"He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion" I've been living in California for a little over two months. I hate to say the cliche' phrase, "It has changed my life". I mean who even knows what that means? But... It has. It has changed my life.
I often get asked the question, "Is it what you thought it would be like?". Well... Yes... but... well... definitely no.
I want to take a few minutes and let you in on what Bethel and BSSM are like, as well as give some actual update on what's going on in my world. It's been a crazy, fun, hard, liberating, struggle, roller coaster, of a grace train of events.
BSSM is incredible. School is Monday - Thursday. We have worship and teaching in class. Worship always rocks my face off and I love it. The teaching ranges on topics from identity, healing, wholeness, leadership, Kingdom culture, the supernatural, to practical theology, Kingdom foundations, OT and NT studies etc. We have teachers like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallaton, Danny Silk, and others daily. Sometimes at the end of the day you're so full and your mind has been so blown you just need a nap! We also have elective courses, I just finished taking Secret Life of Revivalists! (It rocked!) And will be apart of a church leadership track starting soon. On top of school we're broken into groups and given a pastor. I can't say enough about how I've been loved well by my group and my pastor during this time. He's encouraged me to rest and to be open and vulnerable about where I am and what I need. Along side that is a small group I have that meets once a week with other girls. I also am part of a healing and pastoral team as well as a few other projects and groups. I've been invited to go to the Philippines with Teresa Dedmond and team in the spring as well as a few other missions and ministry trips coming soon. I'm praying through those as I choose to "rest" like God said and soak in all that Bethel has to offer in this season. Though I am busy, I am also taking LOTS of time to rest and have been loved so well by the staff and leaders here.
I moved here broken, to say the least. I'll spare all the icky details, but I was going through THAT season. You know THAT season the one that makes you want to climb into a dark dark room, put your head on a pillow and cry until Daddy God scoops you up and says you can go on to heaven now. The one that in the moment you actually believe no. one. has EVER gone through anything like this. Yeah. It was raw. It was ugly. It was dirty.
In these seasons you find out who you really are and I found out more than I had bargained for. I found out maybe I didn't want to change the world as much as I thought I did, perhaps the church, war zones, mission field, discipleship, working with youth, and all type of ministry was not my cup of tea after all and I could better serve in the wonderful world of coffee shops. I found out things about myself I didn't want to know, I found out my faith wasn't as strong as I thought it was, I found out that it was way easier to talk about things than to live it. (Pray prayers like God reveal any wicked in me, mold me use me, You can have it all, I'll go anywhere I'll do anything and watch Him take you up on it. I talked about that some in an old blog, Dangerous Prayers) "Circumstances don't cause heart issues, they reveal them" -Kris Vallatton
So here I was... struggling and broken trying to decide if I actually believed that God could pick up my pieces, restore, bring hope and healing. I traveled for three days to a new state and arrived at Bethel partly excited, partly terrified, partly angry, partly pumped, partly sad, partly... you get the point.
What I thought I was getting was a school about healing the sick, awesome worship, and a big church that had lots of wisdom and revelation and teaching to offer, God told me I was getting a season of rest, restoration, and learning... What I got (and am getting) was that and more.
We absolutely see people get out of wheel chairs, cancer disappear, and miracles happen everyday. We absolutely get teaching that opens your mind to see the Bible in a whole new way. We absolutely worship for hours in the Presence culture. We absolutely are seeing revival and they have been for YEARS. I am seeing God do things I've only read about, but that isn't what's changing me. I've seen CRAZY miracles on the field, I'd seen masses flood to the alter to receive Christ, I'd seen demons casted out in the most absurd ways, I'd been in worship so intimate that I was face down, covered with dirt in a mud hut. I'd sat under incredible revelatory teaching. But something was different.
It didn't take long to realize that these people think way different than I do. They have a different mindset when it comes to Kingdom culture and the church culture. They see situations different than I saw them. They saw people different than I saw them. They see relationships differently than I do. They see wholeness differently than I did. They led differently than I knew how to lead. They had a specific way of thinking when it came to honor, vulnerability, relationships, wholeness and revival.
The thing was, at first, I just wasn't so sure, but I couldn't deny the amount of God's presence. I couldn't deny the way they honored God and people. I couldn't deny the culture of love. I couldn't deny their value for the Word. I couldn't deny the miracles or salvations. And soon... I noticed something. I was being healed. I was changing. I felt loved. I felt valued. I felt full of faith. I had hope. I felt rested. It seemed like a weight was taken off my shoulders that I didn't know I was carrying. I saw God redeeming and restoring things. I was finding lies I believed that I didn't even know I believed. I felt more free than I ever felt. I was learning things that were changing my life. I was meeting people who were changing my life. I was having encounters with God that were changing my life.
Transformed people. Transform cities. - Bill Johnson
They push encounters with God that transform the way you think about Him, yourself, and Kingdom. As I've encountered Him my whole life has been and is being transformed. I want to see my life transformed, my family, my friends, my church, the American church, my city, my nation, the world... Nations discipled for the glory of God. I believe God is moving the church into a season of healing. He's healing the root of all fear, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, discouragement, failure, insecurity, doubts and He's revealing Truth so that the body of Christ is rising up in POWER to see revival in America and the nations.
I'm so excited about what God has done and is doing.
I've been beyond blessed in this season to be loved and encouraged in my brokenness and in my restoration. I've rested and been loved well by my leaders and community out here and even back home. I've been encouraged and inspired. I've seen my faith shoot through the roof as I daily see God do the impossible. He's such a good Dad.
A little over a week ago I was able to go on a ministry trip to SF and meet some people that are literally laying their lives on the line for Christ. We heard stories of what God is doing in closed nations. I'm amazed at how God is transforming nations while the government is still saying that He isn't allowed in!!! He is determined to know His people.
This past week I had the privilege of having friends from around the nations come to Redding. One of my best friends in the world, who I served beside in DR-Congo, brought along with her a few of God's favorites from around the globe. It was so good for my heart to sit with good friends and talk about life, Jesus, war zones, world changing, and drink lots and lots of good tea and coffee. It always boosts my faith to hear how Jesus is using others to transform the world. They warmed my heart and poured more into me than they know as I got to soak in their friendship and wisdom. As they all head back to their respective countries I'm reminded once again of the honor of what God has allowed me to do in my life that I get to literally hang out with people who are changing entire nations with the love of Jesus. It's always hard to say goodbye, but so fun to dream of when God will have us together again!
In two weeks one of my best friends in the world who has stood by my side for years will be coming out to visit and then we'll be returning to Liberty for Thanksgiving! I'm excited to see family and friends, to share what God is doing, and to enjoy my hometown.
Thank you for all of your continual love and support. I'm always blessed by the messages, questions, and comments through email and social media. Many have asked how you can pray! SWEET! As I prepare for the holidays please pray for provision for school, ministry, and life expenses. I will be looking for a job when I return to Redding after the break as I was obedient to REST this first semester! Direction as I decide which ministry and mission trips to do and be involved with! Then just continued prayer for the season of REST, RESTORATION, AND LEARNING that God has me in! I love my support system and I'm so thankful for you!
Be Blessed, J. Tate