Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Settling into life here at NTBI

I want to start this blog off by sharing one of the things I learned here during Orientation (of all things). Dan Falls, the Dean of Students, was explaining some of the rules that NTBI has. Some rules that he covered were no dancing, no movies over PG to be viewed in the dorms, and how the limit of PDA was holding hands (even to dating and engaged couples). Since these were some topics that might cause tension he started to explain the philosophy that NTBI has developed. We, as Christians, have freedom in Christ to do many things. However, some activities that we are totally and completely free to do we should withhold from doing in certain circumstances. We should not be a slave to our freedom in Christ. That just because I have the freedom in Christ to dance (and I believe that dancing can be a way to glorify God), I should not make myself a slave to this freedom by choosing to dance even when others might think less of me (and the faith) for doing so. It does not matter if I have the freedom to do this and if it is completely innocent of wrong. The problem is if I am being an effective witness for Christ. Paul said that he became like every kind of person so that he could share the Gospel with them better (paraphrase). I have really been challenged by this statement about how I act with others. I should not freely express anything that I feel comfortable with when another might have problems with it. This does not mean that it may be right for someone to look down on me for something like dancing (except if I am doing so in a sinful manner), but rather I should not tempt a fellow brother or sister in Christ to do something they consider sin. Anyways, this has greatly influenced how I've been trying to act in every situation I find myself in.

I want to share the verse that I am memorizing for a class.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

I have also been reading a book about the sufficiency that we have in Christ. This verse confirms that the Word of God completely satisfies every need that we have. All the other things of this world that we think we need are all temporary in comparison to the eternal life that began with our salvation and will continue forever in fellowship with God.

On a little more personal level and less theological level I have been greatly enjoying my time here at NTBI. I have been involved in footsol (sp?), volleyball, ultimate frisbee, swimming, sweeping floors, taking out trash, dish crew, doing laundry, making my bed (every day...), reading a lot, working out a little, ping pong, and hanging out with friends. Oh, I also get to clean the stove top every day except Sunday. This is always a very fun job (I'm joking here a little bit, but I do TRY to always have a good and positive attitude) where I clean off the stove by washing it with water/ soapy water and then scrubbing it down really hard; then I get to take the dish that collected all the grease from the day's food and the water I used to wash the top of the stove and dump that down the drain. Woohoo, this happens every day after dinner. I'm getting fairly good at it, so it doesn't take too long. God has been good in providing great friends already and I am very thankful for this. The food is okay... but definitely not like home, which is pretty disappointing to my stomach every single day. However, God is indeed good and is helping me develop patience in these many situations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The beginning of a new life in Jackson, Michigan

Tomorrow is my first day of classes here at New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI)! I must say that I am EXTREMELY excited about the classes here! I can't wait to learn all that the staff will share with me from God's Word. But we should really go back to how this all started; so here we go!

I was challenged at Teen Leadership Retreat over this past Christmas Break by the speaker, Brad Buser, who shared his life as a missionary. He grew up in southern California and was not raised in a Christian family. He was invited by one of his close surfing buddies (he was actually on his school's surf team which is a HUGE thing in a southern California beach city) to youth group at a local church. The youth pastor there spoke the truth straight to their hearts and even though most of the kids who came didn't really like him they still came because what he talked about really caught their attention. Anyways, long story short: Brad ended up putting his faith in Jesus and was challenged by his youth pastor to pursue missionary work as a lifelong work. Therefore, Brad headed to NTBI, went through the training, (got married) and left for Papua New Guinea where he spent numerous years with a tribe that had NEVER heard of anything from the Bible. He learned the language, lived with the tribe, and eventually translated all of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament into the tribe's language. Did I mention that he first had to learn the language and THEN make a written language for their solely oral language so that they could read the Bible?

There was a lot more that he shared with us, but I don't really have the time to share his whole story with you. He really challenged me to be willing to give up EVERYTHING in the work of sharing the gospel. I therefore started to pursue going to NTBI the next fall. Even though the road that brought me here to Jackson, Michigan has not been easy, I have certainly had the clearest view of what God wants me to do. After a month of work at Camp Pinewood as a counselor, my small savings account, and incredibly generous gifts given me by my family and my church I am now able to be here at NTBI.

I want to thank everyone who has helped support me; whether it was finances, discipleship, prayer, MORE prayer, friendship, or just plain ol' love for this sinful guy named David Duron. You cannot possibly know how much your support has meant to me and how it has helped me to be where I am today. I wish that I could name everyone who has supported me in these many ways, but there are way too many for me to remember and I would probably forget numerous people and then hurt your feelings. So I'm just gonna say THANK YOU! again to everyone who has been a part of my life.

