Thursday, January 28, 2010

Real Life topic:Missions

Tomorrow night, I will speak at our weekly meeting -called Real Life- about "Missions". We'll talk about God's heart for the nations, and the worthiness of God's glory to be proclaimed and made known everywhere! Every Christian has a role to play in the spreading of the good news.

Historically, college students have been used by God to take the Gospel all around the world. In fact, here at Cornell, a guy named John R. Mott gave his life to the mobilization of missionaries. John Mott was a leader in the YMCA back when it was a campus ministry, -and not an exercise facility, and he was a founding organizer of the Student Volunteer Movement. The student volunteer movement was responsible for mobilizing thousands of students for Christian world missions.

Please Pray for our meeting. Friday nights, 7:30. Olin Hall 155

Monday, January 25, 2010


This Saturday the weather was really nice! Today, all the snow has been melted by the frigid rain, but this weekend we got to walk around in it with snowshoes. We got together with some of our friends from church and walked a 3 mile loop just south of town near our friends' house.

Titus actually hung out at the house with Stephanie. But the other guys had a great time, walking, running, and riding thru the snow in the sled I was pulling!

Of course, it wouldn't be a family fun day if someone didn't get injured :) Jack pulled a stick out of the snow and caught Joe in the face with it. He got two little stab wounds, but he's alright.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trusting God for more

This January we had a great regional conference out in Boston. Hundreds of students gathered together for a time of worship, fellowship and outreach. We listened to some great speakers, we grew in faith, and we mobilized around the mission of the church. I think many of us thought it was the best Boston winter conference to date. It was very missional.

I enjoyed my time there a lot, but to be honest, I felt there was something obviously missing –namely about 20,000 students! (If not more.)

I say this because we had somewhere less than 500 students attend the BWC, while the famed Passion conference down in Atlanta, Georgia had about 21,000 students.

Though I rejoice at the number of students that attended our conference, and though I rejoice at the number who were at the Passion, I personally feel disturbed by the reality that so few students in the Northeast care about the things of God. I know the state of Christianity in a region cannot be determined solely by conference attendance! But the fact is that Christianity is inordinately absent from university life in the Northeast and conference demographics simply serve to illustrate the point. This is not good, and I feel very unwilling to let all the passion reside in the south!

When people ask me about what’s going on here at Cornell, in the area, I have some praises!God is at work, and he’s doing some cool things in the lives of students, but the reality is, my team and I are trusting God for a lot more!

We yearn for students to be running after Jesus with reckless abandon

Living with true faith, with full trust in God.

I’m praying for students to experience life altering Victory over sin! Sins that hold them back from living powerfully for God.

We pray for students to forsake empty worthless idols like sex, fame, vanity, riches, success, comfort

We want students here to have truly Christ-centered ambitions. Truly seeking God’s will for their lives!

We want our movement to advance in mission on this campus with courage, and we want that bold missional advance to spread out from here into the community and the rest of the world!

We want our ministry to be a dynamic Jesus loving Truth and Grace community.

Seeing the potential, not wasting their lives, doing all for HIS GLORY

Would we be known by our selfless, serving of this world that Jesus might be exalted.

Living by faith, not fear! By faith, not by sight

That God would connect the Gospel with more international students

We want to be a big time missions sending school. We want lots of students to go on summer missions!

A group passionate about sharing our faith

Reach different groups like the ROTC

Student leaders who are committed.

There is a lot of work to be done up here! Please join us in praying, and trusting God to move in a mighty way at Cornell, and Ithaca College, and SUNY Cortland.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We all Meditate.

Our friends Stan and Alison Matuzs hosted a week of prayer before the semester started. They set up a couple of places on and near the University for people to go and spend some time in extended prayer. It was a "prayer room" and in the room, they had different stations to visit. At each station there would be a topic to pray for, or some scripture to focus on. For example, one of the stations simply said "Haiti" and we prayed for Haiti.

I wrote this down from one of the stations. I'm assuming either Stan or Alison wrote it.

"We all meditate. We all spend a large portion of our time in some form of meditation. The thing is, what we meditate on may or may not be worth while. In fact, what we habitually think about is frequently unhealthy for our growth as Christians. Often it is simply sinful."

For me, it was both convicting, and helpful to spend some time thinking about what it is that I meditate on besides God.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Shane and Shane fans!

I (J.W.) am now officially a Shane & Shane fan. Shane and Shane are two very talented guys who play some really great Christian music. Their new cd is awesome!

