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What Is The Great Commission, and What Does It Mean To Us Today? – YWAM Asheville

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What Is The Great Commission, and What Does It Mean To Us Today?

 

Introduction

“The Great Commission” is a term that gets used a lot in Christian circles. I would guess that most practicing Christians have a general understanding that it refers to Jesus’s command to spread His message across the world, or “get people saved”…but is that the whole picture? What is the Great Commission, really

The Great Commission explained 

The texts in Scripture that we called “The Great Commission” are found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24. In these passages we find Jesus emboldening and assigning His disciples with purpose, vision, and zeal. Those that heard these words with their own ears had witnessed miracles; physical, mental, and spiritual. They watched as broken hearts were mended and worried minds set at ease. They experienced the Kingdom. The Kingdom was Jesus’s main talking point. Bringing Heaven to Earth. Creating pockets of paradise in the midst of this broken world. 

On Mission

Preaching “the gospel” means preaching the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Often we misunderstand it to mean simply getting people to accept Jesus as savior, but it’s so much more than that. The Great Commission is the lifelong calling to create space for Heaven on Earth wherever you go. 

In Heaven, the King is on the throne. Part of the Great Commission is inviting people to place Jesus on the throne of their hearts. 

In Heaven, the King is Lord of all. Part of the Great Commission is instructing people to lay their lives at Jesus’ feet, allowing Him to be supreme. 

In Heaven, there is no disunity. Part of the Great Commission is demonstrating Christlike humility, forgiveness, and patience. 

In Heaven, no darkness dwells. Part of the Great Commission is exposing and extinguishing the works of evil. 

In Heaven, mercy and justice mingle in perfect balance together. Part of the Great Commission is expressing compassion and making things right. 

The Great Commission is not only about the conversion of souls. It is also the formation of a new life, built upon new values, goals, and loyalties. To make a disciple is to introduce someone to the King and also His Kingdom.

This is why I am a missionary. Yes, eternity is real, and the soul’s eternal destination is an important conversation to have. But when we correctly understand what Jesus meant by “the Kingdom”, we quickly see that eternity was not His primary concern. Being a part of Youth With A Mission gives me a platform to make disciples of the King and His Kingdom on this side of eternity. 

What does the Great Commission mean to us today? 

As a believer living in today’s society, the Great Commission means the same thing it always has. Of course, we need to translate the gospel of the Kingdom into language that our modern audience can understand and relate to…but the objective hasn’t changed. Introduce people to Jesus, walk them into His Kingdom, and teach them to live in the ways, principles, and values of Heaven. 

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How YWAM takes part in the Great Commission 

YWAM’s core value is to Know God and Make Him Known. As a result, every YWAM course and YWAM school is centered around the Great Commission. If you come to a YWAM Discipleship Training School, you will be given time to KNOW GOD and the tools to MAKE GOD KNOWN. These are the building blocks of living a life on a mission! A YWAM DTS is an ideal place to begin to uncover your role in fulfilling the Great Commission. And the only YWAM DTS requirements are a high school diploma and a heart that is ready to say “HERE AM I, SEND ME!” 

Conclusion 

The truth is every Christian is called to be a missionary. Not everyone is meant to go to distant nations and learn different languages…most are called to be missionaries in their own towns, in their schools and in jobs. Remember, fulfilling the Great Commission looks like making space for Heaven to invade Earth. You can do that everywhere you go! But if you want more, if you’re thirsty to see the nations transformed, and you’re ready to go wherever Jesus would send you… do a DTS with YWAM Asheville!

Everything You Need to Know about Biblical Worldview – YWAM Asheville

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Everything You Need to Know about Biblical Worldview

Introduction 

“Biblical worldview.” Those are 2 dense words, placed right next to each other. But what do they mean? Are they related? This phrase may seem complex at first, but it’s actually a very basic concept. One that I believe is vital to living a healthy, balanced, and sustainable Christian life. Here’s everything you need to know about Biblical worldview. 

