Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What do you mean by boldness?

Yesterday I wrote a blog about serving, revival, and survival.  I made the statement, “I will pray for boldness because I am revival because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.”  My friend Daniel showed me an article about praying for boldness. To be honest, I read the article and was just like, whatever, the believers in the early church asked the Lord for boldness in Acts 4:29, and so will I. As I was emailing Daniel back about that scripture, I decided to find the Greek word for boldness in that scripture to make sure I was defining boldness correctly.  Boldness is: 
The word is parrēsia.  Parrēsia means freedom in speaking. 
When I had been praying for boldness, I was meaning audacious and confidently.  This is not exactly what the early church were praying.  If you read the entire prayer in Acts 4, they talk to the Lord about the opposition that they are receiving.  Then they ask God for boldness.  They are already confident, they just need the people to get off their backs long enough for them to preach.  
2 Corinthians 5:5-7 says, "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are ALWAYS CONFIDENT, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT."
I don’t need to pray for boldness right now, today, at Liberty University in the United States of America.  I’m completely free to share anything I want about the gospel.  I thank Jesus for the parresia that He has given me.  I will however pray that God will renew my mind to the confidence/boldness that I already have through being in Christ
This summer in India, I will say, ”I will pray for boldness (parresia) because I am revival because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.” In India I will not have freedom in speaking.  However, I hope and pray that situations will arise like in Acts 4. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (verse 31)
For the article Daniel showed me, click here.
For information on the word parresia, click here.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about serving lately.  I have this great new friend who really challenges me and pushes me to love Jesus.  He's into radically serving Jesus.  So am I, but lately I have lacked the drive to actually do crazy things in the name of Jesus.  However, now that I have this friend, I seem to have the drive to be radical again.  Today I was coming up with and writing down bold ways to serve people.  My church back home just started this whole "Servolution" movement, where they want everyone in our town to be affected by the love and kindness of LIFE-ers (I go to Life Church Franklin). Anyways, I was doodling the word "servolution" on the top of my list of radical ways to serve in Lynchburg.  Now you need to understand that sometimes my brain works best in diagrams and formulas and flow-charts.  My brain is really into flow-charts.  All of a sudden I saw this in my mind:

revival + serving = survival

Lately I've been hearing lots of things about revival.  Several people I've been talking to say, "I don't pray for revival because I am revival."  In Luke 17:21, Jesus says, "...because the kingdom of God is within you."  Revival is defined as the "act or condition of being revived."  To revive is to "restore to life."  I have received new life, and I have that new life living inside me, so when I tell people and love people and serve people and see people come to salvation, doesn't that sound like revival?  Some people are praying for a different kind of revival, I'm sure, but I'm wanting the revival that means "the act or condition of restoring someone to life" just how the word breaks down.  So I'm writing here, I will pray for boldness because I am revival because I have the Holy Spirit inside of me.  

Where do I even start with serving.  Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.  I could honestly list scripture for pages, but I think you get the point.  Jesus humbled Himself to become a servant.  He washed the disciples feed.  He multiplied bread and fish in order for hungry people to eat; thus serving them.  He told us that when we serve (clothe, feed, heal) the least of these, that we are actually doing it for Him.  Jesus was a servant and has called us to walk as He did.  So we're supposed to be servants.  

Now you're probably starting to wonder how revival and serving equals survival.  Let me first establish what I mean by the word survival.  To survive is to "continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship."  Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  1 John 5:11 says, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."  So we can only have eternal life if we are in Christ Jesus; survival is in Christ Jesus.  I think everyone can agree with me on that one.  

I would like to suggest everyone read John 14-17.  It just wrecked me.  My new goal/priority is going to be to memorize it.  In John 14, Jesus talks about the Father being in Him, Him being in the Father, the Holy Spirit being in us, us being in Him, etc, etc.  Revival.  New life.  In Christ.  Where then does serving come in?  In John 15, Jesus talks about the vine and branches.  Verse 8 says, "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."  He then talks about how we're called his friends and that we are commanded to love one another.  1 John 3:18 says, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."  Loving with action sounds like serving to me.  Also James 2 says that faith without deeds is dead.  

Maybe it shouldn't so much be an equation, but just reality.  If you are revival (have new life IN CHRIST, showing people new life) and are serving (loving people with action and truth because of being IN CHRIST to glorify the Father), you will surely survive (attain eternal life because you are IN CHRIST).  

I hope and pray that this is super glorifying to my Father and blesses you in a mighty way.  :)  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Forbidden Favoritism (James 2)

I’m currently studying the book of James.  I’m asking God to daily illuminate another part of it to me and give me wisdom when I read it.  Today I believe the Lord really illuminated chapter 2, verses 1-13.  The subtitle above this section in my bible says Favoritism Forbidden.  The scripture talks about giving special attention to the wealthy and crappy treatment to the poor.  It continues to talk to the Lord’s love for the poor and how we must love our neighbor as ourselves.  Verse 10 goes on to say, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”  The last sentence however, is “Mercy triumphs over judgement!” I’ve read James dozens of times in the last 4 years, so what is new about this scripture now?  
Just as it’s bad to favor the rich, I believe Jesus is saying to me, “Casey, it’s also bad to show full on favoritism to the poor.” I have seen myself, many many times, hating the wealthy because of the starving children I’ve seen in the nations.  But that is also wrong.
v. 3&4 says: If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
I think it’s a whole lot easier to love the poor.  Even in my own life, I would probably tell the rich college student to sit on the floor and give the homeless man the comfy chair.  That’s just my nature.  I love the hurting and the hungry.  The wealthy … well … I should love also.  Because Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself.  So whether I’m living in my dorm room next to girls paying 20 grand a year to go to Liberty University or I’m in a house in India sleeping in the room next to a woman who has nothing to her name but her new found dignity in Christ Jesus, I must love my neighbor as myself.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When He hung on that cross...

