As many of you know, I am hanging out in Tacoma Washington this summer (many of you faithfully gave for me to come out here) to intern with Soma. So I get to see much rain (it is actually raining now), mountains, experience fresh air (nothin against you Chi-city, but your air really is not that fresh), learn, teach, learn, be challenged, learn, and learn.
It has actually been pretty remarkable. The host families have welcomed us interns in like we are their family. It is not that they are committed to making us feel welcomed. It is not that they desire for us to have a good time–though I believe that they would like us to feel welcomed and have fun. Really, it is evident here that these are a bunch of families who see us as family. So what would they do for their blood relatives? Let them stay in their house, cook for them, make sure they are comfortable, ask them to clean the dishes after dinner, drive them around, invite them on family events. It is invigorating to see a community so driven by the Gospel that they would allow additions to their family this summer.
Trust me, they are all about the Gospel here. The foundational question everyone keeps coming back to is how does the Gospel inform this decision, feeling, motivation, action? So all of life is run first through the filter of the Gospel.
But that sounds really abstract right? It is not; there is actual flesh and bones put to this. I honestly do not understand how it all works out yet, I am still having that explained to me as I meet with my mentor and group leader. I do know, however, that there is a marked difference in a community obsessed with the Gospel and how it applies to life than a community who (functionally) modifies their bad behavior.
God has been really challenging me. Throughout the whole training process God has been revealing to me my idols. He has been faithful to reveal those things that I cling to where I find my identity, value, worth, security, fulfillment. Honestly, it hurts seeing my idols exposed because when I see them for what they are it jolts me from the pretenses I created for myself. In that process God is gracious. He does not just blow over my house of cards as an end itself but He is good to wreck my “secure” house of cards so He can rebuild.
Last week, I taught on Genesis 3 (for Moody internship I need to teach 6 times). It did not really go well and a couple days after I was still beating myself up about it. My mentor, Kevin, asked me how it went and based on my responses asked more questions. He kept asking questions (and I was getting frustrated) to see my baseline motivation for beating myself up over the message.
My answers to his questions revealed that I have been placing my value and worth in other people’s approval. He exposed to me (with much help of the Holy Spirit) that I fundamentally disbelieve God is gracious. He said that in the Gospel He has given me approval I do not deserve therefore I do not need to seek it in other people.
So did I do a good job teaching for the second time? No. But I have not sulked. I see that my approval comes from Christ alone and though wanting to preach well is a good thing turning it into an idol is detrimental.
God has been working. The Gospel is being applied. Christ is being glorified. The Spirit has been speaking.
I am enjoying my time at Soma.