Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Retreat was fantastic!

This past weekend, we got together with students from all over Upstate New York for our annual Fall Getaway. I don't know how many students were there in total, but we had over 50 from Cornell with us as well as one from Ithaca College and one from Tomkins County Community College. The time there was very well spent, and I'm gonna give 5 reasons I thought it so good!

#1 FELLOWSHIP! It was so great to be able to hang out together and spend some extended time worshipping God, playing sports, eating, and sharing life. Life on Campus is so busy, and so intense, it is necessary to get off campus every now and then and just chill! We had an awesome group most of whom had never been on fall retreat with us!
#2 OUR SPEAKER! Pastor Mark Gedicks is from Windam Baptist church up in Maine. He delivered 4 powerful Gospel-centered messages to challenge, exhort and inspire us to live the "good life" that God has called us to. Mark did a great job casting vision for the kind of missional lives students should be living on campus. Additionally he was able to share his heart for this whole Northeast region -currently the most un-churched region in America!
#3 THE WEATHER! Out here in upstate New York, you can't always count on sun to go with your fun! But this weekend out on Seneca Lake the weather was awesome! On Friday night I was walking across the lawn at 2:00am in a t-shirt with no jacket on! And it's amazing how much community is fostered when you can sit outside and talk for hours with people and not have to worry about getting drenched or freezing to death!
#4 TEAM BUILDING! This year we hit the ground running with some really strong small groups. We have 8 of them going right now including one that is specifically for grad students. On Saturday afternoon we had everyone divide up into their community groups to do some team building activities related to trust, bonding and community. We used programs developed by LIFELINES which is our outdoor ministry here at Cornell. It was a big win, and certainly enabled our groups to get to know each other better.
#5 THE MUSIC! Our own Cornell Praise Band lead by Larry Lin and Sam Ramsey served as worship leaders for first half of the retreat, and the Syracuse Praise Band lead for the second half. Both bands were really good, and stewarded their talents for the blessing of others and the Glory of God!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lifelines Summer Project Video

Staff Friend Matt Williams put together a short video about this past summer in Crested Butte.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Joe Turns 4

Our little “Cornhusker” Joe turned 4 this week.

To some extent, he gets the short end of the stick having his birthday in September. Unlike Jack, his birthday is in the fall when we are at home. ( Jack hasn’t had two birthdays in the same place yet –we’re always somewhere different on our summer assignments. ) But back in July we had a pre-birthday Birthday party for Joe out in New Mexico. He really loves White sands, so we hung out there with our family and we brought a large cookie –cake and sang happy Birthday to Joe.He was so happy.

And then yesterday morning, we got up, ate cinnamon rolls and opened some presents. Joe got a little Batman batcave thing that he’s had his eye on for quite awhile. He and his brothers spent the day playing with it and coloring in some new coloring books.

We spent some time remembering the day Joe was born. We remembered dropping Jack off at Adam and Tracy’s house in the early morning and rushing to the hospital there in Kearney, Nebraska. Steph was laboring very quickly, and we almost didn’t make it into a room before Joe was born! We thought he might be delivered in the hallway!

When Jack was born, we knew we were expecting a boy, but for Joe, we opted for a surprise. So it wasn’t until he came out that we knew the sex. We were so happy for Jack to have a little brother.

Joe was an easy baby. He slept like a champion and was very content. And now he’s starting his second year of preschool!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everyone Has a Gospel Story

Pastor and Author Tim Chester once said “Everyone has a Gospel Story.”

Here’s what he meant. Everyone has a set of beliefs that shapes their lives, impacts their behavior, affects all of their relationships -and those beliefs are ultimately set within the context of a basic narrative. Now this is not explicit, -you can’t walk up to people and say to them “Hey, tell me your gospel story” because they won’t even know what you are talking about. But in the same way that The Christian Gospel story informs the most important areas of our lives, competing narratives, false gospel stories provide a framework that lends structure and meaning and direction to peoples lives.

Biblical theology outlines the Christian Gospel Story in this order: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation.

