By Nathan Collins
I’ve got this. I've been teaching Bible lessons for over three years. I’m good at this kind of teaching. If I had to, I could get up and give it right now with no practice and would probably do amazing.
That was my attitude about my Bible lesson evaluation. We had over a week to prepare for evaluations, with different assignments to help get us ready, but I didn’t take any of them very seriously.
The day before I was supposed to get evaluated, I practiced my Bible lesson on my roommate. After about ten minutes, I stopped, frustrated and humiliated. "What is wrong with me!" I said. For some reason, I was extremely confused and stumbled all over my points and links. God showed me how prideful I had been the whole time I was preparing for my lesson. I confessed my heart of pride to God and asked Him to teach me to rely on Him fully. Then I emailed my parents and asked them to pray for my Bible lesson.
When I got up to give my Bible lesson the next day at Bible club, I prayed that God would direct every word, and that it would not be about me. God answered that prayer in an amazing way! My Bible lesson went better than I could have ever hoped. Everything was very clear. God gave me some great examples on the spot that I had not even prepared. It was such an encouragement. That’s what God can do through me if I rely solely on Him, and get rid of the I’ve got this—I've done this before attitude.
If I had tried to do it in my own strength, I might have passed my practicum, but because I was willing to rely on God I was able to see His hand at work through me. This is far greater than seeking my own glory and trying to do things in my own strength. My prayer is that I will continue to rely on God for all that I do. I know it's easier said than done, but that is my sincere prayer.
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." Psalm 118:8-9
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Danell headed home to Virginia after her spring session at In The Gap, praying, “God, what do You want me to do this summer?” An exciting possibility to serve on a mission trip was before her, but as she prayed about it, she sensed God calling her to serve Him in the mission field He had given her at home.
With that direction, she jumped into volunteering with a ministry that works with middle school and high school inner-city kids three times a week. Last year, the Lord used that very ministry to bring her to salvation, and it was thrilling to now be able to give back into others’ lives in the same way.
Pouring in tons of time and energy, Danell worked with the ministry to plan Bible Clubs that would be held in five rough neighborhoods. Imagine the impact that could be made! Full of vision and anticipation, she excitedly planned and prepared…until God suddenly revealed that this was not His right timing, and the door shut. She felt like a failure.
What about all her great dreams and plans to serve God? Danell realized He wanted her whole heart, her expectation must be in Him, and His plans were much deeper than hers.
As God deepened her spiritual walk, she continued working with the inner-city kids every week. These kids had no vision beyond the life they see on the street every day – drugs, teen pregnancies, gangs, etc. Danell and the team took the kids hiking, horse-back riding, and other places, to expand their view of life, while at the same time living out Christ alongside them. Over and over, girls came to Danell with questions - thirsty for love. They could see a difference in her life from the “old Danell” they knew last summer. She told them about their worth and the importance of having morals because they are precious in God’s sight.
One boy, Marky, was from a broken family, sold drugs, and was facing a possible 7-year sentence in a juvenile detention center. Throughout the summer as the volunteers explained 2 Corinthians 5:17 and how God has the power to transform our lives completely, Danell began to see a change in Marky’s heart and mind as the truth began to take root. He finally softened to the point of yielding his whole situation and possible prison sentence to God, willing to go there if it would draw him closer to the Lord. Keep him in your prayers.
Looking back on her summer, Danell is amazed at how much better God’s plans were than hers! He taught her in a new way to see the need in every single person – child or adult. And if she will just yield herself to the Lord and His plans, He will use her to share His life-changing truth with them to make an eternal difference!
Click here to learn more about the training that In The Gap offers young adults, like Danell, to equip them in becoming effective mentors and communicators of truth.
"Recently, I was assigned to deliver a half hour speech on Tolerance! As I prepared for it, I learned so much, and everything that happened seemed to "reinforce" what I was learning! But one thing I would like to share is about listening to others before forming an opinion. As I learned more about this point, I was amazed at how vital this point is! It is because others listened or did not listen, that we are who we are today. When we form opinions of others (for us, the students) without fully knowing all the facts, it is like receiving a treasure chest. We see the rust, dirt, and corrosion on the outside and throw it away, missing all the treasure within! The valuable potential that can become a great tool in God's hands to greatly advance His kingdom is thrown away because someone refused to listen. It was an important lesson for me that I will not forget." ~Paul