DR Update 4

“What really struck me the most about this trip was the abject poverty these people lived in. Yesterday we visited a village that was described as a dump mixed with a water filtration plant. These people lived in a literal dump, and earned money by allowing people to put trash there for payment. But this led me to realize the total strength of our team. We pushed through it and did ministry for those people. And I realize how truly spoiled we are, but that God being in a personal relationship with us is one of the greatest riches of all.” - David Harrop

This is day seven of our trip, and our last day of ministry. It’s almost impossible to believe. Each day has been so full of new things and experiences, opportunities to adapt and moments we failed to. By God’s grace, we have had each other and Him in all of those moments, the beautiful and the ugly.

Monte’s Team:

This morning we headed  over to Spring in the Desert a daycare in San Pedro. There we hosted a VBS for the preschoolers and spent a lot of time holding and playing with them. The children were so sweet and were a beautiful example of how Jesus calls us to have childlike faith.

After a delicious lunch of tacos and nachos, we went back to Quisqueya to complete door to door evangelism. We walked to many houses sharing our testimony and the good news of Jesus. All in all it was an effective and good last full day on the field. God has taught us so much this week and we are excited to bring and utilize what we learned back in the United States!

Nick’s Team:

We went out this morning a few people short; several members of the team were sick and it was best for them to stay back. They’re feeling a bit better (I just asked), praise God. Please pray for their healing continued and full recovery.

Our morning ministry was to the leprosy house, which is my personal favorite place in the DR. Some of us who went last year were able to see the same people we met before, which was really sweet for us.

Later today we held our last VBS at a small church out in the country. Many of these kids were a little bit older than the ones we’ve worked with previously, but they were just as excited to participate in games and worship. We sang “Down by the Banks” I don’t know how many times, and some of our guys wrestled a bit with the older boys. It was especially sad when we had to go because this was our last village. The people here just find their way into your heart and it feels like you’re leaving a bit of yourself behind. It’s a good hurt though, because you know that you’ve made a difference, even if it was just to one kid whose hand you held during a prayer.




DR Update 4

“John Piper said ‘You never know what prayer is for until you know that life is war.’ And I think that’s really true, especially on a trip like this.”-Cam Florence

Day six of our trip was pretty emotional for everyone. A few of us are sick or exhausted or both, but despite the discomfort I haven’t talked to a single person who is ready to go home quite yet. There is so much work to be done in this country and it’s easy to feel as though we aren’t making a difference. But if we are able to lead even one person to Christ, it was all worth it. By God’s grace we have seen dozens of people realize that they are in need of a Savior and give their lives to Him.

Nick’s Team:

We spent the day in the same community you read about from Monte’s team yesterday. It’s a series of villages located in Santo Domingo, right along the river. Most of us weren’t prepared for what we saw. It’s pretty indescribable, so we will include pictures at some point. But the thing that stuck out most to me was not the poverty or conditions. It was the spirit of the people who lived in what was basically a dump. One woman was growing flowers, and the kids, for the most part, were relatively well-dressed and clean. These people have almost nothing, but they have a sense of pride and self respect that is admirable.

For the first part of the day we helped to run a VBS for the kids, ate lunch with them, played hard for a couple hours, and finally distributed hundreds of pairs of shoes. For those of you who don’t know, Matt Kim (Rock student, plays the drums upstairs) has spent the last year collecting used shoes to give to the kids down here. Matt wasn’t able to make it down here this year, but his work blessed a ton of kids. The pastor of the local church was in tears, thanking us for the impact we were making. It’s all because of Christ, but it was awesome to be a part of. We spent the last two or three hours walking around the village and evangelizing.

Monte’s Team:

We started off the morning by boarding the busses and taking the hour and a half trip to the leprosy hospital. When we got there we were instructed to invite all of the patients to the cafeteria by saying “vamos a comedor.” In the cafeteria we sang, shared testimonies and the gospel with the patients. They were beautiful and their joy was infectious. We got to touch them and sing to them and we were experiencing something that Jesus did while he was on earth.

