to me is that though an entire generation did not enter the promised land, though the following generation was cursed to wander around with them and bear the burden of their sin, God still brought the Messiah through these people to bless all nations of the earth.

The other thing that stands out so clearly is how many people are affected by one person’s sin.  Abram lies about Sarah and brings disease on Pharoh’s house.  Sarah gets impatient waiting for the son God promised to her and has Abram impregnate her servant Hagar, from whom Ishmael is born.  Ishmael becomes a nation because of God’s love, but Hagar and Ishmael bear the burden of Sarah’s impatience.  The list goes on…and on and on and on…it doesn’t seem fair to me. 

But then Jesus, the sinless God-man, dies on a cross.  He becomes sin for us.  He died for the sins I have committed, and the sins committed against me.  He died so that we could love one another truly.  And somehow His love and His sacrifice works…not only for us to one day enter eternety with Him, but to change how we live today, to release us from this mess we’ve all made from the things we do to one another. 

Tonight the students are reading Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.  I’ve been in and out this weekend due to other commitments and errands, but I’m okay with that.  I have been blessed recently to be able to study the Bible in large chunks like we did this weekend.  I am looking forward to (and a little nervous about) delving in tomorrow for a full day.  So it is still, really, the beginning.

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In the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 1)

This week we have a speaker coming to lead our Discipleship Training School through reading the entire Bible in a week, Saturday to Saturday, sun-up to sun-down.

Our staff are so excited that we’re closing down the office and base functions for a week so we can attend with them.

This last week or two on base has been a little crazy.  I feel like God is stirring things up (and allowing things to be stirred) so that a lot of junk is at the surface and He can deal with it as we experience scripture in such an intense way.  I just pray that we are not distracted, but are able to bring these things before the Lord and be open to what He is doing.

I’m going to try and post here as often as possible. I feel like I’m going on a road trip or something.

Today we begin at the beginning…

 

Genesis.

Waiting

After two of the busiest weeks of the year, followed by another week that did not slow down, I feel like I should update you on the 12 girls who descended upon our base for Discipleship Training School (they’re amazing), about the vision strategy meeting where God placed the same issues on each of our hearts (Community begins at home.  With relationship.  Who knew?), about the teams that will be going to Israel, Ethiopia, and Asia this year…but in the middle of rehashing all the details of an update, I realize that if I am bored writing it, my readers will be bored reading it.  And I do not want to bore anyone.  So…that’s your update (for now)…

12 girls for the DTS = amazing

Community begins at home, and we’re working on that this year.  Again.  😉

Israel, Ethiopia, Asia, and who knows where else.

As for me and my heart…

…I have come to the conclusion that I am learning to wait on the Lord.  A week and a half ago I got to teach a little girl to dance in the Spirit…which was basically teaching her how to wait and let Him take the lead.

Yesterday I got to play my violin in worship.  Twice.  Both times I got feedback on how incredible it was…actually, people have been saying that a lot recently…how my skills are really improving and what not.  I’m thinking to myself, “What I am doing right now is waaaaaay less technical than what I was doing when I picked it back up months ago.”

What I am doing differently…is waiting.  Sometimes on a single note.  F#.  F# again.  Still playing F#.  Suddenly a run comes out of nowhere (that’s like a lick, for those of you who specialize in more fretted stringed instruments.)  Sometimes I wait without playing…or without the violin in my hands at all.  I don’t “hear” the part, so I don’t play…and I realize that it works best with what everyone else is doing.

Not that learning to listen in ensemble is anything new to me.  Not that learning to wait is anything new, either.  Just seems to be where I am right now.  And I am feeling incredibly impatient…like standing there with my violin in my hands, thinking, “Why don’t I have anything to play? [pause pause pause] Ooooooooooh…because I’m not supposed to play right now.”  Then I set down the violin and a moment later realize it’s almost my cue.  I haven’t played some of these songs in months, and last time I played it differently.  How, then, do I know it’s almost my cue?  Must be Jesus.  I pick up the violin and play a scale and the whole room erupts into movement and color and life.

