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Dwelling Should Be Easy

dwell : 

to linger on, make residence, to live in, to sit, remain, abide

The Bible talks about us dwelling or abiding or remaining in/with God. But what does that mean? Do I have to go to a specific place to find His presence? Do I have to be reading my bible and only focusing on holy things?

John 14:16-17 says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him, because He (the Holy Spirit)

dwells with you continually

and will be in you….”

If the Spirit dwells with me forever all the time, I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything to be in His presence. He is always here. I am just way too caught up with taxes, laundry, dishes, ministry…

 

If I would just remember to acknowledge that He is present with me all the time.

The dwelling Jesus calls me to is not supposed to be hard.

He calls me to dwell in his presence… to stay there a little longer, linger and remain. How beautiful that the Spirit is constantly dwelling in and with me already.

To be in the presence of God is just to be.

It is to realize I’m already there.

To linger in his presence is to remain in the mindset of I am with him as I finish my quiet time or devotions in the morning and move to doing laundry and then to be talking to Him while I am doing taxes, and then again in while I’m making dinner.

His resurrection made this exact thing possible. I don’t have to go to the temple once a year. I have full access to Him because He dwells with me constantly and I choose to remind myself hour by hour to shift my thoughts to dwelling with Him, in Him.

He calls us to a place of remaining in His presence while doing normal life.
It’s consistency. To be constantly aware that He is remaining; dwelling with me, within me.

He doesn’t leave.

He is always present, so I will remain. I will dwell, abide, sit in the reality of His always present presence.

If you want to expand your understanding of His presence and what it means for you, consider joining us for the next Discipleship Training School. You’ll never be the same.

Expectations vs. Expectancy

We’ve all had that feeling – the one where we’ve been looking forward to something, planning for something, expecting something to happen a certain way…. and reality just doesn’t live up to our imagination. We walk away from whatever experience it was with a sense of disappointment, frustration, and an empty feeling inside because our expectations were left wanting.

I hate that feeling, and it happens in very big and very small ways throughout our lives.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to have 

expectations.

 We make them subconsciously, not even realizing we have them until they’re met or, more likely, unmet. Having expectations is a part of life, but what we need to be careful of is living a life continually out of expectations. Instead, we should live with a spirit of expectancy.

 

Even though the words are similar, there’s a big difference between expectation and expectancy. Expectation means holding our own thoughts and ideas, our own timeline, and our own plans of what will or should happen above God’s. It’s a need for control which, by the way, reveals areas of our lives where we have failed to trust God. Our demands for our own lives and the circumstances happening around us become our main focus, consuming the majority of our thoughts. Because of this, it blinds us to how God is actually moving. We become like all those who missed the birth of Christ because we weren’t expecting a stable.

When we live out of expectation, we open ourselves up to disappointment, frustration, sadness, confusion, worry, stress, exhaustion from overworking, cynicism, fear, anger, the list goes on. Even worse, unmet expectations lead to resentment – resentment towards ourselves, others, and resentment towards God. We begin to see our Loving Father as the one who withheld or denied our happiness instead of the One who is working all things for our good.

Expectancy,

however, is having expectations but without definitions and without a timeline or demand of them being filled. It’s a perspective switch where we take all of our own plans and set them at the foot of the cross. This means we take our hopes and dreams, hold them open handedly, and choose to live with expectancy for what our Loving Father will do with them. Oh the joy and surprise that can come when we open our hands and let Him fill them!

Having a spirit of expectancy also creates space for the Lord to move, it creates space for miracles to happen, and it creates the space for us to co-create with Him. This means we can be active participants in seeing His will fulfilled in our lives as well as His Kingdom because we continually make the conscious choice to surrender our own demands. It becomes about His dreams, His plans, and His desires instead of our own. After all, He is the one who knows us best, and His plans are far better than anything we could ever come up with. When we are able to set aside expectations, we begin to train our hearts and minds to expect God to work His will in our lives instead of forcing ours into reality.

Continually seeking His will with expectancy allows us to notice how He’s guiding and directing us. If we can give Him control and trust that He knows what He’s doing, it relieves the stress, the fear, and the worry about tomorrow. It can even help heal and relieve the hurts of the past because we know He’ll redeem them for good if we let Him.

All we have to do is change our expectations into expectancy,

act on what He tells us to do,

and wait for something beautiful to grow.

“Keep your life so consistently in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of EXPECTANCY, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.” 

