Monday, February 1, 2016

Discover Life: Wrapping Up January 2015: All Things In Their Seas...

Discover Life: Wrapping Up January 2015: All Things In Their Season:

The start of 2016 has been good for the ministry of Discover Life! If you have been following along, Rob received Christ at the beginning of the year ... and has been growing steadily since. New creations and the transformation Christ does is a joy to observe. There is no greater miracle! In Matthew 9 and Mark 2 we read of the paralytic that Jesus healed. Remember that the miracles of Jesus are always about the message, never the miracle ... those a mere parlor tricks. The friends of this man go through extreme measures to bring the man before Jesus and He responds by ... forgiving his sins!?! That was no accident. He looked on him, as He does us, and sees the greatest need and goes after that. The restoration of the soul to be able to come before the presence of God is the pinnacle of miracles ... and we get to experience that here ... and you have a part in that too! Please continue to pray for the men up here at Discover Life.

The midweek discipleship ministry extended to the community is also growing. This year, we began semester based classes and family ministry services. As of now, we are using every room we have to facilitate this ministry and it is extremely well attended! We are offering the following classes (group studies):

  • Discover Life - Healing and Freedom (Men's and Women's classes)
  • The Pursuit of Holiness - a book study
  • Genesis, Creation, and the Gospel
  • Financial Peace
We hosted several retreats already this year, including a youth retreat (called "Snow Camp") and a minister's retreat. Rob's son, Griffin, came to the Snow Camp and received Jesus as his savior!!! Talk about miracles! He gave testimony that he, after being invited, initially didn't want to come to a place like this but, after thinking about seeing his dad, figured that it was worth coming. He said he expected it to be the worst weekend of his life ... and Jesus met him, intruded, and His love was demonstrated in a way Griffin couldn't deny ... and now he is His! Please continue to pray for Griffin. I will have the sessions posted soon.

We also were able to get the wood boiler in operation for the main dorm and the gym. This will ultimately save us a lot of money. The boiler was donated to us, as well was the building and some very needed skilled labor. But, in all, we still incurred a materials cost of almost $10k. This will be paid for (in what we save by not needing oil) this year! That will help with covering the cost of ministry here greatly! Thank God for His provision and for people's willingness to give!

In a few days, the leadership of DL will be heading out to Kentucky for a men's ministry training event that will allow us to host certain retreats here at HCTC. During that time, Donovan (our first "graduate") will be returning as staff ... as staff! He will be keeping the men here under oversight! This is the kingdom of God at work! Donovan came here an addicted mess in terrible need of Jesus' healing and restoration ... and he found his pearl! I watched it happen. Donovan returned home over a year ago and has been living in victory since. This year, he took on the leadership role for the men's Discover Life class ... has been in constant fellowship ... and testifies with his own life what freedom in Christ is! There are ministries that press the men to remain in and shift from student to leader, but our desire is that leaders be able to demonstrate what freedom is ... it's not a bubble with all temptations removed. Jesus came to bring us an abundant life ... one of power, love, and a strong mind.  It is for freedom we've been set free, and we are to walk in that liberty! As deep calls unto deep, free calls unto free. Donovan life's testimony is his influence. Please pray for him!

FYI!!! We will be accepting three new students (ages 18 - 25) into our Discover Life School of Ministry Preparation in the fall of 2016. For more information CONTACT US!!! This is a great opportunity for young men who have chosen Christ and feel compelled to be prepared for ministry to be thoroughly equipped both theologically and practically and ... there is no cost! We serve as a resource of support to the church!

We invite you to consider HELPING US AS WE HELP OTHERS!!! Please check out our needs list! The kingdom of God is the best place to invest your resources. Discover Life is a great investment into the lives of people and we are making a difference ... you are making a difference! 

LESSONS FROM THE SAW MILL: All Things In Their Season

This winter has been a mess concerning weather! The freeze came like it should ... we had our first freeze in later October but then we began to experience the hard freezes in November. The crops died, as they should ... and we began to prepare for the long winter ... except ... it didn't come.