I remember when I started learning to dance with God.  I would wait, with my hands open, and breathe.  Just breathe.  And wait.  Pretty soon my arms would know which way to move and my feet would follow the gentle motion.  Learning to wait while playing in a band with a bunch of rock-n-roll worshipers is a bit more…raucous…to say the least.  Not all worshipers are rock-n-roll, but these guys are!  Learning ensemble with them may just be a miracle for this often soft spoken ballerina, and I’m loving it.

T R A N S F O R M A T I O N

Happy Friday!  Today is Fun Day Friday…hopefully I will have pictures for you from our awkward 80’s day.  🙂

The DTS students are fun and hilarious.  I can see how God is growing each one of them, so differently and yet so profound.  It is fun to be on the leadership side of a school, looking for Him as things take shape.  Each of my roles gives me a little window into these magnificent young souls.

The kitchen has had a bit of a rocky start as I figure out what is required of me and then how to delegate, when to delegate, and what to delegate.  The hardest part, though, is that I have to know what needs to be done before I can delegate!  Jesus is teaching me interdependence in just about every area of my life, and this can be seen tangibly in the DTS kitchen.  While figuring out the food prep side of things has been tricky, relationships have been forming and growing in the kitchen…so my goal to feed their hearts as well as their tummies is working out quite nicely.

My small group is made up of three lovely individuals.  As with many of our students, these three are called to leadership specifically in ministry.  Each of them comes with a strong foundation, but I feel that God wants to take them to the next level in knowledge, understanding, and compassion.  They desire to be challenged.  Please pray for me as I seek God’s heart and will for them as their leader.

God has been reminding me of all the things I have learned in the last 10-20 years.  It is easy to forget that I have so many resources within me.  This last year of my life has been so transformational, and yet my students need all of me, all that I am, all the paths I have walked.  A silly example of this is today for Fun Day…I am in charge of coming up with games to play.  I was laying awake last night, thinking to myself, “Eek!  Egad!  I didn’t plan any games.  I should have looked some crazy games up online.  I bet if I did a google search…”  God interrupts, “How about Improv. games?”  Suddenly I remember all of the games I have learned and lead over the last 15 years.  “Oh, yeah, there is a wealth of information and experience within me.  I have been equipped for every task God has for me.”  I need to remember.  It’s good to remember.

Cocooning  The DTS season has been way more intense than I anticipated.  My church began 2010 with a 21 day Daniel fast, and this fast set things in motion within me, a season which is best defined by the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.  Check out this article  on About.com and scroll down to the Pupa Stage.  Things I noticed…the chrysalides looks like it is resting, but there is a LOT going on inside.  The little caterpillar, which spent most of it’s life eating, is now fasting (like me).  Stillness is important to transformation (Be still and know that I AM God…).  God activates something within the caterpillar, something amazing that was always there, and this initiates the destruction of the caterpillar’s old body (my flesh is dying and being destroyed).  The entire body of the caterpillar is destroyed.  This process has two names…programmed cell death or histogenesis, (histo=tissue; genesis=beginning).  It is an end and a beginning.  I asked God when this season will be over.  I believe He said, “You will know.”  🙂  Just like the butterfly, I will rest here until some change in light or some change within, calls me on.  I hope it’s before we leave on Outreach.


Our outreach locations will be: Nigeria and Russia!  The entire staff got to pray with the students, and there may be another location for the Russia team.  I will be assisting Paulina, who is leading the Nigeria outreach.  I am sooooooooooooo excited.  I will try to post Loren Cunningham’s talk from the One Thing conference later this week.


Be blessed, my friends!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

DTS…week one

The new students are here.  It has been an intense week.  The students are amazing individuals.  I am remembering back to my first week of DTS…begging God to hold me together as my life took on new shape, trying to find how I fit in this new world and how my new world fit in me. 

I find myself back in Colossians this week, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (1:15-17)

I am reminded that He is big enough to hold all these lovely students together, to hold my heart, to hold this school and all the dreams He has for us.  He is Holy, and we can trust Him. 

