Monday, August 31, 2009

It's not about Australia, it's about Jesus

Within the past few months we have had to explain to person after person where we are going, what we are doing, and when we will return. In each conversation the same things seem to keep coming up.

First, people are amazed, and many jealous that we are going to Australia. I must say, while both of us are excited to go to Australia, it is not an easy trip to make; we are not going for a short tourist vacation. We are going to be one of the places in the world that is farthest away from home for three months, that is not an easy thing to do, especially for both of us who have never done anything like this before. So, are we "lucky" to go to Australia? Yes, we are, it is a place not many people get to go, and many want to, but it is not an easy trip to make for us.

Second, I find that in these conversations, we end up talking more about Australia then about the reason we are going. The reason we are going is because Jesus has called us, we want to serve him, we want to obey him, we want to grow in him, we want his name to be spread throughout the whole earth, and we want to glorify him! This decision is not about us, it is all about bringing honor to Jesus! Sadly, getting past where we are going has been a hard thing to do, and we even find ourselves getting caught up in it sometimes. If Jesus was calling us to Oklahoma we would go. If he was calling us to Africa we would go. If he was calling us to Antarctica we would go! It is not about where we are going, it is about why we are going, to reach those who have not heard the good news of the gospel!

A little while ago I heard a pastor say "Christians should live lives that demand explanation." I'm sure that if we would have finished out our degrees at Judson and gone into the mission field after, not many would be surprised, but the fact that we are putting a hold on college demands explanation. My prayer is that in giving the explanation for us doing so, that God will be glorified, that we will not receive the attention, that Australia will not receive the attention, but that Jesus alone will be gloried!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Continued Call

I just finished reading a book by Hedi and Rolland Baker, who are missionaries to the poorest country in the world Mozambique. The book was filled with stories of hundreds of stories of miracles that God has done because of their radical faith in him. The Bakers have planted over 9,000 churches in Mozambique and their ministry continues to grow rapidly. Something Hedi wrote at the end of the book struck me again as the reason Laura and I feel the need to go into the world now:

"The Lord is calling for servant lovers who will call in the outcasts, who will go into the dark corners of the world and compel the poor to come. And they will come. They'll come by the millions. Who will go and leave their life of comfort and call in the broken? Who will go and be a learner? Who will go and lay their life down for Jesus among the poor? The Lord Jesus wants His house to be full. It's time for us to go out to the poor, to the broken, to the homeless, to they dying, the lonely, and call them to come in. Thousands and thousands of missionaries and ministers need to go out to the darkest places, to the poorest places, to the forgotten places, because the wedding feast is about to begin and so many of the poor haven't been called. Rush and call them. They will come."

The song that has become our kinda of theme song for our trip is a song called "I Will Go" by Starfield. The lyrics are listed below. Will you go?

I Will Go lyrics

To the desperate eyes and reaching hands
To the suffering and the lean
To the ones the world has cast aside
Where you want me I will be

I will go, I will go
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, To the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I'm clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me

Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain

let the blessing You've poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change

I wanna live for you
Go where you lead me

Send me!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On September 11, less than a month from now, I will be leaving to Wollongong Australia to attend a Discipleship Training school. The school consists of Bible training and missionary training for three months, and then three months of practical, hands on, missionary experience somewhere in 10/40 window. If you want to read more about what I will be doing you can go to this link:

In this note I wanted to talk a little bit more about why I chose to drop out of school to attend the DTS. Fist, I must say that I am going to miss you all very very much. I am going to miss being at Judson this year, miss playing soccer, miss my family and friends, miss many of the comforts that home has to offer, miss everything that is familiar to me. It was my desire to continue at Judson, and it was my plan, but as Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Here is how I came to the conclusion that YWAM is where I am supposed to go.

1. The Lord's guidance

A few months ago, I heard a message from a missionary who sent out a desperate call for full time missionaries. He said there is a need that is not being met in the world, that there are over 1,500 people groups that have not yet heard the good news of Salvation, and that there is a need for workers go to tell them. When I looked into this claim, it could not have been more true, there is a desperate need for full time missionaries! When I found this out, it began to bother me deep within my soul. I could not sleep many nights, and began to wake up to dreams of people crying out that had not heard the gospel yet. Every time I would go to spend time with the Lord the first thing that was on my heart was those who have not heard the gospel yet. On top of that, God lead me to passage in Scripture that continue to continued to add fuel to the fire, like Romans 15:20-21, Acts 13:46-47, and of course Matthew 28:18-20. The way I felt could best be described by Hedi Baker, a missionary to the poorest country in the world Mozambique:

“I was drawn to the less popular, less beautiful, those who were left out and ignored...I was restless, always interested in other cultures and languages, and especially the poor. I could not sit around at home, absorbed in myself and my own world.” Hedi Baker, There is always enough

Because of my restlessness, I decided to look into heading into missions. I began to look into different missions organizations, one of them being Youth With A Mission. I had been told by four people with in the past four months what a great experience they had at a discipleship training school through YWAM, so I decided to check it out. After looking into it, I found it was exactly what I was looking for. I could begin training to be a missionary, and get three months of missionary experience, without making a full time commitment. This would allow me the option of going back to Judson, which is definitely a possibility.

After talking to Laura about it, who had been feeling similar inclinations to go into missions, we decided that we would apply to the DTS, and if we did not get in, that we would be perfectly content with going back to Judson. We knew that if God wanted us to go to DTS, he would get us there.

One of my main concerns was what both of our parents would say, and my prayer to God was, "God, if you really want me to go now, please give me my parents blessing, and Laura's parents blessing." Right away when Laura informed her parents about our decision to apply, they were very supportive, however my parents were not. But, three days after I told my parents about YWAM, my mom called me to say that she just wanted me to follow Jesus, and if that meant going to YWAM now that is what I should do. But there was still my dad who had to give in, and two days later I received an email from him in which the first line read: "First, I'll start with the conclusion: You may go, with my (our) blessing." I had not told my parents about what I had been praying to God, and yet my dad told me the exact thing I had been praying. Since then, every little detail that needed to fall into place for us to go has: my application was accepted, the money was provided, our visas were approved in a day, insurance was worked out without having to purchase any extra, and we were able to buy cheap plane fare. If God does not want us to go, he is not making it very obvious.

On top of how I believe God has made it clear that I am to go now, there are other reasons that God has put on my heart that I believe point to this being the right decision.

2. Life is short. James 4:14 says "why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." When I die, or Christ returns, I want to be doing everything in my effort to advance his kingdom, I want to be obeying him and honoring him in all I'm doing. Really, what was I waiting for?

3. Everyone in the world needs to hear the gospel. Romans 10:14-17 says "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to comes from hearing the message." Students at Judson are hearing the message. They hear it in chapel, in class, from friends, in church...they are hearing the gospel. What I can't stand to think of are those who have not heard it at all. Why wait to tell them?

4. Simple obedience to Jesus. Jesus commanded: "Go and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19). 2,000 years after Jesus commanded this, all the world has not heard the gospel. Why is that? Because not enough people have gone to the ends of the earth. Jesus had already commanded, he has already called, I am simply obeying. Why wait? People need to hear now! There is no time to waste, life is short.

If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I don't know where God will lead me after YWAM, maybe back to Judson, maybe into missions full time, who knows, maybe I will go to be with Jesus or he will return before I'm done with YWAM.