It’s over?? Already??
Our trip to Boulder, Colorado has been nothing short of incredible, and our eyes have certainly been opened to the vast need for the Gospel and Christ. Throughout this week, I have faced the depressing truth that the vast majority of Boulder exists in the belief that Christianity is merely an option, and to many people, a threat. As is written in 2 Timothy 3:25-26, “Those who oppose him [a teacher of the Gospel] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Boulder is truly a city of captives, and Christ is the only one who can free them.
To catch up from yesterday, Thursday began with a delicious breakfast and a trip to The Well’s offices off of Pearl St. It was there that we heard Chase, one of the associate pastors, explain the concept of “Missional Communities.” Put simply, missional communities exist to “mutually challenge and encourage one another to truly believe our identity in Christ and live a life that shows the world who God truly is.” This concept is based around Ephesians 5:1 that we might be “imitators of God” to dispel lies regarding Christ and reach the lost. Missional Community is not “an event” but “a lifestyle,” with those involved striving to serve on another while also reaching the community around them deliberately and constantly. An acronym, R.E.A.P., short for Reading, Examining, Applying, and Praying, is how we are called to reach each other and the world. This idea resembled life-groups in some ways, but as we discovered, we are called to serve each other more than just at a suggested time. We are called to serve one another constantly, everyday, reaching fellow Christians in the very second that we are needed that we might be stronger in the Lord. This was a truly eye opening discussion that helped me to better grasp what it means to be in community with other Christians.
Following the incredible discussion, we had lunch and went out to serve. A number of the group went to work to edit and consolidate the new children’s curriculum that was provided by The Village Church for The Well. This curriculum will be used in teaching the children of the church in the ways of the Bible, with age appropriate stories for children that are 1 year old and children between the ages of 2-5. Though I was not with this team, it certainly seems like they did an excellent job. It was work that was certainly needed for the church, and the impact will remain after we leave tomorrow. Again, how has it already been a week???
My team worked to finish the new sound studio for The Well. We painted and caulked the inside and outside of the room, and though it was not quite completed, we made a lot of progress. After 5 hours of work, the store providing the workspace closed, and we had to leave a few parts unfinished. We were covered in paint, sweat, and caulk, and I’m pretty confident that anybody who saw us came to the conclusion that we had been playing with the paint rather than covering the walls with it. Jonathan Benson and I were especially well covered. Painting a ceiling is apparently very sloppy business. Let’s just say that Jonathan had streaks in his hair, and I had paint in my ear…
We all got showers (for the first time in two days – Hallelujah!), and had an evening devotion over Isaiah 44. I am constantly amazed by the wisdom displayed by the people on this team. Our discussions night after night dig deeply into scripture and challenge us with applications to God, man, Christ, and our response, and it has proven to be very insightful and applicable to our day-by-day outreach and activities. Praise be to God for the assembly of such an awesome group of people from our church!
After an excellent night of rest, today (Friday) began with another delicious breakfast (from the amazing cooks on this trip) and another excellent discussion from the leading pastor at The Well, Matt Patrick. This discussion was over the concept of Gospel Fluency, and it was absolutely incredible!!! It works like this: What is the primary language that you speak in? Dream in? Think in? It’s English, right? Well, what if everything was filtered just like that through the Gospel. Speak Gospel, dream Gospel, think Gospel… It’s an awesome idea! The concept comes from Ephesians 4:15 (though I would suggest that you read 11-16): “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” “Speaking the truth in love” = “speaking Gospel.” We are called to battle sin with the Gospel, and the best way to do this is to truly use the gospel in every piece of our lives. It calls us to repent of our sins, to get in community with other believers that we might strengthen one another and be strengthened, and to be disciplined in The Word of the Lord that we would pursue God’s sovereign Will at all times. It is truly a beautiful idea, and we were all challenged to apply this concept to our lives (whether from the dorm halls, our homes, or our church). I would challenge you to spend time praying and thinking about this idea. It is the call of the Gospel that we might serve others and reach the world for Christ.
We then went back into the heart of Boulder to pray for the hearts of the people in two very dark areas, the Shambhala Center, which is a Buddhist worship center, and Naropa, the world’s largest Buddhist university. We prayed for the hearts and minds of the people to be opened to the message of Christ. Scott Rainer actually recieved permission to enter the Shambhala center where he was given a personal tour (during which he prayed for the people inside) even though open access was not allowed due to a retreat being hosted there. Meanwhile, we prayed and circled the building, asking that it would close and that the people inside would come to the knowledge of Christ.
Naropa was a truly eye-opening experience. Though the university prides itself on being open and accepting of all, they were clearly opposed to Christianity. Among the things that we saw were a number of broken records hanging from the trees outside with Christian hymns on them. “Holy, Holy, Holy” and others were written on the records, and it was heartbreaking to see. These people are so deceived! They have no idea that Christ is the only way to reach what they seek, true happiness. Darkness hung thick over Naropa as we prayed. We are now eagerly praying that Matt Patrick will have the opportunity to teach Christian studies there (a class offered) that the Gospel might be more directly proclaimed to the students.
At the end of the day, we ate at a fantastic Mexican Restaurant called “Rio Grande,” and a few of us took another stroll down Pearl for the last time. We had a devotion over Acts 17:22-34 which was excellent, and now here I am, typing this final blog post. It has truly been an excellent week, and I think that it’s safe to say that we’re all exhausted from the week (and many of us are sick, too). Nonetheless, this trip has been radically eye-opening for all of us, and we are ready to put into practice all of the incredible things that we’ve heard over the past 7 days. Thank you all so, so much for your prayers over this trip and for your financial help in us getting here. Prepare yourself for a thousand more stories when we return! As for now, I’m going to go to bed so that I’ll be able to get up at 4:30am for our departure. Thank you again!