Afterwards, we went over to San Pedro and hosted another VBS. We performed our skits, shared the gospel and danced with the children. We continually see Jesus in the children. Although, it is our mission to love on them, they continually surprise us by abundantly loving on us.

Tonight at score was an awesome time of fellowship and fun. We had handmade pizzas and music, courtesy of Hector, one of the Score staff members. It was nice to get a chance to just chill for a couple of hours and bond as a team during this last brief stretch of the trip. Please pray for health for all of us and a lasting impact from our team.

DR Update 3

“I have been on this trip six times and have never seen the Spirit move in the way it has this week! Today was a day of great service to the local church. A focus of this trip has been to serve and empower the local church so it can grow and make a lasting impact in the region. The Lord is using us to display His love and intimate care for his creation.”
- Noah Byre

Every day is truly a gift from God and we don’t live like we know that. If you’ve ever been on a short term mission trip, you’ve definitely thought something along the lines of Wow, I can’t believe the incredible spirituality of the people who are full-time missionaries here! What we don’t seem to realize is that we are all called to be full-time missionaries. Some are called to serve a thousand miles away from their family and friends, and some are called to minister in their own communities. Our mission in life itself as Christians is to make disciples of Christ. This trip is stretching all of us in dozens of ways, but a major part of our struggle has to do with the fact that we don’t act like missionaries when we’re at home.

Nick’s Team:

We spent the morning at Waters in the Desert, a ministry located in San Pedro and headed by one of our favorite translators, Dioser (Dio for short). WitD is essentially a day care facility for children of various ages. The ministry is staffed exclusively with volunteers. These ladies have huge hearts for the Lord’s work and they show it by sacrificing their weekdays to care for the village’s poorest children. We helped feed the kids during lunchtime and spent the rest of our time there performing skits and worshiping with the children as part of a VBS. They were mostly two to four years old, very energetic, and every single one was gorgeous!

The second half of the afternoon was more laid back. We got to visit the church of one of the SCORE volunteers and assist with their VBS. The teachers were fabulous and it was a joy to see the kids participating and having fun. The VBS was held in a former palace for a dictator that the DR had a few years back, but now it’s a church and is being used to spread Jesus!

Monte’s Team: 

Today we were supporting a local church in one of the poorest communities of Santo Domingo.  We arrived by bus at the church location to find this church to be one of the nicest we had visited to date.  The morning plans were to hold a VBS style worship event for the local children.  We started the worship in song.  The children of this community were absolutely darling.  They were incredibly active, attentive and so energetic.  It was obvious the church does a fantastic job preaching the word of God to these kids.  They have a love for the Lord that radiates from them.

The theme of this event was the “Soldier of Christ.”  Multiple times they chanted “We are soldiers for Christ” as they marched in place, proud salutes and smiles on their beautiful faces.  As we have seen at every VBS like service, the children quickly picked up the songs we were teaching them.  They jumped up and down, smiling and singing with all their energy.  We presented the gospel, led them in assembling bracelets that symbolize the gospel and even put on a skit about Noah and the Ark.  All the while, these beautiful children sat attentively.  Some on the laps of Rock students, others holding hands of adults.

After lunch, the local pastor took the MBC team out in the community.  We walked about a half mile or so from the church through one of the incredibly poor locations in the town.  The conditions these people were living in are almost indescribable.  The best way I can illustrate how they live would be to tell you they live in a landfill that has rivers of raw sewage flowing through it in places.  Even though it would seem the residents of this area have little to be grateful for, they welcomed us as though a parade of dignitaries were coming to visit.  We could hear them shouting in Spanish “here come the Americans!”

It really hit home when we arrived at the central point of the homes.  Children came running out of the shacks wearing bracelets we helped them make in the morning.  Those darling kids we held and sang with lived in these conditions.  The very same children that were smiling and singing at the top of their lungs walked home from church to their homes in what I can best describe as a trash dump.  On top of one home there was even a cross proudly displayed high in the air.  Most of us  from MBC were overcome with emotion.

