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Lent 2013: Guest Post – Bevin Ginder

As we have done throughout previous Lenten and Advent seasons, we are again blogging through the Lectionary readings in this Lenten season. This year, however, due to our travels in Central Asia, we have asked a number of guests to blog for us. These guests are individuals who are influential in our lives and work. We're honored to share this space with them-and with you–in this season of reflection.

Today, we are incredibly excited to introduce you to a great friend who is laboring with us here in Central Asia. We had the privilege of meeting Bevin Ginder and his family last year while in Colorado Springs. Bevin was born and raised in Southern Africa. He is grateful to be a follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Presently, he serves on the leadership team of a large YWAM community in Colorado Springs while he teaches and coaches internationally. In his free time Bevin enjoys dabbling in ethno-doxology, gardening and podcasting.

Bevin Ginder

A reading from the Prophet Isaiah

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

— Isaiah 55:1-3 (NIV)

As we read Isaiah 55:1-3 it's like we are listening to Father God shout across the playground: “Olly olly oxen free!!!” This phrase is thought to derive from “All ye, all ye 'outs' in free” in other words: all who are “out” may come in without penalty. God is calling out to all His children: “the price has already been paid. No more need for fear, guilt or shame. Everyone, come on home. Everyone, come on in. Eat and drink until your soul is fat and happy!!!”

There is something about unmerited favor that just does not compute in mankind’s brain. Grace is one of the most difficult ideas to get our hearts to deeply embrace and relax into. I guess that is understandable since we have a lifetime of performing, measuring up and earning everything we get under our belts. We have a lifetime of saturating in a transactional world that is driven by a conditional and contractual operating system. In just about every season of life and in endeavor we take on there are typically conditional, contractual, and transactional dynamics at play. Whether at school or work or church, we hear the message: “measure up or there will be consequences.” Not just any consequences but consequences that will negatively impact your very identity and value as a person. So, we understand the language of “GIGO” or “Garbage In Garbage Out”. We understand report cards and performance reviews that impact our careers. We understand “walk the walk and talk the talk” or get shunned. We understand winning gold or being forgotten. But, for many of us, we find grace to be a completely foreign language.

After a lifetime of living in the performance operating system, we have no frame of reference for understanding grace. It just sounds too good to be true. Besides, we understand how the conditional, contractual system works. If I want to improve life there is something I can do–I can try harder! On many levels, we just don’t believe that grace will accomplish as much as good ol’ fashion work and performance. Most of the time it seems like we would much rather have a rule to follow than to have to keep going back to God for direction in each season of our lives. Blaise Pascal once said “God created man in his own image…and man returned the favor.” We tend to project mankind’s conditional, contractual, petty and demanding ways onto the heart of God. This reality deeply impacts our capacity to understand and trust that God “really is that good’ and that He really is for us and not against us.

I believe that the best remedy for our tendency to distrust the heart of God is to look at Jesus. I love the account of Philip saying to Jesus “show us the Father” and how Jesus answered ”anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. On one hand, Jesus raised the standard so high that if understood correctly it should completely unravel any illusions about being able to measure up by ‘trying harder’. On the other hand, Jesus demonstrated the spirit of God’s “Olly olly oxen free!!!” call in his interactions with people like the women caught in adultery and Zacchaeus. The Father’s “Olly olly oxen free!!!” invitation echoes clearly through passages such as the parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Jesus took one of the most well-developed, legalistic performance-based-systems man had ever developed head on, and they killed him for it.

So, the question is: what will enable us to take a trust fall back into His grace? What will motivate us to taste and see that the Lord is good? What will it take for ideas that we understand in our heads to become revelation in our hearts that will enable us to come out of hiding and run to homebase? I’m sure we should not pray this lightly but perhaps we can ask our Father for the grace of a holy discontentment? Perhaps there is a “holy heart sickness” that could arise from the deferred hope of trying harder and falling short? Perhaps a holy heart sickness could lead us to a healthy disillusionment and back to our heart’s true home.

Father we invite you to stir up in us that deep yearning that enables us to hear your “Olly olly oxen free” invitation and coming running home to the “grace feast”.

 

#WinterTour2013 Update

Greetings from Colorado Springs, Colorado!! We arrived here last night after 9 days in Northern Colorado. We hadn't told Emily that we would be staying with her teacher from YWAM CDTS. So, needless to say, she was extremely surprised–speechless even–when we arrived here.

