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Saturday, September 27, 2014

It Has Begun!

Well, I’m finally here.

I’m sitting in my pretty awesome house in Gainesville, Georgia. Technically I’ve been here since September 12th, but this is the first time life has slowed down enough for me to actually give everyone an update!

Let me begin by saying that I am extremely pleased with my decision to come here. It’s been something of a non-stop ride since I got here, and I’ve loved it. Being at the Adventures in Missions headquarters is awesome. I could probably sit here and talk about how cool everything is, but then you’d never actually know what I’m doing! So I’ll talk about that instead.

To preface, God has taught and spoke to me about a ton of different things in the short span I’ve been here. I mean, I’ve learned new lessons and re-learned old ones. Now that I think about it, it’s been kinda crazy. I’ll try and be brief to let you hear a bit about some of them!

The first week we were here was called “Ramp Up Week.” Basically it was a week long orientation and teaching time. Only difference between normal orientations is that we spent 4 days of it hiking and camping around North Georgia. If you know me, you know I enjoyed this part immensely. We were camping by a river in the middle of the woods in a pretty part of the U.S. It was great.

In this time God spoke specifically to me that it was time to let some things go and let Him move into those spaces. Let him wash and cleanse me in the river of His love and grace and let Him take me on a wild ride whichever way He saw fit. I thought it sounded like a good plan. So that’s a mindset I’ve been running with ever since.

Next we finally got to start CGA itself. This past Tuesday we began our internships. This comprises of an apprenticeship (work somewhere in the office), track time (teaching times where we learn about various leadership qualities), discipleship (we are paired with an older, wise discipler for the semester), and community events.

I was incredibly excited about this. I was itching to get into my apprenticeship and track time. What I didn’t realize until later was that I had placed some pretty hefty expectations on this time. I had these big plans and ideas about all the cool stuff I would get to do. Basically, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I (and my fellow leadership track people) am placed in the World Race department working on various projects as they come through. We’re doing some stuff that the rest of the office doesn’t have time for, but is still necessary. This isn’t what I thought I’d be doing. So I went through a brief time of what can only be described as pouting.

I went through an entire day like this before I asked God what the heck the point was. Why did He bring me here just to run around the office doing things of little consequence? He simply gave me this: His realities are always better than my expectations. I’m here for a reason, a big one, and He hasn’t even remotely forgotten me. So I should probably calm down.

He was right. In that short span I’ve already made numerous connections and done some really cool things! Including my “small” projects. The audacity I had to think I could roll into Adventures and suddenly be a big shot was insane. And I’m a little embarrassed by it. But now I see just how important every bit of this is, and I’m here to soak up as much as I can! You have no idea how much I’ve learned in the 4 days I’ve been working there. It gets me excited to think about!

Not only that, but there are so many exciting things going on with me personally. God has been talking to me. He’s been telling me that it’s time to get rid of needless distractions in my life. To clear away things so I can focus. So, He laid on my heart to do a fast of sorts. I’m currently fasting from forms of entertainment. TV, movies, games. Anything that can distract me from Him or being in community with others. I have a tendency to be closed off and go by myself to watch TV or movies on my laptop. Or even play video games quietly for a while. I decided that it wasn’t helping at all, so I’m cutting it out! I'm curious to see how God uses my newfound time and what cool things I can get into.

And I don’t want to say anything prematurely, but I think He’s got some huge things coming my way on a few different fronts. He very well have just let me see a sneak peak throughout the week. Let me tell you, I’m through the roof excited. I’m whipping out my notebook and scheming about all sorts of things. Could very well be big. Could very well not. We'll all find out together.

Finally, He’s been coming through with fundraising. I’m over halfway to my fundraising goal! HOOOORAAAAAY!! Praise God for my partners both financially and prayerfully!! I’m so excited!! Thank you to any and all who have either donated or prayed for me. It’s evident and I’m so thankful for it.

That being said, I still need $2,000 by November 1st. So close! I need just a bit more! If you’re interested in donating follow this link to find out how you can:

As you can see, I’m doing pretty good. My apologies for not updating sooner, but I’ve had a lot going on. I will be posting a lot more in the future!

