This last week of Link year has been an emotional one however very educational as well. We had a speaker come in named JP whom speaks at the Porch at Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas. He opened my eyes to issues in our society that we face daily, however do nothing about. In this generation our biggest pitfalls are Narcissism, Entitlement, Noncommittal, and Pornography. In the realm of narcissism he touched on the fact that so many people are in it for themselves. Their number one goal is to get rich and the second is get famous. A sad statistic is the depression rate has skyrocketed in this generation as well as suicide. I believe my generation wants to party it up and find God later live “YOLO” when in reality the death toll is one to one. You live and then you die to the things of this world or you live, find God and then spend eternity with him. He gave a great analogy that everyone wants to party it up but they are walking towards a cliff with a drink in hand saying oh I just want to have fun. What they don’t realize is they are walking towards death and away from God. If we want to be first we have to be last. You can live your life with yourself in the middle or you can invest it into eternity. The second pitfall ( sorry guys this is a long blog :) is Entitlement, which is the highest form of expectations from which we fall. I myself have fallen in to this trap on too many occasions thinking that things will be handed to me wanting all of the responsibility but none of the maturity. So often we desire to look like that magazine cover or be that big NFL star when in reality God made us all different with different ambitions and attributes yet we continue to desire something else - as if its never enough. We feel like the world owes it to us and if we do not get it we face depression and despair. We need to realize that the people who have what you want are not content with their lives either. John 3:30 “He must become greater, I must become less.” The third being a Noncommittal generation, in which its hard for God to be glorified in our lack of commitment. JP discussed that in relationships its not so much what you think and what you feel but what God desires for you. The divorce rate is one out of every two marriages. People are dating jumping in and out of relationships not realizing that they are indirectly conditioning themselves for divorce. If you are not ready to marry then don’t waste each others time. He touched on the fact that some people may claim to be spiritual but not religious when in reality they are not spiritual at all, they just cannot commit to God. Matthew 5:33 clearly says we need to let our yes be yes and our no be no. If you make a commitment to hang out with someone and something better comes up. You need to realize the first commitment you made with that individual and acknowledge you committed your time to them and you need to correctly ask for that time back instead of bailing and being uncommitted. Learn to keep your word even when it hurts. Realize that the Gospel is a picture of commitment and people often trust Christians before they trust Christ so set a good example. I encourage you to keep that commitment it marks a Godly person. Lastly, the pitfall which many dread talking about is Pornography. Which is fantasizing about anyone that you are not married to, it is sin without exception. Matthew 5:28 This sin is adultery it will take you out! This issue damaging so many marriages and is shaping the culture around us .Sex is becoming the center of so many relationships and it is replacing the meaning of love. Sex is not a bad thing when in the context of marriage, no one is more prosex than God. He invented it, do as he ordained it and obtain from sexual immorality. There is hope in that. There is no greater way to overcome sin than the satisfaction of an intimate relationship with Jesus. Guilt is an incredible motivator but it is a terrible motivator because it doesn’t last. You will not find true Joy when indulging in sin you will only find temporary happiness. If you are dealing with someone who is struggling with this just know that people will listen to you when they know you love them continue to pray for them and encourage them to pursue Jesus. ( 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Corinthians 6:18) Our generation is in desperate need of a revival and there is hope trust me that there are planet shakers out there, we just need to resist these temptations and draw nearer to Christ. Allow Christ to become more and us to become less. I will leave you with this – We often plead to God for our souls but not often enough plead to souls for our God.
