Archive | April, 2010

Is That Really You, God?

23 Apr

As part of our Discipleship Training School over here at the YWAM base in Kona, we are assigned several compulsory reading assignments over the course of the semester. Our first book was written by the founder of YWAM himself, Loren Cunningham. Is That Really You, God? explores the concept of hearing and obeying the voice of God through Loren’s own personal experiences. It is fast-paced and quite the pleasurable read, broken up in easy-to-swallow bite sized stories. Since I recommend reading it for yourself I am not going to unload all the stories on you here in this blog. Instead, I will share with you the hidden gems that really grabbed my heart.

Cunningham starts off with a scene from his mid-twenties as he approaches one of the biggest decisions of his life. He must decide whether he wants to live a life of stability and comfort, riding on the success of his aunt and uncle and accepting their more-than-generous job offer or to decline, and life an unpredictable whirlwind of a life, with the probable possibility of scraping pennies together for the rest of his life to survive, sacrificing the pleasures of this world to follow the Lord’s call to be a missionary. And how was he even sure that this was the Lord calling him? Satan had placed poisonous doubt in his mind, prompting him to ask “What brashness made me think that it was a mandate from the Lord?” (p.8) Feelings of self-doubt must have been plaguing Cunningham’s mind at this moment. Who was he that the Lord would speak to him? Why would a man like Him receive such a calling? Aren’t there far more qualified people available for the job?

I know I have felt this way countless times. Satan creeps in with his plaguing skepticism, feelings of insignificance and small-mindedness and we forget that the Maker of the universe made us too. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and if the Lord has put a calling on our lives, He will see to it that we are able to walk it out.

Luckily Cunningham was confident in his Savior and trusted Him enough to turn down the posh life, for the humble (yet exciting) life of a missionary. Praise the Lord for his obedience! Because of Loren’s obedience and constant seeking of the Lord’s will in every move he made, YWAM was born in 1960. The vision that the Lord had placed on Loren’s heart over 50 years ago has now become a reality. Waves of young people are crashing over every nation bringing the life-giving water of the Gospel to all people, everywhere.

Today YWAM is helping young people to “Know God and Make Him Known” in over 1,000 locations in over 150 countries around the world, with a full-time staff of nearly 16,000.

I am now blessed enough to be a small part of the fulfillment of this vision, this dream of the Lord’s. I am one of those young people, in the process of being transformed by God and preparing to take that transforming message to the hurting, broken people of this world. I, too, have been called by the Lord, and I , too, am choosing to say “yes”. I will not let self-doubt or small-mindedness hinder what the Lord wants to do in and through me. I will not close the door on miracles because of my lack of faith. I will not make the Lord small so He can fit into a box that I am comfortable with. I have accepted that God is God and I am not. He is bigger than anything I could possibly imagine. I will never understand the height and depth and width of the majesty, awe, love, wonder, compassion, power, and strength that is my God, but that will not stop me from saying “yes” to Him.

I, too, will sacrifice dreams of wealth (in the typical understanding of the word, that is), security, stability, etc. I will place my plans for my life on the Lord’s altar and allow Him to resurrect them into something even grander than I ever dreamed for myself. (p. 196)

What do you need to put on the Lord’s altar? Do you trust Him to resurrect in you something beyond your wildest dreams? Step out with me in faith… I promise He will never let you down.

To learn more about Youth With A Mission (YWAM) please visit: http://www.ywam.org

Voice for the Voiceless Assignment

16 Apr

MATTHEW 25:35-40

“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink? And when did we see you as a stranger, and invite you in, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?” The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent you have done it to these brothers of mine, even THE LEAST of them, you have done it to me.”