I love each and every one of you! Thanks for taking a beat to read my blog! Subscribe on the right side of the page if you never wanna miss a post!

Godspeed, m’friends.


Seth

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Message to the Preceding Generations

Last week I was at Project Searchlight.

It was amazing. A truly incredible time of worship and self-discovery through God. It’s essentially a time where all the squads that launched together come to Gainesville, Georgia for a week and hang out while learning more about what God has for them. It’s a time to be poured into by alumni racers, and the staff of AIM as well as many others.

During this time I felt a huge push with my calling. I felt encouraged, emboldened, and just plain excited. Ready to go running into whatever God has for me. Ready to get shoulder deep in the issues of the American church.

But more about that in a different blog.

I wanted to address something else in this post. I wanted to send a message to the preceding generations. A message that is more or less on behalf of my own generation. 

I wanted everyone to know that we’re coming. We’re on our way.

By “we” I mean my generation. And by “coming” I mean we’ve heard our callings. We’ve heard from God, and we’re coming to do something about it. Even those of us who aren’t sure are still striving to see what’s next. The passion is there regardless. We’re running headlong into the fray.

Throughout my life I’ve heard many things about my generation, the Millennials.

What I’ve heard is generally not that uplifting. We’re lazy. We aren’t driven. We’re not hard workers. Glued to our technology (I can’t necessarily argue with this one). Even worse when it comes to the church. Millennials are leaving the church in droves. They’re not committed to the faith. They’re abandoning their values for popular culture. Millennials are gonna bring about the end of the church. Too hip, not enough tradition, more worried about their clothes and culture than the faith itself.

I could continue on with this grumble report for hours. And probably miss several things, honestly. We’re an easy bunch to be talked about. Especially as we are starting to graduate college and enter the “real world.”

First I want to point out that many of these claims about my generation are rooted in truth, if not completely true for some points. In no way can I disprove them or tell you that you’re wrong. Seriously, we can really screw up things sometimes. And we are glued to our technology. That’s one I can’t even begin to refute. Having admitted this, I want to move on to my point here.

We’re not all like that.

And for those of us committed to changing and affecting this world, we’re gearing up. We’re getting ready. We’re getting excited and equipped.

Searchlight really drove this point home for me. I would look around at all my peers and just get excited. The World Race attracts a certain kind of young people, and we’re the tiniest bit crazy. So you could potentially argue that as Racers we’re different and we always would be. 

Not so.

At Searchlight I saw people get freedom from their past issues and sins. I saw people come into their own. I saw their eyes light up with fire as they realize what God’s reason was for them to walk this Earth.

These are people like me who have grown up in the church, but they’re also people who have been through Hell and back to get where they are, people with tougher stories and deeper scars than you could ever realize.

We come from all walks of life and backgrounds, and we’re jacked to do what God has for us.

But it’s not just World Racers. Oh heck no. Not even remotely. My generation is full of people who are on fire and ready to roll.

Not even just the people going into the “ministry.” Doctors, lawyers, pilots, teachers, baristas, waiters and waitresses, office workers, accountants, construction workers. I could go on and on.

You don’t have to go all the way around the world for a year to get excited about your faith and live out what God has for you. Only some of us do.

What I’m saying here is that we’re on the move. We’re getting ready to take the world by storm. We’re coming from all kinds of angles. God has placed us like an expert tactician. We’re going to the nations, we’re staying in the States, we’re going to pastor churches, we’re going to heal the sick, we’re going to build, we’re going to do all kinds of things that might not even seem like ministry. But they are. That girl that’s a waitress at Chili’s can have just as poignant of a ministry as the pastor who goes to Mongolia every month.

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes as mysterious as Chili’s.

Well now you’re probably saying “Great! That’s wonderful! Why on Earth are you telling me this?”

Because you have a part to play. As the preceding generations, you’ve been through what we’re about to go through. You’ve seen what we’re running towards. You know the pitfalls and traps. You know what works and what doesn’t.

We’re gonna need that wisdom and experience.

