Why I Walk into Church with my Head Down: A Semi-Sexism Story

Tunnel vision. My motion, my focus, is analogous to that of a Nascar driver. Tunnel vision. I park my car, walk through the double doors, tread softly past the daycare commotion, dodge through the packs of chattering people, enter into the main sanctuary, and finally sit down with my eyes glaring toward the stage. My eyes are closed during the musical worship. During the sermon, my eyes are glued onto the preacher. I make sure I am on my best behavior.

This has become my socially systematic ritual in and around the church service. For almost two years I have been unintentionally trained to be careful around the wives – so much so, that my very personality and natural being is completely different on Sunday mornings. I no longer look at the wives or even try to initiate contact with the husbands so not to risk anything. I refrain from being my normally playful, outgoing self for the sake of others. A few times, I’ve actually avoided going to my church and attended somewhere else…just for a rest-break.

Now I love conservatism: theologically, politically, socially, and even in some professional sports. At the same time, I have found myself in a church culture that surpasses the “imaginary” line that should NOT be crossed. It couples ultra Christian-conservatism alongside the strange relational subculture of the seminarian culture and resulting into  fractured, unfulfilled relationships.

One way in which this fracture has overwhelmed me is the issue of women and men NOT being friends in the church.

I have been stressed with this social climate where many of the wives are timid around me and the husbands show possessive body language in front of me when their wives are present. This is not everyone. Neither do I believe that it is a conscious action by others either; to the contrary, it is a “subconscious” action. However, it still hurts us who go through this. It hurts to not be trusted. We are guilty before proven innocent. I can give NUMEROUS examples that I have been through: primarily face to face; also email and social media. Additionally, I have read books and am very cognizant of social norms, body language, and rapport. In church we may say the right words and use political correctness in our lingo… but our actions and communal fruit tell a completely different story.

For a female’s perspective, you can read this lovely article on The Gospel Coalition’s website.

There are at least 5 side effects of this fracture that risk a retardation of friendly relationships:

1)  It causes a nuance of loneliness: This loneliness grows into a feeling of being unwanted or removed from the body of believers. The scriptural illustration, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, depicts the church as a body. If a finger is removed it does not keep growing or playing its part, now does it? No, it shrivels up and dies. In this case the joy of the individual becomes damaged.

2)  This causes a CHAIN REACTION into OTHER basic types of relationships: This climate becomes the air that everyone breathes. Soon, this standoff-ish nature becomes normal between everyone: between other married couples, singles, visitors and members. There have been social psychology studies to show that we will, in certain ways, conform to our environment. In our general case, relationships will become robotic. This can be seen in the decline of some linear, mathematical, doctrinal types of churches. Now I line up with these types of churches, but there still needs to be a line drawn. Otherwise relationships grow stale, empty and mechanical.

3)  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: I fully understand we are called to steward our marriages. That is extremely biblical and good. But where is the line that keeps it from becoming fear-mongering. As I said in an earlier blog, some people “suddenly” lock their car doors when I walk past their cars. True, I am black. Statistically speaking, I cannot blame them at all for being extra careful. However, if we are in the suburbs and I am wearing tailored dress clothes with Cole Haan shoes … maaaybe you don’t need to be afraid of me. That said, if we’re supposed to brothers and sisters in Christ … maybe you can trust that I do not want to kiss your wife in the sanctuary and ask her out for coffee. This fear can lead into believing “something” happened before it ever did.

4)  Personal walks with God are affected: If I have to be a “different person” around married couples then I can begin (or Satan can begin) to tell myself that they do not truly know me. How can I can truly allow them inside my walk with Christ if they do not understand or know the real me?

5)  Both the image of the trinity and Gospel community are tainted: Between God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son…there is no hierarchy. Only delight. They freely give to one another and receive from one another. [John 1:18, 16:12-15, 17:3-5]. Therefore we, being made in that image, should being naturally copying that. We should delight in and celebrate each others strengths. We should spent time together [not limited to small group time]. As one pastor cautioned, “without this happening, subconscious frustration and jealousy will lead to overcritical spirits that will erode the foundation of deep intimacy in relationships.”

