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Back from World Changers and Wednesday night.

20 Jul

PRAYER ROOM OPEN TONIGHT AT 6

Ok. So I dropped the ball on updating in the van. Between managing the iPod that was plugged into the cassette deck (your kids now know what a cassette tape is) and sleeping, I didn’t really have time to update the blog. Long story short, we’re back. We are all safe and it was a wonderful trip. There is a slide show in the works for Sunday along with some youth praise band goodness and some experience sharing. It’ll be great. That’s why all of you should be at WFBC on Sunday night!

Moving on from that, this Wednesday night we’re debriefing from World Changers.

When I say debriefing, I don’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be talking about World Changers more. It was a great week, but it’s over. What we’re going to be talking about is what does World Changers mean to us now? What is our takeaway? This spiritual high won’t last forever. It never does.

Phil sent me this article earlier this week. We’re going to be talking through some of these points tonight along with looking at what the Bible has to say about this stuff. If you feel like reading ahead (and I hope you do), check out the article that’s posted and read 1 John 2:12-14, Acts 4:1-22, and Ephesians 3:14-21.

Also, BRING YOUR BIBLES!

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Hi guys! (Packed and ready to leave)

15 Jul

Roofing is over. World Changers 2011 is in the books. We’re leaving at 6:30am MO time in the morning, so I’m going to just let this be my post for the night.

I plan on giving a proper update in the van tomorrow. I brought my car charger and everything.

But know this: I have a photo dvd from the whole week. It has over 2000 pictures on it. I’m going to make a giant album of our folks and put it on here!

Day six…almost there

14 Jul

I’m on my phone again. No fire alarm this time. I just really enjoyed getting to use my cool Swype keyboard to type a full length blog entry. I’m a nerd like that.

First, I apologize for posting a link to the facebook page yesterday and telling all of you that there are pictures there. They are actually not there. I assume they will be. That’s where the photographer told me they were going to be. They just aren’t there yet.

Lots of crews finished houses today, and we got the news that if we make it through tomorrow without one, we could be the first World Changers team ever to finish a week with no injuries! Pray that the dream becomes a reality.

The teams that are finished with their projects are spending the day tomorrow with teams that are a bit behind. Some houses were still having shingles ripped off as of today. Pray for speed. Safe speed, but still speed.

The girls have yet to send me all the pictures and video they claim to have. The video I can’t upload without wifi, and the pictures I can’t upload until they send them. If you are family or friends and would like to see their media from the trip, you have my permission to harass them.

Tonight Ron was talking during worship about putting God first in our lives. This wasn’t the verse he used, but it’s the passage that came to my mind on the topic:

Luke 14:15-24 NKJV

Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed  is  he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  Then He said to him,  “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,  and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one  accord  began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’  So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here  the  poor and  the  maimed and  the  lame and  the  blind.’  And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’  Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel  them  to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”

Every one of the people in the parable had a reason to miss the occasion. The reasons weren’t even bad things. Real estate, livestock, and matrimony aren’t normally on the list of heinous, horrible sins. But it was not those actions themselves that upset the man who had invited them to dinner. It was their blatant disregard for his affection and preparation for them. The consequence was that they lost their seats at the table.

If at any point in our lives or ministries we disregard God’s affection for us and His preparation for us, we can expect consequences. I’m not saying that a believer gets punished for a moment of weakness. Believers don’t get punished. All our punishment was dealt with on the cross. What I AM saying is that life can get considerably more complicated when we put something before God as the object of our praise and adoration. Our God is a jealous God and will share His glory with no one and nothing.

Just ask Abraham. God promised He’d take care of him. A famine set in, and instead of trusting God, Abraham fled to Egypt. He bowed to the idol of security. He then, still worshiping the same idol, lied and said that Sarah was his sister. Pharaoh took her, God let Pharaoh feel the power because he was ripping off His boy, and Pharaoh gave Sarah back along with tons of stuff…including male and female servants. Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, was an Egyptian servant. Ishmael and his descendents STILL oppose God and His chosen people, Israel. Consequences for not trusting. Not necessarily punishment, but consequences nonetheless.