Oswald Chambers

Don’t Rob Yourself Of Stillness

In the midst of the chaos all around us it’s easy to set our sights on the things of earth. Stillness is not a natural response to crisis. We see what’s happening all around us and it’s simply human nature to be hurt, angry, frustrated, depressed, fearful, and anxious. We’re scared of the uncertainty… and a million other things this crisis brings.

This morning we virtually gathered as YWAM Asheville like we’ve been doing each day to share a word and to have intercession. We focused on the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10, where Mary took the time to sit in the presence of Jesus and therefore focused on the things above. On the other hand, Martha responded to the presence of Jesus as most of us probably would…working to make sure everything is taken care of, in its place, in order. 

Jesus is here, in the middle of this mess… My question to you is this-

How will you respond to His presence in the midst of this crisis?

 

Of course, we have to take action in the midst of crisis …but we also need our minds to be still so that we can be filled with peace that passes all understanding. This will counteract the fear and anxiety. In order to effectively navigate our circumstances, we must be grounded in a place of stillness. A place that allows us to say,

“Everything else can and must wait.

I won’t move without your presence being real to me.”

 

It’s always easier said than done. It’s simple to say, “just look to Him!” But the truth is we need to recognize where we’re at… and it’s okay to acknowledge that we are walking in a place of fear. 
I struggle with anxious thoughts and sometimes I react to situations out of that place. When I’m anxious I can’t think clearly, my heart races, and I feel helpless, or like I need to control as much as I possibly can. 
 I strive and labor to get things done and nothing happens with excellence. During this season of feeling a unique pressure in this regard, I must remember to stop, breathe, be still. This will be a daily decision of calling out each thing I’m anxious about and laying it at the foot of the cross. To not push things under the rug but rather to actually deal with them. I want to be like Mary who was able to absorb everything from Jesus in that moment, despite to list of things she needed to get done, despite her societal obligations. 
Whatever you’re struggling with, whether you are a mom homeschooling 3 children right now, a single person in isolation, someone who has a family member who has the corona virus, or you’ve been laid off – no matter the circumstances everyone has an opportunity to be fearful and anxious right now.

The beauty in that reality is that we all also have the opportunity to protect our stillness, or perhaps find it for the first time. 

A Global Perspective on Rhett and Link’s Deconstruction of Faith

The pantheon of gods that my culture offers is quite an overwhelming experience. I grew up in a Christian family in India and had the unique advantage of seeing Jesus through the prism of other religions and deities. When you grow up with many options, critical thinking along with disagreeing and debating other world-views comes very naturally.

In my process of elimination and critical thinking through all of the options that were available, I found the Bible and Jesus very fascinating and compelling. Even so, I had to deconstruct before I could reconstruct my faith.

It’s a very healthy process. 

 

We have 4 daughters ages 12, 14, 16, and 18, and they have always gone to public school. My daughters are independent thinkers and we have intentionally shaped them to be so. This Lent we are taking them through the “what if we are wrong” process, helping them to relook at their Christian faith. There is room at the table for mysteries and questions because they are an important part of the process. We highly value the presence of critical and honest thinking when it comes to our faith. 

Yes, I have watched the whole 1:44 of the YouTube video of Rhett and Link on the deconstruction of their faith. They had my attention the whole time, as I was very inquisitive. I respect their journey and don’t think they are being dishonest with what is happening in their head.

This response is an appeal to their followers.

Consider these thoughts as you may be deconstructing your faith.

Jesus did not die for the Bible Belt of America…

Being on staff with CRU, I am sure they have traveled and have had some exposure to world religions. However, Rhett and Link’s spiritual journeys seem to be limited to the Bible Belt, which automatically constricts their reasoning. It is intellectual suicide to begin your critical thinking with the premise that the Bible was written to a 21st century Bible Belt Christian. You will be lessening and distorting the revelation by doing so.

You have to look at Jesus in light of other options. 

Despite my upbringing in a Christian home, I was surrounded by Hindus and Muslims. As well as English and Hindi, I learned to speak the language of Muslims, Urdu, because my best friends were Muslim. It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I saw the truth of the gospel of Jesus and decided to follow him. I moved to America in 1999 and married a woman from the Bible Belt, where we settled. Therefore, I am very familiar with the Bible Belt culture that Rhett and Link grew up in, but I’m also very familiar with other world-views.

Deconstructing one’s faith is only a fair argument if we deconstruct every world-view (including atheism) and allow each to pass through the same scrutiny, letting the truth emerge as a result.

