Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Do Something!

What is God’s will for your life?

Is that an easy question or a difficult one to answer?

I’ve been carrying Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something in my bag for past two weeks promoting it and passing it around because it’s full of good theology, it’s very short and it is extremely relevant. It will only cost you $10 and take 2 hours of your life, and if I were you I’d get online and buy one right now.

Hanging out on campus I hear students constantly talking about trying to “figure out God’s will.” Mostly, they are talking about the big life decisions like who does God want them to marry? Should they get married? They ask questions like “Am I studying the right thing, or does the Lord want me to change my major?” People pray and ask God to show them which internship to take, or where they should spend their summer. I wave the banner for summer missions and hear people say “I’ll pray and see if God wants me to go somewhere this year.” Some add, “I don’t want to go on a summer mission just because I think it’s a good idea, I want it to do what the Lord wants me to do.” It’s not just students who do this of course. Every time a Christian has a big decision they will talk about trying to discern God’s will.

And of course, in many ways this is a good thing! –except that there are so many misconceptions about how God operates and what God’s will is. And when you combine these skewed ways of thinking with all the many decisions we have to make these days, there can be lots of confusion. Paralyzing confusion actually. We can become so caught up in trying to find God’s will for this or that situation that we end up not doing anything! People become stagnant and ruled by fear. The question God cares about most is not “where should I live?” but “Do I love the Lord with all my heart?”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This is Country Music

I just wanted to share a song we've been jamming to for the past couple of months.

I'm a big fan of country music, and if I had to choose an artist who consistently produces great songs it would be Brad Paisley. He's had a couple of duds, but overall it's easy for anyone to acknowledge that Paisley is at the top for a reason.

This song is one of his newest. It's released as a single at this point, and he debuted it the CMA awards a couple of months ago. This song proudly embraces all that some might consider cheesy and lame about country music and rolls it out in heartfelt two step rhythm. If you don't like country music, then it would make sense why you wouldn't like this song. But all the same, Paisley does a great job of laying out some of the basic reasons that country music appeals and connects with people.

The first lines are great:
"You're not supposed to say the word 'cancer' in a song;
And tellin' folks that Jesus is the answer can rub em wrong
It aint hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns and momma!
But This is Country Music and WE DO!

The country music industry is definitely a business, and in my opinion, there are some country stars who are nothing more than products of the Nashville machine. But Paisley is authentic, creative and super talented. His guitar skills are ridiculous; one guy I used to work with called him the Eddie Van-Halen of country music, and I think that is a good description. Listen to his songs and notice that he is the one playing the most complicated riffs -not some paid studio musician. And he's also written most of his own songs which is sweet.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why we are Here

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out at the Mott House on North Campus. I met a guy there named Michael. He was a Cornell grad class of 1978. We got to talking and he informed me that he is a missionary in Northern Europe and he’s currently studying in the U.K. When I told him that I was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, he cordially said “I have to thank you! It was through Campus Crusade that I came to know the Lord.” We praised God together.

A bit later I learned though, that in fact Michael did not come to know Jesus Christ at Cornell. Though God had used our ministry in his life, it had been in Japan some years later. That’s a cool story, and God gets all the credit for sure, but there was also a sad and tragic part to the tale. While Michael was in school here at Cornell over 30 years ago, no one ever talked to him about God. He studied and lived in Ithaca for 4 years without ever being exposed to the glory of the Gospel!

Compelled by the love of Christ, we labor together so that doesn’t happen! Our hope as CRU is to put the Gospel within arms reach of every student. We want to be a group of people who make Jesus known all over campus. Jesus said plainly that HE is the way, and the truth, and the life and nobody can come to know God except through a relationship with him. (John 14:6) Jesus died on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God and we want everybody to know that. It is our goal that every student at Cornell would know someone who is truly following Jesus.

What would our campus look like if everyone who followed Christ was truly living out their call to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light?” And beyond that, what would the world look like?

Cornell is an extremely strategic place to declare the good news. At the end of his time on earth, Jesus commissioned his followers to go out into the whole world and make disciples. When Bill Bright started Campus Crusade for Christ at UCLA in 1951 he did so because he recognized that the college campus is a place where the leaders of the future are gathered. He said “reach the campus today, reach the world tomorrow”. Over half of all Cornell students are from outside New York and 7% of our undergrad population is from outside of the United States. If more students can come to know Jesus while here at school, we will see the love of Christ leave here and go all over the place!

We want to spread out all over this campus, extending the love of Christ into every corner and culture. As one senior staff shared with me about a year ago; “we want to be like the vendors at Yankee stadium.” We want to be all over campus making the gospel so available, that no one would go four years here never hearing the name of Jesus.

As a ministry, we want to help students live for God make the most of the opportunities that college affords. CRU exists to help students live lives that count for eternity; to help each other to not waste our lives!

This post also available at www.cornellcru.com

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Article: Divisive vs. Persuasive

World Magazine is a periodical that I like to read in order to keep up with current events. Thru World, I have been introduced to author/contributors such as Anthony Bradley. His posts and online videos have definitely blessed me as well as challenged me and I encourage you to check him out and read anything he's written.

The Magazine seeks to bring the Christian worldview into focus while reporting on life, politics and current issues. Though a 'conservative' myself, I think that the magazine has become a bit too focused on politics in the last couple of years; or rather, I think the magazine has become too overt (though un-officially) in aligning with the republican party. Every one is entitled to their position, but I think this overt alignment will only lead to less readers, and that's unfortunate because there is a lot of good stuff in this magazine.

I like articles like this one a lot. Lee Wishing is bringing Jesus' words to bear on our current political discourse. His post is educational and applicable to everyone; whether conservative or liberal. This article highlights the way faith in Christ is supposed to affect our lives in this World -which I think is the point of the magazine. Our citizenship in God's kingdom should shape our involvement as citizens in earthly kingdoms, and the ways of our King transcend party lines.

Click above, or check it out here.

Anthony Bradley Links:

Inspiration from Boston

Though the Boston Winter Conference is almost a month behind us, I wanted to share these highlights from the Student Evaluation Forms.

Q: What was the most important thing you learned at BWC 2011?

  • "My passion and desire to intentionally bring Jesus Christ into my friend's lives is literally bursting from my heart."
  • "What I have learned was to be free and not be bound to sin. To be a slave for Christ."
  • "That I am "on the hook" when it comes to spreading the gospel. I am still terrified and unsure bu I know I don't want to be a silent Christian anymore."
  • "sealed with the Spirit isn't fleeting"
  • "freedom is found in Christ, but experienced in the body."
  • "Re-learning the importance of prayer"
  • "getting back to the heart of worship, my first love -being ignited, passionate for Jesus again and grew more by praying and need for intimate time with God."
  • "Freedom doesn't mean I can just do whatever I want - it means I'm free to struggle and free from sin"
  • "The importance of sharing my faith with others"
  • "Surrender, serve, speak all for Jesus!"
  • "How to share the gospel"
  • "A passion for evangelism."
  • "Life isn't about my plans according to the standard expectation. The only everlasting impact is winning souls to Christ."