Friday, August 5, 2016

Wrapping Up July 2016 - Does That Feel Light to You?

Discover Life: Wrapping Up July 2016 - Does That Feel Light to You?:

Discover Life has continued its mission of discipling people in the discovery of their identity, passion, and purpose. July has been a great month so ... let's get to it!

Joel has been busy keeping the men on point while ensuring that necessary tasks and projects are being done. John has been steadily growing in Christ and keeps himself occupied with looking after the well-being of the men through encouragement and support. Thanks to John, the men have very nourishing meals and the house stays clean and organized. This month we witnessed Bernie transition from induction to studentship. God is working in his life but the end Bernie desires will take some time. Please pray for his family during this time as he continues to surrender himself in his pursuit of God.

This month we also welcomed two new men into the ministry here! I ask that you pray for Zach and for Colton. Both men desire to walk in the abundant life Christ promises (John 10:10) but have been unable to do so. Pray that their hearts will be opened to the truth of the love of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We, as mature Christians, find ourselves still in the battle of incorrectly indoctrinating the experiential as a supplement of Scripture even in the opposition to Scripture; the people who come up here have an exponentially more difficult time with it. They often have God completely defined through their experiences and much of their beliefs are in direct opposition to Scripture. Though it may seem to appear a simple fix, it isn't.

People do what they do because they believe what they believe. Our views of God are some of the most foundational beliefs we have and are inclined to defend them with ferocity. If our views are wrong, or incorrect, we tend to initially feel intimidated, or even humiliated. If this is the response of a healthy minded person, imagine the difficulty of the unhealthy. So please pray as often as you can that we speak wisely and clearly and that we have and walk in the discernment of when to stop and teach or when to bear up and build up allowing time ... picking our battles is an utmost necessity. We need God's wisdom up here. More than anything, the people who come need the presence of God in their lives. A great model for this kind of prayer was penned by Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church.

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 4:14-19

So please pray that:
  1. the men would be strengthened by God in their souls
  2. Christ would dwell in them through faith
  3. they would be rooted and grounded in love
  4. their hearts and minds would be opened to begin to comprehend (in the unity of Biblical faith) the incomprehensible vastness of God
  5. they would personally know, receive, and grow in the love of Christ
  6. they would be filled with all the fullness of God!
I feel it important to remind that these men are usually here as an extreme, and often last, resort. Their lives are characterized by chaos, sin, and bondage to an enemy who knows no end to his cruelty. So it is a huge concern of ours that we assist them in finding what they are looking for. As you pray for the men, please also pray for the leadership and all of the extended families involved. We thank you in advance.

The renovation work on Our Father's House (our new residency facility) is coming along. The framing is done and the plumbing is well under way, but we have along way to go! We invite your investment! To check our opportunities to invest into the kingdom of God through the discipleship ministry here at Discover LifeCLICK HERE!!! Please consider to "help us as we help others."

LESSONS FROM THE SAWMILL: Does That Feel Right To You?

Bailing hay! That's what we've been getting after. Last winter we ran very short of hay and had to purchase thousands of dollars worth of hay to feed our cattle. Last year's season was weak. This year we have had some much needed rain and then breaks of good weather producing, so far, a wonderful bounty of hay! Which is exciting for us ... but to those who don't understand the winters here and the needs of the cattle (and how they are an intricate part of life up here) all they can see is ... WORK!

Well, a couple of weeks ago, after I finished tedding (spreading out to dry) the hay, I went to check on the bailing. The truck was full, the trailer was full. It's a beautiful sight to see that much hay ... but as I got close I discovered something was off. The bails on the trailer seems to be collapsing under the feet of those standing on it and they were having a lot of difficulty blocking them. I picked up a bail to through it and ... well ... it wasn't dense, the bailing twine was loose, and the bail was extremely light. A lot of work had been done ... a full days of it. From a distance, it was impressive to see ... even reassuring ... that much hay ready to be put up. But it was all for nought. The bailer was not adjusted right and all of that work, though abounding in quantity, was so lacking in quality and substance for future use that we had to undo all of the bails - hundreds - and rebail them because the work done could not sustain itself.

What's the Point??

This, again, is us! We tend to rush into getting things done without checking the foundational elements. We build beautiful houses in our lives, and sometimes very quickly, that are impressive in stature from a distance, maybe even within ... until the storm comes. But it is the very storm, or any other method of extreme testing, that proves the reality of what can't be seen ... and its inherent and intrinsic value.

Consider Jesus' teaching:

24  "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26  "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Matthew 7:24-27

No one can see the value of the foundation from the outside ... and to the untrained eye, maybe not even from the inside! Yet the quality of the foundation will be made clear through the eventual testing of our character that comes often at very inconvenient times and will come.

In the case of the bails, we had to adjust the bailer, bust the bails loose, and manually feed them into the bailer. The resulting bails, though not quite as many, were quality. Our attitudes were right because we owned our part in the initial failure. Many hands had grabbed those bails, many experienced hands and no one called for a stop. So no one was blamed and the job was finished well with a great lesson learned by all involved.

But be warned, we don't always get a second chance to fix our mistakes. Especially when we have failed to reign in our character. It only takes a matter of seconds to mortally wound a lifelong relationship. The men who come here tend to have no weakness or restraint in voicing their frustration by validating themselves by explaining the lengths of their efforts and intentions in their service to God as an alternative to actually serving Him. "I served God for four years and then this happened!" "Well ... how then do you have a two year old daughter with and unmarried woman you are not with?" "Well, I had a little something something on the side." I kid you not, this is a common conversation. This my friends, though a concentrated version, is us. We all have this capability ... and in this moment, the voicing of our frustration and the attempt to validate ourselves is really a smokescreen for what we are really doing: we are accusing God of failing us. "God I did all this work and now You owe me!" 

Yet we never stopped ourselves to check to see if the bailer was set properly. We failed to make sure the foundation was right. Paul said it like this:

10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13  each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
1 Corinthians 3:10-13

There is little more useful than to be a vessel of safety and security during the height of a destructive storm. But to build a beautiful house that collapses under the pressure of a storm ... the measure of loss cannot be calculated. For a final thought in closing, I feel it well to repeat a phrase often used by people who work at high altitudes or in suspended environments: "check your rigging." Do the first things first and all the things right. Otherwise, we may find ourselves working endlessly on things that have no value and must be torn down when the testing comes and the testing will come. What is the worth of that? 

That's my take anyways, thanks for reading!!

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