Written by James Peil
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:17
Recently I've been feeling very exhausted. It comes from a combination of things and is something to be expected when in weeks 6-9 of a 9 and a half week tour. But I'm also finding that this exhaustion extends beyond anything physical. I don't remember the last time I was this exhausted mentally and emotionally. A while back I had the opportunity to speak for a rescue mission in Pennsylvania. On this night, I shared about how this exhaustion had taken its toll on me and through that sharing began to think about how I could even carry on through the rest of this tour. I had resolved where I would seek to find my fulfillment (from the fact that I'm doing a work God has placed me in), but still I was left exhausted wondering how I could expect to carry on.
For the last three weeks I've been working my way through John Piper's 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die. One of these reasons Piper gives is "to obtain for us all things that are good for us", citing Romans 8:32 which says, "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Piper reasons that this statement means that God will grant us all things that are good for us, that form us into the image of His Son, and that allow us to attain a true, everlasting joy. Then he looks at another promise in Philippians 4:19--that our God will supply every need of ours. What grabbed my attention pertaining to this promise was what Piper points out from the verses preceding v. 19, particularly verses 12-13:
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Notice that hunger and need are a part of the "all things" we are able to do. Taking it one step further, hungering and needing are also part of the things that we need to attain everlasting joy in that while hungering and needing, God may not provide what's needed to ease these felt needs. Rather, God will meet the real need and provide the ability to rejoice in suffering when these felt needs aren't met. It's not just about enduring, rather it's all part of being formed into the image of God's Son. This is something I'm trying my hardest to hold onto. It certainly isn't easy, but above all else I know this--God is faithful and keeps His word. And because of that I have all I need and can rejoice.
Written by Chelsea Tredor
Friday, 22 February 2013 19:43
Psalm 139: 13-18
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake, I am still with you."
How beautiful these words are and how off guard did they took me...
As a team, we try to have team devos at least once a week and we each take turns leading them. This past week, Chris shared a study on prayer he had been working on. We looked at several examples throughout the Bible. I happened to read Psalm 139 and I nearly teared up reading those words.
You know the saying, you are what you eat? I believe this applies to more than just food. It applies to what we put inside of us. I'll be honest, I don't always listen to the most "Christian" music. I listen to the radio, I listen to the stupid pop songs by Katy Perry and I've heard "Call Me, Maybe" a time or two.
I'm not trying to say anything against these artists. But, these songs are not the most edifying. One year during college I took a... let's say... secular music fast. All I listened to was Christian songs... and some of these songs are the cheesiest thing of my life. But, I noticed a change in my attitude. I was more positive, my thoughts were more God-centered and when I walked into stores, that play heaven knows what, I was kind of disgusted. I don't think it's an awful thing to listen to secular music. But, I think we should be good stewards of what we are listening to.
Now... back to being what you're eating. During training even, we have talked about the times we are the most stressed and the days we are having the worse days... how do you act in those moments? Those are the times our true selves come out. We have reached the point of bubbling over and everything that has been going on inside is going to come out.
I constantly struggle with insecurities. I struggle with feeling loved by others and accepting that love. Lately, I've been struggling with my identity in God and trusting Him with my future.
I read out loud, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Somehow, that hit me more than it ever has before. Maybe, maybe I've never said those words out loud before. There's power behind words, especially when they are said out loud or in person. I imagine this is partly why people go to confession. The Bible itself says, when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive them; it's cleansing.
Something I have thought for a while but have never gotten around to doing is keeping the things God says about me, perhaps in a journal or somewhere I can read them and read them, over and over and over again until it is ingrained in me... I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Written by Isaac Haaland
Monday, 18 February 2013 09:28
I was planning a set for a sunday evening concert yesterday, and I was having a lot of trouble deciding what I wanted to talk about. Finally I decided on something to talk about and planned my set around it.
For some reason it didn't sit well with me, and during the sunday morning concert I made up my mind to change it. I ended up using a testimony that I had used earlier in the year, and I at last felt at ease with the set.
The concert was starting in fifteen minutes and people were starting to come in. I was standing to the side when one of the people coming in asked if I was Isaac. He said that he had been praying for me, and to not let him leave after the concert until after he has prayed for me.
I was blown away, I wasn't expecting that at all.
After the concert he came up and prayed for me, and then someone else came up and said that they also had been praying for me. They also said that some of the things that I had talked about, they had been praying for.
Truly, I am amazed with every stop what God has prepared for us there. Here I was, not liking the set I had planned and changing it. Then talking about things people were praying for me about. And I want to say that this is a church that CTI has not been to before.
God works in unimaginable ways preparing the way for us. I want to thank everyone who is praying for us, I think I am only beginning to understand the power of prayer.
Written by Jordan Chiu
Monday, 18 February 2013 00:35
This week we were ministering at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA. During our time here, there was a lot of refreshment that came from the 70+ degree weather, clear skies every day, and a couple of full days off that we were able to enjoy there. But we've also been able to meet a number of people on and off base that the Lord has used to pour into us and bring refreshment through.
We played a number of concerts on base, serving our contacts in reaching out to some of the airmen and their families. After a couple of those concerts, there were a few airmen that came up to us afterward and started chatting with us. One of them, Terrell, was really intentional to encourage us and edify us as ministers that had just poured out into our audience. He's also a phenomenal guitarist - and really humble too. Angus and I began talking to him about guitars and he started showing us some of the stuff he could do. With our jaws dropped, we marvelled at his skill and I was humbled by the realization of how much time and practice it would take to get to the level he's at. He began to teach us some of what he knows and even offered to send us materials that have helped him - definitely recognizing that everything he'd accomplished could be attained by anyone else.
A couple of days later, we saw him again after a concert and this time he asked us to teach him something (as if we had something to teach him that he didn't already know!). And after we had doubted our abilities and wondered why he wasn't the one travelling for a year playing in a CTI band, he said something that stuck out to me and has refined my outlook. He said "everyone's got something to teach, and everyone's got something to learn". And it turned out that there actually were areas where my strengths lie, and his don't.
God took that opportunity to remind me of the picture Paul paints about the Church being like one body with many parts. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, he talks about the human body having many parts, all making up one whole body (v.12). He also writes:
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?...The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you." (v.14-17,21)
I needed this reminder from the Lord of my place in ministry. I'm not called to do everything, and I'm definitely not called to do nothing. So it is with the entire Body of Christ. In another one of his letters, Paul tells the church in Ephesus:
[Christ] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Let's remember to be encouraging each other, only doing things to build each other up, edify the Church, and help each other grow as vital parts of the Body, remembering that it is Christ who holds us all together.
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