By: Mikaila Rosengren
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11
Wow. I simply cannot believe it. Here we are, standing at the end of week number six. It hardly feels like a day has passed since we all met. We’ve grown so close as a family and we’ve been through so much together. Now we are already halfway done with the Bible.. Halfway done with the program.. Oh, how the time flies!
This week, we lost one of our Canadians, he got deported to Iceland for his mother’s 60th birthday, (congratulations Mrs. Cameron!!) but he returned to us safely on Sunday! We also have an upcoming birthday on the 26th of October… (Priscilla will be 19!)
Other news, this week we had the immense pleasure of having a Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church, Tom Joyce, teaching us about leadership and the qualities it takes to become a great leader.
Monday, October 17th ~
Monday morning we had devotions with David Jones, who is so so incredibly talented when it comes to worship! We got to talk a lot of worship in the Psalms (who would’ve guessed?). We started off in 1 Chronicles 13, talking about King David and Uzzah while the congregation of Israel was transporting the ark of the covenant. The story is that the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah tried to keep the ark from hitting the ground, but as soon as he made contact with God’s holiness, he fell down dead. Now that freaked David out, so he didn’t even continue talking the ark to Jerusalem, he sent it to the home of another man.
The first thing that we can draw from this is God’s holiness. Most people read this story and think: “But Uzzah was just trying to protect the ark, he was trying to do the right thing, doesn’t God understand that?” God doesn’t need us to protect Him, or what He has chosen to be His! Uzzah was in the wrong. In the Old Testament, when something, anything, came into contact with something unclean, it was immediately defiled. When Uzzah touched the ark of the covenant, he was killed because the presence of God was upon the ark and God in all His perfect holiness, cannot be touched by unclean man, and Uzzah was indeed unclean.
After that, we had class with Pastor Tom Joyce. Our first class was an introduction to leadership. He told us many stories of his time serving, both in the Navy and in the mission field. He also explained that the Navy really taught him the concept of servant leadership, something we all definitely need to work on! The one thing that stuck out to me the most about this day was one of the things Pastor Joyce’s son said to him right after 9/11: “Dad, God spared your life today. So what are you going to do with the rest of it?”
Then we did evangelism on the George Mason campus. Sometimes it’s really easy to get discouraged when things don’t go our way or we don’t get to talk with people who are interested in the gospel, but we have to stop and think; what are we commanded to do? Go and share the good news! We aren’t commanded to convert people, that’s not our job. We are commanded and expected to tell people about God’s saving grace and let Him do the rest. We are not the ones saving people! So even if we share the gospel with people and none of them are receptive to that, who knows whether or not God is going to work a miracle in their hearts further along the road?
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Tuesday, October 18th ~
Tuesday morning began with the Beatitudes. Pastor Ryan Francis has been slowly going over them with us. We covered Matthew 5:6,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
We talked a lot about what it meant to hunger and thirst, especially for righteousness. Hunger and thirst are basic necessities, you cannot live without eating food and drinking water DAILY! In many passages of Scripture, Jesus is referred to as the bread of life. We are supposed to be hungry for the only one who can truly satisfy our hunger. Ryan also compared it to fast food. Alright, it’s food, but if you eat it every single day and that is all you eat, if you feed yourself “bad food”, then your immune system is going to be very weak to illnesses (temptations). But if you feed yourself good food, Jesus food, then when the sickness and temptations come, you will be able to withstand them through the power of Christ.
After that, we had class again! Pastor Tom Joyce touched on the Four Biggest Points of Being a Leader.
- Know the Word and live it out
- Where is the holy ground? (Where does God have you? What is your mission field?)
- Love with the compassion of Christ but the justice of the Lord
- Cast a huge shadow! (Who is following Christ as a result of your leadership?)
Then we proceeded to have dinner at the home of the amazing Horn family, both Greg and Jennis, and his parents Bill and Donna! It was such a blessing to be able to fellowship with these godly couples and seek wisdom from their experiences. Plus the food wasn’t bad! (Jennis is a fantastic cook!)
“Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.” ~ Ecclesiastes 2:13
Wednesday, October 19th ~
Wednesday morning was actually really neat. We had our devotions with Alex Vocature, and he had us read through Proverbs 8, but what he did was he split it up in chunks of five or six verses each and had us spend five or six minutes studying and analyzing them. It was actually really nice to have the chance to share and see how other people view things differently! It’s kinda crazy just how different God made each of us..
What we learned in class today: The discipleship part of leadership. We studied 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which says:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
First off, we talked about how the Word of God is good for 1. Teaching (you can’t teach someone if you aren’t learning anything), 2. Reproof (you have a responsibility to confront sin, whether in yourself or in a fellow Believer), 3. Correction (restoration and a 180* turn from sin), 4. Training in Righteousness (nonstop encouragement, are you constantly pouring Christ into someone’s life?). Now I don’t know about you, but I was personally very convicted by this lesson. In my life at home, I wasn’t being the example or the mentor that my younger friends and siblings needed. I wasn’t pouring Christ into their lives daily, and He truly showed me that through this class.
After class, we went to the Nova campus and shared the gospel with as many people as we could! The three of us girls all went in a group, so when two were talking with a person, the third would hang back and pray that the Holy Spirit would work a miracle through their lives and use their mouths to reach this lost girl. We actually had some pretty good conversations and got a few phone numbers, inviting the college kids to our college group on Thursday evenings. It was so encouraging!
This evening we had dinner with our very own Tom and Deshua Joyce! We had some really amazing conversations and Mexican food! One of the things that we did was instead of introducing ourselves, everyone at the table had to say one fact about us. I actually had never thought of this idea before, but it was absolutely incredible and really good for the six of us, (Ryle was in Iceland with his mom, but he’s back safe now!). But it was really such a gift to be able to learn for these two incredibly wise people and to laugh together with them, we are so glad that they opened their home and their hearts up to us. Their knowledge and wisdom is just priceless.
“… a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7b
Thursday, October 20th ~
Thursday morning.. Was a hoot! We studied the book of Isaiah in a general overview with Alex Hairgrove. He told us the big themes of Isaiah (1. The Nature of God, 2. The Nature of Sin, 3. The Nature of Salvation, Servant vs. Rebellion, Messiah) and what to expect out of this incredible book of the Bible.
In the class-time, we talked about John 6 and more of the evangelism side of leadership, leading by example. First of all, if you are committed to Christ, then you will be sharing the gospel with people and pouring into them continuously. You will have an intense desire to please our Lord and Savior! Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed!! If we are Christ’s workmanship, created in His image to do good works, then we should be actively thinking about sharing our faith in Him! We should be thinking, “Am I bringing glory to the one who deserves all the glory?”
After that, we had a bit of free time to catch up on our reading, (we are all the way up to Isaiah 34 now). Then we got to come together for the Foundry college group and worship our Lord and Savior communally through songs, lead by our very own Keanen Paylor, and through the preaching of the Word by Davide Standridge, who has been given such a great gift for teaching. As we were all singing together and listening to the sermon, I couldn’t help but be grateful. In so many areas of the world, Christianity is banned and forbidden, but here we are, totally untouched by that reality. In some places there churches are only 25 people (like Davide’s home church back in Italy). We have been so incredibly blessed not only with the gift of being able to praise our mighty God freely, but also to do so as a group with many other Believers, and so often we take that for granted.
Friday, October 21st ~
Friday morning we didn’t have devotionals, Jordan decided to give us a little extra reading time. We did end up going to a lunch with the seniors of the church, we all played Bible Family Feud. It was.. Quite the game to say the least! We had a great time getting to interact with the older people at Immanuel, they were very open and friendly to us, and they had a lot of wisdom and knowledge to share!
Then came our last class with Pastor Tom Joyce. His lesson for the day was “How do we die well?” More like how do we finish the race well! How you start the race influences how you finish. Paul understood this. He knew that he wasn’t going to live forever. We read through 2 Timothy 4, and found some practical ways that we can finish well:
- Committing to a lifelong spiritual fitness program – meaning we must be the Word daily, pray, and constantly praise Him
- Find your best event – know what spiritual gifts you have been blessed with
- Run with a partner – you need a wingman to keep you accountable, we all have blind spots
- Keep your eyes on the goal – don’t lose focus of what God has for you, if your eyes come off the finish line then you will fall behind
- There are no shortcuts – God has an incredible plan for our lives whereas our plans always fail. He uses our pain for our good and for His glory
- Break the tape – don’t give up just short of the finish line, don’t slow down, cross the finish line in a full out sprint
When Paul was writing this letter to Timothy, he was in jail. He was going to be executed. He knew what was coming yet he was totally at peace with what God had in store for his life. I admire that unwavering faith. I pray for a faith like Paul’s. I pray that no matter what may come my way, I will be able to endure it through the power of Christ in me and finish the race He has set before me well.
