There's a saying at YWAM that Discipleship Training School, or "DTS," really means "Death To Selfishness."
A DIVINE ENCOUNTER
Two Sundays ago, a bunch of us went to hike in Boulder, CO. I had originally planned not to go, but I changed my mind when I realized I could meet up with a friend from Seton Hall. His plans changed at the last minute, however, and yet it was too late for me to turn back.
So there we found ourselves standing underneath the three "flatirons" of Chautauqua Park, and the voice of John Muir compelled me to climb the 1st Flatiron (the tallest one pictured below).
The Three Flatirons, taken by Liz VanBemmelen, YWAM Staff
Long story short, I got accidentally separated from my group, and bumbled into a young man named Nick who was watching a nearby wild fox.
We were both somewhat unsure of our bearings, and so we decided to travel together and attempt the 1st Flatiron. After a bit of scrambling and guessing our way, we finally found a trail and proceeded to reach the top.
A panoramic view from the backside of the 1st Flatiron. Inscribed on the rock face behind us were the words: "You never were the center of it."
After a bit of gazing, we clambered onto a rock to sit down and eat. As we ate, we opened up to each other about our lives and aspirations.
Nick, if you're reading this, I hope you've settled on a decision now and trust that you have a lot of peace about it. God brought us together that day because he loves you and is pursuing you. It was a privilege to meet and pray for someone like you who is seeking that something more. God bless brother!
HEY DAN, STOP SMELLING THE FLOWERS!
Now, if you've been consistently reading these updates from YWAM, you may be starting to wonder why I have so many *cough* awesome *cough* photos of nature and adventuring when, in reality, I'm spending most of my hours indoors, taking notes from speakers on mission-related topics. I can hopefully answer that with a couple points. First, I easily see the Lord working in me and in others through action-related encounters or endeavors, and I get a ton of joy from it. Secondly, these "extra-curricular" experiences that I am sharing are all opportunities for me to apply what I have been learning during the week.
Even so, I'll try to summarize a couple intriguing perspectives I've heard from these talks...
GOD DOES NOT HIDE HIS FACE FROM US WHEN WE SIN
When Jesus was on the cross, he famously cried out, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
Many scholars believe he was referring to Psalm 22, a vivid depiction and prophecy from David of the death of the Messiah.
But in further reading of Psalm 22, verse 24 says, "For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help."
Additionally, Jesus' last words are "It is finished!" which is a very similar phrase to "He has done it!" at the end of Psalm 22.
Often times, David's psalms began with him sharing the state of where he was currently at, and proceeded to go on a journey of finding his identity in the Lord. Psalm 22 started with David feeling as though God had forsaken him, and yet concludes that God had not forsaken him at all. Perhaps Jesus was saying the same thing?
So, without getting into a huge theological fuss over this, I believe that at the very least, this is a beautiful perspective on God's nature and unrelenting love for us. He is both transcendent and imminent; he is above it all, but chooses to be involved.
The way I visualize it is changing a baby's diaper. As an adult, it may be repulsive to you, but out of love for your child you willingly endure the stench and refuse. Of course God is without sin, but whoever said that God could not interact with people who still had sin in them? How could we have become saved apart from God?
IDOLS NOT CARVED IN STONE
There are three types of idols: things that entice us, things that we trust, and things that we fear.
Reflect on these questions to get yourself thinking about anything that may be distracting you from the Lord:
What are some things that entice you that is not God?
When it comes to trust, what are the things you do that is not of God?
What do you fear more than God?
Where are you getting your value from? Those are your "gods."
Do you live like God is sufficient for you?
The idols in our lives are incomparable and nothing compared with the awesomeness and power of God.
OUR DTS-RUN WORSHIP SERVICE
This weekend, we packed our bags and headed for the mountains! While we typically stay in YWAM Denver's Arvada base, they also have a base next to Eagle Rock.
This is where we are staying for the next week as we delve into the father-heart of God.
Since we are in the middle of the mountains, we decided to use our God-given talents and skill to host our own worship service, instead of driving for hours to get to a church.
Imagine a bunch of green-behind-the-ears, super excited missionary-wanna-be's leading worship and giving sermons to other missionary-wanna-be's and actual missionaries! It was nothing short of awesome.
The whole thing was completely run by DTS students.
One thing that was really neat - three of us gave testimonies/talks, and we prepared ours separately of each other. We hadn't even asked one another what their topic was until a few minutes before we started. And yet, each talk revolved around a common theme of acting bravely out of obedience to God.
You may read my "sermon" notes by clicking here.
This morning, three of us (Mike Blank from PA, Michel from Switzerland and myself) hiked up Eagle Rock in the dark to catch the sunrise.
God is good!
Any thoughts? Feel free to comment here or on Facebook.