Global Christian belief

  According to the 2017 census we have 7.5 billion people alive on planet earth and 2.1 billion of them subscribe to the Christian world-view. A majority of the growth is happening in non-Christian countries; in other words, places where it is illegal to proselytize or believe in Jesus. This is a crucial observation as they are not becoming “rice Christians,” meaning they convert only for the bowl of rice promised at the end of the sermon. With these conversions, they are risking the very lives of their family because they believe Jesus to be the truth. So, we are left with two options.

If a Hindu or Muslim that has converted to Christianity is willing to die for the sake of their new faith, it means he or she is either a lunatic or a critical thinker, going through a deep process of deductive reasoning. 

You may say other radical word-views are dying for their faith too. When you put them next to the Christian world-view the martyrdom looks the same, but they are not. It is very different from Islamic extremists taking their life for the sake of Allah. This is leaving the Islamic or Hindu world-view to follow Christ. The paramount difference here is, the force that Christians are driven by is love. It’s a massive difference.

One does not arrive at following Christ emotionally without considering the consequences, especially if it’s putting the lives of one’s family in danger.

If you are deconstructing as Rhett and Link have, to assume that these people have not thought through their faith intellectually is quite debasing. 

Historical figures

Napoleon Bonaparte, a European emperor from the early 1800s, conquered most of Europe through violence and forceful acts. Toward the end of his life Napoleon said, “Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men will die for Him.” The reason I find this very profound is a human of this caliber had no need to make any comment regarding Christianity, yet he saw the relentless pursuit of the followers of Jesus and could not deny the authenticity in the person of Jesus.  

Apostle Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, went to India just for the sake of telling people about Jesus. He was beheaded for spreading this message. From a glance it looks like a normal Christian story, but we have to look at this story through the cultural lens of India. Anti-Hindu messages don’t survive easily in the Indian culture. The counter-cultural message that Thomas brought to India of a faith in the One True God in a land of 350 million gods should not have stood the test of time. Yet today, a Christian movement has emerged in India 2000 years after Thomas gave his life for this message in India. As well, since Christianity came to India, Indian Christians have gone through hell to keep their faith.

It is not cultural or family protocol for Indian Christians to follow through with their faith. Rather Indian Christians come to their belief through reason and contemplation.  

Eye witnesses

We live in a world of fake news and it is very natural for us to question any news or any document, rightfully so. Sometimes we have the same response towards the gospels. The difference here is the gospels were not written like the news of today. The phrase that we commonly hear in the news reports of today is “sources say”. This is totally contrary to the first century Christians.  “Eye witness” was the golden standard. The information was either written by or cross checked by one or more eyewitnesses before it went on the circuit. Of course, Luke wrote his own account and was not an eyewitness; however, he got his data from several apostles who were eyewitnesses and wrote his account by diligent comparison of data gathered from these apostles, similarly to how a biography is written today.

The Quran and Jesus

The Quran was written 600 years after Jesus, and it affirms many accounts of the life of Christ, and reveres him as a holy prophet. The point of disagreement between Christianity and Islam is the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ. The Quran even affirms the second coming of Jesus. Traditionally there are 5 pillars of Islam; however, lately some of the Muslim communities have added a 6th pillar called the Jihad. I believe this is paramount because the 6-pillars Muslim community has always been against the Christian world-view. In recent years we have watched the brutal beheadings of Christians on Muslim soil. Thus, it begs the question, if they are so against the Christian world-view, why do they place Jesus on the seat of a prophet or give him the weight of the second coming? Why are Muslims converting to Christianity by hoards every day? It is worth the pausing and pondering. 

Rhett and Link discuss Christian authors talking about sharing Jesus to the person next to them on a flight and how ridiculous it is. Let me explain this for those born after the cell phone came into our world. The reason they always used the airplane as an example of sharing their faith is because that was the YouTube and blogs of their generation. In other words, that was where they met people. Now, we meet people via the internet on a daily basis.

So any blog or YouTube is just the same as their “airplane”. 

On a lighter note, this is not a crisis of Christian world-view. This way of thinking has been around and will be around. And it shall pass…

Happy deconstruction! 

4 Reasons To Do Your DTS in Asheville

 do your dts in asheville

4 reasons to do your dts in asheville 

1. we’re a family

We are all created to live and learn in a Community context. You are leaving home but you will be coming home, except this time it’s to a family of missionaries.  Hospitality and family are at the core of who we are and we thrive because of it.  Here there is a place for you to weave yourself in the the fabric of who we are. You will be entering a multicultural family where you will have the opportunity to see the world through the lens of other cultures that God created. And its going to expand your worldview to the better.  

