Monday, April 5, 2010

My Letter to the Big Sky Church of Big Sky, MT

To my mothers, brothers, and sisters of Big Sky-

I praise our Father in heaven for all of you. Your support and encouragement throughout my time here in beautiful Big Sky has been such a gift to me in my walk with God. Just by your being here and worshipping the Creator has been such a help! After being immersed in the world, especially in lifty culture, it’s easy to feel less connected to the light, but when I am surrounded by Gods people, I feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated so that I can get back out there and continue in our Fathers will. There were definitely some weeks that were harder than others, but when I felt at the end of my rope, it was you who outstretched your hand to help me up by your faith and love for God. Going from the worship setting back to regular life is definitely disconcerting for me. As I reflect on it, I realize how important our work here in this life is.

We are called to be in two completely different worlds. The first is the one we all lived in at some point in our lives, the world of the dead. They may walk, talk, and eat, but inside they are lifeless. It is a world of absolute confusion and chaos. Unfortunately, most people live in this world. The worst part is that they are completely unaware of the darkness they live in and the wide road they are walking. We as children of God cannot avoid being in this world as it utterly surrounds us. In fact, we are called to go out into this world to bring truth, give hope, and resurrect the dead by the name of our Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

But thanks be to God for the true world that he has given us by His Spirit! The World of Truth and of Light – the kingdom of God that is within all of His children. The world that will not pass away when shaken or burned. This is the world we all live for, now that our eyes have been opened. This is the world and the life we proclaim either by word or by action. God has taught me that I need to be very careful how I balance my presence in each world. If I stay too long in the world of the dead, it is easy to lose sight of the work God has given me, and even of God Himself. It’s easy to sink back into the mindset of that world, that of selfishness, greed, envy, confusion, and pleasure. However, I have learned that if I fill my time with only church and bible study, and not associate with the other world, I will have also erred. I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also who shall believe on me through their word. That’s John 17: 15-20. It is a command I am trying to understand more and more, and my time and ministry here in Big Sky has taught me much in that area.

Through your financial support, Jeff Quakenbush, Pastor Doug, Stephen who works the front desk at Jeff’s lodge, and I have all pitched in to start Jeff’s brainchild (as if he didn’t have enough on his plate) - Wednesday Night Live, a study targeting unbelieving winter workers. I feel like we had great success with it, not only with the workers themselves, but with how God has grown those of us who helped out with it. God has shown me that getting up and preaching doesn’t work for every situation, but that I need to let the Holy Spirit guide me in talking to each unbeliever, for each has his or her own reasons for resisting the truth. Now I am not dogging on preaching at all, I am just saying we need to be able to witness in more than one way based on the circumstance, and be flexible so that we can address the needs of our audience, as the Spirit guides us. And I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity for learning that, as church funds were used to pay for the pizza that was used to lure the hungry workers in.

I have also learned that I don’t need an official ministry like Wednesday Night Live to minister to unbelievers. When I first arrived here in Big Sky, I was immediately set apart because I turned down free weed and I didn’t party. When asked why, I got to tell them I had decided to live for God. I was then labeled bible thumper and the local Jesus freak, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Because of this reputation, people would start up conversations with me about God and why they were skeptical. I found that if I just listened patiently, I had opportunity to steer them into some truth, as a lot of reasons people gave was based on false views of what Yeshua stood for. Sadly, and I am not sure if it’s just my age group or not, most people just don’t care and don’t want to think about it. There’s not much I can do for those people, but just live my life for God, pray, and hope God softens their heart. But opportunities to minister are everywhere, and understand that as soon as you declare yourself a follower of Christ, everyone will hold you to different standards. No matter what your actions are, they will be a testimony of God to all people around you, whether you see them or not. The biggest reason they don’t believe, for people I have talked to, is us, the church, our proclaiming one thing and doing another. Let’s stop allowing ourselves to be one of the reasons for unbelief.

I want to thank Pastor Doug for taking me under his wing this season and sharing some of his wisdom. You guys really have a man of God leading you. Diedre for allowing the Thursday night group to meet and fellowship at her home. The Thursday group of kids, another great source of encouragement and refreshment. The Monday mens group who met earlier this season. Jeff Quackenbush, for allowing us use of his conference room and for his great example of faith And again, to y’all, the church, the bride of Jesus Christ for your example and faith! May all glory be to God!

another beautiful sunset in Big Sky

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