“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat – refreshing! Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces.”
Proverbs 25:13-14 (The Message)
What kind of friend are you?
A great ministry resource that has helped me keep on top of the cultural trends in ministering to students is the Ivy Jungle Network. The following are two reports in their latest newslettter that stood out to me.
“Borrowing More: In 1993, less than a third of undergraduate students borrowed to pay for college. Last year that figure topped 50% and is expected to keep climbing. The amount has also increased with the annual debt for borrowers at private universities increasing by 70%. Not only are more students taking out loans, a report called “Drowning in Debt: The Emerging Student Loan Crisis” reports that the kinds of loans students are procuring are riskier and carry higher interest rates, especially among minority students. (Wichita Business Journal July 9, 2009)”
In Luke 10:2, Jesus asked His disciples to pray for laborers. In the years that I’ve worked with ethnic minority students, the need for laborers is very apparent. These laborers will either come from the community or from students being raised up. But as we’ve seen in with our current economic crisis, debt is extremely crippling. And that is no different when it comes to people being able to minister, free of the shackles of debt. I pray that as we work with students, we are able to not only help them see their need for Christ in their spiritual lives, but that we are able to help students make wise spiritual decisions in their finances.
“Atheists De-baptize: Atheists in four states and a number of college campuses have begun practicing a “de-baptizing” ceremony in which a blow dryer labeled “Reason” is used to blow away the folly of religious belief and previous baptism. The Secular Student Alliance sponsors atheists groups on a number college campuses across the country that offer the ceremony. While some question the use of such a mock ceremony, others say they find the process cathartic and have certificates made to commemorate the event. (USA Today July 21, 2009)”
This report just saddens me to no end. The “mock ceremony” definitely saddens me, but not as much as how students feel the need to “blow away the folly of religious belief and previous baptism”. God, please forgive us, the Church, for the ways we have misrepresented Your love and Your gospel.
With rising fuel prices (seems that everything starts off with that phrase these days), travel is becoming extremely ridiculous. Everyone already knows about American and United charging $15 each way for checked bags. By the way, they now have hired a new force of “Luggage Police” to monitor carry-on bags. But apparently that’s not enough to gouge passengers. Spirit airlines decided it’s not enough to charge passengers for a plane ticket, let’s charge them for an actual seat. $5 for the stinkin’ middle seat! Seriously!? And for all those people who have miles points credit cards, and frequent flyer miles, well, it’ll actually cost you $25-$50 to redeem your “free” flights. What will they think of next? Each passenger must weigh in upon check-in. Now pay an additional fee for fuel consumption per pound…oh wait. The bigger you are, the more air you breathe…we’ll charge for that too.
Ridiculous. I just want my free peanuts. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
So this little piece of news is a little old now, but still…seriously!?! I could not believe it when I read this. Seventeen girls pregnant in one high school. “Some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were.” If you have a minute, click on the link, and be outraged.
Last night, I was able to participate in a long lost tradition. Anyone who knows me knows that keeping traditions is not something really important to me. But I’m actually praying that will change now that I’m married and will hopefully have a family of my own one day. But I digress…A friend and her husband decided they wanted to take what the Lord has been impressing on their hearts and share with others, namely attempting to keep the feasts of Leviticus 23. So last night we had a little version of Feast of Shavuot (or Pentecost).
Sad to admit, but in the past, whenever I heard Pentecost, I just associated it with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in many ways, the start of the church. Never once did I stop to think, Pentecost is actually Jewish related. Anyway, during the feast/festival, one of the traditions was to read the book of Ruth.
I had seen before how the story of Ruth and Boaz was a great picture of Christ’s redeeming work. But reading Ruth this go around in the context of Pentecost, and the setting of when the story actually took place, made me fall in love with God even more.
On the day of Pentecost in Acts, the Holy Spirit was given, God openly showed the Jewish people that the gentiles were invited into God’s family as well. In Ruth, Boaz redeemed Ruth – a Moabitess, and brought her into the family. She was known throughout town and accepted, and through her line came David, and ultimately Jesus.
Throughout history and across cultures, God has written stories to depict His redeeming love, His pursuit of His people, His provision. What a masterful, creative, and beautiful God we serve! Thank you Jason and TJ for having this little glimpse into tradition.
“Have you read Tim Keller’s new book?”
“Have you read Tim Keller’s new book?”
“Have you read Tim Keller’s new book?”
Ok, I get the point! Maybe I should check out Tim Keller’s new book – The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. I had three different people ask me that same question these last 2 days. Apparently it’s a big deal. The book has its own website; there are youtube videos introducing the book; and countless articles and websites are out there raving about this book.
I’ve heard two, maybe three, messages given by Tim Keller. One in person, and the rest on mp3’s. I know many people listen to his stuff, and he’s done a ton of great work in New York city. But being the cheap, I mean, frugal Chinese American, I refuse to pay to listen to his messages on mp3.
A friend told me yesterday that Tim Keller’s the modern blend of Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis. Which, if that is true, I may definitely start checking more of his stuff out. Anyway, if you (one of my 3 faithful readers) have read this book, please comment and let me know what you think.
It was 1987, I was a towering 4′ (maybe) 6″ menace from the mound. I had perfected two pitches. A mean sinker and an un-hittable fastball with pinpoint accuracy. But then came that one fateful day during our team warm up. We were all near the back fence playing catch and loosening up. The ball was up in the air, I went back, caught the ball, turned my head and found the fence. Blood gushed out of a deep gash a quarter of inch under my right eye, and it was off to the ER to get stitches. I was supposed to pitch that game, but instead, the coach’s son took the mound, and I never pitched again. Would I have been the original “dice-k”? Probably not, but who knows how long I could’ve played baseball for? High school? College? Minors? Oh well, missed opportunity.
Life is full of those. Some are really insignificant, like driving down the highway and realizing you need gas just as you pass a gas station only to find that all the ones you pass now are 2 cents more. And then some are really significant, with eternal ramifications.
The other day, I was in the kitchen with my cousin talking about questions kids ask, and the following conversation ensued:
cousin: Cameron asked me a hard question the other day.
me: Oh yeah? What did he ask?
cousin: He asked, “If I’m good, will God bring me back to life?” Do you see how hard that question is?
me: What did you say?
cousin: I asked Cameron why he asked that question. Cameron’s teacher had told him that God brought Jesus back to life after he died.
me: That is a tricky question.
And that was pretty much the last thing I said. All along, in my head, I was thinking, perfect opportunity to explain the amazing grace that God offers. He does want to bring us back to life, in fact, he wants to give us eternal life. But all I could muster was “That is a tricky question.” Missed opportunity? Uh…what do you think? And that’s what I do for a living – sorta. I share with students all the time about Christ and I couldn’t share with my very own nephew.