The fall 2012 semester flew by and I am now just taking some time to reflect. I love attending conferences and Compelling is InterVarsity's statewide student conference which is held each November. Student leaders, luke-warm follwers of Jesus and unbelievers attend - all of whom encounter Jesus and come away challenged, changed and looking to take a next step of faith in following him. As staff members we too encounter Jesus, although we also have a lot of work to do and can become tired. This is where I am and have been off and on the last couple months. I love to see students lives transformed, but in the process my life and my families lives often come short of the fulfillment and peace that Jesus desires for us too.
I am learning the importance of "Sabbath." Resting in the Lord in the midst of high demands, great needs and an ever increasing task list of good things to do for the kingdom of God. It is where we are caught by the desire to meet needs, real needs of those around us and who need practical help and spiritual healing. But all of this comes from God, not from our own ability, talent, compassion or even spiritual power. Relationships need time. Our relationship with others can only succeed as our relationship with God continues and is nurtured and made a priority on a daily basis. I hope this is what my students learn from me. However, I cannot just tell them, I have to show them by the way I live. So pray with me to rest in the Lord, so that this generation of students will learn to do the same.
I'm struck by the lessons I learn from my 20 month old, Kysa. Even though she is so young, I see her immitating Laina and me. One day I was eating dinner and then I noticed Kysa watching me intently and copying each motion I made. I lifted my cup, she did the same. I brought my fork to my mouth, she did too. I laughed and she did too. What I do says so much more than what I could say to her. Her vocabulary is small, yet she learns so much from my actions. Lord help us, so that she will learn to walk in the way of the Almighty God. I watch the Lord and follow after Him. Kysa watches me and Laina and follows after us. It is our hope and prayer that she will follow after the Lord too.
Follow Christ always.
INTERVARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
WASHTENAW COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Friends and Partners in ministry,
These last four weeks of ministry have been absolutely amazing! I am in awe of how God daily works and includes us ordinary people in such heavenly and supreme service as that which we serve. I feel affirmation more and more every day that I am exactly where God desires me to serve. I also know and trust that the students that are now gathering together, are serving and will serve the Lord in great and mighty ways not only at WCC but also at other colleges and universities and in the world. What a privilege it is to partner with you for such a calling as the proclamation of our precious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome Day – was different than I expected. This is the all campus event where student organizations, community groups and colleges have booths to promote their club. We planned to pass out freezy pops but somehow they did not freeze in time. I was disappointed. I also was stuck in a traffic jam and was 30 minutes late for set up. Frustrating! A student called me and was almost in a very bad car accident. I called for some prayer back up while in traffic. As I sat in my car basking in my disappointment I remembered something that was said in church on Sunday. “Simply Jesus.” We didn’t need to have a bait to lure people to our Jesus. We just needed Jesus. Through this event we have gained nearly 50 contacts plus another 30 some after the event. Please pray for us as we continue to build relationships with all of these people.
On Campus – Christian Community is growing daily. Acts 2:42-47 is what is actively taking form on our campus. Several days during the week we meet in the food court as a common practice. The first believers met together daily in the temple courts. The daily meeting in the food court offers Christian Fellowship around the word, building relationships, praying for each other as we have need, discussions of the word and sharing the gospel with those outside of Christ.
One day as a few of us were meeting in the food court I saw a man that I had been playing basketball with from the fitness center. He was going to sit alone but I invited him to our table and he accepted. We made some small talk about the weekend plans and found some common interests. The conversation moved to the question of what are we doing with InterVarsity on campus? We shared the vision of building Christian community and sharing the good news (gospel). He nodded. I then asked him, do you know what the gospel is? He said no. I asked, would you mind if I shared it with you? He said, “sure, go ahead.” He kept eating and listened. After I finished sharing I asked, “Do you have any questions?” He said, “no.” I asked, “Is this what you believe?” He said, “ya, I believe that without Christ you go to hell. I believe that.”
Since that meeting, we’ve talked with Dan 3 or 4 other times. He has been joining in our community and building relationships with other students as well. Previously, he said he believed in God and prays, but he has been hurt by the church and has chosen to just talk to God by himself. I encouraged him that God has a purpose for the community of believers and that he has gifts that the rest of the community needs and that he will benefit from the gifts of others. Please continue to pray for Dan.
