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Fear

What comes to mind when we think of fear?

Is it a reaction? Is it a way for our body to respond to something that startles us or maybe to protect us from imminent danger? If this is the first thing that comes to mind, then, no, that is not the sort of fear that I am thinking about. That sort of fear is healthy, and if you push it a little bit it might even get fun. It is definitely something that God gave us for our benefit.

This was the only definition of fear that I knew about growing up, though, the world of reality around me seemed to share that there was something more out there. This sort of feeling is often brushed off.

In the first couple chapters of Genesis we see the creation of the world and the creation of mankind in God’s image. We are created, breathed into, spoken to, given instruction, given responsibility, wondrously made not alone – this was what God desired for us. There was something special about these people He created. He had already gone above and beyond for is by creating us in His image, but to be a part of our lives – this is what he wanted.

Inside of that creation fear hadn’t been felt by the first of mankind and it was beautiful.

But, that was about to change. One of the instructions given by God included one simple request, “you may enjoy every tree in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The first of us heard this, they understood it, but when another came and questioned the words of God they disobeyed the one request.

Up until this point they had only each other and God, everyone had been good to them. Perhaps this really was a hard test. How many of us have heard some one say something negative about someone else? It is certainly within us at this point for our heart to give pause and question someone, even a friend, just by hearing the words of another.  The first of us followed this other’s voice and disobeyed God.

The response was immediate and terrible – the words of God were true! At that point fear, shame, and guilt flooded into the lives of those who had sinned. Their relationship with God was separated, driven apart by disobedience, and the fear, shame, and guilt bore fruit in their lives. They hid from God, they were ashamed of being naked, they accused one another to shift the blame away from themselves.

These three things that had no authority in their lives were now present and wreaking havoc.

When we step away from God’s instruction and desire for our lives death follows in the wake of our decisions. We may think we can master it after it has come, but that isn’t the case. The only thing on our part we can do is say no while we still can, but we were past this point in the story.

When God reveals Himself He shares what will now happen and the world begins to change. It isn’t what He had hoped for, but the changes in the world are for our own good. He addresses the other in the conversation as well, the serpent in the story that had accused God, to the serpent He promises defeat – that someone from the woman would come and defeat the serpent. It is a loaded statement, a prophecy that takes the rest of the Bible and mankind’s history to reveal in its fullness.

Today, we are still having a hard time because of this moment – fear, shame, and guilt are still present in this world, but that victory that God spoke of has come and is still coming in its fullness.

There is certainly that sort of fear that God has given us, the startled jump or the burst of adrenaline that can keep us safe from danger, but there is another fear that we experience in our lives – it isn’t a fear that God desired, but it is present. In Christ, we can master it, but it does take mastering. It is difficult to explain, but one of my teachers shared it this way, “When you are afraid it’s not that you are feeling fear, but it is fear feeling you.” In our own disobedience we can give such a vile sort of fear authority in our lives.

As a child this was the sort of fear that bit at the edges of reality, as I grew this was the sort of fear that could incapacitate incredible young men and women from making right decisions, on outreach this was the sort of fear that showed up when you went to speak and couldn’t find your ability to speak. It is strange, but this is the reality I’ve seen over and over again.

However, there is hope!

One of these hopes is that God is fulfilling His promise through Jesus Christ – as we stand near to Him, as we cling to His Spirit in intimacy, we find ourselves surrounded by His authority. This returns us to a second hope – we are still created in the image of God! One of the instructions God gave us in the beginning was to aggressively defend the creation He was giving us. We still have that command and it can be found again in our relationship with Jesus.

In this world we will need to stand against all sorts of fear – the fear of sharing our faith among them, fear of rejection included, the fear of what others think but don’t say. This isn’t our fear to deal with – we can stand with Jesus to reject that fear’s authority and bring something better in its place.

Let’s not wait around for fear to show itself – we can take the fight to fear on the ground that God desired for us, in relationship with Him and in good relationship with each other!

Communication in Genesis

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – earth had no form, it was empty; the Spirit paused in ready anticipation for what was to come next. Then, God spoke light into existence.

And so the story goes.

The first section of Genesis has always been one of my favorite portions of scripture. It is simple and it speaks poetically of things that will have ripples throughout our human history. The incredibly powerful God speaking things into existence until He comes to mankind. He takes dirt into his hands, forms us, breathes life into us, and creates us in His image. His masterpiece that He gives such strength to is small, weak, and frail compared to the creatures, trees, oceans, planets, and stars that He has just spoken out of Himself, but this one is special in a different way.

In our frailty we show of His nature, being just an image of it. In our freedom we have the we have the opportunity to share His character with each other, the families that we create, and the world that we form.

