Written by Elijah Valdez
Hello everyone! Just finished another awesome week of Bible Immersion. We just hit the midpoint of the program (how sad!). It feel like it’s gone by so quick, but we have been having a great time. Here are a couple of the main points that went on this week…
As normal, we started our day off with devotional led by our great leader Jordan Standridge. We read out of 3 John and talked about this question: “What does it mean to be a good friend?” Jordan told us that probably the number one thing about being a good friend is that you know the Truth and love the Truth. If both you and your friend know the truth, then your relationship will be healthy, with that truth of Christ at the center! KNOW THE TRUTH!!
In our Bible reading, we read from Psalm 25 up through Psalm 119. The book of Psalms is a very interesting one that enlightens you about God as the King of Glory, my Strength, Light, Salvation etc. In these Psalms, David made us aware of God’s blessings toward him and his own thankfulness to the Lord.
Our new teacher for the week was Pastor Tom Joyce and he taught on Leadership and Discipleship. He is in charge of men, women, and kids programs at Immanuel Bible Church, but his main focus is in Men’s Ministry. Today, he mostly talked about his past and how he became a believer in Christ. He was in the Navy and later worked in the Pentagon. One of the stories he told us was about the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11. He experienced possibly dying and learned about being a leader. One of the main things he asked us to think about: Are we willing to give up our lives for someone else? Christ did that for us 2,000 years ago. (Matt. 20:28, John 15:13) Also, we need to act as if any day could be our last – we will never know when we’ll take our last breath. So just ask yourself, “What am I going to do with rest of my life?”
Later that evening, we went to George Mason to preach the Good News on the campus. That night, we all agree, was hard, but also encouraging. Afterwards, we went to FCA.
Today, Ryan Francis taught our devotional and talked about the section in Colossians titled, “Let No One Disqualify You.” He taught out of Colossians 2:16-19, where the Colossians were embracing aspects of Jewish legalism, the necessity of circumcision for salvation, observance of the ceremonial rituals of the OT law (dietary laws, festivals, Sabbaths), and asceticism. But Paul is telling them to practically knock it off! …that the way to experience Truth is through Jesus. Jesus is not frenzy; He is the truth and light. So if you love Christ (cause), you will obey Christ (effect). (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Today, Tom Joyce taught about Leadership. One of the passages he taught out of was Numbers 13 where it talks about Moses being a great example of a leader. Probably one of the most important points of being a leader is this: to be a great leader, you need to know the Word of God. Also, Tom told us that wherever you are is Holy Ground. It can be a college campus, store, park, anywhere. Just like Moses, we are to be a leaders for the Lord and serve Him in any way possible in the situations He’s placed us in. So just ask yourself, “Am I acting as if, wherever I am, I’m on Holy Ground?”
That night we had dinner with Jordan and his family and just hung out. It’s been really nice being able to go over to Jordan’s house and chill and spend time with him and his family. Also, we’re able to catch up on anything that’s going on and tell him how we are liking the program. It’s a lot of fun hanging out with Jordan!
This morning, Alex Hairgrove did our devotional. He introduced us to Proverbs and how to study it and ask ourselves questions as we read. Proverbs talks about the sovereignty and power of God. It also talks about how to be wise (Proverbs 19:20). I think that’s one of the greatest things you could learn from God and even people who are older/wiser than you. So overall, the book of Proverbs is mostly telling us how to live our lives the way God wants us to. Three things we can look for when reading the book of Proverbs:
(1) What does this teach me about life?
(2) What does this teach me about God?
(3) Make a note of impactful Proverbs.
After Alex shared these tips, we finished reading the book of Proverbs (how ironic!).
Today, Tom Joyce talked more on Discipleship and how to disciple people. One thing about discipleship that sticks out to me – it’s really nice to have someone to be discipled by and get down to the nitty-gritty stuff. Being discipled or discipling someone is a crucial part for you to have in your life. But don’t be intimidated about discipleship! (Acts 1:8) Don’t be afraid because we have been given the power (through the Holy Spirit) to be witnesses all around the world. Tom also hit on 2 Timothy and how Paul is writing to Timothy to keep preaching the Word, even if it means being persecuted. So… are we like Timothy, preaching the Word and discipling others?
For dinner, we went to Sarah and Christine’s house. They are part of the Foundry group at Immanuel. They were a lot of fun to meet and hear from about their daily lives. The food was fantastic (Pasta with sauce, chicken parmesan, salad, and bread). Yummm!!! Later we talked some more and played the game, “Say Anything.” Lots of fun!
Today, Steven Procopio spoke on John 2:13-25 and 4:46-54. We were reminded how much God is in control over man. We were also reminded that we need to have faith in God like the official in chapter 4. When he asked Jesus to heal his son and Jesus told him that his son would live, the man believed Him. His son was well when he got home! Afterwards, we read through Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and up to Isaiah 7.
