Reckless Pursuit

Josh & Brooke
Our Story

Our Story ~ Part Two ~ Our Ellerslie Journey & Beyond

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cheap flights lyrics During Ellerslie Alpha Semester 2010 my life was forever changed. Never before had I seen a group of people so Spirit-led that had so intensely tasted of the fire of His Love. Seeing a little piece of Heaven brought to earth in that way just caused me to cling to Jesus even more. I wanted to be made soft clay again and again for the Potter to form me into what He wanted over and over. I resolved to not look to anyone who was seeking Christ with all that they have as my benchmark for living the Christian life. Often times if we look to mere men as the end-all for our relationship with Christ, we become more like them than we become like Christ. I wanted to be a Christ-follower. Through thick and thin, through the highs and the lows, I resolved to do the bidding of my King.

Excelsior. Ever-higher. Ever further. Ever deeper into His image.

Brooke and I refer to this season as being asleep in Him. As we rest our lives in Jesus, He will rouse us to His calling. I was asleep in Him for this season with no intention of waking up. When God put Adam to sleep, the next thing Adam knows when he wakes up is that God had been busy at work while he was sleeping. Often times when we run around and try to make much of our lives by seeking that next big career opportunity or seek after that good-looking someone, we aren’t still enough to hear His voice in our lives. During Ellerslie, I honestly don’t remember being friends with Brooke. There are a lot of pictures of us in the same group of people, but I really don’t remember her being there. During one of the last nights of the Alpha semester, I was going to all of the photographers of that semester so I could compile all of the pictures and post them on a website for all who wanted the pictures to download them. Brooke was one of the photographers that I was talking to, and I remember her giving me her email address so I could send her a reminder to get me the pictures before she left Ellerslie. That was how our correspondance started. A few days later (forgetting about the pictures) she responded to my email. During the first semester Eric had asked my roommate and I to film the sessions he would give in the second semester so they could be archived, edited, and sold as DVDs for those wanting to go through the discipleship series. It was public knowledge that I was staying on after Ellerslie to help prepare for this huge undertaking. Our first few emails were about how each other was doing at home and what plans were for the future. In one of those emails from Brooke, she asked what I thought about being an intern at Ellerslie. I was a little wavering because I didn’t know what my life held afterwards. Brooke sent me this verse in one of her emails:

1 Corinthians 2:9 – “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

I distinctly remember being encouraged by this verse, and by this girl who took the time to send it to me. Our emails continued as we began our friendship. I remember asking God to fill me with His words to encourage her as she began a new season of life. Brooke was pursuing an internship with His Little Feet, and she wrote to me in an email,

“My parents are excited for me. The more I tell my mom the more she wants to do it….they both know this is where the Lord wants me and it is such a wonderful blessing to have both of my parents confirm that the fingerprints of God are all over this!” 

Our emails transformed from mostly questions about each other to mostly encouragement for each other. I remember wanting to get in my Bible after reading her emails for the reason of just being nearer and nearer to my King. I saw that in Brooke. She was abiding in Christ, and in turn pouring out to me in these emails. I wanted what she had. Below are a couple snippets from our conversations.

(Brooke) 

Listen to this!
“These {where the men who} turned the world upside down.” -Acts17:6
Twelve against the world.
Twelve who chose the gritty bravehearted path.
Twelve was enough.
May it be so today.
 
…{found this in the Bravehearted Gospel as well!} It made me want to shout! There are 12 of you~ God granted Eric 12….and then there are 43 women ready to follow the Lord’s command. 12 was enough! We have the Lord Almighty on our side …what are we waiting for!?
 
So, press on to the mark! Lay hold of the prize! The King has called. Who will answer? The race has been set. Who will run? The bravehearted path is the path of our Master; it is a way of thorns and it is a road of glory, and those who run it must run it with all their might!
(Josh) 
Why are we willing to compromise to fit in with this world? Why aren’t we hated like Jesus was? Why are we not despised? Why do we fit in so well? I’ve been struggling with that myself. If I have a ton of friends, are they really all Christians? I know they arent. Narrow is the gate and hard is the way to salvation and few will enter. Few will enter. What makes my friends think they are a part of the few if they are partying on saturday night, getting drunk, and waking up for church on sunday to pray for those who get drunk on saturday. Its a vicious cycle, and I hate it. With a holy hate. With a passion that cannot be explained. I desire to be hated by this world, to be hated like Christ was. No longer do I desire to fit in. Its opposite from the rest of the world. If I do fit in, I am uneasy. Why do I fit in? Why do people like me? Is it Christ they see through me? Oh, how I desire that Christ in me be the only thing they see. 
 
