You've heard it said, that "God is the potter and we are the clay." Have you ever tried to imagine what that looks like? I've taken some sculpture classes in college and it is a bit of work creating the human form. It's messy, takes great strength and a gentle touch. There's carving tools that scrape and pull clay which removes portions and then you can add clobbs of clay if an area needs some more mass. Then there comes the firing in the kiln.
This last year has been a testing and refining time for me. I am the clay and God is the potter. We often wonder, why do I have to go through these tough times? What purpose do we need to suffer? It is to refine us and shape us into the image of Christ - if we are willing to accept that purpose. Yes, some - who do not seek God in his word or by prayer often grow bitter and even blame God for the hardships in life, but God is love and his purposes are true and righteous. So even as I wait and am tested I know without a doubt that God has the best in mind for me. Not the best as the worldly would say best - not with money and fame and power and riches, but with the riches that are in Christ; love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, self-control and most of all the salvation of our souls in Christ Jesus! These riches can never be taken away from those who are in Christ. Can you imagine possessing such great treasures as these?! In Christ, we inherit these things and more because we are adopted in God's family. Wow, what a joy!
Oh, getting to the four things I've learned this year. : ) It's really quite simple and you may even scoff because it's so simple. 1). Pray, 2). Read & meditate on the word (the bible), 3). obey God's word and 4). then go and share God's word with those who don't know it. I've known this for a while but once you are tested in these areas you will recognize there is a difference between knowing them and practicing them in your daily life. It comes down to your relationship with God and your relationships with man.
Today man has really complicated ministry with programs, movements, events, curriculum, concerts etc... these are all good things, but none of them suppliment a relationship with God or relationships with others. It's simple, see I told you. : )
Hey, God says He wants to talk with today.... He's waiting!
Friends and Family,
I am about a week away from finding out if I will have enough funding to participate with the InterVarsity National Chapter Planting Cohort. As I have previously stated, I will need 90% of the funds to be accepted into this training. Why you may ask? Part of the cohort is to have your funds available so that as a campus staff worker you can focus entirely on the students and the campus; no distractions of raising funds. There is also great training and a grant that comes with the cohort. Please pray to this end, and if you are able please consider sending in a donation within the first week of June - or (as stated in the blog below) tell me your donation commitment up until June 2011. I can count all funds that are expected until that date.
If I do not receive the funds by June 1 and I am not able to participate in the cohort, I still will continue to raise funds and prepare for campus work for the fall of 2010. My prayer is that the Lord's will be done in all of this. My heart is that He will receive all glory and that his word will be proclaimed to everyone. The Lord desires such a relationship with each of us that we will love Him with all of our Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength. Can we say that we are doing that? He gave his one and only Son Jesus that we should be reconciled to Him. Often people are afraid to share the part of the gospel that says, we deserve death and hell outside of Christ, but it is true. If a flood was coming wouldn't and shouldn't we warn people?! I am compelled to warn people, not out of a pious, self-righteousness, but out of love and concern for all people. Will you join me friends?
Maybe you didn't grow up in the church. Or maybe you have done some really bad things in your life. But don't worry or fear, Jesus paid the penalty for your sins. God wants us to "turn" from our sins. It's a word called "repentance" that you may hear Christians talking about; although not as often as once taught. When we humble ourselves before God and sincerely ask for forgiveness through Christ - then we shall be forgiven! Our lives change for the better friends when we live for Christ! Please talk to me if you would like to ask any questions.
I know I've rambled a bit here, but it was on my heart to share these things. No of us knows how long we have on earth before we die - and then eternity is sealed; either eternal life in heaven with Christ or death and separation from God. I choose Christ and pray that you all will do the same.
Enjoy your Memorial weekend!
This is an email letter from IVCF's Chapter Planting Cohort's VP. Please take a read if you are interested in knowing more details about the Cohort.
I apologize for writing such an important email to you all as a group but I thought you might want to be aware of each other to be praying for the others as you each endeavor to raise the support that is needed to fund your new chapter plant. I prayed for each of you this morning, that God would be at work in you and in your potential donors as you make connections with them this month.
As I think you know already, we made your appointment to the next chapter planting cohort provisional based your need to raise quite a bit of support this spring. We did this because we have seen over and over again that it is crucial in effectively launching a new ministry for planters to be on campus all year. When they have to leave campus mid-year to raise support, it puts the plant in jeopardy. As we come close to June, I thought it might be helpful for you and your supervisors to know how we will walk through this together in June.
Once you and your supervisor get your financial reports in early June, I would like to hear from each of you and your supervisors. The goal we set when we emailed you about your provisional appointment to the cohort is that you be at or very close to 90% of the support that you will need to be on campus full time in early June. You can count both money that is in and money that donors have indicated that they will give between June 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. You can also count the $10,000 of matching money that we are committing nationally to your support this next year and any money that has been committed to your support by your area or region. I would like to get by email two numbers from you and your supervisory in early June.