We did some door-to-door evangelism in the area shortly thereafter.  Four people came to Christ as a result of a gospel presentation we gave.  We connected these four new Christians to the local church staff so they may help disciple them and help them grow in their new-found faith in Jesus.

Upon returning to the SCORE facility, some of us were discussing what we had witnessed.  For some of us, the reality of the living conditions was quite a lot to emotionally process.  One person offered a simple thought….Today, we made a difference.  Today we loved their children.  We may not know today what affect that has on their lives, but even dropping one pebble in a pond will send ripples to farthest edges.  Perhaps loving the children and assisting the local church will foster hope in those people.

After a long but well-spent day, both teams joined the other church groups for SCORE night. We worshiped together, heard a great sermon from one of SCORE’s missionaries, and got another opportunity to support the Lily House (a ministry of SCORE towards rehabilitation for ex-prostitutes). There were baked goods, jewelry, and lots of great souvenirs. Please keep praying for us, that the last few days of this trip will be spent most effectively, and for growth for all of us.

DR Update Day 2

“Today was surreal. I was sitting under a tree singing songs of praise with tons of Dominicans. As I sang in English, and they in Spanish, I got a glimpse of heaven. One day we will be worshipping the King face to face from every nation in various languages. It’s gonna be sick.” - Katelyn Leidy

Sunday was our day of rest. We met together in the morning, but in general we had a lot of free time to relax and recharge for the next day. In the evening the we attended one of the local churches. Let me tell you that Dominicans know how to worship! Donnie spoke a beautiful and applicable message on the grace we’ve received and how we must show it to others. The church experience was one we won’t forget.IMG_0220

Monte’s Team:

Each day is better than before and I don’t even know how that’s possible but it is! We began the day hosting another VBS, but this time in Santa Domingo. We got to dance, play and act with the kids. It was hectic but also beautiful. Then we had lunch in the church while the pastor told us his testimony as well as the history of the church. Then we headed out to do door to do evangelism. It was amazing! A group of girls were saved and we got to pray for a man with only 17 days to live. Today was life changing and faith building and we can’t wait for tomorrow.


Nick’s Team:

Gloria á Dios! Today we were blessed to spend the day in Quisqueya, one of the poorest areas in the Dominican Republic. Monty’s team spent Saturday in this beautiful little village and the local people were so excited to have us back! We spent the earlier part of the day going door-to-door and sharing the Gospel. Many of the people we spoke to had been involved in the church but had walked away because they felt as if they weren’t good enough for God. We explained His unending, unconditional love to them and watched the wonder in their faces. Not everyone accepted Christ on the spot, but every person we spoke to left the conversation asking questions they’d never asked before.

Lunch was amazing, and we had a ton of fun with our translators and the local church staff. Rachel Mihalic bestowed upon the DR the concept of the selfie and the art of the duck face ;) Later in the afternoon, we put on our VBS program and played for hours with the children. A large group kept up continuous worship during the playtime (read Katelyn’s quote at the top of the post).

Today was a good day. God has made His presence known and felt by every single one of us. There was a moment today where I sat back and realized that I have stopped thinking of these people as poor. When I came last year, I saw them as unfortunate and I pitied them. Now, cliche as it sounds, I realize that they have so much of what really matters: joy and contentment. The Dominican people are materially poor, but in their poverty they have this faith in God, even if they don’t really understand Him or His son. They have a reverence towards the Lord and a dependence on Him that is essentially nonexistent in Northern Virginia. Our prayer is that we come back transformed forever, and that all of our brothers and sisters back home learn to see Him as truly faithful and powerful, and for all of us to live our lives like we believe it.

DR Update Day 1

“I went on the trip last year and I loved it so much that it was an easy decision to come back. I’ve been thinking lately about what my motivation really should be for going again, and I realized that we’re doing what Jesus would be doing and did do when he was here on earth, so this is exactly what Jesus wants me to be doing.” – Kaylin Manley

WE MADE IT! Praise God!

