Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It has been so long since last I wrote anything here.  Sorry.  Not that you're waiting on pins and needles or anything for something to appear here.  Right now the only appearance we all long for (even those of us who don't know it) is the Light, the Lamb, the Savior, our Lord Jesus.  We live in a time between the times of His incarnation, which we celebrate this month, and His drawing-ever-more-near return.

During this in-between-time, we ache.  We experience the simple aches and pains of life--too much exercise, not enough exercise, growing older and bodies not as spry as they used to be, being young and playing too much.  We also see and sometimes experience the horror and terror of a darkened world--starvation and war, innocent children killed in school.  It is so dark sometimes.

There was a prophetic silence before Christ's birth--it was a dark time.  There is still darkness in our world during this time between the times.  The church continues to shine a light but it too is sometimes wounded by the darkness of sin and selfishness.  Still in as much as it (we) abides in Christ, it shines His light into the dark corners of our lives and into the world--which God loves so much that the incarnation became a reality in the first place.  What a wonder!  [As a couple of ministers up in Massillon, OH have written, the God who is FOR us and WITH us became ONE OF us and will abide IN us if we submit and invite (my paraphrase)--check out ONE OF by clicking here.] 

So here we are in the dark waiting, wondering, hoping.  John taught us, "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it" (John 1:5-NIV) which could also be translated as "overcome" or "taken down" or "put out" like Peterson translates it in the Message version: "The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out."  

This Life-Light which first blazed in Jesus is the light in which we walk, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12-ESV).  So while it may not make sense to a darkened world we choose to blaze and speak forth a "Merry Christmas!" not as a trite greeting spoken at this time of year but as a grand declaration of hope that Christ's first appearance (God's Word in flesh appearing!) signals that all darkness will one day be expunged forever.  He is returning.  Shine forth hope.  Maranatha.  Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ROC intro and welcome!

Welcome to (or back to) Athens! And welcome to the ROC blog.  Here, on this site, you’ll find information on what we’re doing (calendar), who we are, where we’re meeting and, perhaps most important, right here at the start of the year, information about our intro pizza party!

As you navigate moving into your residence hall and floor meetings, class schedules and dining hall hours, bookstores and laundromats, here’s a chance to break the routine--before it really gets started! You’re invited to ROC’s introductory pizza party on Sunday, August 26th! It’ll be at 6:00pm in the South Pole on (South Green), after the conclusion of the involvement fair on college green.

You can head over to the South Pole (under Nelson Dining Hall on South Green – see map below or on the right) to get some FREE PIZZA, meet some new friends, learn more about ROC, and find out how you can get involved right now!

We hope you’ll come join us on Sunday (8/26) at 6:00pm in the South Pole!  

We also hope you check out the rest of this blog site.  Contact any of us with questions.  We look forward to meeting you and having you join the ROC community.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Ripple Effect

This month's e-update is from Jared reflecting upon the ongoing impact of the mission trip to Haiti.
As we move into spring quarter, there is a feeling of newness on campus.  Of course, the early Spring has helped with that, but the newness holds true for ROC ministry, as well.  The calendar for spring quarter is full of new opportunities for service, outreach, fellowship, worship, and more.  As usual, we’ll be quite busy this quarter! 

Yet, amid all this newness, I can’t help notice how our community continues to be influenced by past ministry.  You’ve heard a lot about the Haiti mission trip, both in the many months leading up to it, and even in the nearly 4 months (has it been that long??) since.  It can be easy at times to feel like that trip and all that went into it was simply a “different season” for the community.  There are new opportunities before us, and new challenges the students are ready to tackle.  However, there are frequent reminders of how that trip has and continues to influence the members of this community. 

I received an e-mail just the other day from Mark Gillette (president of TeamOne.27, the organization we partnered with on the trip) telling me how numerous students have kept in touch, sent items his way to be delivered to the orphanage children, and a few had even taken on the responsibility of sponsoring a child.  One of our students who is an RA decided to lead a program for her residents about Haiti after coming back; that program led to this student and some of her residents putting on a hygiene product drive for the orphanages. 

Additionally, I have had numerous conversations with students who have engaged with books, articles, movies, documentaries, etc. which have in some way drawn their minds back to Haiti.  And this all doesn’t even include the students whose connection with and desire to serve in this community has grown exponentially since coming back. 
It seems quite clear that God is certainly not through working in this community and beyond through the trip to Haiti! It is amazing how God does that; He takes our seemingly small and insignificant offerings of a pebble tossed in the ocean...and then uses that to make ripples that stretch far beyond our ability to see.  This is what life is like in the kingdom of God—living life beyond what we can see, and then praising God as He works through our faithful lives in big ways!  Thanks so much for your partnership with us, and helping make possible the many “Godly ripples” spreading around OU and beyond!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

January e-update

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”         Mt 9:37-38

Discipleship is an as-you-are-going experience.  There’s a lot of movement in the Gospels.  When you read about what Jesus did he may be, “by the sea” or “on the road” or “in the boat” or “on the mountain” or “in the house.”  Jesus moved about proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God in various places.  Even when there was great ministry to be done in one particular area, Mark tells us that Jesus responds to the news that many are looking for him with, ““Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38).

The undergrad group has been on the move a lot lately.  2010 was the first year that we planned to move the mid-week Cross Walk meeting onto campus.  Due to renovations we ended up doing that mid-October 2010.  This school year we looked forward to being in the South Pole (on South green under Nelson dining hall) all year long.  At the end of fall quarter we were informed that … well … Nelson is being renovated now so you’ll need to move.  After swiftly examining meeting place options, it was determined that the recreation room under Ryors Hall would work … except for one Wednesday night that it was already reserved.  That one week we were in the West Nest (under Boyd dining hall).   

All this moving could be discouraging.  It is, in fact, challenging to ensure that everyone knows where we’ll be each week.  However, it is a brilliant way to remind us that we are to be “on the move!”  Wherever we find ourselves, we are called to make disciples.  Our Christian life isn’t lived in the ROC House or just in one location on campus.  Following Jesus means that we’ll find ourselves following him “into the South Pole” or “under Boyd” or “in Ryors rec room” or “on the green” or “in the classroom.”  Following means being on the move too!  It is a blessing to be on the move following Jesus with this community.