But more than that we’re gonna need your SUPPORT.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard your generation judge and tear down my generation. Admittedly it’s been spot on at times. But I have so many friends who are at this stage of life who get no support from their parents or the older generations in general. These people think that my friends have to get into the “real world” as fast as possible. Job, family, home, mortgage, insurance, dog, career. Repeat as necessary. If you’re not moving towards these things, you’re moving towards poverty and a “terrible” life.

There is nothing wrong with those things. I personally would like all of them. And I get that you just want us to succeed in life, really I do. But the kicker is, if you truly believe that our God is a sovereign God who is in charge of your life and you truly believe that He is in control of everything then how about stepping aside from your own visions of what your children’s/friends/whomever lives should look like? If they come to you with a calling from God, and it sounds crazy, don’t shoot them down. Don’t pat them on the head like when they were kids and wanted a dog. Don’t condescend! HELP THEM! SUPPORT THEM! SUPPORT US!.

Chances are, if they’ve truly prayed and asked for this, that God gave it to them. And if it’s from God, chances are it isn’t gonna make a ton of sense! He doesn’t tend to give this four-step plan that goes in a straight line. And chances are you already knew that.

This is no way means that you can’t go with your gut or prayer on any of this. Sometimes we need to go through a little reality to find what the real point is. Little heartbreak and hardship to find what He truly wants for us. But for the love of God, at least pray about it! At least seek His face and His will for these millennials before you counsel them. We trust your judgment and look up to you more than you will ever know. And when you shoot us down because it doesn’t make sense to you, or it doesn’t look like we’ll be moving out as fast as you want us to, it hurts! It hurts a lot! You can do way more damage than you ever meant to, and you probably didn’t mean any damage at all. What we need is for you to believe in us. To trust us. Sometimes it will take a bit more faith than others, but trust all the same.

Acknowledge that God can work in the craziest ways. And those ways don’t always have to do with a white picket fence and the “perfect” suburban life. We’re a generation that is on fire for God and moving towards being pretty crazy about it. It’s not always gonna look the way it did for you.

We love, respect, admire, look up to, and value you of the preceding generations. We need you every step of the way. So please encourage and support us. We just want to do what God has called us to do. We want to do our part for the world and humanity, too. Just like you have. You’ve set a fine example, now it’s our turn to set ours.

This post isn’t sent towards anyone in particular, but everyone at large. Just like some of us aren’t nearly as driven or motivated as others, some of you aren’t as encouraging as you think. This is merely a plea to try your best and do what you can. We’ll gladly accept and treasure it no matter what.

Know that we’re coming. Know that we’re coming to change the world. Know that we’re coming to get help from you. Know that we’re excited. Know that we definitely are crazy, and we don’t deny that. Just not in the ways you may think.

Usually.

Seth



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fundraising Update!

Fundraising for CGA is in full swing.

This post is just a quick update on where I am funding wise, and how much I need to keep on going.

Currently I have $487 in my account, which is great! A lot more than I started with.

I need to have $2,300 in my account by September 12th. Which is in 9 days.

My overall financial goal is $4,500 by November 1st.

While this isn’t a very long time, I have full faith that this is where I am supposed to be and that God will provide!

God is going to use this period at CGA to train and equip me for what’s next in my life. Which I fully believe to be helping to fix the American church.

I wanna ask two things of you as I continue this process. First, please pray for me as I fundraise. Prayer is both cheap and powerful, so please pray that I meet my financial deadlines. God hasn’t hung me out to dry yet, and I don’t think He will. But a little prayer never hurt.

Secondly, while praying please consider partnering with me financially. Ask God if He wants you to donate to my account or if you know someone who would like to donate! If you do decide that you want to, there are a few ways you can do so:

·      Send a check by mail to PO BOX 742570 Atlanta, GA 30374-2570. Be sure your donors write the check to Adventures in Missions and put SETHPOWELL in the memo line.

·      Give online donations through credit: adventures.org/give, go to the “Mission Trip Participant” link and choose the Center for Global Action (CGA) program.

·      Give monthly donations through their bank account: adventures.org/dynapay.

·      Or, simply give through my World Race blog on the left side of the page that says “Support Me!”   sethpowell.theworldrace.org

There you have it! Please be praying for me in one of these two ways, it means the world to me and helps so, so much!

