Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prepare ye the way...

DTS officially begins on Sunday, October 3 but students already begin trickling in tomorrow, Thursday. The last three and a half weeks have been spent laying the foundation for the school. An average day looks something like this: The morning begins with about an hour of personal devotions, an hour or worship, an hour of praying for the students, school and each other, and then if we have any time left we'll throw in some teaching and/or planning. Afternoons are generally spent preparing the base physically: Mowing lawns, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, making beds, fixing anything that's broken and generally making sure that the base is spotless before the students arrive.
The most important thing that we have been doing is seeking God's vision for this season and how we fit into it. Keep praying for student's hearts to be soft to the work of the Holy Spirit and obedient in laying down their lives.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let Freedom Reign

It's another rainy day in Oxford. My washing has been out on the line for several days now, just begging for a patch of sunlight.
This first week of orientation has been admittedly dull. We have had very few duties beyond getting acquainted with the base, learning about YWAM history, structure and values and bonding as a staff team. Tomorrow morning we start getting into the meat and potatoes of defining vision for this school, assigning roles and preparing for the arrival of students. Pray that God would give us unity, that we would have one mind, one vision and one purpose. Pray that God would begin preparing the hearts of the students that will be arriving in October. Pray that our eyes would be lifted upward and outward, to see the greatness of our God and the ripeness of the harvest that He is longing to reap.
One of the best days this week was Thursday when a few of us had the opportunity to go into Christchurch and help clean up some of the earthquake damage. Physically we were not able to do much but even to touch the lives of a few people with an expression of Christ's love and compassion is a huge honour. A lot of people were more shaken up by the earthquake than they first admit. God is reminding us of the foolishness of placing our hope in the things of this world that will pass away. Pray that the church would rise up with acts of love to comfort hurting people and with a prophetic voice to speak truth into the lives of those who have no hope.
Perfect love casts out fear. He makes all things new.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

He is Worthy

On September 3, 2010 Barbara, from the Oxford Baptist Church received this passage from God during her time of prayer and worship:

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

On September 4, 2010 at approximately 4:30 am Barbara's house was right at the epicenter of the seventh largest earthquake in New Zealand's history. (Even larger than the earthquake that devastated Haiti earlier this year.) It reminded me of Amos 3:7 where God assures us that "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets".

God was speaking to me a lot this morning about the nature of true worship. I have often wondered what it really means to worship "in spirit and in truth". I still wonder. Perhaps that is a form of worship as well... standing open mouthed, staring blankly, wondering what on earth is going on... yet choosing to acknowledge that God is in control. And He's good. He's very, very good.
I find that I worship God most intensely and honestly when I am in a state of turmoil, confusion or pain. It is much easier to forget our desperate need for God in those times of "humdrum prosaic happiness". There was a line in one of the songs that we sang in worship this morning that said something about not letting our memories replace Your presence (speaking of God). It really struck me. How often do I rest upon the memories that I have of experiencing the intimacy of God's presence rather than striving after Him afresh? I know that to grow closer to God will require everything that I am, no half-hearted measures will do, so I find myself naturally remaining stagnant. Comfortable.
I long for the day when I can cry out along with Job, from a place of deep pain, turmoil and confusion: "though He slay me, yet will I praise Him".

He is worthy.