Today was our first day of real ministry. As we have two bloggers (one per team), our goal is for each post to have a short summary from each team.

Nick’s Team:
We spent the day in Los Bruhanes, located in the mountains. In case you didn’t know, the word “Bruhan” means “witch.” The village has an ingrained culture of witchcraft and voodoo. Thanks to the new local church plant, things are changing drastically for the better. We spent the first half of the day running a VBS for the village children. We told the story of David, with team members and children as actors in a skit. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the kids on a hill, looking at the gorgeous landscape.
The second half of the afternoon was spent doing door-to-door evangelism. This is the part that scares a lot of people, but it was really amazing to see the passion of our translators, who live here year round and are invested in the community. We witnessed a total of seven people accept Christ today, and we prayed with many more. All in all, an excellent first day!

Monte’s Team:
Today we got the opportunity to evangelize in Quesqueya. After being introduced to the staff of the local church and singing worship songs together, we were sent out to pray for families in the church. We prayed for healing over illnesses, their houses that were falling apart, employment and other situations. Then we headed over to the Emmanuel House, a Christian school for poor children and kids who have special needs, and ate a delicious lunch. We met the founder of Emmanuel House and learned her encouraging story of faith as she founded the school. She is hoping to get her visa to begin a school in Africa. How cool is she?!

For the second half of the day we held a VBS back at the church for the kids. We sang lots of songs, performed skits, shared the salvation story, and played with the kids. Between jump rope, hand games, and painting nails, we all had a fun time. Today was an amazing day and it’s hard to believe this is only the beginning.

50 Shades of Grey: What You Need To Know

By Rachel Reed, MBC Arlington Director of Women’s Ministries

When I began this post, my intention was to write every reason I believe women in our church should not see the upcoming film “50 Shades of Grey”. It was out of my fear that many women within our church would, under the banner of entertainment, decide God’s Word was irrelevant when they lined up to see this movie. However, there are many great articles like “Fifty Shades, Twilight and Teaching Young Women to Desire Abusers” that speak to my point.

I would rather use this space to help equip you with tools in which you can filter any piece of entertainment you may be considering.

“O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see,
there’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love.
So, be careful little eyes what you see.”

Most of us are familiar with this little nursery rhyme. Many of you may have rocked your little one to sleep whispering this tune, praying it takes root in their young heart. But how true it is, “O be careful little eyes what you see!” Why is it important for us to guard what our eyes see? What we view and hear is a window into our mind. What enters our mind will soon make its way into our hearts.

Paul addresses this in Philippians 4:8 saying, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

I don’t know about you, but this passage convicts me.My natural instinct opposes dwelling on true, lovely and excellent things. At the slightest moment of apathy, it is much more natural for my mind to dwell on comparison, envy and fantasy. Which leads me to wonder, if I am in a lifelong pursuit to see my mind transformed to be more like the God I serve, why would I feed myself with anything antagonistic to this pursuit of godliness? What I feast my eyes upon will inevitably shape my thoughts. Am I viewing what is true? What is honorable and right?

Whether you believe it or not, entertainment teaches you how to think, feel and act. I know the temptation could be to feel you can’t watch anything these days if we filter it through Philippians 4:8. However, engaging in the dialogue our culture is having with us through entertainment can be beneficial if we know how to filter it through a biblical worldview. Rather than simply watching a movie to get lost in its fantasy, ask yourself what it is teaching you about life, love and expectations. Then ask yourself what God has to say about those things. Through this engagement, you may even learn more of what God has to say and His heart to protect you.

While we have the Christian liberty to watch or read anything at our disposal, not all accessible entertainment is for our benefit. So, how do we discern what to allow in our minds through entertainment while still enjoying a good film or book? Here are a few questions that will aid in discerning what we should allow in our minds:

Why am I watching this movie or choosing this book?
Am I looking to live vicariously through this story in an attempt to escape reality? If so, this should be a warning sign. The subtle tide of discontentment will begin to wash over you as you long all the more for this story to be your reality.

