Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Be Still and Trust

As soon as one completes their very first day of camp at Worldview Academy, it becomes clear that the lectures taking place are in order to maximize your preparation for one thing.

Evangelism Practicum.

During this excursion to a new environment- may it be a college campus full of rushed college students, downtown, Wal-mart, etc., students interact with the inhabitants of the United States. Not necessarily in an effort to convert, but in an attempt to discuss. As students converse with these often "outsiders" of their own faith, numerous circumstances offer the chance to perform the act of one thing. In many different versions, of course. Questions. This has been the focus of over half the lectures given so far at camp. How to ask these specific questions in order to cause the "questionee" to do in turn one thing as well. Answer? Not quite. Think.
I do hope that any high school students reading this will one day be given the chance to attend Worldview Academy, so in honor if these students, and to Mr. Bill Jack's relief, this post is not focused on how to evangelize. Perhaps that day will come, but as the great King Aragorn once proclaimed, "today is not that day." This post is instead focused on the personal experience found on MY last evangelism practicum at Downtown, Indianapolis.
When Moses is given commands by God in Exodus to go the Pharaoh and demand to free the people of Israel, Moses replies something like this, "I don't know what to say." (Something along those lines...) If you have read Genesis- really read Genesis- this seems as though to be the stupidest response possible. God, the Creator of the universe, has entrusted Moses with a command, and Moses is concerned about how he is going to talk. For those of you that have never performed such a revolution, freeing a nation from slavery is no small feat. God, however, is no small God. As we read in hein sight, it seems a bit ridicules to do anything but trust God. Moses, on the other hand, did not witness the creation of the world, nor had read of it, or had even heard the true story. Moses in fact, up until this point, had never believed in the God of the Israelites. In essence, it was his first day on the job, so we'll cut him some slack this once.
As for us, in this day and age, and our knowledge of who God is, what excuse do we hide in our back pocket? No, none of us witnessed the actual creation of the universe, but I for one can only imagine how incredible it would have been to see it. Many of us have even read the account of creation written down on paper by Moses himself! (Or rock or papyrus, turtle shell etc.) All throughout the Bible we can read of the great and powerful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Why do we doubt? Why do we so often focus on how we will ever get this accomplished on our own?
I struggled with this crazy phenomenon on the van headed downtown last month. How on earth do I keep up with these conversations? I don't know the answers - I need more time - I'm not prepared! As our group of three abandoned the van and prayed a final prayer on the sidewalk, God was gracious enough to send me my answer in that moment. God told me in that moment the same thing he told Moses in his moment, "Who then has made your mouth?"
It was then that I felt both ashamed and astonished and confident and humbled and yes, I even felt prepared. As we took our time talking with an older man about his semi-agnostic worldview, I discovered something. It's amazing how many random facts you know about platypuses, the process of making pillow cases, and the origins of chocolate cake while having a discussion with a stranger. While they are talking it seems as though you know all there is to know about everything except what you need to. So naturally, between every question I took the time to simultaneously listen to this fellow's answers and pray patiently. As soon as our friend finished speaking and another unknown question beckoned, I would ask the beckoned question and there he was yet again answering, wearing one of those old-man hats, talking in the second kind of old man voice, slow and choppy. Half the time I had no idea what I had just said. After thinking a bit it would come to me the question I just asked. I had responded with the perfect question to keep the conversation rolling as well as mind-probing. By no means do I say that with pride. I say it with all humility because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was more than obviously speaking through me. This happened continually throughout every conversation we held that day. I am beyond thankful to my God.
Who then made my mouth? In case you haven't caught on yet, the same God who made the heavens and the earth an all that inhabit it. My message is clear and simple today. Trust God my friends, because without Him you will not have the answers. Not for others, and most definitely not for yourself. He will always provide.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Week of Camp

Seeing as how I have referenced this before, but never fully detailed to my readers the complete intenseness of my reference, one would suppose that the time has just about arrived to satisfy the whole of this title. Then again, because of my lack of description, I would guess that none of my readers would have a compelling desire to obtain the full knowledge of this reference after all. That being said, it is my privilege and honor to devote this post to an organization that has more than dramatically impacted my life.
This organization has done more than teach, it has empowered. Instead of the everyday student, the camps provided by this organization have created rare forms of Disciples. Christ's Disciples. Even more scarce- young Christian Disciples.
Before you turn the computer off entirely, frustrated that yet another innocent being has decided among himself to take the time, neigh, the audacity- to compile yet another praise for yet another "summer camp" he has recently attended (it isthat facebook-thwarting time of year again), something must first be made clear.
This camp has not impacted me through an ever so common emotional confrontation. A side-project that the utter majority of summer camps provide without cost. I might have another post entirely on this subject of interest (or perhaps of non-interest). It must be stated that I have attended this camp three years in a row now, and still every year grow more confidant in its mindset. Although I do not brag about being a sort of "veteran of attendance", I most certainly take pride in it. I take pride in being annually involved with this association because it has encouraged me in something I am to always take pride in: my distinct relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the reason I commit this post entry to Worldview Academy. Because of the challenge invested in me every year by a select group of people who want to know God's heart, and serve Him by serving me through love. Not because I had an "awesome week at camp" and not because of a self-invested-camp-long emotional experience. However, because of everything I have gained from participation in this camp, I most definitely have developed an emotional devotion to those acquainted with it.
During Worldview Academy, students will endure approximately twenty-six hours in total classroom lecture.

Don't you just want to sign up this very instant?

Do not fear. These lectures are not similar to the implication of the common word "lecture" you are probably associated with. These lectures often feel, look, smell and taste like the "lecture" that initially comes to mind, but by no means do they sound the same (yes, be relieved.) Instead, the topics discussed in these lectures are concentrated on bringing in and teaching out a more vast understanding of other worldviews, strategies in apologetics applied while defending your faith, and identifying the characteristics of a God-fearing leader. Why? Only so that the graduates of WVA re-enter everyday life knowing how to question other religions and worldviews, defend their own, and are challenged to lead others at their own home.
Aside from this, students face an opportunity to practice the techniques they have gained on - wait for it - real, live, talking people that inhabit the real, live, walking world. Campers also build relationships in a personal small group, and usually walk out the Worldview doors with professionally-equalized capabilities when it comes to throwing a frisbee.
Descriptive enough? Please know I can easily write a book about my experience at this camp. This week, I will be writing specifically about my personal revelations gained at my most recent attendance last month, but in order for you to fully grasp the meaning of this week's posts, some background was unavoidable. Thank you for the vast amount of viewers, a little over 500 recently. Perhaps I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into by starting this blog. Please, pray for me.