Sunday, November 14, 2010

All About The Gospel

So this week has been really cool for the sole fact that all the classes have been all about evangelism and The Gospel. We started off the week by having our director George teach all about false philosophies and the different atheist, agnostic, and deist principles. The class described their arguments and mentalities and then measured up what they were saying against the Bible. The class also discussed the importance of Truth and the different qualities of Truth, and the two qualities that stuck out to me where that Truth is simple, and it's practical.

Our next class was taught by Richard the British man who has a University background and years of mission experience and it was all about The Gospel, and his method of teaching was to read through Romans one verse at a time and talk about what Paul was talking to the Romans about. We hit on the topic of God's wrath and how if we can't accept that our God has wrath then we can't really accept that he's a God of grace, because his grace is shown in that while we were deserving of his wrath He provided his son as an offering, to take on our sins and suffer his wrath so that we could be absolved in his grace. I had never thought much about the wrathful aspect of God before, but I have to agree that for Christ to be our Savior he has to be saving us from something. He then went on to talk about how to truly have faith in Jesus as our Savior there is one thing we have to believe, and that is the resurrection, the ultimate sign from God that Jesus was his son. Richard explained how the entire Gospel hangs on this fact and then we talked about how to share this Gospel with others.

And as if that weren't enough God decided to throw in another great teaching of his own. As Gabby, David, and I were doing our evangelism in the seis treinta, which we do every week and so far I hadn't personally seen much interest in any of the people I'd talked to, we walked past three people sitting on some steps talking and Gabby asked if we should talk to them even though they weren't really on our route and we decided that the route didn't really matter so we went over and started to talk to them. Now our goal this month has been to raise awareness about the No Violence Against Women Month that is currently happening, the whole point is to talk about domestic violence which is abundant in the neighborhood where we're working, so we told them who we were and told them what we were doing and they didn't really seem to care very much, but they were friendly enough and one left but two of them, a guy and a pregnant girl, stayed and Gabby asked them if they believed in God and they said no they believed in destiny.

So right away the classes from that week clicked in my head that they fit the bill of what George called apathetic agnostics, people who believe in a superior reality but don't feel like there is any real way to connect to it. So we opened up more about what we believe and gave the general evangelist talk about how we believe in a God that created everything and loves everyone and showed that love through Christ, but they still didn't seem to interested and the girl talked about how she grew up catholic and went through all the rights and stuff but never felt God or saw him. So I explained how I was in the church for six years never really experiencing God but that when I really started to truly look for him and not for peoples approval or simple ritualistic prayers that he revealed himself to me. At this point I could tell that they were a little interested in the conversation but there was a lot of emphasis on the word little.

The guy started telling me how they had tons of people come to their door to tell them about a new God or a new faith especially the Mormons( They apparently were not big fans of the Mormons and told us that the Mormons stopped coming after they played them in a game of soccer and beat them pretty badly, and got their suits a little dirty), but they never saw too much to it. So I decided that being brutally honest was the only way we could get on level ground with these guys so I told them anyone can come up to you and tell you about a new God or new religion and explain why there religion is the only right one and that they have proof, but you'd be an idiot just to take their word for it. I continued to tell them that we didn't want them to take our word for it that Christ is king and that there is a God that loves them. I told them that we just want them to look at the possibility and ask God themselves if he's real and that we knew that if they looked for him they'd find him. At this point they were very interested and we kept talking. At one point we talked to them about the conscience and asked them what they think it is or where it comes from and we listened to their answers and we could identify that they believe every person has a conscience, animals do not, some people's conscience has been screwed up by things that have happened to them or where they grew up, but nevertheless everyone has one. So I told them that I think if you find the source of the conscience you'll find God. And we began to describe the Holy Spirit and they agreed that that sounded perfectly reasonable.

After that they both opened up a lot about their lives and we found out that they did not consider themselves to be a couple, but they were really good friends, and that they were having the baby together and that they lived together. They told us how they met and how they both lost all of their friends because they started choosing not to do drugs and not to drink because of their conscience, and now a lot of those friends are in jail, some are dead but they felt that their conscience protected them from that, so I made the connection that if this conscience does come from God isn't that proof that he loves you since he protected you from that pain and they agreed. We talked for a long time, probably close to an hour and as we talked I really was able to stop looking at them as poor kids from a terrible neighborhood but instead as children of God who are just lost. I remember at one point the guy said to us in spanish "You guys are different, everyone else just talks and talks, but you guys actually listen" and my response was "It's because we believe fully in a God of love, and we know that the Bible says that God created man in his own image, so that means you are created in the image of God, as much as I think we have to teach you I think you have just as much to teach us." He really seemed to like that part, these teenagers who were used to people talking to them all the time time and never talking with them found a lot of comfort in three strangers who thought they had something valuable to offer.

