BSSM 1.2 - HOPE
November 1, 2019
Hi friends. As I mentioned in my previous blog post I have the incredible opportunity to go to the Netherlands on a missions trip for about 10 days next March. I’ll be travelling with a radical group of revivalists, with the goal of expanding the Kingdom of God everywhere we go. We’ll be supporting churches, praying over and through businesses, and helping local leaders that are trying to cultivate a Kingdom Culture similar to Bethel’s in their own spheres of influence. Past groups have had opportunities to teach (true) religion in schools, talk and pray with political leaders, and connect with high-profile cultural icons (e.g., musicians), and we’ll likely have openings to do some or all of these during our trip.
And through it all, we’ll be aiming to bring the love of Jesus to every single person we come in contact with.
Maybe you yearn for a missions trip but present circumstances don’t allow it. Maybe you have a heart for Netherlands. Maybe you have a heart to see the light of Jesus infiltrate the darkness of an atheistic country. Or maybe you simply feel to invest in me as I invest my energy and resources into this year and into this trip to the Netherlands.
Regardless, if any of this sparks some measure of excitement inside you, I’d love to invite you to partner with me in this trip.
First of all, in prayer, both for Netherlands and for me and the team as we go, that our trip would be incredibly impactful, and that the ripples from it would continue long after we’ve come back to North America.
Secondly, yes, finances would rock too.
I know everyone's circumstances are unique, and this is not intended to be a guilt trip of any sort, but I am deeply convinced there is no greater way to spend time, energy, or money than in building the Kingdom of God. It’s the reason I am here, in Redding California. It’s the reason I left friends, family, my house, and my job for nine months. It’s the reason I’ve spent a lot of savings on tuition, housing, and relocation.
I can’t guarantee a direct, monetary return. I really can’t guarantee a direct return at all. But I can guarantee that God is Faithful, and that this trip will impact eternity. Because, ultimately, that’s our mission: to expand the Kingdom of God in such a way that the eternal destiny of eternal beings changes from death to life.
So, if you are willing to partner with me financially and donate towards this trip, you can do so here.
I have a total of $2,150 funds to raise. Any and all donations are massively appreciated!
Thank ya’ll for reading!
Now then. Actual blog update time:
I trust and believe almost everything I hear around BSSM. Most things I hear ring true in my Spirit, match up with the Bible, and make as much logical sense as this Jesus stuff ever does (turns out that sometimes it’s not really a lot).
But there’s a phrase I’ve heard a few times now that I disagree with wholeheartedly. I’ve heard it from peers in first year, people I’ve met in second year, and yes, even from the stage out of the mouth of some leaders I respect a ton. It sounds innocuous enough; the kind of phrase a crowd of enthusiastic ministry school students would tend to clap and cheer for:
“This year is gonna be the best year of your life.”
Why, you ask, am I so averse to this line of thinking?
Well, to answer fully, one needs to step back in time some 8 years. I was 20 years old, and had already spent a year out of high school working because I wasn’t sure what sort of college direction I wanted to go in. And, truth be told, I was flat-out terrified to make any sort of meaningful decision about my future. I was paralyzed by fear, so I spent a long time just… Not moving in any direction. This blog post isn’t really about the details of that phase of my life, but suffice to say it wasn’t until about a year into my college schooling, as I was making yet another late night drive from Cornwall back to Ottawa, that I recognized, for the first time I can remember, that I had a genuine sense of excitement for my future, rather than that sense of fear that had become so familiar to me.
Ok, so step back to the more recent past, around the start of October, and I’m loving life at BSSM. Being here has brought an abundance of joy, peace, and a feeling of safety that I simply haven’t lived in before, though I may have dabbled in it on occasion. The Holy Spirit is digging up dirty things in my life that I didn’t even know I carried. My identity as a Son is being defined, reinforced, and then reinforced some more. I’m hearing more and more whispers of my destiny. It is honestly absolutely incredible. But, in the midst of it all, a fear starts to grow. A fear of the future. It’s reminiscent of that fear I lived in 8 years ago:
What am I supposed to do after this year? Where will I work? Am I supposed to come back to BSSM for a second year? A third? How do my new understandings of God and the Kingdom fit back into my hometown and home church? Or do they? What if I don’t fit back into where I came from? Where will I go?
It started off as background noise, but it just kept growing louder. I found myself letting these useless, downward-spiralling thoughts cycle around my head far too often. And, coupled with that, this recurring proclamation that this year is the best year of my life.
Then, one morning with Jesus, I started saying “no” to it. “No” to the endless attempts at figuring out a future that, as the great Yoda once so wisely said, is always in motion. And “no” to agreeing with the sentiment that this year at BSSM is the best year of my life.
Because it’s not.
I believe that partnering with this idea goes against God’s nature, and starts to kill hope. It leads you into feeling frantic to glean every nanosecond from this short 9 months because, after all, life won’t ever be this good again. And if, like me, you’re tend to be a little scared of what life post-school looks like, this idea can quickly start to steal the joy it’s intended to inspire.
“Life won’t ever be this good again and, what’s more, life after BSSM is probably gonna suck.”
If you boil it all the way down, that’s basically what this line of thinking can lead to. Seems like a kinda dismal, depressing outlook on life if you ask me.
But one thing I have come to believe about God is that He’s always leading us into better things in Him. From “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18), one good thing to another, with a hope that doesn’t disappoint.
I believe this is the way that the Christian life should always be lived: it keeps getting better. And then we die. And when that happens, life gets a whole ton better.
Look, I get it: the idea that this year at BSSM is the best year of my life is intended to encourage us students to enjoy this year to the full. I want to. I plan to. Because this year, in all likelihood, will be the best year of my life... So far. But only so far.
So let me appeal to any of my fellow BSSM students who happen to be reading:
Don’t believe it, not even for a second. Don’t believe that this is the best year of your life. It’s not even close. The God I believe in always has more in store. He’s always scheming up the next thing. And it’s always better.
God doesn’t have a plan for your next 40 years that involves you looking back in longing at BSSM 2019-2020. Sure, there will be down moments and hardships and hurts and frustration and offense. But despite all that, I believe that overall, life with Jesus just keeps getting better.
So replace the fear of the future with Faith in a God who always has good plans. Look with hope at the mystery of the unknown. Choose to have confidence in God’s character. Recognize that He’s brought you to an amazing place for an amazing season, and enjoy every moment you can… But I believe it’s just the start, merely the launching pad. For most of us, the future is hazy at best, but if we truly believe God and what He says, it’s also better than we can possibly imagine.
My best years are not behind me. They are not actively passing me by, compelling me to desperately grasp every second as they go by, wishing uselessly they’d last longer. I have confidence that God only has better things in store. BSSM is amazing, but I believe that I ain’t seen nothing yet.
And, for my dear readers who aren’t here with me at BSSM, if you find yourself looking longingly at some event in the past you deem to be the high point of your life, I encourage you to reconnect with the mastermind planner that is God. In Him, I don’t believe the best years are ever intended to be behind us. Whatever season you’re in, hold on. Lift your head up. Keep holding on.
Hold on to hope.