Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Update

ROC's Sibs Weekend Lock-In crew
It’s a chilly 25 degrees outside and the snow is falling. Welcome to spring semester at Ohio University. While I am not a fan of winter, I am definitely a fan spring semester and all the things that it brings with it. Our Winter Retreat is just a few short days away. We have a brand new group of leaders being trained to join the leadership team this fall. Also, our Spring Break Mission trip to New Orleans is only a few short weeks away.

We’ve had a busy month since returning to campus. We’ve been on the road visiting our friends at 5th Street Church of Christ, Bradford Church of Christ, and Caldwell Church of Christ. We are also looking forward to visiting Ripley Church of Christ this weekend.

The ROC crew also spent the weekend at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly in January teaching and leading during the Jr. / Sr. High Retreat. Our students facilitated small groups, led workshops, preached, and even participated in a panel discussion, all centering around the theme of guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23). It was a terrific weekend, and certainly an encouragement to see our students bless the crowd there that weekend.

ROC's Winter Hike to Ash Cave
But it hasn’t been all work and no play. We kicked the semester off with a hike at Ash Cave in the Hocking Hills on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Most recently we held our annual SIBS Weekend lock-in at Athens Church of Christ. This event is an annual reminder of my age and how my body can no longer cope with staying up all night long. Fortunately after nearly a week I can say with relative certainty that I’ve nearly recovered. Hahaha. We were also blessed by the hospitality of Chuck and Shirley Higgins who hosted the ROC Super Bowl party once again this year.

Last night at Crosswalk we kicked off a new series on the difficult teachings of Jesus. We spent a good bit of time looking at John 6. In this chapter Jesus feeds the 5,000, and the next day many of them come searching for him again (hoping for another free meal). But instead Jesus tells them that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood, that they have no part with him (vs. 53-59). At this point many of the disciples desert Jesus saying “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it.”

Over the course of the next few weeks we are going to be looking at many of Jesus’ more difficult teachings, and asking ourselves the question “Are we willing to trust that what Jesus says is truth even if we don’t understand or if it conflicts with something we already believe to be culturally true?” Sometimes we have a tendency to try to rationalize or minimize these difficult teachings, but I believe God actually wants us to wrestle with these teachings rather than avoid them.

ROC crew with a ton of
friends from Ripley Church
of Christ following our visit
My favorite part of the story however, comes when Jesus turns to the twelve and asks (vs. 67) “You do not want to leave too, do you?” To which Peter replies (vs. 68) “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Although the teaching was just as difficult for the 12 as it was for Jesus’ other followers, Peter communicates their trust in Jesus and their recognition of who He was. They were willing to live with the tension that came from the teaching because they recognized that truth was not impacted by their ability to understand or comprehend it. I’m praying that as we also wrestle with some of those difficult teachings over the course of the coming weeks that we are willing to live with that same tension because, like Peter, we understand that only Jesus has “the words of eternal life.”

Thank you for the role you play in the ministry of Reach Out on Campus. Because of your prayers and support we have the amazing opportunity to reach a generation of students with the message of the Gospel. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our students and the Ohio University community.

In Christ,