Writing for the Parent Herald
I have been asked to write for the online magazine, "Parent Herald" So far I have written 3 articles I thought you may enjoy them. Check it out
How to Protect your Kids from the Internet
Homeschooling Right for You?
How to Prepare your Child To Handle Bullying
CIRCLES, CIRCUITS, CYCLES
Notes by Bryan Bishop from Loren Cunningham’s message at the Global Leadership Forum, San Antonio del Mar, Mexico, December 2011
This is taken from www.ywam.org
In the Tower of Babel story in the Old Testament, they used bricks, not stones; they used tar (a product of death) not mortar (like the earth from which Adam was created). God called them to use stones, not bricks, when creating altars.
In the corporate world, you are only a number, like bricks. In the database of government, you are a constituency. The “bottom line” is all about numbers of dollars. Numbering. Remember when David wrongfully numbered his people as a source of pride.
Peter 2:5 says that you are living stones God is building into His spiritual temple. In the body, the back can move in many directions. Our body structure has flexibility. If, like Joseph, you no longer have God’s worldview, you have Pharaoh’s worldview. This view leads everyone into slavery–even Israel, from which Joseph was delivered.
All of us are not local, all of us are not global, all of us are glocal.
We’re not to be bricks, and we are not to look at the people God has given us as “bricks.” It’s the fear of flood, though God said it wouldn’t come again. In a controlling spirit, we want everyone to line up as bricks, so we don’t fear. But it’s altars we are to build, not towers.
Everything below the line is local. Everything above the line is global. Below the line, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but to God the things that are God’s.” You pay your taxes, even if you don’t agree with what they are used for. Jesus said to Pilate that war and defense and capital punishment were given by God to the realm of government.
In Canada, I was invited to speak on the difference between Islam and Christianity. Many Muslims attended. I spoke on the love of God, but afterward I was asked, “What is the role of war?” The TV cameras were rolling and I could sense the tension in the air. I responded, “God gave the government for justice and church for mercy – now ask me a mercy question.”
The first domain of authority is the individual. When you use authority, you should use it very sparingly. When you do, you should use it as a father or mother, mostly using your influence. Labels, through the pressure of society push you from one sphere into another. For example, Billy Graham was pressured to run for president, to become an “authority.” He stuck with his sphere of church–that was his realm of authority.
Satan became the “prince” of this earth. Through our sin, we followed him, giving him our God-given authority. Jesus said “I have been given all authority.” He claimed it back from Satan. Satan has no authority, and he has influence only through people.
Your spiritual authority gives you human influence as well. The individual, family, and church all have authority. We could become an exclusive club. Regarding status quo: there’s a status that has to do with pride, with powers. That’s not the kingdom of God. It’s circles that go out like ripples from a pebble in the pond. Jesus was rock, and we’re a part of the circles that go out from His life.
After the YWAM 50th Anniversary travels in 2010, we took time off after Christmas. I took four weeks off for first time in my life. I thought God would have us relax. But the very first morning, He gave me a download: Circuit Riders! Some young leaders were sensing this too. I had gotten two old books on Weslyan beginnings and their impact on societies. With such a great influx of people, they didn’t have enough leaders. Pastors would go by horseback in a circuit to preach, teach and to set their elders in order. I had the understanding that God was going to pour out His Spirit in such a powerful way.
In the Jesus movement, so many were ready to receive Christ, but the Church was not ready to receive them. In meetings leading up to our gathering in Fortaleza, Brazil, thousands of commitments to Christ were made. There were people from every gang in the city coming to church. Some churches didn’t want to accept them. In the Jesus Movement, millions made commitments but many felt rejected by institutionalized church.
God wants us to keep moving in circles of relationship. It’s circles around gifts, callings, ministry, vision, passion. There are many words for the same concepts, all categories of purpose. In this room, there are several: U of N, mercy ministries, regional/geographical, and demographic.
During this “download” from the Lord, I received revelation that I originally thought was just for Kona. All year, I wondered if it should be adopted beyond, as it has to do with all of YWAM and church life. Eldership should receive not only revelation but right interpretation and application. I think this could be revelation for all of us if we get the right interpretation. It’s not that we get smaller, but we expand our leadership. So it’s not GLF (Global Leadership Forum) but GLFs.
Maybe in coming times our travel will get harder, with visas or a collapse in the economy of some parts of the world. God is giving technologies to serve His people. I was able to buy for another organization a whole hospital for USD$10.00. It’s a virtual hospital, led by Dr. Carl, a leading pancreatic transplant doctor who is the head of the medical area for Call2All. They are going to serve frontline primary healthcare workers, and serve doctors and nurses worldwide.