2. discovering your purpose is our purpose

 

A unknown author said “two most important days of your life: The day you were born and the day you discover why.  It is the most exciting journey to be in where you are discovering your Purpose.  Our birth was not a coincidence or random act of God but rather a carefully crafted purposeful life. In your YWAM DTS here at Asheville, you will have a one on one attention with our staff on a weekly basis to help you find your call and your purpose. 

3. the hippies & the himilayas

Like we say it here, you will take the gospel of Jesus “from the mountains of Asheville to the valleys of the Himalayas.” We are passionate about many things…2 of the main ones are our city, Asheville, and the Himalayas. In your lecture phase you get to experience reaching out to the Nomadic, hippie, traveller young people that are trying to fins meaning of life and spirituality.  We serve them Indian vegan food and share Christ with them.  We carry the same passion into the outreach to the Himalayas reaching the same kind of people on the hippie trail. 

4. the location

I know God can move and touch us in any location.  But why not kill two birds with one stone? Asheville is surrounded 60 water falls and the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway runs through our city, and then there are countless hiking trails of the Appalachian mountains.  In the spring you will find that Asheville bursts with life and color. The YWAM DTS classroom is located right in the heart of Downtown Asheville, you are always in the midst of great artist blowing glass or stroking their paint brush or playing music on street corner. 

what are you waiting for? join the family. belong, be trained, be sent. sign up today!

My DTS Outreach

My dts Outreach

My dts outreach

I did my DTS almost 27 years ago, but the lessons learned are still fresh and relevant.

My biggest takeaway was that God has a specific call on my life. I’m not on earth randomly or haphazardly. He has a purpose for me. He made that clear to me one day as our team was playing with the children of the village we were living in, Yunatsite, Bulgaria. We were in this big open field on a cold wintery day. Everyone was all bundled up, wrestling in the middle of the field. I took a step back for a moment to just take it all in, and time started to stand still for me; things were happening in slow motion almost. In that moment, I felt the Lord say to me,

“There are villages all over the world like this who need to hear about Jesus. Will you go?”

It is one of the handful of times in my life to date that I KNEW God was undeniably speaking to me. I said yes to the Lord that day, and never turned back. He had called.

Another lesson I learned is that love and acceptance go a long way. There was this little three-year-old girl in this village named Nellie.

Nellie was the daughter of a prostitute, and no one in the village accepted her. One of the first days our team arrived, I went outside to meet all of the kids and was quickly surrounded by a sea of children. I leaned over and picked up the closest child to me. As I stood back up with Nellie in my arms, I could hear the kids’ audible gasps. They could not believe I had picked up this outcast. Mind you, I didn’t know Nellie was an outcast, I just knew she was a cute little girl. I leaned over to Nellie’s cheek and gave her a kiss. Again, gasps from the crowd around me. I then pointed to my cheek and asked Nellie for a kiss. She looked at me with such confusion on her face. So I kissed her again, and then pointed to my cheek. We did this a couple more times before Nellie leaned over to me and, instead of kissing my cheek, she sucked it. You see, as the daughter of a prostitute, Nellie didn’t know how to kiss. Kisses weren’t something she received. I knew then that Nellie was someone I was going to love on for our entire outreach in Yunatsite. This little girl needed to know she was loved, by me and by Jesus. Nellie and I spent a lot of time together, and by the end of the outreach she would come running through the door of our house, kiss me on my cheek and whisper,

“Obetchem te.” I love you.

Finally, God showed me in the most crazy way that he will always take care of me. You see, we lived in a house that did not have an indoor bathroom, so to bathe, we had to go to other homes to shower. In fact, in that two month outreach, I had a total of 14 showers/baths. One Wednesday night we were going to a house church in another village and there was a house in that village that had a shower we could use. So I had my backpack loaded with toiletries, a clean set of clothes, some team money, and my passport. After our showers we went drove to the house church where I left my backpack in the car. After church, we came out to discover the car had been broken into, and my backpack had been stolen…with everything in it, even my passport. My outreach leader and the local pastor spent the next three days combing that village in search of my bag. Late Saturday night, after I had gone to bed, the door to my room opened up and my leader tossed my book bag to me. They found the people who had my bag, and everything was in it (minus the cash) including my passport.

The Lord had truly taken care of me.

And he’s done it time and time again in these last 27 years.

My DTS outreach was the start of a life of adventure with Jesus.

Come to YWAM Asheville’s DTS and start your adventure today!