Yikes, I’m a little behind (2 weeks) on my updates… sorry! The topic for the week of 7/16 was “Repentance and Forgiveness” and it brought a lot of humility, healing and team unity. Monday through Thursday were lecture days and on Friday, we applied everything we learned during the week. Throughout the week, we prayed and asked God to show us areas of resentment and anger we had in our hearts against people/institutions, areas in our lives that we needed to humbly ask for forgiveness, and made a list of these things as they came up. On Friday, there were three chairs at the front of the classroom – one for the speaker, one for our school leader and one for the student. Intimidation station. Participation in the application day was completely voluntary, but one by one, we each got up in front of the class and confessed our sins out loud to God and asked for forgiveness, and chose to let go of anger and resentment as we turned those areas of unforgiveness over to God. I was listening to a sermon a couple of weekends ago, A Forgetfulness That Leads To Foolishness, and Matt said something that really summed up this week:
“There are some train-wrecked lives in this joint. Hear me. Self-pity will destroy you. It will suck the life right out of you. So what I need you to hear me say from the gospel is there is no error, no addiction with more power than the cross of Christ. Get up. Keep getting up. Don’t say, “It doesn’t work for me,” if you’ve never actually tried it. So you need to confess your sins and get help. “Well I think I can beat it.” Well I think you have several years of history that say you can’t. If you could just let go, trust God, and trust the covenant community of faith to walk with you, freedom might be had. To drag secrets kicking and screaming into the light through the means of confession that you might be healed is the most terrifying yet freeing thing you could ever do. Some of you need to just keep getting up because you’re not listening to the gospel because you believe you can’t be forgiven and you’re stuck in these things. You’re not stuck. You can get up and move. Get up and move.”
Most of the things on my list had already been handed over to the Lord when I went through Recovery two years ago, however, I continued to walk in my pride and refused to humble myself and seek restitution with the people I needed to forgive, as well as the people I had hurt. Thankfully, God didn’t let me forget about what I needed to do and spent the whole week speaking to me, highlighting the importance of restitution. You may or may not know, but I went through a rebellious period in my life that lasted for a good six years (I’m sure my parents remember better than I do…). I had a lack of respect for authority, a prideful and rebellious spirit and a serious need for a Savior. I was at least one teacher’s worst nightmare each year and had a parent-teacher conference almost every year during that time. It’s hard to believe, I know. 😉 Part of my restitution process was emailing two teachers from high school that I had very memorable parent-teacher conferences with. The email started something like this, “Hi Mrs. ________, I’m not sure if you remember me or not, but I was a student of yours 10 years ago.” I told them that I was doing a DTS with YWAM and had been studying repentance and forgiveness, and that I felt led to email them and ask for their forgiveness. I apologized for my behavior, proclaimed the radical transformation in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, and asked for their forgiveness. As I walk through this process of restitution and healing, I’m praying that God’s goodness would be magnified and that opportunities for others to experience the same freedom I have would arise.
One of the principles we learned this week that really impacted me is that true repentance involves confession of sin and faith in Christ. If this is your pattern: sin/confess/same sin/confess/same sin/confess, etc. then it’s not true repentance. You’re not completely broken over your sin. You may be sad and guilty about your sin, but if you were completely broken over it you would have taken action to remove temptations surrounding your sin. That being said, we can’t just turn on our emotions and be broken over our sin. We need to seek God with a desire to know Him more. We don’t earnestly seek God in order to earn His love. We earnestly seek God in response to His amazing love. You can’t earn the love of God. God loves the worst person on earth as much as He loves you. Stop. Go back and read that sentence again. If that truth doesn’t humble you, I don’t know what will. The change in our lives comes when we earnestly seek the Lord with all our hearts. True repentance is realizing that Jesus is completely worthy of your life. It involves a “whatever it takes” attitude. If that means losing friends, quitting a job, moving away from home, etc., He’s worth it all. Sometimes God uses very concrete things to bring us to true repentance. I can relate to quitting a job. The issue was deeper than the job itself. It was the fact that I was putting my job above God and searched for my identity, value and worth in it.
Although our schedules are packed, we do manage to fit in some fun activities. One night a week, our class participates in a sports league. Half of the class is in an indoor soccer league, and the other half, including myself, is in an indoor beach volleyball league. Basically, there is a big gym with a bunch of sand volleyball courts, and each court is enclosed by netting… just picture a large net cage. The only area of the court that’s out of bounds is the top netting. The rest of the netting is fair game. So if we hit the ball at the back net, the other team would have to play the ball off of the net. I’m trying to do this description justice, but I don’t think it’s working out too well. I’ll just find some pictures of our game to post so you can see it for yourself.
Every Thursday night, the entire base (this includes base leadership team, staff and students) goes out into the city for a night of evangelism. This was my first time to intentionally go out and evangelize and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did feel a little nervous, but was excited to see who the Lord would lead us to. So we meet at the base, where we then split up into groups of 6-8 and ask God where He wants us to go that night and who He wants us to talk to. After waiting on God to speak, we all say what we received from God. It could be a picture, a word, a scripture reference, or maybe someone didn’t get anything, but we just say what we got and put the pieces together to figure out what God is telling us collectively. Once we have an idea of where we should be going, we split up into groups of 2 or 3. My group went to an area known as Northbridge where a lot of younger people hang out. We met a guy named John and after talking with him for a little while, I realized we had pretty similar stories. He recently left his job in England after realizing that there had to be more in store for him and moved to Perth to be closer to his girlfriend. I got to share my story of the Lord leading me away from a “good job” and into a life of fulfillment and joy as I relinquished control and handed the reins over to Him. At the end of the conversation I asked him if I could pray for him. He said he wasn’t really sure what he was doing with his life, but needed to find a job soon. I got to pray over him and thank God for making our paths cross and asked the Lord to reveal Himself to John and provide him with wisdom and discernment about what he should be doing with his life. It was a good first night of evangelism and I’m excited to see how the Lord moves in the weeks to come.
I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures I took at the beach the other weekend. Sundays have been a true day of rest for me, and on this particular Sunday, I took the train to Cottesloe Beach, set up my Roo, and read my bible as I listened to the waves crashing in. Oh, the perks of living in Perth…