Published: August 14th 2006August 13th 2006
I love it when God speaks so loudly to us it’s like He is sitting right there in the flesh again. Last night was one of those experiences. It was the final night of the JR Army and we had a celebration at the Jesus Church. We performed three songs from the concert for the congregation then different people gave testimonies and finally at the end Pastor Rouse (Lauren’s dad) shared a message for all of us. When he was speaking, it was almost as if every word he was saying, God had been saying to me the past few months and God was giving me the confirmation He knew I needed. I love moments like those because there is just too much going on for that to be considered a coincidence. His sermon revolved around Hebrews 11 and just that morning I had not only read that chapter (which wasn’t on our Bible plan and it wasn’t a random choice for me to read but was the next chapter for me to read because 11 days ago I decided to read through Hebrews again) but I had actually written down, in my journal, three of the five specific versus he
Me dancing with Team Norway
I accidently kicked my chair, as you can see. Thankfully it did not fall! (I am the second one from the left)
shared. Also for the past month or so I don’t know why but each time I was reading the Bible and I saw the word ‘vision’ I circled it, for some reason it just stuck out to me and that was a major point in his sermon. Another thing is one of the points he said was almost exactly like a part of a book I read last fall that started stirring something in that I actually wrote about in my blog under ‘“What is written on your heart?” (see entry from Jan 15th). Finally when he was speaking, it just was like everything he said made my heart and mind have an amazing peace and excitement about my future.
Since this sermon spoke so much to me, I’ll share it with you as well.
He was talking about how the Bible says when we become a Christian you are transformed (everything old passes away and everything is new). He said if you haven’t experienced this transformation in your life, then you haven’t really met Jesus (side note from me: I can totally see this in my life, I was a completely different person once I actually met
Dancing Beginning and the End
Him rather than when I just walked around knowing about Him - knowing Him caused me to live differently). He went on to say that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6) and living inside our comfort zone is not living by faith. He also said Jesus wants to give us not only life but life to the full (then he asked “How full is your life?”). We are all called to live a full life and by living in the lines of the world and just following the norm we are not living that full life. Then he gave five characteristics of living outside the lines of the world and living that full life Jesus wants for us.
1. We are called to live outside the lines of the seen world (Heb 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.). God operates in the unseen realm. He calls each of us to live by a vision not by what falls in the natural reality. God wants to give each of us a vision for our lives but many of us just choose to follow
Me dancing with Team Norway
I am the second one from the left.
another and live for their vision (‘if you don’t know where you are going others will define it for you’ - I know I do not want that for my life!). Every vision is born from holy discontent (this is where my blog entitled “What is written in your heart?” fits in - http://www.travelblog.org/Europe/Norway/Oslo/blog-35784.html). God will put something in you that causes you to see the world differently from others. You will be discontent with it and God will give you a vision to change it. Then he asked, “What is your discontent?” (Woohoo - I know! For once I actually can say I know what it is). Until you have a holy discontent you will never get a vision (so we can each ask God for this). He explained what his holy discontent was that spurred him to start a church 16 years ago that now has over 5000 people on Sundays. He noticed in the Bible it doesn’t say believers go to heaven (because even demons believe and Jesus said to believers that many of them He would tell them later that He did not know them) but that the Bible says we are to go and make
disciples. So his holy discontent was looking at the churches in America and seeing how many were filled with believers but not disciples of Jesus (those who actually follow in His footsteps, put down their life, lose their life to gain His and then make other disciples). His vision was to have a church filled with disciples of Jesus.
2. We are called to live outside the lines of certainty (Heb 11:8 - By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going). This is when God calls you to a place you know nothing about; when you have to take the first step before you will know the next. Many people are afraid of taking that first step, waiting to have it all figured out first. But in order to please God we have to take that first step, so He can direct the next.
3. We are called to live outside the lines of the possible (Heb 11:11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age- and Sarah herself was barren- was enabled to become a father
because he considered him faithful who had made the promise). The impossible becomes the possible when we trust God. There are two realms of faith. First the possible, when we step out and do something that you may have never done before but you’ve seen others do before. Second, the impossible, when you have no example of it ever seeing it before and realizing it can only happen if God takes over. He wants us to live in such a way that we can experience His miracles. We will never experience the impossible with God unless we put ourselves in a position where we know we will fail unless God moves. We have to obey God, step in faith into that position where only God can save us. This means attempting things that seem impossible and then when we do that, God will perform miracles. (side note: This is the God I want to and do follow!)
4. We are called to live outside the lines of the pull of the world (Heb 11:13 & :15 - All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised: they only saw them and
Erin sharing about the history of Europe
welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth… If they had been thinking of the country they had left they would have had opportunity to return.). He told us that we will face opposition as we choose to live for Jesus and as Jesus said we have to be willing to forsake everything else in order to do that (sometimes even family and also the world). Here is where he said a point that really hit home for me. He said parents love their children and of course want what they think is the best for them but parents need to let go of their kids and entrust their lives to God. He said “parents have wishes for their children but God has causes for them.” It made me think of what I think the vision for my life is versus what my parents may want for me. I know that because of my education, I am in a position where I could possible make a lot of money and be ‘successful’ but I am not sure that aligns with the cause I feel that God has for my life (although God is
Beat and Karoline
First years of Team East sitting at Deli de Luca for the last time together.
mightier than I can even imagine, so they very well could align, but I don’t think in the way most people would imagine).
5. Finally we are called to live outside the lines of trying to survive (Heb 11:24-26 - By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.). All the New Testament saints lost their lives in order to find their lives (this is true discipleship - losing your life to get the life of Jesus). We each have 5-6 divine moments in life, when God presents an opportunity to us and we can decide right then whether to take it and if we don’t it passes us by. An example of this may be when someone chooses to accept Jesus as his or her Savior and Lord, or perhaps to marry a certain person. I know I do not want to
Tara and Talitha
At Deli de Luca.
pass up any of these!
Since most of our team was already gone by this time Beat and I had to dance with other teams. I danced ‘Jews in Jerusalem’ with Team Norway and Beat dances ‘The Beginning and the End’ with Team Nordic. It was a little difficult dancing in different positions and with other people but it was still fun and I enjoyed it. It was a bit sad to dance for the last time without my team.
Then because Kaspas K (our team leader) had already headed home, I was asked to give a short testimony about our time in the East. It felt strange to be on stage in the Jesus Church, where we attended church for the first four months I was in Europe, but I actually enjoyed it!
Here are some of the final statistics from this past year of concerts.
For the Total Concerts and Mobile Teams
27 Nations visited
50, 046 people in attendance
2906 people seeking salvation (side note: I was looking back in my journal and noticed that right before we left for tour I wrote God a prayer thanking Him for allowing me to be a part of His work to bring 3000 people into His Kingdom - and He did! Too Cool)
211 people instantly healed
The stats for Team East (my wonderful team!)
13, 075 people in attendance
1, 286 people seeking salvation
37 people instantly healed
I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be a part of His work through Jesus Revolution in Europe this past year!!!
I am headed to Latvia tomorrow for a week of thanking God, praying and rest. I can’t wait to see all of you soon!