We know there is no perfect church. Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up about my own. I love my church and I love The Church. But would it not be hypocritical for me to have called out Joel Osteen’s church, single men, young people, the liberation gospel, lukewarm Christians, atheists, and even Michael Jordan in past blog posts… but then stay silent about a flaw in my own community? No way Jose. Nothing gets fixed if we do not discuss it.

Still, social media isn’t going to solve this. Small groups are not going to fix this. Social media plus Small groups does not equal biblical community. It will have to be pursued and fought for. People do not simply “fall” into deep community – they pursue it. We will have to surrender and sacrifice. And once this is attained … oh my how splendidly holy and beautiful it will look!!! May we care for the needs for one another. I pray that we commune deeply with one another. You know, to get a head start on eternity together.

Advertisements

7 More Funny Christian Jokes I’ve Heard (3rd Edition)

1.  A minister is driving down the road and is stopped for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on his breath,

sees an empty wine bottle on the floor, and asks, “Sir, have you been drinking?”

The minister replies, “Just water.”

The trooper asks, “Then why do I smell wine?”

The minister looks down at the bottle and exclaims, “Good Lord, He’s done it again!”

__________________________________________________________

2.  One day, GOD talked to Bill Gates.
“Considering your contribution to the world and also your disbelief in me, I am going to do something that I never did before. I am going to allow you to choose between Heaven or Hell”.

amazed, Bill Gates try to remain objective. He wanted to see both Heaven and Hell before made the decision.

then GOD shows him the Heaven. it’s so beautiful, so graceful, fill of peace and praises to GOD.

satisfied, Bill Gates wanted to see the Hell.

GOD shows him the Hell, full of sexy ladies, partying all time, having fun and no rules at all.

Finally, Bill Gates decided that he wanted to be in Hell. GOD have asked him to confirm because once decision made, can’t cancel it.

So when Bill Gates died, GOD put him in Hell.
After several days, GOD wonders how Bill Gates enjoy his life in Hell.

After looking for sometime, GOD founds Bill Gates crying and sulking in a corner. He cried “GOD, where are all the fun? the girls? the parties?”.

GOD responded “Dear Bill, didn’t we told you? It was all just a screen saver.”

__________________________________________________________

3.  On the sixth day, God created the platypus. And God said: “Let’s see the evolutionists try and figure this one out.”

__________________________________________________________

4.  A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, “Denomination?” The man says, “Methodist.” St. Peter looks down his list, and says, “Go to room 24, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. “Denomination?”

“Lutheran.”

“Go to room 18, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

A third man arrives at the gates. “Denomination?”

“Presbyterian.”

“Go to room 11, but be very quiet as you pass room 8.”

The man says, “I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8?”

St. Peter tells him, “Well the Baptists are in room 8, and they think they’re the only ones here.

__________________________________________________________

5.  One day, Joe, Bob and Dave were hiking in a wilderness area when they came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.

Joe prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, although he almost drowned a couple of times.

Seeing this, Dave prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.

Bob had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools, and the intelligence, to cross this river.”

Poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, then walked across the bridge.

__________________________________________________________

6.  There was an American basketball player that had a tournament in Dublin. After one of his games he stepped outside for a breath of fresh air when he felt a gun in his back. “What’s your religion?” he heard the man growl.

Bobby (the player) had no real religion but he knew if he said he was Catholic and this guy was a Protestant he would kill him and if he said he was Protestant and the guy was Catholic he would kill him.

Thinking quickly he said “I’m Jewish.” and the man replied, “Oh Allah I must be the luckiest Arab in all of Ireland.”

__________________________________________________________

7.  Recently a teacher, a garbage collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into Heaven, they would each have to answer one question.

St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, “What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They just made a movie about it.” The teacher answered quickly, “That would be the Titanic.” St. Peter let him through the gate.

St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring Heaven didn’t REALLY need all the odors that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: “How many people died on the ship?” Fortunately for him, the trash man had just seen the movie and answered, “about 1,500.” “That’s right! You may enter.”

