This week started off really well! The sessions were spectacular (as always), I accomplished a lot at my internship, but on Thursday I woke up sick (I will explain more at the end of my post). Also, I appologize for the lack of pictures in this post! There wasn’t much to photograph last week!
Monday-RTB (Read the Bible)& Discipleship:
This week’s session of RTB, led by Justin Leitch, consisted of another passage from Ephesians.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness , with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men”
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens that he might fill all things). And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Once again we used the OIA method that I talked about in Durham! Part 1 and in Durham! Part 2. After making observations about the passage, we started to interpret what it meant. Doing this as a group allows us to popcorn ideas off one another. We summarized this passage as: Paul wants us to remember we are all unified in Christ, and should encourage and build each other up, and disciple each other to grow into Christ. At the beginning of the passage, Paul identifies the oneness we have as Christian: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). he mentions the word “one” 7 times! He was stressing that we are all unified as Christians when we join the Family of God. He also talked about how were given “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11). When he says “saints”, he is referring to Believers, and “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” are just another way of saying disciples. Since all believers are called to be disciples, this means we are all disciples making disciples. We are supposed to build each other up and disciple one another! (Just a quick reminder: A Disciple is someone who is with Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is on mission with Jesus.)
In our Discipleship Session we talked about intentionality when discipling someone. Our leader, Wes Smith, said, “You don’t make disciples by accident.” You have to start with small steps. There are main three questions he uses when discipling people. Where are they now? Where do I see God taking them? What is the next step? Wes broke this down further so you could understand the best way to disciple individuals, and as always the best way to answer these questions is to get to know the people you are discipling! Ask Questions! And spend time with them! When you are discipling it is important to understand that you can’t make your goal happen; we cannot change their hearts. It is imperative that you intentionally pray for the people you are discipling!
During this session, Rich Bowman, talked about the oneness of the body of Christ. The roots of racial tension are as old as time, and people have always elevated their culture above others. Some people see racial reconciliation as a social issue only, when in reality it is a gospel issue as well. We started this session with Rich giving us a Biblical explanation of racial reconciliation, then we had a guided discussion at our tables. It was really awesome being able to openly discuss this topic.
At this session, led by James, K. Dew, Jr. , PhD, we learned good ways to engage those who are skeptical about Christianity. For example, arguing on Facebook is not productive. Apologetics are best used by relying on the Holy Spirit, demonstrating genuine love, showing humility, and being diligent in your own research. Use common sense! Make sure you listen to the other person, not only out of love, but to discover the reasons they do not believe, most of the time they will contradict themselves. Also discern if it is the right timing to share with them. If they are angry and sarcastic, the timing is not right! James then continued by giving us some apologetics that proved the resurrection of Jesus.
Since next week is Kids Week, we spent the time at our internship prepping for the different campuses to come pick up craft supplies, and we also got to help with decorating! While cutting paper may be a monotonous task, even the most boring of tasks can be remedied with good friends, and awesome playlist, and keeping your sights that you are doing this so we have another means of sharing the gospel with families and kids!
Next week I will be a 1st grade small group leader! Please be praying the families at Kids Week will hear the gospel! Also pray for the leaders and volunteers at the different campuses, that God would use them to share the gospel and reach out to the families throughout the week!
Wednesday was Evangelism night! The week before I was part of the Train and Pray team that met at the church (read more here). This Wednesday I got to go with my Evangelism Group (the same one from NYC) to an apartment complex in Raleigh, and we knocked on doors with surveys about how to serve the community better. We also had the opportunity to invite people to church and share the gospel. The first woman who opened the door to us invited us in, and when doing the survey we found out she was also a believer! We got to know her a little more and she gave us homemade bread before we left! The next couple of people we talked to were Christians as well, but they weren’t very involved in Christian community. We invited them to check out the Summit, and got to pray for them!