This week we started it off right going zip lining through the Missouri Mountains, where at the highest course we were 350 feet in the air. Our first speaker this week was Joe White who came in and impersonated Paul from the Bible. He recited the entire book of Ephesians and he expressed the importance of being serious in our walk with the Lord. He was so passionate in the talk and he was explaining how in jail Paul wrote this great letter and that shows his devotion to the Lord and that we have the ability to love him all the same. Our second speaker came in Tim Watson whom is a Christian counselor. He spoke on the importance of counseling and that whether or not we have a degree, counseling is teaching and we will be doing that until the day we die. As a Christian we will continue to counsel others. He spoke on many different subjects of psychology and how the Bible ties into it. I am interested in pursuing a career in Christian counseling myself so I was trying to soak it up. He referenced tons of verses and expressed the importance of knowing the Bible in the counseling world to direct our clients to the cross. I am now excited to pursue this career. The twist I desire to bring counseling into is the world of sex trafficking. In which I will help rehabilitate and bring women who were traded in sex slavery back into society. I will help them realize their worth and value in the eyes of the Lord.
This week was taught by a former Kanakuk Institute Student who took what he was taught and has impacted so many lives with it. He had the opportunity to impact us LinkYear students this week and boy did he ever. He covered a ton of topics but the ones I will touch base with are the battlefield we call earth, our vision for a high impact life, and our three callings in life. He made a good point that all to often we think this world is a playground is which it is a battlefield we are waging in the war against sin, there is no time to play. We were reminded that what we do in this life echoes into eternity which is so applicable to really anyones life. He isn’t saying that we cannot have fun. However, he is saying instead of going to college partying it up, we need to take life by the horns and start impacting lives instead of living for ourselves. To live this high impact life you need to have a vision and set goals. Start thinking globally, but acting locally. Nothing is going to get done on its own you have to take the initiative. He also touched base on our three callings which are our General Calling as a follower of Christ, our Vocational
Call to serve God in our work and, our Special Call that’s God exalting, and the soul satisfying purpose of our life. These three topics hit close to home with me that I need to recognize my calling and start writing out a vision for my future because no one is going to get me where I want to be other than myself and God. Don’t waste your life, start with the end in mind!
This past week Sean McDowell came in from California and brought an interesting twist to the group. When he walked in, he stated alright guys when I put on this coat I will turn into an atheist. For the next two hours we were able to question him and his thoughts and let me tell you he is well studied in how to defend atheism and christianity. My peers surprisingly got very defensive and almost mad at him throughout these two hours but we realized how foolish we looked in the way we treated him and the fact that we are not well read at all on either subjects. He shared with us that so often us as Christians feel inferior to our culture. He also gave us a few tactics as to how we should approach an atheist and how not to be judgmental but loving. Afterwards we discussed truth and how it is when your belief matches your reality and we discussed the differences of the subjective, and objective truth. You know what someone really believes about morality, not by what they say or do but how they want to be treated. This statement tied into how we should think about abortion and how society is perceiving it. How we treat something depends on what it is and its nature is so the real question our society is trying to ask itself is What is the unborn it is not just a clump of cells rather a human being.
This week I only had the opportunity to hear Mr. Straub speak on one occasion due to the stomach bug this past week but when I did hear him speak I was enthralled by what I was hearing. Despite the fact that I myself desire to become a psychologist and that is his profession he had some really great points and I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to hear them all. But he started the week off great by describing the attachment theory and different personalities to that theory. The attachment theory is how relationships shape our brains ability to regulate emotion and learn to participate in close, intimate relationships. Often times when meeting a person anyones initial reaction is to think is this person a safe person. You’re safe base can be ultimately anyone you make it for many it is their mother or father. When you lose that attachment figure there is a deep sense of grief that you feel, often times so many try and brush it under the rug and not confront the hurt but you cannot heal what you do not feel. Straub discussed many different attachment personalities but today I will just share the one with you that pertains to my own life which is the preoccupied attachment. These theories help explain they way you do things and the basis behind why. The Preoccupied person is – anxious with relationships and abandonment, people feel like they can never love you enough because you don’t trust they will be there. They are not comfortable with closeness, withholds feelings and dreams, difficulty with commitment, distances and restricts affection, their focus is on control, they use things to self soothe, they keep feelings buried and are not often the first to share them. I know this description may seem a little harsh but I believe that a lot of these emotions do pertain to a lot of instances in my own life and has really helped me realize the way I act in certain circumstances and why. I believe this week was really helpful in understanding myself and the way my brain operates.