What is a worldview? 

Picture yourself wearing a big pair of glasses. These glasses are chipped, scratched, dirty, maybe even cracked. And yet, no matter what, you aren’t able to take them off. You’re stuck with them, and you’re stuck viewing the world through those imperfect lenses. 

On Mission

Let me explain. These glasses represent the lenses you view the world through, aka your worldview. The cracks, smidges, and chips represent everything that makes you who you are. They are your context. This includes your gender, race, age, location, health, family history, birth order, your parents, culture of origin, religious experience, social experience, marital status, current philosophies, values of your society, social status, education level …anything and everything that is woven into the picture of your existence. 

Though many of these factors are out of your control, they still have immense impact on the way you view the world around you, the way you interpret information, and the way you interact with concepts. 

For example, if you were raised in a very culturally conservative context, you might be more likely to look down upon the idea of wearing sweatpants to the grocery store – even though that is a morally neutral thing to do in the grand scheme of things. The customs and values you were raised with have subconsciously pre-determined if something is acceptable or not. This is a simple example, but hopefully it helps you understand that our origins and lived experiences deeply affect the lenses we wear. 

What kinds of questions does your worldview answer? 

Our worldview tends to act as either a scale or a map.

As a scale, our worldview surveys our life history and experiences and decides what is and is not valuable. What is or is not “good”. What is or is not “right”. It acts as a scale to determine what and who we align ourselves with. It determines our goals. It determines our fears. 

When acting as a map, our worldview guides us to or away from certain options, opportunities, or routes to best suit what we subconsciously prioritize. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

Our worldview answers questions like: 

  • What is my value? 
  • What is good and bad? 
  • What is success and failure? 
  • What is safe? 
  • What is important? 
  • Who am I supposed to be? 
  • Who can I trust? 

As you can see, our worldview determines very important things! We may never have even had a coherent or conscious thought about the above questions, but subtly working beneath the surface, our worldview is calling the shots. It goes by undetected mainly because we are largely unaware of the glasses we are wearing. The glasses we wear have made us into the person we are today, but they might not always serve us in every situation. 

The first step in being able to take off our glasses simply recognizes that we have them on. 

What is a Biblical worldview? 

A Biblical worldview is one that is attained after taking off the old glasses (not that this can ever be done totally, or perfectly). A Biblical worldview does not ask Christians to forget their past or reject their culture, but instead to hold it open-handed before God…to recognize that what feels true may not actually be the truth at all. 

A christian is one who is invited to take off the cracked lenses of his lived experience and surrender to a set of principles and truths that are untouched by bias, pollution, and pain. Seeing the world through the lenses of Scripture allows us to view other people as Jesus does, view success as He does, hold morality the way He does, receive purpose and value from our Maker, and allow His spirit to direct our decisions.

It takes bravery, humility, and time…but a Biblical worldview offers life in abundance to those who choose to see life through the eyes of the Life Giver. 

How YWAM Asheville can help you understand Biblical worldview 

I was first introduced to worldview during my Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Youth With A Mission (YWAM). In a YWAM DTS, every week of the lecture phase is introducing new aspects of the Biblical worldview. Each student can wrestle with new concepts, ask questions, and take the time they need to reflect on the lenses they might be wearing. One of these weeks addresses worldview in particular. At YWAM Asheville, one whole week is spent in Bible Overview. During this lecture, worldview is expanded upon, and personal context is discussed. Students are given tools to not only uncover their own context but explore the context of each book of the Bible. 

The Father Heart of God – YWAM Asheville

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The Father Heart of God

“I want to be on the side of Jesus when talking about the Father.” 

