So I’ll go ahead and tell you that today’s Gold will be much shorter than it has been these last few days! I always try to make a point to write these messages out where they aren’t too long for you to read but God has been doing so much, like seriously there has been SO MUCH GOLD, that I didn’t want to leave out anything for you! I really want to encourage you to look back at those golds if you haven’t done so already because just as they have changed my life, my hope is that they can be a life-changing encouragement to you also! It’s been so humbling and awesome for this opportunity to share these “live-action” God Golds with you this week. I have to be honest though, what’s been even more exciting is receiving responses from you on how these messages are touching your hearts and challenging you! I spent some time to tell the students just how much their faithfulness and growth this week has been affecting more lives than just in Lakeland, Florida, but to so many of you as well. They say in awe of that and were encouraged greatly to continue moving in what God has called them to do! Gosh, this is such an amazing and unique example of iron sharpening iron! I pray these messages continue to challenge you and bring you closer to the Lord this week!
I said today’s message is going to be shorter because instead of running wild serving like crazy, we gave the students a break and had more of a fun day! They definitely deserved it after all the hard work and service they’ve been pouring out.
Reflection time in the morning was once again a very raw and real time in the presence of God. We sang a worship song or two and there was something awesome to notice. As we’ve seen the students grow and experience God more and more this week, their praise during worship continues to get louder and louder. It’s those moments praising God together where I’ve just been sitting there with goosebumps thinking, “this is so awesome.”
The kids continued to pour out their hearts and the many things God has laid on it, kids were discussing all the crazy/awesome God moments they had with people. The moments of getting to share their testimonies and the Gospel. Moments of getting to pray over people in serious need and moments of just meeting people that really touched their hearts. It’s those moments that change lives and show us what this life is all about, what’s cool is seeing the kids recognizing how these moments with God living in the fullness of life that He offers. Those are the moments we live for and strive for daily to simply be close to Him in every area of our lives.
At the end of the morning reflection time, Pastor Matt put a big emphasis on something he’s been harping on all week. The question, “what do these experiences and this serving look like for you when we get back home to Anderson?” As a group we made a list on a whiteboard of different things the students can do to stay accountable and transfer “living on mission” into their everyday lives. I’ll have the list in the pictures I post on the Facebook page but the main thing was staying close to God through their quiet time in His Word and prayer. Matt put a HUGE emphasis on how when we are having God’s love poured into our lives personally, how it pours out of us in service to others. I know from personal experience how hard it is to take the lessons learned on a mission trip back to your every day mundane life and apply them just the same. It’s extremely difficult but we are excited to see how to find ways for these students to continue living on mission and serving in their own community and schools like they have here. The kingdom impact will be enormous so I just ask you please pray for this situation.
Since it was more of a fun day, we were going to go to the beach but with the rain canceling that out we found the biggest mall in Florida to go to and spent the afternoon there. Since the day was considered a “fun” day, Pastor Matt wanted to test the students to see how they handle living on mission as they have been at the Dream Center in a more relaxed setting. The main thing we wanted to see was would they still be on fire to share the gospel and pursue sharing God’s love with others. This test was perfect for them as they are days away from going back home to their everyday lives.
After a while of going through shops and eating together, Pastor Matt modeled for all of us to see that living on mission for Christ doesn’t stop when we’re just chilling with our homies but it’s everyday all the time. Matt walked to a few guys sitting down with one of our students and shared the three circles with them which is the gospel message. It was interesting to see as Matt set the example, students immediately began paying more attention to the people around them, looking for someone to share the Good News with. It was wild watching the students go from person to person sharing the three circles with no fear at all. Also, in a setting like a mall, there was a lot of communication lessons to be learned on what sharing the Gospel looks like in public places. The two guys Matt talked to were very interested and so were a few other people that were encountered. Left with a couple of Bible Verses explaining how to commit their lives to Christ and an example of the sinners prayer, the decision was left in their hands. It’s really cool to think about what God is going to do with that but at the end of the day, the main lesson was seen by the students that planting seeds is all that matters. Just keep planting seeds and God will control how the harvest of those seeds.
It was an all around awesome day and upon returning back at the Dream Center things got even more wild. Different little pranks were being played and then before we headed off to bed, myself and a couple of students gave a concert to the group. I will also be sharing that video soon so stay tuned!!!
Since there wasn’t as much stuff happening today I wanted to share this passage from Psalms with you. I came across it yesterday and it really connected with me and the messages written out to y’all this week. I pray these verses can be a great faith builder for you and will open you to know God deeper than ever!
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:1-24 NIV