This past week with Ben Williams has been one of content overload. This high school teacher, college professor, and vice principal is one intelligent man. He came to really inform us on the religions around the world and what their beliefs are. From, Eastern Religions, to Western religions and all of the ones in between. We discussed scientology, illuminati, Hindu, Buddhism, and of course Christianity. We briefly got on the topic of the creation of earth and how he believes that it only took place in 6 days not seven. I think his beliefs ruffled a few feathers in the class he called himself a Christian Evolutionist, which was very contradictory for me to follow along with. We discussed Plato’s viewpoint that reality is supernatural and Aristotle’s viewpoint that reality is physical. His definition of worldview is a holistic approach to life rooted in a set of basic beliefs that you have whether you know it or not that determines your view of and for the world. We went over the common answers of Naturalism, which would be nihilism, existentialism, hedonism, humanism, morality, and destiny, and we broke them down. He defeated the idea of the big bang showing that something cannot come from nothing. His knowledge of religions and different scientists was astounding and he knew what he was talking about. I will have to admit I found myself getting a little lost in all the small details of each religion, they are really complex but I realize the importance of being knowledgeable about others religions so I do not seem arrogant in debates rather know how to defend my point and be able to reason with the other person.
The beginning of this week I was at home due to college testing so I missed the teaching Tuesday and Wednesday from Brett Jensen. But luckily I made it Wednesday night for the Fort, which is a Wednesday night ministry in the Branson community, and the sermon was on humility. I think so often we hear this word and think of we need to lower our pedestal or at least that’s my thoughts. We spend so much of our time working on us whether it is physically trying to look good or mentally trying to grow in our success in this world, which are not bad things. What we need to take a step down and realize though is without the power of our perfect God due to the fact we are imperfect people he gives us the hands, feet and ability to do the things that we so often use to gain the glory for ourselves. What if everyone of use once a week went out into the community and served. Relinquishing the things that have control over our lives whatever that may be. Jesus was the perfect example of humility. We should never work to gain the glory for ourselves but rather do things to give the glory back up to God. I fail daily in this arena but after hearing Joey speak it opened my eyes that its not only pride we should let down but we need to show humility to others and go out and make an effort not just work on ourselves. I encourage you to be boldly humble!
You are best friends with the ultimate liar and stealer of joy Satan huh? “The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him… For he is a liar and the father of lies.” –John 8:44 You rob so many from their loved ones, you steal our love of life. But I know your game and you will not win because let me assure you, God has already won, he stole my heart long before you tried to put up arms. You thought you had my mom, not so soon. GOD WON. You may have conquered my friend’s brother but you will not conquer me. I know your tricks – you think I’m worthless, ugly, unloved, forever alone. Well let me tell you God thinks I’m beautiful, in fact I’m his masterpiece. He has a plan for me just check out Jeremiah 29:11 I’m sure you already know but hey let me remind you. God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I will have a future but when you try and remind me of my past or my inadequacies let me tell you where you’re going. You think you can take my joy well you don’t know what it is. Give up now because I’m not. I am a fighter and I have the ultimate defender on my team who will continually grab my hand out of the raging storm you try and suck me into, but his strength the veins popping out of his arms grasping me saying be still my child KNOW THAT I AM GOD. To all who have never experienced the thought of suicide or had anyone you know try to attempt or has done it. It is a joy sucker for sure. Sometimes the bad things that happen are brought on by the influence of the fallen world in which we live. Its emotionally draining but I am done. This is a sick, twisted game that Satan sits here snickering over. No longer. I am done with these thoughts because I know the true joy of the Lord. He loves me and I have cast my anxieties onto him. Yeah its tough at times but I picture it like this. Our race in Christianity is uphill and you are carrying a backpack full of what you will present to the Lord once you finally reach the top. Now Satan is throwing HUGE rocks in this backpack and trying to slide you down this hill towards death but take that Joy and passion that the Lord gave you on the day he gave you the gift of free eternal life and throw that rock at Satan’s face. He is in the business of destruction but God is just as busy in the business of reconstruction and he makes masterpieces Satan makes messes. I choose God.
