The Blessing of Fellowship

Blessing-Fellowship-RT09-02546We, Canadian students, had the awesome privilege to visit the US office for a week. It gave us an opportunity to serve the staff, volunteer in the office and part take in some fun events. I can see how with a negative mindset it could have been a dread. However, I told myself that I would serve like never before. After all, serving gives greater joy anyway than wanting to be served. I prayed about having the right heart about going. The Lord answered and it was the most amazing time ever.

We had the privilege to room with the US students during our stay. We got to help with cooking, cleaning and also sitting in during their classes. We took part in house dinners, celebrations, and even the Hog Slog race. The thing that I took note of most is the fellowship we as Christians get to have. When we arrived, we were not only welcomed with open arms, but there was an instant connection. There is a common bond in what Christ has done for us and that we are fellow labourers in the Gospel. Paul the Apostle understood that type of bond, and he longed for believers to live in unity. This instant connection with the students, was in that we are all disciples of Christ, that we’re going through the same School of Discipleship program and labouring and reaching the lost together from a distance. So sharing our joys and struggles was a great joy and encouragement.

Being in the family of Christ is the greatest blessing for someone on earth. The church, the body of believers and community living has become a lot clearer for me in this past year. We are made to distribute our gifts and talents within the church. We are not meant to be lone rangers walking this earth but we have each other and it’s Christ alone that made it possible.

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

—School of Discipleship student

Who am I… Really?

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I·den·ti·ty- the fact of being who or what a person or thing is

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. But now in Christ Jesus you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:1 & 13

As the year in School of Discipleship continues, it is amazing that one doesn’t just get to know the Lord more intimately, but one also gets to know themselves through this challenging year of being discipled.

In class, the Lord has been teaching me to recognize the importance of knowing my true identity. All of Mankind has identity. Our identity may come from many areas in life including family or friends, job, money, or even the past. The Lord has been challenging me in this regard:  In the way I live, where is my identity rooted from? If my supreme identity comes from anything other than Christ Himself, I will soon realize that whatever else I root my life in will be earthly and thus will diminish. As a child of God, I have the amazing privilege to know and be known by an ever infinite God, and must recognize my value in this, rather than anything else that bids for my life.  I am ultimately not who anyone else says I am, nor known supremely by my weaknesses or failures, but I am who CHRIST alone says I am!

Does Christ complete me? Do I feel as if I need that one thing, aside from Christ, in order to  “feel” complete?  What makes my heart race and receives my awe? In what is my identity really found when everything else is stripped away?

Though I have been greatly challenged in learning my need for a complete self-denial, the Lord has been teaching me that my absolute only boast, and ultimately life, must be in Christ. I have and am absolutely nothing without Him, but am everything in Him. It is unfortunate to know that I can go through the daily tasks of serving the Lord, without ever realizing who I am as His blood bought child, and miss out on the relationship that our Father longs for with His children.

So when I am tempted to believe that other things will somehow satisfy, or to ‘amen’ what the enemy would have me to believe,  I must remember that as a child of God, He is the one who makes me who I really am. In Christ, my identity is completely sure since He never fails nor changes forever.

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—School of Discipleship student

Living by the Power

Living-Power-TD10-01166School of Discipleship Vision/Goal 8: Understand that the Christian life and ministry cannot be lived apart from God’s help.

When arriving at Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship program in January 2014,  I was blessed to learn what the vision for the program would be. After just over a year and a half of having the privilege of being discipled and trained in the ways of God, I feel as though it is this core value that has become an increasing reality in my life.

When first pondering upon this truth- the Christian life made possible only by Christ- it seemed rather like a gimme. However, only now has the Lord been teaching me in a greater measure of the significance and necessity of His Spirit being preeminent in my life.

In a recent message we heard by Major Ian Thomas, he states, “ Christ is the only One capable of living the Christian life”. Oh the thought! When I ponder upon this, I must humbly conclude that this is the only thing that makes sense.  I find myself coming repeatedly to quick failure when attempting to live the Christian life in the flesh. One author put it well when he declared, “There is nothing more nauseating than the flesh trying to be holy”.