To me, the least of these may have a different face than to others. It is easy to have compassion for third-world babies, victims of human trafficking, the abused, etc., and that is a beautiful thing. We need people to go out to all the nations and bring a voice to the voiceless men, women, and children around the world. My heart is heavy for a different cause, however. My heart bleeds for the forgotten at home. My tears fall for the broken middle-school girl with an eating disorder, the promiscuous teen looking for love in all the wrong places, the college-aged young man struggling to pay his bills, the children of failing marriages, the closet sinner at church that feels they must live a lie to be accepted. My soul cries out for the Pharisees, those who don’t know what it is like to be alive, even those with a crippling sense of entitlement. I feel for those suffering from depression that paint on their smile every morning while they are dying underneath the facade. I feel for the homosexuals, the confused, the searching. I feel for those that come from a legalistic background, working tirelessly to achieve their worth or salvation. I feel for those who have been hurt by the church, hate religion, and face judgement wherever they go.

Certainly everyone can show love to a victim. It’s much harder to show love to the victimizer. It’s easy to see the suffering of the poor, but can you spot the suffering among the rich? Being the “least of these” doesn’t always mean you have the least.

My heart is to run home with the knowledge I gain from this DTS, and bring the power of the Holy Spirit to the broken in my overindulgent, grossly affluent hometown. I want to bring healing to those who may not even know they are sick. I want to bring life and unashamed freedom in Christ to those most concerned with keeping up appearances. I know my heart is different than most, but I know it’s where I’m needed.


The Call and Commission

10 Apr

Aloha everyone! I feel so weird writing a blog. What do I have to say that is profound enough to deserve a blog? Probably nothing. So if you are looking for something otherworldly and revelatory, you have most definitely come to the wrong place. This is my journey, personal and private, only made public so the glory of the Lord may be known. This blog will document my growth and setbacks, my triumphs and my trials over these next six months as a missionary of the Lord. I am a student of His Word and a servant to His people. He is becoming greater and greater in my life and I am becoming less and less. (John 3:30) I am laying down my job, my comforts, my plans for my future, my family and friends, my desires and my dreams so that I may come to Him empty-handed, ready and willing to serve the one true and living God.

For those of you that are confused at this point, let me catch you up. I left my comfortable two-bedroom apartment in sunny Southern California on April 8th, 2010 in exchange for a top bunk in a dorm of 8 girls in Kona, Hawaii. I am a student in the PhotogenX Discipleship Training School at the University of the Nations, a part of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). PhotogenX is at its core a group of young people bent on bringing the love of Jesus Christ to all people, everywhere in the world.  We are passionate about using photography to fight injustice and bring equality to all of God’s children. Issues that weigh heavily on the heart of this mission include: sexual slavery, human trafficking, and domestic abuse.

I will be in Kona, being trained as a warrior of God for the next three months. I will be tested, tried, proved and refined until He deems me ready to go out to the nations to spread His gospel. The passage of scripture I have been focusing on is Isaiah 6:5-8.

5″It is all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.

7He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”

8Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”

I said “HERE I AM, SEND ME.”

I love the process that Isaiah goes through in this passage. He is not overzealous to start his ministry. He recognizes his sin, and his utter uselessness. He desires to go out in the world and advance the Kingdom of the Lord, but he knows he must first be purified. His guilt is removed, and his sins are forgiven, and he accepts the refining willingly. He does not cling to his sin, beat himself up about it, or refuse to move forward.

Then the Lord asks for a volunteer, and Isaiah’s hand shoots up. Here I am. Send me.

I am so ready for this period of my life. Nothing is holding me back from self-examination and moving forward. I am ready and willing to answer the tough questions and do the dirty work so I can be made into something fitting and useful to my King.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use.

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

After the three months of training in Kona, we will be ready to go on our outreach for three months to put into practice the things we have learned. The decision hasn’t been finalized as to where we are going, but I promise to let you know as soon as I know.

Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, and support. I am so excited about what God has in store. I have been forever changed since my arrival here, and I haven’t even been here a week! I can’t wait to see what our Lord does with six whole months! Please keep praying, and let me know how I can pray for you. I love you all dearly, and miss you already, but I know six months will fly on by. Keep fighting the fight. There are so many souls to be saved, hearts to be touched. There is no greater honor, and no more important work than working for our Lord. We are soldiers in the greatest army in all of creation. Fight on.

Your Sister in Christ,

Erika