A Man, Drugs, & Penn State Revivals

[The following is a true story based on events that occurred at Penn State during their Christian Revivals of 1980-1983. If you don’t believe me, look the revival up. This story was once told to me from the person who experienced it.]

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Yesterday was cocaine. Today is weed. Just an ordinary Spring day at Penn State when Mark and his friends would skip class to get high. They sat around the sofa stoned, laughing hysterically at the stories they’d tell of their latest escapades. Freshman year was a blast and sophomore year for Mark and his friends was a breeze.

One by one the guys left Mark’s dorm room as they wrapped things up. Mark remained on the sofa –  his eyes glazed, shoulders slumped, his head barely upright on his body. Somehow the drugs hadn’t reflected in his college grades. Mark was a decent engineering student to the point where it would be impossible to guess what was going on behind closed doors – or so you would expect. The year is 1981 and drugs are a normal recurrence with many students on campus. Buying a bag of marijuana was almost easier than buying box of pencils.

As Mark’s high eventually began to calm down, he realized that he’d soon have a choice to make. Up to this point Mark had done (and enjoyed) practically every drug except heroine. His friend Ashley was able to buy some heroine earlier that day and they planned on doing it together. They say, as Mark thought to himself, “Once you start heroine there is no going back.”  Nevertheless, he settled on joining her that evening. Since Mark could handle all the other drugs he concluded that he could handle heroine just fine.

Just before evening time there was a knock on his door. As he opened it he barely recognized who it was, but he’d seen them around campus before. They were two preppy-looking Freshmen guys inviting him out to a Christian gathering for later that evening. They added that there would be food and the opportunity to meet some new people as well.

[The odd thing about this occurrence was the rarity that someone would even come to Mark’s door about this. Percentage-wise, Christianity was not a big thing at Penn State at the time.]

Mark, extremely reluctant because he didn’t know much about religion, heard his conscious urge him to go so that he could get out of his heroine date later. After little debate, Mark decided to take a chance and go to the Christian gathering instead.

At the Christian event that very night, Jesus saved Mark and he began to believe.

In the days following, Mark went cold-turkey from all his drugs. He would still hang out with his normal crew of friends and just not partake in the usage. His friends didn’t mind. Sure, they thought it was strange, but it just meant more enjoyment for them.

When Mark wasn’t in class or hanging with his old friends, Mark now spent all his time swimming in the scriptures and going to the Christian events of that small campus ministry.

After about a month of being saved Mark and his two closest old friends took a weekend camping trip. That night his two friends pulled out some Crystal meth to use. They begged and pleaded Mark to join them. Mark initially refrained.

They reasoned with Mark, “Come on man, just this once like old times. It’s not fun if you don’t join us. You’ve gone a month without a high anyways.”

Mark eventually gave in. The three of them got started and immediately the high kicked in for each of them. Mark could feel the familiarity from the high that he used to feel, but something was different this time. It was as if his heart wasn’t for it. He began to feel his face melting, which is a typical reaction to meth. Mark glanced over at the flames from the fire pit and heard a distinct high-pitched, demonic laugh come out from the fire.

[To this day Mark believes that was Satan’s demons laughing at him as they realized they’d gotten one of God’s chosen to slip.]

Without delay Mark fell to his knees after hearing the demonic laugh. He began to cry out loud to God that he was sorry. All the while his friends stood enjoying their own highs. Mark cried continually asking that Jesus take away the high. After repeatedly praying aloud for healing…. suddenly…. the impossible happened…. Mark’s high vanished. Not only that, but Mark’s friends had their high abruptly taken away as well.

[You see, a Crystal meth high doesn’t just abruptly end after a few minutes. A Crystal meth high literally lasts anywhere between 8 to 24 hours and has a gradual decline of its effects.]

Knowing this from their past experience, Mark’s friends freaked out. They frantically asked Mark what just happened. Before Mark could respond his friends tearfully got on their knees and asked Mark to tell them about this Jesus he’d been following the past month. This same Jesus who Mark just prayed to who impossibly took away their high. What a miracle, what a God. Mark’s friends got saved and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord that night.

