Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Q & A

Hi Everyone,

Please read on for an inside scoop on what is happening in the Venture Community! Two of our Venture students participated in a Q & A session about their experiences so far this semester.

Q. Describe your experience ice climbing from day one and progressing throughout the week.

A. Ice Climbing was one of the most difficult, and most enjoyable classes so far this year. I was nervous at first in the days leading up to the class, but the first climb cured my fear quickly. The climbing was incredible, it had looked so structured and somewhat simple, but I was soon finding out just how athletic and spontaneous the sport was. Adam and Brooke also told us of how rare a chance it was to climb, since the sport is so expensive to do. The enjoyment of the class only increased as the week went on. The next day us students were shown different techniques and ways to climb; everyone improved from the lessons given and made us that much more confident and happy in our climbing. The third and forth days were just as fun. We traveled to Bozeman MT, where world class ice climbing is found in Hyalite canyon. Here our skills were again improved and we become bolder in which ice we wanted to climb, how we wanted to climb, and how many times we could climb. The climbing was awesome overall, but to be honest the true enjoyment for me was found in the fellowship and bonding brought by the class. The fear of hanging on a rope, the physical strain, and adventuresome feel was a very blessed doorway for all of us to grow much closer to each other. I know that had my fellow ventures and Adam and Brooke not been there, I would have been much less brave and adventurous in my climbing and it most assuredly would not have been as enjoyable. The class taught me much about conquering fears, climbing techniques, climbing gear, etc. However, my favorite parts of the class were its lessons in encouraging and supporting one another; and the greater love it gave me for the whole venture team.

-Kent Atkison

Q. What did the class Christ in the Old Testament do to your view of God?

A. We looked at theophanies and christophonies in the Old Testament and how whenever God appeared, that person he appeared to was immediately on their face and terrified. God hid Moses behind a cleft in a rock because he wouldn’t have been able to bear the weight of God’s glory as he passed by him. Gideon thought he was going to die after he had seen God. God’s glory is far greater than I could ever imagine and after reading these stories, it has given me a better view of who it is I’m talking to when I pray, and of who my creator is. I’m serving and putting my trust in God who is almighty. Having this class helped me see that more.

Q. What did this class do to your view of Jesus?

A. I had always heard that Christ was present in the Old Testament. John 1 talks about how Jesus was there from the very beginning. It has been easy for me just to think of Jesus as a New Testament being who came in the flesh and not to recognize his appearances in the Old Testament. We learned that scripture says Christ is the image of the invisible God. In the Old Testament God appears several times to man and we learned that it was Christ who came a bore the image of God during those times.

- Megan Downing

As you can see, students are learning alongside of each other. Not only in the classroom and community life, but in the midst of adventure in the wilderness. In the near future we will be taking them out Winter camping and then heading to downtown Seattle. Please be in prayer for thier community life, and their hearts to learn more about God. He is good and faithful God. His word says that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.We are praying that these venture students would seek Him earnestly with diligence.

Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Come and See

When Jesus first called his disciples he gave a simple invitation “ Come and See”.

What unfolded the next few years changed their lives forever. Jesus called His disciples to come and learn from Him, to grow, to take risks, and give their all to Him. When the fullness of time came, he sent them out to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….”

Through the Venture program we invite students to come back for a second year to “come and see” what Christ has in store for them. A year filled with spiritual depth, outdoor skills, leadership development, and experiential learning is bound to change their lives. Our hope is that the work God does in their hearts during the second year will carry on in their lives as they “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

Hear what God has been doing this semester through this Q & A session.

