Friday, April 30, 2010

South Pole comments

We performed a bit of an experiment.  For three weeks we held Cross Walk at the South Pole (under Nelson).  The anecdotal evidence suggests that this was a good thing--great room, nice temperature, good size, great time!  But I'd like to hear from those of you who were there.  Please leave some comments for me here.  Thanks!!!

April e-update: Run With It!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

--Hebrews 12:1

Running takes a lot of endurance. This quarter has been full of activity and we’re only at the half-way point, but the students of Reach Out on Campus are running with perseverance and seeking Jesus all the while.

Our spring retreat went well exploring the theme “Out of the Box.” This theme coincided with our Spring quarter theme, “Run With It!” The students desire to take all that they’ve been learning as a community this year and “run with it” on campus, in relationships and in their own lives.

Consequently, we’ve been on campus for Cross Walk for three weeks in the South Pole (under Nelson dining hall on South Green) and upcoming we’ll have a couple more weeks in the amphitheater of Scripps (outside). In other attempts to “run with it” and be more visible on campus, we had a “ROC” table in Baker Center early in the quarter and a “Who is Jesus?” table at the college gate just last week. The students have also been helping two of their fellow ROC’ers raise funds to go to Haiti this summer by selling grilled cheese and fluffernutter sandwiches on Court Street. Our worship team has also led a time of worship with the Middleport Church of Christ youth after the youth completed a 30 hour famine. They’ll be going down again to lead in a time of worship before the national day of prayer.

One of the undergrad students has also invited a friend into a GIG (God Investigation Group). Jared is meeting with the two of them to talk about the Scriptures and Jesus. Please pray as they continue to meet that all hearts are drawn close to our Savior.

Relationally the students continue to invest in one another as well. They have spent a lot of time socializing and building their community through fun activities that draw them closer to one another. Several of the undergrads will be going to WV on a camping trip together at Eric and Kim Thomasons’ home.

As we all continue to run this quarter, we are blessed that you are part of the great cloud cheering us on. Thanks for your partnership!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Show & Tell

The scene is a first grade classroom. It’s your turn to get up in front of the entire class and talk about the rock you picked out of the headwaters of the Mississippi River during your family’s summer vacation. Ready? Go!

“Um…this is a rock. I got it this summer…on vacation. It’s from the Mississippi.”

You sit down thinking, “Phew! Sure glad that’s over.” So is the class. Where was the zeal, the zest? Where was the gusto? You sat in the very beginning of the great river that goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. With one step you spanned the river that continues to host huge coal barges between her great banks. Why didn’t you say something about that? Scared? Afraid someone would laugh? No confidence? Didn’t think about it? I know. Me too.

Show and tell was something my first grade teacher had us do. It wasn’t always fun…but sometimes kids would bring in things that they were really passionate about and we’d all get excited by the story that they told. People love stories. Stories that are told with passion and excitement tend to draw other people into them. Interest is born by the amount of passion with which the story is told.

ROC exists to glorify Jesus through developing dynamic communities that show and tell his gospel at Ohio University. However, if we say something like, “Uhhh….hi….I’m a … I…uhh…I like to go to this….uhhh….Jesus is….well….I guess….” See what I mean?

Some people say that they witness by being nice to other people. That’s great! But really, how will people know you’re a committed Christian who loves Jesus only by your actions? Without some words people might think that you’re simply a Girl Scout or Boy Scout. Showing IS vital! So is telling.

Showing involves being the kind of person that Jesus is. Love, grace, forgiveness, holiness, purity, self-sacrifice, joy, and any other Jesus quality ought to ooze out of our pores and go all over the people around each of us. There ought to be warmth and welcome expressed in Cross Walk and our Bible studies that can only be explained by Jesus’ presence with us. When observed by others wouldn’t it be cool if people said of us what was said of the Apostles, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13)? Ordinary people. That’s what we are. Blessed with more education than Peter and John had but needing the power and courage they possessed in abundance. They had been with Jesus. That’s where the courage comes from. We need to conduct our life as a group together in such a way that it is obvious to each of us that Jesus is here.

But go look up Acts 4 and check out how the rulers, elders, teachers of the law and high priest knew that these guys had been with Jesus. These boys made a little speech. In their response to a question put to them by the rulers, they laid it on the line. There was no stuttering. There was no waffling. They spoke, full of the Holy Spirit, with great passion. The result was that there could be no denying it. Peter and John had been with Jesus.

As an organization and as individuals our purpose for existence is to bring glory to Jesus by showing and telling his story. If we feel unprepared, we need to prepare. If we feel afraid of the response, we need to spend some time with Jesus in prayer and remember that this great work of evangelism is ultimately in His hands. Obedient mouthpieces for the story—that’s what we are. We show and we tell what we know; what we’ve experienced. The Holy Spirit takes it from there. It’s a great adventure. It’s a great calling. It’s our purpose as a group. Let’s do it with great passion and power.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

There and Back Again--a ROC tale

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…” With these words Tolkien's story of Bilbo Baggins’s great adventure begins. The beginning of another great adventure started in the middle of spring break.

March 24-28 ten of us journeyed from Athens to Joppa, MD then to Sterling, VA and back again to listen, learn and labor. Our time of listening and learning began Wednesday night in homes of host families of Mountain Christian Church. Thursday morning we learned about the passion the Mountain staff has for Jesus’ mission in Maryland and around the world. We learned that their mission, “making disciples—more and better disciples,” drives everything they do. We also learned from the staff of Restore Community Church in VA the importance of living out the values of relationships, serving and generosity. The importance of encouragement and leadership was made tangible through a time of rock climbing in the Great Falls National Park.

But we also labored. We sorted and marked clothes and did various other duties at a food shelf/thrift store called Tabitha’s House and a homeless day shelter both in MD. In VA we helped Restore rake gravel at the Good Shepherd thrift store and helped pack and deliver food to children who don’t have access to food during their spring break.

Those are the details. But the learning continues. On his adventure Bilbo left his hole in the ground and found that the world was much larger than he ever imagined. He found it was a wondrous world and that he had place in it. In fact both he and his nephew, Frodo, discovered that even a person small of stature could change things for the better.

At some point in the story Bilbo states, "The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”

We hope that ROC students will catch the passion for Christ’s mission in the world expressed by the folks at Mountain and Restore and that they will leave their “holes” and pursue with similar passion the great adventure of being missionaries here at OU. We trust that the Spirit will empower them and use them to change the world as they trust in the One who leads them on this great quest of being Jesus in the world.

Please pray with us that He will do so. Thanks!