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.