Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tired. For. Real.

I really don't have very much to say, but in the attempt to be real on this blog, and convey the true ups and downs of this adventure I'm on right now, I just thought it appropriate to let you all know that I am incredibly, extremely, totally and competely exhausted today. Some days I just run all over campus from morning until night, meeting with students, doing random office stuff that needs to be completed, making phone calls, having staff meetings, etc. It can get seriously crazy! I still like it though - its definitely a good kind of tired.

So that's pretty much it for tonight - I'm tired. Really, really, tired. And now I'm going to bed. 'Night!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Experience the "Rocky Top Roundup! "





Things have been going great this week - I think we're all pretty thankful to gain some semblance of a normal schedule. Welcome Week is over, all of the students are in classes now, and we as a staff team have begun our weekly meetings, so we have a better idea of how to plan our weeks! We have all been meeting with students all week long (I'm about to meet a girl as I write this), and several students have already trusted Christ! I haven't had the priviledge of seeing a student come to the Lord yet, but I'm hoping I'll be able to witness that soon! I'm starting to get to know some of the girls who will be in my Bible Study, and am excited to see how God is working in their lives. It will be cool to see Him work throughout this year - some have recently taken big steps of obedience and faith, some I think are still seeking, and some are beleivers, but need freedom in some areas of their lives. It should be an interesting year!

On a lighter note - I wanted to post photos and videos of the "Rocky Top Roundup" that we hosted last Friday night. It was super fun and lots of new students attended. Now all of you can live vicariously through these, and remember when you were a freshman in college!


video

Monday, August 23, 2010

Going Deeper

Wow. It has been a crazy week. In the last 9 days, all of the new freshmen moved on the campus, upperclassmen returned, the sororities had rush, there were a million.5 events and opportunities for Crusade to have tables set up to pass out contact cards, and classes began for all of the students. Thanks to everyone for praying, because despite the fact that some of our events that usually generate a lot of new contacts were denied by the new food service providers on campus, we were able to meet TONS of new freshmen and get a whole slew of contact cards, which we are now working on following up with. Our first weekly Cru meeting was held on Thursday night and we had a lot of students come out, at least half of which were new to Cru! We also held the first annual "Rocky Top Roundup" party, complete with horseshoes and cornhole games, hay bales, and a 4-man bluegrass band and caller for square dancing! It was a huge hit and tons of fun!

This next week we will begin to obtain some semblance of a normal schedule, for which I'm very grateful! It will hold a lot of appointments with new students. All of them will hear the gospel (even if they're obviously believers who are walking with the Lord, we take them through a simple gospel presentation which helps even then to begin training them to do the same with other students one day). There is a lot of potential for students to trust Christ and get plugged into a community of believers, so please be praying specifically for this!

On a personal note, I've recently fallen in love with the song, "You Won't Relent" (specifically the one performed by Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala at Jesus Culture).

"I don't want to talk about You
Like You're not in the room.
I wanna look right at You,
Wanna sing right to You."

I feel like God has been gently drawing me in and calling me to go deeper with Him. I'm not sure what this will look like, but I can feel Him calling me to walk with Him. It's funny because that's what I've been doing, and learning to do more and more, for years now. But this feels like it has something new, somehow. I have no idea what is ahead, but He is calmly, quietly, and steadily calling me to walk with Him in the same manner - with a kind of quiet strength and peace. To know Him more deeply and intimately, with the kind of familiarity that is found in longtime friends and lovers.

And so I am learning, in a new way, to walk on...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Covered

There is nothing quite like the simplicity of the gospel.

I've been taking students throught the 4 Spiritual Laws and thus, have been reminded of the heart of my faith - this simple, yet profound mystery called grace that seems too good to be true.

I've been taking students through the 4 Spiritual Laws, which as far as I can tell boil down to this:
God is holy. He longs for my heart. He made me to be with Him.
I turn away, spit in His face, chase after lesser things, and have created a gulf so wide I will never be able to return to His side.
My God is mighty, yet He bridged the gulf by becoming the least of all. He died in my place, trading the death I had earned for the life that is rightfully His.
I can be with Him in joy forever if I will just be willing to give up this illusion of control and power that I cling to so desperately, believe that Jesus died for me, and give Him my life to do as He will.

And that's it. So simple, yet so profoundly huge and beautiful.