We have many other stories like Dan’s and I pray daily that we can continue to be devoted to the Lord, his word, each other, prayer and sharing the good news with those outside of Christ.
We have began one bible study on Tuesday’s and are considering starting another because of demand. In our first group study there are about 9 students who attend. I am greatly pleased that I see at least three who may be about ready to lead bible studies of their own. Pray as I prepare them and that I would know the timing to pass on some of this responsibility in sharing the word. As Paul said to Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 Discerning who is reliable is the challenge as only God knows a mans heart and mind. Trust is building between several of us and I pray will continue.
Prayer is another foundational pillar that we are establishing early on in our ministry. As many of you have been praying for months now, please continue to pray as to cover this campus with the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior – that all men will be saved.
† Praise God for his continued blessings on this ministry at WCC!
† Praise God for a gift of bibles that a friend gave to me. It overwhelms me with the love and grace of our Lord. (John 17:17)
† Pray for God to continue to build Christian Community at Washtenaw Community College.
† Pray for devoted followers to be passionate in sharing the gospel and to takes risks in faith.
† Pray for those outside of Christ to be open to hearing the message and to believe.
† Pray for purity in the heart of students, mind, body and spirit.
† Pray for humility for me and the students.
† Pray that I would be able to discern who the Lord desires to be student leaders.
A special request of prayer:
Pray for my financial support to maintain and grow. Some commitments have not come through and I am starting to lag behind a little. In 2011 I will need to obtain an additional $20,000 for budgetary needs. I will be communicating in more detail in November and December. Thank you again for your continued support in the many ways that God works through you.
To donate visit: www.intervarsity.org/donate
(Look for staff member "Todd Jerdon").
In Christ's love,
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Washtenaw Community College
INTERVARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Washtenaw Community College
A Community of Students and Faculty who are
Developing Ordinary People
For an Extra-Ordinary Purpose;
Joyfully advancing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Partners in Ministry,
We are now in the second week of school heading into the third week. Time sure flies by and we have been working hard for the Lord at the campus of Washtenaw Community College. I have so many stories to share I can't possibly share them all in an email, but I would like to share a couple stories along with some prayer requests as well.
As I headed in to begin ministry on campus God impressed on my heart to only "make myself available." Often this concept is a struggle for me as I am sure it is for others. We can get so busy or try to make ministry happen in a predetermined schedule or program that we squeeze God out from being involved in our ministries. Yes we teach the bible during those times, but what about a relationship that is "available." Being on campus and not having a set time table or events to attend actually has improved the receptivity to the gospel. I've mentioned previously about divine appointments - those meetings that God has you and another person meet at exactly the right moment and gives you the right words to share. As I meet student on campus it amazes me the number of divine appointments that the students and I continue to have on campus.
As I was leaving my African American History class, I headed down the elevator and started talking with a young man named Spensor. He transferred in to WCC though he had previously attended a college for Architecture. Architecture wasn't for him he said, but it was a common bond we could talk about since I have a degree in Architecture. We chatted about the teaching philosophy of his school and compared it to the one I went too. I then moved the conversation into my youth ministry interest and service. He said he had a friend who was studying youth ministry too. As we continued to talk we eventually came to the topic of Jesus. You can tell what a person believes when you mention that name... Jesus. The warm and inviting conversation about trivial things now seemed to freeze and stand still. I could sense some uncomfortability once I mentioned Jesus' name. He said, "well each person can believe what they want and I believe that there are many ways to heaven." I've heard this statement many times and it is common in postmodern pluralism. At that point I shared the gospel: God created us, we fell into sin, God promised to reconcile us to Himself, he sent Jesus, Jesus lived a perfect life, he died on the cross to pay our penalty of sin, he rose again and all who repent (turn from sin) and believe in Jesus will be saved. He said he knows the gospel because he attends church a couple times a year, Christmas and Easter. Yet he still believes that there are several ways to heaven. I said, friend, do you remember when Jesus was in the garden before he was taken to the cross? He said yes. Well Jesus prayed this prayer, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done." Then he continued to pray earnestly and sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:39-45). Jesus sought God's will and God answered that going to the cross is the only way that the world may be saved. We cannot take Jesus as a only a prophet or a nice guy. He was God's Son who is the Lamb who was given as a sacrifice for the world's sins once for all. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6).
