THE LAST TWO DAYS: BEYOND THE HUMAN PLAN

As I start to write this journal, I realize that the focus is completely off my situation – it’s just a small record of God’s overarching plan – and it’s amazing.

As I sit in the lecture I watch Patrick speaking to a lecturer. The girl sitting next to me leans over and tells me how Patrick is so strange. I stare at her, unfazed as she tries to justify that comment. I disagree whenever she stops, and smile at her as I say Patrick’s a good guy. No one has any right to belittle another under God’s love. Patrick, there is no compromise to love – it knows no conditions. Love is our highest calling.

At lunch Patrick sits with us and seems to think deeply and suggests tiredness could be an internal problem. I’m glad he sees through the face to the deep.

Though that is all that happened today, I know what was spoken that day touched hearts and the rest of the day God calls me as a witness to His overarching plan for the world and this city.

I am a witness to the work God does in Jonathan that day. Last night we prayed for a lost sheep to be drawn back into the Father’s arms. Low and behold, he meets with Jonathan which we all see as no mistake.

As I get home I am immensely weary and I go to lie down.

I wake to my mum telling me I have a missed call from Jonathan. I call him up and listen to the excitement and life in his voice as he tells me how he wandered around Adelaide city praying for God to use him. He came across an Aboriginal couple – one in a wheelchair that beckoned him over. Within 10 minutes he had prayed for healing upon this man, god the ward number of the hospital he stays at and got asked to take him to a church.

We’re going to visit him tomorrow Patrick, and the saints are breaking into this man’s life and loving as their own. Somehow, someway, in the beautiful symphony of life God has drawn me into the story of Bradley and Michelle’s life and I obey the calling.

The plans of God are truly majestic and perfect. As you read this journal, know that it is only part of a beautiful and glorious story – one that intertwines and crosses borders to present the fullness of glory to God.

The LORD is raising up a brotherhood in Adelaide, restoring the title of ‘brother’ to its original position. We are raising an army capable of destroying strongholds doing everything out of love, dying to self and living for Christ.

The city of Adelaide will be helpless as the Kingdom of Heaven forcefully advances while forceful men take hold of it. We will set this town on fire with the glory of God. We restore the title of this city, ‘The city of churches,’ to its rightful place.

Praise to God for he will be pleased to do so!

DAY 12

DAY 12

While waiting for the Aboriginal couple at the hospital, I get a call from Patrick. He doesn’t want to come out tomorrow. This is alarming, as my plan was to share all with Patrick tomorrow. I call him up with urgency, wanting to talk.

As I arrive, I begin to share all that’s been happening the last 12 days. He agrees with parts of it, yet other parts just do not relate at all. As we talk more and more, I seem to be caught up in my original epic plans, and he stares at me unfazed as I soon realize that Gods plan these last 12 days have been far more epic than I ever imagined.

Some of the things I wrote down these past 12 days may have been bold, out of context, rash at times, but in all I did I wrote my mind, and spoke my mind for that matter.

What I realize now is this journal is a testimony of God’s work. It never had any focus on me, Patrick, or anyone. It was always going to end up about God. Let’s recap what occurred in 12 days of my life.

I originally think I was meant to ‘show the love of Christ’ to an unknown man. I take it as showing the gospel. Turns out, this man is a pretty serious catholic who prays often and reads God’s word.

What actually occurred is a different story:

–          My heart is moved to love a man unconditionally as Christ would

–          My brothers and sisters are moved with me in prayer

–          I am taught an invaluable lesson in obedience, realizing that I must adjust to God’s plan, realizing His plan never fails, but mine does.

–          My faith and belief in God has exploded, doubt has been cast out

–          I have a new heart for the unloved of the world and God’s creation

–          Prayer groups have been formed

–          I now count everything as loss

–          My brother and six other people had the courage to go out into the world to seek out the lost

–          I feel like I’ve been given the gift of love to others, having no conditions.

–          Close, covenantal friendships have been formed

–          I am obsessed with obeying god and His coming kingdom

–          Jonathan has stepped out in faith like I wrote about

–          Our youth group is beginning to step out and walk by faith.

Patrick, they say you are blessed more in giving than receiving. I gave it all for you and God, and held nothing back, and I now look at the rewards of only 12 days. I feel no regret or shame that my plans fell on their face – God couldn’t have written a more beautiful story.

We welcome you if you choose to come tomorrow with open arms, and if you know Christ like you say you do, keep me in your prayers that I would continue to give it all to Christ.

Thanks to God for this wonderful experience! I know it doesn’t end there, and I obey and love Jesus to the grave and when this life is over. I hope to look back and say my plans failed miserably, but God’s plan was better.