I was struck when I first heard this quote years ago. It felt new, accurate, and almost scandalous. God the Father was never outrightly taught to be cold, distant and quick to smite or kill me, but there was always this subtle impression that He wasn’t exactly kind like we know Jesus to be (at least in my mind). This new thought was challenging a preconceived notion I didn’t realize I even had. I sort of thought the Father was ready with a million lightning bolts to strike down folks, and the only thing holding him back was Jesus’ somehow superior compassion toward humanity. I was challenged by an author I was reading to take the words of Jesus about the Father and only hold to them as the sole basis for my thoughts on the Father. I was shocked at what I found. 

On Mission

Jesus didn’t have one negative thing to say about his Father. Only love, honor, and respect. Imagine that.. 

In fact, He drew such a vivid picture of a kind, patient, loving Father, that I was drawn into a greater depth of God’s love for me, others and the world. It drew me deeper into the mystery and beauty of the Trinity. What we believe about the Father is ultimately what we believe about Jesus

I was convicted by how vitally important our view of the Father is, and I believe it is one of the most important matters of our time! 

It is not lost on me the significance of this issue in our modern world. Sources point to somewhere between one quarter to one half of American children growing up without a father in the home. The impact this has on them as individuals, and our country as a whole is seemingly never-ending. This reality has caused us to even further doubt the goodness of the one true Father of all. We see the failure of human fathers and translate that to the character of God the Father. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

I was lucky enough to grow up with a loving father in the home, but in my adulthood, I have come to really understand and recognize the shortcomings of my earthly father. Thankfully, part of what I learned when uncovering the Father’s character has allowed me to place my own father in his rightful place, in the hierarchy of my heart. For all the good and bad, I can, in a way, let him off the hook, because I have anchored myself to the only Father I need. 

Ok, now, back to Jesus. What does He say about His Father?

“If you had known me, you would have known my father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:7. 

Jesus is saying, “Hey, you see me? Then you have seen the Father. All the questions you have about Him, look to find your answers in Me, because we are one.” 

God was kind enough to give us Himself, in the flesh, to paint a picture of His Father’s heart in the midst of our own broken earthly fathers. The Holy Spirit used this revelation in my life to also empower me to forgive my dad in various ways, and be the best father I can be to my children. Simple revelations of His Father heart will empower us to forgive the deepest of wounds, break generational patterns, and bring the Kingdom of light into our relationships.

Much of this new information about the Father Heart of God came through my YWAM Discipleship Training School. I had never thought to follow this rabbit trail, sniffing through scripture and my own heart, to discover some of my ungodly beliefs about the Father, until I was challenged to by some awesome Youth With A Mission staff that pushed me on to do something crazy; let Jesus define the Father for me. 

Boy am I glad I did! 

Even in the more difficult to read passages in the Old Testament, if I look at these stories in the context of their moment in history, the context of Israel as a nation, and what God was doing/teaching His people, I am able to uncover a beautifully patient, loving, passionate Father who is pruning the people He adores, as He forms them into a partner for Himself. At times, the Father uses decisive and swift actions to communicate a lesson, but it is always done from a place of overwhelming love. We can misinterpret God’s actions as cruel, the same way a child might interpret their parents’ discipline as cruel. But, a good and loving parent teaches their child boundaries, and upholds consequences because they want the best for their child, and they know this requires discipline. 

“For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12 

He has always been a Father, looking to shape His children into partners…partners who see His heart, agree with His mission, and will join Him in His redemptive work on Earth. 

What Obedience To God Really Means – YWAM Asheville

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What Obedience To God Really Means

Introduction 

In a culture where the term, “obedience” has become obsolete for many, it can be a difficult topic for people to hear. As a society we deem it as old fashioned and authoritarian, especially when related to things like God or religion…But there is a beauty to obedience that we are missing. 

What Does Obedience Mean? 

Obedience means: “compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.” For many that sounds harsh and boxed in. 

But if you were to think about a loving God, creator of the universe and of you and me, He’s not going to ask us to obey and do something that would be harmful, hurtful, or outside of who He created us to be. Being obedient to God can look radical to others at times. Whether you move to another country, quit your job, or stop doing something that you’re known for, it’s all worth it in the long run. 

