Friday, September 26, 2014

Seeking His Presence

First worship time with our new students at YWAM Orlando
A few months ago we were praying in our base council meeting for our community and we were talking with God about being a “Ten Mina” (Luke 19:13) base.  (Ten fold fruitfulness) We were anticipating what appeared to be a record number of students for our campus this fall, and a continued outpouring from the Lord.  As we began to discuss this one of our leaders reminded me that we needed to limit the number of students we accept based on how many we could adequately disciple.  He based this on a statement I had made years ago when our team was looking at our housing as the limiting factor and I was trying to inspire faith.  I said let’s not be limited by our lack of housing because God can provide more housing in an instant.  What we need to look at is how many can we adequately disciple.  This led to human calculations like we can only have five students for every small group leader.  So this leader quickly made the calculations and told us how many students we could have.  In an instant my heart was pierced with conviction.  I realized that the statement I made with the intent to inspire faith had led to putting a lid on our growth.  I immediately repented to our leadership team and later to our entire community. 

I said we are still committed to quality discipleship in all our lives, including the students God entrusts us with, but if God is going to truly send a wave of new missionaries no human system will be able to contain this rapid growth.  We need to seek God for His creative ways in discipleship.  When God does a work in someone’s life there is truly transformation.  A moment in God’s presence can replace three years of counseling.

As a leadership team we realized we needed to make room in our community for more of God’s leadership.  In an earlier journal entry I mentioned that as we processed these ideas in our staff training time God had led us as a community to change our typical weekly schedule to better reflect His priorities for us as a community. One change in particular has been to begin every morning with a time of seeking God’s presence.  We clearly sensed that this was to be a time of merely seeking God with no particular agenda and that we needed to start this immediately – instant-joyful obedience.

We knew God would do good things, but I must say I am so grateful for His amazing work in our lives.  There were things hidden in many of our lives that are being revealed in a gentle way and God is setting us free. When God leads He always does such a wonderful job!  Today we had our record number of new students join us in the time of seeking the Lord.   This was their first full day and God was so consistent to graciously do a good work in the lives of the students too.  Students who have been with us less than 24 hours were repenting in front of approximately 200 people, committing their futures to the Lord, and speak words of the Lord over us.  Talk about running into the God’s presence! Thank you Lord for Your leadership in our community.

“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10 NLT)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mary High, we will miss you!

While at the board meeting, I received a call from Darla that her 88-year-old mother in Fairmount Nursing Home suddenly took a turn for the worst as a result of pneumonia.  I arrived back in PA on Friday night, and by Saturday morning September 13th, Mary High had gone to be with the Lord.  What a loss for us, but what gain for her!  She had been suffering with Parkinson’s, and her speaking was faint among many other symptoms.  Now she is free to embrace the love of her life - Jesus.  We will miss her and her faithful intercession for us, but we are happy for her newfound freedom in her heavenly journey with the Father.

It was certainly providential that we were in PA at this time because this allowed Darla and I to see her mom several times in her final week, and it allowed us to be with our family in making the final arrangements and to participate in the funeral.  I gave the message and a recording of "In The Garden," sung and played by our daughter Kristen, was played during the funeral.  Because we flew all three of our children up to PA, she was there, but the emotions of the moment were too strong for her to sing the song live.  We are grateful to the Lord for the privilege of being with Darla’s mom and family during this time.  No doubt, this was hard, but we knew we were in exactly the right place at the right time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Family update

As you know, Kristen has joined our staff team.  She has worked hard and has reached her first level goal of her support.  We are proud of her and are praying that she can see her entire budget raised very soon.  In a few days, she starts work on our performing arts team that will take a drama called No More Victims to schools throughout the USA that presents an anti-bulling message.  Our hope is for many opportunities to share an even greater message of the One who loves our soul!   Please join Kristen and our team in prayer that God will impact the lives of many high school students this fall.

Breaking News:

Recently, Joshua decided to attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) this fall.   He is going to the DTS in Colorado Springs with an outreach to Indonesia or Nepal.  He will, of course, need to trust God for provision for the school and outreach.  He already has provision for his entire lecture phase – praise God!

Darla and I are so very grateful for those of you who pray for our family - may God richly bless you!

Until all have heard,
Michael & Darla