In Christ,

Terence

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”                 – Proverbs 19:21

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Thoughts from Joel:

The journey has finally come to a close. Throughout the 12 days, we have all seen Patrick go from a man seeking glory for obedience – prideful and arrogant – to a man seeking only to reflect the glory of God back to all who witness what Christ has done through him.

Ultimately, we have seen a man fail. And succeed.

“I feel no regret or shame that my plans fell on their face – God couldn’t have written a more beautiful story.”

We all struggle with pride at one point or another. Are we willing to let it go? It may be manifesting itself in a small thing, like apologizing to a friend, or it may involve something bigger, like a career choice or job relocation. For many, we’ll try to hold on as long as we can. But eventually, God will overcome our own pride and lack of faith, showing us what we are truly capable of in this world when we embrace Him and overcome the uncomfortable situation He has put us in only through His strength.

It’s not until we experience the uncomfortable that we will experience the comfort found in Christ. Where is God asking you to trust, and surrender your comfort for Him? Don’t hesitate – Christ is leading the way. All we have to do is follow.

*a note to Terence: A big thank you to you, Terence. You’ve caused me to question, analyze, study, meditate, and pray in the writing of  your journal, and I’ve come out stronger, more bold, and more willing to completely identify with Christ. Thank you for making me stronger – you’ve been a blessing through your obedience.

Joel

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DAY 10 – SIMPLE OBEDIENCE

Patrick, I feel the wheels in motion and I will strive in all I do the next few days to walk in God’s will. My obedience is of the utmost importance. As long as I’m a slave to obedience God will use me to change your life or mine.

We have a day of computer practicals and after I finish I see Patrick struggling, so I sit down to help him out. He seems to appreciate it, as I’m patient with him and try to love him as much as Christ would. I want nothing more than Patrick to experience that love first hand.

We go well into lunch and I tell Patrick that I’m fasting for today. He seems confused because it isn’t Friday, so I explain that its not a ritual – I do it because I think it’s a good thing. I wonder if Patrick has experienced this freedom.

Throughout the day God sends many people my way to love them unconditionally. I respond to the call and notice that my hunger is stilled as I show kindness to all who God tells me to. Patrick, find your fulfillment and food in doing the works of God.

It’s a full on day and there isn’t much time for wants but there was a lot of room for action. I believe for the lost to be found they need true Christian models who are serious about being Christ like – people who do everything out of love, who see God as their highest calling and if God tells them to show others Jesus, they obey. But nothing takes the place of Christ in our lives – we serve only Him.

Just as I’m about to head home, I feel an urge to hang around and say goodbye to Patrick. I obey, and walk around and tell him I’m about to head off. He doesn’t acknowledge it.

As I walk towards the door I hear a soft-spoken voice.

“Wait! Are you driving?”

I turn around and it’s Patrick, so I offer him a lift. I wasn’t thinking much of it then but I feel now Jesus was in that moment. Patrick, you had the boldness to ask me for a lift to your earthly home. Make my joy complete by asking me to show you the way to your eternal home.

As we drive we talk about the software we used that day, and eventually turn to the impossibility of a place on earth where everyone gets what they want in a commercial sense. Patrick says we will never know till we’re in heaven and I look at him and know in heaven we want what the Father wants. I know that at that moment his soul yearns mightily for living waters and paths to eternal dwellings.

At 7:30 I go to a prayer meeting with Nathan and Jonathan and we pray for the things of God. The lost, Adelaide, the stray, the blind, the poor – for obedience.

We all believe that significant things will be occurring in the next 6-12 months.

Patrick I want you to know there is much praying that goes before action. As Dean Knight puts it, 90% prayer, 10% action. Never forget that.

My mum asked if the ‘Scottish’ guy was still with me.

“Yes” I reply, “but with Jesus soon” I think.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

As Terence continues to live a life of simple obedience, he continues to obey the simple requests God puts on his heart, and with this simple obedience, God is giving Terence opportunities to show His love to the people around him.

Simple obedience yields great opportunity. Don’t take God’s request lightly.

Last night, my bible study got into the topic of obedience. We talked about how easy it is to make excuses to avoid obeying God – especially in the simple moments. We are so good at validating it by saying, “it’ll work out. God is bigger than one decision, and He’ll get me to the place He really wants me to be.”

It’s true. God can – and will – overcome our disobedience. He will get us to the place He wants us to be. But what will happen to the people that you avoided by making your excuses? What will happen when we sit in our comfort zone while those outside of it need love? Will we step out? Will we obey? Will we give God the chance to move – in us and in those He has put just outside of our comfort?

One thing I pray for continually is for my comfort zone to be broken. I know that I’m a weak man, and often one of cowardice. But I also know that God is strong – and He has the ability to overcome all of my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Terence has taught me the value of simple obedience, and shown me the blessings that can come from it.