Our history is enough to show that our story could have been better than it now is, but it also shows a God who is willing to keep speaking life into His creation to bring us back to Him. When we hear His words and live by them we get to walk in that original hope and bring His life and beauty to a world that is broken. When we reject Him and His words we add to the destruction of everything we love until there is nothing left to save. We are able to justify ourselves in this until we look just like the very enemy of God.

This battle of communication starts in Genesis and continues throughout scripture. God speaks life – it is accepted with blessing or it is rejected with destruction. This happens with the first of mankind, the nations that spring up following the great flood, and over and over again through to present day. This is still the world that we raise our children in – the world where they will grow up in, find husbands and wives, create families, and form their part of world in the love of God or in the rejection of Him.

This communication is what Genesis is all about. We get to see God’s heart in intimate detail as He addresses sin with Adam and Eve, when He pleads with Cain to choose the good and reject temptation, when He shares His broken heart with Noah, when He consults with Himself at Babel to preserve mankind, and when He speaks a blessing and a promise over Abram that will put the words of God into the family of Abraham.

We enter into this battle when we speak.

Do we speak words that are true to God’s heart? Do we speak with His heart and with His passion? Do we seek His values in the world around us?

Whether we speak plainly or poetically, with common sense or intellectualism, our words will leave ripples in the lives of those around us, in the families that we raise, and in the world that we are forming. The best place to start learning the difference is in the Bible and in His presence.

I’ll share more about that later.

Communication

Hello Friends,

We’ve been pretty quiet over here and we are hoping to change that soon!

The ACTS school was a success – a success largely credited to the students, staff, speakers, and friends of YWAM who pulled the school off! My thanks go out to you!

We’ve spent the last couple months resting, visiting our families, and continuing to learn about what God wants to do out here in Utah, as well as, in our own lives, families, team, communities, and world. I’m really excited for what the future holds. God is doing a lot in the world and now isn’t the time to spectate, but rather to engage. Each of us have been created for this time – not to watch it drift by, either bewailing it or passively agreeing that “yes, those were the good old days” to our children. Rather, this is the time that God has invited us into to create the world that our children and grandchildren inherit.

It is August, right?

Let’s see, September, October – yes, ten years ago next October several friends and I were standing around a map up in Warm Lake, ID. In case you’ve never heard of it before, there is a YWAM campus out there. It’s a beautiful place in the Boise National Forest. As we stared at that map God did something in our hearts – we felt a tug to go. Incredible places with foreign names, culture, and food – and the promise of great risk.

I had figured that we were alone in that tug, but I would keep finding it in other places and with other people too – the most surprising place for myself was in eastern Germany. We were visiting a family that my Father-in-Law had known for a long time. I had heard stories about their family, but this was the first time meeting them.

As they spoke the I found myself somewhat shocked – they swapped stories of trips that they took beyond the Iron Curtain. They’re eyes grew youthful as they joked about the risks they took and remembered how far they had gone and what they had done thanks to God. Incredible places with foreign names, culture, and food – and the promise of great risk, a very real, great risk for all of them. They’re risk helped create the world that I now know and the world that my children will know.

We live in a world with the promise of great risk – if we are willing to take it.

We live in a world of incredible beauty, culture, and food – if we are willing to go.

If you feel that tug on your heart to go and change the world, to create a change in the world with a God who loves to communicate and change the world through what He says, then we want to help. Keep yourself posted about what is going on out here in Utah and ask questions, pray, ask God where your place is in this world.

He has created you for this time!

Many blessings on you all!

In Christ,
Troy – Campus Leader

ACTS: Multiplying YWAM

Throughout the history of the Church we see it spreading through multiplication – not just addition – it grows where people make sacrifices and give their hearts to Jesus. We read about this in the book of Acts.

The Risk

For my part I felt that God had given me an incredible vision for my home.

Michigan was where my family was,  it was where all my relationships resided. Everything from the roads that we drove on to the kinds of grass that grew along them helped me know who I was. I won’t even get started on the fields and trees. A year before I couldn’t even imagine leaving my county let alone my country for a foreign land – missionaries were the crazy ones. Now, I was one of them.

I was considering leaving all of this again so that I could bring something back. Taking the discipleship training school with YWAM was incredible. I wanted the people in Michigan to experience that too. And, I wanted to be a missionary.

In the back yard of my family’s home I prayed again.

Before me was the opportunity to take a school that would help me become a pioneer – someone who would go where there wasn’t already a YWAM base and start one.