You see, a Kingdom mindset is about longevity. We aren’t running this race to be satisfied today, rather we are putting in the hard work because God is worthy to be glorified today, tomorrow, and forever. 

On Mission

How Obedience Gets Discussed at YWAM Asheville 

As Youth With A Mission at large, one of our YWAM values is to Hear God’s Voice. “YWAM is committed to creating with God through listening to Him, praying His prayers and obeying His commands in matters great and small. We are dependent upon hearing His voice as individuals, together in team contexts and in larger gatherings, as an integral part of our process for decision making.” 

Here at YWAM Asheville we display this value with our belief that when God speaks something in prayer we should follow through and be obedient. However, the how and when are just as important. Many times people do the right thing but at the wrong time or in the wrong way and this causes confusion and has consequences. We instill this teaching in our discipleship class curriculum so that everyone who comes through our doors has the same foundations. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

Obedience in Scripture 

In scripture we see that obedience is Biblical. Numbers 20 is a famous passage where the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about getting water, he gave them a specific way of doing it: “take the rod, you and your brother Aaron later the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water.” But as we see Moses was disobedient, “Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with this rod; and water came out abundantly.” In our eyes the outcome was the same, water was produced, but the way that it happened was not how God ordained it. God was not glorified and there were consequences for both Moses and Aaron. 

In my experience… 

There are times in my life where I’ve heard God speak about something but I have been slow to move, I’ve “sat on His word” as we would call it. This would correlate with disobedience because timing is a part of the whole process.

After my YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) I was praying about what I should do next. God spoke to me clearly that I was to do a secondary Youth With A Mission (YWAM) course. I was at my home in England, immediately I ran downstairs to tell my family, and it wasn’t received well. In my excitement, I left God out of how He was going to be glorified in the timing of the delivery. This doesn’t mean that I would be waiting days, or even that it would be received well later on, but who knows what the outcome would have looked like if I had obeyed in the timing? 

In 2016, our whole base traveled with the DTS training school for their outreach in India. While we had been praying for our time we had gotten the scripture from Isaiah 61: “setting the captives free.” In my missionary mindset I thought this would mean spiritually but God showed us more clearly when we arrived that this meant physically. While we were there we met Reshma, a 19 year old who had been in the brothels since she was 13. Through a ministry that we work closely with, we were told that she was ready to leave the red light area but she didn’t have a sewing machine to start her own business. We all pitched in to purchase one for her. God then spoke about how he wanted us to have that same involvement with other women who had been sex trafficked and The Reshma Project was born. 

YWAM Training

Conclusion 

Obedience is having ears open to what God was speaking, being willing to be uncomfortable in a hard place, and stepping out in faith to follow through on what He has spoken. We often have no idea of the ramifications of our obedience. Let’s be a people who are quick to obey, hearing God’s voice consistently, and letting His words guide us in timing.

Hearing the Voice of God in Prayer – YWAM Asheville

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Hearing the Voice of God in Prayer 

Introduction 

‘Spill el cafecito’ is the Latino way to say, “tell me all about it.” Do you remember times when you have invited friends, coworkers, or someone you just met to grab a coffee? It is a simple yet effective way to say, “I want time with you, to sit down, to get to know you, there are things I want to discuss with you.” The invitation tends to be exciting, and you may even start feeling anticipation about the conversation as it approaches. A coffee date is just a simple example of a relational invitation. It requires intentionality, expression, and communication. It is a request for an exchange. A call to share things about ourselves with each other.

fear of the lord

Hearing God’s Voice 

Hearing the voice of God in prayer requires the same exact things. Intention, expression, and communication. Prayer, too, is an invitation. God invites us to make room in our minds and hearts for His presence. And we invite God to speak and exist in whatever way He pleases, to make Himself known to us. It is intentional, and the good news about this is that His word promises us He will make himself available to us: 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you”. John 16:13-15 

