Faith, Fear, and Australia: 3 Lessons I Learned As I Stepped Out

I’ll never forget the day I stepped onto the airplane at the Atlanta airport. This wasn’t just any plane or a normal trip. I was going to Australia.

I was terrified, I was excited, and I was questioning my decision all at the same time. I thought I had lost my mind.

About a year earlier, during my senior year, I felt God leading me to do something missions-focused after I graduated. After talking to some friends, I discovered Youth With A Mission (YWAM). As I looked into it, God began making it clear He wanted me to do YWAM’s most well-known programme, a Discipleship Training School (DTS).

A DTS is a six month programme that focuses on helping students strengthen their relationship with God and also trains and prepares them for the mission field. There are hundreds of DTS locations around the world, and the one that God highlighted to me is in Perth, Australia.

Yep, that’s right. On the other side of the world.

During my first flight, I kept asking God, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But looking back to that scared and unsure 19-year-old girl, I don’t regret that decision. Not even a little bit.

Yes, it was scary. Yes, it pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But it was so worth it. It was worth leaving everything familiar to me to move to the other side of the world, and here’s 3 reasons why:

1. GOD BECAME REAL

Knowing I was leaving to go to a place that was not my own and with people I didn’t know left me feeling pretty helpless. But at the same time it was both beautiful and freeing, because I knew that I could not do anything on this journey by myself or on my own strength. I had to rely completely on the Lord, and I knew He would sustain me.

I grew up in a Christian family, I’ve always gone to church and I began my relationship with Jesus when I was young. I have always known about God, but when I left home to go to a place and to be with people I had never met before by myself, He suddenly started becoming more real to me. It was on this journey that required me to fully surrender that I experienced my Father in ways I never had before.

It was where He spoke to me and told me what He thought about me, and that was the first time I knew without a doubt that it was God speaking to me, not just my own thoughts. It was where I discovered that I relate to God and He to me in a way no one else does. It was where I discovered what it was like to be used by Him to encourage someone and share the Gospel with them.

Saying “Yes’ is hard. But when you get to experience Your Father in new ways, it’s so worth it.

2. I GAINED FREEDOM TO BE WHO GOD MADE ME TO BE

When I left home, I didn’t realise how much I had let other people shape who I was.

At home I am the oldest in a large family and I am in a leadership position in our church’s student ministry. I am not saying these are bad. But I believed the lies that I had to be the perfect leader; that I had to strive to meet the high expectations I had imagined people had put on me.

When I left for Australia, I finally felt free to be who God created me to be.

I felt free to dance and jump during our worship times. I was free to find joy and laugh in the most simple moments, like eating spoonfuls of ice cream and caramel at the park during our small group time.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with people-pleasing and perfectionism. But I have tasted freedom and experienced joy. There are still days where I am entangled in my sin and where I don’t feel like being joyful, but I am looking forward to the day in Heaven where we will experience complete joy and be completely free.

3. I LEARNED—‘DO NOT FEAR, FOR HE WILL BE WITH YOU’

Maybe you know what God is asking you to do, but the unknown, the fear and the thought of leaving your comfort zone is keeping you back. That’s where I was.

What I didn’t mention was that when I found out about the DTS in Perth, it took me almost a month before I finally stepped out in faith and applied. Why? Because I was I afraid.

I was afraid of moving to the other side of the world, leaving my family and friends for six months, and because I couldn’t see the other side. A leader I look up to finally called me out. “Kels, you just gotta do it,’ he said.

I realised this is what God was calling me to do, and I couldn’t hide anymore.

There were no more excuses to be made. I just had to do it. I had to step out, even if it seemed to be the tiniest step. But it was the first step in the right direction. It was a step in obedience.

If you are looking out over the future and you know where God is leading you and you are feeling afraid, hear me say this: That is normal and it is okay.

But let me what is not okay. It is not okay to let your fears and your doubts stop you from stepping out into what God has called you to do.

I don’t know what God is asking you to do. It could be going to college, staying right where you’re at, or maybe He is asking you to do a DTS with YWAM.

Whatever it is, if you’re looking for someone to give you permission to step out, you have it.

Go, follow Him. Step out, even if you’re afraid.

Know this, my brave and courageous friend, He will not lead you where He has not already gone.

The God Who spoke creation into existence is with you. He is on your side.

Kelsey Moore, therebelution.com. Used by permission.

Begin Again

‘As he thinks within himself, so he is.’ Proverbs 23:7 NASB

It was a long hard road that took the Chandler family out of the cotton fields and up from poverty in Mississippi. All nine children had memories of the sharecroppers’ cabin and having nothing to wear or eat. But today, all nine have an inspirational story to tell.

Their parents borrowed two dollars to buy a bus ticket for their son Cleveland, who worked his way through school, and became Chairman of the Economics Department at Howard University. Luther went to the University of Omaha, and became the public service employee manager for Kansas City. He helped his brother James get to Omaha, and then to the prestigious Yale University for graduate work. James, in turn, helped Herman, who became a technical manager in Dallas. Donald worked in Minneapolis.

The children also helped themselves—picking cotton, pulling corn, digging potatoes. Fortson went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, and became a Baptist minister in Colorado. Princess earned an M.A. from Indiana University and became a schoolteacher. Gloria also became a teacher. Bessie got a M.A. and became a dietician at a hospital. Eventually all the children got together and bought a home for their parents. The Bible says, ‘As he thinks within himself, so he is.’

If you convince yourself that you can’t, or allow others to convince you of that, then you won’t. But if you believe that by God’s grace you can, then you will! If the Chandlers can do it, you can do it too. Forget what has happened in the past! Every day God gives you the choice to begin your life over again.

SoulFood: Acts 14–15, Luke 8:1–15, Ps 133, Pr 16:2

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Acts 14–15

14:1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16   “‘After this I will return,
  and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
  I will rebuild its ruins,
     and I will restore it,
17   that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
    says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Luke 8:1–15

8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Psalm 133

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

133:1   Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!
  It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
  on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
  It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
  For there the LORD has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.

Proverbs 16:2

  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the LORD weighs the spirit.

Sat 17 July, 2021


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