Joel

DAY 8 – FOR THE KINGDOM

Patrick, strive in all you do to be childlike in your faith, full of faith in the Father so your humanistic mind and fleshly body have no power. Matthew 18:3-4

I originally planned to spend today doing an assignment but decided that for the sake of these letters I needed to do something for the Kingdom today. (Something I want to apply every day of my life.)

I start out my day in prayer and then go out to do some of the assignment. I finish what he’d been scheduled for 1 day in 1 hour. Amazing how God allows or acknowledges when you sacrifice it all.

At lunch after I finish eating I feel a tug on my heart to repent to certain people. Aaron’s first and I repent to him. Then I get called to repent to an odd childhood friend that I had always felt ashamed towards how I treated him. I obey and walk to his house, and confess everything and ask for his forgiveness. He’s confused, and doesn’t realize that it does more for me than it does for him. Sam and then Ton are next and at the end of it I feel free and able to walk the next phase of the day in obedience.

Sam rounds up Nathan, Pik, Kieran, and myself in the car and we head down to Semaphore. I bring the Spirit of repentance in and people begin to repent of various things. I feel convinced that we need to do this to break off the chains that hinder us from God’s will. Now all five of us are free and ready to be lead onto Semaphere to obey God.

I am asked by God to protect the hearts of these people from discouragement – a job I take very seriously. We praise and pray to god along the way and I put a demand on the Word of God for us to speak the very words of God as in 1 Peter 4:11.

All that occurred in the following hours are precious and will be a story for the other side of eternity.

We meet up with Jonathan and head out six strong, bringing Christ’s glory. All I will say is God’s will was done in mysterious ways.

As I look back upon today I am convinced that the events that occurred go far beyond my understanding, so much symbolism and we decide to bind the story up for eternity, like an eternal reward but more like an eternal story.

Patrick, this may be the shortest letter, but it is by far the most significant. I have no idea what just occurred on Earth today, but I feel that it had eternal consequences.

God’s plan moves on – forcefully advancing.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

Hi all! Day 8 is done, we have 4 days left, and it’s become obvious how Terence has changed over the last 8 days. I really don’t have too much say about this letter, so I’ll just point out the things that brought me joy when I read them.

“I originally planned to spend today doing an assignment but decided that for the sake of these letters I needed to do something for the Kingdom today.”

We all must share this perspective. Tonight, as I was lucky enough to pray with the men on leadership at Campus Ventures (the campus ministry I’m involved in), one prayer kept circling through my mind. In the silence of prayer, I longingly prayed for the men in the room to be completely submerged by Christ’s love, and for that love to saturate every area of their life. As I’ve grown older, I’ve slowly discovered the importance of integrating my relationship with Christ into every aspect of my life. I’m still figuring out how to do it, and suppose only time will completely teach me how. Until I am truly able to integrate Christ into every aspect of my life, I must strive to remember to spend time – the most amount of time possible – bringing glory to God and His kingdom. Day 8 is a reminder to always spend time with God, in relationship with Him and working to expand His kingdom by showing His love to those He loves so dearly.

“God’s plan moves on – forcefully advancing.”

I love this. How encouraging is it that God is in control, and His plan will prevail? We serve a limitless God! Terence, I’d just like to say thanks for all the reminders!

Thankful and encouraged,

Joel

AS I SEE IT – COLOSSIANS 2:6-7

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”       -Colossians 2:6-7

Colossians 2:6-7 Copyright Joel Helenbolt

DAY 6 – FORGETTING OUR PREDICTIONS

I get awakened at 6:00 am. Megan and Elizabeth are praying for a waiter they met. I pray for him with the Word of God.

I put some music on, shut my eyes, and begin to pray and meditate on the LORD. As I relax I get a picture or image that I can faintly see – it’s a picture of a starry night sky. I start weeping again, as I hear the Father’s excitement as He creates the heavens and the Earth for man’s pleasure. Images of nature continue to flash through my mind and there’s Jesus excited to show His creation to mankind. The tragedy is that man appreciates, but is never satisfied. I feel the Father’s heart grieved that man instead finds pleasure in things that are defiled and detestable. I weep and cry out to the Father, saying His creation is enough for me!

9:00 a.m. and I pray with Nathan and Jonathan. Most of our prayers are proclamations and requests on the Word of God and I feel that’s the strongest type. We ask for boldness and repent of doubt. I love prayer meetings that are led by the Spirit! It’s good to praise His holy name together!

I go out refreshed and as I go through the day I realize that the reality I fall upon is the one I’ve been living the last six days. The one fully intending to obey God till the end, it’s as if that reality has been set as my default. I’m glad and never want to turn back.

I go to Simon’s talk at the Tusmore Church at 2pm.  He’s brilliant; full of life. Near the end we split off into small groups and I ask if I could have 10 minutes to share tomorrow morning.

