Our Response to the Vegas Tragedy: Pray, Explain, Renew.

We woke up this morning to very sad news from Las Vegas.  

50+ people killed and 400+ injured as a crazy man fired shots into a crowd of concert goers.  Our heart goes out to the families of those killed. Today, we pray. We pray for those injured to recover fully. We pray for comfort and mercy. We pray for miracles. 

Most likely, many who were at the concert were in Vegas to try their luck.  Maybe at a slot machine or at a blackjack table.  Sadly, for way too many their luck ran out in a completely unexpected and tragic way at 10pm last night.

In addition to committing ourselves to prayer, here are a few ways that we, as devoted followers of Jesus, can respond in this time:

1. Pray for the families of those killed and for those who are injured.

Be vigilant in prayer, in the days, weeks, and months to come. Pray for revival to be birthed for this city out of this time of pain. Beauty for ashes. It's what Jesus does. Pray for healing and peace. Pray for law enforcement. And, pray for our leaders and our President.

2. Explain to our children that we live in a broken world where Jesus is the only answer.

One of our greatest responsibilities as parents is to lead our kids in the way of the Lord. Events like this are incredibly confusing to children, even more so than to adults. This is an opportunity for us to teach our children how to pray for the hurting and walk them through the process of understanding we live in a fallen world. Darkness is real. We fight not against flesh and blood. BUT JESUS IS HOPE. HE IS HEALING. HE IS REVIVING. HE IS REAL AND HE IS MOVING. JESUS IS THE ANSWER.

Help stir hope in the hearts of your children!

3. Renew our commitment to take the Gospel to the lost.

It's very clear that the world can't afford for us to wait. We cannot delay. We cannot let comfort win. We must declare war against laziness or fear or whatever may be holding us back. This is our time to stand us with zealous passion to spread the gospel, and NOT JUST THROUGH ACTIONS- BUT TO TELL THE GOSPEL TO PEOPLE. Tell them! Declare the GOOD NEWS.

At YWAM Jacksonville, our commitment to share the Good News of Jesus to the least, lost, and last is unwavering.  Just a few days ago, we discussed how to share and prepare our personal story and how to share God’s story (the Gospel) with students and staff in our current Discipleship Training School.  

A disciple is someone who is following Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and has joined the mission of Jesus.  

So someone who is not committed and involved in sharing the Gospel really isn’t a disciple of Jesus.  Since Jesus’ mission on earth was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and because His disciples have been sent to do likewise (John 20:21), taking the Gospel to the lost is part of our identity as His followers.  

A tragedy like what happened today in Las Vegas should remind us of our mission and fire us up to get the Gospel to those who need to hear it.  I wonder how many of those who were shot had recently been around a Christian.  What if I had been around one of them?  If so, I now repent of my normal excuses of too busy, or they don’t want to hear, or I might offend them, or…etc., etc.  Remember, the Gospel is Good News!  

Let’s break out of our silence and live loud!  This is our mission and Jesus, as our Commander, has given us the Holy Spirit so that we’ll have the power to be His witnesses right here in our city, our nations, and to the ends of the earth. 

What If We Fail?

What if we fail?

If we're honest, this is a question we all have to face at some point on our journey. Deep down inside we must confront the steps of faith God asks us to take and this question often arises. When we are devoted to obedience, there will always come moments where God asks us to take radical steps of faith, the steps where we can't see the end result, the steps that will effect every area of our lives, the steps that don't provoke an easy "YES!". It is when we confront the reality of saying yes to whatever God is asking of us that we must also confront the question: What if we fail?

Failure is something we are taught to avoid from a young age.

The first time you see receive a low score on a project at school, you experience the shame and disappointment that comes along with it! We then begin to feel the need to hide any and all failures because we are afraid of being marked by our lack and our shortcomings.

Failure is something everyone has experienced in probably every area of life but it is seldom talked about. Failure and even just the slightest possibility of failure is something we to wrestle with as we follow Jesus. Whether it be in our friendships, marriages, callings, or parenting, we have to face our fears of failing. And with that comes one of the most important lessons: We must face our fear of man.