What happened the rest of the school year at Penn State was nothing short of a miracle. revivalMany other of Mark’s drug friends also became believers. There began to be a Christian revival on campus that year and subsequent years. Numerous campus ministries formed and each experienced drastic growth in numbers.

But for Mark, how long did it last? Was it just a little phase or spiritual high that Mark went through?

There are other spiritual stories to tell of Mark and his obedience to Christ. However, I’ll end with this: Today, Mark is pressing harder than ever into Christ as he wrestles for more faith as his wife of many years is now struggling with ALS. Both having a life lived well for the Lord, are now living life well through suffering. But still, the fight goes on. “It is the worst time and it is also the best time,” Mark says encouragingly.

Mark and his wife were asked, “If you knew what your life would hold, would you still choose it?”

Their reply – a resounding ‘Yes’.

Oh to have such remarkable faith.  The angels rejoice over Mark and his wife. For all eternity, we will celebrate.

“I’m a pilgrim passing through. We’re just passing through on this journey. I’m blessed that I’ve had such a wonderful wife all these years. Whatever God gives us today will be wonderful. So what about the dreams we had, heaven is so much better. It is said that it is better than anything I can hope for or imagine. And I have a pretty good imagination.” – Mark

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Don’t Cry For Me

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I am a dead man. Eventually, that is. If you’re very familiar with my blog, you’ll know that the book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite in the Bible. In his old age, King Solomon becomes the grandfather that I never had. One of my grandfathers died before I was born. The other died when I was young. Therefore, Solomon has become both my spirit animal and quasi-granddaddy.

Some of my favorite moments of Solomon’s wisdom writing are his uses of paradoxes. As when he says verses such as:

“The day of death is better than the day of birth”

“You learn more at a funeral than at a feast”

“Sorrow is better than laughter”

“A sad face is good for the heart”

(Verses above from Chapter 7:1-4).

Just those verses alone are enough to make you think King Solomon was in a loony bin. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh yeah, dying is way better than being born!”

However, looking deeper we will see that Solomon is saying that it is beneficial to look at our own lives and be introspective by paying attention with where we stand with God and with our life. He is saying that it gets tougher to do so when you’re laughing at a party or stuffing your face with a delicious food. Solomon, who loves to host parties with thousands of people and eat giant feasts (1 Kings 4), is claiming that in those joyous times….no one at that moment thinks deeply about their life. He and us are too busy laughing and having a good time. King Solomon is saying that times of sorrow are better because they make you think. They will slow you down and sometimes being slowed down in such a fast-paced world is a good thing. A funeral makes you realize that your day is coming sooner than you realize.

I have been to about 12 weddings in the past 3 years and I never had a moment when I thought about the deep parts of my soul. It is at the funerals where I stopped and became honest with myself. See I could be wrong, but people don’t usually question life during a Super Bowl party. On the other hand, anytime there is a terrorist bombing or natural disaster, people then realize how precious their time on earth is. It is in the deserts when we realize we need God. Maybe Solomon and the Word know a little something.

As Matt Chandler put it, “birth” is about the potential of what can be done. For the Christian, “death” is about the fulfillment of ALL that Christ had planned for us here on earth. It is finished and now it is finally time for the Promised Land.

But wouldn’t I be upset if I died so young? What about getting married with a family and kids? Wouldn’t I be sad to miss Kobe Bryant make an NBA comeback at the age of 42? Don’t I want to one day see N’Sync perform their 30-year reunion tour? Well yes, I would absolutely love to experience all of that. Still, when compared to the glory of Christ, none of that matters. Any other elevated view is idolatry.

By faith, if I were to suddenly die today, no worries. I have had a life lived well. The opportunity of life given to me was a glorious gift in itself. But on top of that, let’s forget about focusing on what we didn’t get to do. How about what we DID get to do?! Here is a snippet of an ongoing list I have that, if I died, can be read at my funeral. Anytime something stirs my soul I try to add something to it. Especially the little things.