Q. How is God affecting your heart through the Venture program?

A. “God has been affecting, and doing many things in my heart this year, primarily softening it. The Venture program offers many leadership opportunities and obligations. The Lord has been very good to me in showing the weight a leader carries in his actions and decisions, as well as showing me my incapacity to accomplish these challenges in my own will power (due to my extreme depravity) and his sufficiency in them.” -Kent Atkinson

Q. In what ways is He stretching your mind?

A. “In our bible study we talked about idols that we have in our lives- things that we put above our relationship with God. So I have been thinking a lot about things that have been taking precedence in my life and searching for ways to make God my number one priority in every area of my life.” -Megan Downing

Q. Where do you see spiritual growth in your life?

A. “One area the lord has been good to grow me in is humility. I came to the school this second year extremely prideful and arrogant, and God being faithful, showed this to me very clearly, and granted me with sincere repentance. He has been showing me the need of humble leaders, and pointing out the meekness of these types of leaders in scripture- particularly Christ himself. To think that God willfully chose to come down from heaven into an earthly body and was ‘obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross’, makes me horrified of my self exultation and crave humility in my life.” Kent Atkinson

Q. What means has he used to teach you?

A. “ I love the fellowship between the other Ventures that I’ve had. God has used them to encourage me in so many ways and being a part of this ‘Venture Community’ h as given me the opportunity t put into practice, I guess, what I have been learning, and being able to see how God has been working in them as well.”

- Megan Downing

Monday, October 17, 2011

United in Christ

It is one week after our mid-semester break. We are well into the school year by now. As you can imagine, so many things are happening. We've just finished a line up of outstanding Venture classes. Starting with "Gospel Centered Ministry", to "Spiritual Disciplines", to "48 Hour Solo". Venture students dug into Eph 2 to study in depth the gospel message and how is shapes our hearts for ministry. Moving from there to study the spiritual disciplines. Talking with the Venture students themselves revealed the impact it had on their lives. This is the feedback from class.

Q- How did the spiritual disciplines class affect your spiritual life?

A- "I was challenged to get into the disciplines more. Simply knowing about them doesn't mean you actually do them. It encouraged me to put them into practice." Ashley

"We are commanded to do the disciplines are in scripture, for our benefit to get to know God better." Jordan

"I find them to be more enjoyable now knowing God delights in them and we're growing through them. They are a strongly biblical practice." Kent

We moved on directly from there into our 48 Hour solo. The timing of the solo is purposeful as we have just finished studying the gospel (our reason to practice the disciplines) and studying the disciplines in depth (how to carry out them out), so as to move on to practicing the disciplines at length. For most, it is hard to describe their time out in the wilderness. Powerful, refreshing, restful, amazing are just some of the things that came to mind. Jordan described her time as "Challenging in getting over my fear of being alone. Once I was beyond that, it challenged me still to take the time to read or pray even though I had all the time I could want to do that. I found I could let myself just sit there doing nothing".

Spending time with God in His word takes great discipline- a habit that each of these Venture students are pursuing and growing in. Thank you for your prayers through this process. As we continue on through the semester pray for them in their spiritual growth as well as their community life. We are studying community life together as we meet on Wednesday nights. In that we find many challenges and encouragements as well as room for growth. We look to Christ for our example of love and humility in our community life.

Philippians 2:1-11

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, 
 did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
7 rather, he made himself nothing 
 by taking the very nature of a servant, 
 being made in human likeness. 
8 And being found in appearance as a man, 
 he humbled himself 
 by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place 
 and gave him the name that is above every name, 
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
 in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
 to the glory of God the Father.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Ultimate Source

We begin this new year with of course, another venture. The mean of the word venture is essentially: a risky or daring journey- One must be up for an adventure, willing to take risks, and expecting a whole lot of growth to come. The opportunities are endless for the Venture students to grow or be as challenged as they are willing to step out. When asked, “What do you think ‘Venture’ means”, they responded with some great ideas. “To venture into something new; taking what you learned and putting it to the test”. Or, “to go into the unknown, to explore, to step out of your comfort zone.”

Many of them expect the challenges ahead with confidant anticipation that the Lord will grow them through it. Pray for them as they begin. Pray that their hearts will be good soil, and will understand God’s word spoken to them as well as the experiential lessons He has in store for them.

