Serving A Complicated World

I recently posted an article from Christianity Today in our Campus’ Facebook group and I wanted to follow up on that. You can only throw so much out through a Facebook post, you know.

The article took a quick look at Myanmar, the government landscape, the religious landscape, several people groups, and shared about how all of those in the country and out of the country interact. There are refugees involved, the chances of persecution, the Pope is also mentioned, but realistically his part in the article is just a part of a much bigger story.

You an read that article here – Can Pope Francis Help Myanmar’s Muslims Without Hurting Its Christians?

One thing of note about the article, for me, is that this story isn’t new. It’s not even a little bit new. Yes, the people are different and the arguments only sound similar to me, not exact, but this a human story.

The day after sharing the article I sat down to keep reading through Acts and I started in chapter 22. What Paul experiences sounds very similar to the article.

There is the question of religious nationalism, something that we may as well point out. It is increasing around the world and people (both Christians and just about everyone else) are becoming refugees of it. The people group mentioned by name in the article is Rohingya – Muslim refugees. You can read more about their plight here in CT. About half of their total population remain as refugees in neighboring Bangladesh. You also see pressure from different places. In Acts you have the Roman officials – some trying to figure out how to act rightly in the situation and others hoping to profit from it, trading favors with the other parties. It would make for great fiction, but its not. This is what we are like when we get together without respect and honor for one another.

This is the world that Jesus walked into when He came so long ago. This is the world He prepared His disciples for. This is the world that He died for. And, this is the world He sent Holy Spirit into.

In the chapters following 22 Paul gives a defense for the charges brought against him.

Paul shares that everyone back home knew what he was like, strictly following the rules and persecuting the believers of Jesus. Then, he met Jesus on the road to persecute more of Jesus followers. This Jesus called Paul follow Him and share His good news. Now, everyone knows that Paul does this.

As Paul declares his faith in the resurrection to King Agrippa, the same faith he says the prophets and Moses speaks of being fulfilled in Jesus, the Roman Governor interrupts him, yelling, “Paul, you are out of your mind!”

Paul responds in respect and kindness, sharing his intent that he would have everyone hearing this be the same as he is – except for the chains.

Once again, this would be beautiful fiction, filled with intrigue, repeated characters, back story, etc., only, it is all those things and true.

We see this story repeated throughout the history of the church and those who follow Jesus. The irony of it is that this apparently powerless citizen is looking at the powerful authorities before him. Neither of them created their respective powers, they were both present in another’s achievement. For Agrippa and Festus this is the great Roman empire. For Paul this is Jesus and His resurrection.

Only one of those movements still stands and moves today, and is no less miraculous. Rome is not known for an emperor of great military might, but a Pope seeking mercy on behalf of others.

Likewise,  as followers of Jesus, we can all seek after God and do so on behalf of others. We can pray, we can learn, we can go. The Rohingya is one group of refugees among many and Myanmar is one country among many.

May God’s favor and miraculous grace rest on those seeking to help, those in need, and all of those present and watching from afar. May God bless the Rohingya and Myanmar.

About Discipleship Training School

This January and in the coming years we are offering the DTS in Ogden, UT. What God did through the DTS changed me from a person who only cared about his own state and country to a person who cares about the nations.

You can read more about that here – Utah Discipleship Training School.

Humble and Open

Here is an invitation to prayer!

This winter we are offering the DTS in Ogden. Now, I would love to be the guy that jumps up and down about every detail with great charisma, but that is really not who I am. I approach an impossible world with faith. Some days, the impossibility of this world is a real challenge to faith. And, it is a challenge worth answering.

Running a DTS in Utah is one such challenge!

Our prayer is that we have students, additional staff, and community housing by January 8th!

The reality of this is that it is a huge ask on behalf of many people. The faith part about it is that we’ve seen God provide in situations just like this. I believe in a God that can move people to grow in faith with Him and do things that should, by all rights and sense, be impossible. If it doesn’t happen this year we are going to trust God to do it in the future, and if there are more setbacks, we keep on going. Don’t give up.

This was a lesson Grandpa taught us on the farm. While our Dad got to do cool things like us a skid-loader to dig up post holes we were following behind with posts for the holes. Tamping the posts was slow and boring. Hit the ground over and over again with the small end of your stick. Eventually, it will pack down, make a good foundation for the post, throw in rocks and dirt and keep tamping. Slow work, but work that puts a post down for years to come.

As we do this work in Utah it can certainly feel like tamping, but we are trusting God to do the impossible – make a good foundation for YWAM in Utah for years to come.

Do you want to learn more about the DTS?

Learn more about the school at our page, Utah Discipleship Training School.

The short version.

The Discipleship Training School is focused on helping people join YWAM, find God’s call on their life, live a life that champions others, and grow in relationship with the God who created them. Not only that, there is a ton of teaching focused on sharing your relationship with God with others who need to grow in their relationship with God too.

The school lasts between 5-6 months with phases devoted to learning, outreach, and debrief.

There are no white horses for any of us to ride in on to save the world – lets work together.

Praying for the Hindu World

Lights, smoke, incense, food, colors, water, and beauty – these are some of the first things that come to my mind when I think about the Hindu people I met in India. The cultures spread throughout the Hindu world are immensely beautiful, they are vibrant, and they are celebrated. And, they have a worship to contribute to Jesus at a deep spiritual level.

That is what the Hindu Prayer Guide is about – or at least that is my take on it.

As I’ve started reading through the guide I’m struck by how real the book is. So many times our own insecurity bleeds through our good intentions that we disparage the people and cultures we reach out to.

This guide doesn’t do that.

Where there is anything to be honored it jumps out at it and asks us to champion the good in our prayers – and that should challenge us to look at the way we do things too!

If there is something that steps in the way of life, like the fear that cripples a life or valuing one gender above others, the guide doesn’t step around it. It asks us to understand why these things are and pray for a deeper truth to be revealed to those caught in fear or confusion.

We have a billion Hindu neighbors that are looking for a light that is true, one that can finally win over all the darkness in the world, let’s join in prayer that the Light of the world would be known by our Hindu neighbors and that their worship, beauty, and celebration would be championed by the One who created them and loves them with a devotion that passes our own!

Days 1, 2, and 3

Pray for Hindu families, the influence that they have on the world, and that their beautiful worship of Jesus (Yeshu in Hindi) would set people free.

Ruth 4: 18-22

Lord, I pray that you would bring the line of Yeshu to Hindu families. Even when the family story isn’t good (as it is in these verses) we know that you seek the best for all peoples! Bring your blessings and your grace to the Hindu families and nations!

Psalm 96: 7-9

Lord Jesus, I pray that you bless the worship leaders in India to ascribe glory to your name. The bhajans sung to you are beautiful, the people who sing them are beautiful, they are filled with your bhakti (devotion).  When we draw near to you, you drive the enemy away from us and we get to join you in that!

Feel free to pray along with these prayers or wait on God and pray out what He places on your heart!