Saturday, August 6, 2016

Update: YWAM Ozarks

The Short Version: 

I am moving to Arkansas in September to teach the Bible.

The Long Version:

Since finishing at Ball State and getting my B.A. in Business Administration, I have been working full-time in the Logistics department at Frank Miller Lumber Company.  It’s been fun putting into practice some of what I learned during my time at college.  I will be working there through mid-August, organizing when trucks and containers move our products anywhere from down the street in Union City, Indiana to various overseas locations.  It’s been an amazing experience so far, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work there.

For the past few years, I’ve been partnering on and off with a missionary training organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission).  I’ve been given amazing opportunities to travel to Taiwan for a summer, live in Brazil for 2 months, and study the Bible for an entire school year.  Every experience I’ve had with YWAM has been a blessing, and I’ve been anxious to get plugged in with them again.  

After doing many different schools within YWAM, I hoped to eventually join YWAM in a leadership role as a staff member.  After thinking it over, long conversations, and lots of prayer, I have decided to join staff at YWAM Ozarks in Ozark, Arkansas.  Staffing at YWAM Ozarks will involve teaching in the School of Biblical Studies (SBS), which is a 9-month Bible course taking students through the inductive method.  SBS was where I was able to study the Bible for an entire school year, and I loved my experience there.  Hearing God’s Word taught is powerful, but being able to discover God’s truths from personal study is indescribable.  God changes lives through this school, and I’m incredibly blessed to have the chance to teach in it.

From a logistical standpoint, let me explain my understanding of what my role will look like when I join staff at YWAM Ozarks.  I will be one of 6-9 teachers in the SBS.  Each teacher is assigned books of the Bible that they will teach.  I personally won’t be teaching the entire Bible; I’ll be given a share of the books to teach.  I don’t know which ones they will be at this point, but I’m eager to find out what I’ll be teaching!

Something amazing about YWAM is that they do their best to make everything as affordable as possible for the students.  Students are paying for housing and food for the allotted time they are on the YWAM campus, and that’s it.  Because of this, all staff are required to raise support.  Student tuition isn’t paying for staff fees.  The lower the cost for students, the more students have the ability to afford doing a YWAM school.  

Because of this, I am asking for financial support.  My commitment to YWAM Ozarks starts in September and will last 2 years, which will allow me to teach in 2 SBS's.  I'm currently working full-time and saving what I can, but I cannot do it alone.  With your support, I'll be paying for housing, food, gas, teaching supplies, etc.  If you feel led to give a one-time gift, or to become a monthly supporter, awesome!  There is a DONATE NOW button on the top right of this web page that will allow you to contribute, you can send a check to 7119 Mountain View Dr, Ozark, AR 72949 made out to YWAM with a note saying it's for me, or email me ( and we'll find a way that works best for you.  I would love to have you partner with me.  But if you don't feel led to give financially, don't.  I don't want anyone to feel obligated.  I simply hope to share my need and give you the opportunity to pray and ask God how you can be a part of it.

If you have any questions, if you would like more information, or if you just want to catch up, feel free to email me or leave me a comment.  I would love to answer any questions you have.  Thanks for reading all the way through.  You're awesome.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's next?

I find myself asking that question a lot.  What's next?  Where do I go?  What am I gonna do?

I'm about 1/3 of the way through SBS, and I find myself distracted about the next step.  The future is something that we should all be focused on, but I can see it limiting me right now.

The grass is always greener.  We strive for the next big thing.  We search for something new and exciting, never being fully satisfied. 

Yes, I'm going to continue to think about what I'm going to do after SBS because I think it's important to try planning ahead.  But I'm not going to let it take away from what I'm doing right here, right now. 

The future is gonna be awesome.  But if we're too focused on that, right now will be lame.  Let's live in the now.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

12-7-13 What I've been learning...