My friends had invited me to come back to India to take the school, it was their second time running it and the first time it would be in India. For twelve weeks we would learn from speakers that had already pioneered. We would work together to build our pioneering projects and then we would head out. It sounded kind of easy, but in reality pioneering something new is at least as difficult as they all said it would be. I didn’t know that yet.

At some point during my night of prayer I felt God say to go for it.

Looking back on that night I can say it changed my life, and I am grateful for that.

The Sacrifice

The Church, in its many forms, has consistently grown when people who love Jesus give up what they know for what they do not. It grows when we take risks. It grows when we hear God say to do something that doesn’t make sense, but in our heart we know it is Him saying it and we do it anyway.

We do not always get to conform to the culture around us, hardly so at times, and we will be considered crazy. That is not a bad thing because so was Jesus, and He turned the world upside down by listening to His Father’s voice and doing what His Father said too.

Now, I am not in my home state of Michigan.

I am in Utah, the home of many other people. I have been setting out on this path for the last nine years to make it back home to do what I headed out to do. During that time God has been faithful. He has shown up in the nick of time and provided for us. He has been faithful to give me time to learn and the time to enjoy the people around me. I have a family that He has given me.

Utah is the home of other people, but I remember my heart for my home and it has multiplied to make room for this place too. It has multiplied to make room for India. It has multiplied to make room for the Syrians who I first started paying attention to five years ago.

As often as I hear His heart break my heart multiplies to make more room for His.

When we make a sacrifice God is faithful to multiply it.

The Response

What is on your heart that you are carrying with God?

How is He telling you to go for it?

There are no small sacrifices in the kingdom of God – He is faithful to see it. If you stay true to His path He will keep showing you where to go next. If this is the life that God has called you to then I challenge you to take that first step with Him – it is worth it, and even more, He is worth it.

Discipleship Training SchoolApostolic Catalyst Training School 

Thank you for your dyingness

We were sitting at the table, waiting for dinner to start, when our four-year-old son surprised us with a prayer: “Thank you for your dyingness, so that you could save the world.”

It was a simple prayer, grammatically incorrect, but it warmed my heart as a mother as it showed me that he is getting something from the Bible we are currently using and from the video we watched that morning.

You see, it has not been easy for me to find a Bible that engages my children. Though my kids love reading stores, the Bible seemed to be the last book to catch on.  The first Bible we tried had pictures that were too scary, the second one had stories that were kind of boring and was not very Biblically correct. Then my mom bought a new children’s Bible for us from the bookstore at our church: “the Jesus storybook Bible” written by Sally Lloyd-Jones & illustrated by Jago. I had seen the Bible before and had been unimpressed with it’s accuracy. With our other Bible’s out of the picture, however, and with our kids being interested in “the Bible grandma bought,” I decided to give it a try.

We loved it!

With much fewer stories than many children’s Bible’s, this Bible ties all its stories together to point to Jesus and to God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” (Lloyd-Jones, 2007, p 36.). No, it doesn’t specifically stay close to scripture and it adds quite a bit at times, but it doesn’t make the stories less true. And after just having finished our Bible this morning, I am more than happy to start on our second go-through.

So why am I telling you all of this? It is not because I want to talk all of you into buying this specific story Bible, although you may feel free to give it a try. No, my reason for writing this lies deeper.

Here at Youth With A Mission, we do our work because we want to “Know God & Make Him known” and I am sure that many of you want this same thing. But no matter how important and powerful outreaches and later-life discipleship can be, we cannot forget to also disciple our own children. Yes we have Sunday school and our kids might be going to AWANA or another club, but it doesn’t take away from the precious time we could spend with our kids by just reading 1 Bible story a day from a Bible our kids can like and understand. Because our children do take away a lot from the times we spend with them. And because their views on the Bible are not just precious to us, they are the starting blocks for getting to know God more in the future.

I pray that you may all be blessed and may we all have the privilege of seeing our children grow up to love our Lord.

YWAM Utah Campus staff

Ps. The video I watched the morning of my son’s prayer was from “Buck Denver asks… What’s in the Bible?

Let there be light!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NIV). This is how our Bible starts. A clear introduction, that by itself could be enough. But it doesn’t end there. This is just the beginning of the wonderful account of how God first created the world out of nothing, followed by His relentless pursuit of the human heart after we decided not to trust in Him. One concept seems especially important in this account, the concept of light:

And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day. (Genesis 1:3, NIV)

Light; the first thing God created. We don’t always think much about the importance of light in our lives. Usually, it is just there and, if it is not, we turn on a lamp. Around this time of the year, however, when the seasons change and we start waking up while it is still somewhat dark outside, we are reminded of the light in a way that we are not when it is more readily available.

