Grateful

I was tired yesterday evening when I walked onto the Lone Star College University Park campus. It was time for our weekly Core meeting (the Core is the Christian club I help lead at LSC UP). I was lugging my backpack and a carry-case of thirty Chick Fil A sandwiches that Lone Star generously provided fo us. They are good to us.

It didn’t matter that I was tired. When i walked into the building i had the same energizing feeling that I get every week: deep affection for this great little community college campus and gratefulness and wonder that I get to do this.

Here is a picture of the group last night. They devoured the sandwiches, by the way. I’m blessed a million ways.

Are millennials selfish and entitled?

Russell Moore says no. I know a lot of millennials and I agree with him. The following really resonated with me:

Most of the Millennial-age gospel Christians I know are far more theologically rooted than their parents’ generation. Most of them are far more committed to reaching outside of Christian subcultures to share the gospel with people not like them. Would some of them rather discuss theology than evangelize? Yes, just as many in the last generation would rather discuss evangelism than evangelize.

On the whole, though, I find the Millennial generation’s grasp of gospel Christianity far better than what we’ve seen in a long time. They tend to be better at articulating a Christian vision of life, because they’ve had to do so all their lives, never able to count on a pseudo-Christian culture to do pre-evangelism for them.

Emphasis mine. Read the whole thing.

Pure in heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 ESV

We were discussing this verse, along with the other Beatitudes, last night in College lifegroup. One of the people in our group mentioned that this verse is hard – that he struggles with being pure in heart.

It dawned on me that I’m not  exactly sure what “pure in heart” means. I realized that I haven’t thought about it much, to my discredit. Then a definition of pure in heart presented itself to me; here it is:

“You’ll know that you’re pure in heart when you would be comfortable with other people being able to hear the innermost thoughts of your heart.”

I realized right then that I have so far to go. I think all sorts of horrible things. I entertain bitterness, envy, anger, selfish dreams, and all manner of other bad things in my heart and it would horrify me if other people could hear my thoughts.

I’m not kidding – this scares me. I need heart surgery.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14 ESV

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Encouraging day

Today I got to have lunch with a brother who has spent decades serving, mentoring, encouraging, teaching, leading, and befriending young people. There are few people I respect more. He wanted to talk about ministry to college students and young singles – they are starting a community for that at their church. I left that lunch wanting to explode with the encouragement and excitement. I love it when churches invest in college students and young singles, and remain confused and disheartened that so many don’t.

Tonight I got to be with these wonderful people (pictured below) at the Core, a Christian gathering that was started by a friend at our local community college, Lone Star. He has become very busy (he works for Ted Cruz’s campaign) and so I have gotten to lead it this semester.

Tonight we talked about Romans 6:3-6, and the newness of life brought back from the dead by Jesus. Several of them shared their stories, and others shared the newness of what God is doing in their lives now. Several people shared with me before the session started that their day had been really difficult, and during the session we had several moments of hilarity – snafus in the worship time, one of our girls getting her foot tangled in her purse and performing one of those hilarious slow motion tumbles from her chair (she was never in danger of getting hurt). We laughed and laughed and I thought about how kind of the Lord to de-stress those of us who have had stressful weeks.

It was a great night. I can’t believe I get to do this.

20160209Core

We need old college ministers

So why am I – a 39 year old, bald, father of 5 – still trudging out on campus mixing it up with 18 year olds?

Because college students are the most strategic mission field in the world.

From We need old college ministers by Tim Casteel.

Being a lot older than 39, there’s a danger that I’m biased. But in my experience with students over the decades, I’ve noticed that some of the absolute best mentors and disciplers – often times absolutely beloved by the students – were/are people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

In fact, one of the most dynamic and effective disciplers of high school girls that I know is turning 70 next year.

Age is not a limiter. Passion and commitment are. We need all ages pouring into students.

Also: “college students are the most strategic mission field in the world.” Yes x 1,000,000.

“And they devoted themselves . . .”

This is based on a short talk I gave at our college lifegroup night of worship last night.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

– Acts 2:42-47

I’ve read this passage hundreds of times. Today as I read it again I noticed the first four words as if for the first time: “And they devoted themselves”.

One truism about people in general (and perhaps young people in particular) is that many of us are looking for something to devote ourselves to. Something worthwhile. Something meaningful. Something we can live for and die for. You may be feeling that today.

Acts 2:42-47 is an invitation to devote yourselves. To set aside this summer to taking new steps, large steps in your relationship to Jesus. If you are in Christ, it’s an invitation to own your faith more, to devote yourself to Jesus more fully and more deeply than ever before. If you aren’t yet a believer in Christ, what better time than tonight to take that first step? Let’s speak the good news of Jesus to ourselves and to each other. I deserve God’s wrath for what I’ve done in life, to be separated forever from Him in hell. Yet he devoted himself to the salvation of me and you and to the salvation of the whole world. He died the death I deserved to die and rose again in new, eternal life and offers me that as well! This is such good news, something that we can feast on together!

Lifegroup is not a house on one night; it’s a group of people who are alive. Our hope for College lifegroup is that it will be an experience in Jesus that you can devote yourself to this summer. Not just for yourself, but for others; to devote yourself to teaching and friendship together, to eating together, praying together, worshiping together, being in awe together, seeing God together, helping each other, sacrificing for each other, making your relationship to Jesus an every day thing, an all the time thing. Devoting yourself to being glad rather than angsty, generous rather than selfish, to praising God rather than idols, to being truly alive, and to watching the Lord add daily to you and to us and to himself those who are being saved.

That’s the invitation! We’re ready to devote ourselves to it, and I hope and pray you are too.