Last week we studied through the book of James.  Here's what God's been showing me..
The whole book of James is centered around a couple things.  Well, there's more than just a couple things, but this is what I pulled out of it: Faith & Works, and Eternal Perspective.  James stresses how important it is for their faith to also have works.  They can't just go around saying they believe something without actions backing it up.
James goes to the Old Testament for an example.  Abraham was told by God to go sacrifice his son Isaac.  This was huge.  This was the son God had promised him for a long time.  This was the son that was gonna be his line.  Abe was old, his wife was barren, and they had this son.  Isaac was a miracle.  He shouldn't have been born.  And after that miraculous act, God told Abe to go sacrifice him. 
(James 2:18-26)  If Abe only had faith without works, he wouldn't have done anything.  He would have said, "Yeah God, I believe that you would be able to raise Isaac from the dead if I did that, but I'm not gonna do it."  His faith required action.  His faith demanded a response.  If he wouldn't have responded, how would we know that he had faith?  We would have to rely on just his word, and his word would be hard to believe if he was saying he had faith and wasn't walking it out.  Same goes for today.

Faith demands a response.  And how could we not respond? 

Let's look at what we have today...
Jesus saved us when we were actively rebelling against him.  We're justified by faith (Romans 5:1).  Saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8).  We're undeserving, unworthy, yet we're declared righteous (Romans 8:10).  We're called Sons and Daughters of the Most High God (2 Cor. 6:18). 
That's a pretty sweet list.

Consider this: How can we have this eternal, everlasting, perfect hope in Jesus and live knowing that other people aren't experiencing this? How can we ever be content with knowing that our eternity is secure, and other people haven't secured theirs yet? It breaks me.

Luke 19:10 - For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.

My heart breaks for the lost.  I physically ache thinking about the people who don't know Jesus.  Where do I run when everything falls apart?  What do I go to?  Who do I turn to?  When nothing is going as it should, where is my focus? 

My only hope is Jesus.  The only thing I have to hold onto is Jesus.  It's crazy to think that there are people who don't know this hope that I have.  What do they run to?  Where do they go if they don't have Jesus?

We take our eternity for granted sometimes.  I take it for granted.  We get so caught up in what we're gonna do in this short time on earth.  It's like that one Francis Chan video where he has the rope across the whole stage that represents eternity, and then the tiny little red part that represents life on earth. 

The challenge (for me) is this: stop caring about the awkwardness of it and share your faith with people.  Don't let the thought of an awkward conversation stop you from sharing Jesus with them.  It may just change their life.  Drastically.  They may find the same hope that you have, this eternal and everlasting hope.

Of course, they may reject you and throw it in your face.  That's not any of your concern.  You're the messenger, God's the master.  You're the child, he's the Father.  You're the servant, he is sovereign.  If you want a cool story about God using you and radically changing someone's life through you, you gotta step out in faith and do it.  Faith in Jesus demands a response. Go, and share the hope that you have.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

SBS Update 10-13-13

Today marks 3 weeks of being in Lakeside, Montana for the School of Biblical Studies (SBS).  After these 3 weeks, I'm realizing how much work I'm going to need to put in.  But I'm also realizing how rewarding it's going to be and how blessed I am to be here.  Before I left, I explained what SBS was the best I could.  But now that I'm here doing it, I'm able to explain what I'm doing with much more clarity.  So this is for you, friends, family, and supporters.  I'm going to go into a lot of detail explaining what I'm doing so you can see exactly what I'm up to. 

SBS is a 9-month Bible course.  It's essentially a year of school.  But unlike school, I'm actually studying something that I want to learn about!  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed college while I was there (and I may end up going back at some point), but I'm stoked to have this opportunity to study the entire Bible. 

We are going through the Bible using the Inductive Method.  In the simplest of terms, the Inductive Method consists of Observation, Interpretation, and Application. 