Will this experience cause people to think I advocate the behavior I am seeing, even if I don’t?
1 John 2:5-6 teaches us, “…By this we know we are in Him: The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” As disciples of Jesus, we are called to walk in such a manner that as people imitate our lives, they will ultimately become more like Christ. The phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” should not be the mantra of a disciple’s life.

Would seeing this film compromise my evangelistic platform with non-believers?
Our final commandment from Jesus in Matthew 28:19 is to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…” This knowledge should shape how we live our lives. Our decisions should be filtered through the lens of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, God’s desire is that I become more like Him, and my mission on earth is to bring people to Him. That is not a grey area. Let’s not try to resurrect everything we died to and were buried with Christ in by aiding our flesh under the justification of “entertainment”. A $12 movie ticket is not worth falling back into pornography, lust, materialism or any other fleshly struggle you’ve once known victory in. It is not worth the battle your mind will face. It is not worth the missed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! The costly and precious blood of Jesus that redeemed me from a life of enslavement to sin is worth far more than any piece of earthly entertainment I could ever find.

How to Display Christ in the Midst of Racial Tension

By Nate Crew, @MBCSilverSpring Director of Outreach

Over the last few months, several tragedies around the country have raised the nation’s conscious to the racial tension that exists in America. Benjamin Watson, an NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, took to Facebook to share his thoughts in response to the events and Grand Jury decision related to the death of teenager Michael Brown after an altercation with a police officer in Ferguson, MO. Watson addressed this tragedy through a Christian perspective, but also through the lens of personal experience.

As a church, we must remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not theoretical but makes an actual difference in our day-to-day life. One of those differences is that in Christ, we are reconciled to God and to one another (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). This has major implications for our behavior.

With that in mind and in light of Watson’s article, here are a couple of opportunities for us as a church to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10), which we do when we live out the Gospel in such a way that shows it to not only be true but beautiful.

Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Watson speaks of “bearing the weight of being a minority.” God tells us in Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” If someone is burdened by holding up a heavy weight, we get under it with them and help to hold it up. On the cross, Christ not only lifted our burden (of sin) but also pushed us out from under it and let it crush Him instead. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when we bear the burdens of others. We can do this by listening, praying, serving and simply by being present.

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15)
Watson is not alone but expresses the feelings of millions of men and women around the country. One implication of bearing one another’s burdens is that we sympathize and show compassion for the emotional burdens of others. In Romans 12:16 we are told to “live in harmony with one another.” One way that harmony is achieved is by compassionately sympathizing with the pain and prosperity of others regardless of their position. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when we rejoice and weep with one another, especially when we do so across racial, ethnic and cultural lines.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:5)
Watson speaks of some comments being “not only insensitive but dismissive to the pain of others.” The implication is that we should not speak until we have practiced the previous two commands. If we are bearing one another’s burdens and sympathizing with their emotions, then our speech is more apt to be gracious and seasoned. We adorn the Gospel for all to see when our speech displays the grace and love of Christ.

Here are a few questions for self-reflection in light of the truths above:

  • Do I have close relationships with those of other races, cultures and ethnicity so that I am able to know and bear their burdens, to weep and rejoice with them?
  • Am I emotionally connected to the painful experiences of others, or am I generally indifferent?
  • Have I been more concerned with the facts of the case than the souls of people involved on all sides?
  • Is all my speech (even on social media) gracious and seasoned?

As we reflect on our own lives and the wonderful truth of Gospel reconciliation, my prayer is that we become a people who more fully and joyfully “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 3)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

If you want to ruin a happy hour, ask about your co-workers’ student loans. Or if you want to stress out your roommate, ask about her plan to pay off her credit card bill.

In our series on delayed adulthood, we come to a four-letter word: DEBT. For many of us talking about our debt is a downer, and we would rather avoid thinking about it. Four out of 10 Millennials are “overwhelmed” by their debt according to a recent CNN study. Many of us have accumulated student debt, credit card debt, car payments, etc. that are well above our earning capacity…and we don’t have much of a real plan to pay off those obligation.

