Sunday, April 29, 2007

Facebook United for Hope

Monday, April 30 is an event called "Facebook United for Hope". For one day we're asking you to change the picture on your page to represent Virginia Tech, to show we care and are not forgetting those students and faculty. Yes, it's symbolic, and I'm not much into symbolism. But if in some small way it keeps people from going numb about murder and death, and focusing on hope and community, at least for another day, then fantastic. But the Bigger Picture is that of student's leading the way to a call for spiritual revival in the world. I think there is a revolution emerging among the students of this generation. We are calling for 40 days of fasting and prayer for spiritual awakening among the students of the world, Sept. 1 - Oct. 10. Why not join in and bring others with you, worldwide? Just imagine what might happen. Spread the word.

Friday, April 27, 2007

What's in a name?

The VT Candlelight Vigil last week.
And this just in from the NIV Study Bible's intro notes on Jeremiah. The most likely meaning of the name Jeremiah is "The Lord throws", in the sense of "hurling" the prophet into a hostile world. So, "the Lord hurls" would also be a possibility. Which reminded me of Rev. 3:16, where Jesus said he would spit professing believers out of his mouth because they were lukewarm. They'd lost all sense of their neediness, and had become self sufficient and independent of heart. Kim and I visited Laodicea several years ago on a trip to Turkey. Remnants of an amphitheater is all that's left. Total Desolation. You look out over the landscape and say, "so this is what can happen when Christians get complacent."

So God can hurl us like so many Jeremiah's into a world to change it, to take a stand for righteousness, grace, and mercy; or He can decide to hurl us because we've become room temperature. Status Quo. Self absorbed. Will we get used to spiritual darkness in our world, or will we band together and make a difference?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Virginia Tech and massive prayer

This sign from students at Auburn University that was sent to VT says it all. The response of prayer and messages of love and compassion for the students and families at Virginia Tech have been astounding. Almost 3000 students signed up on the Facebook Call to Prayer group in just 2 days. Hundreds of messages have come in to our website. I've seen responses from Delhi, Venezuala, Taiwan, South Korea, and Africa, as well as university Christian groups and local churches all over America. They speak of praying for comfort, healing and revival.

I really don't understand why lots of prayer makes a difference in some situations. God can move in power throught the prayers of one person. But it seems that when God's people join in prayer, repenting and worshipping and intercession, that God creates spiritual breakthroughs in the darkness of our world. I think this is going to happen, and already is happening right now due to the countless prayers of His people, scattered around the globe but unified in the cry of their heart for Him to work, to heal, to save.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Isaiah 61: comfort to all who mourn

Right after posting my previous entry today, I opened up to the next place I was reading. Isaiah 61. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the comfort all who mourn."

This is, as we know, what Jesus said was His identity. His job description of sorts. He would do this, for us. We can pray this into the world of students today, knowing confidently He will do this. At Virginia Tech, in your family, at your campus, in whatever your "world" is today.

Today is "the favorable year of the Lord". He wants to place around us "a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,..that He might be glorified."

VT Convocation

I'm in Southern California now, preparing to meet with the leadership of CCC here about reaching out to the 2.5 million students in their region. It somehow seems very fitting in light of the drama of the tragedy at VT. We know that 4 CCC students were among the 32 who were killed. That the troubled young man, Cho, had been encouraged and invited many times by the Korean CCC students to various activities, but he had remained isolated. I can't imagine the grief of family and friends who have just lost their loved ones on a random Spring day at college. This is not supposed to happen, life was never meant to end this way.

