I am here. In Washington. In Tacoma. I guess it seemed like it would never happend. God is good.
And so it has been an absolute whirlwind since I arrived. I landed in Washington at around 2200 hours on Tuesday and Derek was kind enough to pick me up.
The only hangup was that we had never seen each other (I tried facebook stalking him but since his picture is one of him in front of the bean in Chicago, it was difficult to tell what he actually looked like), but I had the information that I was looking for a silver minivan. Several silver minivans drove by me but one stopped about 15 feet from where I stood with my bags. I figured that was him. So I left the curbside and started walking towards the car. I got a couple feet away from the car when the driver gave me a really weird look like what the heck are you doing trying to get into my car. That is when I realized that it was an Asian gentleman and not Derek. So needles to say when Derek did actually pull around I did not even move fearing that I would again try entering a car that was not expecting an additional passenger. My conclusion was to just wait and if the driver made eye contact with me for longer than 10 seconds, that was my ride.
Derek and his wife, Colleen, are great. They have been extremely gracious with allowing me to stay in their spare room, letting me eat dinner with them, having lunch for me to take to Soma School, and sharing their lives with me. I am blessed to be staying with them.
I am learning so much. One of the things that Soma distinctly does is the Story of God. Essentially the Story of God is a “curriculum” developed by Soma for the church (the people). This is a set of ten or so stories that the moderator/facilitator reads aloud to the small group (they would never call it a small group but by definition it is a small group of people, roughly 10 or so). After reading the story the facilitator asks questions and then it is open for dialogue. The main purpose is to show God, give people the framework for which to understand the big story of the Bible (God’s pursuit), and see discipleship. I will talk about the Story of God more in a later post but suffice it to say, for now, that it is a great way to learn more about the nature and character of God.
For example. This was cool. We did a story called Sacrifice and this story focused on the Old Testament sacrificial system. The story stated that God determined for the Jews that they would throw several huge parties throughout the year. During one of these huge parties the Jews would celebrate the Day of Atonement. This was the day, amidst the feast/party, where God instructed the Jews to sacrifice for their sins. It was on that day the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies (with a rope tied around his ankle just incase God killed him for being unclean) to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat so that God would forgive the sins of the nation.
One of the other interns brought up the point that this happened during the celebration. That God decided to take care of the sins of the nation in the context of much feasting and rejoicing. This dealing with sin was to happen in community and surrounded by an enjoyment of Him. Brad, the intern said, it is almost as if God delights in us making a spectacle of our sin. That He desires us to declare our sins, put them out there, tell all, to make God look good. Not only that but He had the Jews deal with their sin amidst a party. Not that God was the killjoy but that the people could rejoice and see how good their God truly is.
Therefore we see that we, as Christians, can rejoice that Jesus took our shame. We have no shame to bear. We are free to make a spectacle of our sin because Jesus forgives. Jesus saving sinners who are free to show their sin and watch with eager anticipation how He redeems and renews makes Him look good. It makes Him look glorious. That God is worship-able.
Dwelling on that will stir your affections.
Being here has been great. I have enjoyed every minute of it. As I enter into the next week there are a couple of things I ask you to pray about:
1) I am teaching on Tuesday. One of the requirements for this internship to count for Moody is that I teach six times. The first passage I will be teaching on is Genesis 3:1-13 (the fall of man). At this point I do not feel at all ready but I am excited and hopeful that the Spirit will use me. So please pray that I would finish the work Moody wants on the passage and that I would be used.
2) Secondly, I ask you to pray for my discernment. To be honest, being here is phenomenal but I want to make sure that I am still being discerning in accepting teaching. I am wrestling through the way Soma does things and trying to evaluate its faithfulness to the Scriptures. Please pray the Spirit would lead.
3) But at the same time I do want to be very teachable. I do want to learn and grow. Pray I would find the balance between discernment and teachability.
Thank you all so much. It means more to me, than you could possibly understand, that you are supporting me. Many supported me financially and actually helped to get me here and others are also supporting me in lifting me up in prayer. I cannot thank you enough for your support. It is humbling and always reminds me of the gift of being here.