It’s hard to believe I have reached the half way point of my time here in Durham! I want to catch you all up on what happened at City Project last week! To give a fair warning this post is pretty long, but only because last week was packed with amazing speakers and and awesome fellowship in Christ. So sit down with a cup of hot coffee (or tea if that’s your thing), and get ready to see how God has moved in my life this week (and hopefully how He can move in yours, too!)
The sessions this week have been amazing! God has opened my eyes to sins in my life, and has allowed the speakers to pour into me!
Monday, June 13- RTB & Discipleship
During RTB (Read the Bible), we looked at a passage in Ephesians using the OIA (Observe, Interpret, Apply) method of studying that I talked about in my last post, Durham! Part 1!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from who every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Observe- What does it say?
During this portion, we would mark up the passage, and take notes on the wording, grammar, and structure. When I mark up a passage it typically looks looks like a mass of colors, underlining, and shapes to block out things I notice, and I connect ideas with arrows. You don’t have to do anything this elaborate, but practice ways you can mark up a passage to reveal what stands out.
Interpret- What does it mean?
This is when you summarize the passage in one or two sentences, point out the main idea, and break down the meaning of certain things you observed. For example, I would summarize this passage as follows: I submit myself to the God who dwells in me, and gives me the strength to understand His love. I would say the main idea of this passage is to understand that God’s Love is important. He says “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” meaning we will never understand the vastness of God’s love. He also prays that we are “rooted and grounded in love,” meaning love is the foundation of our faith. If God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t have shown us mercy by sending His Son to earth to take the punishment for our sins by dying an unjust death on the cross.
Apply-How should it change me?
This passage gives a command to submit to God. It also is a promise that we can trust God to give us understanding of His love!
During Discipleship we talked about the importance of relationships when you are discipling someone. We began with a review of what a disciple is (With Jesus, Changed by Jesus, On Missions with Jesus), and then we began talking about the importance of informal time. Can you name the top 5 influential sermons you’ve heard? I bet the gears are turning as you struggle to remember what your pastor preached on just last week. It’s okay, I struggled thinking of even one sermon that stood out to me! I bet if I asked you to name your top 5 people who impacted your life, the list would fill up much faster! God uses people, not sermons to change lives. Matthew 4:19 explains that Jesus invites us into a relationship with Him! God doesn’t want us to preach at people, He wants us to form a community that shares the gospel to build each other up in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Did you know that 75% of discipleship happens during informal time, when you are hanging out, eating, and doing life together? While sharing the gospel is important, it is just as important to get to know the people you are discipling. If you are going to know their deepest desires and sins, you should probably know their favorite color or their favorite place to eat.
- To disciple people well, you must know the people well. – spend time with them, and ask good questions.
- Trust is key.
- More is Caught than Taught- doing is better than hearing or seeing.
Community is the key to successful discipleship. Ways the Summit Church helps provide community through Summit College is D-Groups and Family Groups. We are part of these during CP to help us lead when we go back to our campuses in the fall.
Tuesday, June 14- Stewardship
During this talk, Eric Chetwood came to talk about stewarding your finances for God. Here are the main points from this session:
I. Know Your Role
A. God Owns it ALL
1. You are just taking care of it for a while.
2. Psalm. 24:1- The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,[a]
the world and those who dwell therein,
3. He has entrusted us with His assets- not given!
II. Renew Your Mind
A. Natural Bent
1. Where your treasure is. . . there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21)
B. Biblical Bent
1. Matthew 6:20
2. We all have a natural bent to temporal, God wants it to be eternal things.
3. Money is a wonderful servant and a terrible master
4. If you don’t renew your mind daily, it can/will consume you in one of two ways:
a. Idolatry by spending
b. Idolatry by saving
5. Seek 1st the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)
III. Take Control
A. Renewing our mind always begets action (James 1:22)
B. Proactive vs. Reactive
1. Be smart – spend carefully
a.Budget- Telling your money where to go, rather than wondering where it went.
2. Be wise – save regularly
a. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.
b. Compounding money has a snowball effect.
c. Start saving early in life; this allows us to give more later.
d. Save 10% of your gross income.
3. Be generous – give extravagantly
a.Giving is God’s antidote to idolizing money. If you give it away, you can’t hoard it for yourself.
b. God does not need your money, but He wants you to want to be generous.
c. 2 Corinthians 8:9- For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
d. Our sacrifices will never compare to the sacrifice of Jesus.
Wednesday, June 15- Prayer
Christ Gaynor, the Pastor of Prayer at the Summit church gave an inspirational and mind-blowing sermon on prayer! He started off by asking us five questions. Take some time, and ask yourself the questions, and reflect on your answers. Are you satisfied with your prayer life?
- How often do you spend dedicated time in prayer?
- When you pray, how much time do you spend?
- What is the substance of your prayers?
- What is the intensity of your prayers? (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being passionate, wrestling, intently seeking)
- Is your prayer a monologue or a dialogue?
