“I think I was in search of identity; just trying to figure out what made me happy.”
Josh Risch, volunteer staff for the Bible Core Course (BCC) at YWAM Ships Kona, reflects on what drew him to YWAM.
“I would say back then, I was more concerned with the opinions of others whereas now I am a little bit concerned with the opinions of others but my focus is more on God. I now have a better understanding of God as a Father figure and of who Jesus was.”
When Josh was younger, his older brother David was completing his Discipleship Training School (DTS). David had mentioned to Josh how awesome DTS was but it wasn’t until David came home from finishing his DTS that Josh was able to witness his brother’s transformation.
At the time, Josh had a desire to grow in his relationship with God as well as go to university right after high school. With the blessing of his parents, it was decided that Josh would complete a DTS and then start college.
Josh flew to Kona, Hawaii to do his DTS in 2003 at the University of the Nations.
One of the lessons he learned during his DTS was that as a follower of Christ, we are all vessels to be used by God. Josh illustrates his point by picturing himself as a plastic water bottle with the lid off on the top and a hole cut out of the bottom.
“God is constantly pouring into me as a vessel. My goal is to not just let that water bottle fill up and overflow from the top. The goal as Christians, is to keep our lid open and have a hole at the bottom of our own water bottle so that everything God is imparting onto us we are sharing with other people and not keeping His gifts selfishly to ourselves. We are called to give freely and share His love with those around us.”
Another application for his life is looking at things in the way God would want him to. An example of this would be when he’s listening to a secular song. He won’t disregard the song or artist because they might not be Christian but he’ll listen and allow God to teach him whatever He wants to through that genre and try to see the good in it.
“I’ve learned to filter out things that aren’t growing or sharpening me and the things that are, and [using] the Bible as a filter.”
Although Josh felt his relationship with God back then wasn’t as good as it could have been, he remembers going to university and never forgetting about God when he was in class.
“I remember defending Him. I don’t ever remember being intimidated by any professors even though they could be a little harsh. I was developing my relationship with God; learning a lot through making bad decisions and in my relationships with friends.”
In regards to going back to YWAM, Josh says he kept his options open.
When Josh was doing his DTS, his pal Carlos was doing a Bible course called the School of Biblical Studies (SBS), a 9 month inductive study of the Bible. This method uses 3 steps (observation, interpretation and application) in understanding and applying the principles of God’s Word.
Seeing Carlos’ life changed because of that class excited Josh for studying the Bible, which led him to come back to YWAM, specifically to study the Bible and see where God would lead him from there.
Josh describes DTS as being the tip of the iceberg.
“There’s a foundation under that tip of the iceberg. I found that my friends that had done [SBS] after their DTS’s had more of a rich relationship with God.
It wasn’t pride they carried but humility.”
From Josh’s observation, he feels his friends have taken into account the amount of mercy and grace God the Father had for them and their lives have become more thankful for it. A lot of his friends live a life that exemplifies Jesus on a day to day basis. They’re in different spheres of society and some started off by having a Biblical foundation.
“We need people to be on Wall Street, in real estate, in professional athletics and in every realm of society but first I would challenge any Christian to sacrifice maybe one year of their life and see what kind of foundation God can build within that year so they’ll have a good platform to step off from.”
Even though he wouldn’t narrow it down to just YWAM, Josh feels YWAM is for everyone.
“I chose YWAM because it was something I knew. For me it worked and I saw it work for other people.”
Josh now tries to put himself in situations that will help the kingdom of God to grow. Being in YWAM means being surrounded by people who are living their entire lives focused on growing the kingdom of God.
By Jaime Gomez
Port YWAM Kona Communications Staff