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,
Week 1 of school at Washtenaw Community College has been very exciting! The students and I are constantly meeting new people and sharing the vision of what God is doing on campus and will do through all of us as we come together in Christ. A couple of us have also already had about 4 opportunities to share the gospel with students. I will also be following up with a couple students who want to continue some dialogue on the theory of evolution. I will tell you the school teaches evolution as fact and the same people who write the college textbooks, also write high school and elementary textbooks. I encourage you to educate yourself on these matters and grow in apologetics.
We've had a couple of student meetings so far. One a planning meeting along with some vision casting. We have also had a couple prayer meetings as well. Another part of our meetings is based on Acts 2:42-47 "meeting together daily in the temple courts..." accept we are meeting together daily in the food court. By establishing the biblical principles of of prayer, the word, fellowship and meeting together daily for these things, the Lord is faithful in "adding to our number daily." We are only four days into our ministry on campus, but we are praying and expecting the other part of that scripture verse... "those who are being saved."
Thank you for your continued support, prayers and interest in what God is doing at WCC.
All Glory to Jesus!
Divine appointments. Have you ever heard of these? Basically you pray and ask God to set up meetings with people that He has in mind for you to meet that day. I've prayed this often and people somehow end up crossing my path. When I was considering if Washtenaw Community College is where I should serve I was continually in prayer as so were the staff with InterVarsity. I knew one student there and potentially a couple others who weren't necessary mission minded. So I asked for divine appointments. "Lord, I submit this day to you and ask that you grant me divine appointments of your choosing. Amen." So I knew one student at WCC. I knew other students at other colleges around and I put prayer requests out to them. One student responded "I know a guy who goes there." So I received his contact info and set up a meeting. I met with him and the other student that I knew at the food court one day. While we were talking another young man passed by and said hello to his friend that I was talking with. He sat down with us and I explained what we were talking about. I then asked him, "So what have you seen God working on campus?" His eyes lit up, a deep blue and he told me he was called to minister to this campus at WCC. He was so excited that God was bringing something together. Often he had prayed silent prayers asking God to reach this campus with the good news of Jesus Christ. Other students have similar stories and now they are coming together as one body. There is so much more power in working in community. God has designed us for relationships.
Another divine appointment. I read an article in the student paper, The Washtenaw Voice, about a girl who went on a mission trip and used her gifts of music to reach out to and serve an inner city community. I contacted the writer of the article and met with him. He was about to graduate and head to another university. I didn't hear from him after our meeting until I saw him at the Student Leadership retreat. He now has taken a position as the lead editor with the Washtenaw Voice. He also will be joining our InterVarsity group on campus and... writing an article about us in the newspaper. What a blessing! There are other stories like this and I pray many more in the future.
God is faithful to hear our prayers! Look for the unexpected divine appointments today.
I met Sadeepa at the Washtenaw Community College student leadership retreat just a week ago. She asked the speaker a question in a slow straining voice. The speaker couldn't understand her question and suggested that she speak to her one on one in person at a break. At that point I raised my hand and said, "excuse me." "Yes" the speaker responded. "I believe she is asking what support and assistance do you have for international students." I looked toward Sadeepa to confer. She smiled brightly with her eyes as well as her mouth. She nodded her head, yes. The speaker continued her presentation and answered the question. I followed up with a question, "Well, what are the needs of international students?" The Student Development and Activities staff chimed right in explaining the struggles that international students face, like Sadeepa. Sadeepa has a disease called "Wilsons Disease". You can read more at her website listed above. It is amazing the hardships her family has faced and yet they endure with a joyful attitude. It's students like Sadeepa that I hope and pray the students involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will serve and care for, as Christ showed us by example.
The theme that the Student Development and Activities chose for this year is "Students Helping Students." Wow, isn't that what Jesus called us to do?! Serve one another. Love one another. The greatest among you will be the servant of all.
Please join me in praying for this type of movement of God's love and mercy at Washtenaw and beyond.
Thank you for allowing me to serve people in this manner. All glory to Jesus!
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!
"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!
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...