If you haven't heard of them, these guys have been around for quite awhile now. Actually before there were two Shanes, there was just one -Shane Bernard. My brother in law Tim was a big fan. He and others have tried to turn me onto these guys before, but I was just never really feelin' it.

I've acknowledged their talent all along, and I've appreciated a few of their songs in the past, but now I'm a real fan!

They came out and played at our Boston Winter Conference a couple weeks ago. Some of the staff and students were super psyched about that, but I wasn't overly enthused. I went to the concert, and i enjoyed it. I liked some of the songs a lot, and others were just o.k. But as I listened to the music at the show, I began to appreciate the lyrics more than I had before, and I was impressed by the theological depth of their message.

Stephanie bought a couple of their cd's including their newest "Everything is different" and that's where I really got sold. I love this cd. I can listen to every track. My sister and Stephanie and I have been playing it at our house almost constantly for the past two weeks!

Shane and Shane are known for their harmony and Shane Bernard's trademark double strumming. He's an amazing guitarist, and the guys voices really blend together well. In the past, I thought they needed to jam out a little more -to pick up the pace! This new cd has some good jams. Also, in the past, I thought they sounded a little too "breathy" like John Mayer, and it kind of annoyed me! But I'm past all that now, and I'm rockin to these guys non-stop.

As Stephanie's sister exclaimed: "Finally!"

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our God is Personal

The film Evan Almighty has been replaying over and over on TV recently. My boys and I have watched pretty much all of it again over the course of the last couple of weeks. The other night, Joe and I were watching the climactic flood scene again. I like it, because much like the actual Noah’s ark narrative, I get a picture of the Gospel – people being saved by entering into the Ark. My kids like it of course because it’s dramatic and there are tigers and camels and monkeys and all sorts of cool animals!

I changed the channel at the end, right before Evan goes to have his final conversation with God under a tree. “God” is played by Morgan Freeman.

Joe immediately exclaimed “turn it back dad! Turn it back!”

So, I did! I had no idea, he wanted to see that part.

“That’s God.” Joe said to me. He watched the scene, which he’d apparently already seen before with intrigue. He was intent and engaged.
“Well,” I said, “that’s an actor buddy –He’s not really God right?

“Yeah.” He said. His tone indicating a “whatever.”

He’s only 3, and he’s still trying to figure out exactly how this whole God thing works. And actually, he’s still trying to figure out how movies work! I observed that he was attracted to the character of ‘God’, so I didn’t feel the need to try and clear up all the confusion. I just let it go.

It all reminded me of the time a couple of years ago, when I ended up watching that movie with a different relative. He’s a guy who historically has been very, very antagonistic about God. He’s even acted out fairly belligerently when the topic of God, or even church came up. He can get pretty angry, and he’s expressed his opinion that the Christian conception of God is totally stupid and even offensive.

So we ended up watching Evan Almighty together, and he liked it. And I remember him saying specifically “I really liked Morgan Freeman as God, he was really good.”

That was surprising to me, because again, this guy really never says anything where “like” and “God” are in the same sentence! Now, I’m fully aware that the theology in that movie is far from accurate in many ways, but this is what I thought when he said that.

The truth is, God is probably a lot more like Morgan Freeman in that movie than he is like the god formed in many people’s warped, misinformed and cynical misconceptions.

In the movie, Morgan Freeman’s ‘God’ is powerful, and wise and good. He demonstrates a certain omnipresence and sovereignty. He is also tender, caring and funny! Above all, he’s personal!

And that’s real! The truth is that the God of the Bible is an intensely personal God!

I think that ending scene of the movie is a beautiful one. (Aside of course, from the Christ-less theologizing about the ultimate meaning of the Ark of course.) In it, God dances with Evan, and talks with him as a friend. It’s incredible! The idea that, the all powerful God of the Universe would talk as a friend, to man.

That’s true, and that’s Christian. And, I think that’s why Joe asked me to flip the channel back!

C.S. Lewis talks about our Personal God in Mere Christianity (pg 160)
A good many people nowadays say, ‘I believe in a God, but not in a personal God.’ They feel that the mysterious something which is behind all other things must be more than a person. Now the Christians quite agree. But the Christians are the only people who offer any idea of what a being that is beyond personality could be like. All the other people, though they say that God is beyond personality, really think of Him as something impersonal: that is, as something less than personal. If you are looking for something super-personal, something more than a person, then it is not a question of choosing between the Christian idea and the other ideas. The Christian idea is the only one on the market.