One of our alumni shared this powerful testimony:

"When I really started to follow Jesus it was in Kona, Hawaii. I had flown there to do my DTS after only hearing about the school 2 weeks before it started. That was my first real JUMP of faith, since I had no money and was enrolled in college, but to be honest it wasn't that difficult. I had few strings attached and felt the freedom to take the jump and forever change my life! Fast forward to a year or so later and now it was time to take another jump, I felt the Lord leading me back to Jacksonville after living in Hawaii for 6 more months. This jump meant that I had to say goodbye to the community that had loved me and discipled me for over a year. Yet that jump, too, wasn't too difficult. It was hard saying goodbye but I had my family and another YWAM base waiting for me. But now.. Here I am. A wife. A mother. So many more commitments, so many more strings attached, and so many more opportunities to fail. When I was alone, if I stepped out and failed, oh well! It was just me. I'd look like a fool but I'd be ok. How thing have changed, now the decisions Mike and I make effect not only ourselves, but our children & our families, and this reality weighs heavy.

Mike and I have felt like the Lord has lead us to take some big jumps of faith and every single time we end up asking 'What if we fail?'. This question beckons a response but I usually have little to say. It is a hard moment when you have to dwell on the fact that failure is a real possibility. It is especially hard when the truth is a step of faith has to be taken. Once your life is committed to obedience, there is no real way around doing what God has asked, even when its scary or even when it sucks. I have felt a grace from the Lord since we said "Yes" to following Him no matter what. A grace to FAIL. I have felt the grace to wholeheartedly believe that we have heard from God, proclaim what we've heard, and step out... only to come up short. I know Jesus cares about our hearts and I know our hearts are only to love Him and obey Him, even when the chance of failure is the highest it has ever been. I know that He is proud of us even when we fail, because after all it wasn't Jesus that taught us to avoid failure at all costs. No, He taught us to love Him and to joyfully say "Yes" no matter the cost. Even if that cost is looking like a fool to everyone around us. Even if that cost is taking our precious daughter to a muslim nation. Even if that cost is laying down our lives for the sake of the Gospel. He is worth the jump of faith. He is worth confronting the question. He is worth our obedience, even when we don't understand how it's all going to work out. HE IS WORTH IT, even if it DOESN'T work out!! Jesus is worth it in plenty and in want. He is so good, so kind, so gentle. He is so faithful to lead us and speak to us and.. He is SO proud of us when we simply say "YES!"


The grace of Jesus is real. It is tangible.

This life would not be possible without it!

It is only because of His grace that we can declare truth in the face of struggle and in the face of fear.

When you find yourself asking "What if I fail":

1. Cling to what you know about Jesus

If He calls you to something, He will see you through it. He will equip you and provide for you. He will stay true to who He is- faithful, steady, full of love, all-powerful, giver of grace.

2. Stay the course

Just because you question doesn't mean you quit. Stay the course through the questions. Set your gaze on Jesus, the prize, and push through those challenging moments. Don't do it alone, because His grace is ready to fill you. Let His Holy Spirit lead you through the fire of doubt and fear and bring you out refined and right on course!

Yes, we are going to fail sometimes. Every single one of us will face failure. We are going to make dumb decisions at some point. We are going to mess up in our jobs, in our marriages, and even in our parenting. THAT PLACE is where the sweetness of Jesus collides with our humanity. Our Savior meets us in the place of failure. He picks us up, puts us on our feet, and asks us again to step out and trust HIM! This encounter, this collision, will sharpen our resolve to stay the course and fuel our passion to follow Him, wherever He may lead.

Living By Faith

During my last outreach I learned the importance of faith. Often we hear the scripture quoted that we are to "live by faith and not by sight". Or referring to those who "live by faith" which basically means faith for finances. But what I want to share with you today is about faith for your life and faith in His character.

I was leading an outreach this January and February. The Lord was stretching me and bringing me out of my comfort zone. I was carrying more responsibility than I was used to, it was necessary that I operate in a number of areas that are not my strongest points, and the planning process was plagued with obstacles. On top of that there were a number of issues within the team. In that place, I had every opportunity for insecurity, doubt, and an overall lack of trust to creep into my heart and life.