When I made the choice to follow Jesus everything changed.  
I was a sinner, now I am a saintEph 1:1
I was worthless, now I am worthyActs 5:41
I was depressed, now I have joyJhn 15:11
I was condemned, now I am free forever from condemnation. Romans 1:1
I was rejected by man, now I am accepted in ChristEph 1:6
I was self-conscious, now I am confidentPhl 1:6
I was lost, now I am foundLuk 15:6
I was empty, now I am filledAct 13:52
I was fearful, now I am boldEph 3:12
I was ashamed, now I boast in Christ aloneGal 6:14
I was dirty, now I am cleanJhn 15:3
I was unlovable, now I am loved2Th 2:16

Friday, March 4, 2011

Declare freedom for the captives (Isaiah 61)

BOMBAY TEEN CHALLENGE (The organization I'll be working with in India):

”A family like no other." –  The Bombay Teen Challenge group has been consistently making a difference to the lives of those who society prefers to ignore; drug addicts, victims of forced prostitution and AIDS-infected orphans.” This is how we were described in an article that appeared in The Times of India. Since 1990, Bombay Teen Challenge has worked to rescue and rehabilitate destitute and desperate people living on the streets and in the red light district of Mumbai. These people include women trapped in prostitution, their at-risk daughters and other girls vulnerable to the sex industry, street children who are in danger of being abused and exploited, abandoned and orphaned by AIDs and HIV positive orphans and those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Our approach: This is a 24×7 ministry and our goal is to produce fruit that remains. Our greatest strength is that our ministry is geared towards bringing total healing to the person, in every aspect of life – spirit, emotions, mind and body. The relationships they form with us are enduring and life-changing and gives them the emotional security they need to thrive and become mature well-adjusted human beings.

Bombay Teen Challenge's Village of Hope, Ashagram, houses 75 women and teens, offering hope through holistic programs, warm meals and safe housing in a rehabilitative environment.  Sixteen residents are provided life-saving HIV treatment.  Every woman at Ashagram has the chance to excel in a vocational program of her choice: sewing, jewelry, leather-making, bag-weaving, painting, Henna designing, and embroidery.  Through these training programs, BTC is teaching women how to regain their independence, survive in a competitive market, earn a living, budget, and save money for sound investments.  Their retail products have been recognized by US-based Target as having a high quality and value, a major accomplishment for our partners.  So far, they have been producing items such as silk/cotton pajamas, cushion covers, wallets, frames, bedspreads, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and much more.  Women are able to earn wages and establish savings accounts, a feat that creates newfound financial security.  Additionally, these training programs have improved the skills, confidence, and competence of each woman.

Nineteen women passed the Indian Open School exam this year, equivalent to an 8th grade level, a huge accomplishment for many women who were never taught to read as children.  As BTC focuses on the goal of reintegration, these skills are essential for independence, both financially and psychologically.   In the spring, BTC helped a resident and her daughter in confronting her family and village community regarding her victimization through trafficking.  BTC sent several staff with her to reinforce this survivor's message and show that the entire Ashagram community supported and admired her strength.  Her willingness to confront and discredit the stigma that was assigned to her dismantled the community's ability to cling to misconceptions of her trafficking situation.  Subsequently, they accepted her back into the community with open arms - an unheard of step.  After aiding her in reconnecting with her family, BTC invited the entrie family to join the efforts at Ashagram, providing them with jobs and housing.  This model of reconciliation will empower other survivors in facing their families and communitites as a part of the healing process.

Another amazing success this year is that Neelam recently finished her first year of bible college.  It was during this first year that she began to hear the whisper of God saying "Uganda, Uganda."  Through faith and action, Neelam is now serving with YWAM in Uganda.  She's the FIRST missionary graduate of Ashagram - an amazing testimony to the healing power of God!

In 2010, the BTC medical team in Mumbai saw over 3400 patients through its street outreach efforts, hosted more than 2400 patients at the clinic, and served over 3800 meals.  They provided life-saving treatment to an average of 13 victims of HIV on a weekly basis.  A particular highlight was when BTC rescued five women during their outreach efforts, who began the process of rehabilitation and have joined the outreach in Bhandup's red light district.

This year at Ashagram Village of Hope:
  • 75 women and teens were given safe housing
  • Regular life-saving treatment was offering to 16 ladies with HIV
  • 59 women are enrolled in educational programs, several of whom are obtaining college credit
  • Neelam is serving with YWAM in Uganda
  • 8 women are learning leather-making
  • 38 women are learning tailoring
  • 9 women are learning to make jewelry

prayer card :)