Well, we're finally back to school and the new semester is in full swing! This semester we're doing a series called "All-In" where we are going to take a look at what it means to be all-in when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. My hope is that from this series, we will all be able to look at our relationships with Jesus and go to the next level in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. Our first week was last week (1/30/13) and we had 38 students show up. We talked about Jesus' desire for us and how it's two-fold: 1) Jesus deeply desires you and me; and 2) Jesus has desires for/of us (our lives and what we do). Last night we talked about Jesus' mission for us. There are so many awesome benefits to being a Christian! Yet so many of us restrict them and reduce them to only salvation. Some even go as far as thinking that it's acceptable and part of God's plan for us to just receive Salvation through Jesus Christ and then just be idle, not doing anything to share this gift or improve in our relationship with Jesus. I think that this mentality doesn't represent God's desire(s) for us, in fact I think it displeases God as well. Reading through the Bible as a whole, you can very clearly see this as a part of how God interacts with His people. God expects those who are His, not to be lazy but to do the good works that he had intended and planned for us to do from the beginning (Eph. 2.8-10). Perhaps one of the reasons people begin to think this way is because they are afraid of the persecution and rejection they might face for living the way Jesus calls us to live. But that opens the door to another question that I've had for a while, and that's "who ever said that persecution and opposition for living a life for Jesus is a bad thing? In 1 Peter 4, Peter encourages us to rejoice and be thankful. So why is it that we as Christian fear persecution, rather than rejoicing when we face it? I was reading a book a couple of weeks ago by Randy Alcorn and he said something that's stuck with me. "If God answered all our prayers to be delivered from evil and suffering, then he would be delivering us from Christlikeness." For Christians, even opposition and suffering is a good thing! I think redefining evangelism from meaning "telling others about Jesus" to "living life for Jesus" makes our part in Jesus' mission to redeem creation more personal and more impactful for us to grasp. It's so awesome to think about all of the connections we have with Jesus, but I have to admit that thinking about the fact that we are partners with Jesus in this mission brings me encouragement and sets me on fire with a passion to live my life in such a way that I "preach the Gospel at all times, and [only] when necessary use words." I pray that God would fill you with this same passion and desire to join Him more intentionally in this mission to save the world and that He would use you to completely change the face of your area! =) Until next time!!!