We are trying to upload all of the teachings in all the languages we have. This is happening in Kona, with cloud technology. Global Virtual Studios is linking the arts worldwide. We are expecting to be able to communicate, have alternate energy and water resources globally in and beyond YWAM.
Why are we getting these revelations? I believe God wants us to stay close to each other in communication. But we are far away from each other. How do we geographically stay close to each other? That’s in circles of eldership and spheres of influence. Use your influence, but don’t use your authority unless you have to.
I have only asked five people to leave YWAM in 50 years. I realize there is a time when you have to do that. You have a legal right at the local level to do that. But only local “fathers and mothers” can do it with love. We tried to set up an international justice system. It would have cost $1 billion a year to run it. Don’t try to use authority if you’re not a father. It’s like a neighbor spanking your child.
Circles of Relationship. Circuits of Geography (multiplication). Cycles of Time management. We are all to be part of at least one local circle. Every YWAMer and especially leaders need to be a part of a local YWAM community for your personal accountability and your leadership authenticity. Being rooted locally gives you spiritual authority for teaching and leadership beyond the local. Then you stay relevant.
YWAM has no corporations above the local structure. In the legal battle Kona faced, we were able to prove that in YWAM one corporation isn’t led by another as a legal precedent for the USA. At a local level, we have local labels and we have local elderships over legal boards that “render unto Caesar.” Let’s move in the spiritual protection we have and that’s eldership. We can do all of this from a local level. The President’s Gathering for the U of N, that too is a circle of elders.
Someone tried to explain YWAM. They said, “they are not an organization or an institution; they are ‘swarms.’” This term was coined by Justin Long. Swarms are visionary, collaborative, sustainable, adaptable, voluntary, open, and multiplying. That’s what our swarms do. This because we are open and other bees come. All of this is true about YWAM when we are really living and moving as we should.
Creating a pyramid isn’t the key. We are not to transition out of leadership. We are to enlarge or expand leadership. I don’t believe we are to transition out of the GLF, but we are to enlarge this body of elders – fathers and mothers of YWAM. We will enlarge by creating circles. We can also create virtual conferences, so we aren’t always flying.
With global eldership, we are able to meet virtually because we do also have times when we can be together and embrace. We need those. Then there are other times when we don’t have to be together. Like we did last night, sharing with the Africa group around this table, it’s an important part of who we are. Let’s not make it smaller; that leaves people out. As we honor our fathers and mothers, that 5th commandment is for us in YWAM. Let’s enlarge and multiply our elderships and enrich and secure the YWAM movement which is spiritual, not a legal entity except at individual operating locations.
In the next season, pray for all the circles we have in YWAM and those we should have. Think of the circles we could have. What about a circle for all the cooks in YWAM? Circles in every sphere; we are working on a SphereView Bible. When a businessman and his family went through DTS, it changed his life: David Lindsey then started Companies With A Mission (CWAM). We want to start “sphere ministries.” We want to have people in government and all the spheres who relate to us at a vision level and spiritually–NOT legally or politically.
As these things happen, it brings multiplication as we have circles for every one of the seven spheres. Have a circle for Bible distribution. We can have circles in every category in YWAM. I pray we will receive a check or wisdom or anointing so we can receive the great influx that is coming. We need to have the trenches dug, so it can become a movement generated by the Spirit of God.
Who are elders? Think of the five-fold ministry gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Elders are to be apt to teach. You use the influence of your life and teaching. How do you correct someone when you are apostolic and not the director? Jean Patrick said he lost authority when he became regional director. He’d had a fatherly role before. Matthew 18:15-20, bring it to individual, then original witnesses, then the congregation. Keep it within the place and level where you are. That’s important for maintaining relationship. We see many ministries thrive and die because they don’t honor the 5th commandment. Honor your fathers and mothers in the faith.
For your legal board, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 works well with people you can trust: a combination of global YWAMers, local YWAMers, and representatives of donors from business and legal spheres blends well and gives a strong board, especially in troubled waters and seasons. One-third represent local donors (not pastors); one-third are YWAM elders beyond the local; and one-third from leadership on the local base. You want to have relationship as associates, not authority.
We are grateful that there have not been major schisms in YWAM throughout our history. If there is a situation with a leader, we do not want to destroy the ministry to discipline the leader. It would be like the like the Old Testament story of cutting the baby in half. Find another path for discipline. You will destroy the ministry if you don’t trust people. You do put safeguards in place and you give teaching.
A geographical eldership is one of the circles. We are not saying to do away with geographic eldership. But the church mission (religion) platform has been held up above the others. This must change to include all seven spheres. We must not say geographic leaders are above everyone else; it’s just one of the circles. They have a legitimate role, but don’t lord it over others because they are “above” you. Have circles over each and every Omega Zone, and then neighborhoods. Granularity will allow us great growth.