Our lives, ministries, jobs, hobbies, traditions, and even churches can become idols of we put them before Jesus Himself. And there are consequences for doing that.

We’ve got one day left. We need energy. Encourograms are officially closed as of tomorrow, so thanks for the encouragement through them! Still feel welcome to send your own brand of encouragement through blog comments, facebook, and the Contact Us page.

Thanks guys!

Day Five and a fire alarm.

13 Jul

image

Hey guys. I’m sitting in the breezeway right now doing a blog update from my phone because somebody pulled the church/Christian school fire alarm. Quick update:

We had a free day today and went to see the Arch! Lots of photos were uploaded to individual facebook pages, so I’m sure some of those are floating around already.

Also, for those off you who wanted work site pictures, Merry Christmas.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Louis-World-Changers/172232822815612

That is the official World Changers St. Louis facebook page. Every picture that the World Changers photographer had taken this week is up there, included pictures of us. We may have a few pictures, but this guy has hundreds. Browse to your heart’s content.

Also, great news! The homeowner at Hannah Murfin’s job site came to know Jesus today! More than houses are getting revitalized this week. Jesus is doing way more work than we are. I hope you guys at home are ready for a super excited youth group homecoming. I’m praying that this desire for revival that is so evident right now stays as important to them as it seems now. We gotta nurture this, folks.

Make sure you hit up the E-courograms up! They really are great. You can send them until Thursday at 11PM.

We’re all tired and have another early morning tomorrow, so I’m clocking out. I’ll post again soon. Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

Day 4, courtesy of Katie Pursley and the rest of the girls

12 Jul

A note from the desk of Josh:

Hi, guys. I’m pretty much taking a break from the blog tonight. I’m beat. I figured we hadn’t had much in the way of info coming from the girls, so I pawned the blog off on Katie Pursley and the rest of them tonight. The bulk of the message will be from her. I just wanted to push along the message that our kids are ok. We’re paying extremely close attention to liquid intake and how exhausted they are in the heat. To the best of my knowledge, heat exhaustion related incidents have been extremely limited; there hasn’t been an epidemic. If you’ve been trying to get in touch with them during the day and haven’t been able to get through, it’s because they don’t have their phones on the work site. Sass has his phone and can be reached all the time. The Crew Chiefs at all sites are watching our kids and will get in touch with us immediately if they need to. Also, a note to Marci: Chase would like to know how Ruby K is doing. And now, without further ado, Katie Pursley.

World Changers. WOW. The past three days have been some of the most exhausting and action packed days our youth have seen all summer!  After a 12 hour ride we finally got to St. Louis and checked into our room, which is of course really messy. We have already met a ton of new people and our crews are AMAZING! My crew is absolutely hilarious! The Crow Bars ( my crew ) consists of a young lad who likes to nap in a wheel barrow instead of work, a 21 year old army guy named Aaron who prefers the name Larz and never takes his sun glasses off ( literally he even takes a shower with his shades on ), 2 hilarious Indians ( people from Indiana ), 2 shy girls from Illinois and Mississippi, oh and Kyle.  We are already getting closer as the week goes on. Although it is ridiculously hot, I can feel God working in my life as well as the people on my crew. Everyone please pray for the residents of the houses we are working on as well as their neighbors! And please pray for our safety as we continue to work in 104 degree weather on a 120 degree roof!

Tonight was the Concert of prayer. We heard about the student’s role in the great awakening and other revivals around the US which inspired prayer for God to use us not only to impact the people of St. Louis but also as for a catalyst for change back home in Georgia.

