The time has flown by. I'm not sure where August went and now we sit at the end of September. DISCOVER LIFE has continued its mission to DISCIPLE people in their DISCOVERY of the their IDENTITY, PASSION, and PURPOSE. The results? Let's get to it!
Jared, our newest student of ministry candidacy enrolled in our School of Christian Leadership, has remained steadfast in his determination to show himself approved. It is not easy to work with broken men in a typical counseling environment where personal influence is kept to an hourly schedule. It is not easy to be prepared for a life of ministry in typical academia. DISCOVER LIFE School of Christian Leadership is no typical counseling or academic environment. It can be one of the hardest things a person can purpose to do. Jared, and Stephen, live and work among the men as they are learning ministry. Their "classroom" is the real-world environment where there is little escape, their "textbooks" are largely the broken men they are ministering among, and their "lessons" are not hypothetical, they are realtime consequences, both good and bad, of their actions among the men within these environments. Jared is committed in his discipleship to becoming a man "thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). Pray for Jared and Stephen as they continue in their efforts.
Colton is continuing to wrestle with the challenges up here. He has faced personal pain and heartache and has continued to remain. His stated goal of becoming a mature disciple has been his continuing driving force. He asks the right questions and engages in wrestling with allowing the work to bear fruit. Please continue to pray for him and his family. Pray for the perfect peace of God to rule in his heart and mind.
Joel has officially taken the full weight of the responsibility of discipling the men who choose to enter into this ministry. These men are broken and Joel needs to be able to clearly hear from the Holy Spirit concerning each person. Their needs are great. We have no power to see into another man's heart, but the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. As Joel has accepted that task, pray for him and his wife Roberta. It is a great sacrifice for anyone to minister in this capacity. The hours are long and the work is laboursome ... but it is a great work because it is touching the heart of God for the lost and wounded souls.
Our Father's House, the renovation project for the new DISCOVER LIFE living quarters is underway. We are in the process of finishing wiring the house. The next leap of faith will be insulating and installing the interior surfaces. Our hope is to have the renovation completed by winter.
We specifically ask, although it may seem repetitive, for continued prayer for the ministry leadership team here at DISCOVER LIFE. To consider how you can partner with us in prayer or investment, CLICK HERE!
LESSONS FROM THE SAWMILL: It's Go Time!
"The hay is down!" What does that phrase mean to you? Unless you are involved in haying, probable nothing more than "someone cut the grass" or something to do with the pain of getting grass in your shoes and socks. But to us, it is an all stop. The priorities have changed. The actual cutting of the hay is strategic. You don't want to let it grow to much. It can be hard on the equipment and there is a peak time of maxing the protein of the hay itself. The preference is to cut the hay when there is a forecast of several days of clear, dry weather. Once the hay is cut, it must be tedded (fluffed in order to dry) several times (preferably), raked, then bailed. If it rains during any of this process, or if is wet in any way when bailed, the bails will grow mildew and be worthless when needed in the cold of winter.
Therefore you can understand that when the hay is cut, everything possible stops up here to get that hay in the barn healthy. There is no complaining among those who understand the value. There is no bickering about less priority jobs going undone. And there is no insult in working any part of the process, whether it's the skilled or menial labor. In fact, it can often become a game ... a race ... the value is properly assessed, the agenda is pure and agreeable to all ... it's go time!
The new guys often see it as they see everything else ... more work. For some it is a matter of how little they can do to get through the day, an accurate and practical picture of the failures in their own lives that have brought them to needing the ministry of DISCOVER LIFE. But to those who are experienced, it is investment. We understand what this hay brings us. There can be no failure here and it is our delight to make sure it is done properly and quickly. The days are long, but the reward is longevity. The results of failure are incalculable.
Can you imagine a barn full of worthless hay? It may seem impressive from a distance, but when the practical use of it is needed, it not only fails to provide desperately needed nourishment, but it can actually cause disease and sickness, even death, in those who accidentally eat of it because the hidden failure wasn't recognized or recognizable. It also results in expending resources needed elsewhere to account for unnecessary needs and always implies lots of wasted time, energy, and materials.
What's The Point??
I know it gets repeated every month ... but this is us! We have no choice but to spend our energy. It is inevitable. We will spend it doing something, or we will spend it doing nothing. Nothing leads to it's own reward (nothing) but it's the kind of doing that we're talking about! In our doing, we ultimately fall into one of only two categories. Those who do well (thoroughly invested in the desired end), or those who do just enough to get through the task. The Bible teaches much on this but Paul made it as clear as possible in his letter to the Corinthians ... in God's letter to us.
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27It's not just about running, it's about running to win. It's about investing everything we have in the expected or desired outcome now and continuing in diligence until the reward is earned. If all we want to do is finish, then that will define our investment. But if we want to win, then our investment requires the ingredient of temperance. The simple definition of temperance is "self-control." Seems simple enough. But the abstract meaning of temperance involves being unblemished in every aspect of our lives.
Immature athletes think that only the athletic part of their life effects their performance in the race, and they can have training habits that are extremely impressive with results among other immature athletes that support their beliefs ... they will inevitable win low level, insignificant races and they will mistakenly be defined, or worse, define themselves as a champion. But when the competition grows, they will always lose prematurely and unnecessarily.
Experienced athletes, as Paul was referencing, understand that every part of their lives, especially the insignificant, must be disciplined if they are going to be able to muster the strength to perform in the final stretches of their races. If there is a blemish in diet and nutrition, rest, mental and physical preparation, flexibility, form, mental and physical strength, proper technique, uniform, pace, etc it will cost them ... and when competing against the best, they will lose to those who have it all together. They know that in reality, their physical ability is almost equal, what separates the one winner from all the losers is having it all together, and, as often is said, the race is often won or lost before the event begins.
Throughout Church history, we've witnessed God's promises to reveal the hidden motives in the hearts of those who draw near to Him. That can seem threatening but it shouldn't have to be. "Your Word I have hidden (treasured) within my heart so that I might not sin against You" is written in verse 11 of Psalm 119 (author unknown but often attributed to either David, Ezra, or Daniel). If the "hidden agenda" of our heart is to seek the Lord, then God promises to bring that to light and one of the growing characteristics of our lives will be temperance.
But, if the hidden agenda of our heart is anything else and we still yet draw near to Him, then He promises to reveal that as well. We have a saying around here, "the bubbles will rise," and they do ... and most often at very inconvenient times. That is not unique to a residency discipleship ministry. This is throughout the history of the Church. It is too common! The far reaching effects of innumerable "sudden" failures of so many people among countless organizations across time that appear to be thriving with life with so many depending on them for food that have turned out to be dead within have appeared to turn the Church into a laughing stock ... but it hasn't.
God isn't fooled nor surprised. He will protect and purify His Church! God leaves the weeds so that the wheat can grow ... but the season where He brings the truth will come and all who have allowed themselves in the darkening of their own hearts to be corrupted will be exposed (Mat 13:24-30). But we can purpose within ourselves to be trustworthy among those whom God has sent us as lights.
Therefore we must set our hearts and minds to seeking a striving in the presence of God wholly and utterly. We must hold fast to the teachings of Scripture. We must be temperate in all things. We must repent of our sinful desires and ambitions. We must combat and reveal hidden agendas that declare war against the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. For all of us who define ourselves as His, it's go time! Run well!
That's my take anyways, thanks for reading!