Monday, December 28, 2015

Discover Life: Wrapping Up 2015! Looking Forward to 2016! Should You Check That Again?

Discover Life: Wrapping Up 2015! Looking Forward to 2016! 

Woohoo!!! 2015 is in the books! What a wonderful year! We had near twenty men come through our doors here at Discover Life. We have seen some impressive break through, healing, and freedom. It is a blessing to be a part of discipling God's wounded people.  We had several decisions to follow Christ, even in baptism! We experienced the thrill of seeing people find healing and freedom from past pains, addictions, failures, and wounds! It hasn't been perfect, but God's perfect love has been prevalent!  Please pray for Rob, a man who joined the ministry up here a week ago. Please pray that God will be intrusive ... that His light will penetrate ... and that Rob will respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus and repent!

We also saw some major strives forward in the ministry of Discover Life. We completed our first year of community, midweek ministry using the Celebrate Recovery material. We experienced countless testimonies of God's faithfulness! We saw the continued maturity of relationships across multi-church communities. How awesome it is to experience true fellowship with believers from other congregations who don't see ourselves as part of our individual churches but instead recognize with joy the fact that we are part of one collective church ... and operate in that capacity! We look with anticipation to the upcoming years to see these relationships spread and continue to mature.

We are so excited about the further development of the Discover Life School of Ministry preparation! We began a system of semester-based classes in the fall! Our midweek services are continuing to that effect by making available to all people great opportunities to be, as Paul taught, "thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:17). We look with great anticipation to seeing more students coming to join our residency here with the specific intent to be prepared for ministry. We hope to see doors opening at churches across America to share the great news of this ministry. We offer a completely free opportunity for students to be equipped not just theologically, but also practically and financially for a life of effective and powerful ministry! What starts in here will reach the world!

What we do here churches all across America need as an option in the resource tool bag. Our ability to disciple people is enhanced by our unique facility and the environment here. Churches across the world have their own discipleship ministries. We offer resources to help ... but more importantly ... we offer a place to send those who desire to be discipled in Christ but need more than weekly services ... they need an escape for a duration. Our ability to prepare young people feeling called to serve in ministry also provides an excellent option for churches. First off, we do not charge. That alone sets us apart for a specific group of people. We seriously want people who have been ordained here to leave, not just debt free, but financially equipped to get into society and be able to serve the church without being a financial burden to it. We teach the students highly competitive job skills such as carpentry, roofing, framing, electric, office administration, site inspection, hospitality, management, etc. We also prepare the students with missions work in mind: gardening, farming, cattle, mucking. Our graduates are able to be a great contribution to wherever they are received!

How can you help???

I know that is what you are thinking so I will cut to the quick!

We are praying for more open doors! We have one resident student right now. We would like to bring a few more in over the summer to begin their ministry preparation process. If you, as a referring minister or parent will EMAIL us we would love to share personally with you. It is a great entrustment to consider sending your people to us. We do not take that lightly.

We are always willing to except men who need intense, resident-based, discipleship here at Discover Life. It is the essence of what we do. We disciple people in the discovery of their identity, passion, and purpose (all in Christ). Please check out our handbook (click here). I cannot encourage you enough to look into what we are doing here. We meet a specific need that is found in every church, all across the America. Check our our website here!

I personally also ask you to consider our needs list (click here)! Our budget is around $2000/man/month. We do not charge the men. We do not charge anyone. We do ask those who can contribute to their own finances here to do so ... but that is a rare thing. God has provided for the men ... and will provide. If you are looking to be a part of that, here are some options.

  • Schedule your church or ministry retreat with us. Discover Life is housed at Huntersfield Christian Training and Retreat Center (HCTC). The money that comes in from retreats is currently the main financial source for Discover Life. Our ministry retreat center is second to none in beauty, environment, grounds, facilities, lodging, and hospitality. We even have multiple audio/visual options and capabilities. The environment here is conducive for spiritually rich atmospheres where the presence of God is being sought collectively by your group. HCTC's motto is "Instruction in the Word, Inspiration in Fellowship." Come find your rest!
  • Refer your cooperative ministries to us (for the same reasons)
  • While you are here, shop at our store! 
  • Order your firewood from us! The men cut the wood. 
  • Consider us for your specialty wood needs! Our sawmill is able to cut custom boards up to 20 feet in length!
  • Consider becoming a monthly support of the ministry of Discover Life! Your investment of $10, $20, $30, or whatever you decide (you can give as much as you like ... we're ok with that) will go into the lives of men who are already here! The needs are real. The costs are real! 
  • Consider us for a one time gift.
  • Consider us for spontaneous giving.
  • Consider us for end of year charitable donations.
You financial investment into Discover Life is a charitable donation. DL is a ministry of HCTC, a 501-C3 charitable organization.