It is also the time of the year where other things can remind us of the necessity of light as well. Halloween is coming up. Though most of us still like to celebrate this holiday, as Christian’s we are aware that Halloween is not by nature a celebration of light. While dressing up, often as darker creatures, with symbols of death abounding around us, light too begins to become more important. But this time we hope for a different type of light; a light that penetrates the darkness from the insight out.

In John 8:12 it says: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (NIV). It is a wonderful promise, but it might lead us to wonder: Could this be true? Could we truly walk with Jesus in such a way that the darkness has no effect on us? And could we instead affect the darkness around us? Jesus says that this is possible and he showed it with his life. Wherever he came he brought healing, hope, and life. Could we really follow in His footsteps?

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

Ask. Ask for more of Him and seek relentlessly for His light. For it is there, all around us. From glimmers of hope in a dark situation, to the good we see in a person that we didn’t thought could have anything good going for them. Jesus is active in this world.

I challenge you this season to look for it. Look for His light, in even the darkest of situations and ask Him to use you to increase the light you see in the world around you. And though some things may remain dark around you, I pray that you may always be reminded of the light.

Update: Cancelled school & next steps

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since our last update. In the last couple of months, we have gone from promoting for the Discipleship Training School (DTS) to deciding it is not yet the time to run one here. Instead, we have been back to Idaho for our yearly staff retreat; we have been to Kansas City for the YWAM Together conference; and our family has even been to Michigan to visit a new cousin. And now, as even in Utah fall is setting in, we are waiting on God and seeing what he has for YWAM in this place.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything. Right now we continue to get connected; we help people whom God puts in our path; and we meet as a team to talk about vision, structure, and all the other foundational units to running a YWAM location. Without a DTS, the beginning may seem small – but we are thankful. Thankful for our God who has been so faithful through it all.

Please pray for us as we continue to walk with God and as we pursue His dreams for this place. And if you feel yourself drawn to Utah, either as a student or as staff, know that we would love to have you. We may not have a set date yet for when we hope to run our new first Discipleship Training School, but we are positive that such a date will come in the future. First, however, we would like to see more staff come and join us here. So whether you feel called to Utah, or if you are just curious and would like to ask some questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. And again, even if you cannot come yourselves – your prayers are always appreciated!

Blessings,
YWAM Utah Campus Staff

Epic Faith – The Start of Your Journey

On August 22nd we are hoping to start our first YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Utah! The focus of the school will be on justice, mercy & compassion. Our outreach will be in Hungary and Greece and our debrief will take place in The Netherlands.

Though the starting date is coming close, there is still time to sign up and to start your 5-month journey of faith with us. In fact, if you sign up before August 1st, you will receive a free copy of the book Epic Faith – written by Marty Meyer, the pioneer leader & base director of YWAM Idaho Boise-Cascade!

So, whether you are fresh out of high school or you just retired, if you are ready for a new challenge and you want to grow in relationship with our amazing God – sign up now!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or visit our website for more information.

We hope to see you with us in a month!

Blessings,
YWAM Utah Campus DTS staff

The Beauty of Duck Valley

What do you think of when you hear the words “Indian Reservation”?

Most of the time, I find myself thinking about all the bad things first – racing from experiences to images, words people have spoken, hate and curses, racism, political ideas that were once considered good, people who I have listened to who defended the use of force, and stories from people of what that use of force looked like. A whole legacy of ideas and their consequences.

Mixed throughout all of them, however, are moments of beauty.

Laughter – sweet, rich, and joyous laughter.

Kind faces that show far more hospitality than I deserve.

Story on top of story that shares of God’s unrelenting desire to pursue His loved ones.

These are the memories mixed in with everything that I remember when I hear those words – Indian Reservation. Given the lessons and wisdom that many first nations people have taught me I am indebted to them for the life in Christ that I get to live.

Duck Valley

One of the places close to my heart are the lands of the Shoshone-Paiute people. It is little place, set in the high desert of Idaho and Nevada. The hills are deceivingly tall and distant when coming from central Idaho, where the mountains are much more abrupt, as a friend and I discovered when we tried to go “just a little ways.” Though it is high desert it is also filled with water for irrigation. And yes, there are certainly a lot of ducks.

I have only been there twice – once eight years ago and the second time just a couple of weeks back.

Both were special and this last trip taught me several lessons that I’m taking to heart as we move forward in ministry.

The first was to trust God when He speaks.

I was so stressed out while trying to put things together. I didn’t have anything set up like I wanted to and it felt like I was going to run it all into the ground.

However, God worked in His ways and He led the outreach.

What does that look like?

