He Is Risen!

“1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb… 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 …the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest…11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:1-12

One of the great things about Resurrection Sunday, is that for many people, it is a time to pause, take a breath, step back from the worries of life and celebrate the most important event in Human History. But let us not forget the state of the world in which we are celebrating the Resurrection…

There is a deep sense of uncertainty and insecurity characterizes the world today. You can almost feel it in the air. Indeed, it is difficult to keep up with all the wars and violent conflicts that are erupting across the globe. In addition to this, many are predicting that the economy is heading in a disastrous direction.

In the midst of turmoil, people tend to look for someone who can solve the problems; for some institution or individual leader to provide answers. Often times, people have looked to the government for solutions to our most serious problems. Some form of socialism is seen by many to be the path to take. But more and more people are beginning to realize that governments are often part of the problem. The confidence they once had in the State is beginning to crumble.

Many years ago, I heard Ravi Zacharias tell the Story of Billy Graham meeting with the Chancellor of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, shortly after WWII. This political leader had the responsibility of picking up the pieces left by the most destructive war in history. He was tasked with trying to rebuild the nation that had been the cause of so much devastation and suffering.

During the course of their conversation, the Chancellor asked, “Mr. Graham, do you really believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” Billy Graham was unsure about where this question might be going. He thought about it briefly and then responded, “Mr. Chancellor, if I did not believe in the resurrection, I would have no gospel to preach.”

Let us pause from this story and think about the Chancellor’s question and Billy Graham’s answer.

First, consider the significance of the Chancellor’s question…
Ask it of yourself, “DO I REALLY BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST?” This is one of the most important questions that anyone can ask. “Do I actually believe that there was a man who lived 2,000 years ago in history, who died a terrible death on the cross, and then rose bodily on the 3rd day?” How you answer will determine the course of your life. Do you believe it? Or does it seem to you to be “an idle tale”?

Second, consider Billy Graham’s response to this question. “Yes, I believe in the Resurrection. If I didn’t I would have no good news to preach.”

Perhaps Mr. Graham was thinking of Paul’s radical claim that the Resurrection is the foundation of Christian Faith. In I Cor. 15:14 & 17, he says, “14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

For the Christian faith, everything hinges on this event. Christianity is not just a religion, a philosophy, a body of beliefs, or set of teachings. Christianity is rooted in the person and work of Jesus. It stands or falls on this question – Did Jesus rise from the dead or didn’t He?

Let’s come back to the natural inclination that many people have had through history to look to a political leader to save them or to solve their problems. This is not something new.

In the New Testament era, King Herod’s dynasty was very wealthy & powerful.
Herod the Great built the huge Herodian Fortress which can still be toured today. It was a marvelous feat of engineering and an imposing sight to behold. Herod’s mighty fortress casts a long shadow that falls across a small, seemingly insignificant town called Bethlehem. As Bible teacher Ray Vanderlaan suggests, in the early New Testament people would have looked to the Herodian Fortress and took notice of the power and wealth that it represented. But very few took notice of who was born in Bethlehem.

The people of Judea were looking for deliverance. Similar to today, there was a sense of fear and insecurity. They felt threatened by the Roman Empire. Perhaps they were looking to their leaders to provide solutions.
In this setting of political turmoil which marked first century Palestine, we find this interesting passage about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry: Luke 3:1-2

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”

Notice that this passage lists seven well known rulers of the time. But, they did not have the solutions to society’s problems. The word of God was not revealed to any of them. It was revealed to some odd guy named John who had no political titles and no official place of distinction. It was John who prepared the way for Jesus.

Hope does not come from governments, rulers, scientists, economists or other man-made institutions. In a tiny corner of the Great Roman Empire, literally in the shadow of a great king’s monument, a baby was born. He lived a perfect life. He claimed to be God. He suffered a terrible death. He proved his power and His authority as God through his miraculous resurrection from the dead.

The Roman Empire came to an end. Jesus is still alive.

Through His resurrection He brought life to the world.

The people of that generation wanted physical deliverance. But Christ first brings spiritual deliverance: He gives us new hearts & spiritual transformation. But it is from these individual transformations that comes societal transformation.

Let’s return to the story of Billy Graham and the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. After Graham’s declaration of belief in the resurrection, the Chancellor walked over to a window overlooking the bombed out ruins of Berlin and said, “Mr. Graham, outside of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I know of no other hope for mankind.”

In this troubled generation that we live in, let us not forget that there is only one hope. We are not looking for deliverance or working toward freedom. Rather, we are fighting from a freedom and a victory that has already been accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus!

Just before He went to the cross, Jesus said to his disciples, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” – John 14:19
Our only hope is in the resurrection of Jesus and the new life He offers.

We serve a Risen Lord. A living hope. HE’S ALIVE!

Graduation Week – Payday

What a wonderful week it has been!