Spensor and I were interrupted at that point by another woman who overheard our conversation. Spensor left at that point and I began talking with this young black woman. While we were talking about Jesus and creation, another young man piped in and started sharing his views on evolution. I talked with the young man for a few minutes and shared that I don't really understand the science of evolution but have heard some inconsistencies with carbon dating. I shared with him what InterVarsity is doing on campus and asked if he would like to do lunch one day. Well yesterday we had lunch. He pursued me to set up the meeting and he was very excited. Honestly I can't debate all the aspects of evolution. I simply share the gospel because God loves us so much.
Yesterday I had another encounter with a couple of guys. I overheard them talking about sharing their faith and so I inquired about what they believe. They started talking about Jesus and the true gospel. I asked what they believed was the gospel. The shared about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again. Sounds correct to me, I though. But as we continued to talk they kept coming back to always obeying the law and the ten commandments. I inquired more about what they were sharing and asked how is a person saved? They continued to say by believing in Jesus and by obeying the law and doing good. They had many words and it was difficult for me to interject because they wouldn't stop talking. Eventually I asked for them to hang on and let me explain something to them. I said you are correct in saying that we are saved by repenting and having faith in Jesus. But as far as entering heaven and being justified by good works is not true. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by works so that no man can boast. We obey the law and do good works not to be saved, but because of the work that God is doing in us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We know we are saved because of the transforming work of Jesus in our lives. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23). We earn death (as God stated in Genesis 2-3) for our sin. But God's gift to us is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We cannot earn a gift! It is given to us freely and so we only need to receive the gift. The men I was talking with could not understand or were blind to the simple truth of the gospel. The gospel they are preaching is not good news at all as the Apostle Paul often says in his writings, because it demands that we need to do good works to be saved.
Friends, this battle on campus is over the LIES that people are believing instead of the simple TRUTH about Jesus. The gospel is the power of God, in Jesus, and that is simply what our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship - WCC community is purposefully sharing. Of the 15,000 students and faculty on this campus how many people do you think are believing these lies of evolution and false gospels like the liberty gospel, prosperity gospel, social gospel etc...? As Paul states in Ephesians 6 please pray for me and the students and faculty who are in faith standing on the rock of Jesus Christ and holding out the good news for all people.
That God would give us encouragement as we engage people with the gospel.
That God would thwart the plans of Satan to spread his lies on campus - that instead people would be open to the good news about Jesus.
That God would protect the students, me and our families from discouragement, temptations and pride - that we would be built up in love.
That we all would grow in our knowledge of scripture and in loving each other and others.
That the students would be committed to working together and meeting together on campus - that Christ is the priority!
For the African Americans on campus and the African American history class and instructor Thorton Perkins.
Welcome Day is September 15- that God would draw missional believers into our core and that many who do not know the good news would hear it and build relationships with us.
Praise to God for the work he is doing through the students and me.
I praise God for all of you too! Thank you for sharing in this ministry. We can feel and see your prayers daily!
Serving in Christ,
The last couple weeks I have been thinking about what things are "urgent" in life. I am a natural worrier. I get anxious about all kinds of things. This is an area of my life that God has been working on for years and continually works on. I am thankful that He doesn't give up on me. Each of us probably has a similar issue with worry, though it may vary what we worry about. I was laid off from my ministry position about 5 months ago. God told me He would provide daily bread and he has, yet I worried about provision. I worry about family, health, doctrine in the church, many people worried yet reponded to the tragedy in Haiti. Was Haiti an "urgent" need? Yes, most definitely. And people around the world responded. It is amazing how much money went to help the Haitians. The same was true of 911 victums. Money just poured in to assist the families. There was a need and people responded to the urgency. People's lives were at stake and life is one of the most precious gifts from God.