An ending challenge from Loren:
It is God’s vision to YWAM and to the whole body of Christ to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” Gen 1:28. It’s time to not only plan for 4K, it’s time to commit and do it: a YWAM operating location in every Omega Zone. Let’s get an organic relational eldership foundation that will allow for the spiritual tidal wave that’s coming. Pray for it! Plan for it! Work for it! Adapt and change for it! We must be prepared or we will be left behind when it comes. Even now, come in power and strength, Lord Jesus!
* * *
David Hamilton’s highlights from Loren’s message:
–We are called to build with stones not bricks. We value the uniqueness of every individual. We do not pump people out in mass production. We are called to build altars not towers.
–Loren spoke about spheres, not domains. He highlighted individual, family, church, government, and covenental associations (eg: legal entities that render to Caesar things that are Caesar’s). When we resort to authority as our mode of leadership, we tend to lose influence. The labels we use to describe our positions have authority implications. Is there other language? It’s not dis-empowering but understanding what God has called us to be.
–We are not in a time of transition but expansion. Our entities are not to be smaller but to be enlarged. We’re not to have one global leadership forum but many and more inclusive forums.
–Circles, circuits and cycles. Circles is about the demographics (people), circuits about the geographics (space), cycles about chronology (time). Most important is the circles, which are relational, purposeful. Apostolic communities.
–Glocal. We need to be involved locally and serving here and now, especially as we minister globally.
–Swarms: visionary. Circles within circles. Ezekiel 1: wheels within wheels.
–As we move forward, it’s the honoring of our spiritual fathers and mothers that gives us multi-generational life.
by Darlene Cunningham with David Joel Hamilton and Dawn Gauslin
Jesus’ strategy to evangelize the world was to multiply Himself into His disciples, who would reproduce men and women of like vision and values, who would multiply disciples, and so on (2 Tim 2:2). The goal was and is to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), to disciple all the nations (Matthew 28:19) and to produce fruit that will remain (John 15:16). This is the call of Youth With A Mission and University of the Nations, and should be the goal of every disciple.
How is good and lasting fruit produced? How do we reproduce in others the vision and values God has given to YWAM? It is not enough to be well organized and pass on information: we need to have ingested the foundational beliefs of the faith and the values of the Mission in order to pass them on to successive waves of learners. If this is not done, we will only copy a model and we will never be able to answer the “why” questions.
We need to know what we do believe and why, and we need to know what we do not believe and why.
The Bible uses many illustrations of trees, soil, vines, pruning, fruit, leaves and seeds to speak to us about our lives, ministry and fruitfulness. I first heard the analogy of the “Belief Tree” from Darrow Miller, of Disciple Nations Alliance, who speaks on biblical Christian worldview. He teaches that “ideas have consequences,” that there is a direct link between roots and fruit, what we believe and how we behave. I have since developed the illustration and use it as a foundation for nearly everything I teach. This simple illustration can provide a reference point, a measuring rod, for making decisions and evaluating the fruit of your ministry both individually and corporately. I trust that God will use it to bring insight and impart life to you in such a deep way that it becomes a part of your “toolbox” as well.
As you consider a tree, the soil represents our worldview. The roots represent our foundational beliefs; the trunk represents our values. The branches represent our principle-based decisions and policies. The fruit represents our actions/programs. The seeds represent the genetic code for reproducing life. And of course, the DNA of that First Seed was/is Jesus Himself, living in us! In order for there to be cycles of healthy life, the DNA must flow from the roots, through the trunk, along the branches and into the fruit. The seeds in the fruit start the process all over again.
SOIL = WORLDVIEWOne of the first things it is important to identify about ourselves and/or others is, “What is the environmental worldview that I was raised in, and what is the worldview of those I’m relating to?” Even though you may have come to Christ through the work of the cross, what is the background that has influenced your family, your culture and your thinking, even in subtle ways? This is the soil in which your “tree” grows. Is it Animistic? Hindu? Muslim? Secular humanism? This will affect the glasses through which you see everything. Much of the western world has a Judeo-Christian background, but it has declined into a worldview of secular humanism: “It’s all about me. If it feels good, do it. Truth is relative–it’s whatever I think is right for me.” Even in the way we present the gospel, it is important that we do not feed this lie. We value the individual, but we don’t worship the individual! It’s all about Jesus!
Often the errors in the worldview in which we have been raised need to be transformed to align with a biblical Christian worldview, which then forms the tap root of our beliefs. Four foundational truths of Christianity, identified by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, which must be included in our beliefs are:
1) God is infinite and personal. He is absolutely limitless and cannot be measured; He is uncreated and has no beginning or ending. And He is a personal/relational being with an intellect, will and emotions. Only the God of the Bible is both infinite and personal.