So if I die, don’t cry for me.

Don’t cry for me:

– I have laughed until my abs started hurting and I started crying.

– I have already made my family proud.

– I have eaten enough potato chips to feed a small country. Seriously.

– My eldest nephew has cried every time I’ve left his house. So he’s cried for me enough. He has taught me unconditional love better than anyone else in this world. And for that lesson, I owe him more than I can ever repay.

– I have seen people worship the Lord and get saved.

– I have seen someone get prayed over and healed before my very eyes.

– I have been in fist fights and won.

– I have been in fist fights and lost. And learned from them.

– I have watched some beautiful YouTube videos and cried my eyes out with joy.

– I once took a 4th of July vacation to Selma, AL that was more fun than my 4th of July vacation to New York City.

– I got over my fear of dogs….just to impress a girl. But I got over the fear, nonetheless.

– I have been dancing a few times until my legs went numb. And I danced some more.

– I have made friends that I can call family.

– I have been to Vegas and won $128 on the first night.

– I watched the Notebook movie over 60 times.

– I have won a sports championship. Softball. Twice baby!

– I have traveled.

– My mom and dad have become more than just my parents.

– Twice, I have been loudly cheered for onstage in front of hundreds of people for poetry.

– I have been booed offstage in front of hundreds of people doing poetry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even getting cheered again.

– I have seen all the Harry Potter movies.

– I have intellectually debated atheists for the faith and not backed down.

– I have discipled and seen.

– I have read a good book.

– I have been to some extremely hippie towns and had a great time.

– I have been involved in 11 car accidents and lived.

– I have witnessed people truly love on one another.

-Some of my favorite memories were playing baseball for hours in the back yard with my brothers.

– I have played soccer in the front yard for hours with my little nephews. Or at least, the odd variation of the game they call soccer.

– I have had times of doing absolutely nothing during hangouts with friends and had a blast.

-I did a summer internship in Vicksburg, MS and….well actually you can cry for me about that. Good gosh that was a very boring time!

– I spent some amazing summers at Clemson University.

– Don’t cry for me…Jesus Christ saved me. I am dining with Him now.

– Don’t cry for me….I am home sweet home.

 

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The Good Surprise: Joyful Tears for Soldiers & Heaven

It will occur like a thief in the night. Or a sudden surprise knock of the door that changes our demeanor – whether good or bad. The mystery of surprise twists are captured in the best of movies. The genuine joy that can be gained from an undeserving, loving surprise practically outweighs any other combine of feelings. When surprise meets grace …. uncontrollable emotions ensue.

Once again, I have caught myself looking at YouTube videos of soldiers spontaneously coming home to surprise their loved ones. The look of awe and tearful incredulity by the family members is simply AMAZING (2:59 is my favorite). Question – How is it that I can empathize with the shock of the family members? No one in my family is overseas fighting for war. The closest that my family has experienced this was the first time that I came home for a visit after first leaving for college. That is an unfair comparison to someone that has been overseas for 8 continuous months and who’s life can be taken at any given second. Maybe the reason that I/we can resonate with the emotions presented in these videos is because at the deepest part of or being we KNOW that a greater day is coming when we shall feel the APEX of that emotion.

The Bible describes the day Jesus returns as impossible to be predicted or anticipated; not even by the angels (Mark 13:32). The day is described as a thief in the night and a flash (Matthew 24:26 and 1 Corinthians 15:52). To better paraphrase, the Bible says: “One day some of you will be looking at videos on Vine, some will be shopping at Whole Foods, a few will be washing dishes, playing in a football game, a few will be praying over their cancer-ridden child, some will be in the mission field, some will be joyfully skipping in the rain on their first date, some will be watching Netflix before bedtime, waters will be flowing, trees will be dying. Then suddenly, POOF, Jesus and all of his supremacy and glory will come down and do what He was destined to do for the sake of the Father.”