Favor where you least expect it; divine appointments; relationships; hospitality; and sometimes just saying “yes”. Wherever there is openness to relationship there is an opportunity for God to move in and open doors.

The second was related to that – look for relationships.

Does this sound like common sense?

I mean, it probably should, but I find it so abstract at times.

God Himself relates to us relationally, we relate to others relationally, but as we step forward to move this kingdom of good relationships forward, it can seem tempting to rely on non-relational methods. I doubt that most of those methods are wrong. Though, when we employ a method in the place of relationship our testimony suffers.

An example of this came on the day I headed home from Duck Valley.

The night before, we were enjoying dinner at the local diner when one of the cooks introduced us to one of her relatives. It turns out that Duck Valley is also home to a lot of beef cattle and the annual branding is something to be invited to – and we were invited.

Now, I’ve never gone on an outreach where you could call a branding day a “method” to build relationships, but it certainly was a place of relationships, with lots of hard work, yelling, smiles, and laughter.

Jesus was also getting invited to all sorts of places.

The wedding in Cana was one such event where I’m sure there were a lot of relationships happening. He was often invited into the homes of others and when He showed up to a town it seems like his first place to stop was the home of a friend. We see Jesus focusing on places of relationship. Sometimes there is a method to open up the possibility of relationships (in our case it was baskets filled with supplies, food, and fun things for kids), but our focus needs to be on the relationships opening up – not the methods bringing an opportunity.

So what holds us back?

Is this all common sense or actually countercultural?

I know that in my life it is often countercultural to rely on others, to ask for help – to look at a very good relational moment during ministry and not weigh it in the scales of productivity.

How are we all doing at this?

Are we focussed on relationships or on the methods we are employing?

What is our first thought when we think about sharing Jesus with someone? Is it the amazing relationship that we get to introduce to another person? Is it the little relationship moment that is happening as you greet a person that has been created in the image of God?

Or is it a thought of productivity? Do we think of a system of verses, a certain way of doing it, figuring out the right angle, how long until I get to go home?

These questions might be rough, but both the good and the bad reflect my own heart – I can remember a time for each one of them.

Do we see the beauty that is right there in that person, created in God’s image; do we see the beauty that is there in that moment, a relationship that is humbling itself like Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death?

Relationship or method?

Beauty or an invitation to more beauty?

I know that my own heart will generally choose to shy away from those questions, but as God cares about us He will be the one to ask them eventually. In 2007, I attended the Discipleship Training School and God used that time to ask a lot of those questions.

If you are looking for a time to settle some of the questions I’ve included here or you have more of your own – I would like to invite you to consider that DTS. The next DTS starts on August 22nd.

P.S.

I would also invite you to read more about my friends. They are a family committed to relationship and inviting others into relationship with our creator. They have taught me a lot about valuing relationships over methods.

The Red Road

Also, I am sure my friends at Cowboys With A Mission would like to share that working with cattle is a perfect time to build relationships and share the gospel.

Cowboys With A Mission

Always Praise Him!

“If you are arrested, praise God that you have not been beaten. If you have been beaten, praise God that you have not been killed. And if you have been killed, praise God that you are now with Jesus in heaven!”  

– Uzbek saying as printed in day 10 of:
The 2016 “30 days of prayer for the Muslim world”.

Today it is day 11 of Ramadan and just like last year, the first year that I personally participated in the 30 days of prayer for the Muslim world during Ramadan, it has been a blessing to read the stories and pray along during this important time on the Islamic calendar. But it has also been challenging. Examples like the statement above from Uzbeki believers help me to remember that following God isn’t always as ‘easy’ for others, as it is in our own lives. And though of course we encounter opposition in our own way, it seems like we sometimes get more easily discouraged than those who risk their lives for Jesus on a daily basis, simply by following Him.

For example: Our family just recently moved to Utah and through that process I have been challenged with this myself. We don’t face death or persecution in any way like the Uzbeks do, and yet it can seem so easy to stop praising God for what He is doing and so easy to start questioning Him and to get discouraged for that which is not yet happening instead.

I too need to remember that, no matter what is happening, our Lord is still worthy of praise and we can still praise Him. And sometimes it is in praising Him that most of our mountains get moved.

So pray for us, and praise with us, as we do ask God to move the mountains that we ourselves can’t move. We are just a small team and we don’t have what it takes to pull off the vision God has for this place – but pray that He will do it none the less. Pray for favor, pray for guidance, pray for direction and pray for courage. But above all, pray that no matter what will happen, that we will continue to praise Him.

Do you have a prayer request yourself?
Please fill out our contact form and we are more than happy to pray with you!