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Posts Tagged ‘InterVarsity’

I wrote and read this for a large group talk on the Gospel that I gave for my students in InterVarsity about two weeks ago. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was intimately face-to-face with God. Everything that has been made was made through Him. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

Immanuel

God with Us.

This God-man, not too big for our dirt, not too holy to stay away, came to earth to be with us, walk with us, talk with us, eat with us, and breathe with us.

He touched the sick and healed the lame, turned the kingdoms of this world on their heads, and came to make way for our shame.

He came to restore that which was lost.

Intimacy with God.

A holy nation. A family.

He came to heal all of creation.

He said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

Feed on me, and you will live forever.

He said, “I am the Light of the World.”

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

He said, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

I lay down my life for the sheep.

He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Jesus came to proclaim

Good news to the poor

Freedom for those captive

Recovering of sight to the blind

Freedom for the oppressed

The Year of the Lord’s favor

And so, in his time with us, he revealed his love, his life, and his healing for us.

But we are selfish.

Even the high priest- the one man who could go into the holiest of holies in the temple to be in the presence of the Lord did not recognize his very God when they spat in Jesus’ face.

What a dark, sad place.

So we took him, and we nailed him to a cross,

And he bled there

And there he held the weight of the world on his shoulders, all of our sin and shame, all of our selfishness and darkness.

He said he would lay down his life for his sheep so that they may not die.

This God of compassion saw us helpless to save ourselves, helpless to heal ourselves, feed ourselves, redeem ourselves, so he came to do it for us.

He preached a life eternal, one that never ends.

He spoke of life and light to replace our death and darkness.

He would no longer live without us, he had to give us a way, longed that we would know of His deep love for us.

A God willing to die so that we may live.

And in his last breath, he spoke the ultimate grace:

“It is finished.”

No more do we need to run to our witch doctors and magicians, to our elixirs and salves. No more do the temporary fixes have to fake any fix at all because,

It is finished.

Our constant striving for the best life for me, Me, ME can end.

Our broken hearts from broken relationships have hope to mend.

The pressure’s off.

We don’t have to save ourselves from death,

Because after it was finished, we had a Risen King.

Our old life dies in Jesus’ death and our new life rises in Jesus’ life.

Three days later he set in motion a reversal of all the mess we had made.

He rose from the grave.

A God who does not stay dead.

That’s a God I want to follow.

That’s a God I want to know.

 

So when I’m asked, “why Jesus?”

I say because I know who I would be.

Without Jesus, I would fatherless.

I would be brotherless and sisterless.

And my mother would be nothing like a mother at all.

We’d all be drowning in our broken family, broken identities.

I know that I would seek the love of men in a way I could never return from.

I know that without Jesus I would hate myself.

I would be ugly, inside and out.

Without Jesus, I would be hopeless for rescue.

Nothing would be good enough to heal my heart.

I would fill myself with ways to satisfy like a smoldering oven, the never-ending need for fuel.

I would be empty and brokenhearted.

 

But I’m not.

God came for me.

He chose me.

He rescued my dad from

13 years of drug addiction

and “snap” like that,

our lives are changed forever.

One year old baby Bridget would never know

Life without a father

Life without Jesus

Life without Rosemary and Luke

I would never know divorced parents, or a dad in prison.

My father visits men in prisons and psyche wards, to share the story

Of a God who loved him enough to come for him and save him

A God who had a plan to restore our lives and relationships.

That’s why Jesus.

Because even in our sin he comes.

Even in our selfishness he makes all things new.

 

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A couple weeks ago, I had a very discouraging phone conversation with a potential advocate for my ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Right off the bat, I’ll just be honest- I have a hard time making phone calls while fundraising. I always think I’m going to be rejected, they just feel awkward, and they have the potential of failing miserably. But they rarely do. 9 times out of 10, I have really delightful conversations. So, this one in particular was that tenth one, the dreaded tenth one.

I think the person on the other end of the line wanted to let me down easily. However, in the exchange of facts and thoughts, an interesting statement was said:

 “Fundraising is unbiblical.”

 Hmm.

 Unbiblical.

There were more offensive comments and insinuations thrown in, but I’ll stick with the phrase unbiblical.

My whole life has been a testament of God’s love, faithfulness, and how he chooses us. After 24 years of being called into ministry over and over, I like to believe that God has very specifically called me into a very Biblical following of him.

I like to think that I wouldn’t waste my time on things if they weren’t Biblical. Especially my life and vocational choice.

Surely, if this were about what I wanted for myself, I would not have chosen to raise my salary and expenses so I can live in a cold northern forest town, would I?

No, I would be in Tucson, being paid to do something super fun, that involved people and laughter and a flexible schedule. I would go on morning walks everyday, and read and write for fun more than I do right now.

I would not choose to be in the vocation of people’s hearts because people’s hearts are terrible. They are so fickle and prone to anger and idolatry. People (we) are so prone to chasing temporary things no matter how much we encourage each other not to.

 When I get to tell people about my ministry and invite them into giving to it, I am not asking them to pay my bills. I am not asking them to help me live the American dream. I am not asking them to give me their money so that they could have a say in where it goes either.

I invite people to join my ministry if they want to invest in the lives of college students and the future leaders of our world. I’m asking people to invest their temporary money to give me a limited time on campus in order to leave an eternal impact. Investing in college ministry is one the most strategic places to invest your money if you love Jesus, your country, and the world. We develop students into world-changers for Jesus. We equip them with leadership and cross-cultural skills. We invite students to take risks for the Kingdom of God, and those risks lead to salvations for others. Those risks lead to even higher education so that they can affect change in our legal systems and make a difference in the disease and the poverty in this world. These are students who really meet the real, crazy, transformative Jesus who asks them to give their very lives for the sake of the Gospel. And then they take the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in them, and they are your teachers and your social workers and nurses and lawyers and professors and engineers. There’s all these IV alumni out there who love Jesus and are astronauts and Presidents of colleges, and policy makers and pastors. They love God, His Word, His people of every ethnicity and culture, and His purposes in this world. They are people who are fully informed and fully formed.

I ask people to get behind that because really, it affects us all. I love the idea of sending out hundreds of thousands of Spirit-filled world changers who selflessly bring the Gospel to all corners of the earth. I love surrounding this society with those type of people.

And I ask people to join that because it’s worth it, and it’s exciting. And I want to be a part of that. I want to do this ALL of my work week. I want to invest my time there. But, I am allotted the amount of time that I raise money for with IV.

For me, money is time. If I can raise a full-time budget, then I don’t need any side jobs. I can do what I feel called to do, full-time. And I feel like giving all of my time to that IS what I am called to do. Right now, I am a freelance writer, a substitute teacher, and a nursery worker on the side. While all of those part time gigs are a blessing for my bills to get paid, it’s just not the life I feel called to live. I don’t want to be spread thin. I want to give all my energy and time to campus and the students. 

So that’s why I ask people to support me. I ask people to get behind the call I feel God has on my life so I may invest in the eternal at NAU. If I had more time on campus, I think I could start some new Bible studies- maybe some at Coconino Community College across the street. Those students shouldn’t have to miss out. I know for a fact that there are some Greek students who want a Bible study. There are more dorms and freshmen and areas of campus that are unreached. Will you help me be at 100% funding so I can give 100% of my time to this? I have huge dreams for the college campus in Arizona. 

Help me run after those dreams. 

 

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