Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Cost FOR Revival

This past month God has had me revisiting my time in ministry during my college years and reflecting on it quite a bit. I have shared with a couple people here in Cape Town how I have felt that some things that have been going on in church and people that I have been meeting here remind me of vibes from college. In addition, as my purpose here in Cape Town is becoming clearer, it seems to be leading me full circle back to 10 years ago. Although it seems quite similar, I am for sure a way different person who is older, wiser, and stronger in the Lord. With that, I am able to pray differently and see things in a whole new perspective as I walk and pray through the path the Lord is leading. I know this is vague and please forgive me if this is confusing, but I haven’t found the words to express what God is doing in me right now in Cape Town. With that, lets walk down memory lane which ultimately leads into the heavy week of prayer I have been in this week. This month, the old ministry I was involved in released a book called Jesus Burgers: True Stories of Love, Redemption & Miracles in a College Town.
This book has testimonies over the last 10 years of lives that have been changed and transformed due to this ministry. In 2002 was the first time that I got involved and was one of the first group of college kids to move into the house which has been labeled the “Jesus Burger” house in Isla Vista, California. If you were to walk through the streets today, there probably isn’t a person who wouldn’t know where to find free hamburgers on a Friday/Saturday night at midnight to help settle their digestive systems from the evening of beer drinking or craving after a heavy dancing workout session in one of the dozens and dozens of housing hosting free parties. It truly was an amazing and crazy experience in the 7 years I lived in that area with 3 years being in the house, but has and will always have a huge chuck of my heart. Although I haven’t gotten my hands on this book yet (can thank that to me living in South Africa in which getting a book takes a little longer) I believe it is mostly about the lives that have been changed and with that doesn’t give the details or depth of all that had happened and/or had to be laid down for the glory that is occurring in Isla Vista now and all the testimonies and are will continue to pour out in the coming years, that probably will a Jesus Burger Book Part 2 or something. My time and stories in that ministry would probably fall in the Part 2 book. A lesson we learned when we first started can be explained from this quote.

“The community of the saints is not an "ideal" community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance. No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God's forgiveness...Sanctification means driving out the world from the Church as well as separating the Church from the world. But the purpose of such discipline is not to establish a community of the perfect, but a community consisting of men who really live under the forgiving mercy of God.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

I am extremely excited to read it, and extremely happy to see and hear all that is happening in that town! God is so faithful and absolutely AMAZING! This week though, the same day as the launch of the book release, one of my old housemates that lived in the house for 2 years (I believe) went to be with the Lord in a rather tragic way. It is sad but no surprise that Satan would attack as Aslan (Jesus) is on the move in Isla Vista and so many glorious things lie ahead for this ministry. With the news of this, it has caused me to pray for many old housemates that I hadn’t really prayed for since we moved out of the house and think about my time there which leads to the title of this blog. When we first moved into this ministry house, not a single one of us knew what would lie ahead. We had no clue that our front yard would be where a church would form, loads of red cups would litter/decorate where normal people would want to plant a garden, or that burgers were going to be flipped, served, and become the platform of a love movement. Dozens prayed everyday to see revival in this town and to see lives transformed, but did anyone of us who lived in the house really understand the cost of joining this radical calling God was asking us to. If you lived in the house at all in the first 7 years I would say and the first 3 years due to my own experience, I would say the answer would have been “no.” I reflected this week on the people who come and left the house while I was there and thought about where they are now. The majority have continued to follow the Lord and the experience has strengthen their faith, but there are a few (which is still too many in my eyes!) who had/have walked away and the experience left deep scars in which only the Great Physican is able to heal. With any start up company/ministry, you learn as you go. The people who moved in the houses each year ended up being more solid and their foundation set upon the rock, but the first few years were years of amazing memories but perhaps people who may not have waged the cost of moving into a radical environment…and even perhaps somewhat the fault of older Christians who didn’t protect the flock who were new sheep…but as I said you learn and grow stronger but at what cost did it have. My housemate who is now with the Lord flipped and served burgers next to me. This person was part of the beginning of a movement and even though life may had been an uphill battle, that was a person who helped lay the foundation…and for me as intercessor in and for the house, I am left with wondering If I was just a little older, a little wiser; perhaps I would have known how to pray in the spirit to have assisted my friend in some of the life decisions that was made…There is no one to blame what so ever, but everything that starts is always at a cost…and this week I am on my knees again praying for the amazing people who I co-laboured with Christ for the revival that is happening in Isla Vista. For restoration, healing, and redemption for those who helped plow the field and may be struggling with life right now.

To my housemate and friend, I wish there was more I could have done to protect you as moved into the house which at the time had some gnarly spirtual warfare going on, wish I knew what I know now to walk with you through life challenges, and I am sorry that life was so harsh. I think of all the prayers that were lifted up to God over the years and I know they are not in vain, but I wish you wouldn’t have given up and more than anything I wish you knew that God wasn’t finished with you yet. I hope and trust that you have found the peace you were seeking, but here on earth we are mourning the loss of you, loss of a housemate, loss or a friend and brother in Christ.

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