Through these past four days that I have been here I have already experienced the love of God in profound ways. But being here is also a brand new phase of my life where I must begin providing for myself. This is, truthfully, really scary for me. I have always been dependant on my parents to provide for me which they have lovingly done for 18 years. My parents also believe that I shouldn't have to get a job in high school because school should be my job and I wasn't yet an adult. Well, now I'm an adult and need to figure out how I'm going to pay for my needs in this "adult" world. Fortunately I am not totally independent yet; my family and church have paid a huge part in helping me with the finances needed to go to NTBI. But I do feel that I need to get a job so that I can pay for college. I've been praying about this and today during a break in orientation I talked to the head of the business office and asked him, real quickly, if I could talk to him later about help in getting a job. About three seconds after I walked out of the auditorium, a guy started to ask if anyone needed a job so I instantly said "YES." He then told me about his job that he was quitting but wanted to find someone else who could take his position since he was leaving. This seemed like a total answer to prayer so I have been talking more to him about this job. Later on I talked to the head of the business office for about 15 minutes about how I should approach getting the finances I need. He helped me quite a bit by giving me pointers on how to make it more likely for me to get a job and even showed me about how much money I would need to make in order to pay for the rest of the semester.

This is what is going on in my life right now and I pray that you will pray for me as I go out seeking for a job. I know that God will provide, but I also know that I might not fully comprehend what that means until I KNOW that I can't provide for myself and He provides for my needs.

God is marvelously big

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done:
He commanded, and it stood fast.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.
-Psalm 33:6-15 (NKJV)

Wow! Isn't God huge! He has created this universe which is so incredibly gigantic that the earth is smaller than a dust speck when in relation to all of creation. Tonight I was invited to watch a video of Louie Giglio (sp?) by Josh Beaudin in his apartment with a couple other people. Giglio laid out how immense these certain stars are that have been photographed by the Hubble telescope. He laid it out step by step, getting to larger and larger stars. He ended with a fairly recently discovered star called Canis Majoris that is so big that it could fit 7 quadrillion earths inside of it. To get a sense of how big that really is, one quadrillion seconds ago would be about 37 million years ago. It is simply enormous, and yet there are perhaps even bigger stars out there that we can't even see. The galaxy that some of these stars are from is 37 million light years away and is only one of millions of other galaxies in the universe. Now look at little baby earth. Then realize that you are just one of about 6.5 billion people on earth. Doesn't that make you feel just a bit small?

He then went on to talk about how this amazing God who created this humongously humongous universe formed each and every one of us with intimate care. This ginormous God is completely aware of everything about me and you. He then went on to say that the true miracle is each and every one of us and how we are made. Jesus Christ is literally the one who holds us together. Look up "laminin" in an image search. This is the protein that basically holds our body together. Prepare to be shocked.After we watched this video we talked for about an hour and a half or so. Josh really opened his heart about this thing we, as Christians, all seem to struggle with: evangelism. 2 Timothy 1:7-9 says, "God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed to tell people about our Lord Jesus, and do not be ashamed of me, in prison for the Lord. But suffer with me for the Good News. God, who gives us the strength to do that, saved us and made us his holy people. That was not because of anything we did ourselves but because of God purpose and grace. That grace was given to us through Christ Jesus before time began." Josh talked about how he had been asking God to help him share the gospel with anybody, so he asked God for the bravery to talk to people. Then he thought about how he could get the strength and so he thought that if he truly loved every person then he would be brave enough to share the gospel with them. He then thought about how he could start loving all people. He then thought about how God's Word is the best way to learn about divine love and how to love others how God loves them so he decided that he needed more discipline in his Bible reading. God then led him straight to this verse in 2 Timothy. Now isn't God awesome and totally amazing?!

I know that my words to describe the utter majesty of God will forever fall short of how above everything He is. I believe that God used that time to reshape my view of Him and also how I should interact in the world. No longer can I use the excuse that I am not skilled enough to share the gospel with someone. Wake up! When I assume that God cannot use my possibly bumbling presentation of the gospel I am saying that God is not big and powerful enough to use even me. God doesn't NEED me, but He desperately wants me to share his Good News about His Son dying for the sins of mankind because that is how He has chosen to spread the word of the gospel. He COULD simply send out all his angels to go over every inch of the earth and tell the gospel to every single human being, but he has told us in Matthew 28:19 to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." By me saying this, it first applies to me. I need to take the opportunities that God gives to me to share the gospel with everyone I meet. So now I encourage you to do the same and you now also can NOT use the excuse that you can't share the Gospel effectively. YOU will never save anyone; the Holy Spirit is the one who does that. Realize that God's Word is "sharper than a double-edged sword" as it says in Hebrews and THAT is the truth that will lead to an unbeliever's salvation. God gives us countless opportunities to share the "hope that we have within us" so just wait and He'll give you another one. I pray that God will bless you with this knowledge as He has richly blessed me already in my time here at New Tribes Bible Institute.

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty!"