Friday, January 26, 2007

Mission Bible School - Sep. 28th

Thursday marked the day when I started to really feel an overload of head knowledge and a need to start practically applying things to my life. As much as I enjoyed the times of intense teaching and spiritually rich atmosphere, I started to look forward to going home. As wonderful as this time of seeking the Lord was, I was really anticipating being able to incorporate what I learned into my day to day life.

Thursday was also the second day I helped lead worship. It was stretching again, but this time there were two other guys who really knew what they were doing. I could just hide behind them on all the songs I didn't know! :-) Thanks Joe and Jonathon!

So far I haven't said much at all about Steve Byler's sessions. I enjoyed them very much, but found it slightly harder to apply to my own life in an intensely practical way like Phil made possible. Thursday was a bit different, though. This was my favorite session of his as I really felt it laid some groundwork for the street witnessing we would be doing the following evening.

The first thing he did was re-work a common idea concerning witnessing approaches. One thing I've struggled with is the idea that all witnessing has to be confrontational and in-your-face type boldness. Some believe this is the only way to approach someone deep in sin, and if you don't proclaim law and judgement first, you're promoting easy-believism. Steve took us on a journey through Scripture, and painted an awesome picture of Jesus' approach to people and how He dealt with them. He brought our attention to the fact that the only time Jesus approached anybody in a harsh, bold way, was with the self-righteous hypocrites. Every other one of His dealings with sinners illustrates tenderness, love, and compassion. He also spent quite a bit of time telling us of experiences he had in dealing with the unsaved, and the many, many heartbreaking stories surrounding their lives. While we often pass quick judgement for someone's outward appearance and lifestyle, automatically assuming they are hardened and hopeless, they are often some of the most hurting, broken people that only love and tenderness will win. He showed us how desperately we need the eyes of Christ when dealing with eternal souls.

During the week, both Steve and Phil took great lengths to burn one central truth into our lives. That being our desperate need for the Word of God. An intimate knowledge of the Bible is the first and primary stepping stone to being effective in the kingdom of God, and without it, we drift extremely easily into human reasoning. All throughout the week Phil would tell us stories of people and situations, than ask us what we thought should be done. After we stretched our minds to their limit, Phil would turn to a passage in Scripture and show us plainly how we were leaning on our human understanding for the answers. These crystal clear truths straight from the heart of God often blew me away completely! It is so adequate for every problem we will ever face in life!

The object lesson that Phil used that afternoon has been one that I don't think I'll ever forget. In the midst of a mind-twisting question, Phil jumps up from his stool and says "follow me!" He walks towards the door while we all sit in our seats in stunned silences, not sure what he was up to. He pokes his head back in the door, and urges us again. "We're going for a walk," he matter of factly announced.

During our very brisk, six block walk, we animatedly discussed what Phil had up his sleeve this time. Ideas flew back and forth, while the blocks flew under our feet despite the very warm weather. Back at the church, we all eventually found a seat again after a rush to the water cooler in the back. Phil's first of all wanted to know what we thought his purpose was. By now we had well caught on to the theme of exercise and he congratulated us for the correct answer. He then pointed out the result of our exercise. The first thing nearly all of did after coming back was get a drink. The exercise produced a thirst, and he said the very same is true of our Christian life. The more we exercise ourselves in the things we have learned and in the disciplines of the Christian life, the greater will be our thirst after the water of God's Word. Soaking ourselves in the Word will in turn better equip up for the exercise. Just as a dehydrated runner is no good in a race, a dehydrated Christian is no good for the kingdom of God.

Though I could share so much more about the sessions themselves, I'll only touch briefly on one more thing that greatly impacted me. Living our lives completely for the glory of God was emphasized the very first day, and this was brought a step further the rest of the week by stressing how easily it is for a Christian to fall into the rut of dividing his life into sacred and secular portions. It's very easy for us to consciously glorify God through prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, and ministry, but what about the day to day, normal things in life? Does brushing our teeth really bring glory to God?

Both Phil and Steve drilled into our heads that if we fail to offer these mundane, daily things up to the Lord as an act of worship, it will be one of the greatest hindrances in our spiritual walk. They explained that this is the secret to walking with God throughout our everyday life and not losing the blessings received during our times spent alone with God.

After supper that evening, we again found various vehicles and headed over to the new house of a young couple in the church. Because YBS had been going on, there was no one available to help them move that day, so we all decided to give them a hand! Within a couple hours the guys had loaded a moving van up with the large furniture and moved it over, and us girls helped unpack some of the kitchen stuff. After it was all said and done, the guys pooled together and brought us all out to Starbucks. Sitting around, visiting, and sipping coffee was a neat last free evening together. The next night we knew we'd be on the streets, and many were leaving the following morning. We found it amazing how just one week of corporately seeking the Lord together brought such a closeness and unity. The body of Christ is truly an amazing thing!

One more post should finish up this series just in time for the commencement of a new one! I plan on covering our Mexico trip the same way, and am excited to see what the Lord has planned!

1 comment:

Jonathan Marshall said...

Wow, you are really good at narrative writing. It's so much fun to relive the memories and lessons from Bible School through your posts. Oh, and I must really have you buffaloed. I was hiding behind you and Joe on those songs!