2) Men and women are finite and personal. We are made in God’s image as personal beings (with intellect, will and emotions), created for relationship with Him and others. But we are finite. We have a beginning point and definable limits.
3) Truth is constant and knowable. Truth doesn’t change; it is absolute. And we can know truth (“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32).
4) We are responsible for our choices. The consequences of our good/right/wise decisions lead to rewards and life; the consequences of our bad/wrong/sinful decisions lead to punishment and death.
ROOTS = BELIEFSThe roots of the tree are our basic beliefs, which must grow out of the truth of God’s Word or our tree can’t bear good fruit. All of our beliefs must be rooted in the Scripture.
Other elements of our basic root system include things like believing the truth about God’s nature (the essence of who He is: all powerful, all knowing, all present, etc.) and His character (how He chooses to express His nature: He is loving, kind, just, holy, merciful, etc.). Of course, we could spend volumes and eternity describing these foundational roots, because there is no end to the vastness and wonderfulness of our great God! But these are some of the most basic things we must learn from the Word and teach to those we disciple, in order to develop deep roots that can nourish their lives and influence every decision.
All of our YWAM Discipleship Training Schools should spend a major amount of time teaching and wrestling with the root system of our basic beliefs. The curriculum defined by the International DTS Centre and approved by the YWAM Global Leadership Forum gives excellent guidelines to follow in building strong roots (www.ywamdtscentre.com).
When we truly know God, when we learn how to hear His voice through time spent in relationship with Him, when we understand that because He loves us, His will is always the highest and best for us, for others, for Himself and for the universe, we will spend far less time in the syndrome of “I should have, could have, would have.” We are more settled in knowing that His will is always good and His grace is always sufficient.
TRUNK = VALUESIn Youth With A Mission, we place a strong emphasis on our Foundational Values. I am the one who began the process of identifying and writing down these values so that we could pass them on to successive generations of YWAMers for continued fruitfulness. I have come to realize that the values on their own presuppose that everyone has the same worldview and foundational belief system, which they do not. That is why, in recent years, I’ve begun teaching the “Belief Tree,” because our values grow out of and clarify our underlying beliefs. Just as a tree doesn’t begin with the trunk at ground level, our values are not the starting point. The starting point for producing fruit that remains is first the seed of Jesus planted in our lives, aligning our worldview with a biblical Christian worldview, and then the root system revealed throughout the Bible: who is God?…who is man?…what is truth? etc. For example, Foundational Value #14 states: “YWAM is called to value each individual.” Why? Because God is a personal God, who created mankind in His image, as personal beings, so that we could live together with Him in a relationship of love. We are to value what God values.
BRANCHES = PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS/POLICIESThe limbs of the tree represent the principles by why we make decisions, whether personal or corporate. Again, our decisions must grow out of and reflect our values or they lack strength. Jill Garrett, who introduced the Strengthsfinder assessment tool to YWAM, uses the architectural definition of the word “integrity” to illustrate the need for consistency between our purpose, vision, beliefs, values, principles and practices. All must be in line with each other and with the Word of the Lord in order for the structure to be sound and have integrity.
Have you ever been in a situation where a policy (i.e., a corporate decision) was implemented that just didn’t set right? Usually, it is because it is not consistent with what we say we value. Our principles and practices should be born out of our beliefs and values. They should be the seamless extension of them. When a practice is established, there should be a response in our spirits that says, “Well, of course! If we believe and value this, then the automatic fruit of our decisions should be that!”
Let me give you a really practical example. There was a situation once at a campus where I was the operations director. While I was away on a trip one time, an experienced older person was put in charge of the transportation department. When I returned home from my trip, I discovered that a new policy had been established regarding drivers of YWAM vehicles: no one under 25 years of age was allowed to drive the YWAM vans. I thought “Oh, we must have changed insurance companies, and they have set this rigid requirement.” So I set out to find the reason for this new rule, because it seemed very restrictive. When I asked, “Why do we have this new restriction? Has the government made a new rule? Or have we changed insurance companies?” I discovered that it was neither. The transportation manager was of the opinion that young people tended to be more careless and irresponsible than older drivers and decided to set the age limit higher!
God called us to be YOUTH With A Mission! Our sixth Foundational Values states: “YWAM is called to champion young people.” We can’t challenge young men and women to go into difficult and dangerous places, and possibly even lay down their lives for the Gospel, and then tell them we don’t trust them to drive the vans! It would be okay to have a requirement for all potential drivers to pass a driver’s test based on skills, but it is not okay to have an automatic judgment that “youth are irresponsible.”
