Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Relentless pursuit
The Lord has blessed me with an awesome opportunity to share the gospel with international students here at USC and more recently at Ben Lippen high school. I can tell you that The Lord is moving in awesome ways. I cannot tell you anyone has professed faith in Jesus. After about 8 months of pursuing these sweet friends, sharing the gospel with them many times, trying to be Jesus to them by meeting some of their physical needs as well as spiritual, it still didn’t click with them. This at first was very discouraging, but after praying to The Lord and getting my heart straight with his plan I reminded myself first that it’s he who moves, and our only job is to get the message across. However, we are also called to love others. This looks like still sharing the gospel with them after they say they have to think about it. This looks like still investing time in them even if they refuse to invest their time at your organization or church. This looks like being graceful when you know they are going down hard paths that they chose themselves. “so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”1 Thessalonians 2:8 Put aside yourself, your pride, your insecurity, your time and give it up to someone. It’s what Jesus did on the cross, and this is what our daily cross looks like. It is so hard to continue to love others when they push away but we all know that’s exactly what Jesus did. Everyone who wants to follow the call in Matthew 28:19-20 should have at least one person they are dicipling, or currently pursuing. I hope someone came up in your head, because I want to encourage you to go out and buy them coffee this week to take the next step, whatever that looks like, in that relationship. Whether that’s sharing the gospel with them the first time, the 12th, or just answering questions I encourage you to follow the call. Try and keep yourself accountable to take the next step, tell your accountability partner, small group leader or me what you’re planning to do and ask them to hold you to it and pray for you. Being relentless in pursuit of others for Christ is so important in demonstrating his character to them. I encourage you to spend some time with the Lord to ask what that looks like for you specifically. I also will be praying over you all this week.

Opened Eyes

Posted: March 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Earlier this semester, I wrote about how I had been praying for opportunities to share the gospel and how God had given me opportunities. With that in mind, I would like to share an appropriate story that happened this semester.

A couple of weeks ago, I was stressed about a huge test that I had on Monday. After worship on Sunday night, I ran by cookout to get dinner before going to the library to study. I was hoping to get in and out of cookout extremely fast, but God had different plans for me. As I went to the bathroom to wash my hands, a man stopped me and asked me if I believed in God. Shamefully, my first thought was “oh great he’s going ask me for money, I don’t have time for this.” Typically, I do not give people money, but will always offer to buy food. He told me about his family that was waiting for him at the bus station, so I went and got him some food for his family. As we talked, I ended up giving him some money for bus tickets for his family. I left and went to eat my dinner so I could head out and go study.

As I was sitting there eating, I was suddenly convicted that I had given this guy food and money for bus tickets, but never once said anything about Jesus. I realized that God was handing me an opportunity to share the gospel and I was ignoring it because I had to study! I quickly repented and walked back over to talk with him. I sat down and told him about Christ’s love that compelled me to love him. I told him about the love that God displayed in His Son and the salvation that can be found in Him. I then had the chance to pray over him and his family.

I was crazy to see how everyday life clouded my eyes to see an opportunity that was sitting right in front of me. My prayer is that not only would God give us these opportunities, but that God would constantly open our eyes to the opportunities around us. It’s encouraging to hear different stories of how God is working through the people in Shandon College Ministry, let’s keep pursuing His name being proclaimed and glorified among all around us!

Also, just a reminder that we will be passing out peeps and inviting those in our community to Church for Easter Sunday Service this weekend. If you are interested and want to come be a part of that, we will be meeting at Shandon Saturday at 10:30am and Sunday after church!

 1 Corinthians 3:7

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

 During the summer of 2013, a friend and I spent 7 weeks living in a village in Niger, West Africa. Our primary goal during our time there was to assist a church planter by making contacts and sharing the Gospel with people throughout the village. Through God’s grace, we were able to meet and share the Gospel with around 250 people. However, by the end of the summer not a single person had professed Jesus Christ as Lord.

Rather than being discouraged, I took comfort in the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 3. Paul writes to the church in Corinth, placing emphasis on the fact that although we may plant and water seeds, it is “God who brings the growth.” With this verse in mind, I went out each morning to talk to people about Jesus, confident that God was working in ways that I could not see.

People are not are saved by our careful presentations, but rather through “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Trusting in God as the author of salvation gives us the freedom to confidently share the Gospel in the face of resistance or lack of obvious fruit. Our joy is found in obedience to Christ, rather than hoping in our own strength to bring people to salvation.

Four months after I returned home from Niger, I found out that one of the men that we had met there professed his faith in Jesus Christ. We planted the seed, the missionary watered it, and God made it grow. Never let your obedience in evangelism depend on outward results, but rather trust in God who can do immeasurably more than you could possibly imagine.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or other translations say “through Christ who gives me strength.”  This is one of the most quoted verses in all of Christianity and even in the secular world. Philippians 4:13 is usually used within the context of athletic competition, which is grossly distorted what from what Paul was actually saying. People want Jesus to play the role of a genie and then they ask him to grant their wish and expect it to happen because we can do anything through Jesus. Many times this verse is used before an event happens in hope that by putting faith in this verse, we will achieve success in whatever we are about to face. On the contrary, Paul is saying this as encouragement and a truth after He undergoes suffering of many kinds. Paul writes from jail in verse 12, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Then he goes on to 13 and writes, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul is in prison and has been shipwrecked, beat up, gone without food and in need. Through all of these hardships, Paul still believes that he will continue to overcome all adversity, and instead of letting himself be discouraged he attributes his life and health to the grace of Jesus. Because Jesus is your identity and He can satisfy you completely, you can get through any suffering that comes your way.

