It's about LIFE

The title of this post, "It's about LIFE" is taken from the lectures of Rikk Watts, a Biblical Scholar and professor who graced us with his presence and teaching out at our Winter Camp this past weekend. (Yes I'm still sleepy from camp)

It seemed appropriate to use that title as I reflected on this past weekend, but also on the privilege of ministry in general. Despite the difficulties, the increasing hostility towards a christian worldview on the college campus, the long hours, the inevitable pain of people who you minister to and share life with turning away and rejecting you or the faith, the outlook we have can be anchored by something much less transitory than the circumstances of any given week. That outlook of life, abundant life, being always on offer from Jesus as he talks about in John 10 and elsewhere. 

Which leads me to the reflection that one of the most oxymoronic things for us should be being a pessimistic or hopeless christian. We have a much different truth than the world's that shapes our interpretation of what to do when pessimism or hopelessness about the state of things comes knocking. Disclaimer** Which is not to say I think we should operate from a vague/naive sense that everything is all well and good or that issues going now don't have consequences.   

Leslie Newbigin, when asked whether he was an optimist or a pessimist famously said, "I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead." I've thought about this on and off throughout the past few years and have found the reality of that statement meaningful the more I've thought about it. I think it means that my outlook on life is not determined by a particular slant on how I look at things, nor should it be based on external circumstances that can at any given point be getting worse or better. Instead as a follower of Jesus I have the option to be tethered to the reality that is Jesus Christ came through death and that he is the "first-fruits" (1Cor 15) of that resurrection (life) that is to come for his followers and indeed the creation itself. (Romans 8, Revelation 21, 22). This is the kind of reminder needed for me often. 

The theme for our year is life to the full. It's on our t-shirts and hats and water bottles. How fitting that for our Winter Camp we got to have Professor Rikk down from Canada where he teaches at Regent seminary. His lectures this weekend inspired us and bolstered the faith of a ton of young people, so praise God for that. He took time to show the historicity of the gospels. We learned how these documents are highly unusual, and frankly it's extremely improbable that they would have come about unless they were true historical accounts. (Explaining an explosive movement like Christianity without a massive catalytic event  such as say a man rising from the dead is an awkwardly difficult task for skeptics for instance) Check the link below for more thoughts from Rikk on just how stunning these gospels are from a historical document viewpoint alone. 

Rikk also talked about Jesus and the way Jesus coming and teaching changed the trajectory of the world forever. The primary modes of thinking in society at the time was based on greek or hellenistic worldviews. Plato and Aristotle. The ultimate expression of societal ideals was based on man's ability to "reason" This, so they thought, led to the right kind of society. Yet the kind of society that reason got them was one that would truly be a terrifying place to exist for most people compared to the world we live in today. Just to name a few things, slavery was normal. Human "rights" were unfathomable, societal classes were sharply divided, and the power of the elite was extreme compared to the destitution of the lower classes. Lower classes were widely viewed as expendable and with the exception of a precious few critics of the society at the time, this was just accepted as normal. 

Without Jesus we don't get care for the poor. Without Jesus we don't get the idea of people being created equal. Without Jesus we don't get women being treated as something other than second class humans. Without Jesus we don't get a vision of being in loving relationship with other people groups than our own. The list goes on, and I don't say that just as a rhetorical cliche, it really does. The umbrella that all this falls under though is that without Jesus we don't get LIFE. He's the only one who can bring someone through death. He's the only one who can truly redeem and transform a person or a society. So we who follow him are to bring life and life to the full like He did. 

This update was a little different, but I hope you enjoyed reading!

Here's a link the the sessions from Winter Camp. The talks are there as videos and theres another link at the top for just audio. I really encourage you to listen.

Prayer Requests:

- It's been difficult this semester getting our big room we need on campus to have our weekly fellowship meeting. We're still in talks with the campus to get this nailed down, so please pray we can get this finalized quickly!

- We're in the first couple of weeks of a new semester, so be praying for the students as they get underway with classes. Pray that they are able to be able to do well and that they are meeting and befriending their peers in those classes and inviting them into community. 

- Over the next month or so we will be making decisions in regards to hiring some of the 19 interns/apprentices we've had on board with us across our campuses this school year. Pray for those decisions and conversations!

Thanks you for your support and love in taking the time to read this. You're a part of this ministry and it means a lot to me!



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