Thanks for taking the time to read this quick update! Also, if you don’t mind, take the time to subscribe to my blog here on the right side of the page! I will update it consistently with everything God is teaching me, or what He may want to say through me. Maybe even some funny stuff here and there. I wouldn’t want you to miss it!!

Seth


The Ministry Mindset

You no doubt have ready my blog about re-entry.

It’s not the most fun thing to go through.

One of my biggest issues was dragging myself out of bed and actually doing something. Specifically when it came to fundraising for CGA. Or blogging. Or anything really.

I’m a bit of an external processor. I have to either talk, type, or write my way through issues or thoughts. So one night I was typing away on my laptop when a thought hit me that has really changed the way I do my day to day life in the States.

First a little background. On the Race we’d have a different set of contacts every month. Each had different needs, and different things they wanted us to do. Different schedules and different environments. One unspoken rule on my squad was that you did WHATEVER the contact wanted/needed. We are servants first. Our own needs did not generally come before the needs of our contact. And our comfort zone NEVER came before the ministry. Which is why I’ve done the YMCA in front of a Thai school, done no less than 8 nativity plays during Christmas, and been in so many Biblical skits that I can’t hope to remember who I was in each one.

You do what the contact needs. Sometimes that was easier, sometimes it was really hard. Each person had different issues or strengths depending on what the contact had in store for us. My skill set generally wasn’t geared toward the children’s ministry and the skits. But I was all about the manual labor and some of the speaking and fellowship opportunities.

You get the picture.

So cut to about 3 weeks ago. I was hashing things out on my laptop. Trying to figure out how to move forward. Praying the whole time that God would help me out and show me what to be doing. Or more to the point, to give me energy to actually do it.

That’s when He dropped something on me that I couldn’t help but wanna share. Clear as day He gave me this paragraph that I typed as I thought it:

“I am my own ministry right now. Treat yourself like you’ve treated all of your contacts. You wouldn’t let them down by moping, or sitting around. You’d do everything in your power for them, regardless of what they needed. Now do the same for yourself. You need to fundraise. You need to pray for yourself for trust and help. You need to move around and be active. Do that for yourself right now because that’s what you need.”

Maybe this is obvious to other people, but to me it was flipping revolutionary.

Coming home from the field, I had no real direction from the get-go. I was sort of rudderless. I had CGA to look forward to, but couldn't make myself do anything about it. During the Race I always had a ministry to be working towards in some form or fashion.

God was telling me that I don’t have to leave that ministry mindset on the field. In fact, I definitely shouldn’t. Something I’ve always struggled with is doing things for myself, or thinking about how to help myself. I don’t like being the center of attention. Even my own attention, I guess.

He was saying that just because there isn’t some well defined ministry sitting in front of me doesn’t mean that there isn’t a ministry to devote my time to. Sure I could’ve gone and found a church ministry or something around town to pour into, but that’s not what He meant.

He meant that I am my own ministry, just as I wrote 3 weeks ago. What He is saying is that right now I need to gear up and devote time to my own ministry. I need to fundraise, I need to pray about CGA, I need to pray about what I should receive while at CGA.

It’s not self-centered for you to think of yourself as your own ministry contact. It’s not arrogant to go forth and do what you need to do for yourself. If we’re ever going to get to where God wants us, we’re gonna have to spend a lot of time focusing and working on ourselves.

More than that, we need to fight for ourselves. And be willing to do whatever we have to for our own personal ministry. If it helps, think of it not as your own ministry or your own stuff but what God is doing through you. I mean, technically every ministry is God’s ministry. Including yours. You’d work hard for God’s ministry through other people, why not your own?

For those of you like me who are in a slump, why not try this out? Do everything you can to achieve God’s ministry for you. It’s not a self-absorbed tendency. It’s what God wants for you!

Pick yourself up, jot down some goals you need to accomplish, and get after it! This is your ministry right now! Go for it with gusto! If you’re ever going to get where God wants you, you have to think of yourself as your ministry. I mean shoot, no matter where you end up it’s going to be a ministry anyway. Why not go ahead and get in the swing of things?

Get into the mindset. Who knows, maybe it’ll give you the kick you need!

Seth