Joel R. seems immediately concerned. Simon is approving but Joel wants me to run it through our pastor Steve. I slap myself as I’ve totally forgot to seek the approval of my elders and authorities, as I had planned to do before I came.

After the talk Pastor, Simon and I chat about tomorrow. I earnestly desire nothing more than to obey God and this means submitting to authority. I ask Steve not to say yes out of a sense of obligation, but he already knows that I am convinced that God’s will be done, regardless of what that looks like.

Out in the hall I realize that the old me would have been severely discouraged, believing that His plans were crumbling at the seams. Talking to Allie she gives me a letter for you Patrick and in my mind and heart I am completely at peace.

When I’m home I laugh as I see the situation from an eternal perspective regardless of the response. Yes or no God’s will is not hindered. At this point I feel as if it will be a yes.

6:00 p.m. and a heavy tiredness comes over me. I head to bed and fall asleep meditating on the LORD, and am awakened at 7:00 for dinner. I am unspeakably drowsy. I check my email and Joel has the verdict. Both he and Pastor Steve feel it is inappropriate for me to speak tomorrow. I blink at the email and feel absolutely no anger, remorse, despair, none of that.

My belief remains unshaken and I’m excited as to how God will accomplish His will in the following days.

I feel a tug on my heart to drive to Tusmore Church and seek the LORD there. I get there at 7:40 and walk around in the chilly night until I step outside the front sign.

“Where you belong.”

I stare at the sign and disagree. ‘Where I Belong’ by Switchfoot blares on my earphones as I look up to the crescent moon.

The night is beautiful and I feel like the only one on Earth. As I stare into the moon I know in my very core this place is not my home – I don’t belong to this Earth. I’ll never belong anywhere until Jesus takes me home.

I feel drawn to the park and I begin to make my way into the darkness. I wish the streetlights were off so I could see the stars better. I trudge through Tusmore and I feel Jesus meet me near the bridge. I say hi and I look across the creek to a wide open field.

I make my way to the center of the field, take my jacket off and lay on it as I look up to the beautiful night. I soon realize that the scene is what I saw that morning. God asks me if I like it.

“It‘s beautiful,” I reply.

As I stare into the wide expanse and wonder how high up the heavens are God teaches me a few things. Walking with God is like being washed downstream by a current. My plans are irrelevant; the current goes where it will, the destination is certain, but the road is not.

As Soren Kierkegaard says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

God’s plans for your life and mine have not all of a sudden changed Patrick; God doesn’t change. It’s up to me now to adjust and make sure I realign myself with where God is going. We’ll get there – have faith.

I thank God for the amazing show He put on for me and head home. I feel a new directive in my heart as I get home for this journal.

I’m not sure what the focus was before, but I believe these letters need to show you the journey with God. The relationship that we are called to have with the Living God. I hope when you or people read these letters they see through me, you, and circumstances to see God. This must be the focus of everything and it will be for my letters moving forward.

Patrick, all that God wants is obedience and that is what I am to do every day. At this moment obedience for me is keeping silent tomorrow. Have faith! God remains faithful, merciful, gracious, and just. Always be adjusting.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

First off, sorry this one took so long! It was finals week this last week, and I had to make sure I’d graduate! Hopefully I’ll keep a bit more consistent from here on out!

On to Day 6!

The main characteristic I noticed in this post is the maturity growing within Terence as he goes through this journey where he has to put all his trust in Christ alone. The early posts, it’s quite evident that Terence believes he knows exactly what God is going to do with his relationship with Patrick, and he seems as if he can’t wait to get the credit for it, excited and expecting God to pat him on the back.

Now we see a new Terence.

Terence as of Day 6 isn’t worried of what will come next in his obedience to Christ; he is simply living life obediently to Christ! I thought this was most easily seen in Terence’s reaction to the news he wouldn’t be sharing at church as he was hoping. Terence now realizes that God is in control, and will guide him and Patrick to the place they need to be led. Terence has forgotten his own agenda, and embraced the unknown agenda of the LORD!

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

This quote really cuts to the core of human nature. We will always be creatures who are trying to predict our next step, hoping God will confirm our prediction. Pretty quickly, however, we learn that we have no idea what we’re doing. God quickly gives us an unexpected turn. And another, and another, and eventually we are clueless as to how we arrived at our current situation.

And in our confusion, we look back.

We look back and see the beautiful trail left by following God’s unexpected turns along the path towards His will. We look back and think, “Wow. If I hadn’t done this one, seemingly insignificant thing in my life, I’d be a completely different person right now.”

When you reach the point of looking back, praise God and admire the trail He created! Praise Him that He is the potter and we are only the clay! The creator of the Universe loves us enough to guide us to exactly the place He planned for us! If that isn’t love, I’ll never understand what is.

Thank God we are terrible psychics!

Joel