Thursday, September 19, 2013

The New Year

Hey guys! I just wanted to take some time and try to update you all on what's happening here in Lock Have, PA! As of right now, we're in/almost through our 4th week of classes, leaving us with about 10 1/2 weeks of classes and 1 week of finals. Things are flying by at a really fast pace, which is proving to be both good and not so good, haha. I can speak for both Emily and I and say though, that this semester is by far the toughest semester we've had here at Lock Haven. It seems like at every turn, there is some major obstacle that we have to overcome. This past summer, we were praying intensely for this school year and really excited for it, so maybe that's why so much is going on, however it's a little discouraging when the most opposition that we are facing is coming from members of our own leadership team. The biggest issue thus far is a mindset that CSF is a club and not a ministry. I even had a conversation with one of the team members about two weeks ago now (which got rather heated) about his opinion of how the ministry should be run (which was very club -based and focused). It was also revealed to me in this conversation that there, in the past two years, has been some behind-the-back grumbling and gossip amongst our leadership team regarding Emily and I which, needless to say, hurt but frustrated me beyond words can describe. Needless to say, there is a overwhelming amount of spiritual immaturity among some of leadership team members, even some from whom we expected more from. However despite these major frustrations and difficulties, there are some major bright spots in our ministry thus far. Just last weekend, we took a day trip up to the finger lakes in New York to baptize one of our students. It was a really cool time and I'm super excited for the things God is going to do through this kid! In regards to CSF Wednesday nights, we seem to be growing a little once more. Just last night I counted at least 35 people, with at least 3-5 people that I would consider regular attenders not able to make it.

This semester we are doing a series called 'Listen Up.' In this series we're going through Scripture and taking a look at various times when God paid a visit to people to deliver a message about something His people were doing well, doing poorly, or both. The very first week, we took a look at what God was saying to us as CSF right now, sort of a prep and stage-setting night for the semester. The message was essentially, "Listen Up: This is NOT a club!" The idea that I felt God was trying to get across was simple, CSF is a ministry and NOT a club! I used Paul as an illustration to explain what this means. Just as Paul used his tent-making business as a means to 1) earn a living to support his ministry/live off of and 2) reach potential customers with the gospel. His 'business' was a 'storefront' which he used to further his real purpose, being an ambassador for Christ! Likewise, CSF is a ministry that is merely using it's 'club' status as a 'storefront' to reach the people we're desire to impact and witness to for Christ, college students! I opened that night reading the passage from 1 Corinthians 4.20, "For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by Go's power." (NLT) The idea there is that if we are merely just a club, then meeting on Wednesdays is 'good-enough.' But if we are going to listen to God and see CSF as more than a club and as a ministry, then just 'doing' Wednesdays is just a lot of talk, and that's not what the Kingdom of God is all about. (In my conversation with that student he also felt like mentioning how they thought it was a bad message and should have been done differently, something I believe is a direct result of that individual being so obsessed with viewing CSF as a club and not a ministry.... once again, a lack of spiritual maturity.) The next week we took a trip to the OT book of Haggai, and we looked at the message of Haggai 2.1-9. The message there was "Listen Up: Be Encouraged to Do What's Right." Last week we moved next door to the Book of Zechariah and the message there was "Listen Up: It's Time For a Heart Check!" The idea for this one was examining our actions and discerning whether we are actually obeying God or rather just trying to appease Him. For that message we started at Zechariah 7.3-6, and saw how these people's actions were just done in order to appease God for the mistakes they had made in the past, rather than obeying Him, thus avoiding the mistakes in the first place. Last night we began a 7-week stint in the book of Revelation, where we are looking at the 7 letters to the 7 churches. Our first stop was the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2.1-7, and almost a continuation of last week's message from Zechariah. Last night's message was "Listen Up: Don't Forget About Your First Love!" We talked about how it's possible to be so focused on the action part of things, that we neglect the personal relationship side of things, and the challenge there was that they examine their lives to see how much they are in prayer (relationship), in the Word (relationship), and allowing themselves to be put into or even putting themselves into situations where their faith is going to be tested and stretched (actions).

Emily and I also had the opportunity to lead worship for Penn State's CSF group for the past 4 weeks until they had students trained up and willing to take over the worship leading role(s). It was an absolute blast and quickly reminded me how much I miss planning for and leading a body of believers in a time of praise and worship, Scripture reading, and prayer during services. This past Tuesday was our last week, because they now have a core group of students ready and eager to take over and lead. It is a bitter sweet feeling, because as I said, I really enjoy and have missed doing that, but additionally, it's really awesome see students develop in their spiritual walk(s) and be eager to take on this role and responsibility. Another positive out of this, is the fact that Emily and I now have at least one more night free, which is nice, because prior to this week the only night that we had free was Friday nights. We had something going on every other night of the week, which is something that I know is not the very best, haha.

Well I suppose that's the biggest things happening right now in our neck of the woods. If you guys wouldn't mind, I want to ask that you pray for CSF here at LHU, specifically the spiritual maturity of everyone who is a part of this ministry. I also ask that you would pray that God would break the hearts of our leadership team, and piece them back together in a way that makes them much more sensitive to what He's leading us to! Finally I would ask for prayer for both Emily and I, for this is the most we've ever been discouraged here in campus ministry and with these students. Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting us, and thanks for praying! =)