  1. OBSERVATION. We observe what the text says.  We let the text speak for itself and we don't try to manipulate what it actually means.  We use observations and questions to help us simply understand what the text says in context.
  2. INTERPRETATION. We then use interpretation.  In this step we aren't asking what the text means to us, we look at what the author meant to say to the original reader.  We look for what the original reader would have understood from this text.  This process makes us take a step back from our own world view, culture, and preconceived ideas to we can think about this from the perspective of the original reader.
  3. APPLICATION. The final step is application.  Here is where we find and identify the timeless truths that are in the text and actually apply them to the world today.  This step is important because after we find what the text meant to the original reader, we can see how it applies to the contemporary reader today.  It also keeps us from just collecting information.  We find what the truths are, and then we let it affect our lives. 

For each of those three steps (Observation, Interpretation, and Application), there are lots of tools and stuff that we use to help us.  But to use all those tools, we have to read through the Bible multiple times.  By the end of SBS, I will have read through each book of the Bible at least 5 times.  Here's what I mean.

First, we read through whatever book we're studying out loud (observation step).  The divisions, paragraphs, paragraph titles, verse numbers, etc we see in the Bible weren't there when it was first written.  We read the entire book, top to bottom, so we can actually understand where the author was coming from and how they wanted what they were writing to flow.

Next, we do what's called Paragraph Titles and Structure (observation step).  This helps us see the structure of the book and see what the key points the author was trying to get across.  We come up with our own name of each book, we name each division, section, segment, and paragraph.  Here's what I did for my Paragraph Titles and Structure for Galatians.  I'm still a beginner at this method, so don't critique me too hard.  But this is what we'll do for every book:

Then we do what's called Color Coding.  We look for specific observations in the text, and then we mark them so we can see patterns and specific observations easier when coming back to it.  We look for observations that include but are definitely not limited to repeated words/ideas, who, events, geographical locations, when/time elements, contrasts, comparisons, figures of speech, illustrations, commands, progressions, themes, and LOTS more.  Here's an example of 1 page of Ephesians that I've color coded:

After color coding, we find the Basic Required Information (BRI).  This means we look for specific details about who wrote the book, who they wrote it to, when they wrote it, and more.  We look for information in the Bible, and then we use Bible Dictionaries and stuff like that.  This lets us see the history behind each book of the Bible.

We then do what's called the Inside Observations (yeah, we're still in step 1).  This basically means typing out the observations I found when I color coded.
Then we do the Outside Observations, meaning we expand on the inside observations that we found.

After that, we interpret it (Step 2!) asking questions that aren't answered in the actual text.  We try to determine what the book or passage meant when it was first written.  Some of these questions could look like this:
  • What did the author want to get across through this?  
  • What would that mean to the original reader?  
  • What resulting actions would this have produced in the original reader?   
  • Etc.
We don't know the exact answers to these questions, but using what we found in our observations and our BRI, we can attempt interpretation.

After that, we go to Step 3, Application. This is where we look for timeless truths: truths that remain true no matter what era or what culture you are in.  Once we find the timeless truths, we write why that truth is significant to the contemporary reader today.  Here's an example of one of those I did in Philemon:

It cut off at the bottom of the Significance to the Original Reader.  Sorry.  But that picture is what SBS'ers call a build.  We do multiple builds for each book of the Bible.  How many depends on how long that particular book is.  But that's the process.

After we finish making builds for the entire book, we then move onto final application.  I pick 1 timeless truth and then ask God what he's speaking to me through that truth, and then I actually do something with it.  We are encouraged to look for final applications that we can actually do today.  What is God telling us through this that we can act out today?  We want to love and serve the people around us.  The final application allows us to take what would just be head knowledge, and act it out.

If you read all of that, bravo!  And thanks!  It means a lot that you want to know everything that I'm up to.  Sorry I haven't updated you sooner.  As you can see, SBS is time consuming, and I'm constantly working on stuff.  But I'll try to keep you updated.  Have a great week ya'lls!  Go bless somebody today.  They'll appreciate it.