We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers while we serve the Lord in St. Louis and that God will not only work through us but in us as well. GO JESUS! 🙂 haha. Please feel free to encourage us while we are here by sending encouragrams to us, which we usually receive every night. Marci Wooster, I would really appreciate an encouragram from you! 🙂 haha . . . Oh and the worship has been extremely amazing! – yeah that’s what Lauren Burnam thinks 🙂

Really God has been working so much the past few days. God has revealed many things to me and I know others have seen His work also. Thanks so much to all of those who supported us and sent us here. World Changers is CHANGING OUR WORLD! 🙂

-Katie Pursley

This. Roof. Is. HOT. (Day 3)

11 Jul

Tonight is probably going to be a short post because, frankly, we are all exhausted and tired. I have an air mattress calling me, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

 

Today was absolutely brutal. Some kids got sent to the hospital for IV fluids. None of them were ours, but be in prayer for us being outside in this heat. I heard it said once that for a believer, this life is the closest to hell we will ever get. I would like to change this statement a bit. For a believer, being on top of the roof in this ridiculous heat is the closest to hell we will ever get.

Only in terms of temperature, though. The attitudes of everyone on the job site have been great. Tyson actually got mobbed by the media today because one of the neighbors called! They decided that people needed to be told about what was happening.

Speaking of Tyson, he actually worked 2 job sites today. His group was going to run late, so he stayed late at the job site with the camp pastor for the week and finished tarping the roof down until it could be finished tomorrow. The dynamic duo then got a call from central command and heard that another house needed the roof rolled with felt paper. So they piled in the car and felt papered ANOTHER house. Homeboy is a beast.

Other things that happened today (WOW moments):

  • Our youth group hijacked the World Changers radio band. Katie Pursley operates under the alias of “Pink Panther.”
  • Chase actually got to tell somebody that we weren’t, in fact, selling things. Great conversation starter.
  • Hunter was really excited to see all kinds of different churches getting together and worshipping Jesus.
  • Lindsey was still really pumped that the church her crew went to yesterday met in a renovated movie theater.
  • Kyle (quote) “fixed Katie’s sprained ankle with a band-aid.”
  • Tyson was on TV! (He’s also on Channel 11 in St. Louis, but this one was easier to find)
Tonight in worship service, Ron preached out of John 6:44.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Ultimately, everything we do should point people to Jesus. That is how we minister. We point people to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit draws people to Him. It was super easy to think in the heat today that we were just the stuff. There was even media coverage. But if we ever let the eyes focus on us and not on Jesus, we’re playing for the other team. We have to make sure that the worship and magnification of Jesus is paramount in everything we do, say, and stand for.

 

Not our preferences. Not our traditions. Not our opinions. Jesus.

 

And also, I have a message I’ve been told to send to the kids here (they’ll see it when they get home and hear it from me here). Parents, I also want you to know this so that you have this perspective on what your kids are doing. My Pastor of my home church, Jason Corbett (HBC!!!) sent this to our kids in an E-Courogram today (YOU CAN SEND ONE TOO BY CLICKING HERE!!):
Tell your students that the work that they are doing is a “good work” – a work designed by God Himself – a work uniquely their own. Every nail driven is a testimony to God, a way that your kids can reflect the saving grace of their great King.
Jason, thanks. It means a lot. To all of you who have sent E-Courograms to the kids, to me, and encouraged us through comments on the blog, believe me. It helps. Your voices are heard and your prayers are effective.
Thanks for all your support, and check back tomorrow for more updates from Missouri! Now. I’m going to bed.

World Changers: Where you see things that cannot be found elsewhere. (Day 2)

10 Jul

After one day of my first experience with World Changers during my first year as a youth intern, I can say with complete confidence that this place is NOT NORMAL.

We went to go see our job sites today. This is Missouri, which I hear A) is in the midwest, and B) happens to grow lots and lots of hay in vast, never-ending fields. I’m convinced after seeing this that the amount of hay shipped out of Missouri is roughly half of what is grown because the other half is left on the interstate.