A look at our time in the mountains

A look at our time in the mountains

We spent New Year's weekend up in the mountains above Estes Park with about 45 other people. These are people who we get to hang with a couple of times each year, and absolutely love to be around. We spent two days with Mary Jean teaching us Walk Thru The Bible–Old Testament. Wow! What a rich time!! We followed the chronology of the Old Testament and gleaned many pearls of wisdom along the way.

Last week, we were privileged to spend time with my Aunt, Uncle and Step-Mom. It was a short visit, but it was a wonderful time!! My aunt arranged for us to visit the Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins, Colorado. We had a wonderful time! So many things about which to learn.

Museum of Discovery, Fort Collins, Colorado

Museum of Discovery, Fort Collins, Colorado

This past Sunday, we were with the River Community Church in Lyons, Colorado. Stephanie played keyboard while I talked about the Emmaus Road and weaved stories from Central Asia throughout. If you are ever in Northern Colorado, and need a church to attend, I highly recommend you visit River Community. Wonderful people!

Yesterday, we were in meetings most of the afternoon talking through our upcoming trip to Central Asia. We were also able to see several friends.

Today, we head further south to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then later this week we head on to El Paso, Texas where we will be with Rev. Neal Locke and his family. On Sunday, we will be honored of worship with them at First Presbyterian Church, El Paso.

One last thing, we have booked our tickets to Central Asia. If you would like to help us cover this expense (or our other expenses), then jump over to the Partner-With-Us page.

 

Jesus and His Personality

This week’s topic in our Crossroads Discipleship Training School is one of my “passion topics”–team dynamics, interpersonal relationships, personality typing, etc. I love this stuff!

In our class, we have been examining the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. For Steph and I, we have found that we are polar opposites (she is ISFJ and I am ENTP).

It got me to thinking about the team that Jesus put together to aid Him in His ministry. What an interesting group of people. For some of them, they found within the team opposing political views. Some were fishermen and others were business men. Some were educated and some were less educated. You get the idea. It was a diverse group.

While we have a lot of stories of a couple of these individuals, and could likely deduce from those stories the root behavioral types, I have been thinking more about their Leader.

So, using the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicators, I have come to theorize regarding how Jesus would score on this test.

The stock answer in many Christian circles is that Jesus was a perfect blend of all. While I used to think that same thing, I’ve come to believe that to be an easy way out. So, here is my observation and why I think it.

Jesus was a ESFP.

ESFPs are people who tend to live in the moment. Their focus is on the moment. While they can see the larger picture, they thrive on working from moment-to-moment. They take interruptions in stride (most of Jesus’ recorded work was interruptions). They work to ensure that everyone (even the interrupter) are included.

When controversy arising, the ESFP will tend to use diversionary questions to change the course of the discussion. We see Jesus doing this often when confronted by the religious leaders of His day. He chose to teach in parables that purposely (Matthew 13:11-17) were not completely understood by many of the people to whom He was speaking.

Jesus loved life and people. He made His (and the Disciples) work fun. He enjoyed a good laugh.

Unchecked, the ESFP would struggle to get their goals accomplished. They need a benchmark and a constant reminder of the mission at hand. Throughout His recorded life, we find Jesus in times of communion with His Father. I have come to believe that these conversations, the Mount of Transfiguration, and Gethsamene are examples of Him returning to the benchmark to find how He was progressing in the mission.

Now, the disclaimer.

I could easily be totally out in left field. And I’m ok with that. Jesus’ personality traits do not diminish the work He accomplished on the cross. So, feel free to disagree. I’m just a highly theoretical person theorizing (which for my personality type is how I process and recharge).

So, what is your MBTI? You can find out here.

 

What’s Been And What’s To Come

It’s been a few weeks since our last update, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to give you a quick look into the past few weeks here at YWAM-Strategic Frontiers.

I had kitchen duty.

Emily had Crazy Hair Day.

Stephanie received flowers from Jesus.

We attended a Baptism Service.

Thanks to our friend, Steve Schram, Caleb and I got to go flying in a Cessna SkyHawk.

And we’ve been learning a new language.

 

In addition to all this fun, we have had some fantastic weeks of teaching on God’s Kingdom, the Fear of the Lord, and what the Bible says about the Body of Christ. We have this week and one more week of lectures and then we head into the nations.