- No one will steal my Joy of the Lord unless I allow them, but I will not. This fight is expected in life but I have the knowledge of my Savior and when I do not feel equipped or weak, well ironically he’s always equipped to fight my battles. – ALLOW HIM TO FIGHT. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. :)
Did you know that only 14% of 450,000 churches in the United States have an outreach program for missions. So often we get caught up in the thought that our mission field should be going into another country and helping out which I am not discounting at all. What we do not realize is that the mission field is in our own backyard our lives should be a mission in which we go out and boldly tell others about our faith. David Marvin our speaker this week helped break down the church from Bible times to present day and how it has drastically changed. My peers and I had to come up with adjectives to describe the church in Biblical times and they were : devoted, consistent, teachable, passionate, unwavering, and generous. It saddened my heart to see my classmates stand up and start to describe the church today and how we think our unbelieving friends would percieve it. They came up with hypocritical, skeptical, tired, seasonal, uneducated and seclusive. Our world is in desperate need for a revival and our generation will be the start of it! Historically every fifty years there has been one and we are now approaching the time for another. The reason our churches are so dead is because they are not filled with those who are alive! We need to be about changing lives not worrying about just our own. Getting out of your comfort zone is healthy, I recognize my inadequacy in sharing the gospel to strangers. Marvin encouraged us to go up to strangers i.e waiters or anyone you come in contact with and ask questions such as : Do you have a faith?, or If something were to happen to you today on a scale of one to ten how confident are you that you will go to heaven? From those questions you can branch off into other conversations and share the gospel and testimony if time permits. If you truly desire to grow Marvin gave us five “C’s” to be passionate about. First to be Committed to God’s word and a verse to back this up is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, I believe this is vital in sharing your faith because people will be more apt to listen to someone who actually know whats they are talking about and it is important to be rooted in the word. Committing to God’s people in which Hebrews 3:12-13 clarifies in more detail for you. Being Creative in expression of the Bible found in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, so often people think Christians are boring and don’t know how to have fun but that is obviously false and we need to be creative in showing them different outlets of finding humor and fun. Committing to the uncommitted in Acts 2:37-39 and lastly, contributing time, talents and treasures to the Lord found in 1 Peter 4:10. All of these life changing ideas will speak volumes in your Christian maturity if you choose to grow in each one. We need more disciples in this day and age and the question I leave you is. Are you prepared for the future revival? If so, who will you share the good news of Jesus Christ with today?
This past week at LinkYear the girls and the guys were split up and spoken to by different speakers. We were taught what it takes to be a strong woman of God. My favorite speaker of the week was Beth Wiebe. She discussed why it is important to know scripture as a Christian because we are in a waging war on this earth against the father of lies and he is ready to steal, kill, and destroy but we need to be strapped with the truth ready for battle at any given moment. She broke down the Bible into a 5 fold progression: anticipation, manifestation, proclamation, explanation, and culmination. We were told that it is our responsibility not to be ashamed of the message but to proudly proclaim it. As christians we are the soldiers in this fight we need to know what we are called to guard, who the enemy is, know what our strategy plan is , and be able to endure hardness and not to get entangled in everyday affairs. Beth challenged us to figure out our plan and strategy, this at first was weird to me because I all along thought I had been approaching it in the right light but I now acknowledge I need to be more consistent in the word and daily learning about my savior. If we are keen to listening to others in the end they will probably be more willing to hear us out. Also she stressed that all soft words turn away wrath and I strongly believe this to be true because I have seen it so many times in my own life. If we follow these few little steps and pursue the Lord we may not see repercussions now, but the reward will surely come later!