Thursday, August 27, 2015

CELG 2015 | Report from Yohanan

Dear YWAM CE 

Greetings from sunny Budapest. 

I hope this finds you all well.

Rachel and Ashrey (who is almost running around our apartment!) and I are just ending the hot summer - having guests, hosting teams, and doing our best to prep for the fall.

We had a great time together with many of you in beautiful, rustic Porto Astro, Greece for the CELG. It was fabulous to be hosted by Hellenic Ministries (with whom YWAM has been partnering for almost 4 decades), to enjoy great food, time in God's presence, good fellowship together, and a chance to swim and kayak in the Mediterranean. 

It was beautiful to see almost all of our nations and bases represented! We had YWAMers of many ages as well, from several little ones all the way up to people a bit older ;) We shared food and conversation late into the night, every night.

We talked some about shared/ plural leadership, about the life cycle of a missionary, and about what leadership will look like in YWAM CE going forward. 

We had a lot of other good content as well in the CELG and came away feeling even closer relationally. 

I left our time together with a question though:

Where in our lives does God want us to give Him space for more of His presence to dwell?

 It is so clear through the scripture that He wants His presence to dwell outside the temple. Matt 27:51 shows the veil being torn from top to bottom which meant that the presence of God was no longer just in the temple in Jerusalem, but now WE were the temples, each of His followers. 

In Acts, after the stoning of Stephen, the believers were caused by persecution to bring the Word of God and the glory of His presence out into Samaria, Asia, and Europe among other places. In those early days of the church we see the fingerprints of His presence in prisons, arenas, Synagogues, places of business, and even pagan temples. We see the believers challenging principalities, and seeing both Jews and Gentiles being filled with the Holy Spirit (one of the expressions of God's presence.) His presence and His ways continued to move further out from Jerusalem to the ends of the Earth.

God's presence impacts our hearts, our minds, our relationships, and our environment. We should see change, and increase, and truth increasing anywhere we go. This is not just about what we are called to do; it is about who we are in Jesus and what we are becoming as a result of our relationship with Him. This should touch our lives, our families, our work, our expressions of hospitality, all areas of our lives!

I believe God wants more of His presence in more of our lives. I believe this will have both internal and external implications. For some of us, this will lead to a shaking of our foundations (a vision I have had repeatedly as we pray for Central Europe) as it describes in Hebrews 12:26-27:

English Standard Version (ESV)
... but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

I believe what will last will be purified foundations upon which we will build better and better buildings and structures. He wants the best stuff to remain even after challenges and difficulties. 
Some Questions:
  • What Is God shaking in you? 
  • What areas of your life need to be more transformed by the power and presence of God? 
  • What is His agenda for your life right now? 
Some more news from our time together at the CELG: 

We got to pray out the CELT. Mirjam, Chris, Helga, and Wolfi have served for many years very sacrificially. We have been so honored to work with them. We will be making some announcements soon about what kind of group will replace them. God continues to speak to us about shared leadership and how we can move more in that direction. We will be convening some new teams in the next months to see how we can best share leadership in Central Europe. 

We also will start to use the word "area" instead of "region." We have been challenged by the Founder's Circle to use less corporate and hierarchical language, and this will help us to sound less like a business and more like a group who is engaging with geographical, spiritual needs. So we are now the "Central European area", not the "Central European Region."

We spoke more about how to build circles. This is something I will be discussing more in smaller groups and then we will send out a larger document about the "best practices" of developing regional/ area circles. We want to have a few of them off the ground well enough that we can describe what we need to do them well. I recently heard Lynn Green describe it as fixing a car while we are driving it. Sounds like fun huh?

One other key word that was spoken had to do with dry ground and God having already planted seeds that will grow, even if we cannot see them growing yet. What an encouraging word!

Our time together was rich with God's presence and with growth in community and togetherness. We look forward to seeing what God continues to speak and do in our region moving forward from the CELG and our wonderful time together in our future gatherings!

Many blessings,

Yohanan 

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