This experience left me with a lot of new views. I saw that in teaching The Gospel to non-believers that the turning point in the conversation is when we listened to what they had to say and found out where God was hiding in their lives underneath all the garbage of the world, underneath the years of rejection, and underneath all the lies of the enemy, and by seeing that we knew what God was doing in them already and what God wanted us to say to them at that point. They had God in their lives already, they just didn't know it was him. I also learned that anyone can make a good argument about anything and try and convince others to believe them, but it takes a lot of faith and courage to say this is what I know is true and I don't want you to take my word for it, but I  want you to look into the same questions and ask wit an open heart looking for the absolute Truth and I'm confident that you'll come to the same conclusion.  So after we prayed with them about their family and their baby that's due very soon we left those stairs with a brand new concept of evangelism, and an invitation to stop by their apartment anytime we're in the area. They didn't accept Jesus into their lives right there, but they accepted us and if we're doing our job right that means that Jesus is just a few steps away.

The Gospel is simple, and it's very practical God made us with the intent to live with us in a paradise he created, then we kicked him out of our lives, not the other way around, and we continued to kick him out of our lives but as our guilt increased and our just God's wrath built up he sent us his Son for two reasons, so we could see the true character of God, and so that God could poor out his wrath on his Son and pardon us from our own sin. And now he invites us to reconnect with him to live in him and let him live in us first here on Earth and then finally in heaven. It doesn't get any simpler than this.

                                                                        Romans 5:1-5
                                                                         -Matt Hursh

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Okay, it's been three weeks since my last post, but I promise it's because life here's been crazy busy. Since my last update we had a good week of classes about the Holy Spirit and about having a committed life to Christ. The classes were great, but what happened the next week was even better.

Two Saturdays ago our entire base left for Buenos Aires for the national YWAM Conference. When we arrived on Sunday we were met by about 500 other missionaries in YWAM. And this conference was meant to serve two purposes. 1: We celebrated 50 years of God working through YWAM to further his kingdom and 2: We wanted to discuss what work God still has for us to do in Argentina and what he's already doing through us. The conference was an incredible experience, we got to hear from the founders of YWAM, Loren and Darlene Cunningham, and we got to hear from a lot of other speakers who have spent their lives in missions and in relationship with God. I have to admit I was a  little put off at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week God was teaching me things i hadn't even started to think about before the conference. I came home ready to hear more from God and he didn't disappoint me.

Our first class back from the conference was taught by Richard, a Englishman who somehow joined our team at the conference. I believe he's been one of the pioneers of YWAM in Argentina helping to get a lot of the bases off the ground. Nevertheless he's an extremely intelligent man of God who who a deep commitment towards having a personal and intimate relationship with God so that's what he taught his class on, and as he taught I started to really feel a lot of conviction towards my own relationship with Christ and I realized how much I'd been treating Jesus as a business partner and not a true friend and my King. So that class ended that night and for the next few days we had a guest speaker from Atlanta, Georgia, and her name is Romona. She's been with YWAM since the first school and is one of the leaders in the ministry. And wouldn't you know it her class was all about how to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus, and she didn't know about the class that Richard taught. So during this past week I've had some breakthroughs in this area and I feel like I'm finally able to just relax and be comfortable with God instead of always asking for something or focusing on work, but now I can truly enjoy his presence.

And for the final class God decided to show me a stumbling stone in my life that I had no idea I had. Our last class this week was about renouncing things of this world that hinder us from God, such as materials, money, friendships, family, or even ministries. The class wasn't talking about abandoning all of these things but making sure we prioritize them right. So at the end of the class we were asked to go to our rooms and grab something that we felt was distracting us from God. So I grabbed my iPod and I thought we'd pray for God to help us let go and that would be it. So the teacher tol us we're going to pray, and We're going to see who God wants us to give this too, and my heart sank. But the second we started praying I knew exactly what God was doing and I knew that he was right. So many times in my intimacy time with God I would listen to Christian music to make me feel closer to God, and what that was saying to God is that I'd rather have Christians talk to me about God than to hear from God myself and I knew I needed to let go, but even more incredible than that the day before the class even started I felt like God wanted me to give my iPod to this certain person, but I thought that he meant at the end of the trip and in my heart I didn't want to. But after I gave over my prized possession the person told me about how they had earnestly prayed the week before for an iPod, and they hadn't told me that. So while God was answering someones prayer he was helping me to grow at the same time. I was able to give up my prize possession and praise God at the same time.

Also the DTS that was on there outreach came back and so we've been able to meet new missionaries and hear about all the work God did on their outreach. The two students from that class had their graduation last. They talked about how much growth they've experienced during their entire DTS and it's shown me that even though I feel I've come a long way I believe that the path ahead of me is far longer and I'm more excited to keep going.

So over these past weeks I've definitely felt called more by God, and I've felt closer him. I've felt his Spirit moving and I keep feeling more inspired by his Word. It's been great to have these classes, and late night talks about faith, love, sin, God and all the other things that everyone's been learning about. It's so evident in a place like this that God speaks to us all differently, so I'm able to see others ways of expressing their faith and at times just by hearing others speak from their hearts I've realized where I've been totally wrong in my faith. God's definitely at work here, and it's exciting. God bless everyone.

                                                                                        Matt. 25:21
                                                                                      -Matt Hursh