I want to share with you some principles, or practical ways, you can develop an ear to hear the voice of God. Prayer will never look the same when you learn to recognize that He has been speaking to you all along! It will enable you to connect to the core and purpose of prayer

Let’s start by defining prayer. I would say prayer is communion and communication between man and God. As we approach a posture of prayer, it helps to examine whether or not our hearts are fully available for Him. Do we need to reconcile any conflicts or issues that might come between us and others, or us and God? Taking the time to make your relationships with other people as healthy as possible will have an immense impact on your relationship with God as well. Things like bitterness, unforgiveness, offense, or hurt can cloud our ability to fully grasp God’s heart and will.

Another thing to consider doing when you pray is consciously setting aside your own thoughts and presumptions, in order to clear the slate for God to speak as He wants. 

Engaging in spiritual warfare before you begin is important. Resist and disallow any strategies or opposition from the enemy that would block you from hearing with clarity. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

As you shift into times of prayer, know that you can invite God’s presence with confidence and boldness. You don’t need to beg for Him to hear you, or plead for His willingness to dwell with you. You are His child! All authority in Heaven and on Earth was given to Jesus, and He shares it freely with us, His co-heirs. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. You can trust that He hears you when you speak to Him, and that He will respond. 

We must understand God is a personal God. This implies he will speak to us in ways you can understand. There are many ways God communicates. He might speak through things like: Scripture, nature, dreams, creativity, music, movies, and people around you. As we mentioned in the book of John, he will guide us into all the truth. So it takes faith and obedience to receive all he brings to mind. It will take consistency, willingness, and patience to recognize His voice – just as in every relationship! 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

How Hearing God’s Voice Looks at YWAM Asheville 

In Youth With A Mission, two of our foundational values are to hear the voice of God and practice worship and intercessory prayer. In the discipleship training school, known as a “DTS”, as well as all our YWAM courses. We include these practices in almost every aspect of life and decision-making. We want to hear and follow His direction in small and big matters! We take His word to heart, and put it into practice. 

At YWAM Asheville, part of our DTS class curriculum is to take time to hear God in prayer for our schools and ministries. Joy Dawson and her teaching on principles for effective intercession have led us to another level of faith and purpose to pray for every tribe and nation, and every area of society. 

Conclusion 

To slow down and sit down in His presence can be one of the best ways to start making these disciplines a fuel for our walk in the promises of God. It can look dynamic, unique, and creative. I challenge you to give it a try, and make space for His voice to lead the way into every detail of your life, all in order to align your heart with His.

Power Of Prayer – YWAM Asheville

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Power of Prayer

Introduction 

Prayer is powerful! It’s something that’s been the heartbeat of the Judeo-Christian faith since the very beginning. However, it seems our perception of prayer has been diminished. Prayer isn’t just for our grandmas and mothers to do; it’s not just another reason for the church to call a gathering together. There has to be something more to it. This begs the question: why do Christians pray? What is the power of prayer? 

fear of the lord

Understanding Prayer 

Let’s understand prayer by using the Bible and personal testimonies. One of the clearest scripture passages about prayer is Matthew 6, most commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. Jesus starts by warning us to keep prayer sacred by not using it as a means to impress others. Instead, we are to pray in a way that honors an intimate personal moment with our God. This of course, is not to say never to pray out loud; it’s a common occurrence in the Christian faith to pray out loud with others. 

He says this because He was correcting the false works-based view that the Pharisees had created and the customs of other regional religions. Jesus also states that we don’t have to ask God for things repeatedly. Why is that? Our God is a loving and attentive Father who knows us and our needs. We don’t have to work harder to get his attention. He is our “Abba,” and we are his children. 