Tom Joyce spoke some more about discipleship, this time, more in depth. He mostly talked about how we need to be good at the “Hand-Off.” Like in a relay race in which the runners must learn to pass the baton from one teammate to the next. It is the most important thing to have down (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Discipleship is about Teaching, Reproof,
Correction, and Training in Righteousness. We are called teach Christians more about Christ. In reproof, we need to be
able to rebuke our Christian friends when they are in sin. We need to hold them accountable. We are called not to stand with sin but to stand against it. Correction says, “I’m going to walk with you and get you back on track and help you.” In order to have a discipling relationship, I have to remember that my reputation anywhere is important. A question you can ask yourself is, “Does your walk match your talk?” Why would anyone listen to me if my life isn’t in line? Training in Righteousness – We need to be the cheerleader. We need to cheer our Christians friends on in their walk and be encouraging to them. Discipleship is not about being the fastest, but about being good at handing the baton off to our teammates.
At College Bible Study, we talked about more discipleship. Again, ironic! Jordan taught out of James chapter 5 and how to confront our Christian friends when they are in sin. One question that popped up during the study was, “What if I’m not the person to tell him/her about their sin, or I’m in sin and I can’t tell the person?” Jordan told us that if we are in sin, we need to take the log out of our own eye before we take the speck out of our friend’s eye. It was nice being able to hear all day about how to be a good leader and discipleship from different perspectives. I think that’s one of the awesome things about this program – you might hear about the same topic, but from different people in a different way.
This morning, Dan Crabtree gave an overview about a book called “Desiring God,” written by John Piper. He said that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. If we desire to delight in God more, He will give/show more of himself to us. Christian hedonism is a good way to explain how we are to live: searching for the pleasures of Christ. To enjoy Him. To delight in Him. We read from Isaiah 7 up to chapter 34. We’re slowly but steadily moving through the Bible.
Today was our last day with Tom Joyce and he talked to us about how to finish the “race.” What are we going to do with our lives? He spoke out of 2 Timothy 4:1-8. It talked about how we need to preach the Word when it is popular and/or convenient and when it is not; when is seems suitable to do so, and when it seems unsuitable. Even if it comes to being persecuted, you need to keep preaching. Here, as Paul neared the end of his life, he was able to look back without regret or remorse. In verses 6-8, he examines his life from three perspectives: the present reality of the end of his life, for which he was ready (v. 6); the past, where he had been faithful (v. 7); and the future, as he anticipated his heavenly reward (v. 8). The last thing Tom told us was a list of six ways to finish our life well:
(1) Commit yourself to a lifelong spiritual fitness program (to be fit in spiritual things)
(2) Find your best event (wherever your spiritual gifts are, you need to use them for the glory of God)
(3) Run with a partner (someone who can disciple you so that you can finish well)
(4) Don’t lose sight of the goal/finish line (don’t get distracted by the world)
(5) No shortcuts! (don’t try to find a shortcut in God’s plan!)
(6) Break the tape (finish strong; don’t fall short)
Later that evening, we went to the Crabtree’s for dinner. It was a load of fun! It was nice getting to know Dan’s wife, Darlene, and their life story. They were very encouraging to us in many ways. They are a couple that you would want to look up to and ask for advice in pretty much anything! It was great hanging out with them!
Today, we attended the GAMA Conference in Columbia, Maryland. The topic of the conference was Unity, being unified in Christ and in the Church. One of the speakers, Paul Shirley, spoke about unity in the local church. He spoke out of Ephesians 2:11-22. Paul here is pointing to unity in Christ. Paul wants us to remember how God unified us through His plan of salvation. In Christ and through His blood we have been brought near to Christ Jesus and our fellow believers. Christ broke down the dividing wall of hostility so that we might be with him. The cross killed hostility and since we are unified in Christ, we have access to Him. We are family!! After the conference, we all went to a volleyball game at George Mason to support a friend that we met at FCA. It was a lot of fun!!
We all attended Piedmont Bible Church in Haymarket, Virginia, where Jordan spoke about being Salt and Light to the Glory of God from Matthew 5:13-16. He told us that we need to know our roles as a believer. We are the salt of the earth now; the apostles are gone. What he told us about salt: The main reason that salt was so important was that it could keep things from decaying (like meat). Jesus looks at his disciples and tells them that they are the salt. The world would decay faster if it weren’t for us Christians. Jesus is the light he is the sun, and we are the moon that reflects that light into the world. We need to reflect God’s glory to non-believers. Also, we need to guard against losing our saltiness because of the world’s influence. Jordan said that it would be absolutely foolish to keep God’s Word to ourselves! If we call ourselves Christians, we are to shine the light of Christ to all who don’t know Him as Savior and Lord. As Christians, we should stand out!! One more question… Are you sticking out in the world as salt and light?