This is when the Lord taught me to trust and walk in faith. There were many days that I didn't feel like everything was great, actually there were few to none if I was looking at the natural or going off of what I felt. This was when I learned what faith is, faith isn't a mystical euphoric feeling, it is believing in God no matter what the situations around you say. Trusting that what His word says is true even when you don't see or feel it. Trusting to the point that it changes the way you view the situation. The Bible says that we are "seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus". To actually live out that truth we have to step out of situation and look at it from the perspective of our heavenly Father.

I have been learning that faith and trust, at least in part, look like walking in the truth when it doesn’t seem to be true. Circumstances don’t determine my attitude or perspective, the truth of the Bible does. This transformed my outreach! I could walk in joy and confidence that God was in control of the situation. I am continuing to learn and walk in this every day. I hope that you will too!

Hijacking of the term "Unreached"

Recently I’ve heard that the police are an unreached people group, that people with addictions are unreached, that the largest unreached people group are children under 18 years of age, etc., etc. I even heard a missions pastor say that the United States ranks 3rd among the nations in the number of unreached people living inside our borders. I hope you realize that statements like these are ridiculous. They are the result of either ignorance or deception.

The word “unreached” was coined in the work of missions to mean people or ethnic groups who do not have access to the Gospel. A person who moves to the U.S. from Somalia now has access to the Gospel. They may not yet have heard, but the opportunity to hear is available through sources such as Christian TV and radio, people they meet at work or school who are believers, the fact that churches are nearby, and in many other ways. The police who are not believers, addicts who haven’t heard about Jesus, and children who haven’t been raised in a Christian home, if living in nations where the Gospel is available, may be unsaved but should not be referred to as unreached.

The reason why blurring or confusing the term “unreached” is so critical goes back to its origin in the context of missions. It was intended to be helpful and significant in developing strategy toward completion of the Great Commission. It was to produce a sense of urgency or priority in where we go and where we send our workers. It was never intended to be the only, or exclusive, aspect of missions work. But the unreached were to become a priority in the work. So what happened?

I believe that many who were not called to work among the unreached became defensive and even negative toward the prioritization of reaching those who have never heard. I actually heard a mission leader ridicule the emphasis on the 10/40 Window while speaking at a large mission conference. When ridiculing and criticizing the priority of the unreached didn’t work, I believe there was a shift toward re-defining and confusing the term. Some of this was done out of ignorance to what the Scriptures clearly teach regarding missions, much was done in a defensive posture of people’s present ministry, and some came as a result of the enemy’s influence among the unsuspecting.

The solution to this challenge to the completion of the Great Commission is a fresh resolve to take the Gospel to where it isn’t. There are new pathways to the unreached that are exciting, inexpensive, and simple. There is no doubt that the remaining unreached people of the world are in difficult and dangerous places. But we can go, and we can win them, and we can see the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the earth. The question is: Will you burn away the fog of confusion by passionately focusing on finishing the task?

On the Horizon in 2017...

We here at YWAM Jax are excited about 2017 and all that's happening through this ministry! Here's a quick overview of the schools and trips that will be offered in the coming months.. It would be a JOY to have YOU join us!! 

S.O.L.D.

School of Leadership and Development

The School of Leadership & Discipleship is designed to help you grow as a person of influence. It's a school focused on personal discipleship and learning how to disciple and lead others.

Dates: April 9, 2017- September 2, 2017

 

Short Term Outreaches 

Running all summer long... We will do all the teaching, training and ministry set-up, all you need to do is come ready to serve and share God's love with others!

Click the link above to view all the dates and locations we are offering! There is an option for every type of group and individual!

 

Fall DTS

Discipleship Training School

Starting with a 12 week lecture phase, our DTS brings in teachers from around the country who speak on topics ranging from How to Hear the Voice of God to Missions, specifying in the unreached nations of the world! After the lecture phase is over we head overseas for 9 weeks of hands on ministry with the world's most forgotten.

The DTS is an experience that is guaranteed to change your life!

Date: September 24, 2017-March 2018

 

S.O.F.M

School of Frontier Missions

For the First time EVER, we are offering a bilingual SOFM. We are so excited to open up this school to both English and Spanish speakers!

The purpose of the school is to give you the skills you need to work on a team focused on empowering unreached people to become faithful disciples of Jesus and to help them begin transformational movements making disciples.

Dates: October 1, 2017- December 22, 2017

 

PLEASE contact with any questions and for more info on these opportunities!

ywamjaxinspire@gmail.com