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Why Me?

the prodigal god pic

I’m still searching for an internship, and the process of acquiring a criminal justice internship is very stressful. It seems that these days, finding an unpaid internship is just as difficult as finding a full-time job. Yesterday, I had another possible internship flop and fizzle out…it was my biggest lead, and now its gone. I spent much of the afternoon in question: “Well, what’s next God? This stinks, what are you trying to tell me?” As I was later recapping the events of the day in my head, I started thinking about something I recently read in the book, The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller. In one passage, he discusses the heart of the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. Keller says, “The older brother did things so that the Father would “owe” him…elder brothers obey God to get things; They don’t obey god to get god himself”. Thus, when something goes differently than expected, an older brother screams, “You owe me, after all that I have done for you…you owe me!”

I am an older brother

I caught myself thinking in that manner yesterday when the internship fell through. I was thining, “Huh, what are you trying to tell me God? I’ve been ministering for you, I’ve been doing this and that for you.” In a sense, I was saying, “why me”? The truth of the matter is that there is both a self-glorifying and a God-glorifying way of asking, “why me?”.  An older brother says, “I don’t deserve this, after all I’ve done. I’ve labored for you, worked for you, toiled for you, and this is what I get? Why me? Give me your things!”. On the flip side, we should be appearing before God in repentence and thankfulness. “Why me, God? Why did you choose me to be an object of your grace as opposed to an object of your wrath? Why are you for me, rather than against me? Why do I have access into your kindgom when I deserve a one-way ticket to hell? Why am I an heir and a son? Why did you choose me and accept me when I rejected you? Why am I still wrong, but still loved?

That is the gospel, loud and clear: That we get what we do not deserve.  So when internships, school, jobs, ministry doesn’t go according to plan, its alright. Because we have a father who loves us, accepts us, and is for us. And he most certainly knows whats better for us than we oursleves think we do. This is what God is continuing to teaching me, a prideful sinner, an older brother and a work in progress.

Give Me Jesus

Fernando

We all have a perfect opportunity to give our lives away for the sake of the gospel: To build relationships and share the gospel with our peers, our co-workers, our employers, our waiters/waitresses etc… After all, we have everything we will ever need in Jesus. We are freed from ourselves that we may give our lives away to others for the progression of the gospel and glorification of Jesus Christ. So start now! Like Andrew Knight always says, “if not you, then who? And if not now, then when?” Students, (I am speaking to myself more than anything) the time and the opportunity to serve God on campus is now. But more than anything, in everything  we must become more satisfied with knowing God than serving him. Even ministry of all things can become an idol when we make it ultimate over God. Thus at the end of the day, when ministry has gone great, or when it was incredibly difficult, we need to cry, “Give me Jesus”! He’s all we need! I made fun of Elliot Stokes a lot over the summer for listening to the singer Fernando Ortego so much.  But I have to confess, I enjoy listening to his singing a lot. He sings a song called “Give me Jesus”.  The lyrics say:

“In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus”

Lets start laboring…

Work away

Unlikely

I recently read a book called The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose, and I would highly recommend it to any dude who wants an easy read. Kevin is a student at Brown University, and a left wing atheist who transfers to Liberty University for one semester. He goes from attending an extreme left wing school to an extreme right wing school. While he was there, he made sure that nobody found out that he was an atheist. Kevin was in a church choir, had a pastor discipling him, participated in bible studies and he was involved in prayer meetings. During the first two weeks at school, he had many conversations with students who wanted to “make sure” he was “saved”. And after Kevin gave them a few “Christian” answers, they would stop pestering him about the issue. After a couple of weeks at school nobody else asked him about his relationship with Jesus. He ended up going to Liberty for an entire semester, and not one person found out that he wasn’t a Christian.

My point is that just because you are a student at a Christian school, doesn’t necessarily deem you a Christian. There are many students on the campus of Northwestern College (and Bethel too) who are in the same situation as Kevin was at Liberty. Kevin was a white-washed tomb: He talked the talk, he had a lot of head knowledge, and he was able to give all the “right” answers about Christianity to his friends. But in reality, he was completely dead on the inside, living his life in rebellion to Jesus. There are both non-Christians and Christians on NWC campus. But both need to hear the gospel. My vision for NWC is that we will labor, and work to know God and make him known through building relationships with others and sharing the gospel with them. But who is going to labor for discipleship, the gospel? And when is that going to happen? It’s got to start now, and it has to start with you!

Ministry

I thank God for the grace which he has shown me by putting Charlie Brooks and people involved in Campus Outreach in my life. I have been surrounded by men who think intentionally for me, love me when I do not deserve to be loved, and are truthfully (and sometimes brutally) honest to me about my sin. While I was in India over the summer, I learned to understand just how difficult and uncomfortable ministry can be. It’s truly a messy business, but I guarantee that any staff person you ask will tell you that it is a grace and a privilege to be a laborer of Jesus. Ministry on campus is awkward, uncomfortable, difficult, and it takes work. I cannot count the amount of awkward encounters I had with students while I was in the cafeteria at St. Stephens, and there hadn’t been any other time where I felt so self-conscious about myself and what I was saying.
As difficult as it may be the men and women who are on staff with CO encounter difficult situations and awkward conversations every day like, “I’m a freshman, and you are graduated?? What are you doing, and why are you talking to me? You’re weird!!” I’m sure every staff guy has either heard some kind of comment like that from a student, or at least had a student think it. But, every day they wake up and labor for the sake of the gospel going forth. It is a privilege and a grace to be a part of such a ministry and the people within it.

Well, I’ve tossed around the idea in my head of starting a blog for quite a few days now. I have a distant memory of a night when Kelsey Simmons and I were discussing the idea of blogging in general. I came to the conclusion that the only thing that I could ever offer people from my blog is entertainment and dopey commentary about my life. While I highly anticipate this to occur in the future (like by my next post), I have to confess that while in India I really liked updating the CCP blog.

Once in a while something pops into my head that I feel is important enough to voice to someone else rather than my roommate (James Gisler), who gets rather bored and annoyed from my tangents at times. So this blog will hopefully serve as a relief to him, since now I can annoy the entire virtual population! Exciting, I know. I dedicate this post to Stephen Discher, who motivated me to start a blog. So everyone can blame  (or thank) him for all of the illustrious and over the top things that I reveal to the entire virtual world. Thanks buddy.