Me playing Keys for school
There is over 1,200 first year students!
I have been able to use my technical skills to help in many areas.
It has been a long time since I have updated you all on what is going on in my life so please allow me to bring you up to speed and tell you what my life is like these days. I am seeing progress in my life that I have longed for ever since I gave my life back to God in January 2013.
For those of you that don’t know I’m attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry or BSSM. The main reason I’m doing this school is because I feel strongly that I am called to do full time ministry and if I’m going to do that I need training! This is essentially bible college on steroids! I live with a good friend of mine who I met during my time in YWAM last year and three other guys. The school does not provide at all for accommodation, food or transport, that is all managed by me. It does mean though that I have my room where I can study, practice and spend time with God without having to worry about keeping 7 other guys awake!
There is over 1,200 students in my year alone which as you can imagine requires a big venue! We have the use of the Civic Auditorium and we fill a good percentage of the place!
School is Monday to Thursday each week. A standard school day for me looks roughly like this:
08:00 – Sound Check (If I’m playing that day)
12:00 – Prayer and Worship
12:30 – Bible
13:30 – Worship
14:15 – Speaker
15:45 – Break
16:15 – Advanced Ministry Training/Revival Group/Small Group
17:45 – End of School day.
So its like having a conference every day! We also attend one of the many services Bethel has on the weekend.
With so many students the school is broken down into groups of 60-70 students called Revival Groups. These groups are lead by a pastor and their interns in an effort to create a community of people to ‘do life with’ for the year. These groups as you can imagine become like big families and my RG is led by an Aussie guy called Ben. This extraordinary man of God has a deep respect and desire for intimacy with God. This has completely changed my life as I have learned to turn my attention and affection towards my loving Heavenly Father. I love the men and women in my RG with all my heart and we’re definitely the best RG by far! *cough* There is also a subset of RG called a small group that are me and four other guys and we meet weekly and really work through life with each other. I have a deep love for these guys who’ve had my back all year.
Advanced Ministry Training is basically what you would call electives at a university and the range of topics caters to all areas of ministry. If I went into detail on this you would be reading forever so I’ll save it for a later date.
In addition to school we have a local community outreach program where we get to put what we are learning into practice! I help out with a program called Sunday Morning Breakfast which is where we invite the homeless of Redding into the church and we just hang out with them for a few hours. We also cook an amazing breakfast for them and have a rotating team of musicians to provide background music which I am a part of. We have the chance to hear about their lives and pray for them for restoration, jobs, healing and almost anything else you can think of. There’s nothing like seeing the love of Father God reducing a tough-as-nails street hardened man to tears as you hug and pray for him.
I also have the great privilege this year of playing keys on one of the four worship teams. This means I play on average once a week for the school under the leadership of Joanna, my worship pastor. I have never, in my life ever met someone who so proactively believed in me from the first second they met me. She has championed and encouraged me every step of the way offering counsel and feedback both on my playing and just in life. She’s also an excellent vocal coach and I’m getting singing lessons with her and to quote her “Oh this is fantastic, this is going to change your life!” so needless to say I’m very encouraged! I have also been able to use my audio visual training to help out around the place. Most Monday mornings I’m at the Civic by 6am to help set up the stage for the week. It feels good to still do some tech work!
Photo credit: Charley Woodman
The teaching we receive is always firmly planted in the Bible. We read most of the Bible during the school year and receive almost daily instruction in how to read and interpret it. Another thing that is very central to the teaching I receive is that it centres around BSSM’s Core Values. These core values have made a huge difference to my Christian walk/faith and I’ll talk about that impact in a moment.
I have had the incredible privilege of being under the teaching of many world class speakers including (in no particular order) Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Danny Silk, Paul Manwaring, Randy Clark, Heidi Baker, Kevin Dedmon, Chris Overstreet, Jason Vallotton, Dann Farrelly, Mark Brookes, Havilah Cunnington, Joaquin Evans, James Maloney, Che Ann and many others. The extraordinary wealth of knowledge, practical experience and the intimate relationships with God these men and women display has enormously impacted me.
How has all of this impacted me? What is this perpetual motion? In the interests of not making this post longer than it already is, I will try to be brief and go into greater detail in my next update.
The greatest changes I have seen in my life since starting school have been personal. ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ and I never realised that I had so many perceptions of God and what He is like based on doctrine I had been taught my whole life and my experience of God that is different to what is actually in my Bible. While there is nothing at all wrong with doctrine, it can not take the function of explaining away why the Bible doesn’t really apply/have relevance to my life today. For example the gifts of Holy Spirit, some of which are listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are available for us as believers in Jesus today! I have seen myself grow substantially in my prophetic gift during my time here. That however pales into insignificance compared to what I am experiencing in my relationship with God.
I grew up and for my whole life believed that God was an angry God sitting up in heaven just waiting for me to make a mistake so he could punish me but the God that I am discovering, as my Bible says in Zephaniah 3:17 “Rejoices over me with singing” to put it another way: ‘He sings melodies over me’. Isn’t that a breathtaking picture of this supposed angry God… sounds more like He’s madly in love with me! If you have the time I’d really encourage you to go and read through the Core Values that the school teaches. They will transform your life as they have mine!
All of this to say that studying my Bible and processing, thinking about and challenging all of these teachings in my own mind and heart has triggered a burning passion like fire inside my heart to pursue a deeper relationship with this loving God. What I am learning now is creating a lifestyle, an attitude if you will that I have never had before. It is a desire for God where the more I experience, the greater my desire to know Him. It creates this beautiful never-ending cycle of an increasingly intimate relationship with God. It is an attitude of ever increasing wonder at how an enormously powerful yet personal being loves me so extravagantly that my only response is to love Him back and give every part of my life as worship. I could talk about this for hours but I will go into more how my life is being transformed next time.
The last thing I want to mention is that I have the privilege and joy of going on a very short mission trip to North Africa. This is my first time to Africa so I will finally be a ‘real’ missionary hahaha! I need to raise the money for this trip and if you would like. To join me on this adventure and the next stepping stone on my journey to full time ministry, click this. I still need $1200 by February 18. If you want to support me in prayer too just fill out the form on my Blog page and you will get updates from me. All of the money goes straight to the Bethel Missions department and if you are from the USA it is even tax deductible! In my next update I will share the good news of how God met this need and I will also update this space when it is paid off!
UPDATE – WOOHOO I’m already down to $1,050 – Thank you!!
UPDATE – Wow, thank you to those who have been so generous in the past few days! I only need $275! Hahaha this is so good! I’m definitely going! If you want to be a part of that last little bit click this.
UPDATE – HAHAHA It is with the greatest pleasure that I get to announce that MY MISSION TRIP IS FULLY PAID OFF!! I am so excited to go to Northern Africa in this time of real need.
From the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who has been a part of financially sending me on this adventure! I am so grateful and humbled by your generosity. I truly mean that.
All in all I hope this has really been informative and a blessing to you!
PRAYER – for if you’re the praying type…
- For me to grow and see God work powerfully through me as I attend BSSM
- For me to continue to grow and see God work powerfully through me as I attend BSSM
- For finances for my upcoming trip to North Africa
- For my trip to North Africa that God would use me powerfully to bring His love to the people there.
God bless you!