For the past 2 years, I have walked into VFC, EC classes or my apartment, and had been surrounded by faces of people I know well. Leaders who would teach me eternal things, who would push me and would believe in me. Friends who would deeply change parts of my heart, who would sharpen me, who would teach me to be selfless and who would also teach me to rely more on Him. At any given moment I could walk a couple of feet, or run up the stairs and knock on a door, and come face to face with someone who knew me, but most of all knew my God, His spirit and His word.
For the past 2 years I have walked closely with a group of the 17 men and woman in my EC graduating class. I remember first year move in day, and looking into all those faces - not really realizing what they would mean to me. I didn’t know that I would watch all of their hearts be changed by a Holy God. I didn’t expect to develop deep and meaningful friendships with each them. I didn’t know that they would become leaders, men and woman full of faith and full of the Word. I didn’t see it then, but now that’s all I see. I see the faces of 17 of my closest friends. I see the hearts of those friends, that are all called to such specific, special & BIG things. I have watched each of those friends submit themselves to the Father and be mightily used by Him.
For the past year I have had the privilege of watching the first year class be so excited about Jesus and His Church. I have watched them literally change before my very eyes. I have lived with a couple of them, laughed with every one of them, and had the honor of praying and learning about Jesus alongside each of them. They exemplify what it means to be on fire for the Lord. They are excited and passionate and I cannot wait to see how the Lord will use each of them as second year leaders next year.
And for the past 2 years I have watched God do what only He can do time and time again.
I have learned that He is faithful and good despite anything that I will ever do. I have learned of and embraced the authority I have in Jesus. I have learned about & have faith. I have learned what the voice of the Spirit sounds like and the importance of following that voice. But the greatest thing I have learned & grasped ahold of most recently is the greatness of Jesus’ love for me. Whenever I think about His love, I think about the prayer Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:16-19 for the believers in Ephesus. It says...
“Father, out of Your Honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.”
(Eph. 3:16-19 / The Voice)
I love every bit of this prayer, and feel like people must have been praying that over our year in EC, because this prayer Paul prayed is spot on. As Paul wrote this letter to people he loved, while in prison, I can imagine him praying out each word. That we would understand the love of Christ. The love that went to the cross for us. The love that doesn’t care how far we have run, what we have done or who we are - that love is for us. And that love compels us. I have seen my God compelled with love for me. I have witnessed my EC brothers and sisters compelled with love for one another. Jesus’ love compels us to do more than we would or could do in ourselves. All of those things I wrote above, about my past 2 years, none of them would have been possible without the love Jesus has for us and I’m so thankful for that!
And so today I am praying Paul's prayer for Ephesus, over the incoming first years, for the new second years and for anyone who stumbled upon this post. That they would know the compelling, life changing love of Jesus, that has SO changed my life,
EPIC Commission family - thank you for being the best, for showing me what true community looked like, and for loving me well.
2nd Year EPIC Commission Student