And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Brokenness

This is just my opinion, but I believe that we have to experience God before He truly becomes real to us.

How do we experience Him?

One way is through our own testimony of what He has done in our lives or through someone else's testimony. We begin to experience God when we start recognizing His activity in our lives and in the lives around us.

Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King

Have you ever had those days that just seem to be a struggle? Some days are just a constant fight for me to stay out of my flesh and fill my mind with God's goodness!

July 23 was my birthday! "A glorious and joyful day?" you might ask.

That depends upon how you look at it, in the flesh or through the Spirit.

It seems that I spent most of the day sacrificing my will for those of others I love, a good thing, but I did it with a beaten attitude. In a sense serving someone else because I knew it would honor God, but with no joy inside of me. Trying to press in, but being distracted in my spirit.

Couldn't God give me His joy?!
Isn't that a fruit of the Spirit?
Couldn't He see me in need and impart that to me?

Aaah! There beginneth the lesson, that day, for me.

After struggling all day I was on the verge of being spiritually exhausted, to the point of wondering if I was becoming depressed. (I know, not a Godly thought, but satan is predictable and he had to try.)

On the way home my wife, Ronda, asked me what was bothering me and without hesitating something deep within my spirit answered with, "I don't know. I just feel alone."

Haaa, there it was! Where did that come from!?
Well, in the process of making a short story long, I'll tell you.

We all know that life is unpredictable; it is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, and life and death. Those life experiences either draw us closer to our Father or we seek comfort in the wisdom of the world and its ways consume us.

My family has been in the business of raising horses and cattle for at least 5 generations, but over the last 3 years my partners in this have gone to be with our Lord and Savior. Leaving me to be, at times, overwhelmed with my responsibilities. When my father died, my brother and I took over those responsibilities. In December 2008 my brother left me alone here to deal with this without him. But in that process he left me with everything that now, I pray, defines who I am. Troy put me in the presence of my God in an overwhelming and glorious way through his death. (You might think that was rather sick to see it that way, but flesh and blood did not reveal that to me. I won't pretend to know God's thoughts behind His timing, but I do know that His timing is everything, it is perfect!)

Troy is my brokenness! God was preparing me, with my son's death in February 2006 and my father's death in April 2006, for what He was about to do to me through my brother's life and death in December 2008.

You see!!!! God became real to me in a powerful and glorious, super natural way in that hospital room! Not because of where I was, but because my brother was a righteous!!, redeemed!!, lover of our God!!!

I believe that some time in our life we will all, every one of us, experience a form of brokenness in our life that defines who we are in Christ. When that time comes which way are you going to turn? The world has many definitions for depression, but do they stand up to the power of the Cross!!?

I find myself revisiting my brokenness at times. Why?
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; And before honor is humility" (Proverbs 18:12).
I cannot honor my God without humility first!
My brokenness then becomes a twofold blessing:

First it brings me to this humility! The realization that I totally depend on my God for everything, even my next breath! When I realize that I am nothing without Him then I am in a place where He can use me. I become available to Him.

Second, I then experience His fullness and power and my spirit screams with boldness, "But as for me, I trust in YOU, O LORD; I say, "YOU ARE MY GOD!!!!" (Psalms 31:14).

My prayer for you, beloved brothers and sisters, is that you would recognize your brokenness for what it can be. Use it to get into the presence of our God so that you can experience His powerful touch in your life and create in you a deep hunger for more of Him.

May your brokenness define God's work in your life through your declaration of it!!


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Double Your Mind Around This!

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

A friend that was leading a bible study I went to this past week asked us a question that another person had brought to his attention. The question had everything to do with the topic that night, but was not the main subject.

Before I ask the question, I find it exciting how the Holy Spirit can take us to a whole new revelation of God's word when it is spoken.
In answer to Thomas's question in John 14:5, Jesus states in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Here is the question to you as it was given to me.
Do you believe John 14:6?
Do you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? And that no one comes to the Father except through Him?

Oh Saints! As I ponder this I realize the question has weight to it, it has depth far greater than what our own understanding can comprehend. It was a question birthed by the Spirit to bring us to a realization of what He really is and who we really are in Him!

That statement (John 14:6) defines our whole being as a believer.
Without believing it, we then stand outside the temple gates unable to be forgiven, unable to praise, unable to sacrifice, unable to wash ourselves in the word, unable to experience the fruits of the Spirit, unable to worship, unable to feel His touch or hear His voice.

Where then does that put us?
What do you see in the people around you?
Who do you see in the people around you?
There are millions of lost people in this world, are you just a number?
I'll bet Satan doesn't even know my name, but God knows how many hairs are on my head and how many I lost yesterday!

