Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Believer Interview #2

For my second new believer interview I interviewed Joe Peterson from the Freedom House.

Joe really has an amazing story to tell of how Jesus turned his life around.

For the majority of Joe's teenage life he was locked up, he said. He was addicted to drugs, alcohol, and fought all the time. When he was 19 he got in a fight that sent him to jail for 10 months. When he got out of his dad allowed him to stay at his house as long as he went to church every week. During this time he still had another court hearing of which he expected the outcome to be jailtime. The opposite happened; he didn't go to jail. Instead he was let go and on his way home from court his childhood pastor saw him and invited him out to lunch. It was during that time at lunch and following conversations that Joe found out about the Freedom House and decided to give it a shot.

He really didn't know what to expect during his time at the house. In fact, during the first three months he felt nothing...he felt no new change. But sometime after those 3 months something happened. He noticed that he had friends and relationship that he never had before...and that people respected him. This was all so new to him. He also noticed everyone's happiness and it was at that point that he decided to give "that faith thing a chance." Since then he's been growing in Christ and has felt purpose that he's never felt before.

I was really blown away by Joe's story and how he ultimately came to salvation. I really don't understand what he came from, because my testimony is so different. I had friends and respect and I at least knew what real happiness was. But it's so cool to see how God brought Joe to him.

Something that I can sympathize with Joe are his struggles he has now, chiefly his having a hard time to forgive himself when he messes up. This is hard for me too. Sometimes I don't think Christ's blood was enough, and that I have to do something to be forgiven. But that can't be further from the truth.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jeremiah Herbert - Church Planting

I think I really connect with Jeremiah's story/testimony on how he has come to where he is now: church planting. He thought he was going to do music ministry/worship leading for life. That's where I thought I was going; I thought I was either going to be in a hugely successful Christian rock act or become a worship leader. For a while I pursued the idea of worship leading by taking music theory, voice, and piano lessons. Now while I believe I have been greatly gifted in the music realm, but I believe that God has different plans for me in life. I believe that I really connect with Jeremiah in that I really struggled for a while in allowing myself to deviate from what I thought I was going to do. But there was some point a year or two ago where I finally said, "God, I'm tired of butting heads...if you have called not called me to do music and music only, then I am free and open to whatever."

After I had come to those terms with myself...I embarked on a journey that is still going to this day of God leading me into crazy, but totally awesome things to where I believe now God has called me to church planting.

"Break your routine, break out of your bubble"

"God has put you in whatever area/ministry you are in to solve a problem"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jan Workman - Children's Ministry

I think it's really cool how Jan all of the sudden began to just play with the church kids during services and eventually grew into being the Children's Pastor. She didn't come in and apply with Children's Ministry credentials...God used her where she was at.

"It is irresistible to an unsaved parent to see their child get saved." - That really is mind-blowing when you think about it. Where kids are, their parents will be.

Jan asked the question, "What do you do when you're done with an outreach? How do you follow up?" - That's a great question...for any age level of ministry: kids, youth, or adults that I think so many churches do so poorly. We pray for people to come through our doors, but yet so much we skip what needs be done after they come through those doors.

I think it's really cool how Jan measures a win as spiritual growth and not necessarily a milestone such as spirit baptism and even salvation.

She stresses the importance of relevance in society and the importance of using the internet.

Jan also stresses assimilation and that every staff member at her church is a part of it. I think that is key and that it should not be just for one person to be assigned to.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

John Weagan - U.S. Christian Commission

John desires to make known what the U.S. Christian Commission had done during the Civil War. He thinks that bringing to light the "Christian heroism" that the Commission committed to during the war. "They did not work apologetically"...the fought the spiritual war for the armies.

I think it's awesome the way that the battlefields drive John for his ministry. He understands how thousands were on the "edge of eternity" in battle. Some went to heaven and some did not. With our salvation comes a great responsibility to lead those on the edge to salvation.

He stresses going to the uttermost parts of the earth. For John that doesn't just mean foreign nations, but reaching those that no one wants to touch.

Much of the battle that John fights is against the demonic forces and activities taking place in the Gettysburg area.

"sacrifice and consecration make an altar"

John believes that Gettysburg is/was the most powerful and passionate place of war in America.

He wants to use the Christian Commission and the museum as a platform for ministry; to spread the gospel as well as raise revenue to help others.

God doesn't ask us to do a favor...we are compelled to do so.

New Believer Interview

For this interview I interviewed Nate Kraynik from the Freedom House. He said that his testimony begins where he was at his lowest point in life. At this point he said he was willing to listen to people, listen to suggestions, and most importantly listen to what God could do in his life. It was at his lowest point that he received salvation.

What is most integral to his testimony are the people that poured into his life. A Christian home took him in when recovery homes weren't cutting it. That family poured all they had into his life and left a big impression. This family helped him get a job and allowed him to get back on his feet.

Nate said that the best points in his Christian walk are when he is around people who are able to build him up, keep him accountable, and help him on the way. But some of the lowest are when people he knew from his past life still try to offer him drugs. But his plan is to press forth and overcome those temptations.

His advice to those who are new believers was to make sure they are around people who can build them up and help them grow. During the entire interview, this was the common theme: relationships. If it wasn't for relationships Nate might not be alive. It is so important to embrace this; that Jesus was about relationships and getting to know people...not condemning people for what they've done and hope they receive salvation as an outcome. It is all about investing time in other people's lives and showing Christ's love. When we try to tell people what they are doing is wrong and that they need saved...something as blunt as that usually doesn't work. People desire love and what better love to show than Christ's.