INTIMACY & LORDSHIP // Aaron Walsh & Loren and Darlene Cunningham
Hello! Here is a quick re-cap of the last two weeks in the Awaken 2012 DTS. You’ll read snippets of the speakers’ teachings, things we did, and things we are learning (staff and students alike!). Pop on over to the ‘podcast’ tab and listen to the actual teachings if you’d like.
We kicked off the first week of scheduled speakers on July 16th with Aaron Walsh teaching on “Intimacy with Jesus”, a foundational topic. With the students arriving only a week and a half before Aaron took the stage, some had little to no grid for what a relationship with Jesus even looks like, while others have been following Jesus for years if not entire lives.
The importance and priority of the first commandment, “…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:34-40) is at the heart of our intimacy with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Aaron said, “Matthew defines what is central and the first priority for our human lives . . . bind yourself to the greatest commandment . . . It reveals to us why God did what he did, this is what He wants for your life and this is why we are here. Without this we are not complete.” He then challenged us to pray for 4 things: to feel loved by God, to love Him back, to love ourselves in the love of God, and to ask for the ability to love our neighbor.
Here are just a few more nuggets from the “Intimacy with Jesus” week:
- Jesus wants us to have more faith in His affections for us than our experiences; experience is fragile and subjective, but his love is concrete and solid. We cannot let the experience water down the promises of God.
- We need to load our hearts with wood, which is the Word of God, and is the altar that the Holy Spirit loves to fall the most on. Your heart will burn as much as you fill yourself with the Word.
- God cannot point you toward anything else beside himself and tell you to be satisfied. It is the kindness of God that we are satisfied only in Him.
Students were invited into intimacy with Jesus, the crux and foundation for our lives as followers and believers, and watched as the heart of the Father met their hearts. The first foundational week moved us into the second week as we joined together corporately with the other 3 Discipleship Training Schools on base (Go Asia, Island Breeze, and Voice for the Voiceless) to listen to the founder and co-founder of Youth With a Mission, Loren and Darlene Cunningham. We had the incredible honor and privilege of hearing their teaching from 50 years of ministry experience and 80 years of obediently following God.
Loren Cunningham brought two messages centered on obedience to God’s voice and laying down our rights and entitlements. He said, “We can create and obey God by having or listening to His words (spoken or written) and His voice, by having the conviction of the Holy Spirit through praying into what you’ve heard, and being a witness and speaking God’s words out . . . ‘Do’ the voice of the Lord and trust Him for what you cannot do . . . It is foolish to wrestle with God over things he has told you to do when He is the God of the universe– instead ask ‘Is that really you, God?'”
The second day, cost of discipleship and laying down our rights, Loren pushed us to lay down the things in our life that we feel entitled and rightful to have.
“Awakening must lead to transformation and reformation . . . At any age you can have the power of God on your life, there is no retiring. The potential you have grows in your influence as you continue to follow God . . . Its our ‘rights’ that holds us back the most from doing the will of God. We cannot have God truly be Lord in our life if we give Him conditions and try to maintain our rights. We lay down our rights for the sake of the Gospel and Jesus Christ,” he said.
He went through many things that we feel entitled to: freedom, family, marriage, decisions, reputation, culture, money, our own lives and the lives of our loved ones. And asked us if we were willing to give up these rights for the sake of being obedient to God’s voice and doing His will here on earth. Through the many stories and life experiences Loren shared the message was always the same, hear His voice and go ‘do’.
Darlene, Loren’s wife and co-founder of YWAM, spoke the final two days on giftings and grace. She brought us through the journey of her life, meeting Loren, and being thrust into starting this global ministry. Her stories she shared in front of hundreds of students released us to be able to feel like we do not have to have it all together. Her topic of giftings opened us up to understanding that we have been given gifts that we are naturally good at, but the things that we do not have are also still part of the design. God has never withheld or not given us certain things because he has forgotten or made a mistake, but rather to unite us together as a body. She pushed us to never compare ourselves to one another because we are most effective when we are doing the things we were made for, and comparison keeps us from using our gifts. She likened us to an orchestra and when a flute player or a violinist takes their eyes off the conductor it causes disharmony. “It’s when we stop comparing and stop looking for the affirmation from others about our gifts that we can then do things unto the Lord,” she said.
Darlene then brought us through what do we do when we don’t know what to do. Or we have done all that we can do. Or when we are scared to do what He has asked of us.
“Have courage, strength, and hang onto the Word of the Lord . . . Lay down anything that isn’t of the Lord in your heart and remember the words of the Lord that were given to you . . . Press in and persevere, claim His promises. Trust God and when you’ve done the possible, trust God in His faithfulness . . . You will receive strength and courage when you read God’s Word and remind yourself of God’s character. It’s not about our feelings, it is about WHO GOD IS . . . Gratitude and faith goes hand in hand; grumbling and complaining lead to unbelief. We must cultivate a heart of gratitude. We have short memories and forget what God has done in the past. When we remember, it builds our faith.”
She talked about grace being a ticket and we would only buy a ticket just before we get on a train. On the thought of worry she said, “To worry is foolish. We think that because we cannot see the solution that there is none. Meditate on who God is . . . What Jesus did on Calvary really did make a difference. Be expectant for grace . . . Grace is a reality.”
Wow, what a last two weeks. Hearts are changing, God is getting bigger and bigger, the reality of who Jesus is now and who He was and who He will be is starting to stink in. Journeys have just begun as every day we continue to press in and push in to the Lord. Starting on Monday we will have Adam Cox from Kansas City here to teach on the ‘Father Heart of God’ and we are excited and ready for what he has to impart to us and the shifts that will happen in our souls and lives.