The second to last door we knocked on was a Muslim family from Sudan. We were greeted warmly and invited into their home. They offered us chocolates and water, and we asked the survey question to the man of the house. When we started to share the gospel we recognized that the man was not going to be receptive. We were very patient and listened to him tell us about his faith. When he left to pray, we talked to his kids, and got to know them a little more! It was really awesome! After leaving, we went to the floor below, and were welcomed into another Muslim family’s home. This time Lee got to share the gospel with the husband, and I got to share the gospel with the wife. While we were sharing the woman from upstairs and her kids came into the apartment. It turns out their were related! They were about share a meal together to end their fast, since they are celebrating Ramadan. The husband from upstairs, who was not willing to listen, was not there, so the wife from upstairs joined in and listened to our explanation of the gospel. It was definitely part of God’s plan for these women and the man to hear our message! We even got to use some of what we learned at the Apologetics Session! When we left they gave us some falafels, and we prayed for them when we got to the car. Please pray that God finds ways to reveal the truth to this family, so that they may join our family as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In Sickness and in Health
Thursday Morning I woke up at 4am with a pounding headache, searing pain in my throat, and cold chills (which were due to a high fever of 102). After taking some medication I went back to bed, realizing I wouldn’t be able to go to the session or my internship since I didn’t want to contaminate everyone. Over the last three days, I have battled high fevers, a sore throat, headache, and the general misery that is accompanied by sickness. I had a strep test done (which came back negative), and all I could think was, “if I don’t get better, I can’t go to Kenya.” I was angry because I was missing out on sessions, and that I couldn’t hang out with everyone on our last weekend in Durham. Instead I was stuck in bed, trying to stay hydrated, and attempting to relieve my aches and pains with Tylenol and Motrin.
When I was talking with my mom on Saturday, I had a realization. She said, “sometimes God literally makes us be still.” When she said this, it was as if a light switch had just turned on in my brain! These last three weeks have been so busy, going to sessions, working at my internship, and hanging out with friends! Many times I have lost sight of the reason I am here: To know Jesus more. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment, and lose focus of the fact that I am here to grow in my relationship with Jesus. If you know me well, you realize sitting still is not one of my strong suits. I am usually on the go 24/7, and I feel like I’m thriving when I keep my schedule packed. But I learned in the session on stewarding your time, from Durham! Part 1, I am called to obey God, not to be God. So Saturday I started focusing more on Him instead of me.
Between my naps (being sick really makes you sleepy), I would pray. I wasn’t just asking God for healing. I started off by praising God. I praised Him for how amazing and merciful He is, and for being the God who breathes stars and speaks to create universes. I then confessed to Him my weaknesses, and how I had not relied on Him in my sickness. I confessed of my grumbling and complaining, and how I had not trusted Him to heal me. I then told God I was placing my sickness in His hands. I trust that He will heal me in His own timing.
Later that day I had another epiphany. During a wedding, the bride and the groom say their vows, one of which is that they pledge themselves to each other in sickness and in health. If we the church are truly the bride of Christ, shouldn’t we be keeping our vows to Jesus in sickness and in health? It is so easy to love God when things are going well, but part of our commitment to Christ is to love Him when things are falling apart. Look at Job, he was faithful to God, even though he lost everything and everyone he loved. He was able to worship God despite his outward struggles. I need to be more like Job, and turn to God and worship Him even when I feel miserable or like the world is crashing at my feet.
Jesus, who was hanging limp on a cross, after soldiers beat, mocked, and scorned Him, said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). As He was dying on the cross, He asked God to forgive the people who were killing Him. Jesus was able to love us, even when He was dying, and I had trouble turning to Him when I had a sore throat. In His suffering He showed love, and in mine I turned and ran the other way. It is so easy to say I love God and follow Him even when I am struggling, but it is another to actually show this with my actions. I want to look to God when my world is crumbling, my health is failing, and everything around me is burning to the ground, because I know this world is temporary, my suffering will one day end, and my pain is a microscopic speck when looking at the magnitude of forever. BUT Christ is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18), and He is eternally good! And that is a promise that God has given us over and over again!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I was finally starting to feel somewhat better on Sunday! I was able to go to church, and then that night our CP social was a Dodgeball Tournament. There were 8 teams, but only one reigned as champion. And unfortunately we did not earn that title. While we may have lost, we all still had a lot of fun, and our team was pretty intense!
Once again I appologize for these posts being late! Time flies by quickly here, and before I know it the week has passed me by! Here are some things you all can be praying for:
- That Kids Week families hear the gospel!
- That God is preparing the hearts of those we will meet overseas.
- For safety traveling! I leave on Saturday at 3pm!
- For God to use us for His glory as we serve and disciple those we meet in Kenya.
- For God to continue to use the speakers to reveal our sins and to disciple us.
- For God to allow the Kenya Team to grow closer this week so that we can better serve one another overseas!
- My health.