Think about it: if decisions have been enacted at your campus or in your school that do not reflect who God is, or what He has called us to value, then guess which things needs to change! I am constantly in this evaluation process myself, and have faithful friends who challenge me with questions like: “Darlene, how does this or that decision reflect the justice of God and our call to be international?” God has called us as a Mission to a season of realignment. We need to be diligent to see that there is consistency between our beliefs, values, principles/decisions and actions/programs. This needs to be continuously evaluated.
We have made a policy, a corporate leadership decision, in the University of the Nations that we are required to have at least three hours of intercessory prayer per week in all of our courses. Why? If this is just a “rule” which is disconnected from our values and beliefs, then prayer can become a totally lifeless dead work. Buddhists pray. Hindus pray. Muslims pray five times a day! But they are not praying to the true God. Because of our root belief that God is both personal and infinite, we value prayer as the avenue of two-way communication with this God who hears and cares and has the power to act. Not only that, but He designed us to be co-creators with Him through prayer. He chooses to involve us in releasing His will “on earth as it is in heaven” through praying the things on His heart. It will transform our prayer lives when we really grasp this and make ourselves available to hear from God like we believe He wants to create with us in prayer!
FRUIT = ACTIONS/PROGRAMSThe fruit is the outward expression of the life of the tree. On an individual basis, it is our actions and behavior. On a corporate level, it is our programs and practices. In a healthy tree, the roots draw in life, giving nourishment that flows through the trunk and the branches resulting in the production of good fruit. That’s what we want for our lives and our ministries: good fruit that remains.
The amazing thing about fruit is, it has seeds inside! The seeds carry the DNA—the essential genetic data that will reproduce future generations of healthy, fruitful trees. Every successive season, there is new fruit, and though each fruit is unique, it carries the same DNA and will reproduce the same kind of tree as the one that it came from. You’ve probably heard it asked, “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but can you count the number of apples in a seed?”
Programs like the Discipleship Training School are “fruits” of our ministry tree that should reflect our beliefs, values and principles. Every DTS around the world can and should look different from the others–just as every apple is an apple but each one is unique–because the people God brings will be different and the needs will be different. We must continuously evaluate our methods and models as well to be sure that they support the new life and growth. God wants to give a fresh infusion of His Spirit and creativity into each school, but they should all carry the DNA, the genetic code, of a DTS and of YWAM.
Oftentimes people look at a program such as the DTS and want to replicate it. But it doesn’t work when it is disconnected from the YWAM “tree” from which it grew. Another ministry or a church may draw elements from a YWAM DTS, or run a similar discipleship program which may be very effective. Though the basic Bible beliefs are be similar, the values for every organization are different, and their programs should grow out of and reflect the unique characteristics of the things God has called them to embrace.
As mentioned earlier, integrity is when our worldview, beliefs, values, decisions and actions flow seamlessly, with no disconnect. Our actions and behavior should clearly align with what we say we believe. When this isn’t happening, there a break in the flow.
Here is another personal story that illustrates this point so clearly. As is our custom, one night Loren and I were hosting a large group of YWAMers for a meal at our home. Afterward, a number of people offered to help me clean up. One young leader, holding an armload of aluminum soda cans, asked “Darlene, do you recycle?” I replied, “I believe in it, but I don’t do it.” When I heard the words come out of my mouth, I was so shocked that I gasped out loud. I had been teaching on the Belief Tree to that very group of people! I asked the helper, “Did you hear what I just said? I said that I BELIEVE it, but I don’t DO it!” It’s true that in Hawaii, recycling is not required by law, and they don’t make it easy to accomplish, as recycle systems are not in place. But I went out the next day and bought recycle bins for aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass and I have recycled from that day to this.
My friend and co-worker, David Hamilton, has added another dimension to this Belief Tree teaching which will help you in using this as a very practical tool in your life:
WORLDVIEW = what is REALThis is our un-thought-through presuppositions about reality. It’s what we generally accept or believe from our environment or the way we were raised, without questioning.
BELIEFS = what is TRUEYou may ask, “But aren’t what is real and what is true the same?” Yes, if there is integrity; but if there is not integrity, what seems real to us and what is actually true may be very different. (Remember the foundational truths of Christianity outlined above: there is absolute truth, and it is constant and knowable.)
For example, in Africa some tribal people are animistic, so what is REAL for them is that they believe spirits exist in different forms of nature – rocks, the sea, lions, etc. According to their worldview, if you get sick it’s because someone has put a curse on you. When an animist becomes a Christian and believes that Jesus is the Son of God, they believe this is TRUE. When they become sick, they know Jesus can heal them because He is powerful. But if they pray to Jesus and don’t get well, they often quickly revert to the reality that they have known, which is that sickness is caused by evil spirits. So they may go back to the witch doctor to remove the curse.
