Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cranky Atheists...

We had another meeting today for our book study of "A Shot of Faith to the Head".
It was a really good meeting, even though we only studied like 12 pages or less, it is pretty challenging stuff, especially for anyone who has not really thought about the content before.  And, Lexi and Shaylee brought a friend, Jodi, who has joined our study and seems eager and interested.  So, praise God for that.  I'm excited to continue through the book.  Here is a quick expert to whet your appetite...or something:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

To be Continued...

I'll post more in the coming days about our Fall Retreat but it was most easily the best fall retreat/event we've had that I can remember! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall Retreat

Quick update and prayer request.
Would you please pray for us as we embark on our weekend Fall Retreat?  There will be 26 of us out at Lake Poinsett this weekend, which is a good sized group for us (something like more than 50% of Wednesday night large group attends, so that's cool).

Please pray for:

  1. Community and relationship building.  That student would grow in friendships with Christ at the center, and that they would make new friends with the same.  A whole weekend of 'together' can be a big deal in this way.
  2. That God would anoint the teaching and preaching of His word as we spend 3+ sessions together studying The Great Commandment.  Brandon is doing most of that teaching, so please pray for a blessing of conviction and clarity, and especially that God would move in everyone's hearts to know him and love him more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I deem thee the QuadraBird

We were a part of organizing another protest outside of Planned Parenthood, in Sioux Falls this past Saturday.  It went well; 130 people showed up, we stood there from 9-11am with easily the same number of signs, and got a very good response from the passing traffic to our "Honk for Life" signs.

We also were the recipients of at least 14 'birds' (that we saw) through the morning.  One car with two especially delightful young ladies granted us what I deemed the "QuadraBird" (so witty).  One pair of hands out the sunroof, the other pair of hands out the passenger window.  We felt special.

Unfortunately, the local media didn't consider the nationally organized protest to be worth covering, with over 290+ PP locations nationwide participating.  O well, at least several thousand passerby's were reminded.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Brookings based India Missionaries?

If you're going to be a missionary to India, typically it's quite necessary to actually go to India.
I was reminded of this principle again recently as I was graciously reminded of the privilege and responsibility that God has given us here at Equip at SDSU.  

So just for a point of reference, these two pictures are of the Student Union (at a particularly quite time of the day today, unfortunately).  At least at SDSU, the Union truly is the "living room" of campus, a very common place for students to come.  They not only have food (and the best food) in the Union in abundance, but they have a lot of couch real-estate.  Fires, couches, tables and all sorts of places to sit and study or just hang out.   

This is where I spend much of my time on campus.  It's simply so central to the life of SDSU that it makes going outside of the union often times unnecessary.  In fact, I asked the Keith, 2nd in command staff guy, "how many students come into the union per week?"  How many would you guess?  2,000?  5,000?  7,000?  I'd say 7,000, wouldn't you?  You'd be wrong though: It's 10,000!  On average, 10,000 students come into the student union through the main (two) entryways.  So, needless to say, it's quite the central opportunity to meet students and engage with many.

Anywho...just thought that'd be an encouraging and interesting little ditty.
Please pray for my final message in our "Twisted" series.  Tomorrow night is "Male and Female He Created Them".  Here is a small snippet of my introduction (stolen largely from Doug Wilson, or at least inspired by):
Ostriches don’t actually stick their heads in the sand, but some people do.  And so, if you aren’t aware that the issue of gender and sexuality is a contentious and hot issue in the past several years, I warmly invite you to put both hands on the ground, and gently pull your head out of that hole.  The past several years has been contentious, but especially the past several months we have witnessed a water-shed moment in American culture.  What once was unthinkable, is now unquestionable.  The SCOTUS ruling (supreme court of the United States) recently declared that two people of the same gender may be legally married and considered the equivalent of opposite sex marriages.  The ‘institution of marriage’ has had nearly universal acceptance and generally the same understanding for millennia as between 1 man and 1 woman. This has been legally changed in the U.S.  Homosexuality used to be taboo and is now not merely accepted, but celebrated.  And increasingly, the refusal to celebrate homosexuality or same-sex marriage is being penalized and demonized.  In late 2014 Facebook had 70 gender options you could choose from.  Google wasn’t going to lose revenue source as the only bigoted company, so google now (last I checked) offers ‘infinite’ gender options: letting you choose anything, or fill in your own word to describe what you think about your gender  (so screw you Facebook, you can’t do infinite + 1).  

Now some of you might simply have a gut, base reaction of “ugh”, or “yuck” or some sort negative reaction.  Others of you might be generally thinking/feeling “That’s good.  Gender options creates a more loving, accepting, and welcoming world.  We don’t want to discriminate”.  You might agree with those who would equate a wedding cake baker or photographer’s polite refusal to bake or shoot a same-sex wedding ceremony with jim-crow, racist bigotry.  To refuse to be a part of celebrating a SS ceremony is the same as whites only drinking fountains or restaurants.  

Ps.  A fair bit of that intro will very likely be altered or changed by the time tomorrow night roles around, that's typically how it works for me.

A Shot of Faith to the Head...Bang!

We started our book study today called "a shot of faith to the head: be a confident believer in an age of cranky atheists". I'm very excited about this book study. I've read about two thirds of the book and so far it's extremely helpful in helping Christians understand why and what they believe. It specifically is a response to much of modern day "new atheism", but does much more than that ... it's essentially a  book about Christian epistemology. 
There's one girl missing from this photo but so far it's a good group! Shaylee isn't pictured as well as Brandon who will be with us each week. 

Please pray for Adam, Lexi, Heidi, Shaylee, Kay, Brandon, and myself and for any others who show up that God would grant us deep insight and love for him. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quibidy, Quabidy...Equality!

If you pick up on my reference in that title, then congrats, you have as much useless TV knowledge in your head as I do. :)

God gave me the (somewhat rare) privilege of having a 'random' student walk up to me in the Union today and share with me (quite emphatically) just how helpful, challenging and eye-opening the message last week at large group was for her.  We spoke for 10-15 minutes about it and related things, and then she left.

I call it a privilege, but I suppose it's closer to simply a means of grace to encourage me, and I'm quite thankful for it.  I don't believe that missionaries or pastors or any sort of 'minister of the gospel' should base their encouragement or perseverance upon these sorts of things, but they certainly aren't worthless and God sees fit to grant them to me from time to time.

If you're curious, this particular 'series' that I'm in we are calling "Twisted".  It's basically just the Doctrine of Creation and Doctrine of the Fall, the clear biblical truth that "God has made all things good" and that sin is the distortion (twisting) of that which was created good.  So, taking this truth and merely applying it to what we hope is some of the most pertinent and important areas of life: "Equality" and "Marriage" to name a couple.  Tomorrow night is marriage, equality was last week.  Here is C.S. Lewis, in this fictitious conversation of two demons to one-another to illustrate this biblical point:
“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His [God’s] invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the human to take the pleasure which our Enemy [God] has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s souls and give him nothing in return — that is what really gladdens Our Father’s [Satan’s] Heart.
That is the demonic view, and I think Lewis has it right.  If you're interested in the message on Equality, let me know and I can get you some stuff.