Staff, Students, and Volunteers of YWAM Maui. March 2016

The 5 outreach teams from the Fall schools have returned to Maui and have shared incredible testimonies of what God has done in Asia.  The whole week felt like a celebration of God’s work in and through the team members culminating in the graduation ceremony. I often think of these debriefing weeks as payday for our staff who get to hear the amazing stories and see the changes in the lives of the students. Most of the graduates are heading home to serve in their home churches, go to college, or pursue work in the marketplace. Some are feeling the nudge to return to YWAM Maui for either the School of Biblical Foundations & Missions or to join staff. All of the graduates expressed their desire to serve the Lord in whatever path they take. It is such a privilege be a part of what God is doing here.

Ready for Outreach

Susann.Victoria.Outreach This week, we are sending our outreach teams to the field. Team Bangladesh is already enroute and the other DTS teams will be heading to Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, and another really big country in Asia.
The School of Biblical Foundations & Missions (SBFM) has 14 students this Fall and the outreach team will be going to the Philippines to primarily serve the ministry of Hope for the Island (www.hopefortheisland.org). This is a ministry pioneered and directed by long-term missionaries Derek & Jen Van Ryckeghem who were sent out from YWAM Maui in the late 90’s.

Another ministry that the team will be serving with is a women’s shelter that brings counseling and discipleship to women who’ve been rescued from sex-trafficking. We are privileged to be partnering with these ministries and look forward to hearing about the work of God through them.

In light of the recent political tensions around the world, there is a general sense of alert and two of our outreach nations, Bangladesh and the Philippines, currently have travel advisories/warnings. We so appreciate your specific prayers for the physical safety of our teams.

It’s been a special fall quarter because Tom’s nephew, Josh, is a student in the DTS and his niece, Megan, has returned for the SBFM. It has also been good serving with his cousin, Kent Badgero, who is on DTS staff and will be co-leading an outreach team for the next few months.


They now have more in common than being 2 ministries with 4 letter acronyms that end with “M”. This month, we were honored to have 2 speakers from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) come to YWAM. Dr. Andy Bannister, who is the Canadian director for RZIM, and Alycia Wood, RZIM itinerant speaker from Boston, both came to teach Apologetics in our 2 schools.

RZIM is perhaps the premier ministry in combining apologetics and evangelism and it was a fantastic opportunity to receive these team members and have them contribute to our training programs. This connection came about from a providential meeting in England a year and half ago between one of our alumni and Dr. Bannister. As they chatted, they both foresaw the mutual benefits of YWAM and RZIM coming together.

This is something that I (Tom) have been praying about for a long time: how to bring the strengths of a ministry like RZIM into the passion of the young people in YWAM. YWAM is good at raising up young evangelists and RZIM is great at training them to be effective.

As the communications began to move forward, we realized it would be very beneficial if we could host these speakers in a broader YWAM context than just our base in Maui. So, I contacted my friends at the University of the Nations in Kona (a much bigger YWAM base with about 800 people) and they set up sessions for the RZIM team to speak in some of the Kona training schools at the front end of the week before heading to YWAM Maui for the latter part of the week.

During the teaching time on Maui, a local church, Kahului Union Church, opened up their sanctuary for the RZIM members to give a talk on the “Problem of Evil” which was open to the public. On a very stormy night, the auditorium was full and the talk/Q&A was well received. A youth pastor who attended the event was so encouraged by the session that he asked Tom if he would teach apologetics at the island wide “Unashamed” youth camp which is held just before Christmas. We praise God for this significant opportunity to equip the Christian youth of the island to be more confident in their faith and to be more effective at sharing it with others.

Summer Update

I’m writing this from the YWAM base on the neighboring island of Oahu. It is an honor to have been invited to teach in the Korean DTS on the topic of Bible Overview and Biblical Worldview. 2 weeks ago, I was at YWAM’s University of the Nations base in Kona teaching on Worldview. These have been my first teaching venues outside of Maui since last November.

Back on Maui, our staff are enjoying the final week of a 3 week Summer break. On Monday, we start back up again as staff in preparing for the Fall schools. We are excited to have our DTS full with 38 students and the SBFM has 14 students. It’s going to be a special fall quarter because Tom’s nephew, Josh, is a student in the DTS and his niece, Megan, has returned for the SBFM.

Reformation Generation

“The average Christian does not realize that there is an intellectual war going on in the universities and in the professional journals and scholarly societies. Christianity is being attacked from all sides as irrational or outmoded, and millions of students, our future generation of leaders, have absorbed this viewpoint. This is a war which we cannot afford to lose…” – William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 1994

Heading off to university can be a shock. The new social & moral pressures are difficult enough. When these are added to the barrage of intellectual attacks undermining Christianity, many young Christians struggle to maintain their faith and many others abandon it.

Many young believers struggle in their spiritual walk because they have unanswered questions. They may have grown up in Christian homes or they may have had an encounter with God; their hearts were touched by the love of Christ and they accepted Him as Lord and Savior. But after time, life’s hardships tarnish the luster of early emotions and the difficult questions begin knocking on the door. “How can a good God allow so much pain and suffering?” “Why did God command killing in the Old Testament?” “Is the Bible reliable?” These may be questions of their own or questions asked by non-believers for which they have no response. Often times, people who’ve been raised in Christian homes go through a questioning season when their Christianity transitions from resting on the faith of their parents to becoming that of their own.