Now for the beauty:

In that moment, when we are facing this holy and supreme being, we will finally see just how infinitely undeserving we are to be with Him. We wouldn’t help but tremblingly bow down in His presence. As 2 Peter 13:10 describes, everything will be laid bare. In that moment, we will FULLY understand how “All of our righteous deeds are filthy rags”. As our life is reflected on in that instant, we’ll be aware how all our earthly “good” lacks in comparison to this epic God before us. Remember that time we read our Bible for quiet time? It does not match up. Remember the time we worshiped for hours? When we see God’s ultimate glory, we will realize that we should have worshiped infinitely longer.

Nothing we did or can do will protect or save us. It is in that instant where will FULLY see the importance of the cross. The magnitude of the love that was shown will blow us away. How can we speak? What emotions will we be feeling? For those that truly believe Christ is their Savior, we may hesitantly mutter something similar to this, “Oh my oh my, why are you choosing me??? Really?? Just crush me. I am dirty and damaged. I can’t even look at your bright perfection.” God, in his warm nature, will then happily tell us, “Jesus has made you clean. He has absorbed the curse and provided the perfection that your soul needed. No wrath for you. Come, join in the wedding supper of the lamb and see true paradise. Come celebrate with ALL my children.” [Galatians 3:13; 2 Peter 1:11]. After all the tears we will rejoice that the curse has been lifted. Mercy Grace Mercy Grace. Those times that you doubted Jesus was real = Grace. That time you were angry at God because of your mother’s terminal cancer = Grace. The staunch atheist that spent his whole life hating God, but in his last days he “genuinely” accepted the faith = Grace.

Oh the joy. The joy. The joy!! May we see and savor the supremacy of Jesus Christ. The One who loves us. Let us see that He is supreme over the missing Malaysian plane, over all universities, March Madness, all the internet, hurricanes, all of science, over Fox News & MSNBC, our jobs, over our stocks & investments, the Frozen soundtrack, EVERYTHING. Yes, currently this all feels abstract; but the writers of the Bible make it seem as if this is right around the corner. Let us dive into his warmth now. Let us put on his armor as we are warned to be watchful as the time approaches (Ephesians 6:13-18). With the same token … let us still enjoy these tearjerker YouTube videos. Honestly speaking, they are AWWWESOME!!

 

Here lies Jesus, King of the Jews:

God Saves All of us Crazy & Odd People

  • I have some Asian friends that are a part of this very large Asian group of believers. They gather together in various homes every day of the week. They pray drastically different than how I have learned to pray. They do hospitality well and treat me as one of their own. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have these friends that are connoisseurs when it comes to alcoholic beverages. They know every brewery in Raleigh and like drinking wine as if they are practicing for heaven. They truly have deep desires to grow in their faith. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have other friends that were taught that drinking alcohol is sinful and that God does not want us to use musical instruments during church worship. But God still saved them despite such teaching. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I know many people that were raised in the Bible Belt and were honestly saved at the age of 6. Some come from financially well-off families. They praise Ronald Reagan, and they think Democrats are ignorant. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I know people that were not raised in the church and still struggle with dirty mouths at times. However, they have a youthfully passionate faith. They think Republicans have satanic tendencies. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have a few friends that are natural born skeptics. If someone tells them that a movie is good…they will doubt that opinion until they see the movie for themselves. They wrestled with doubt in Christ until they received enough rational proof. The love apologetics and Jesus very very much.
  • I grew up in Riverdale/College Park, GA – In a society where rapper T.I. was idolized as The King, gang members were rock stars, and Waka Flocka was viewed the second coming of Christ… even through that, God saved. And there are people there who love Jesus very very much.
  • There are some friends of mine that are borderline hippies. They rock climb in their chacos and contra dance every week. Some do not have a facebook! However, they intimately walk with the Lord in ways that I am jealous of. And they love Jesus very much.
  • I have a dear friend that spent some time in Haiti for missionary work. She describes that, while there, some of the Haitian natives would constantly come up to her to ask “if she had Jesus in her heart.” Depending on her response, they were ready to tell her all about Jesus. Haha, they were going to teach a Christian missionary about the Gospel. Evangelistic boldness is so woven into their Haitian culture that they automatically bring God up to anyone without fear. They love Jesus very very much.
  • There are between 70 and 90 million believers in China. A majority of whom worship in underground caves and in residential house churches. The communist Chinese government continues to imprison and kill leaders, but the revival continues to flourish. The government has begun to cut off the water supply and electricity in the homes of those house churches… but they still keep multiplying. They love Jesus very very much.

