Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
How do we sum up this first semester? It is hard to put into words, but I’ve asked a couple of Venture students to try……
“If I were to describe this first semester with two words it would be “Gospel Centered” or if I could use 6 words it would be “Life changing because of the gospel.”-Logan Wynne
“Overwhelmingly Deep”- Maddy Yohn
Luke 9:24 “ If you really want to find your life you must lose it.”
True leadership exacts a toll. The higher the accomplishment the higher the price paid. Any worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag. It comes down to one basic question” How much hard work, sacrifice, and endurance are you willing to pay to obtain the worthwhile goal.” We talked about this earlier in the year during Spiritual Disciplines class. Philippians 3:8 “More than that I could all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ…..” The Venture students have been challenged by these thoughts. How much will I give up? What has had the place of value in my life above Jesus Christ? What has become a counterfeit god for me? Adam and I would say, that though we are all still in this daily process of losing our life so that we may find it in Christ, we have seen tremendous growth in each of these students. The Lord began this work very quickly this semester and we are so delighted to have seen your sons and daughters respond quickly and obediently. We want you to hear from them what they have learned and what they are expecting from next semester.
“This semester has been nuts- backpacking in the snow and rain, exploring caves with Nasher, exposing idols with the help of Tim Keller, cliff-jumping at crooked tree, rock climbing in Helena, praying together as a dorm, spontaneous trips to Missoula, tea time with C.S. Lewis, soccer and ultimate Frisbee on the filed, 48 hours in the woods by myself, medaling in the special Olympics, fall break in Bozeman, remember our WAFA time with Charles, memorizing scripture, coffee, mullets, and pig roasts, conquering steamboat (again), getting our praise on, crazy ball, the strange joys of detention, late-night conversations, and realizing more fully that our Jesus is at the center of the Gospel.
I’ve seen so much growth in my life and in the lives of other Ventures that it’s hard to know where to start. Everything for me this semester has gone back to the gospel. I’ve learned so much about the disciplines, and the freedom they afford. At the root of praying, bible reading, memorizing, fasting, etc is the gospel and a better understanding of who Jesus is. All our actions (no matter how “spiritual” they seem) are valuable only as they serve the purpose of loving God more. Going through the book “Counterfeit Gods” in bible study, has opened us up to the fact that even if we profess the Lordship of Christ with our lips, we often still live our lives with something else functioning as savior. Yet again I was brought back to the gospel and the understanding that Jesus is the only one who can truly uproot and supplant the idols of the heart. Recently, we had the privilege of taking “Gospel-Centered Ministry” from John Erickson, a pastor of a church in Minneapolis. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the class deepened my understanding of my sinfulness and my desperate need for reconciliation through the gospel. We learned that ministry cannot be effective unless it is centered around the cross of Christ and the word of God.
Along with spiritual growth, I have benefitted greatly from the experience of learning to lead. One of the biggest aspects in the learning process has been seeing leadership modeled for me. The staff has done a great job of displaying spiritual leadership, and I am grateful for their examples, especially Adam and Brooke. Not only have they been thoughtful about encouraging and teaching, but also their transparency has been huge. It has been humbling to learn what makes a successful Christian leader and to see it firsthand thought the staff. The first 11 verses in John 15 have been instrumental in the way I lead. Jesus is the one who brings for the fruit and so I’m reminded that in order to effective I must abide in Christ. Not only That, I am starting to see how friendships rooted in Christ have a much deeper bond. As Paul said to the Philippians, “I thank my God in all remembrance of you….in view of your participation in the gospel.” You don’t need to be perfect to have relationships. I’ve learned that being real and open in the best way to enjoy meaningful relationships. The idea is to bear on another’s burdens and to build each other up. So it comes full circle: abiding in Christ and the gospel is the only way to have meaningful Christian fellowship and to lead effectively. “ – Brady Bowman
As you can see, the Lord has done much! Elizabeth Kupferschmid talks about what she is looking forward to in the next semester:
“I don’t know what to expect next semester, but based on this first semester my hopes are high. For me, this semester has been so much about self-control, & discipline, living consistently, steadily, and daily for Christ….Next semester I expect, will be filled with lots of challenges, as this semester has already had a few, but I pray that God will help me to grow into Him as I go through more. I think the fellowship will be deeper since we have already laid the foundation for our friendships. I am excited about the classes next semester as well. There have been several classes this semester that God has used to really hit home in my heart, challenge me ad reveal to me a little bit more of Himself. What awesome possibilities await in the next few months! I am excited for it, and I know it will fly by. I pray that every moment will be used to glorify God.”
