The Father’s Heart

The Father’s Heart

Written by Brian Lee (originally posted here) From Aug 13th-16th, I had the opportunity to serve as leader at a youth church retreat. However, I want to share a story – a story of someone who will be called Mark. Upon getting on the bus to go to the retreat center, I knew Mark was different. Unlike the other kids who all gave up their phones, he refused to give up his. He also didn’t want anyone to sit next to him, regardless of the bus being full. I eventually forced myself into the seat beside him, exclaiming that by the end of the bus ride we would be best friends. He responded by saying he hated me; I don’t necessarily blame him. I probably freaked the kid out and was “extra” someway or another. Quickly, I found out we both shared lots of similarities. We both went to Murchison Middle School, we both watched Naruto, and we both liked sports. And then, he started to share more. Little did I know that Mark moved from place to place, school to school, difficulty to difficulty. Mark’s step-father was in the army, which caused his family to move often. Instead of going to one elementary school, Mark went to five. He described for 1.5 hours how he struggled with friends, loneliness, and an unstable family life. Later, I found out that Mark’s biological father passed away when Mark was starting elementary school. That night, we had our first worship service of the retreat. After a couple of songs, I looked to my side and I noticed Mark. I saw Mark...
Taking Fun Seriously

Taking Fun Seriously

by Natalie Walker Our wedding was in two days. It was ten o’clock at night, and we had a million things left to do on our checklist. Yet, my fiancé and I found ourselves standing in an aisle at Home Depot debating how much we should spend on a plastic tarp, dishwashing soap, and a garden hose. The need, of course, was urgent. We were picking up supplies to create a slip and slide at our rehearsal dinner. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely confident in our plan. The wedding funds had been spent, and the details for the weekend had all been arranged. My bride’s mind began to play out every worst-case scenario that could possibly go wrong: injuries, scrapes, scratches. I could picture myself walking down the aisle to my groom, only to be met with some kind of freak facial injury because we just had to have that slip and slide. Right about the time I was encouraging my future husband to drop the soap and make a beeline for the door, I stopped to remind myself why we were doing this in the first place. We knew that the ceremony would be sacred, and that the reception would be memorable. But, we also knew that this weekend was our first chance to make a statement about who we were, and who we wanted to be, as a married unit. And, we wanted to be fun. During our engagement, my husband and I came up with a list of five core values that we hoped to prioritize and embody, one of which was fun. It’s not...
Pick Up the Dream

Pick Up the Dream

by Jason Voong A few years ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. I was telling him a dream that I had to one day preach at a specific church. He responded, “Who do you think you are?” and “What makes you think they would even let you?” The combination of that conversation, struggles I had, and events that had occurred up to that point – led me to a place where I began to lay that dream down – and other dreams with it. I thought I was disqualified. I thought that maybe I wasn’t the right guy for the job. Because if I was, shouldn’t everyone be on board and everything line up exactly the way I want them to? We buy into lies like that all the time don’t we? As a result, many of us have laid down dreams that we were never meant to lay down. There’s a guy in the Bible named Peter. In the very beginning of the Gospels, Peter is sitting in a boat and fishing. Jesus comes and calls Peter out of the boat. He gives him an invitation to not fish for fish, but to become a fisher of men. This is Jesus inviting Peter into a dream. And not just any dream, but a dream that’s bigger than himself. God’s dreams are always bigger and better than anything we could ever imagine. God’s dreams are always bigger and better than anything we could ever imagine. Click To Tweet A little bit later, Jesus blows the dream up (in a good way), and says, “Oh...
Testimony from JSTRM Revival

Testimony from JSTRM Revival

Testimony by David Yi, Youth & Children’s Pastor at DKUMC Sam was our guest speaker for our youth revival in May.  Our theme was “Victory” and so the goal was obvious – to get our youth group to have a shift in mentality towards the battles they face in life.  As we prayed together, we both felt the sense that God wanted to really encounter the students and attendees of our event.  If you saw in Sam’s recent video blog, he came with his mentee, Danny, and their weekend in Delaware began with God’s healing power in the middle of a restaurant!  So, it’s no surprise that the healing power of God broke out through our revival.  The kids were timid to approach the front to receive prayer for healing but by the end of the evening, the front of the sanctuary was full of students and overflowing into the center aisle.  Kids were all on their knees earnestly seeking the love of God and it was a beautiful sight.  The two major topics of healing were for knees/ankles and family.  As time passed, I had the chance to talk to some of the kids about what happened.  A lot of them actually experienced partial healing in the knees and ankles and several of them commented about how God really changed a struggling family dynamic! So I decided to keep pressing in.  We asked God to continue to heal the students and I was surprised to see that they were instantly completely healed!  We went one step further.  I prayed that they would all receive the gift of healing. ...
A Personal Reflection of the Wilderness Season

A Personal Reflection of the Wilderness Season

Photo by Jesse Rinka Photography I entered a period shortly after having kids where I felt like I was wandering in the desert. I had my first daughter at 24 – much earlier than my husband and I had planned for. I quit teaching to stay at home with my two little ones. I battled discouragement and despair while doing ministry in the small church God had called my husband and me to serve. And I had very little community to process, grow, and do life with. I prayed that God would move with the same power I saw Him display all throughout the Bible. And in the secret place, I found hope in His promises over my life. But many times as I waited for fulfillment, it seemed as though He was working wonders everywhere except in my own life, church, and relationships. I stumbled over the temptation to envy others’ blessings, and fell deep into the rabbit hole of questioning His goodness and my identity in Him. It was after years of wrestling through cycles of promise and disappointment that He turned my attention to the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The Israelites directly witnessed miracle after miracle, provision after provision, yet “…they forgot the many times God showed them His love…” (Psalm 106:7). Their journey should have only taken 11 days, but by the time they reached the Promised Land, they lacked the faith to claim it, and instead an entire generation wandered in the wilderness I realized I was looking into a mirror. I was just as forgetful and “stiff-necked” as the Israelites, forgetting His great...
Where Can I Meet with God?

Where Can I Meet with God?

When I first became a Christian the Word of God became the Living Word (Heb 4:12-13). There is no other way to explain it than God’s Word became words of life. Every time I opened the Bible, the words would jump off the pages and stirred a fire in my heart (Jer 20: 9, Lk 24:32). I had never experienced anything like that before. In fact, I had to stop reading the Bible a few hours before I slept because it would keep me up all night. My heart would be so convicted and filled with wonder that it would keep me up for hours. The stories of the Bible would replay over and over in my mind, and my heart would burn with so much passion that I had to pray, “God, please help me sleep! I need to sleep to go to school, so please shut my mind off!” So after a few months, I learned that I had to read the Bible earlier in the day so I could get some sleep at night. Sometimes during school, I couldn’t wait until class would end so that I could run home to open the Bible and meet with God. That was it. I realize now what made reading God’s Word so intimate, powerful and life changing was that I read God’s Word to meet with Him. Not to know more about Him or to gain more knowledge to teach others, but literally to meet with Him. What made reading God’s Word so intimate was that I read to meet with Him Click To Tweet I wasn’t reading...