Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just the beginning...

Hey everybody! So several people have asked me if I'm going to blog this summer. I really had no intentions of doing so, but enough people have mentioned it and I've been thinking about it enough that I think I'm going to give it a shot. So this is me blogging. Look at me I'm so trendy. :)
To start off let me give you an overview of my summer. I'm interning for a church in Wauseon Ohio called Crossroads. My internship involves traveling the countryside making stops in Maine and Minnesota to spend time with church planters. (I know what you're thinking "Gee, really suffering for Jesus huh Levi," and to that I say somebody's got to do it.) Anyway, my job is to be a sponge. I am supposed to soak up as much as I can from these pastors about the culture of the area and what ministry strategies they used to start churches with each specific culture in mind. From there I am going to try and implement what I have learned about planting churches in Defiance Ohio where Crossroads is interested in possibly planting a church. I will be spending lots of time in Defiance during the month of July trying to feel out the culture and spiritual climate by hanging out in the community and getting to know people. That’s the brief overview.

I recently spent the month of January in Ethiopia and God really challenged me about my comfortable life style. Observing the Ethiopians’ faith and trust they placed in the Lord’s provision really pricked me heart. I began to realize, with the help of Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, that God does not call me to live comfortably, but rather He calls me to walk faithfully with Him and be obedient to His will daily. I realized that it’s really hard for Americans to trust God, because we don’t need to trust Him. We have our big bank accounts and healthcare benefits to fall back on. I'm not condemning good stewardship or healthcare, but I think it's hard to have faith as Americans because unless you actively seek to put yourself in places where God has to show up, you don't need Him. We have become too self reliant, I had become too self-reliant. Ever since I’ve been back in the states it has been my prayer that God would place me in situations where trusting Him is a necessity. Situations that would leave me so dependent on His presence that if He doesn’t show up I am going to be in serious trouble. Mark Buchanan in his book Your God is Too Safe, describes this reckless abandonment as living in the Holy Wild. He explains that the God of Heaven is not a safe God and if you truly follow Him He is going to take you places you don’t want to go and make you uncomfortable, but He doesn’t take you there and leave. He walks with you to the destination and leads you through the valley.

As I prepare to leave for Maine tomorrow, I do not really have any idea of what to expect. I’m staying with people I have never met, in a place I have never been, doing things I have never done. I have my doubts and worries, but I am surprisingly at peace. I am comforted by the verse I read in 2 Timothy 13 this morning, which states that "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." This summer is going to be an adventure to say the least and I’m really excited to meet new people and learn new things. It’s going to be a challenge and I’m going to be stretched and although this is a bit nerve racking I know that God is good and He is faithful and He will not leave me to fend for myself. As I left Taylor one of my friends said to me as we hugged good bye "be bold!" I thought that was a great way to end this entry and begin my summer. Be bold!

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