This syncretism (mixture of opposing belief systems) works against integrity. Every culture and every individual has issues of syncretism. Identifying and ridding ourselves of it occurs as we mature in integrity.
VALUES = what is GOODIsn’t truth good? Yes, it should also be considered good. Why is this different? When you embrace something as good, it’s something you do because you like it. You find it desirable or beneficial. There is some internal delight.
When you read through the 18 YWAM values, you might read one and think “I’ve got to achieve this” or “I need to work on this one.” This is an indicator that you see this as a principle or truth that is right, but you have not yet learned to really love it. As long as it’s something external that you have to live up to, rather than something internal that you delight in, then it has not yet become a personal value.
PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS/POLICIES = what we think is RIGHTOnce you have embraced something true and attributed value to it, it will lead to right decisions and policies. Just living by the rules and doing what is right is not discipleship! What we want to see as a result of true discipleship is internal government. This is one of the most important things in the world, to be self-governed, have self-morality, and lead ourselves based on God’s principles, not on external boundaries.
ACTIONS/PROGRAMS = what is WISEIf all these others things are aligned, our behavior/actions will be wise.
We need to learn to make decisions that bring harmony between what is real and true and right and good and wise. Only then are we are walking in integrity! How do we discover whether there is seamless integrity or disconnections? By asking questions.
There are two questions that will lead you to insights at every level of the Belief Tree:
1. “WHY?” This is a discovery question that leads us to foundations/presuppositions.
Let’s look again at the example about young people not being allowed to drive YWAM vehicles, and use the question “Why?” to lead us from the action back down to the presuppositional worldview.
ACTION: young people can’t drive YWAM vans.
Why? Because of a faulty POLICY.
Why was the policy wrong? Because it did not reflect that we VALUE young people.
Why should we value young people?
Because our BELIEF about God, based on His Word, tells us that He values young people: Jeremiah, Mary, Timothy, David, Samuel, Daniel, Joseph…all of the disciples. Our Biblical Christian worldview tells us that we are made in the image of God from birth, not just from the age of 25!
When you get down to the “belief” part, you should always have a “God said in His word” upon which to base your belief.
It is so important to ask the WHY question. You cannot get understanding and make wise decisions without this. When people don’t understand beliefs and values, they just copy a model, and the life soon goes out of it. It becomes dead works.
You can also do the opposite, move from the roots to the fruit, by asking the question:
2. “SO WHAT?” This question leads us to understand implications/applications.
WORLDVIEW – we are made in image of creator God.
So what? We BELIEVE we can co-create with Him.
So what? We VALUE prayer as a good thing; it changes things!
So what? We make PRINCIPLE-BASED DECISIONS: I will give up whatever it takes to have time for prayer: sleep, food, social activities.
So what? My ACTIONS/BEHAVIOR line up: I establish a lifestyle of prayer.
The reason a lot of Christians fail is because they go straight from understanding something to be TRUE to doing something because it is RIGHT. They skip the step of VALUE and it becoming GOOD/delightful. It’s not hard for me to do what I embrace as good and delightful. But if I only try to do something because I know it is RIGHT, I will fail much more easily.
As you keep asking the Holy Spirit to examine your life and reveal any place where there is a lack of integrity, you can invite God to transform your mind and thinking so that you will grow in maturity and greater likeness to Christ!
Summary:We must know WHY we believe WHAT we believe. Our practices and programs should be a reflection of our beliefs, values and principle-based decisions. We should be able to give an answer when asked, “Why do you do what you do, the way you do it?” It is an opportunity to share our beliefs, values and principles. And if we don’t have an answer or we don’t know why, it is an opportunity to seek answers and make sure that our actions and the fruit of our lives and ministries are a true reflection of Jesus.
I love the story of one family—a husband, wife and two teenage kids—who came to do a DTS at YWAM/UofN Kona and heard me teach on the Belief Tree. They were fairly new Christians and the husband was a successful businessman. I’m sure he had sat through many courses on decision-making, but the Spirit of God had a profound impact on him and the whole family through understanding the Belief Tree. It gave them a simple yet practical framework for making decisions and evaluating whether their lives were in alignment with their beliefs. When they returned home after DTS, the family spent most of a two-week vacation to Ireland working on their family Belief Tree, defining their beliefs, values, principles and actions. They drew it on a large piece of poster board, and upon returning home, they hung it on the kitchen wall. It is there, in the busiest room of the house, that they gather to make family decisions, evaluate where they have come from and where they’re going. It is there that they also have that occasional discussion regarding outward behavior that may or may not match what they say they believe–not only the children’s behavior, but the parents have invited the children to hold them accountable to live what they say they believe. What a wonderful and simple yet profound tool for checking the integrity of our lives and ministries!