1. What amount of annual support do you need to be on campus full time in the coming year?
2. What percentage of that support is either in or intentioned by donors by early June?
At that point, we will assess how close you are to the goal and any steps that we need to take. If you are quite close to the 90% goal, we will give you time in June to raise the rest of what is needed. If you are quite a ways away from the goal, we will discuss with you and your supervisors whether or not you should continue in the cohort.
Let me know if this raises any questions. You each are in my prayers!
Warmly in Christ,
Director of Collegiate Ministries
Senior Vice President
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
"For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths." Proverbs 5:21
I've stated in a previous blog on a book called "The Pilgrims Progress" that as I continue this journey of faith we can only plan so much. I may map out a route to a certain destination, yet it is the LORD who directs my steps and He doesn't usually show us His whole plan for us. I've been praying and trusting in faith that if it is the Lord's will, that He will provide for the funding of my ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. My goal was 90% of $63,000 by June 1. That date is soon approaching and it will be nothing short of a miracle if I achieve that goal. Please keep praying to that end, but I also have to be aware that the Lord may have other plans that I have not forseen.
"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
Maybe you are in a similar situation where you have your eye on a job and for some reason it falls through and you are left in a state of confusion and dispondance. Be patient my friend, the LORD is not slow in responding as we may believe. He is patient and makes the most of every situation. His intent is to shape us in Christ-likeness in every way: attitude, character, total dependancy on Him and in relationship with Him. This last year has been very challenging. But it has been a year of great growth in my faith and relationship with the LORD.
"The crucible for the silver and the furnace for the gold, but the LORD tests the heart." Proverbs 17:3
I'm learning to keep in relationship with the LORD and to be content where I am at this moment. It is good to plan, but enjoying the relationship with the LORD now is what is important. The decisions we make now will affect the future. Let's pray for the Lord to guide us in all our moments. By his grace through faith in Christ Jesus are we saved! Amen!
Update: Praise God that I have obtained 34% of my goal. Keep praying for 90% by June 1! Thank you everyone!
I thought I'd share some of the books I've been reading and some that i greatly have benefitted from over the years. Here is a current treasure that I found at a rummage sale for $0.10!
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
A story about a man named Christian who is fleeing his native country because of certain destruction. He pleeds with his family to run away with him in search of the celestial city where it will be safe. But alas his family ignores his plees and dismisses him as crazy. Chrisitan continues his journey despite his families and neighbors arguments and schemes to get him to return home. There are many difficulties and many a good fellow along the journey. Does Christian arrive to his destination? Will others flee the coming destruction? Read for yourself my friends...
This is a book I will read and re-read throughout my life. It really explains the life of a Christian and if you are willing it will point you to the way of salvation. Scripture is reference throughout the book and it is very rich in content.
John Bunyan wrote this great work in1673 while he was in prison. It's a great story in itself that he was placed in jail for first preaching without a license and second for cancelling his previous Declaration of Indulgence. This was a time of continued Reformation and the struggles therein.
I highly recommend this book!
This last year God has been teaching me so much about Him, His word and myself and others. There have been times I haven't "felt" like talking with Him and other times when I did want to talk with the Lord (in prayer) and I could not express any words. Overall, I just REALLLY want to please the Lord. Do you know what I mean? I'm learning that I may not always have the "feeling" of intimate talk with the Lord, but He is committed to me and patiently teaches me His ways so that I can please him; but there is nothing I have done that pleases him - it is his Son Jesus who pleases Him. Matthew 17:5 The Father said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
God the Father is well pleased with His Son Jesus. It is through him that we have the hope of Salvation! Do we understand what that means?! He is saving us from certain death, eternal death! Our sins are like flithy rags, we cannot enter heaven because of them. It's like when we were all muddy and our mothers wouldn't let us come in the house until we were clean. Jesus take all of the filthy sins of our lives and gives us new clothes, pure, white and holy. This is why the Father is pleased with his Son. He was obedient to death, even death on the cross, to pay the penalty of our sins. And he didnt' stop there. He also rose from the dead and those who are in faith in Christ will do the same - rise unto life in Christ!
What pleases God? When we recognize by grace (his free gift) and through faith in His Son that we are saved. Have faith and please the Lord. I'm leaning this difficult lesson. It's not by my strength but by faith that I can please the Lord. I am so thankful for my relationship with him and I pray for the same for you my friend.
"Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it." Ephesians 5:10.
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
These are not commands to weigh us down, but to lighten the Load. God loves us and wants the best for us. Let's set our hearts to pleasing the Lord!
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...