Week 11: The Cross (Repentance) - Paul Martinson
How much time has flown! We just finished our 11th week, and have under three weeks until outreach. The DTS and Hockey teams are leaving for the respective outreaches towards the end of December - DTS to Thailand, and DTS Hockey to East Asia/Russia. After dinner and games, the staff prayed for the students and commissioned, blessed, and released us to teach, preach, and live out the message of the gospel in our outreach locations.
A snowy morning greeted Burnaby and Vancouver on Monday! I was already enjoying the mild winter of coastal British Columbia, and had never seen fall until I got here but God sure loves to surprise his children – with snow! The first chance I got, I did everything an ignorant South-east Asian person does with snow: caught snowflakes on my tongue, joined a snowball fight with SBS and DTSers (and some staff). Christian made a Snowman outside the Parker House, and I helped decorate Mr. Frosty while in my shorts and flip-flops. Of course, I also had to make snow angels with Lily (SBS staff) in the driveway.
There is something hopeful about the act of counting down the hours until the first snowfall. Unfortunately it was dark when it happened, but as soon as I got up at 630 am I saw the fresh powder coating the rooftops, our balcony, and the streets. What a beautiful silence and imagery of purity! How the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit must eagerly await our perfect redemption and sanctification – through the constant work of the Cross.
We still continue to prepare for outreach and this week Jennifer Davies gave a lecture on first aid. Our staffer Jordan used his acting skills so we could give him first aid for first, second, and third degree burns (pretend). We also tried out a homemade recipe for oral rehydration using water, sugar, salt, and lemons/citrus. It was quite easy and a cheaper substitute for commercial brands.
A highlight of this week was learning the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in believers, a result of Jesus leaving to return to the Father. Jesus came to show us the Father, and the Holy Spirit’s main work in our lives is to transform us into Christ-likeness. This transformation takes place through meta-noia – in Greek it means a change in mind. This also means repentance but not the kind that brings guilt or shame, but a decision to turn around, walk in the light, act and talk like Jesus, be like Jesus, and have the conviction that we are doing what is righteous in God’s sight.
We had a first-hand experience of the Spirit’s work in our hearts when we received messages and words of forgiveness, revelation, encouragement, comfort and strength from each other after sweet times of fellowship and worship.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16)
In those moments our hearts and spirits knew that Emmanuel – God with us! We had a special time of communion, breaking bread and drinking wine to celebrate Christ’s work on the Cross. We saw God’s grace and peace moving in our midst, felt the Father’s love for us confirmed in our hearts, and felt the Holy Spirit touch our hearts in personal and special ways.