Unless you have familiarity with death I’m not sure it’s very easy to be encouraged or moved by Jesus’ words in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new." I’m not necessarily referring to physical death, although that certainly applies, but rather to the far-reaching implications of the brokenness of this world. Doing college ministry familiarizes one with death and sin. Our staff have gotten more and more familiar with students who desire to numb life’s pains through drugs or alcohol, who believe that a romantic relationship will give them final satisfaction, who think that as long as everyone likes them they will feel loved, and even students who simply ignore the realities of a world they cannot see in hopes that they will be absolved of answering to their Creator who sees them. Is it a joy to wade into these waters? Yes and no.
As we enter into our third year of ministry at Saint Cloud State University I think we have been sobered by the sins that surround us. Don’t get me wrong. Myself and my team (Berto and Elisa) are well aware of our own contributions to the brokenness around us. In fact, I think we all would agree that consistently holding out the light of life to those who prefer the darkness causes us to question the brightness of the very light we’re holding. When we’re not careful, our questions can take a sinister turn. This is when the wading is not so joyful. Strangely, though, we know the light wouldn’t look so bright unless it were contrasted with utter darkness. This gives us hope and longing. We long to see students able to deal with life’s difficulties not by numbing the pain, but by crying out to God. To see romance simply as a gift given that points them back to the Giver is our aim. We hope for students who know they’ll experience disapproval from others at times but not be crushed. And we hope the eternal truth that in Christ "there is no condemnation" would make their faces gladly turn toward their heavenly Father. We aren’t promised we’ll get to see all of this take place in every student’s life, but by his grace we have seen glimpses. Please pray we continue to see more for God’s glory and our joy.
As I sit down to write this little article, I’ve just come from a hospital room visiting one of our long time members at Calvary. In addition to the circumstances that caused him to be admitted, he has been battling a serious health condition for many years.
We continue to study the 400 year history of God’s covenant people, the Israelites, as found in the books of first and second Kings, but as seen through the eyes of Yahweh’s prophets. Our most current study? The prophet Amos, and his poetry, sermons, and oracles.
Child Dedications May 2017
Six children were dedicated this past Sunday. We pray God's blessings upon these children and their parents!
The main aim of the sermon series we are currently in, The Whole Story, is to inspire you to read through the whole Bible over the course of about eighteen months, which began in January 2018. A foundational reason for this is that we believe that on this journey we will experience, week by week, the exciting truth that the Bible is a unified story that points us to Jesus.
The book of the prophet Hosea. Honestly, in first reading, it can be difficult to grasp. There are quite a few movements and shifts in thinking, and our author mixes various styles of writing and a multitude of images and themes. So as I spent time over the course of a week with this book as a reader, and studier, what struck me was that I needed to process and meditate on Hosea as a whole. To step back and see the larger picture. To not get lost in the details. And I kept asking the question, “Is there a major theme here that you are trying to communicate, Father?”
We are now making our way into the “Prophets Before the Exile” section of The Whole Story. I really like the way our Read Scripture plan breaks a bit here from the order of the books of the Old Testament in our common English translation of the bible. For the Read Scripture plan is more in line with how the story actually unfolded.