So, now that our Crossroads Discipleship Training School Lecture Phase is about to come to a close, what’s next?

We leave on June 25th for Central Asia. We will be spending two months working with front-line missionaries in a predominatly Muslim nation. Our work will entail serving at local Houses of Prayer, meeting with locals, assisting other missionaries in any way they need, and a variety of other tasks.

If you would like to help us financially on this journey, you can donate to this work by clicking over onto our Partner With Us page, or clicking the “DONATE” button on the right-hand side of this page.  All gifts through Get the Word Out! (our covering ministry) are tax-deductible, and any amount is gratefully appreciated.

Blessing on a Bun

Yesterday afternoon during my work duty, I was really craving a hamburger. I mentioned it to my work partners even. It was a mad craving.

Juicy burger.

Cheese.

Bacon.

Mustard.

So, last night while I was laying in bed talking with God, I said, “I’d really like a hamburger”. I wasn’t really asking. Just more of a statement.

Well, when our class broke for lunch today, one of our staff members said that lunch was hamburgers! I was stunned, and laughed.

“Seriously?”, I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Last night, I mentioned to God that I’d like to have a hamburger.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“Wow! They rarely make burgers. They take too long to prepare. Plus, today is a staff meeting day so time is even more limited.”

Well, I have to say, that was one tasty burger. Not even a prepackaged frozen burger. It was the real deal. With cheese. With bacon. Even guacamole for those who like that on their burgers.

God looking out for His kid.

I’m convinced that when God does things like that He chuckles. Almost like a parent when their kid opens a gift that’s been on the wish list for awhile.

God chuckling at me.

It’s amazing to think that God would take time out of His schedule sometime last week to mention to the Kitchen Manager that one of His kids was going to want burgers the following week. Yet, that is exactly the kind of God I serve! One who cares about hamburgers with cheese and bacon,

So, Father, thanks for the burger! It was a meal that I will never forget!

 

Family Update in Week 3 of CDTS

Wow!  It’s been a busy three weeks!

Emily and her classmates learning about Kashmir

Emily and her classmates learning about Kashmir

We are doing quite well.  We have been surrounded by the four truths that the Bible tells us about: Who God is, Who I am, Who We (the church) are, and What’s going on in the world around us.  Such depth of truth by which to be surrounded!  And we’re thankful that the kids are learning those truths as well.

Caleb is doing very well in Preschool.  As you saw in the video from last week, he  and his classmates have planted their garden.  Today, he and I are going to go out and pray the Blessing of the Land or a Garden from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals over it.  He loves his teachers, Mr. Nick, Mrs. Rene, and Ms. Rahel.  In addition to learning about gardens, he gets to learn about God and His nature and character, and gets to paint, color, play with trains, and play outside.  It’s a pretty good life.

Emily and her classmates learning about the "Tent of Meeting" (prayer).

Emily and her classmates learning about the "Tent of Meeting" (prayer).

Emily is also doing fantastic in her classes. Each Tuesday, she gets to hear an abbreviated version of the teaching that Stephanie and I are receiving.  This has proven to challenge her own relationship with God.  It has been amazing to watch her as she is coming to the realization that God desires more than anything to be in relationship with us.  On Mondays, someone from the Nations Team (the liaisons between the states and the front-line missionaries in the 10/40 Window) comes in and teaches her class about their particular focus.  This past week, the Kashmiri team came in and taught about Kashmir.  They transformed a part of the room into a typical Kashmiri living room and allowed the kids to dress as Kashmiris.  They had even made a typical Kashmiri rice dish for the kids to try.

Stephanie and I are also doing well.  Our teaching times have been rich.  We are learning a lot about trust–specifically with the house back in Little Rock.  Yet, of all the teaching, game playing, talking, and fellowship we have been a part of, my favorite moments are those when we get to sit one-on-one with other missionaries and ask, “What are you dreaming?”  So beautiful hearing them share the dreams that God has planted within them for the nations.

Please continue to be in prayer with us as we traverse through the coming weeks.  We have nine more weeks of lectures to go through, and then we head overseas for a couple of months.  We expect to find out where we’re headed in the next couple of weeks, and will let you all know where that ends up being.

That should provide you a quick update.  We are grateful for your prayers and support!  May God bless each of you!  And, as always, if you would like to partner with us in this work, then jump over to the Partner With Us tab.