Finding My Place

Happy Thanksgiving and a Lovely Advent to you!

I am settling in and finding my place in the Central Coast.  As for my part supporting the base, I am serving on four base ministries:

  • Hospitality
  • Fund Raising and Advertising
  • Worship, Intercession, and Spiritual Warfare
  • Outreach 
Each community house has Inreach each week, which is like Outreach, except we invite people INto our homes.  Our Inreach is on Wednesday nights and you can read more about it in my previous post.
So far I am serving on one personal ministry, and that would be Discipleship Training School (DTS).  The students arrive on January 10, so we are busy with preparations for them.  We will be here in the Central Coast for January, February, and March…then we will go overseas.  We as leaders will pray about where we are going, then we will give the students an opportunity to pray as a team.  It is a very exciting process, and I am anxious to see what God has in store.  If you pray and get a sense of anything, let me know!  This is one of my favorite things to see…how God speaks to many people in many ways.
My specific jobs in the DTS will be:
  • Lead a small group
  • Lead one-on-one discipleship times with each person in my small group
  • Student Hospitality
  • Assist with Speaker Hospitality
  • Assist with weekly Debrief time
  • KITCHEN!!!
I’m so excited about serving the DTS Kitchen, and I need your help.   Now, I considered a few loaves and fish, but given the month I have to prepare, I thought a few more recipes might help. So what are your favorite recipes to feed a crowd on a budget?

We have 15-20 people to feed, mostly girls.
I am trying to procure a slow cooker or two and maybe a pressure cooker.
We will need a variety of quick 30 minute meals, slow cooker meals (hopefully), casseroles, simple hot lunches and dinners.

Thanks!

Beth

P.S. I can now add 10 people on my blog email list.  If you would like to have the posts emailed to you, please let me know.  ❤

Orientation Continues

We have just completed our first week of Discipleship Training School (DTS) orientation.  It was  a good week.  We worshiped and prayed together, discussed the upcoming school requirements, guidelines, and values, and talked about experiences from the past and where the school is headed this year.  Yesterday was our staff bonding day for the DTS staff, and we had a chance to wash each other’s feet and share what God has placed on our hearts for each other.  As my fellow staffers spoke to me about how I would minister to the students, my heart overflowed with gratitude and awe…I feel like it is such an honor and wonderful opportunity to build the Kingdom of God in the hearts of the people God is sending to us.  I feel like they are world changers, and the idea that I get to influence them and pour into them all God has given me brings me to tears.

We had our first inreach this week.  A few of our homeless friends from the community and friends from church were able to come, and we are still praying about how to reach the community and our neighborhood as a whole.  We are situated in an interesting place…two houses to our right is a literal fence dividing two socioeconomic classes.  As I have toured the central coast, getting God’s heart for the region, I have been getting the sense that we as a missionary base are placed strategically to bridge even the richest and the poorest of the world.  Many times the experiences of the extremely poor are simply inaccessible and unimaginable to the privileged of the earth, which includes the vast majority of the US and Canada.  As an international missionary I have the humbling experience of getting a global view of the world, something I long to share with others, as well as a more complete picture of the Father’s love.  Many people say that death is the great equalizer, but I believe Grace is, for we are equal before the throne of grace, and I long for others to experience this freedom.

 So…back to my thoughts on in-reach…we are still praying about how to open our home to bring the community together.  In-reach happens on Wednseday evenings.  Please be praying with us about this important part of our ministry.

I am still settling in, and by that I mean I am still purging five years of boxes of the things that accumulate in a person’s life.  I feel it is important to steward the things I have been given by God without clinging to material things I don’t need.  For instance, the boxes of books are helpful for our DTS, and I am already rummaging through them to reference for my friends, while art projects and Christmas cards from several years ago may not be needful or helpful.  Some of them help me remember who I am and how loved I am, so I will be sorting through those today.  I have already purged half of what I had, so I feel like I am traveling much lighter now.  This is my act of worship on a Saturday afternoon in November.

Love you all and talk with you soon.  Drop me a line if you think about it.  I’d love to hear from you.

Beth

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