In fact, in mid-December we had a very warm spell ... unseasonably warm ... and the trees and flowers began to bud. My cherry tree was fully red and flowering. Oh it was a beautiful sight ... except ... it was the wrong season. It was still winter but the tree was fooled by the temperature and the climate. Sure enough, late December and January brought the hard freezes that this region is used to experience, but instead of finding the trees and plants stripped bare and prepared for winter, they were full and blossoming and they consequently died with fruit growing in the flower! This didn't just destroy the life that was in full swing, it most likely killed the harvest this year.

You see, the seed looks for winter ... it expects it. When it experiences a thaw after a freeze, it does not know time, it expects that it is spring and begins to germinate. In the warmer climates that experience no real winter freeze, farmers often have to put their seeds in a freezer for a period to get them to germinate!

To understand the severity of the issue here, we must first remember what fruit does: fruit provides nourishment (the meat), replenishment (the nutrient matter), and reproduction (the seed). All three functions are vital for the environmental ecosystem and the agricultural economy. Without any of the three, the system crashes. One year is only successful if it makes way for a new year to come.

So here, as we noticed the beauty of the flowering plants, we all could not celebrate it ... in fact, for many whose livelihood is based on the produce of the trees and perennial vegetation and fruits, they are expecting hard times ahead ... because the fruit is being prepared out of its natural season. The seeds within the fruit were destroyed. The fruit itself was destroyed. The outlook causes many concerns for the coming harvest.

So what's the point? 

King Solomon told us that there was a time and a season for every thing (Ecclesiastes 3). Yet Jesus expected fruit from a fig tree knowing it was out of its season. I challenge you to consider doing a word-study of the word "season" and read the scriptures in their context.

God has ordained seasons of our lives for rain, for drought, for produce, for lack, for gain, for loss, for triumph, and for failure all to bring about in and through us His will ... His perfect will. We spend so much energy deriving from people, and ultimately ourselves, fruit out of its season because we like the look of it on the tree. We formulate doctrines that demand the Christian walk be one of continual material and spiritual blessing and define blessing according to our expectations of it, yet God disagrees and performs His will regardless.

We rush to show and measure fruit in seasons where God has ordained winter ... that fruit yields only death, and not just for the plant, but for those who are to be nourished by it.

One of the attributes of God I am in awe of (and find the end of myself quickly as I try to understand) is His sovereignty. We are encouraged by Paul in Scripture to continue being faithful in service even when we don't see the desired result promising that God will perform His will and we will reap the reward of our faithfulness and trust in Him in due season.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.      Galations 6:7-9

He makes no promise here of what the reward will look like, so we must set ourselves to the task of not predicting that either. Instead, we are to commit ourselves to doing what lies before us in a manner that brings Him honor denying our own desire to know and predict the successful end of the thing ... because we will always work in that direction. In that end, there will be fruit. People will compliment us on our accomplishments ... but the fruit will be out of season ... it will die ... and the people, who needed the harvest, will go lacking.

Fortunately, God's sovereignty also includes His willingness to intervene and be sure His end and purpose will come about. We can't ruin it. We can't dilute it. We can't profane it. We can't contaminate it.

My only end then is to trust Him without restraint. Yes, I used that phrase: trust without restraint. I must be honest about my agenda, my self-protective slant, my selfishness even concerning the things of God ... and instead delight myself in His goodness and surrender myself to the resolve of simply living in the moment enjoying His joy, His peace, His love and being a vessel of it. Then and only then can I trust that whatever the result is truly His will and be at peace to accept it. Because here's the brutal reality, His will also includes teaching me hard lessons at my loss and the loss of those around me because my own heart is deceived and either I am veiled from it (and He is revealing it) or I have hardened my heart (and He is cracking it). It's His goodness that causes Him to bust up our flawed and foolish plans (Psalms 146:9b). It's His goodness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

I have committed myself to staying faithful in season and out of season and enjoying the fruit of it. I encourage you to set yourself to the same task.

That's my take anyways. Thanks for reading!

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