But really, the issue goes beyond debt. There are a series of paradoxes for some of us, like the following, that point to delayed adulthood:

  • We can afford the must-have new apparel for the season, but we can’t pay more than the minimum on our credit card.
  • We can pick up the bar tab, but we can’t save for the future.
  • We can justify expensive vacations and road trips, but we can rationalize not giving to the church or going on a missions trip.

Do you see the theme? Some of us have the mindset (whether we would say it out loud or not) “have fun now, get out of debt later.” This can be summed up in the word “procrastination”, which is a defining label of delayed adulthood.

For the Christian, this is ultimately an issue of our spiritual priorities. Here are two questions to ask yourself as you evaluate what it would look like to grow in maturity in the area of money management:

1. What do my credit card and bank account statements tell me about what I desire most?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Mike Kelsey, MBC Silver Spring Campus Pastor hit this heavily in his sermon, “The Grace to Come”, about setting our minds on eternity. A fundamental sign of spiritual maturity for the Christian is delayed gratification—the willingness to forgo temporary pleasure (at least as defined by our culture and our own flesh) in order to gain permanent, deep and eternal joy and pleasure.

2. What do my spending habits, schedule and hobbies tell me about how I’m investing my resources?
Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” The spiritually mature are wise because they prioritize their time and resources according to God’s priorities not the world’s priorities.

So if you find yourself in the category of delayed adulthood in your approach to money, what should you do about it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Confess and repent. This is always the right first step. Ask God to give you the heart desire and self-control you will need to grow in maturity.
  • Get accountability. You will need a team to help.
  • Reprioritize. Establish your priorities around God’s priorities.
  • Get a Plan. This may include the need for some further financial and biblical education about money. I recommend Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” as well as Crown Financial studies through MBC Tysons. We will have another Money 101 workshop at MBC Arlington in June.

Trust me, there will never be a better time to address your debt and spending habits than when you are young. The habits you get into now will carry over when you are older. And if you’re not a Millennial, but a Gen Xer or even a Baby Boomer, and realize this describes you, it’s not too late. God wants to use you and your resources for much more than you can imagine! Don’t delay.

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 2)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

Recently, I started a blog series addressing one of the biggest challenges facing millennials today: Delayed adulthood. This cultural epidemic is a destructive philosophy built on the false premise that you can wait until you are 40 (or older) to pursue maturity in various areas of your life without incurring any problems. To the contrary, delayed adulthood robs us of our true joy, purpose and significance during the most available and passionate years of life while sowing future seeds of destruction.

One way that many young adults delay adulthood is by avoiding their childhood baggage. And believe me, we have tons of it. Let’s look at some statistics*.

Daddy Deprivation

  • 24 million children (34%) live without their biological father.
  • 27% live in single-parent homes.

Broken Commitments

  • 1 million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.


  • 6 million children are abused in some way every year.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped or were victims of attempted rape (44% of victims are under age 18).

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that we all have baggage with a range of severity from our childhood or teens of some type.

You might feel like you are alone with your baggage, but believe me, as a pastor I talk to guys and gals regularly who have dysfunctional family issues, abuse issues, sexual regrets, addictions and other baggage that they have yet to unpack. Let’s get real—the vast majority of young men (my guess from seven years of young adult ministry is about 85%), Christian or not, have an ongoing addiction to some version of pornography. This number is growing among young women as well.

And yet, it pains me to know that many of us would rather delay, ignore or attempt to bury this baggage. This is pure self-deception. Check out Proverbs 14:8, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

The prudent person is someone that sees that their past, present and future are all connected. This person carefully considers their “ways” (the patterns, decisions and baggage from the past) so that they can heal, make changes and ultimately mature. However, the fool doesn’t see the connection between their past, present and future. The fool thinks that the past won’t hinder them and their baggage won’t hold them back. The truth is, turning 40 won’t fix it. Burying it won’t fix it. Marriage won’t fix it. And having kids won’t fix it. But all of this will make it worse—guaranteed.