Parents, we thank you for the prayers and encouragements you have sent this way. As you can see, the students are greatly benefiting from their studies and experiences here. We are finishing this semester with a smile. We praise the Lord for the good works He is doing. Thank you for partnering with us in His work. We pray that you will continue to partner in this ministry over the Christmas break by praying for your sons and daughters and asking them the specific questions they would like you to.
We wish you all wonderful fellowship over the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. We’ll talk again next year!
Adam and Brooke Jordan
Thursday, October 28, 2010
(Yes "special" they were! Students had great time participating in the Olympics. Thanks Ventures and planning committee for putting it on.)
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thank you everyone for your prayers. I have to say God has been doing an awesome work in these Ventures. Starting with the week of Spiritual Disciplines God was revealing some truth and challenging the depth of their relationship with Him. As we asked for prayer that they would “count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus…” I believe He is really doing that. “Discipline without direction is drudgery” is the first line in their textbook and was an essential point they needed to get. I would describe Spiritual Disciplines class as a road map. Each discipline points out a direction to walk in order to get closer to the Lord. If you parents and friends are interested in that for your own life we recommend the textbook from this class, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”, by Donald Whitney. I would encourage you as you talk with these students to continue to challenge them in asking how they are growing in spiritual discipline.
Once the week of Disciplines was over we headed into our 48-hour Solo class. That time with the Lord is irreplaceable. We headed out Monday after lunch and camped up the Dearborn canyon. We spent the evening at a central campsite sitting around the fire discussing what was to come. There was excitement, anticipation, fear, and curiosity in the faces of these students. Each of them was wondering what was to come in the next two days alone. As the evening began to close we began discussing the issue of fear that comes out of being alone. One student was bold enough to share her immense struggle with the whole idea of being alone in the woods for 48 hours. As we talked through the evening God began to reveal truth to all of us about what his word says concerning fear. We are commanded not to fear, but to only have a fear of the Lord. His perfect love cast out fear. We discussed how fear is a controlling emotion that captivates our hearts to believe its lies above God’s truth. Have you been there? Paralyzed by fear and not know the way out? Praise be to God that there is freedom and truth. He has come that we might have life and have it abundantly. Romans 6 says that you are a slave only to the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness. When dealing with fear the most important part of claiming freedom is to replace the fear with TRUTH. God’s word is divinely powerful, able to defeat strongholds (2 Cor 10).
Let’s hear first hand from our Venture student Lori Halldorson:
“Fear. It is the secret monster that controls the way you live without even realizing it is taking effect. Fear has been clouding my vision and leaving me victim to my own imagination for years. This struggle in my life has come to the surface just last week during our class, 48 Hour Solo. The reason for the Solo was to practice the spiritual discipline we were taught in a previous class by spending two days I the wilderness alone. This experience was a challenge and a stepping-stone for me in my fight against fear. I had to ask myself, “Do I really trust God? ”Along the way I kept a journal of my experiences. Here are two of my entries that will hopefully give you a glimpse into the process of trusting the Lord:
I had no idea even how to fight the battle I was about to face. The Lord wanted to give me the spirit of courage, but first I had to give up the spirit of fear I was clinging to. I had two choices before me, either to believe what God’s word says is truth, or to disregard it and be overcome by fear. I wanted badly to believe the Lord, but again I was fearful to leave the very comfort of having fear because that would require me to actively practice trusting God with everything.
The process was truly life altering because of the choice to place my trust in the Lord instead of myself. During the solo, not once did the spirit of fear overcome me. The Lord carried me through and I realized that in order to trust the Lord I must allow Him to be my full confidence. I encourage you to read psalm 91 out loud when battling fear. Allow me to leave you with this challenge, “What can you do today to actively test your trust in the Lord?”
We thank Lori for being willing to share this with you all. It’s just a neat insight in to the work God is doing in their hearts. Keep calling and writing your children letters of encouragement and challenge. They have expressed excitement about the recent care packages and letters they have received. Thank you for taking the time!
“Trust in the Lord and do good,
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it!” Psalm 37:3-5
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
CPR with Charles
(Please note that the wounds in this picture are not real. This is a picture of a simulation.)
Monday, September 13, 2010
This is just a quick post of some pictures to let you guys see a little bit of the Rock Climbing and Backpacking classes. We had awesome weather for the week of Rock climbing. We spent time in Helena and right here by the school. Everyone did a great job and we are proud of their accomplishments. Rock climbing is a challenging sport in many ways.By the end of the week the Venture students we certified to Belay, competent in basic rock climbing technique and able to draw ministry applications out of the sport.