(The story of Luke Olweiler by Mary Alysse Dodds)
People go to YWAM to get on some higher spiritual level with God, I thought, and they come back with an elevated sense about themselves. I always felt like YWAMers thought they were closer to God than me, that I needed a DTS to join their level.
Then, probably to change my stereotypes, God told me to go to YWAM. It was awesome, and I am so thankful for YWAM. But YWAM didn’t change me.
YWAM is described a little bit because that’s where God had me, that’s what God used to teach me these things. But it wasn’t YWAM’s teachings or values that changed me. It was God. It was God’s word in the program. And God’s still here when I’m at home. So is his word.
A couple weeks after coming home, I was reading, really eating God’s word as food for my soul, my spirit. Overwhelmed, I paused.
“Thank you, God, for the passion you’ve given me for your kingdom and your word.” The word was once painfully boring. Now it’s alive and awesome. I can’t get enough. I’m in love with God, and I’m obsessed with everything about him.
“That’s why I had you in New Zealand,” God said. “Because I wanted to give you new zeal.” And he did. I received such new passion, and it was awesome.
I grew up in the church, but I goofed off on Sundays. The Bible was so boring, the words didn’t enter my mind when my eyes glazed over them. At YWAM, I still didn’t really read the Bible outside of scheduled classes.
Then, three months into the DTS we did a three day burn of 24/7 worship and prayer. I walked outside the New Zealand church and started reading Acts. I couldn’t go back inside, and I couldn’t put it away.
These apostles were doing amazing things, and it occurred to me that these were just normal people. They were not some special prophets like in the Old Testament. They were just normal people with the Spirit of God in them, and they were doing crazy things.
They were beaten for preaching, and they were laughing and joyful because of the privilege. I was weeping because it was becoming so real. The passion and the power of God wrecked me.
Ever since then I haven’t had any boredom reading the Bible. It is just gold.
That passion is a gift from God. I keep asking for more. But God didn’t need YWAM to change me, and I don’t need YWAM to keep changing. I need more of God.
God is available whether I’m focusing on him all day in an amazing environment like YWAM, or I’m getting up at 5:00 a.m. to work construction and worshiping in the car on the way there.
Change, healing, any good thing is always the power of God, and the power of God is always available. We just need to ask.
Luke Olweiler is a musician, builder, home school graduate, and first and foremost a follower of Christ. He likes writing and playing music, surfing, skiing, and hanging out with friends. He’s thankful for the new zeal that God gave him while at Youth With a Mission New Zealand’s surfing Discipleship Training School.