Around the US and the world, students are connecting about this tragedy. The awareness of "it could have been me" seems tangible. Students are gathering on campuses everywhere to pray, and just to be together. At the VT Convocation yesterday, "Amazing Grace" and Onward Christian Soldiers" are among the hymns that are played. President Bush: "People who've never met you are praying for you". We must all be in prayer that God would redeem this day of death to bring life; to bring from this pain and grief an awakening of true spiritual healing and life and grace that will astound us all. Tomorrow is a day we in CCC are calling on students everywhere to join in prayer for the families of those lost, the faculty and students and community of VT, and for the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to break through in this dark moment.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tragedy at VT

We know so little still about the massive killing rampage at Virginia Tech just 12 hours ago. 33 students are dead. It reveals how desperately sick and twisted some have become. Oklahoma City. Columbine. 9/11. Virginia Tech. I think this will be another landmark event in the US. How, I'm not sure. What if it brought us all such a deep sense of remorse and sadness and grief that we fell before God and cried out for revival to sweep through our land? But what if we just end up numb? Can we be shocked anymore? We need a national revival.

On a note of something good out there...I lost my wallet today. I probably left it on top of the car. Wallets do not make good car ornaments, in case you ever try it. I didn't even know it was gone until Eddie found it, called our house and told me he had all the contents that he found by the side of the road. Except for the wallet and the emergency $50 I have stuffed in a side pocket. So, I got all my stuff back tonight, right before leaving for a trip to CA this week. Though I wonder if he kept the $50. Thanks Eddie for not charging all my credit cards.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I said this could be random

I've been asking myself this question lately: How long will Freckles the Wonder Dog live? And right after that one, will I outlast him? This is what happens when you get close to 5o. Be warned. Take heed, young people.

And speaking of changing the world...It seems the NT example of spreading the gospel could be something like this: It takes a disciple (or two..."go in pairs") to reach a village. Have we turned this around? It takes a village (of Christians) to make a disciple (or two)?

I could go get some of that bad dog food just to make sure I outlast Freckles, but that would be cheating, and I wouldn't experience the thrill of victory. (Finally found that picture of him.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ya say ya want a revolution...

Changing the world is really hard work. I thought when I graduated from college it would be hard, I just didnt' know it would be this hard. In fact I thought it would be done by now. I remember talking with a friend and we both were totally convinced that Jesus would return before 2000. I'd have bet my gold '74 Chevy Malibu on it. What an idiot.

Just seeing one life change is hard. (Especially my own.) But seeing a life change, one person coming to Christ, becoming a true follower of Jesus, is a miracle. Now multiply that by thousands and millions so that homes and towns and cultures and societies and nations change. Wow. So, it's all miraculous, it's all hard work, but it just takes a lot longer to do something that includes the whole world. I just figured this out yesterday. Now I'm a genius. Consider yourself enlightened.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Suffering Servant

Yesterday we met as a National Campus Leadership Team, and I was reading aloud Isaiah 52:13-53, best known as the Suffering Servant passage. As I read, I had memories of when Kim and I lived in Philadelphia and attended 10th Presbyterian Church, and this was frequently read as communion was served, as well as at each Good Friday service. It draws one in to ever increasing degree, as the majesty and humility of Jesus’ death is foretold. I noticed it again yesterday. The room went from quiet to quieter to “could hear a pin drop” as the passage unfolds. Somehow it seems to increase in power with even a small audience.

By the time I finished, I was in tears, just barely choking out the final phrases. What He has done for us is described, yet is indescribable. You realize you are tasting a bit of the fullness of what transpired as God has reached out to claim us as His own. That God would die for His creation is so unthinkable, unimaginable. The torturous cruelty makes it even more so. And yet, we experience this grace, His grace, each day. And “he will sprinkle many nations” with His sacrifice of body and blood.

And tomorrow, it culminates with the Empty Tomb. Resurrection. Life. Freedom. Hope.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This is where I'll live

The picture you are seeing is approximately 1/8 of the room we'll be in this summer at CM2007. Let's just say it would also be a nice home for a couple of 747's.

Cross Cultural event of the week - While in Busan, I ate breakfast at our hotel with about 100 Indonesian sailors. They were very serious or tired. I did not try to get a picture with them. Plus we had french fries for breakfast. That didn't seem very Korean. Also, that's not the same blue shirt I was wearing in my Profile picture on the right, in case you are wondering. I have 2 blue shirts.