Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wipe Away Tears

At my CCO Staff Seminar this week, our speaker referenced a passage from Revelation that really stuck out to me.  He was talking about multiculturalism, and actually used a much longer portion of Revelation 7 to talk about why we should be engaging in multi-ethnic relationships and ministries now (the reason:  because Heaven will be one big multi-ethnic party!).  

But this is what John learns about what happens to those who come out of the great tribulation:  
They are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; 
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:15-17)

There are lots of different ways to describe the work of a campus minister, or to describe people in ministry in general.  These are some that we use at the CCO:  transforming college students to transform the world.  the CCO partners with churches, colleges, and other organizations to develop men and women who live out their Christian faith in every area of life.  our core values:  all things belong to God; Jesus changes people's lives; we love college students; faithfulness is pursued together; we celebrate life.  

As our speaker was reading through the Revelation passage, he paused when he got to the last line.  "You know," he said, "that would be a pretty good job description for a campus minister.  'What do you do?'  I wipe away tears."  

As I have reflected on his words the past few days, I've decided that I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.  We see so many broken, hurting people in the world every day.  We could choose to become depressed about it, or become cynical about our fellow mankind.  We could embrace the darkness.  We could wear ourselves ragged trying to heal all the broken people.  Or, as John learns in Revelation, we could partner with God and begin wiping away people's tears.  We do not have all the answers, and we cannot fix all the problems.  The world will remain a broken place until Jesus Christ returns to earth.  But little by little, one cheek at a time, we can begin to offer God's peace to the broken hearts all around us, and wipe the tears from their eyes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Word of Advice for Youth Leaders:

Do not leave your cell phones laying around for kids to pick up.

Instead of spending time telling them about Jesus, let them play with your new laptop:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

My roommate and I happen to celebrate our birthdays just two weeks apart.  Being born in May, we were both always the youngest in our classes at school, and so she takes great pleasure in the fact that she is older than me.  It is apparently a good month for having babies, as we've discovered that many of our friends also share May birthdays.  (In November we all celebrated our half-birthdays together with ... a half birthday cake!)
2009 also happens to be a "milestone" year for many in my life.  E and I are turning 25, and other friends are turning 21, 30, and 35.  Perhaps because people of like minds gravitate towards each other, or perhaps just because of a beautiful coincidence, a lot of these friends (myself included) are expressing a kind of dissatisfaction with life at this point.  E.g., "I never imagined that at 25, or at 30, or 35, that I still wouldn't have done this with my life."  
All the discussions with different friends eventually led to the creation of my "25 for 25" list:  25 goals I hope to accomplish for my 25th birthday.  Credit for the list idea goes to E's coworker who is turning 35 this year and created such a list for herself.  My list isn't actually complete, and will probably be a work in progress until my birthday in May.  E, however, has already finished hers and is planning to implement it as her New Year's Resolutions.  I'll probably start working towards my goals as I come up with them.  
I'm still processing the purpose of having such a list, though.  (Trying to figure out the goal for my goals, if you will. :)  Some goals concern character traits I'm trying to improve.  Some are an attempt to move my life and career.  And some are just because I want to be able to say that I've done them.  
Yesterday I watched a movie called Serenity.  Towards the end of the movie, the characters discover the results of a government experiment to try and create a perfect, peaceful society.  They put a chemical into the air that reduced anger and aggression.  The chemical worked, but eventually the people became so calm and relaxed that they stopped doing anything.  They stopped working, eating, moving...  and eventually they just stopped living.  
Somewhere, someone will always believe that you can make people better.  But as the crew of Serenity found out, it doesn't work.  You cannot make better people in one broad sweep.  But when people decide to make themselves better, when people decide for themselves to change, then the world becomes a little bit brighter.  Light comes to the world one candle at a time, one person at a time, one goal at a time.  

(Or 25 at a time.)