Our first experience we all shared together was an orientation trip to Glacier national park. The purpose of the trip was to spend fun time together after the summer apart, as well as go through orientation for the school year. As you can see from the pictures, we had a great time doing some rafting, bridge jumping, and mountain hiking!

Currently we are in the first week of the 2011/2012 school year. Students are here and relationships are already forming. As you think of us pray that John 15:1-11 would be our focus. Glorifying God through dwelling with Christ and our fruit would be from the ultimate source, the True Vine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Another Average Tuesday

Just another average Tuesday,

Tuesday we found ourselves 150 feet below the earth’s surface. We spent most of our time in the moist darkness of the sinkhole. We hiked way up on top of a ridge only to descend down 150 into feet into the bottom of a hole. We do not know when this sink hole was discovered or who was the first to venture down into it’s depths, but what fun we had exploring it! As part of the Rock Rescue training ventures are required to know how to rappel and ascend up the ropes. Let me tell you, it is tough work! It’s not quite hand over hand Sylvester Stallone style, but it takes a bit of strength to move the ascenders up over and over again.

Once inside the sinkhole you will find it quite intriguing! The walls are covered with a bright green moss and water slowly trickles down and splashes as it hits a ledge. You’ll see the occasional bat flutter about if you look closely. At the bottom there is a small cave system to explore. We descended further and further in until we reached the last room, which we all squished inside. If we had to guess, we would say we were close to 300 feet below the surface at the end of the caves. As we sat there together in the most quite and dark place imaginable we read Psalm 139 “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me, if I say, surely darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me; indeed the darkness shall not hide from you, but the night shines as the day. The darkness and the light are both alike to you.”

During the course of this week we also had the students reading a book called “Humility”. As we are in leadership positions here we recognize the importance of growing in humility, and often our lack thereof. We wanted to emphasis this point to the students and encourage them to keep their sights set on Christ. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness” C J Mahaney.

As we lead, we know that the good that comes from us is God working in and through us. That means we do not take credit for any affect we might have on those we lead. As we look at the end of this year we need to be sure to reflect on the things that God has done and let the glory and the good go to Him. In your sphere of influence, who is recognized? Who gets the Credit?

Please be praying with us these last weeks here. We will be finishing up a study on the Psalms, as well as a Rock Rescue/ Lead Climbing course. Then we will all make our way down to Moab, Utah for our final class. The whole student body with spend time debriefing the year and wrapping up their time together. Thank you Parents for partnering with us in prayer and encouragement for your sons and daughters. We look forward to seeing some of you for graduation.

In Christ,

Adam and Brooke Jordan

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Nights and City Lights

"Sleeping in Quincy, backcountry,and eating chocolate bars all day has stolen my heart. Winter camping was by far the coolest experience of my life. Inside our snow mound we'd shiver, sing, and pray at night. I cherish the memories set out there in our village of snow with our family of 8- I loved every bit so much. "
- Maddy Yohn.

Parents you will be glad to know that your students survived the winter camping experience and enjoyed it! We saw the Lord work out the perfect conditions for us with all our activities. With the weeks starting out in the negative tempratures it was blessing to see him clear up the skies and gives us the warm sun!

