Who were you when you first started this internship journey?
– I was a prodigal son. Before I started this internship I was coming out of a very dark place. I ran away for the second time and in that time I was isolated (and in) a dark place mentally. Prior to coming back, I had a longing to be with family. If I didn’t return to family, I would probably be spiritually dead and on a different path of life right now. (In that isolated time) I was constantly being reminded of the dream I had about church leadership signing my adoption papers. It was an adoption certificate from heaven… It was divine inspiration, but I felt my heart longing. I knew. I had to make a radical life choice. In my orphan thinking, I didn’t ask anyone for a place to live. I just bought a ton of camping gear and pitched it up in the woods… Didn’t ask for any favors. If I was going to make a radical choice, I was going to make it right. I left my good paying job. I was starting a company and blew all of my money — very much like the prodigal son.
What are the top three specific tools the internship has taught or provided you?
1.) Trusting Authority — I came from a background where authority was abusive and not connecting close relationally, more so in a pedestal position instead of being in the trenches with me. A lot of the authority figures were mentally and physically abusive — (I had the ‘no one can hurt me, I can’t be controlled’ mindset). I had to break in that place in order to say yes to authority.
2.) Spiritual Freedom — I had no trust in anything, I faced so much betrayal, and didn’t want to talk or face anything… I would have a lot of prayers weeping heavily, lots of brokenness… Piece by piece in those times, I had to rely on the strength of the spirit to get through. I didn’t succeed in ways I could have, but I was in such a unique process spiritually.
3.) Sticking to Commitments — I came from the place of ‘doing whatever I wanted when I wanted’ and didn’t want to stick to any schedule. I never really functioned that way. Submitting things on time.. Sticking to time management itself… Committing to something. Even though I was in a pretty funny place, I committed to the family structure and how we function here. Not just family, but also the mission.
Who are you now? How have you changed?
– I didn’t really start unfolding until the end of the internship when there were two months left. That’s when I really started coming out of my shell and realizing I really am a son. I didn’t do amazing during the internship; so one of the lessons I learned was that I am a son not because of what I do, but because of who He says I am. You know, this family has shown me this time and time again. I have a firmly grounded place in this house and like it was spoken over me earlier this year, I am a Timothy in this house… There’s still more to run into and unpack… It isn’t over for me. I look at graduation as another step, because with the coming things, there is more required of me… The Internship was the right next step and it was just a part of the process in doing the right things with Jesus.
Was the rigorous schedule, the dying to self/desires/plans, the inconveniences, the tears … all the challenges and difficulties – was it worth it? Why?
– (Laughing) Every part of it. Of course, there are areas I wish I had done better in, could’ve done better in. It broke me down in plenty of the right ways, and there’s more breaking to come. It produced endurance, and you know what? I’ll say because of the covering you have, and the structure you have where you can actually talk about these things, and mentors you can meet with, leaders that surround you; you can hash out conversations and be encouraged. Not lose faith, not lose hope, not stop. But keep charging. Because life ain’t easy. It’s even harder as a believer. Because of it (the Internship), there’s tons of self reflection. For me personally, it made me dig into my character quite a bit… You can have all these words spoken over you; but if you lack character it won’t mean anything…The development of character forms strong leadership, and strong leadership will have a generational impact.
How do you see or plan to apply what you have learned to your life now? And how do you keep the transformation real and on-going, not shrinking back to ‘the old you’?
– During the summer, I didn’t go out and do anything fun like vacation. I had to go look for work, so I had even more time to self reflect. I’m in multiple bibles right now, digging into scripture, eating it; but even more so I have to really get the oil of the secret place. Put aside my own self effort and just be at the feet of Jesus, sit under the apple tree and eat of the fruit from His hand; abide in the vine. Last year I spent a lot of time trying to do things in my own strength and it has to be the Secret Place that fully fuels your external life. I truly believe the generation rising will be a Secret Place generation and flow in the spirit… For my own life, I have to walk in a place of intimacy with Jesus because that will truly produce the fear of the Lord in someone else’s life. And also, you are consumed and wrapped and loved in the grace of Christ. You’re not being moved by how much you’re doing or what you have accomplished, but by what He says He is, and who He says you are. Receiving that love is really where its at. Getting your oil, and releasing it into the earth, that’s what its about. The Secret Place mantra is really what will truly reveal us as a peculiar people; a holy nation, a royal priesthood…
What kind of impact did the internship have with relationships for you? Friends, brothers, sisters? How is that affecting you now?
– For me to learn how to be a brother, I had a lot of one-on-one talks about the Secret Place with God… It was powerful because this ain’t school, this is running with a flame (alongside) brothers & sisters, holding onto purity. I love that the internship forced us to grip onto purity and fight for it. It’s not a common thing in the world today. My mentor especially taught me how to communicate with adults, I still have to work on it but there were some healing veins in that because I had no choice. I had these moments one-on-one and had to let my walls down, be seen as a son. I am a son who is still learning, just knowing I am embraced… I am really learning to talk and encourage. I love to encourage. In the forced environment of the internship, it was beautiful because we would encourage one another and be super comical in the midst… I got called Papa-Zoly, very early on. These one-on-one conversations fueled Father love… The Fathers love was all over it (the nickname)… Deep calls out to deep.
What is your exhortation to the Crossing Life Church family based on what you have learned and how you’ve been changed?
– Hold fast to what has been given to you, and do not turn it into works or going with the motions. I would even say (I’ll always talk like this), burn in the Secret Place. Burn in secret, because when you experience the relationship of the trinity, you will learn how to relate to the body of Christ. It’s a special gift, this unity that’s been given to us. Be still in the silence and be loved. Through that, you can love another generation and those around you through supernatural means and divine power. Turn away from comfortability, turn away from the rhythms you’re used to. Make time for fervent prayer and allow your pride to be broken. God responds to the broken and contrite heart. He is near to those with a broken heart. We are family, and we’ve learned nearness with each other, but it can go so much deeper with nearness alongside the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Allow the spirit to move you into the mission because there are those who go and those who are sent… I love you all… I pray for you all… I release the winds of the Holy Spirit to blow you into the closeness of His heart… I pray for the passion of Christ to inspire and move you. And that you all become sensitive to the presence of the Holy Spirit and walk with the Spirit. In Him you live, in Him you love, and in Him, you have your being…