Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. — Matthew 10:39
Experiences that challenge to "let go" may be very different for all of us — failed relationships, career changes, loss of loved ones, unanswered prayers, etc. Time and again, life presents us with learning opportunities to let go and trust God.
But what exactly is it that we need to let go of? What is it that ultimately paralyzes us with a vice-like grip, making it seem impossible to let go?
For some time now I have been preaching about learning to accept the life that we are given by God; how to forego resisting present circumstances, and instead learning to trust God and rejoice in Him.
That, of course, is easier said than done. How can we do that if we have our own expectations of how our life should be, and expect God to shape it to our specifications? We find it extremely difficult to let go and trust God. The discovery that we are not in control of our own life becomes all to real when when our idea of a perfect life breaks into a thousand shards.
Which leads us straight to the big secret: letting go means ultimately releasing all the expectations I have of how my life should go. To die to self, and depend instead on how HE desires to shape my life.
In these very moments, Jesus says, is life. Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it! The Son of God has shown it to us. Jesus modeled this for us. Even though He was God, He did not insist on His divine rights. Instead, He renounced everything, took the position of a servant, and humbled Himself. He became human. And remained obedient in this way until His death (Philippians 2:6-7).
Every year at Christmas we are reminded of this when we look into the empty manger and remember that God's Son once laid in it. Even God had to let go of the idea of a perfect life when He allowed Adam and Eve to make their own choices. Or when He sent His beloved child from heaven to come into the world as a human child in a manger to take on our sin and guilt. Yes, life does not always go our way. But whoever is ready to lose his life and trust God in it, will find HIS life.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. — Philippians 2:9-11
Have a blessed Christmas season,
FALL BIBLE SCHOOL
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said: "God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship. God has united us to one body in Jesus Christ long before we entered into the community life with other Christians. Therefore, we enter into community life with other Christians not as those who demand, but as those who give thanks and willingly receive. We thank God for what he has done for us. We do not complain about what God does not give us, but we thank God for what He gives us every day."
This year's Fall Bible School with 52 students from 9 different nations is coming to an end. Living and learning together in a multicultural setting is always enriching, but certainly not always easy. We can quickly find ourselves demanding certain things from fellow believers in our daily lives. How refreshing it is to see the students this semester actually displaying a heart full of gratitude and receiving with joy all, that God has prepared for them day by day. Many of them have understood anew what it means that they are one with each other in Christ, and indeed were already one, even before they were allowed to unpack and stow away their suitcases with us in September, tired but happy. It is truly a very liberating realization that has a positive effect on the atmosphere on our grounds every day.
We are very grateful for the many beautiful moments we have experienced - from a multi-day trip to the majestic Hochkönig, over numerous Bible and Christ-centered teaching sessions, over outreach to local school classes and church congregations, to the long-awaited and greatly celebrated first snowfall in the Schladming Enns Valley. We are also grateful for the patience of the students with the construction work on the new lecture hall, as many a lesson have been enriched by loud hammering, sawing and drilling.
When the bags are packed and the students say goodbye to their roommates, many of them are ready to return to their daily lives at home. It is our prayer that they were taught things here at Tauernhof, which will help them to cope with this everyday life, with a fresh understanding of Jesus Christ and the story He is writing with us, in HIS victory and in HIS strength.
'But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' — (1 Cor.15:57)
LOTHAR'S GOOD BYE
After 13 beautiful, challenging and fulfilling years, I bid farewell to my ministry at Tauernhof. Fulfilled because I have experienced many blessings: observing volunteers, students and guests strengthening in their faith, developing many deep friendships, and have even some marriages develop. The greatest joy I experienced was seeing people accept Jesus as their Savior.
My departure is not entirely voluntary. As mentioned in newsletters, the last 3 years have been very challenging for me health-wise. Thank you all for all the prayers and encouragement you have provided. My body continues to struggle mightily, but my heart is full of thanksgiving because Jesus gives me confidence, trust, and hope.
I will miss the daily interaction with my Tauernhof friends very much, but fortunatey we will continue to have opportunities to see each other because Anna and I are moving just a few kilometers up the hill in beautiful Ramsau. So I will be nearby and hope to see some of you again when you visit Tauernhof – either on the hiking trails or for a coffee. Anna will continue working at Tauernhof until March.
This verse means a lot to me, so I share it with you… Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
— Isaiah 12:2-3
In this sense, have a blessed Advent and hope to see you soon,
ARC - PROJECT
We are happy to announce that we are ahead of schedule with our “Ark” conference center construction project. The underground parking garage is finished, and is already being used by our Bible students. The shell of the hall has been erected so that we can continue with the installation of water and electricity during the winter season. Our goal is to have the hall completed by June '23.
To be able to achieve this goal, we would greatly appreciate your assistance. Beginning in February, craftsmen are needed in the area of interior work. If someone is willing and has time to help, you are welcome to contact us. Food and accommodation will be provided.
Reaching our goal on time also depends of course on the finances. Thank you to all those who support Tauernhof financially and make it possible to complete the project in a timely manner.
Thank you also for all your prayers. We have had wonderful fellowship with all the companies and craftsmen so far, and pray that others may see Christ through this and that human hearts will be touched by the love of Jesus.