We also then had dinner with Buzz and DeeDee Collins. It was create your own taco night at the Collins! We had some really awesome conversations with this inspiring couple. They have been through so much together and I praise God for what He has done and what He is currently doing in their lives.
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9
Saturday, October 22nd ~
Our Saturday was a bit different. This past Saturday, our group ventured up to Columbia, Maryland for the GAMA conference on holiness. We got there at 8am and left just after 5pm. I think that the thing that stuck out the most for me was the fact that if we are in Christ, then we are His chosen and elect. We have been predestined to be holy, saved to be holy in fact. I had a lot of misconceptions about the theology behind predestination and election and the chosen children of God before I can into this program, but now, six weeks in, I am just beginning to understand the huge vastness of this concept and it still blows my mind that God, in all perfectness, would predestine.. Elect.. Chose me? The perfect example of how broken and chaotic the fallen man is? Not only did He predestine to adopt me, He loved me enough to send His only Son to the most painful death imaginable so that I could be with Him for all eternity. He chose me to be one of the few to accept this free gift. He let me see the error of my ways and let me see that the end of it was death. He provided a way of escape by means of His Son’s death and resurrection. Now THAT is crazy love! What a glorious God and Father we have in Christ!!
On our way home that evening, we stopped by the National Harbor and did a little bit of sightseeing. We also rode on the heated ferris wheel. It was a blast to be able to spend time with the group, especially on that drive. The Magnificent Seven definitely have a God-given “talent” for the musical arts!
Sunday, October 23rd ~
Sunday we attended Jesse Johnson’s 8am sermon on Revelation 14:1-7. Then we went to a class on Effective Evangelism taught by Sunny Parks, followed a sermon by Davide in the Foundry. Shortly after, we joined Justin and Jennifer Edwards for lunch with their three children. And we got our Ryle back, so that made lunch all the more special! I think that one of the things that I love the most about this Bible Immersion program is getting to see all the incredible, amazing, God-fearing couples that we have dinner with on a regular basis! We get to fellowship with these strong brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to learn from them.
Evening service with Jesse was fantastic, He covered 1 Kings 4, and the importance of the listing of names of all in Solomon’s courts. The differences between Solomon’s kingdom and David’s kingdom.
After that, the young adults of Immanuel gathered for a few friendly games of basketball and soccer. They didn’t stay friendly for long! Praise God, no one was seriously injured!
Overall, this week has definitely one to remember! If I was to narrow it down, I think that the two most important things that stuck out to me are the importance of prayer, and learning when to stay silent.
Prayer is us communicating with God. I had it explained to me this way: “You have a relationship with God. if you are married to someone, you don’t just ignore them all day! You wake up, you say ‘goodmorning’, you talk with one another, and you grow your relationship!” I realized that my prayers had been very one sided, that I had simply been talking AT God as opposed to WITH God, and that was really convicting for me this week. In joint with talking AT God, I was also praying out of my own selfish gain. I was starting every prayer out with a request instead of a praise or instead of thanking God for His goodness, His grace and mercy, His love and for His chosen people.. Listen to this: “Imagine if you had a child and the only time the two of you talked to each other was when that child wanted something or when they were complaining about a choice or decision you made. Imagine that. Now what kind of relationship would that be?”
When I’m talking with my Father, which I should be doing every minute of every day, I should be praising Him and singing thanksgiving. Because He is worthy of that praise. Then, after I have thanked Him and reminded myself of His goodness and grace, and of the truth, I rarely have anything left to pray for! Once I remind myself of the truth and that He is sovereign King in my life, what more do I have to worry over or pray for? My God is in control of the stars in the sky, I have no need for worry or words.
“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” ~ Ecclesiastes 5:2
Your Sister in Christ,