Although the Lord has had to remind me of my neediness for His Spirit, I am blessed and relieved by the liberating thought that I simply will never have what it takes to live for Christ, but He sure does! I am challenged to remember this beautiful promise!  My flesh must die, and then I will be able to live. It is in the moments of feeling strong that I invite a dangerous conception of following Christ in my own so called strength. Through self-denial, I must stay needy and completely dependent upon Christ alone.

Praise God for His Spirit that does indwell us, as we can be sure that His power and enabling that has kept us until now will continue to sustain us until the end.

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4

—School of Discipleship student

Hold On to Christ!

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Praise God! We are already in the last third of the School of Discipleship year, which seems absolutely absurd! Truly, God continues to amaze me!!

We had the privilege of hearing our leader, Bro. KP, teach about depending on God. A few words he said caught me a bit in my tracks. He said, (in my summarization) “We must remember that God cannot fill His Spirit and blessings into hands that are already full.”

So often, I desire that God would fill me with His Spirit. I want to be full of Him. But I then question myself, Is God able to fill me with Himself, if I am already full of other things? Do I even possess the room? In absolutely everything that God gives, which far exceeds anything earthly, why do I still find it excruciating, to empty my hands of everything earthly, in order to hold on to Him?
Some of a quote that puts this well is in the journal of Jim Elliot. The quote reads,

“Father, let me be weak that I might lose my clutch of everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand. Rather, open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary, as Christ’s was opened, that I, releasing all, might be released, unleashed from all that binds me now. So let me release my grasp.”

Oh, that I would learn the blessedness of depending on Him, surrendering to Him, clinging to Him, and seeking Him! Only then, can I really be a true disciple of His, and discover His true worth!!

—School of Discipleship student

Does Fashion matter?

Does-Fashion-Matter-TD15-02125I haven’t yet figured out why girls go to the bathroom in pairs/groups, but I do know that we often go shopping in twos or more so that we can get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion on an outfit – to ask “Should I buy this?” Our friends often hold a place of an advisor.

The other day I saw a jacket that I really liked and was reasonably priced. Now, you must understand that I am not a fashion-conscious person at all and I hate clothes shopping, so if I see something I like that fits and is decently priced, I will buy it.

I wanted to get this jacket, but then I started thinking… do I really need it? No. But I really like it. The price is good. However, the money could be better used elsewhere. I would definitely wear it a lot and get the value’s worth of it. I went back and forth, and finally, I said, “God, should I get this?”

I’d never asked God for fashion advice before. (Not that I usually ask fashion advice much of anyone.) But I realized that this is what it means to seek God in … everything. Even in something that seemingly is as trivial as “Should I buy this jacket?”, if I ask God whether it honours Him, well, the question itself honours Him if I follow His (fashion) advice.

—School of Discipleship student

Called to Brokenness

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I believe it still to be a miracle that I am here.

Coming to School of Discipleship, I really didn’t have much of an idea of why God was leading me here. My flesh really wanted to stay in my cozy, comfort zone where life, well, seemed easy. The Lord certainly had much patience and by His grace, I am here!

I think the best verse for my presence here would be found in 1 Corinthians 1:27 where it reads, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.” I can still hardly grasp this truth. I am most blessed, but very challenged that my weaknesses are made perfect in His strengths. I’m slowly learning to trust God, in the highest and lowest parts that this journey, called life, brings me.

In class, we have just finished the book, Jesus Style. I am humbled by how little I know about the life of Jesus. Everything about the greatest man that ever lived, His birth, His ministry, His death have been so minimized and watered down. I’m starting to see how absolute frail and weak I am. I am nothing but a wretched, wandering, hopeless, descendant from Adam apart from Christ. My desperation for Christ must be foremost in my life!

With that, I would like to end off with the passage written in Philippians 1:29 which says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”. This verse is a challenge. It is a verse that seems very inconvenient. God wants everything? Since He withheld nothing from His life, I’m challenged with losing everything from mine. With that, I know I need brokenness. I need to be shattered. I need desperate molding. I’ve been so blessed by the countless testimonies of the servants of Christ holding nothing in their life dear to them, and counting all things apart from Christ as useless. So many, going through persecutions and sufferings, so that the name of Christ may be made known! With that, I feel called to brokenness, and pray God will truly break me for the lost. I desperately need to have a burden so immense for those that have never heard that there is a hope! I know this year has many challenges that lay ahead, but I also know that with Christ as my strength, I will have everything that I need!

—School of Discipleship student

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