This weekend was quite the adventure. I started it off at this week’s TGIF. We went to Fritz’s Adventure which is basically this cool indoor park with all different apparatuses. I can’t really go into detail though, because it is top secret information that can’t be revealed before the grand opening on November 19th. It was so much fun, especially because Link Year got to go in as a trial run and we were their first customers. So, if you are ever in Branson and you want a fun family adventure, hit up Fritz’s. After that, my brother Davis, Codi Jo, Connor, Anna Kate and I decided it would be a good idea to go camping in Eureka Springs, Arkansas for the night. The town was really cool, but also pretty weird. Anna Kate, Codi Jo and I got to share this huge tent and I surprisingly slept through the night even I was on the hard ground. The best part about camping was being able to have quality time with people that really care about you. These people all love the Lord so much and it makes me want to know the Lord even more. This week especially, I have learned the importance of intentional conversation. I think it is so easy to just talk about nothing, which is fun, but it is also so important to have conversations that consciously make the effort to lift Jesus and others up. When we talk about Jesus in ordinary conversations, I have found that it stirs my affection for Him more. Having friends that make me feel that way about the Lord is something that everyone needs. I know I feel more full when I leave a conversation having discussed Jesus or other people’s lives, rather than just something random and unimportant.
Our speaker this week was Jefferson Bethke. He is an incredible guy who has such a unique perspective of the Bible. His sessions covered themes throughout the Bible such as the temple, intimacy, idols, the kingdom and healing. One of my favorite parts of His talk on the temple was about John 1:14 (the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among them), and in Greek that word “dwelling” actually means temple. So basically, “The Word became flesh and templed among them.” I think this is an incredibly cool picture of what Jesus did for us. Before He came, the priest would go into the temple to talk to God and only he could be in there because it was for the holy of holies. When Jesus came, He separated that barrier between us and God and became the way for us to be in a relationship with Him. When Bethke spoke on idols he said, “Christians are dangerous because we can get damaged, but the thing that matters the most is hidden in a place that cannot be touched by Satan.” This made the talk on idols about ten times more important for me because I know that if I put my identity in the Lord, I cannot be shaken. I think our idols are where we put our identity many times, but when we put our identity in the Lord, the devil can’t knock us and tell us we are not good enough. The best way to fight those lies is with His truth.
As I continue to learn new things at Link, I am constantly working on refining myself. I am learning how to use Scripture to fight the sin in my life. One of the biggest things I’m working on is doing things not because it is the right thing, but rather the love that I have for God and His Word pushes me to do it. My favorite thing about this year so far is growing in my knowledge of Scripture and using that to guide me rather than the “rights” and “wrongs” rulebook. Every week is a little more exhausting here because I am constantly confronting my sin, but I know it is what God has called me to. I have realized that I do not love everyone like the Lord says we should, so that has been one of the main struggles I have been fighting. The passage I have been focusing on and memorizing to help me love people is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Being able to hold onto this truth to push me to be more like Jesus has been so useful this week.