So what do we do with our baggage? Here are some short thoughts.

1. Desire to deal with your baggage
If you don’t, pray and ask God to give you the desire fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Be honest
Ephesians 5:13 show us that the first step is getting this baggage out into the light so we can begin healing. We need to be honest with ourselves, with God and with other godly people that we trust about our baggage.

3. Study Scripture that targets your baggage
You need to understand what God has to say about it and how He tells us to address it.

4. Talk to a pastor
Seek counsel and recommended resources for your baggage. There are lots of godly experts within the body of Christ that God intends for us to utilize for healing.

5. See a Christian counselor
For the same reason above.

6. Pursue regular biblical community
Join a small group—this is how we carry out “one another” passages in Scripture (bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, pray for one another, etc.) for our healing and transformation.

I can tell you from personal experience that while it is painful in the short-term to deal with your baggage, it will produce a harvest of maturity and freedom in the future. So dig deep and press on toward maturity in Christ!

*Statistics from Restoring Manhood by Eric Mason, National Census, the CDC, RAINN and NY Times

Read Part 1 of “Don’t Wait Until You’re Older”

Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 1)

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

What is one of the biggest challenges facing Millennials today? Delayed adulthood. What do I mean by “adulthood?” Well, I’m not defining adulthood in a rigid way (ie: marriage, financial independence, house, kids or steady job). Adulthood has far less to do with these socio-economic factors and much more to do with a philosophical framework that we approach life, AKA—our worldview. It’s a worldview that rationalizes and celebrates a delay in facing serious, difficult and healthy rights of passage, and the establishment of these patterns in our youth. To make it practical, one of the most common phrases I hear from my generation is, “I’ll wait until I’m older to… (fill in the blank).”

What can you fill in the blank with?

  • Pay off my debt
  • Start giving
  • Get into a serious relationship
  • Make a commitment to a church
  • Leadership
  • Serve in a ministry
  • Deal with my childhood baggage
  • Address my bad habits
  • Get serious about my spiritual life
  • Prioritize my life around God

Even if you’ve never said it out loud, I’m sure you have all thought like this. Believe me, this was my mantra at one point in my life! We live in a culture (particularly in Metro DC) that doesn’t just tolerate this worldview, but celebrates and fuels it. Just think of the billions of dollars of marketing and number of businesses that thrive on our delayed adulthood. Almost every comedy in the past 10 years focuses on celebrating delayed adulthood (think Old School, Step Brothers…almost every Will Ferrell movie, The Hangover, Friends, Seinfeld, Two and A Half Men, etc.).

Why is this a problem?
1. This is a destructive philosophy that goes directly against God’s Word. Scripture is constantly calling us to, “Grow up!”
(Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Peter 2:1-4, Hebrews 6:1-3). Growing up means that we are willing to confront the list above, not in our 40?s but now. When we disregard God’s timeline, in essence, we are choosing the philosophy of this world to dictate the course of our lives.

2. We miss out on blessing, joy, purpose and eternal significance during our most available and passionate years of life. As a young adult, you will never have more time and freedom in your life than you do right now. Believe it. And because of this, when we delay adulthood we are robbing ourselves, our world, and God of some of the greatest years of impact we can make.

3. Delaying adulthood brings destruction into our lives. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Unfortunately many of us are self-deceived because we think we can do whatever we want because we are young and then snap our fingers when we are ready to be an adult and clean the slate. Sorry, life doesn’t work like that. God has set up the universe on the sowing and reaping principles. Think about your life right now… The habits, hobbies, struggles, dominating themes, priorities that you have in your life right now are being planted in the soil of your heart and soul. You will harvest what it is you are planting, good or bad, later down the road.

So what do we do about it? 
Start making a list of the things you are delaying. Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing many of these issues specifically on this blog and offering hope and a path forward from God’s Word.