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Scriptures for additional meditation/study:
Psalm 1:1-3, Colossians 2:6-7, Matthew 7:15-23, Matthew 13:1-9, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Isaiah 61:3,11, John 15:1-17, Colossians 2 & 3, Romans 11:16.
© 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012 & 2014 Darlene J. Cunningham and Dawn E. Gauslin, Youth With A Mission. All rights reserved.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us–and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Are you a Son or a Slave?
When we read Luke 15, we come to this passage of a story of two sons. One is a shameful son who asks for his inheritance before his Father dies to burn it on shameful living. And you have another son who serves faithfully with his Father.
When the shameful son figures out his foolish choices, he heads back to his Father, asking to be treated as a servant. But his Father embraces him as his loved, lost son and celebrates his return.
The other son who has served with his Father can't even call his brother "brother" (Luke 15:30) is outraged when his Father accepts the person he has already rejected.
If you have spent any time in the church, you have heard this story. But the more I read this passage, the more I see how our Father God wants to relate to us and how we relate to Him. It shows how our Father views us and how we view Him. It exposes His heart for us and reveals the true nature of our hearts to ourselves.
We have a loving Father who deeply loves His children. But some of us failed so much that we feel that we should not even be called sons but treated like slaves. Others of us publicly are called sons and have no seen fault but hidden in our hearts we carry a relationship that functions more like a slave with his master.
One is entering in repentance to the Father. The other is avoiding a celebration with the Father.
One broken. The other is hard.
One is asking to be a slave—the other is living like one.
I look at this passage, and I see myself. Not only as a prodigal son who has sinned but also as the other son who acts like a slave.
God has been working on me for the last few years on what it means to be a son. He is teaching me what it means to be in his family, not just a servant in his household.
I am longing to grow deeper as a son. Being a missionary, it is easy to step into being a slave/servant in the house of God. But God has so much more for us. We don't fully understand His deep love for us. We don't fully understand how much He accepts us as His beloved children.
Where do you see yourself? Are you a son or a slave? Where are you standing with our Father?
Wherever you stand, I pray you would walk with me on this path of intimacy, going deeper in our relationship with our Father. For sure, down this path, there will be times when we will need to let go of things through repentance. We must understand that with intimacy comes exposure. Anything hidden will be brought into the light. But there will be acceptance. We will have no greater joy than in the loving arms of our Father.
Let us hold the hand of our Father as we journey down this path. I don't fully understand where He will take us or what is ahead. But let us trust our Father. He knows what is best. He can see down the road. He knows the way.
Come, let us walk with our Father.
If you would like more info about who you are, please watch a couple of videos that can help you.
CLICK HERE for a short video
CLICK HERE for a teaching video
. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2
Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
By Oswald Chambers
For More than Forgiveness
When Jesus died and rose from the grave He did it for more than just getting us saved from our sin so we can go to heaven. He did it so we can be sanctified to become more like Him, have a deep personal relationship with Him, and to know His purpose for our lives.
It is through this relationship with our Father we learn who we are has sons and daughters and receive healing.
This Easter Sunday thank God for His forgiveness, but also pursue a deeper in relationship with Him. Jesus is not only waiting for us to come, He is reaching out to us through the cross.
May you go deeper with Him this Easter season.
We are moving into greater anointing and authority than we’ve ever seen before. However, we’ve already seen attempts to limit our freedom to minister. These will continue, especially in seasons of persecution. God has already given us the pattern to continue to move as freely as possible in carrying out His work. That’s why we need to remain true to our calling.
Some want to define us as a “non-government organization” (NGO) or a “non-profit organization” (NPO). It may be easier when speaking to government officials or bankers to use those terms. But these should not define us. For one thing, both terms begin with “non.” That’s not who we are. But we, as YWAMers, are a spiritual movement of followers of Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible.
Who and What is YWAM?
1. We are the waves...
· According to the vision God showed me in June of 1956,
· Obeying and completing the Great Commission of Jesus.
2. YWAM is called to be constantly...
3. As followers of Jesus Christ, in an all-volunteer, faith-missionary movement, YWAM includes...
· People of every nationality, tribe, ethnicity (people groups),
and language groups,
· All generations, but with youth as the majority.