There is something more urgent though, even than that of meeting the physical needs of people. Are people's souls important enough to demand an "urgency" in meeting that need? Think about it: If indeed we are all sinners and deserve Death and Hell for our sins (John 3; Romans 3), then why is there not more of an urgency in the church? Some pastors convey this type of apacolyptic urgency, but others seem content with the daily routine of their vocation. The congregation also has some who are earnestly seeking the lost, yet a majority seem comfortable or complacent. The urgency that most people see are the bills that need paid, or the kids soccer schedule or school functions; which are all good things. But what is REALLY URGENT? Won't God provide for our needs? Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:32-34). God will provide for our needs. But we also need to realize that God is jealous for our attention. Yes, he is jealous for you! As we gaze and bat our eyes at the things of this world, he is calling us saying, "Come to me my love. Come to me and I will carry your burdens. I carried the cross for you. I bore your sins and took your punishment. Don't you see how much I LOVE YOU!" We don't need to worry or seek after things in the world. God will provide.
With all of that said, what is truly urgent? Or better said, What is truly urgent to God? You've heard this verse before I'm sure, but I believe it shows the urgency of God's heart.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:16-21
I challenged you my friends to consider looking from God's perspective on what is "urgent" today.
Open your eyes church, the harvest is plentiful.
Open your hearts church, the love of God will overflow.
Open your ears church, the word of the Lord is spoken.
Open your doors church and Go out to the crowd.
Cradle the infants and feed them milk.
Open your arms to the children and do not hinder them.
Feed the Sheep who wonder the hills, lost and broken.
Open the sheep fold and lead them in.
Gather them together and worship our Lord.
Open the gates of heaven and usher in the crowd.
Open your eyes church, the time is now!
Serving our Lord and Savior,
For the last year or so I've been meeting with a young man, who is actually attending Washtenaw Community College. Since his schedule is tight I decided I would meet him on campus so that we could have our meeting. We discuss life, goals, faith and ministry and pray for each other. As we were finishing up prayers and getting ready to leave. A middle aged woman shouted over to us. "Can I get some prayer?!" She looked tired and worn from worry. I said "sure come on over." She pulled up a chair and clumsily brought a stack of papers that half spilled on the floor. I picked them up and handed them back to her. She showed me photographs of her young children. She said, "these pictures are old but I love to hold on to them." I could tell that there was probably more to this woman's story than I could perceive, but she continued to share random thoughts and facts about her life, that seemed dis-focused, yet sincere.
She was a messianic Jewish woman who had been in an abusive relationship many years ago. She got out of the marriage, but in turn her three children headed to separate foster care homes. Why? I don't know that part of the story. But she continued to share random facts about her children. Then she abruptly asked me, "will you attend a hearing with me tomorrow?" "I don't have anyone there who will support me." She seemed so desperate, but I felt a tension between compassion and skepticism in the matter. I told her, "I just met you, and am willing to pray for you. Now what's your request?" She hesitated, then showed us a document that she was trying to write for her court hearing. She was trying to regain visitation rights with one of her children. So for some time, TD and I sat and listened and offered some advice on the document. Then I brought us back to the offer of prayer. She started to ramble some words in God's direction, yet not really directly. So I offered again, "may I pray for you?" She agreed.
I prayed for her situation and that God would lead her in truth. Before I got too far in my prayer, she started to blurt out other requests for prayer. I listened for a moment then bowed my head and prayed again. In the prayer I quoted scriptures from Philippians 4, 1 Corinithians 12, Ephesians 2... The LORD's Word is powerful and is like a double edged sword (Hebrews 4:12-14), it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." That is what happened to this woman at the atrium. As I shared the word she got excited. She said, "what?! what was that?! say it again!" Something had hit her. Something had penetrated the misery and sorrow and joy spurred out. I shared with her that in Christ we are one body. One part does not say to another, "away with you! You are not needed!" No! Instead the body (if you are in Christ) loves and cares for its other members. The woman at the atrium was a messianic Jewish woman. The foster care family of her one son were Christian. They should have everything in common in Christ, even if there were mistakes in the past. There is love and forgiveness in Christ! This was a revelation to her. I don't believe she knew the scriptures well, beyond understanding Jesus "is" the messiah that the Jews have been waiting for. But the word of God does not return void. She wrote down the scriptures that I shared with her and I asked her to read Ephesians 2 as well.
TD and I hadn't planned on this encounter. It wasn't on my schedule. However, God had other plans. I believe this is only the beginning of what ministry will be like at Washtenaw. We like Jesus and his disciples are to "go" out into the world and make disciples. There are so many hurting people out there that need Jesus. The cults are out in full force. When the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...