Personally, I am dissatisfied with my prayer life. I have come to realize that I do not spend near enough time in prayer with God, and I spend most of my time asking Him for things instead of worshiping Him and His awesomeness.
Gaynor said, “Most of us don’t pray because we do not find if fulfilling and have concluded it unnecessary.” We would never say this out loud, but our actions say otherwise. We find it unnecessary to us because we misunderstand it, and therefore, we misuse it! Most people define prayer as a means by which we receive things from God, but Prayer is supposed to be used so we can get closer to God! Our prayers reveal how we view and value God. Would God be viewed as a lover or a servant in your prayers? A Genie or a treasure? God should be our lover, and our treasure, not the magical genie that grants us our three wishes before turning into the mist that dwells inside and ancient lamp.
Communication is necessary for the growth of any relationship, so why do we think we can grow in our relationship with God if we don’t communicate with Him?In order to effectively grow in our relationships with God we need to devote time for conversation. You can’t build a relationship based on activity alone. When you begin to understand prayer is relational, it will affect how you pray. You need to keep in mind who you are talking to, and what He is capable of, because it will change what you ask for and how you ask for it!
Gaynor said, “We approach God like a seven-year old approaches their dad.” We whine and throw tantrums when we don’t get things our way. We lack an understanding of who God is and what He has done. God breathed the stars into the sky, and holds the whole world in His hand, and yet we whine to Him as if we know better.
There are three things we need to do now:
- Build our Adoration List. What scripture have you read that has really made your stand in awe at the presence and awesomeness of God? What prayers has He answered in your life or in the lives of those around you? If you build a list of things God has done, and who God is, then you have constant reminders of why we need to worship God.
- Confess– Confession is not saying I’m sorry and regretting the consequences. Confessions is admitting what you did or did not do is wrong and then repenting from it.
- Thanksgiving- No, I don’t mean to get out your pilgrim outfit and baste a turkey. You need to thank God for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. Thank Him for what He does in your life, your family’s lives, your friends’ lives, and throughout the world in all times.
This session really changed my view on prayer. I have spent so much time in prayer asking God for things (which is okay), but until now, I have not truly spent my time in prayer basking in the goodness that God shine upon me, sitting in His presence and lifting up praises to Him in prayer.
Thursday, June 16- Relationships
This session was pretty intense! Omar King talked about Knowing God Through Romantic Relationships.
A healthy relationship is two whole, healthy Christians coming together with Christ as the center of their relationship.
King talked about how easy it is to idolize romance if you are in a relationship or if you are single. An idol is anything we elevate or worship other than God (we all do this)! If you idolize romance you are codependent. This means you secure your identity by being in a relationship.
1. Why is romance such a compelling idol?
a. We are created for community and companionship.
b. We have a need for love and commitment.
c.Romance stimulates the pleasure sensors of the brain [ it is the way we are wired].
2. What are potential influences of romantic idolatry?
a. Family and Upbringing- This can either be that you saw your parents in a loving relationship, and want this for yourself, or that your parents were in a terrible relationship or were single parents, and you want something that they didn’t have.
b. Culture- Secular and Church Culture- Secular Culture has a lot to say about relationships, but it only shows the mushy-gushy stuff. It never shows real life. Church culture can also cause this since many people in the church push for marriage(many under the age of 25) and families (which are good things, but not the focus of our faith).
3. What is the source of our idolatry?
a. We are prone to wander.
b. Where you find the source of idolatry is where you find God is not good enough for you.
c. Godliness + Contentment = Gain
4. How do I know that romance is an idol and I’m in a dating relationship?
a. You Rationalize Red Flags
c. Rush the Relationship (insecurities, you don’t want to lose them)
d. Relax your values
e. Rearrange your life
f. Need Repeated Reassurance (excessive affirmation)
g. Release your Responsibilities
h. Unrealistic Expectations (Fomo- Fear of Missing Out)
5. How do I know that romance is an idol and I’m not in a relationship?
a. Flirting – “relying on charisma and charm instead of character”
b. Fantasy – creating romantic relationship that exist only in your head
c. Fear- excessive worry about not being in a relationship
d. False Prophesies –negative self-talk
e. Fickleness- emotionally unpredictable
6. What can I do to guard against romantic idolatry and codependency?
a. God’s word and prayer- Eph. 5:17-18
b. Life Management
c. Self-Control- Proverbs 25:8
d. Contentment/Thankfulness – Eph 5:20; Col. 3:17 – Stay in the present, not the past or the future
e. Focus on serving
g. Put up healthy boundaries
7. How do I know I’m ready to be in a relationship?
a. Do you base your desire on your readiness?- prepare (assess and evaluate character)
b. Romantic feelings are NOT enough
c. Who you are as a single person is the kind of wife/husband you will be.
Now you need to do Two things
1. Fight for Freedom- Relationships are meant to be enjoyed, not enslaving. You should experience God’s love AND express it.