Jesus said "I am the way (the only way to meet God), I am the truth (God's righteousness and all the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are revealed), I am the life" (He gives us eternal life, but He also equips us and fills us with His life as we struggle here in this world). No one comes to the Father but through Him (we cannot even be in the presence of God or enter the Kingdom of Heaven without recognizing who Jesus is and what He has done).
We should find this encouraging, as believers, that we now have a purpose in life. You are one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

This is my prayer for the week:
"Lord, that you might reveal your way, your truth, your life to me, so that I may walk in your will and spend time in your glorious presence. That you would unveil your word to me, so that your knowledge and understanding would become mine. Thank you Father that I am one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, that I have a purpose through you."

I would like to encourage you to get into the word daily, if not hourly, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it and teach you from it. Expect to experience God the more you become available to Him. Start with John chapters 14-17.
May the wisdom you find in our Lord set you apart!


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Jordan Valley Horse Expo 2009

And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; (Exo 35:31) And he hath put in his heart that he may teach...(Exo 35:34).

Photo by Ann Black Rutan

Wade has been given gifts in understanding and knowledge of horsemanship, far above the average cowboy or horse person. These skills are gifts from God, and are to be used for the benefit of others.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10, NIV).

Photo by Ann Black Rutan

Wade is also a natural teacher. He recently got the opportunity to instruct a horsemanship clinic at the Jordan Valley (Oregon) Horse Expo. Ann Rutan is the South Mountain Cowboys 4-H Club leader, and did a fantastic job organizing the Horse Expo. The free program included educational presentations made by a horse chiropractor, a veterinarian, brand inspectors, and a horseshoer. There was even an awesome tri-tip dinner for all to enjoy!!

In the evening, Wade and John Schutte co-taught a horsemanship clinic that included both basic principles from the "Foundation for Perfection," and cow working for the more advanced riders. A great time was had by all the participants and many lessons learned!

Clinic participants - Photo by Ann Black Rutan

John Schutte teaching cow work - Photo by Ann Black Rutan

Thank you God for giving us the gifts to serve you.

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it (Ps 90:17).

(Thanks to Ann for being our special Owyhee Country correspondent!)

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Friday, May 22, 2009

On the Road for the Summer

Wade and Amaia are in Idaho for the summer. They loaded up nine (yup, nine!) horses and headed to Homedale, which will be their base "camp." Here's Wade checking out all the features on the "new" trailer he bought. Looks like they're ready to hit all the brandings and do some day work!

One of the first stops was the Jordan Valley "Big Loop" rodeo. Wade was up Friday afternoon in team roping and Big Loop (horse roping). Ty was there as well. They all enjoyed the chance to see friends and family, and catch-up after a busy winter of hard work.
Photo by Ann Black Rutan
Wade rode in the Saddle Bronc on Sunday, and tied for 2nd/3rd/4th with a score of 74. Good job, Wade!

Wade has a particular call to minister and witness for Jesus Christ at rodeos and to cowboys. He has God-given gifts of horsemanship, roping, and bronc riding that allow him to travel and meet many who might not step foot in a church. Here is his expanation of his calling.

The Lord opened my eyes and showed me a vision concerning the hearts of the men behind the bucking chutes. The Lord showed me how many of them had received a little spark for Him, but the spark had never been fanned giving it the opportunity to grow. He told me to "fan the flame." The Holy Spirit is like a mighty wind and will bring life to a tiny spark, igniting an all-consuming fire. As the Lord began to speak to me giving me direction for my life, I became sanctified by the word of God, "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim 4:5), and empowered by the Holy Spirit. "For you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you" (Acts 1:8).

God has not called me to preach the Gospel, but to demonstrate the Gospel. I am only called to prepare the way for the Teacher. I am called to help people come into the fullness of the New Covenant and be taught by God. I am called to introduce people to the Holy Spirit and God has showed me He will do the rest. Just like a person must prepare a colt before he can start to communicate with them, I am called to show people how to prepare themselves so that they may start communicating with God. God wants to communicate with us, we just need to be "willing" and then able. It is so simple; the same things that hold us back from communicating with our horse are the things that hold us back from communicating with God.

Photo by Ann Black Rutan
Training for the Cross is on the road this summer working to act upon Paul's advice, "...Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it" (Col 4:17), and to fulfill Jesus' charge, "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee"
(Acts 26:16).

We are all directed to be ministers of Christ, each in his own way, according to his own gift, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (1Pe 4:10-11).

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Update from Katie's Mission Trip

We just got this update from Katie, our friend who is on a mission trip.

