Man, January was hopping around here! Some months are quieter than others and I spend more of my mail outs talking about scripture or my latest theological musings. This will not be the case with this particular mail out. I got tired just counting up all the things we did in January. So I apologize in advance if this turns into a list more than a letter, but there was just a lot of things going on.
January started with most of the student still on break, of course. I spent some time reading and writing and I helped one of our guys, Zach, move houses. Zach cracks me up. He is a staunch atheist, but he is here all the time, so he has an open heart for sure. Anyway, I was helping move boxes into his new living room and I got to meet his new roommate, Anthony, who is also an atheist. Anthony cussed about something and Zach said, “Oh hey, just so you know, Silas is a priest, but he is cool.” I thought it was a wonderful compliment! Zach has invited his roommate to just about every Bible study since. Anthony hasn't come yet, but I think God is moving in here somewhere and I can't wait to see what He is doing in their hearts.
We started up our Bible studies again on the first day of the new semester and had a great turn out. Two of our students we hadn't seen in a while came and joined us. We started into an Old Testament Survey class since most of the students don't know a lot about the Old Testament. Also, I tend to spend most of my time teaching out of the New Testament, so I thought it was probably time to switch it up. The students are enjoying material and it is going very well. They are doing a great job asking questions and growing in their faiths.
One of our student, Brittany, and I smiling for the camera:
In fact, later in the January I decided I needed a way to engage with my intellectual students more. The big group Bible study is good, but I can only get so detailed with the text. I needed a way to challenge my students in their beliefs and kick it up a notch. So I bought a couple of copies of C.S. Lewis' “Mere Christianity” and started passing them around. It was a great idea!
My students who believe in God are getting their faiths stretched and my students who don't believe in God are getting their whole belief systems challenged. And the students are eating it up! The three copies I got aren't nearly enough. Last Monday for example, one of our girls was asking for another copy for a friend. I'm ecstatic about it! It is hard to find material that is accessible and challenging for all walks of faith, but “Mere Christianity” is doing the trick here.
On the 11th, we participated in the Spring Student Organization Fair on campus. All the student organizations get a chance to set up a booth in the hallway and drum up interest for their clubs. We always have some kind of “hook” to get attention, but it is always so noisy and crowded at these events that I decided to go minimalistic this time. We made a big black chalk board sign that just said, “Why?” on it and set that up. I figured we would try to use that to spur people into asking the big questions about who we are and what we are doing here that the naturalistic worldviews can't answer.
On one hand, the sign didn't seem that effective. I'm not sure anyone asked about it at all. On the other hand, the event was a success because we did get the signatures of several students interested in our organization. In fact, one of them even showed up. A young lady named Stephanie expressed interest, showed up to one of our Bible studies, and has come to almost every study since. She is quickly becoming one of our regular members and a great addition to our group.
We also did a lot of regularly scheduled events. We hosted our area church leader lunch and I took my monthly trip up to work with the Faith youth group. The Sturgis Church of Christ hosted one of our quarterly area-wide church singings and that was a lot of fun. Those really are a huge boon to the unity of the body of believers in the area. Our LST team, Bailey and Rachel, flew to Oklahoma City for a weekend team training for their trip, so excitement is building there. I started some premarital counseling with a young couple getting married in May.
The last big thing that happened in January was a trip Thomas and I took on a mission of unity. We discovered in early January that there was an entire Church of Christ in the area that we had never even heard about. So naturally we called them up and set up a lunch meeting to invite them to our area-wide singings. They were excited about it too and we made the arrangements.
The first twenty minutes or so we enjoyed a great conversation, but it quickly became clear that they were not as keen on area unity. In fact, it ended up being a pretty difficult conversation all the way around. Suffice it to say, they did not accept our area-wide singing invitation and when Thomas and I left, we immediately went out and bought some doughnuts.
However, it was worth it. It was a difficult lunch, but it was worth it. No one can say we didn't try. We fought for the unity of the body of Christ that day. I encourage you, wherever you are, keep fighting for the unity of the body of Christ. It is worth it. It is always worth it. And if you would, would you please take a moment to pray for greater unity of the body of Christ? It is beautiful and perpetual struggle and always worth it.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
Thanks everyone! You have a great day!