If we’re honest, many of us fall into the trap of believing that Christianity draws in a certain type of person. Whether it is a certain Myers-Briggs personality type, a subtle caricature, a certain race, hierarchy of class, economic status, or geographic locality. This foggy perception of Christians suddenly transforms our Biblically “open” faith into a religion that seems very “exclusive. An exclusiveness that is seen from both outside and inside the church. How is it possible that we have neglected to open our eyes into a stable awareness that God reaches ALL domains of society? Additionally, all throughout scripture there are commands and imagerys of unity within the body. “One body with many members” – 1 Corinthians 12:12. Ephesians 4, Psalm 133:1.

There is something about a body of people standing “together” firm in the faith, as Philippians 1:27, 28 describes. When people that have the same interests and motives surround us, we feel this sense of warmth and confidence that nothing can stop us. That is why there is such a thing as home-field advantage in sports…the fans and team feel emboldened around each other. Imagine the players on your favorite football team arriving to their game wearing different colored jerseys. There’s no unity in that and it will not intimidate the other team. We need one another.

I would love for those Haitian believers to teach me a thing or two about boldness and evangelism. When I’m having doubts about my faith, I need to hear from natural born skeptics how they wrestle Satan with apologetics and the power of God’s word. We need one another because God has sanctified us all in such particular ways that are intended to build the body. Not only for our local church, but also the universal (or global) church body at large. What Satan wants…what Satan loves is for us to not have any awareness of each other. For example, he doesn’t want us aware of the boldness of our Haitian brothers and sisters because, in turn, that would embolden us. Satan wouldn’t want that, now would he…

A close Clemson friend of mine recently told me of this God-given vision he received while sleeping one night: As he was dreaming, he suddenly saw this vision of an uncountable large gathering of people that were far beyond thousands of thousands. They were of all the different nationalities and from different walks of life. All of a sudden, their skins peeled and they were no longer recognizable by any form of identity. They weirdly became transformed into everyday construction tools from our local Home Depot (ex. hammers, measuring tapes, bevel squares, screwdrivers etc). They depicted how God was using each one of those immense number of believers for in collectively building his kingdom. Suddenly, all the tools went to work, building God’s kingdom in front of my friend!! He further described that it did not take long for all the clattering and noises to become overwhelmingly loud. All the action started causing his heart rate to abruptly increase and he literally started shaking and woke up from his dream.

Imagine the clatter we can make together as one team for our God and Savior. Imagine the encouragement and the inescapable reflection of God’s glory that would take place. Imagine us setting personal preference as secondary to the Gospel. #OneBody #OneSpirit #OneChurch #ILoveHashtags

The Praise of Cute Babies, Ryan Gosling’s Abs, and Holiness

There we sat in the movie theater, with about 200 other people, just in time to see the opening of Crazy Stupid Love. With this being in the genre of a romantic comedy, it is safe to say that the female gender took the majority count in the room, ha. Midway through the movie we finally approached the imminent flirtatious scene between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (my future wife). What happened next turned out to be hilarious – Ryan Gosling takes off his shirt… and on the 32-foot tall, 75-foot wide movie theater scene, 200 people received a full HD view of his 8-pack abs. I kid you not, every girl in the theater automatically gave some type of audible reaction. 70 girls gave a deep gasp, 70 other girls giggled, and 30 other girls clapped. The 30 guys in the movie theater just smacked their teeth in a jealously retorted gesture. However, the reactions from the girls were priceless. There was a warm delight that triggered in their eyes and bubbled up into a spontaneously audible reaction. An external praise.