Jesus then gives us a prayer template. Our first step is to humbly acknowledge that God is our Father and His name is to be made holy or revered, set apart from all others. The next verse is where we see the missional aspect of prayer. Jesus says to ask Him for His Kingdom to come to Earth. As His followers, we get the chance to partner with God to see the fruition of His will on Earth. Without praying, we cannot expect to see people saved and delivered from strongholds, generational patterns, addiction, etc..… without praying. Praying is partnering with God to see his Kingdom come. This is why Youth With A Mission values prayer: because without prayer, our mission becomes hollow.

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

Our core desire at YWAM is to KNOW GOD so that we can enjoy, love, and serve him; making Him known. How can we know the will of God without knowing God and His voice? We believe that God speaks to us! This happens, most often, through prayer. At YWAM Asheville, times of group prayer and intercession are a part of our Discipleship Training curriculum and everyday culture. 

Next, Jesus says that we are to ask God for our “daily bread”, which means that we depend on God for our daily needs, understanding that the needs of the future are also in His hands. Jesus ends with two more statements, “and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:12-13). Forgiveness is foundational to the Kingdom of God. Jesus led by example and practiced forgiveness. Even in his final moments on earth, He chose to forgive those who were crucifying him. He invites us into the same rhythm of grace. 

Lastly, Jesus says that we should ask not to be led into temptation but to be delivered away from the evil one. This demonstrates to me the verbal acknowledgment that God is more powerful than evil. He is capable of making a way of righteousness for us, even though the evilest of circumstances. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

Why Should We Pray?

Jesus answers the question of what prayer is and how to pray. The next question we need to answer is: why? A lot of times, I’ve struggled to believe that prayer is even more important, much less powerful. However, I’ve been pushed in my faith to a point where prayer was the only option; I had no other choice than to ask God and hope he would come through. And guess what…He’s been faithful every time. 

God is a personal God, and prayer is the means of communicating with Him. How are we supposed to know someone when we don’t spend time with them? God delights in our prayers (Proverbs 15:18), so when we pray with an upright heart, we can take joy that our Father is pleased in hearing His children talk with Him. 

Let’s switch lenses for a second. Most of what we’ve discussed is personal prayer times between God and us. Prayer is also something we can do for others. One of the most beautiful things I witnessed in my YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) involved prayer for others. When someone in our community had a need, we were able to rally behind them, pray over them, and encourage them…and then step back and see God come through and deliver. Together, as one body, approaching our Father with open hands and ready hearts. 

How does prayer play a role at YWAM Asheville? 

In the two YWAM schools and courses that I have completed, one of the things that have always remained constant in the Discipleship Training curriculum was intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is a time of group prayer for those in need. It can be for something as big as praying over an entire nation, an injustice, or something more specific like praying over an upcoming ministry time. Either way, intercessory prayer is at the heart of YWAM.

Missions without intercession would be like a car with no gas. It is by praying that we truly get to see the heart of God in action. In prayer times, I have seen God expand my ability to love others better because I get to sense how much He loves them. When I co-led an outreach trip to South Africa, I specifically remember during intercessory prayer when I felt God was revealing what He wanted to do in South Africa. It gave me a download of His heart and His will for His people, which sustained me during times of ministry; no matter how tired or hungry I was. That spiritual image was in the back of my head, helping me push through so I could partner with God in seeing His Kingdom come to fruition here on Earth. That trip yielded many testimonies of God’s faithfulness, and around 140 people came to know Jesus. It was incredible, but the only reason it was such a fruitful outreach was that we heard God’s will and allowed Him to move through us. 

Youth with a Mission, Asheville

Final Thoughts 

To bring this to a conclusion, let’s go back and review. We know what prayer is because Jesus tells us and shows us what it is. It’s an intimate moment between a loving Father and His children. The reason to pray? Our main reason for existence is to know God, and prayer (empowered by the Holy Spirit) is one important way we get to know the Father deeply. I hope that the power of what scripture says about prayer and the personal testimonies of my life will challenge you to see the importance and necessity of prayer in our lives.