The creation account helps us to understand who we are. God is loving, powerful and personal. God is creator, and we are his creatures. We are made in his image that we might Glorify and enjoy him forever.

The fall answers the question “What’s wrong with the world?” or “What’s wrong with me? Mankind is sinful, our hearts are rebellious towards God. We are wicked. We, are ruled by evil desires, and trying to be our own God

Redemption helps us understand “What the solution is”. What will it take to put my life right? What will make the world a better place? Jesus Christ is the savior of the World. He came to earth to die on the cross to free us from sin, and to reconcile us with God.

Consummation points us to our ultimate source of Hope. This World is God’s, and we have messed everything up with sin. But God is redeeming the world, and someday we will be with him and he will make all things new. God is our hope.

Likewise, false Gospel stories can be outlined in this same way. For example, here’s the ‘gospel story’ preached by your typical Men’s magazine.

Creation: You were made to have lots of sex with who ever you want to have sex with! Fall: the problem is…..your pectoral muscles aren’t ‘ripped’ enough, and you look a little pale. Redemption: You need to do all the right work outs and get a tan. Consummation: If you can muster the self discipline, eat right, and tone up your body, you can be the sex-stud you were created to be!

(Women’s magazines preach a similar message.)

Here’s a ‘gospel story’ that is believed by many college students.

Creation: You were made to be rich, successful, and esteemed. Fall: the problem is…..you aren’t quite educated enough, your resume is a little weak, and you don’t know the right people. Redemption: You need to apply yourself to getting a high quality education, a super well-rounded resume and meeting people in high places. Consummation: If you can get into the right school, get the right degree, obtain a high paying prestigious job you will be the happy, rich, successful person you were made to be.

False Gospel stories abound all around us.

What do you believe? What is your Gospel Story?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

57 Hours of Prayer

This past weekend there was a 57 Hour Prayer vigil on campus. The event was organized by a few students from at least a couple of different fellowship groups on campus, and the purpose was to " to ask God to grant us individual and campus revival, with a unity reliant on Jesus Christ, and to develop within us a mindset and attitude of prayer throughout the year." There were prayer stations, each representing a different need and students could walk thru the different stations and pray for specific things. Students were there around the clock praying alone and praying in groups.

At one of the stations there were some small peices of paper and students were encouraged to write down any sins as a means of confession. Then they could put the papers into a bowl that was burned after the vigil was over.

I got to go to the event on Monday morning. There were a number of students there and we interceded together for the campus and for each other.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What is the Real Story?

British Author and Missiologist Leslie Newbigin once wrote “The way we understand human life depends on what conception we have of the humans story. What is the real story of which my life story is a part? That is the question which determines what we believe to be success and what failure.” (The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, pg 15)

The story we believe will radically impact our lives. Our beliefs about the over-arching narrative that our lives are part of will inform our identity and it will shape our ‘worldview’. This will certainly affect the way we live and what we think our life’s purpose and meaning are.

Newbigin continues; “In our contemporary culture….two quite different stories are told. One is the story of evolution, of the development of species through the survival of the strong, and the story of the rise of civilization, our type of civilization, and it’s success in giving humankind mastery of nature. The other story is the one embodied in the Bible, the story of creation and fall, of God’s election of a people to be the bearers of his purpose for humankind, and of the coming of the one in whom that purpose is to be fulfilled. These are two different and incompatible stories.”

In one story we are cellular, biological machines, our very existence is basically random and accidental, and in the other one we are image bearers of the living God of the Universe created to live in relationship with him. In one of them, we are where we are here at the top of the food chain because of how we, or at least our ancestors have clawed, evolved and survived. In the other we’ve been purposefully put where we are by an infinitely powerful being! Two totally different stories! And different implications.

If we are simply animals, it would make sense for us to go thru life striving to survive by “clawing” and “biting” those around us and attempting to evolve into the most dominant creature that we can But if we are image bearers of God, we should serve, and care for those around us and steward the gifts and abilities for the blessing and benefit of others.

What is the real story of which your life story is a part?

Also posted at: www.cornellcru.com