ImageNow, let us ask ourselves a question: Why is it that there was such outward expression givien off by those girls? Why did they not just feel the delight and keep that feeling to themselves? We know that their reactions to Ryan’s abs were not forced out but, on the other hand, were naturally performed. That action is slightly weird when you think about it, is it not?

Another example – In the church that I attend we have experienced this “baby boom” over the past 10 months. Literally, there are babies everywhere. I am scared. (I have a prophetic theory that the babies are going to take over the church and turn us into their slaves… but that is neither here nor there). One established fact is that the babies are awfully adorable. I mean my goodness they are precious.  They turn heads like it’s their jobs. People are continuously complementing the babies, continuously gathering around them, and continuously telling other people about a new baby that they must see. What is it that causes us to react like this? It is not as if we haven’t seen a baby before.

The answer happens to be the exact same reason that God asks us to praise him. All throughout the Bible we see numerous instances where God says to give him joyful praises.  C.S. Lewis, who used to be a staunch atheist until his conversion, used to hate Christianity for this reason. He felt as if God was this old beggar-woman asking for praises all the time. After his conversion, he realized the truth behind why God demands that we praise him:

C.S. Lewis –

Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’…

…“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”

What Lewis is saying is that the reason girls in a movie theater naturally give an external reaction to Ryan Gosling’s gorgeous abs is because their joy in those abs does not feel complete until they let it out. The reason we tell people about cute babies is because we have to share this news in order to complete the feeling. The initial joy is fuel that leads us into some form of obedience to achieve the full joy. We see this with Instagram and Facebook as well. We post pictures of the coffee we’re sipping or the delicious meal we’re eating because we must tell someone. Weird, huh? We do it all the time. We are by design worshipers and want people to join us in that feeling of gratification. God wired us for this. God’s demand to praise him is not meant for Himself.  God does not need our approval. He tells us to praise him because in the act of praising we walk into a fulfillment of the eternal-like joy that we were created for. If God loves you he would want what is best for you. What is best for you is Himself. In order for your joy to be naturally completed, it must be expressed. The scriptures are hinting to us, “do you want fullness of joy…do you want everlasting peace and freedom…then praise God in all things with all your heart.” Isaiah 25:1, Psalm 150:2, James 5:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, etc.

The Lord wants us to understand that anything we praise that does not end in praise of the triune God will be fleeting (Job 7:6-7, Psalm 144:4, James 4:14). Ryan’s abs will not last forever, babies eventually reach the terrible twos, delicious sandwiches will quickly disappear, and Tom Brady will eventually grow too old for the game. Unless our everyday pleasures end in ultimate praise in Jesus Christ then those pleasures are restricted. Everything that is seen is transient. Our hope lies in focusing more on what is unseen. Jesus takes our sins, dies on the cross in our place for our sins, then rises from death. He gives us his righteousness. He gives us his heart. The more our affections are stirred for Christ, that joy will fuel our obedience to worship, to evangelize, and to naturally give off fruits of the spirit…freely. Not as a job or obligation but because we already feel his affections for us. Continually sitting underneath this Gospel story causes us to continually remember, which in turn, naturally triggers that “joy of eternal significance”. That joy that creation yearns for.

Let us adore Him. Let us praise Him.

Sources:

Reflections on the Psalms. C.S. Lewis. 1958.

To my Christian Family of Clemson University: Past, Present, & Future

ImageWhen we all know Christ in his fullness, there will be infinite praises of what he did at Clemson University. Until that time, we praise him know for the many glimpses of grace and love that he has shown us over the years. I will never get to fairly express my loving angst for the faithful believers at Clemson. Those that were there in the past, those that are there now, and those that Jesus has coming in the future. Some of the daily joys of my heart come from just the thought of you all. Not the school itself… there are schools all around the world…but more so the warm awareness of the Christ-exalting lives that are being lived there.

