Monday, September 12, 2016

Danika Schellenberg - Community Award Winner

I'm a lover of Thin Places.  Places where the veil between heaven and earth seems to have a slight tear in it, places where the face of Jesus is seen reflected more brilliantly than usual, where His joy and strength are in abundance and love gives birth to the fruit of the Spirit.

Thin places do not just happen, they are created, and it honestly takes the perseverance of generations to build such a place.   You are most fortunate to be entering into a place where much of the ground work has already been done.  However, it is not those who have paved the way up to now,  that are responsible for your program's health.  It is not your interns nor directors who create a thriving community.  Do not allow the Devil to lull you into passivity as you expect your leaders to create events and build community.  You must each take personal responsibility.

Before this season of summer camp I had a mentor proclaim over me that Jesus would be my Gap Filler.  Through a summer of cabin leading it has become evident that Jesus does this through His Body, when I am weak then He can be strong.  When I am weak then I can lean on the Body of Christ to support me and step up.  You are called to be a gap filler and so you can also expect your brothers and sisters to fill in the gaps that you yourself leave behind.  And so I urge you, brothers and sisters, as the Apostle Paul did, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice to this new place in the Body of Christ that you will soon find yourself in.

Love is something that is spontaneous.  We must love without an agenda.

But Paul also recognised that effective love, consistent love, requires organisation.  Are you the encourager of the group?  The truth speaker and seeker?  The one who pursues peace?  Live out that identity and more.  Are you a comforter?  Live out that identity.  Thin Places need prayer, an attitude of attentiveness, and joyful service.  Thin places only thrive when all the members come together and honour a commitment of prayer and sacrificial love.  And yes, living within the organisation that YOU decide to create requires the daily renewing of you mind, a daily choice to live out the gospel and to live in joy.  

Each of you have strengths you were created with, and you were also created with weaknesses.  You have areas that you need to allow others to fill your gaps, just as they do the same for you.  Do so with joy. 
Your community needs you to recognise their individual strengths and they need to be encouraged in those.  And they may need to be strengthened in their weaknesses.  This is a leadership training program.  Be a leader in this.  Don't you dare wait for someone else to step up.  Because you'll probably be waiting until March.
My brothers and sisters, remember that knowledge puffs up, yet love builds up.  Seek to grow to love the Body of Christ and Christ Himself first in all things.  Doctrine and theology are no good to a hard and bitter heart.  My prayer for you is a prayer that Paul prayed over the Church of Ephesus.  I pray that out of the Father's glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Seek to unify His Body.

Grace and Peace to you, beloved children of God.


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