Let prayer become your priority. Remember that a prayer of faith is answered for the glory of His name. 
Our friendship started with both of us found constantly pressing into His presence… and it only gets better!

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It was May 31st, 2010…I was at Ellerslie! This evening held the elegant, Spirit-led, and first ever Ellerslie banquet. I shall remember this evening forever, this is the evening I met my fellow classmates and as weeks melted into months we pursued Christ together with a transparent fervency that I had never seen the body of Christ be. It impacted me in many ways.

My time at Ellerslie during the Alpha Summer 2010 class is hard to sum up in words. I came face to face with my Jesus in a way that I never had before… Mere words are hard to find to express the grandeur of my Lord that He allowed me to see, and is continuing to allow me to see. He gave me glimpses of heaven here on earth, glimpses of beauty, His beauty, HIM. This thirst that I had when I came to Ellerslie not only was quenched but also deepened as He immersed me in the fountain of life! Oh, the depths of our King which aren’t even tapped into yet! He wooed me, He taught me that daily I must seek His face and become a brilliant transparent reflection of Him. My Jesus took the foundation I had on Him and made it even stronger during this time.

Josh mentioned what we refer this season of our love story as being asleep in Him. Oh what a glorious place to be, asleep in our Creator and King. Allowing Him to mold us, reshape us, create us in to a picture of Him, and woo us all along the way. In Genesis 2:21, God put Adam in a deep sleep and as Adam was asleep God was lovingly and tenderly creating a helpmeet for Adam, a woman that was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. God gave Adam this gift out of His love for His creation. What a perfect gift to “wake up” and see what the Lord has lovingly created just for you! That is what happened for both Josh and I during this time. We weren’t seeking after “someone else” to fulfill us; we were seeking His face, and only Him. Just as the verse goes in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We had no clue all the great things He was shaping together as we were sleeping in Christ…in Him. Oh, but when He slowly began waking us up…how He blew me away by this perfect gift He was blessing me with! (But that’s later on in the story! *smiles*) As we delighted in HIS way, all along the way the LORD was establishing our steps. (Psalm 37:23)

Somewhere around the last days of our Ellerslie semester I remember Josh coming up to me asking if I could send him pictures of our semester. He was compiling them to share with our class, he was telling me. I remember giving him my email. Days after I had arrived home I checked my email and there was an email from Josh reminding me to send him my photographs. I responded and this is how we began our correspondence. The dialog about pictures slowly faded into how our transitions home was which slowly faded into emails of encouragement. Every email that graced my inbox never failed to challenge me to dig deeper into His Living Word. I had a growing desire and hunger to know my Savior more after reading these words of encouragement from this young man who went to Ellerslie with me. And yet, even though there was only 53 students, only 12 of which being guys, and even though many pictures show that we were in the same groups. I don’t remember much interaction between the two of us. I have little memories here and there mostly having to do with photography and the Ellerslie Post.

What I saw in these emails was one whose desire was for his God. This young man had a deep understanding of my Jesus and a passion to see that the glory of His King may be seen in this world! His passion and drive became contagious to me and blessed me tremendously. I remember covering my responses in prayer asking the Lord to speak though me to be used as a mouth piece to encourage Josh in his pursuit of Christ.

Between the nearing of the end of Ellerslie and time at home the Lord was confirming what the next path He desired for me to take. A call to advance His Kingdom, to take care of the least of these (His royalty of Heaven), to surrender many things He had blessed me with and trust Him as I stepped out in faith to follow my King wherever He led. This ministry He called me to is His Little Feet, an international children’s choir that consisted of vulnerable and orphaned children being a voice for the orphaned and vulnerable children across the world. How the Lord called and led me to this amazing ministry is a completely different story in itself, one of which is yet another story that reveals that the Author and Perfector of our faith is also the Author and Perfector of every seemingly small and large detail of our life. I have seen it time and time again as I look back in hindsight, His perfect faithfulness. As this life of Josh’s and mine that He has given us unfolds, and as we have began building stones of remembrances (Joshua 4:20-22) I pray that it may be true that when “In the future when our descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?” they will tell them, of the faithfulness of our God and how He was revealed in Josh’s and my life and this story that He is scripting. The story that He desires to use to reveal His glory. May it be so.

——

To be continued…

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