4. Therefore, as long as YWAM has these elements and is...
· Led and anointed by the Holy Spirit;
· Continuing to be God-fearing, remaining close to Jesus as Lord;
· Praising and worshiping Him;
· Advancing in the “alls” and “everys” of the Great Commission implicit in the covenantal vision of the “waves” which calls us to always innovate and co-create with God in fresh ways for the accomplishment of His purposes;
· Doing all as a scriptural-based movement, fulfilling all of His commands, with priestly intercession, and the five-fold ministry gifts operating among us;
· While building His kingdom, planting good seed that grows into mature followers of Jesus, and spiritually alive, lasting institutions, that are linked to the YWAM movement spiritually, relationally and with the same vision and values of YWAM, but are not related legally, as each entity must “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but to God the things that are God’s.” These include institutions such as schools for children, YWAM bases, UofN campuses, churches, families, healthcare clinics, ships, and more that serve to transform both individuals and societies in every one of the 4k Omega Zones of geography and in all the social & demographic spheres and groups through servant leadership.
As long as we remain faithful to these and to God’s Word, YWAM has a bright, fruitful, and growing future with God.
YWAM is and continues to be a global family of diverse ministries that are united in Jesus Christ with the same covenant, vision and values, as we are bonded together to Him and to one another, worshiping and learning together.
Jesus is Winning! We also win if we stay close to Jesus, and do, be and teach the above.
“Of the increase of His government and of peace, there will be no end... The zeal of The Lord of Hosts will do this” Isaiah 9:7 (ESV).
Loren Cunningham (September/October, 2013)
P.S. You probably noticed that many nouns, verbs and adjectives above are in BOLD. I want to challenge you to make a serious study of the Scripture regarding these concepts, either through the exact words or through implication. We need these foundational understandings from the Bible for all of YWAM in the days ahead. Discover them; live them; then teach them and YWAM will live!
*We ask that you do not alter the wording or content of the above text.
New Year, Great Time to Make Changes
We are entering a new year. This is a great time to reflect and evaluate the past year and pray and ask God what is to come. There are a lot of areas we need to look at.
1- Ask God what areas where I have grown and where do I need to grow? Ask yourself the same question. A lot of times we don't take the time to do this simple principle. We are all in need of growth. We all have grown and need to grow. But it is powerful when we actually take an honest look at our growth and where we need to grow set goals to get there. Ask God what you need to do to get to those goals God has shown you. In Jer 29:11 it says, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." God's plans are good and for us. Through spending time with Him hear from him a practical plan to meet your goals. Ask Him for a daily plan if needed to get to your goals.
3- In Proverbs 29:18 it says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..."
So the question I have for you (and myself) is what is God's vision for 2013 and beyond for you (and me)? When we get a hold of the vision God has for us, it will pull us into the discipline needed to follow through the plans God shows us to grow and the power to overcome the roadblocks that stop those things from happening. We need to have a vision! And that vision comes from God.
What does God have planned for you?
I believe that some people are reading this that you have made plans and they have failed. You came up with visions and they died. You have never overcome your roadblocks, but they have overcome you. For those of you out there, you need to go to the vision source. You need to go to the One who came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). Jesus is your answer.
Go to Jesus the start of this year and stick with Him throughout. Most of the time He will bring others to help you get past the obstacles you are facing to experience His plan for you (Jer 29:11). He will give you a vision. Ask Him.
May our God who overcame death and the cross be the Over-comer for you in your life in this New Year!
A Bright Light in Dark Times
On December 16, 2011 between 1 am and 2 am a flash flood went through the city of Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. At one point 75% of the city was underwater. Some places where 35 meters underwater. The water went to 8 feet within 30 seconds. Thousands lost their lives just a couple of weeks before Christmas.
We just got back from Thailand and were making plans for our move there. We as a family decided to give more than half our clothes and a bulk of our furniture to victims of the flood.
A day or so after the flood the Mayor came on TV with more than half the city destroyed and with no running water for over a month to come said, "We can't celebrate Christmas with so much destruction." It was dark times.
When Jesus was born it was also dark times in Israel. They had a power crazy man over them with the name of King Herod. Roman oppression was strong. And once Herod figured out a baby who would be called "King of Kings" would be born in Bethlehem he had all the baby boys under two years old killed. Much mourning took place that night.
Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt to hide Jesus from Herod until his death. They lived there as refuges in a strange land with people who were very ungodly who spoke a much different language.
Christmas is about Jesus coming and being a light in a dark world. It was dark times then as it is dark times now. But our hope is in Jesus.
Just as Christmas lights light up the night, Jesus is the Light that shines into our darkness and gives hope.
It is in the dark times we need to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
You may be facing financial difficulty. You can't find a job. Look toward the Christmas Light.
You maybe facing the soon death of a loved one. He gives hope to the mourning. Jesus is our hope. Jesus is our light.
The most important time of all to celebrate Christmas is in the dark seasons of our lives. May the Light of Christmas (Jesus) shine bright in your Christmas season.
Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 24 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.