This is the last week of the "Lecture Phase" of our Discipleship Training School. Now a new chapter begins.
Said goodbye to Colorado this past weekend by climbing the most difficult - and one of the most dangerous - 14ers in the state: Capitol Peak.
WORSHIPPING GOD THROUGH ART
This Thursday, YWAM Staff Porter led us in a time of worship to God. Highlighting how diversely people worshipped God in the tabernacle - 1 Chronicles 15-16, Porter invited us to worship God in more ways than just singing.
Having a gift in art, I was very curious to try drawing in a setting of worship. Our DTS leader Taylor, Jonathan and I (and later Emma) gathered around a piece of paper with a bunch of markers and crayons. We decided to each take a turn drawing something small - perhaps a single line or a part of an object - and see what would happen. We prayed before we started, inviting God to join us, and having no expectations.
This is the finished piece.
I will do my best to interpret it for you, but you gotta get a little abstract with me.
Let's start with the big picture. At one point into the drawing Taylor drew in some kind of blue, water-spraying geyser (left side). When his next turn came around, he added red and yellow to it. It reminded me of the blood and water that spilled out of Jesus after he died on the cross, so I drew a spear. If you turn your head sideways, you might be able to see the water and blood coming out of the side of Jesus' body, in between the hip and the ribcage. In the top right corner would be his arm. When Taylor saw this, he added in the brown cross-beam.
Similar to the spear, the arrow signifies that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions.
The picture of two storm clouds with the sunlight coming up in the upper left corner represents the contrast between the death of Jesus or our own struggles in life and the greater plan of hope and redemption that Jesus' life brings us.
On Jesus' arm (top right corner), Emma drew a line of a beating heart. Taylor then flatlined it, once again pointing towards Jesus' death. But if you look carefully you can see the line jump up again before running off the page.
Now let's look at what's happening on Jesus' body.
The wavy line that runs through the bottom half of the page used to simply look like waves. Taylor drew a cube under the water, and I added a person inside the box, thinking of people who feel like they're underwater and trapped, caged-in and yet completely vulnerable.
If you turn your head sideways, you might be able to see a face making a disgusted look in the direction of the person in the box. This represents the person's perception of how people - himself included - view him. Disgusting, weak, misunderstood, stuck, a failure, etc.
But notice how the person in the cube is actually being carried by a bird - say, a dove - that represents the Holy Spirit. That was when I saw the tongue from the ugly face being in the same place where the bird's tongue would be. Reminded of the Holy Spirit and tongues, I drew fire coming out of the bird's beak - Acts 2. Just now as I'm writing I realize that it could also symbolize how we use our tongues carelessly at will, and yet as we walk with the Lord, he transforms our mouths (out of which the heart speaks) from something that needs washing to a weapon of healing, authority, and love.
The blue, watery section could represent the river of life flowing from Jesus - the Lamb in Revelation 22:1.
And then of course, the heart that Emma drew represents the love of Jesus.
It's interesting to think that of anything we could have drawn, all of those things that were drawn on the body of Jesus were things that Jesus either bore on the cross for us or gave us through the his death on the cross.
Finally, there's the orange circle in the middle. This started out as an orange ball, but was turned into a bowling ball that seemed to be rolling downhill. Later it was given a face, puffing a car uphill. As we talked about it, we recognized the strong contrast between how, the bowling ball that was going downhill was pushing the car uphill. We eventually concluded two things: 1) that it signified Jesus' sacrificial love for us and how we are encouraged to live similarly, and 2) how the road uphill is so contrary to the way of the world, and yet that is the path that Jesus lived out and calls us to.
Anyways, I thought that was really fun.
SUMMARY OF THE LECTURE PHASE
Taylor gave us a test this week to write down what we've personally learned from each week of the lecture phase. It's wonderful how easy it is to retain material when you're so passionate about the subject.
- God will/will not do things because of someone standing or not standing in the gap - Ez 22:30
- God could do everything, but he values relationships so much that he wants to do things with his children.
- God's plan: reconciliation. Satan's plan: division.
- God not only created everything for relationship with us, but he also yearns to communicate/interact with us constantly.
- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" refers to Ps 22 where David concludes that God does not hide from us.
- God does not abandon us when we sin. Like a mother changing a baby's diaper, he lovingly endures.
- Because God values our choices, he will not heal us until we ask and bring our wounds to him
- Walking in the light is living by the truth, being exposed and vulnerable before God.
- God wants to give us a heart of flesh - to feel both joy and pain. In an attempt to flee our pain, we lose both.
- The Holy Spirit convicted me of ungratefulness and pride. Since then I've committed to waking up early and thanking the Lord at the start of each day.
- God can change our hearts! He not only can help us do his will, but also help us want to do his will - Phil 2:13
- Everything is spiritual
- Be the miracle; the invention of penicillin was more miraculous than the supernatural healing of one person.
- We are either building the kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness. Every negative event/occurrence is an opportunity to "kick the devil in the teeth" and thank God.
- It often requires more faith NOT to see a miracle than to actually see one, e.g., to trust God anyways even though healing didn't come.
- Learned dramas, skits and dances.
- God will give what we ask when we align our hearts with his will.
- Though there are times when, in his all-knowing supremacy, he will withhold some things for our ultimate good.
- Read the gospel of John while asking the Holy Spirit to give insight. The Holy Spirit really does make the Word come alive!
- Jesus is the one who constantly battles against us - for us, so that we would believe
- The Word without the Spirit creates a spirit of 'religiosity' (truth without love).
- The Spirit without the Word creates a spirit of 'religiosity' (love without truth).
- Before we understand the spiritual gifts, we need to understand the heart of the giver: love.
- Surrendering our minds to God is not to forsake our minds, but to give preeminence, to invite God into our process of absorbing, analyzing, and interpreting information.
- God speaks to us in many, many ways. He even says incredibly specific things in little ways. But we must be careful and 'listen' with the right heart and mind, backed up with the Word.
- There are things that God values over comfort, peace, security, and even non-suffering. There are things that God himself is willing to suffer for.
- Just because we're tired doesn't mean God won't use us. In our tiredness he might lead us into a relational one-on-one conversation instead of say, fiery prophecy. But remain open and surrender to anything he asks.
- People in need are not just in need of material things. They are also in need of someone who will just listen and talk with them.
There's a lot that we don't know about this upcoming outreach. What we do know is that very soon we'll be in Manila, ready to serve wherever or however we're needed. We're all brimming with high hopes to be a part of what God is doing in the Philippines and Indonesia.
I do not plan on writing any blogposts while I'm overseas.
As I'm wrapping up this series of blogposts and reflecting on my time here in Denver, I'm realizing that there are still so many things I struggle to understand and so many areas of growth that I simply haven't reached.
But I'm okay with that. Honestly I'd feel weird if I had it all figured out. God's work in us is continuous, and he and I are in the middle of an invigorating and fulfilling adventure.
I don't feel equipped for what's to come, but I am not afraid.
I am eager to live sacrificially alongside Jesus Christ who is with me.