Immediately following the Winter Camping course the we traveled to Seattle for a concrete Gospel and Culture course. Senior Pastor of Bethany Community Church, Richard Dahlstrom taught our students elements of sharing the gospel in our cultural contexts. Here is a word from Brady Bowman on the week.
"Although a couple of weeks have passed since our trip to Seattle, and indelible imprint has been left on my heart and mind. I believe I can speak for all the Ventures ( and Adam & Brooke) in declaring the trip one of the major highlights of the year. The issue of engaging culture while remaining distinctly Christian is of great importance for us who claim to be orthodox believers. Initially, I was concerned that this expedition to Seattle would be little more than an interesting field trip to view secular culture. My concerns were quickly relieved as the week shaped into a focused study and observation of how to interact with the culture we find ourselves in. Being a student of Culture is so much more than an excuse to check out local shops and drink coffee- it is learning how the gospel operates in (and ultimately transforms) a specific culture. During the latter part of the week, we had the opportunity to prepare and serve meals at the Union Gopsel Mission in Downtown Seattle. I as grateful that we not only had the chance to meet a very real need, but we could also build relationships. Meeting these men in their context was challenging and stretching, but it was ultimately rewarding to establish commmon ground. Also, it pointed to the unifying theme of the week: engaging culture/meeting needs as the means to delivering the gospel. Our class timewith Richard centered on the flexibility of the gospel to culture (old wine, new wineskins). He took us through the history of human ideologies and worldviews, showing that there were common threads thoughout. At a basic level, every person is motivated by a desire to have certain needs met. Instead of discounting particular views as false, we use engagment to sympathize with people's needs and point to thier ultimate fulfillment in Christ. I've learned (and still am learning) that engaging culture helps bring me to a deepr understanding of the good news I'm trying to communicate. The gospel reaveal us all as helpless sinners who need to be transformed by God's grace. Instead of self-righteous condescensions , we can look at culture like Paul in Acts 17 when, "His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols". Then our reaction is not to separate from the world, but to build bridges that lead people to the to the city on a hill; where Jesus is our all- satisfying joy and treasure."

We thank you for the prayers and encouragements that you have sent our way. We feel greatly blessed by the Lord in His abundant lessons He has taught us this last quarter. We have just finished spring break and many of the students attended mission trips to Idaho and Colorado. God brought everyone back safely and we thank Him for that. Currently, we are looking at the last 8 weeks of the school year. We have discussed this with the Venture students and urged them to reflect on the last semester and consider what things they want to accomplish in these last weeks. Many of them have goals to be intentional in their relationships with the students, to be consistant in the disciplines they've started, and to finish strong. We look forward to the day of graduation in the sense that we will see these young leaders go out and accomplish God's will and purposes. Please continue to be in prayer for us and these students as they desire to accomplish these last goals in their time here. Pray that they would continue to grow and learn and remain committed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Every Day is an Adventure

The question we get a lot with ice climbing is "how does it compare to rock climbing". The truth is, it just doesn't! The Ventures have discovered how different they really are. We are so proud of them for all their hard work that week. Each of them put forth the maximum effort in their climbs. I heard many loud shouts of victory as each of them made it to the top of a climb.
We taught something called the "E" zone during their rock climbing class, which was used to emphasis encouragment. When they climb, they enter the encouragement zone and they have to speak positive encouragement to each other as they belay and climb. During the week of ice climbing we re-emphasised that point with the words of Eph. chapter 4:1-13. We are to "dillengetly preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace". He says God gave some as teachers, apostles, and pastors ect, for the building up of the body of Christ. We are to remember that to each one of us, a measure of grace has been given and in all humility, gentlness, patience, forbearance, and love we are to preserve the oneness of the body of Christ until we all reach the fullness of Christ in the end. During this second semester we have been going through a series called "Gospel in Life". The gospel should be working itself into every detail of our life to change us to be more like Christ. We have been challenged with thoughts on personal idols, serving the city, religion vs. relationship, and being a part of community. The gospel has challenged us in all those areas to lay down ourselves, and look at the ultimate example, who is Christ. Be praying that we would learn these concepts and put them to use because of our love for Christ and not out of a religious obligation.
In the next few weeks we will be doing some traveling to Seattle for a our Gospel in Culture class. Pray for our safety and for the students to glean as much as possible from the experience there. We will be doing a winter camping trip and they also have a class on Spiritual Warfare. Pray for their hearts to continue to be open to the lessons God is teaching them. We rejoice with them already in the ways which we see God working in their lives.
Thank you again for praying.