New Family Dynamics: LTS Testimony 2018

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LTS stands for Life Transformation School and is a program offered by Navah Church, where I currently attend. Below is my testimony from the three plus weeks of lecture, prayer, small group and spiritual transformation.


From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2, NIV)

There is a rock that is higher than us and that rock is Christ. When we build our lives on him and his teaching there is a solid foundation to things that makes the rest of the things which proceed from life much more stable and secure.

Attending LTS is tending to foundations of one’s life. More properly stated, it is letting God address our foundations so that being set right the rest of life may be built well. If it is a shame to be unable to finish the tower we have set out to build (Luke 14:28-30), how much more if it tumults on a faulty foundation. Through LTS the Lord has addressed the holes, cracks and crevices in my foundation. He has pulled out the lies and booby traps the enemy has planted to compromise that foundation with his tender hand. The whole process has been saturated with the reminder that unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain. Whatever is built on this foundation, it will not be my project, rather, it will be ours and he is the Master Builder, I am just a son in his house. This is the big picture of what God has done in my heart through LTS this year. I now want to focus in on three more subtle but critical turns the Lord has made in my heart.

1) In the midst of a broken family on a broken planet, the Lord stands good and righteous over all.

I have tended to downplay the impacts of growing up in a broken family because its not that bad and divorce is so common now its not that big of a deal. But actually it is. God hates divorce because it lies about who we are and it damages everyone involved. The lie that I tended to believe was although it was great to have more family I didn’t completely belong in either family. This wasn’t a strong, consciously held belief but somehow it was there in the backdrop of too much of my growing up years. The fragmented nature of the Church didn’t help. There has been a long and deep striving to belong and failure to enter it fully has felt like an orbit of rejection around much of my life.

This orbit has been spinning around my head and heart as I have tried to come, or be brought home at Navah. Will they accept me with all of my flaws? Or the uglier, how can I prepare to write them off (just in case they do reject me, maybe then it will hurt less). Previous work has been done to establish that God, in all of his ways is good and He is good to me. The new work was that God’s way of working through humans, the Church, is his plan and it is good and although still human and therefore part broken it will be overall good for me. There remains a particular call to the local expression of that Church that is Navah. I need this holy family and I do belong. The invitation to come into the family remains open and its a gift that I can receive even as I hesitantly but courageously and in good faith offer myself as a gift to this body.

2) God the Father loves me just the way I am.

This seems as simple as the Gospel 101 but somehow it just remains so persistently difficult to really, really believe all the way down into the deep and dark crevices of our inner life. God has been working on the deepest levels of this interior world of the soul even before LTS had started. What happened during LTS was the strengthening of and reaffirmation that this is true. This truth filled me all the way up and overflowed around me. I always could see it better for others than myself but now I could see it more for others than I ever had before. I could see it through them back at me like the real people of the Church around me beginning to look like agents of Trinitarian love. This is how local churches become places of harboring the healing energy of God for damaged and robbed, left to die men and women on the cosmic roadside of life.

3)  There is a Way forward and beyond permeable boundaries of ego.

LTS helps exorcise us of a spirit of independence that prevents us from entering the proper dependence we have on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the proper interdependence we need on the holy, universal gathering of fellowshipping Family. That’s a mouthful but it establishes us rightly. We are not meant to live as autonomous agents of our own power and faculty. We are meant to live in union with God, with such a dripping intimacy that every breath is as if he were moving in our very being. He Is actually. All the things of life, if properly established, or planted, grow from this foundation of original solitude. The Japanese have an excellent way of describing from the Chinese character for person, how we need each other. 人, hito, meaning human, is made up of two lines leaning on each other. And so is mankind how it ought to be. If we listen to Jesus’ new commandment, which is like the old, love one another will orient us towards each other in a way that challenges the mode of living centered and from the self in exclusion of a permeating union with the Father and with the Divine Logos through which he rules the universe and manifests that reign in us as the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls.