Oh how he loves us. Through all the cloudy sinfulness that occurs at every college – through all the materialism/superficiality, through all the alcohol and sexual deviances, through all the idolized focus on college football, through all the student loan debt, through all the Instagram photos and Facebook stalking… the presence of Christ on that campus still radiates in such a way that new people are constantly being saved. That is not a normality on American campuses. God has chosen you and given you a greater portion of grace. Many students elsewhere do not have the same opportunities to meet Christ as you have. You can go to the Starbucks right now and see a plethora of students with their Bibles out or conversing about God. There are 18 different campus ministries at Clemson. Each of which has believers that radically love Jesus and has evidence of fruitful relationships with our Savior. May those 18 campus ministries be unified in such a way that, as Philippians 2 puts it, “they stand firm in the faith, SIDE-BY-SIDE, in ONE spirit so that others will know just how seriously real our God is”. My goodness that verse riles me up. The fact that there are thousands of believers growing together praying together meeting together as I am typing this post, riles me up.

  • I think of the many people in FCA with their energy and youthful exuberance displayed every Thursday night. Their God-given presence is a force and has been for years. I love the way you love God and how God used you in my life. I repeatedly reflect on you guys. To BCM, Greek IV, Young Life, Chi Alpha, CRU, Campus Outreach and the 11 other campus ministries, your presence does not sit well with the powers of darkness. The spiritual realm of darkness loves to try to tear all of you down. But God is with you. I love love love when I hear stories of your ministries. Stories of growth and missions. I long for the day in heaven when we will all be together at the Wedding Feast of The Lamb. We will rejoice on that day of all that God did.  May you continue to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” and “devote yourselves to prayer” (Hebrew 10:21; Colossians 4:2).
  • Doug Hunt, you’re such a leader on that campus…let alone your ministry. I learned so much from your wisdom and peaceful spirit.
  • David Pearson and John Longshore – it is absolutely true that you two are like ‘The Sons of Thunder’ ascribed to James and John of the New Testament. Your fruit has eternal significance. One day you will see it in its fullness. On that day you will thank God even more for his sovereign grace in using you in his epic plans.
  • Austin Alvarez, Lassi, & Andy Robinson – your house church. My gosh your house church. Need I even go on? It was freakin’ amazing!! You guys would read the Bible and then, for some crazy reason, you followed it faithfully. I’m still shocked. Over the years, your group paid dividends to the spiritual well-being of Clemson. You would pray and things would happen. You have stories that can fill a novel. God’s hand is over that group.
  • To the women that love Jesus – you are God’s precious daughters. Your faith is as important as the air we breath. The body needs you. No matter how foolish we men are at times, remember that Jesus is the perfect man and that you are His first. I pray for godly men in your life.
  • Laura Haynie – God uses your joyful heart powerfully. Satan tried to break our ministry down with a foray. My last year in Clemson was tremendously tough spiritually because of it; but having you as a co-leader by my side was a wonderful blessing. The Spirit shines through you. I am excited for how God uses you next.
  • Miguel Chavis, Gray Gardner, Jonathan Whittle – Your love for scripture and truth is beyond measure. Our generation scoffs at it, along with them having an increasingly low attention span. However, The Lord loves your will for meat and to see people come to know the true nature and character of God. I pray that you three, and the others in your friend-group, do not loose these opportunities to grow together. A time is coming when you will not be able to convene together so easily. Life happens.
  • Sammy Watkins – I pray for you a ton brotha. Like you are my real brother. Not at all for football. But for your eternal growth in the Lord. Something a matters infinitely  more.
  • To my church in Clemson, you were my first love since Freshman year when you brought me in. I miss you all tenderly. As you very well know since I cried my last time I was there, ha. I pray that you all continue to grow in wisdom and in the faith. Continue to do life together as God has asked of you and of which you are doing.
  • Jimmy and Laura Gann – you two astonish me. You get married in June of 2012. Within a few months you’re packing up and moving to India because Jesus told you to do so. You are the righteous ones that live by faith.

My Clemson Tiger family, we are blessed. Please stay connected. Be vulnerable. Eat together. Pray. Let’s experience life fully by giving our heart to our Lord and Savior. Now lets win some football games while we’re at it baby!!!!

Image(Awesome photos taken by Dawson Powers : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawsonp/sets/72157635343519719/)