2. Long for the resurrection- In heaven we won’t marry, our relationship with be with God, for the church is His bride. Hold earthly things loosely.
This session totally changed my view on relationships. As my friend so eloquently put it, “We need to break up with out imaginary boyfriends.” It is so easy as a single woman to get caught up in the idea of getting married and having a family. I am guilty of having a secret wedding board on Pinterest, where I pick out things I want for a future wedding. My wanting a husband is not a band thing, but it should not be the focus of my life. I don’t find my identity in my future husband, I find it in Christ, who died for my sins. I want my future husband to love God more than He loves me, so I need to do the same. While I am single, I need to be growing stronger in my relationship with Christ, so that the focus of my marriage will be the Cross (if marriage is in God’s plan for me).
During the week I have an internship at Summit Kids in the Central office! I have been enjoying my time with the other interns, and have gained understanding on how much work goes into a Kid’s Program at the Summit Church! We have been preparing for Kid’s Week, and we only have one week to get the rest of the materials together! I have loved being a part of the planning and organization of how Summit reaches out to the community of families in the Triangle!
D-Groups (Discipleship Groups) have been an awesome experience! My D-Group is made up of students from Meredith College. D-groups are used to disciple one another, hold each other accountable, and study together. This is a safe place for confession of sins, and allows you to build community with other believers. This week we have been studying Ephesians, and memorized Ephesians 2:1-7.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-among whom we all once walked, following the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. BUT God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised up with Him and seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Family Group is a ministry at the Summit Church that is designed to reach out to college students. This is a time to invite your friends to come eat dinner, mingle, and talk. There is also time for discussion on certain topics, and it is a great way to get people involved in a Christian community (who would say no to free dinner?!). We have been inviting students who live at Campus Crossings to join us for our Family Group, and this week we had two join us! We all bonded over chicken tacos, and discussed anxiety and how God can give us peace. Be praying that more people will join us for Family Group in the next two weeks!
This week during Evangelism (Wednesday Nights), I was part of the group that stayed at church to pray and train. The other half of CP went out into Durham to evangelize (share the gospel) in the community.
At this training we went over the Bridge Diagram, a method of sharing the gospel.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So you would start by having the person read the verse (Romans 6:23). Then you would draw the world with God and people, to show how we are divided, separated from God because of sin. Then you would draw the two cliffs without a bridge. You are one side, and God is on the other. Then you have the person point out the words that stand out in the verse. I put them in bold above. As they point them out, have them describe the word in their own terms, and guide them to the answers according to what the gospel says:
Wages: what you earn, deserving payment
Sin: disobeying God
Death: Not alive, lack of life
Gift: Something freely given out of love
God: The creator, perfect, holy
Eternal Life: Living forever in heaven, infinity of time
Then have them put those words into the scripture.
For the earnings of disobeying God is lack of life, but the thing freely given out of love by out perfect creator is living forever with Him.
Then you would ask them how they would give from their side of the bridge to the other. Many people will say by doing good things. This however is not enough! Then explain who Jesus bridged the gap; this is “in Christ Jesus.” Explain how trusting in Jesus, repenting from your sins, and believing in Him, will bring you into a relationship with God. You go from the side of death to the side of eternal life. Then ASK if they want to believe this! This is very important!
We then spent time praying for the teams that were out witnessing in the community (1 Chronicles 16:34, Isaiah 25:1, Luke 10:20).
Prepping for International
Last Thursday I had lunch with my International Team (Kenya)! During this time we got to know each other better, and discussed things we might be doing while in Kenya. During our time we will possibly be building chicken houses, working in fields, bonding with families, teaching Bible Studies at schools, leading worship, speaking at church, volunteering at an AIDs center, and helping at an Orphanage. We will also get three off days where we will hike up a volcano and go on a two-day safari! We then shared what we were nervous and excited about. Then we all prayed for the people in Kenya, and for God to use us effectively while overseas! Please, be praying for the students who will be in nine international locations for mission work this summer!
God has truly blessed me with the Christian community I have found within City Project (CP). Everyday I am surrounded by believers who I learn with, work with, and worship with! This is a small taste of what heaven will be like, gathering together in awe and worship of God! In my free time I have been able to get to know the other students at CP! This group of people has been so much fun to get to know and I am blessed to call them my brothers and sisters in Christ! We have had a blast swimming at the Quarry, babysitting for the Pastors at the Summit Church, and more! This group has been so accepting and inviting of everyone, reflecting Christ’s love to one another, and encouraging each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11)! I am so excited to maintain these friendships throughout the school year!
Some of my favorite things I have done in community is spending time at the Farmer’s market, and worshiping together with friends! When we went to the Farmer’s Market we got to buy fresh produce, flowers, and talk to the people at the different booths! We also gather together for spontaneous times of worship! We all come together to worship God through song and scripture in the apartments! It is so awesome to lift up His name in praise!
See more pictures below! 🙂