Jesus operates also as our great high priest and lives to make intercession for us. He reveals to us the Father, seeing him is seeing the Father. His role as priest and advocate has reformed my practice of confession and repentance in a pivotal and crucial way. I primarily thought I needed to repent in a way of using the law to prove how utterly worthless and disgusting I was before God. It was always with these emphasis that I came to a resounding conclusion that I was a failure. However, the Father does not see me this way. The repentance of the Gospel is to actually to change my thoughts based off of the Father’s thoughts about me which in Christ is always that I am beloved. Seeing repentance in this new way  gives me a powerful tool to reorient and realign myself daily or however often necessary, as lies and assaults threaten to undo the mind of Christ which has been established through these Gospel teachings in LTS. This kind of repentance is also a doorway into quick and powerful intimacy and union with the Father.

These shifts have given me a new excitement and hope for life. I feel a readily accessible, real and daily joy that has not been there for a long, long time. It almost seems beyond memory. Its an excitement saturated in joy and established in victory that charges me to go out into the world with the exciting and simple news that Jesus loves you! I eagerly desire to join friends and siblings in Christ to voyage with the community of the Trinity into the fray of the many countless still left to die on the cosmic roadside of life.

So help us God and Sola Dei Gloria!

 

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About minuiperiannath

Name: Spencer Wentland College: North Central University Year: Senior Major:Intercultural Studies My story of meeting Jesus in short: Not many weeks after I was born my parents baptized me into the Christian faith at First English Lutheran Church in my hometown, Appleton, WI. There they renewed their promises to renounce the devil and his ways, the world and evil and raise me the same way teaching me to love and fear the Lord, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Creeds and when of reading age to put the Holy Bible in my hands and all the while, with the church community, instruct me in the Christian faith. My parents weren't perfect but they did fulfill the vows they made at my baptism. I had my own more personal experience with the Lord around the age of seven when I followed Jesus out of the Gospels to a "quiet, lonely place" in my backyard with the hope to do whatever Jesus did there. Without realizing it or ever being taught how to "receive Jesus into your heart" it happened quite like that even seeing a mental vision of Jesus and knowing I need to welcome him into my heart and let him sit on the throne of my life. I've never been the same since then and the Lord has kept his promise to be with me "always." I confirmed what my parents chose for me in a public confession of faith and the ritual of believer's baptism at a local swimming school where the Assemblies of God church my mom attends used to do their baptisms. I've never regretted a life with Jesus; life has always been richer, deeper and fuller because of it. About Me: Ha that's a funny question, and a popular one today. Well, if you really want to know "all about me" you will have to meet me. For starters I am hard to put in simple categories and often find myself tumbling between labels; i.e. introverted and extroverted, strong and weak, intuitive yet a rationalist, introspective and social, unique and individual yet needing people and empathetic. I belong to and am part of the Way and that is probably the most defining important part of my being. (Acts 24:14) As a God lover in the Way of Jesus Christ I long to see and embrace all things and people in his love for his glory. Creative people and places energize me. I enjoy and appreciate art and artists and like to contribute and collaborate in making my own art at times. I need my own time and spend a lot of time in contemplation- this is where I get recharged and new vision and vitality for life. A con of my personality is my ill attempts to understand everything about everything. At the same time I also get energy from others and love to be sociable. I make matrix like connections in my mind and although my comments often are perceived as random too me they are very connected to something. To me connection and harmony are very important and I believe the truth brings that out. The last few years have been filled with learning, studying and meeting wonderful people. Copenhagen, Escanaba, Nagasaki, and now back to Minneapolis! So excited to learn, grow and finish my last year at university! Call: I feel strongly called by the Lord to work and give myself as missionary of love to the Japanese people. As the Lord leads I hope to take a missionary assignment through ELCA Global Mission teaching English and serving in congregational mission and leadership in Japan. Eventually I would like to serve as an apostolic worker planting boiler rooms (missional/monastic communities) around the Japanese archipelago with a bunch of other Jesus lovers in international, incarnational bands of friends. About this blog: This blog is for my Church Administration and Personal Finance class. I'm looking forward to interesting and practical conversation and learning that will help develop my leadership and organizational skills for however and whatever takes shape out of the Lord's call.

One response »

  1. Thank you for sharing this publicly, Spencer. Very powerful! Also, you are a gifted writer. I love how you included your knowledge of Japanese.
    -Kathleen, from Navah
    [P.S. found this through the link on your IG]

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