Anyway, there have been lots of really cool things that happened today. I’m excited about where this is going because we haven’t even gotten to the job site yet. Matt and Marcy Wooster (I’m sorry if I butchered the name, guys – blame it on the new guy) found the blog and wondered if there had been any “WOW” moments. I’m still learning the definition of a WOW moment, but if I had to guess I’d say there have  been a couple.

  1. One of the teams “just happened” to have someone assigned to their unit who speaks American sign language. That team “just happened” to get assigned to a house with a deaf homeowner. The World Changers staff knew about neither the homeowner nor the team member who can sign. God. Is. Awesome.
  2. Hearing the hearts of the youth and seeing them with each other has been amazing, actually. Guys, if you didn’t know, you have some amazing kids. Again, I can’t speak for the girls, but seeing the guys get a chance to just be guys with each other and nobody feel ridiculed, picked on, or otherwise ostracized has been awesome. That’s rare. If you’d like to hear some anecdotes from the girls…well, so would I. I keep telling them to get stuff to me, but I have seen nary a picture, paragraph, note, nor video from them. They’re somewhere in Missouri (or so I hear).
  3. We split into lots of churches today and got to meet some of the people that will be feeding us and looking out for us over the course of the week. Let’s just say we’re going to be very well taken care of, and that St. Louis has some amazing BBQ.
Tonight Ron (our speaker for the week) spoke out of Exodus 33. He spoke from the passage where Moses begs God to go with them and says that it would be better for them not to go unless God goes with them.
Exodus 33:12-16
Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, our people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
Moses noticed a truth that is essential for us here at World Changers. It’s also essential for us at home in Winterville. Unless God is going with us, nobody will see that the works of our hands mean anything. Nobody will see anything different about us. Our programs, ministries, and repaired houses will mean nothing. If God is not with us, it’s better for us not to go in the first place.

How do we know if God is with us? That’s easy. Are we glorifying the Son? Are we putting Jesus above our own pride and selfish ambition? Is serving the Church more important than serving our own selfish desires? Do we want a “successful” ministry because we want our ministry to be as big and popular as somebody else’s, or do we want a successful ministry because we want to reach people for Jesus? How obsessed are we with the Gospel of Christ? Do we see evidences of the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control – in our labor? Or do we see selfish pride, ambition, bitterness, jealousy, frustration, and impatience? Do we go with God or with hands and hearts full of ourselves and our works?

We have a lot to think about when we go out to work tomorrow. Worship isn’t just a 35 minute block every night (or on Sunday morning/evening). Worship is what we do 24/7. Whether or not we’re always worshipping Jesus is a different discussion entirely, but we ARE always worshipping. That’s what God made us to do. Everyone we meet will not only see us worshipping, they will also see HOW we worship. When Moses came down from that mountain, his face shone. He made other people uncomfortable because he radiated from being in the Presence of God. How we carry ourselves, how we handle the heat, how we treat each other, how we treat those outside of our group, the homeowners, the neighbors…all of these are witnesses for Christ, either for good or for bad. And we should never be naive enough to believe that everyone on the rooftop with a hammer is a believer in Jesus either. Broad is the pathway that leads to destruction, and many are those on it. But narrow is the pathway that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

One disrespectful word. One careless action.

That’s all it can take to ruin our witness with one person who could otherwise hear Jesus through us. Eli put it this way tonight: Everybody puts  his or her pants on one leg at a time. Nobody, regardless of rank or file, needs Jesus less than anybody else. We’re just as much witnesses to those on the roof beside us as we are to those under it.

Things to pray for:

  1. Pray for safety on the jobsite.
  2. Pray for good attitudes on (and off) the jobsite.
  3. Pray that hearts would be open to hearing about Jesus.
  4. Pray for boldness for those who will share.
  5. Pray for the World Changers staff to be organizational ninjas (things change at a breakneck pace)
  6. Pretty much anything else that God lays on your heart. We covet all your prayers.

AND DON’T FORGET TO SEND E-COUROGRAMS! <————-This is a link. CLICK IT (You have to scroll down to send the E-Courogram)