This even applies to the horror of sharing the gospel at the cost of your social standing, image, or even harsh persecution. As we know from Romans, Paul is unashamed of the gospel and will share it with everyone that is willing to listen because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, and through it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith. So when you face suffering, this verse is an encouragement to cling to Christ because Jesus will help you through whatever you are dealing with and completely satisfy you. We need to realize that Jesus is in control and no matter the situation, Jesus is your identity, and He will give you strength. When I am afraid to share the gospel, I am encouraged by this verse and I hope it will serve as an encouragement in your life as well.

Prayer

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

This week I wanted to encourage Shandon College to PRAY. We have talked a lot in leadership about prayer and spending time presenting request before our Father. Dr. Lincoln addressed this in his sermon yesterday. He talked about the importance of praying for opportunities to share the gospel and praying for the lost. We see Paul implore the Church to pray for these things as well:

Colossians 4:2-4 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”

Ephesians 6:19-20 “pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

This semester, I have been intentionally praying for God to give me opportunities, for me to take hold of them with boldness, and that those who hear the gospel would understand, repent and believe. It is amazing the opportunities that God has given me and opened my eyes too already this semester.

Even this past week, God gave me the privilege of meeting and leading a USC student to Christ, through decision counseling at Shandon. I have been able to pour into him and guide him along in this process. God has been doing amazing things in his life. Yesterday in Church, during the sermon, he leaned over to be and said “thank you.” I didn’t quite know what he meant and as I asked him he said “well think about it, I wouldn’t be where I today without you.” I was overcome with joy and how amazing it was that God had given me such a great opportunity to be used by Him.

I encourage you to join me in praying for opportunities and bringing before the Lord any hesitations or fears that we may have about sharing the gospel. I am excited to see what the Lord will do this semester through us as we rely and call upon His power.

God’s heart for the nations is made clear throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. God has literally brought the ‘nations’ to us right here in Columbia, SC as students from across the world come to study at USC. As Shandon College Ministry, we want to be a part of God’s mission to reach a people from of every tongue, tribe, and nation. Here are three very tangible ways that YOU can help:

 

  1. Tuesday, January 13 we are meeting at 11:00 a.m. on the 2nd floor of Russell House in the lobby outside of room 205 to pass out cards advertising our International Ministry. We are going to spread out across campus and invite internationals to both our trip to Charleston this Saturday, and our weekly International Sunday School that meets at 631 Harden. If you get out of class at 11:20 there will still be time to join us!

 

  1. Every Thursday at the BCM on Main Street there is a FREE lunch for international students at 12:00 p.m. From 12:00-1:00 students eat, and from 1:00-2:00 there is a time of English practice. This is great way to meet internationals, while also getting to enjoy some great free food.

 

  1. Possibly the most personal way that you can engage an international student is through EPI’s conversational partner program. You commit to practicing English one hour a week with an international student for nine weeks. In the past, many great friendships have been formed simply through signing up for this program. Please prayerfully consider signing up! More information may be found through the link below:

http://www.epi.sc.edu/Content/Menu/FOV3-0010C15F/S0055DE28?FormID=96&listview

Last semester, we had a consistent five attenders of our new International Sunday School class that met Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at 631 Harden. God worked in both their lives and our own as we served them. We are fully expecting God to do huge things this semester. Please join us in engaging international students with the Gospel for the sake of their joy and the glory of God.

 

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, and your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” – Psalm 67:1-3

Last week, I received a text from a friend whom I hadn’t talked to in a few months. He told me that some things were going on in his life, and that he wanted to make Jesus the Lord of his life. Naturally, I was excited about this, and when I met with him a couple of days later in Russell House, he prayed and asked Jesus into his life. During our conversation, he said something really cool. In the midst of all the hardship he had been going through, he had remembered the faith of a few of his friends, and the small conversations we had had the year before.

Sometimes, we don’t realize the impact we are having when we share the Gospel, or even just walk in a life of faith. We talk about Jesus with our non-believing friends and we think, “This is going nowhere, and they probably think I’m some sort of Bible-thumper, so I should shut up before I look really crazy.” Honestly, I felt that way a lot of times last year with this particular friend. I thought that the seeds planted were all they would ever be, and I missed out on opportunities to trust in God’s sovereignty.

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is confidence in things hoped for, and assurance of what we do not see.” As Christians who share the Gospel, we hope for new brothers and sisters in the Kingdom. When we plant seeds of the Gospel through conversation and lifestyle, we cannot begin to imagine what God has planned for the people involved. What we can do is trust in God to “cause the growth”, and to bring the dead into life. (1 Corinthians 3:6). In trusting him, we not only keep his commandment to do so, but we also grow in our own faith, having hoped in God’s perfect will that none should perish.

In the case of my friend, seeds planted and forgotten about became fully grown plants rooted in salvation. This is a triumph in my life, and a cause of celebration. I thank the Lord that he doesn’t forget about the seeds that are planted, but remembers and causes growth for His glory. We, as stewards of the Gospel, should remember the God we serve is faithful to do what he has promised.