I'm studying 1 John right now, and was struggling with chapter 3, verses 1-10. 1 John's supposed to the be feel-good, love-filled book in the Bible, right? Why on Earth, then, do you run into passages that say, "no one who lives in Him keeps on sinning?" That's the opposite of encouraging, if you ask me, because I definitely still struggle with sin - pretty much every day! But I read a commentary that helped me understand this a bit. This is what it said:

"The statement 'no one who lives in Him keeps on sinning' depends more on an understanding of waht Christ has done for us than it does on what we are able or commanded to do. The Elder's understanding of the Christian life was not developed in observation of the Christian but in percieving the nature of Christ's life and work...sin is not the identifying characteristic of those who live in Him."

That last part just struck me with the beauty of the gospel all over again as I read it. Though I turn away; though I am idolatrous and love many people and things more than Him quite often; though I am deliberately disobedient, or just too lazy and callous to desire my God - despite all of this, which is true of me more often that I'd care to think about or admit - sin is still not the idenfitying characteristic of who I am. I am identified with Christ. He covers me - every bit of that nastiness. When God looks at me He sees the pure blood of Christ and I am counted as righteous. I can't grasp the magnitude of it - but every now and then I have a moment when I get a small glimpse of the depth and width and height and vast measure of this reality of grace that is given to me, and it absolutely floors me.

So I sing with a grateful heart, "it covers me, it covers me, it covers me, grace flows down and covers me."

I can only hope and pray that the students I will be talking with tomorrow and the next day and the next, throughout the coming weeks, will also grasp this truth, and will respond to such a display of love and grace with their whole hearts and lives.

Amen y Amen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Moving Day!

Well, its official. I am now a resident of Knoxville, Tennessee. After a very long day of driving, moving lots of boxes, sorting through the ridiculous amount of things that I have accumulated, and organizing, I am now officially moved in (though not completely done organizing and decorating). I think I'm pretty darned excited about being here and seeing what the Lord has in store for me this year, but I'm so tired now I can't actually process any of this! I do know that it is a bittersweet feeling right now. I have loved the time that I have spent with friends over the past few days, and I was reminded just how much I love all of you, and how hard it is to leave you all.



I'm praising Jesus for His goodness to me in so many ways, but especially through the lavish way He has poured out love on me through all of my friends and family. Sometimes I can hardly believe that I have been so blessed. Most of the time, actually. So though I am missing everyone I left behind tonight, I am also excited to see what new relationships He will bring into my life as well. I'm thinking this could be a really good year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vitality and Practicality

I love how God's timing is always just right. I was at the college and 20-somethings Coffeehouse the other night at my church, and we had a discussion that was incredibly timely.

We have been talking about the beginnings of the monarchy in Israel, and this week we specifically discussed Saul's kingship and the mistakes that led to his removal from the throne. This account brings up difficult questions - why did God put Saul in this position of authority when He knew that Saul would be led astray by the lull of power? Why was one mistake punished so harshly? Why did Saul become more hard-hearted rather than being broken by the Lord's discipline? I don't know how thoroughly we can answer any of these questions, but we can heed the warning that is evident from these events - those whom God has placed in positions of leadership and authority need to be very careful.

Our enemy is described as a prowling, roaring lion; the Father of Lies, the Adversary. None of those titles are given to one who is weak or mild-mannered. He is against us - on the alert for weaknesses and ready to attack at any moment. Why we continue to think that we can somehow stand up against his attacks on our own power, without preparing for a full-out battle as God's Word warns us to is beyond me, yet I often find myself giving into this mode of thinking. Yet the risk of giving into sin is so high, especially with those in positions of leadership. With others looking to you for spiritual leadership, observing what a life lived to the glory of God is supposed to look like, falling to sin in serious ways could do huge amounts of damage. We talked about how this kind of sin could cause someone to lose his or her ability to serve God in many ways, and possibly for a long time.

Of course all sin is serious and against the Lord, but I'm focusing more about the damage that can be done to others and to your ministry because of certain sins. And we must guard carefully against pride in our thoughts and hearts and attitudes - because none of us are above falling into sin in a major way. Moses fell, Saul fell, David fell, Peter fell, etc. So not necessarily a feel-good reminder from the Lord, but a very practical one! I'm about to go into a new ministry where could have a serious position of influence over many college students. I need to be on guard against sin! I need to be honest with myself about my vulnerability to falling. I need to pray for humility, for a hatred of sin, and for the motivation and desire to be in the Word of God, in prayer, and walking more and more in constant fellowship with the Lord. My brother said a phrase a couple of months ago that really stuck with me: "starve the flesh, feed the spirit." That's a great motto and practice. I think one of the most beneficial and practical prayers that I can pray constantly is for God to keep me humble - give me an accurate view of who I am and who You are.

So I will continue to pray for this, and pray it with a refreshed understanding of how much is at stake. Thank you so much to those of you who are praying with and for me - maybe this will give you something specific to focus on!