The tragedy is that some of these searching Christians, perhaps many more than we would like to admit, eventually come to the conclusion that maybe Christianity doesn’t have answers… and thus, maybe it is not true. This move may not be out of rebellion but out of an intellectually honest quest for the truth. Many of these losses happen when Christians are in their college years, when young believers are thrown from the safety of the Christian community and into the “outside world” where the typical answers no longer hold up to scrutiny.

How many these Christians walk away from their faith during their time at university? It’s difficult to say specifically. Some surveys have put it between 50%-70% and one denomination realized they were losing nearly 90% of their young people who attend secular universities. These statistics have burdened us for a long time and we felt led to do something about it.

Tonight at YWAM Maui, we will have opening night for our college prep seminar, “Reformation Generation.” The goal of this 4 week program is to prepare university students to not only survive spiritually but to thrive in their faith during these crucial years of education. We address the difficult questions which are raised against Christianity; we apply the critical thinking skills needed to recognize false assumptions; and we develop the spiritual disciplines needed to keep relationship with Christ at the center.

Please be in prayer for the participants who have come from the US and Canada. Pray that God would use this time to prepare them to be a generation of reformers.


Nepal Earthquake

YWAM Maui has had a ministry alliance with local ministers in Nepal for many years. Each year we partner with them in evangelism and discipleship in this beautiful nation which has the fastest growth rate of Christianity in the world.

We are saddened by the recent earthquake which has devastated Nepal. At this time, YWAM Maui doesn’t have any outreach teams in the country. We have heard from our ministry partners and they are all safe.
There are many YWAMers (Nepali staff and staff from other YWAM bases) currently in that nation and they are assessing what the next phase of assistance should be from our mission.
Please pray the nation of Nepal and for the relief efforts which will need to be ongoing for the months to come.


Graduation & Commissioning

In March, our 6 Fall Quarter teams returned from their outreaches to Asia. They were back on Maui for a week of debriefing before graduation.
This week is always an important time of hearing testimonies as to what God did in their lives and how He worked through them to minister to others. It is such a blessing to hear these first hand accounts of how the Kingdom of God is moving. One outreach team reported seeing 60 people come to know the Lord. All this is so inspiring for our staff to get the bigger picture of what their efforts contribute to and for the current Winter DTS students to get a preview of the types of experiences they will be a part of.

Just 2 weeks after graduation, the Winter DTS headed off to Thailand for their final week of lecture phase before splitting up into their 3 outreach teams in various Asian countries. This picture was taken during the overlap period of the Fall and Winter quarter students. The people in this photo come from Austria, Canada, Chile, England, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland and the USA.

Fall schools

Fall is the busiest quarter of the year. Fall means the biggest DTS of the year and the SBFM added into the works also. This year we have our biggest SBFM with 23 students

Fall also means back to school for the boys. Timmy is now a sophomore at Kamehameha Schools Maui and Elias is in 3rd grade. At the start of the school year, Elias was on the cross-country team. Timmy has just started wrestling season.

Fall brings 2 birthdays. Tim turned 15 and Tom turned 46 (which still qualifies as ‘mid-40’s’).

Fall is Tom’s busiest teaching schedule; 4 1/2 weeks at Maui schools and three weeks on other ywam bases. He’s currently teaching at the ywam base on Kauai.

In the midst of this busy time, Hoku had the opportunity to go to the island of Kahoolawe with her sister to help with that island’s restoration. Together they worked on erosion control as part of the long term plan to re-green the island with native plants.

As look toward celebrating thanksgiving next week, we are reminded of God’s grace and his goodness to us. May you also be reminded of God’s blessings on your life.

In They Come, Out They GO!

We recently had 52 people return from the Fall school outreaches to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and another big country in Asia. They were divided into 6 teams, 4 teams from the DTS and 2 from the SBFM. It was a busy week of debriefing leading up to their graduation. During this time, we heard reports of how God used these young people to reach out to people in Asia and it was truly inspiring. Our teams engaged in a variety of means to advance the Kingdom of God such as street evangelism, teaching seminars to new believers, intercession times, and working with orphans. One team had the privilege of being some of the first foreigners to teach and encourage Christians who have been isolated in a remote area from a restricted access nation. Another team saw over 380 people give their lives to Jesus in Nepal. In all of these ministry endeavors we serve alongside long term ministries and/or local churches. These partners continue the discipleship of new Christians and pioneer new endeavors which we are so blessed to serve with our short-term teams.

Staff, Students, & Volunteers - Winter 2014

We recently sent out 36 people in 4 outreach teams from the Winter session. They will be returning to Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal to pick up where the previous teams left off.
With less than a week in between, we just began the Spring session of DTS on April 5. They will be here for 12 weeks before going to Asia for the outreach phase. Since this is a much smaller session (11 Students) we will be using this quarter to have more training for our long term staff as well as a follow-up to our SBFM training.

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