Friday, April 24, 2015

If Faith is to Grow it must be used!

Loren Cunningham comments in his book, "Daring to Live on The Edge"; “faith is a gift from God.  But for our faith to increase, it must be used and tested.” I have found this to be so true.  I remembered as a young Christian praying for God to increase my faith, but I did not sense any significant change.  When I began to obey the Lord and take the small risks He was asking me to take, then my faith grew.  Then one day He asked me to take on trusting Him for 185-acre campus.  This seemed absolutely crazy with our meager funding, and yet, as we sought God as a team God confirmed His word to pursue the purchase of what would become the campus for YWAM Orlando.

As we heard the stories of so many wonderful miracles in YWAM of property provisions, we assumed and hoped that we would have an instantaneous provision to purchase this land.  This did not happen, and as a result we now realize that God not only wanted to provide for us, but He wanted to teach us and grow our faith.  God dealt with us much in the way He did with the children of Israel. He told them; “remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness…that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 - NKJV)  Fortunately, it was not a 40-year journey, but it has been nine years since I asked the question; “Will you sell us this land?”  Within a week or two we will dedicate our kitchen and dining facility and hopefully by the end of the year we will have seven additional dormitory buildings completed.   This will give us the 200 beds we need for the initial core of our campus. As I write, I realize that many of our current students were only eight or nine years old when we started our journey.  No one in our YWAM Orlando Community would deny that although our process to obtain our campus and make it usable was extremely difficult, God has taught us so much about His ways and His character.  I am tremendously grateful for God’s leadership on our journey and I can also say with confidence that those that have walked with us on this journey have had a major increase in their faith and an understanding of the ways and character of God!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A life of faith - ruins you for the ordinary!

It's been many years since I read Loren Cunningham's book; "Daring To Live On The Edge".  As I read it again it is quite encouraging and refreshing, especially in this season of my life.  As I read the opening chapter, a classic phrase jumped out at me.  “Once you’ve experienced the life of faith, it ruins you for the ordinary.”[1]  I have found this to be absolutely true for me.  I remember many years ago when the thought of a consistent salary and a more comfortable living felt quite enticing.  I flirted with returning to my hometown to move back into what I perceived at the time as a “normal life”.  As I imagined being home I remembered people, places, and activities that had been so fulfilling before and I could not wait to get home to engage with these once again.

When I returned home for a brief time I was surprised to find that the all these things that seemed to entice me home were no longer satisfying.  I thought everyone and everything had changed while I was away.  But, as I examined this more carefully, I realized that the main change that had occurred was in me.  What used to be important to me paled next to the wonders of following the Lord.  Oh, the people at home were still wonderful and I will be forever grateful for the love and investment so many have made in my life, but I had tasted an extraordinary life of following Jesus on an epic journey.  The truth was that nothing else would ever satisfy me again.

Now that I look back I am so grateful that I did not return to what I perceived as a normal life.  We have faced many challenges in this life of faith.  Along the way people have said, “You guys must really have a gift of faith”, but as I have pondered this I don’t think that’s true.  Rather, I think we have been called to live a normal Christian life, a life that the Lord wants all of us as Christians to live, and that is a life of faith.  Of course, the particulars are different for each of us because God has a particular destiny for each and every one of us.  Nonetheless, each of us is called to obey and trust God.  

Although my life has been full of challenges and at times Darla and I have wondered if we would even make it through a few situations along the way, I would not trade this epic adventure of a lifetime for the ordinary existence that I once thought so enticing.  If you are reading this, then I invite you to trust the most trustworthy being in the universe - God - and follow Him on an epic journey of your own! 

Join us at to begin your journey...

[1] Loren Cunningham, Daring to Live on the Edge. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1991. 17.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday, is truly good, and yet...

This week in our community night at YWAM Orlando I reflected on the cross and what it means to us as believers in Christ.  I looked at the torturous and prolonged way of execution that the cross was in the time of Jesus.  To bring this home I showed a short film clip from the movie, To End All Wars, which was based on a true story of Scottish prisoners during World War II.  The scene is quite moving because a Major Campbell was going to be executed, but another man, Dusty, offers to take his place.  To the shock and dismay of all the prison camp commander decided to literally crucify Dusty.

In Mark 10 Jesus tells His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem and would be tortured and killed. (Mark 10:32-34 NKJV)  It was clear that He knew what was going to happen and yet He continued to travel toward Jerusalem.  But, on the night before His crucifixion He seemed to have some very real human doubts during His time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane during which He said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NASB) None of us have ever faced a cross in a literal sense, and yet I can clearly identify with the humanity of Jesus in this moment.  I have been absolutely certain that God has led us to take on the purchase and renovation of this large campus for YWAM Orlando and yet in times of great stress and weakness I have had similar conversations with the Lord. 

When I consider the price Jesus paid for our freedom I am astounded.  He was totally committed, there was no turning back.  Even in the midst of the torturous agony He says; “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJV)  What an amazing expression of love.  When I think of what Jesus did that day almost 2000 years ago I find a greater challenge in these words; “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NASB)  Simultaneously, I find a greater sweetness in this statement, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

We ended the evening in a sweet, but very sober, time of  communion, recommitting ourselves to the Lordship of Christ.  Today is Good Friday, it truly is good, and yet the memory of why it is good is simultaneously painful and lovely.  As I conclude this writing my heart is brimming over with gratitude and love for the One who loves me most!