bethel, at its core… it’s core values!!!!!

It’s the second week of¬†BSSM! One week has passed. There is so much I’ve received already; it’s hard to put into words. It’s the culture and core values that people carry here–they’ve been hammering it in these past six days. “These are Bethel’s core values! Core values! Core values!” That’s really important here, as I’ve come to realize…

So I will try to summarize into just three points what I’ve heard and received and understood as best I could:

1) YOU ARE POWERFUL

Bethel believes (or really, God’s Word says so) that everyone is powerful. Translation: You are responsible for your own actions, and you don’t need someone else telling you what or what not to do.

That’s called Culture of Empowerment, not culture of control. So within the context of school, that means you won’t have an authority figure breathing down your neck, reminding you constantly when¬†homework is due, or asking you why you didn’t show up to class or to service. No, that’s your responsibility–because you are powerful.

If you don’t want to be here, you are able to. You behave your way¬†out of the organization. In other words, there are consequences to your actions, and at the end of the day,¬†your behavior is your choice.

Quote from the BSSM Student Handbook: “The freedom of the BSSM environment requires a high level of self-management. One definition of freedom we like is,¬†‘I am able to tell myself what to do and make¬†myself do it.’ That’s called self-control.”

Seems bizarre yet somehow makes total sense.

Some student might even decide to cheat on all their homework thinking, “Well! there are no consequences, really. Who’s grading?!”¬†And the leadership’s response might be something like this:¬†“How’d that work out for you? Do you feel like you’re on the road to becoming a revivalist?

So you see, at the end of the day, it’s about you. Who you are becoming. Because YOU ARE POWERFUL¬†to succeed or fail, depending on what you set your heart to do.

2. HONOR AFFIRMS VALUE

You’re not just powerful, you are valuable… beyond compare. Jesus paid the price of his life FOR YOU! Do you realize how crazy precious and amazing you are?!

So how do we affirm one another’s value in Christ? Through Culture of Honor.

One of the ways this is exercised is through Accountability. Accountability is an ‘account of¬†your ability,’ not an ‘account of your disability.’ Accountability looks like this: The moment I start to feel tempted, I call up my accountability partner (someone who¬†does¬†not struggle with the same thing or has been free for at least 2yrs), who then proceeds to give me an ‘account of my ability,’ saying, “Melody! You are powerful! This weakness is¬†not who you are! You are going to be a great worship leader one day!¬†Your testimony will bring healing to nations!¬†You are amazing!¬†You can overcome this!”

Wow, sounds like a foreign concept, doesn’t it? At least it was for me. So new. So profound. So beautiful.

Imagine a world where Culture of Honor is¬†truly exercised and lived out, where everyone is constantly affirming one another’s value in Christ–even in their toughest and weakest moments!!–how much like¬†heaven¬†that would be!

Well, that’s pretty much like Bethel.¬†Amazing, isn’t it?

Of course, Jesus teaches us to be “innocent as doves but shrewd as snakes.”¬†Jesus knew that there are people out there who would love¬†to take advantage of¬†‘soft-hearted’ people.¬†So we are not called to be ‘soft-hearted’ (i.e. trusting anyone without first building relationship) but rather to have wisdom and discernment, while honoring everyone equally.

3)¬†SUPERNATURAL IS ‘NORMAL’

Bethel strongly believes that as Jesus lived, so we are called to live. Jesus didn’t perform all those signs, wonders and miracles as God¬†but as a man completely yielded to and depended upon the Holy Spirit. So what does that imply for us?

Often times in the Gospels and Epistles, we read, “God confirmed the message¬†by giving signs, wonders and miracles.” So signs, wonders and miracles are God’s stamp¬†of approval! The purpose of signs is to show you that you’re going the right direction. Without signs, how can we be sure that what we are preaching is the true Gospel? The Gospel without power is dead.

As Paul wrote to the Church of Thessalonians: “…our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.”¬†(1 Thess. 1:5)

And also to the¬†Church of Corinth: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God… My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”¬†(1 Cor. 2:1,5)

So what is Paul saying? That our faith should not rest of man’s wisdom, but on¬†God’s power.¬†“But aren’t we only supposed to have¬†faith in Christ? How can you say we should have faith in power?!! That’s a dangerous message!”

But as Bill Johnson puts it: Faith in Christ is Faith in Power. There is no separating the two.

So, next time you question God’s ability to¬†demonstrate His power through you, ask yourself: Am I putting faith in Christ or am I believing a fake¬†gospel?

“Ouch,” says my religiosity.

“Good. Die,” I¬†say back.

This will be an interestingly painful but glorious process. ūüôā

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