Merhaba! ("Hello")

Well, it has been about five days here in XXXXXXXX and I must say I am loving this city! There are so many people, and lost people who don't know our Lord at that. Our team is starting to really see the need for the gospel in this city. Today was our first day of outreach on the numerous campuses here. Sadly my project leader, Tristan, and I were turned away from a campus because of security reasons. We sat and prayed for a while and we have others coming back tomorrow to try again... Others on our team were able to get into conversations with students today and even got some phone numbers to hang out with them again. It seems as if making a decision for Christ among the students takes a great amount of consideration and time. It could possibly be a couple years after hearing the gospel that most of them will make a decision for Christ. However, God is capable of anything and He may change this trend that other missionaries have witnessed over the years. We are making connections with them so that they can get connected with Christians who are staying here long term. SO I'm excited to see the students God puts in our paths this week, and telling you about some of the conversations and how God is moving in XXXXXXX!

Our team I believe is getting even closer and we are enjoying each other's company as well as challenging each other in our relationships with one another and the Lord. We have the same goals and we are able to work toward it together.

We are asking for prayer for the students and among our team we pray that we can share the gospel with at least 200 students. We are praying that God will go beyond what we imagine and we are dreaming big! Please pray that God would prepare the hearts of the students so that they will be receptive to the gospel message. We would like prayer for our team that we can be bold in our conversations and allow students to understand His grace-filled salvation through the truth of His Word! We praise God for placing us in this city and giving us hearts for the people and for God's eternal Kingdom!

Well, we continue to have adventures like taking the wrong bus and thus causing us to have a 2.5 hour travel time instead of 1.5 hours, and standing most of the way with one very heavy grocery bag...! Live and learn! Or getting lost on our way to the boys' apartment a couple of miles away, we couldn't find the street. It would probably help if we could learn the street names. My team member Lauren just informed me how she was sitting in our flat (a very nice one) listening to worship music, eating a massive whole carrot, reading her Bible, sitting next to me,... and this will probably never happen again! I had to put some randomness in here somewhere! Oh and I had "doner" today...if you get the good stuff, it is one of the best cheap meals. A hogie with shaved meat, lettuce, tomato, ketsup, mayo and french fries (yes, I said french fries!) and it is only like 1-2 US dollars, for a whole sandwich! And I believe I had a very unique experience while sitting in an outside cafe, next to an abandoned house, listening to a lamb baaaahing in the yard, me drinking coffee and having quiet time, in the scorching sun, with no sunscreen for 2 hours, would be one of my most interesting experiences!... Well, no more randomness...!

Tesekular! (thank you) for all your prayers and support! More updates to come...!

In Christ,

Please continue to keep Katie and her team in your prayers.

Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations (1Ch 16:24).

And the gospel must first be published
(preached, proclaimed) among all nations (Mar 13:10).

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foundation to Finish Clinics

Beginning summer 2009, Training for the Cross will offer custom clinics combining Horsemanship and Discipleship training. We are willing to travel to your location to organize and present the "Foundation to Finish" program tailored to your specific needs.

If you would like to discuss the potential of a "Foundation to Finish" clinic for your barn, ranch, group or association, please contact us at Training for the Cross.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Katie's Summer Mission Trip

We have a friend, Katie, who is making a mission trip with Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) this summer. Katie is very active with CCC, and here is her letter explaining her upcoming trip:

I am a student at Montana State University majoring in Animal Science, Equine Science option, with a minor in Psychology. Graduation is still a year and a half off, but I'm enjoying my current classes. Although challenging, I am working hard to get the most out of them! I am continuing to enjoy leading Bible study in the dorms through CCC. It has been a blessing to be in the lives of freshman women and to watch and encourage them to grow in Christ, as well as everything God has been teaching and revealing to me about His faithfulness, love and grace!

I have recently been accepted to participate in an international summer project with CCC, called Acts 29. Acts 29 takes place in the largest city in the Middle East and is geared towards reaching more than 400,000 university students in that city.

Our primary focus during the summer will be to reach Muslim students with the Gospel through various large group outreaches, building relationships with students, and also building our own relationship with the Lord through fellowship, weekly meetings, and Bible studies.

In order for me to take advantage of this great opportunity to grow in my faith, I need to raise $4,850 to cover the cost of my portion of the summer project budget. I'm asking people to consider partnering with me in two ways: one, by praying for me regularly, and two, by supporting me financially.

Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me to reach students in the Middle East this summer through prayer and giving financially? I'm trusting that God will raise up partners who will invest in my life and the lives of the students I will minister to this summer. Would you invest to help reach Muslim students for Christ?

If the Lord is asking you to give, please make the check payable to Campus Crusade for Christ. All of my support is due before our briefing on May 13th; I would appreciate if the Lord is leading you, to send your gift soon.

I want to thank you very much for your prayers, encouragement and support. I greatly appreciate you!

If you are interested in helping support Katie, you can contact us here at Training for the Cross.

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