Help us as we help others!

LESSON FROM THE SAWMILL: Should You Check That Again?

We had a situation up here some time back where one of our guys was sent to do some routine maintenance work around a water trough in one of our cattle fields. The guy came back with a report that as he worked, he stepped on the ground rod for one of our electric fence systems and was jolted with a pretty serious shock. That's not supposed to happen.

The man that hooked it up went to school and worked for many years as an electrical technician. I asked him if he installed it correctly. His response was that he was sure ... it, after all, is a simple two wire system. I had one of the men go look at it and tell me what he saw and he sent me a message only containing the picture of what he found. I, in turn, simply showed the picture to my wife and asked her if she noticed anything wrong (she is no electrician but has good sense about how stuff works) and she recognized it instantly ... it was so obvious ... too obvious for words or for any explanation.

There are only two lines that connect ... one is hot (black insulation) and one is the ground (copper - no insulation). The posts to connect to are marked clearly with a (+) for positive (black) ... the other is marked (-) for negative (bare). The man who applied the instructions and knowledge had all of the pieces ... all of the ingredients ... and justifiably did plenty of work to run and connect the line. But ... he didn't have things done in the right order. You see he ran the wire, installed the ground rod, properly placed the connectors, even made sure there was plenty of contact. The only mistake he made was that he connected that hot to the ground rod while connecting the ground to the fence.

When the student stepped on the ground rod, he received a jolt of electricity that is supposed to be distributed across thousands of feet of fence. In other words, what was designed to be a means of protecting our investments from walking off or from being preyed upon left them vulnerable and unprotected while wounding (and could have possibly cause a much more serious injury to) a person who was just trying to help simply because of getting out of order.

So what the point? When we get things out of order, even though we have all of the ingredients for success and have done the work that justifies our right to fold our hands and sit back to relax and feel accomplished, we cause unintentional yet possible catastrophic collateral damage.  This is what Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 13!

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

So we can have wonderful talents, do incredible work, risk even our lives but ... if we are not doing it out of love for God and love for people through Jesus Christ ... all of our effort, all of our resources, all of our skills are at work and being expended not to build the Kingdom of God but to wound it. That is pretty serious.

Have you ever grown frustrated in serving people? Have you ever entertained the thought that you, after being taken advantage of for the last time, will never allow yourself to be vulnerable to other people? I know wounds hurt. But I encourage you to check your order again. Anything that is born out of love through Jesus Christ is service to God which He promises to repay! Anything that is done with the hope of any form of repayment (not just financial but also ... being appreciated, loved in return, seeing a viewable change in response, etc) is simply the working of a chore ... and we demand payment for the chores we do. Take a good look at it ... be sure in your evaluation. There is nothing you give, spend, or lose it serving God that is wasted no matter how it seems. There is no time, resource, energy, etc that is wasted or lost in serving God!  Check your lines! If they are crossed ... if you are angry and frustrated with people for acting lost ... disconnect the heat, and plug back into God! Take time to get your bearings ... realize His love for you and His ability to keep you, your heart, your mind, and your mouth! 

Have you been wounded under the guise of ministry? Let me encourage you too! There is no foundation for purposely wounding another person in the name of Christ! While there is a charge to hold each other accountable, it is clear that it should be out of an obvious love for that person. If you have been subjected to ministry abuse, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. God is not ok with what has happened and He will reward and repay each person for their works! Find a community of Christians that will encourage you and support you and pray with you! Seek the Lord.

I will tell you boldly without hesitation that if, in any contact with God, the things of God, His presence, or His work among His people, you are left grieved and wounded, there is something crossed somewhere ... and the whole thing needs to be taken apart and put back together piece by piece. We need to thoroughly examine our own selves too. If we are not working from a base of genuine love for others, the product is wrong. The results are wrong. We ... are wrong.

Jesus gave us a specific characteristic of what discipleship should produce within ourselves ... and that means if we claim to be His disciple, then this should be a recognizable characteristic of all we do.

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Be encouraged. Base on love. Be grounded in it. Be so saturated with it that it pours out of you into the lives of other people. Good speeches, teachings, programs, services, etc won't produce any change
in this world ... but love ... the love of God through Christ Jesus will cause a revolution! I want to be a part of that!!!

That's my take anyways, thanks for reading!

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