Monday, February 27, 2012

Apostle University Training, Part 2

photo courtesy of Kerstin Pless Photography/Radiance Communications LLC (c) 2012
Our team of youth leaders from Adventure Community Church, Duvall, WA (my home church) consisted of BJ Hillabush (youth pastor), Seth & Beth Clemons, Lydia Jensen, Kerstin Pless and myself. We were in the southen city of Hawassa and the college students we trained were all ministry leaders from different universities. Our training focused on their true identity in Christ. 

Why is their identity so critical? 

Ezekiel 37 gives us an answer. It is the story of raising up an army out of the dry bones. 

Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:4-6) 

Knowing our true idenity in Christ and living out of it is like receiving breath and coming fully alive. God is using GCME, which is a world leader in training. GCME has equipped these students well for ministry. Their training is like putting together the dry bones, laying sinews and covering with skin. 

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:10) 

It was when the students began to grasp their identity in Christ that the breath of life came into them! 

Here are what some of them shared after the event: 

"I felt that God sees me as a hero, right person for his mission, the right person to be sent, right person to deliver those caught by demons, the right person to light the darkness." 

"The great thing that God say [sic] to my heart my quiet time is that 'I am one who is in Jesus and useful [worthy] for my generation.'" (cf. Rom. 3:12) 

"God has given me a great opportunity to do and perform his task by appointing me as a queen for the Kingdom of God. So, I decided to live with such a big dignity and position by representing his Kingdom on earth and without degrading honor by Satan’s temptations."

"God says to me by his voice inside me, 'I have chosen you. I have seen what you have been through...I was there when you insulted me...[and] when you were in trouble...I have been shaping you through these challenges and struggles. You are my Joseph, my new leader.'"

"...I awoke from my sleep this time [at this training]. I rejected myself seeing myself as weak, unable, insignificant, unimportant, but this time, I am feeling I am very necessary, very important, very significant, a one whom God is sending to the dark to light, bind to delivery, the discriminated to set them free [sic]...because God is giving me grace and with me."

Acts 8 Ministries was privileged to bring these two ministries, GCME and Adventure Church, together. As the result of this training, they deepened their partnership. Adventure has been invited back to lead two training events for GCME's high school student leaders this summer!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Apostle University Training, Part 1

At the request of the Great Commission Ministry Ethiopia (GCME is Ethiopia Campus Crusade for Christ), Acts 8 Ministries facilitated the formation of partnership between Adventure Church's Youth Ministry and the GCME's Student-Led Movement (SLM).

Adventure Youth Ministry sent a 6-member team to Hawassa, Ethiopia on February 3-12, 2012 to offer its Apostle University training for 30 college students involved in SLM in the Southern Ethiopia region.

At the heart of the Apostle University training is the promise of Jesus that in Christ we may have life and have it abundantly. We acknowledge that there is far more than we have ever imagined possible to our conversational walk with God. We dare to believe in the lavishing goodness of the Father and to press into knowing Him more deeply and intensely.

If the training is successful, it is because those who participate in it are desperately desiring God and because they have encountered Him in a very personal way. In other words, Apostle University is not program-driven. It tries to create space where the Spirit may be free to move and where His people may be more willing to step outside of their normal sense of expectation and to wait eagerly upon the Lord.

Just as the lives of Moses and Paul were disrupted and forever changed by the encounter with the Lord, our lives will never be the same once we experience His manifest presence.

It was our prayer and desire that the Ethiopian college students would taste the beautiful and powerful presence of God at the training.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ethiopia

According to SIM (Serving In Mission), the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, "is the diplomatic capital of Africa. There are more embassies there than in any city in the world besides New York, Washington DC or Geneva."

This alone makes Ethiopia a strategic spiritual hub for all of Africa. But if so, why is Ethiopia still one of the poorest nations in the world by many matrices? How could it be strategic for reaching the world for Christ?

Maybe not from the human perspective. But we live in the world at spiritual war. Is it possible that the enemy has tried to destroy Ethiopia precisely because its people fully turned to the Lord will pose a greater threat to his domain of darkness? It is also said that Ethiopians can easily reach out to peoples not only in neighboring African nations but also in Middle East.

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)