Monday, May 27, 2013

Intern leader training...the summer begins!

Our time with the intern leaders has been so great....I'm gonna miss being able to talk ministry and spend life with these great people. We've spent the last week talking through some summer details and giving them a bigger picture of the summer ministry. They're all at different levels of experience, but most of them are new to leading. 

Rob and Jonathan have been leading this mainly, but Audrey and I have been able to build in by sharing our experience and what we've thought through. I really enjoyed working through intern leader training this way, as it allows me the freedom to speak when needed. We've had a mix of free time and sessions, and it's been really good.

This morning I packed up my stuff for the summer, and we head to Ukraine tonight to start the Amazing Race Wednesday. It's gonna be a crazy week, but I am so looking forward to building into and getting to know my team better.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My first second....going to Spring Conference for the second time

Last year I arrived just hours before Spring Conference, where we talked about the Fatherhood of God (I still want to go through some of that material again). Spring Conference is a bit of a marker for my time serving full-time with JV, and this year I came into it a bit more rested (no jet-lag) and ready to engage with the JV Family. One of the best parts of it (other than great teaching) is the family environment. I love being with this group of people all seeking to know God, to serve him with all that they are, and to teach others to do the same. There were 150 adults and 90 kids, so there were always packs of children wandering around. I loved it!
The JV Family, 2013
Our theme this year was "The Upside Down Kingdom," focusing on how God's Kingdom (and our relationship with Him) functions sometimes exactly the opposite of what we think. For example, Jesus says in Mark 8:34-38 that "whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." The principle is that by trying to hold on to your life you actually lose it.

Dave, our president and speaker...I didn't know the best pic I had of him was from this seminar!
I was really challenged by the session on prayer. We went through Matthew 7:7-12, a very familiar passage. Here are some thoughts from the talk:
Often we pray either careful prayers (unspecific or we ask but don't wait for an answer) or demanding prayers (telling God to do something) that turn into complaining prayers. Jesus, however, calls us to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. Ask - actually be asking God for things. Seek - seek Him above all else, do whatever it takes. Knock - ask for doors to be opened, and knock for God to open them. It's easy to drift away from praying consistently for things.
So, how do I get back to asking, seeking, and knocking? I need to know Four secrets of the Kingdom
1. The secret of a good Father - Matt 7:9-11 
2. The secret of good gifts - Matt 7:11 - God doesn't give us the things we think are good, but better.
3. The secret of shameless audacity - Luke 11:5-8 - boldness, without shame
4. The secret of persistent prayer - Luke 18:1-8 - it builds strength and perseverance

I loved the picture Dave gave on persistent prayer: Prayer is like a man (you/me) in a boat pulling himself to a lighthouse in the fog. Often we can't see the lighthouse, but it's there. God could immediately get us to the lighthouse (answer the prayer immediately), but it's through pulling (constantly seeking in prayer) that we are strengthened to persevere, especially in future trials. Through this process we are strengthened to further abide in Christ in prayer.

I'm pulling, are you?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just Shy of One Year

This is not the big blog post writing about my entire year of living in the Czech Republic, just a simple late-night blog post of thankfulness.

I am thankful that God has given me one year in this country, and laid on my heart many people who I want to see grow in Christ (or start their journey as one of God's children).
I am thankful that this language no longer feels so foreign, despite so many times I understand just less than enough.
I am thankful that I have people here who do love Jesus and persue him faithfully, while pushing me to do the same.
I am thankful for the countless lessons I have learned and the ways God has stretched me.
I am thankful that I have been brought into the English Camp team and feel valued.
I am thankful for some time in Prague, as well as good time with people all over Czech.
I am thankful for an excellent roommate.
I am thankful for the little things that bring me joy.
I am thankful that winter is over and the air is warm again.

I am thankful that the work is not done and my time continues.
I am thankful for the upcoming summer of ministry.

In about 45 minutes I will celebrate my one-year anniversary of getting to Czech as a full-time ministry. I plan to be sleeping, resting in the fact that God is orchestrating something great in the lives of his people (and those who he will call in the future), and being a part of this in prayer and work.