St. Peter then turned to the lawyer. “Name them.”

https://earnestbjohnson.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/image007.gif

A Letter to My Future Wife of 50 Years

First things first, let’s get this awkwardness out of the way. Sure, you’re roughly around 75 years old, which means that you are approximately 50 years older than I currently am. Yes, you are from the future and I, conversely, am sitting here in the abstract year of 2013. But regardless, I’m your husband still. Also, you are the true weird one for marrying me. What we you thinking Sweetheart? Did your parents not warn you about me? Oh well, fifty years have now past so you’re well coveted in this relationship…there is no turning back now.

I am writing this soliloquy right now simply because I do not know you. However, my Father in heaven very well knows you. I am clueless as to the specifics of your personality, your current spiritual walk, your race and ethnicity, financial status, physical attributes, your love language, hobbies, or whether you Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 11.31.09 PMlike sports or not … I know nothing. Fifty years from now, I presume that our children are grown and out of the house. We’ve retired and settled into a house somewhat in close proximity to our grandchildren (because we LOVE to spoil babies). I would also reluctantly suppose that at this point our marriage has lost that youthful vibrancy that it once had. Our knees may not be the same dancing knees that they once were. We’ve probably grown accustomed to our habitual tendencies to the point where there is not much room for surprises anymore. Justin Bieber’s grandson will lead the new generation of youth with their annoying futuristic boy-band music that will give us all headaches.

With all that said, there is no place I’d rather be than with you. You are God’s gift to me and you are such the blessing that I cannot currently fathom. You are obviously, after 50 years of marriage, very acquainted with my downfalls. My weaknesses. My shortcomings. I am sorry for the times I grew angry with you. Whenever my prideful ego flared up. Each time I was passive as a leader. Please forgive for the times I embarrassed you (there will be a plethora of those coming, ha). On the other hand, I thank you for loving me and staying with me. I praise God for the spiritual gifts and talents that he blessed you with to help lead our family. For the times you submitted with trust. Know that I pray for you now. Admittedly, I should pray much more – the Lord knows I should. Luckily there are older, Godly people in my life that pray for you consistently. As God continues to mold me into a Christ-like leader and cultivator, I pray that he is molding you as the crown jewel that you are. I am not saying you are The One (aka bad Disney movies). But since God chose us to be together, apparently you are the one that God wants for me, and vice versa.

Psalm 139: 13-16 shows that God knows all the days of our lives. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Isaiah 46:8-11 will even go further and proclaim that God purposefully directs the flights of a single bird; and the everyday travels of an individual person. There is also Acts 17:24-27, 16:7,14, Genesis 50:20, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 1:3-6, Jeremiah 1:5 and many other verses will vividly depict that we move by the hand of God. Therefore God, in his eternal state, is simultaneously aware of me in 2013 AND of you when you read this letter post-2063. He sees our first date, first kiss, last date, and last kiss all at once. Mind-blowing huh? That’s our Father!! He is in charge of our marriage and loves us too much for it to be lackluster! My goodness I hope that we pray and read scripture together. That we forgive often. That joy externally overflows from our relationship for the good of everyone around us. I pray that we do not grow lukewarm in our faith and content with our futuristic gadgets and money. I pray that we are well involved in the church, in missions, and in discipleship — yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ. May we never forget the excitement that lies within the Gospel!

I hope that you are not insecure in your beauty at an elderly age. I will have wrinkles right alongside you. If my focus was on your youthful looks, then I’d be writing this letter to the 30-year-old version of yourself instead. But I’d rather write this to you as you are. It was always about you. Your spirit and soul. The things that are timeless. Plus, at age 30, you were such a pain in the butt. I still cannot believe that I put up with you. Please, let’s not have an argument over this right now. We may have just had the first argument over the space-time continuum. Good thing I won. Seriously, I hope to love further and deeper at 75 years of age than I did at 30 years of age.

By far, the only sad thing about this post is that God does not promise us 50 years of marriage (i.e. to live that long). He does not even promise us 5 years. Our lives are a brief and fragile morning fog that can vanish at any second. Fifty years together would solely be another grace-filled gift from God. However, if we both do not make it that far in age together, we’ll still have eternity to spend in heaven. It is there, that we can begin to dance again. There will be no more lackluster “Us”. For we will dine with our gigantic family of believers in spirited joy – with the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord shining in His full and radiant glory. That is our truest hope. Halleluiah.

I love you Girly. Fifty years of marriage … the best is yet to come.

Bye-Bye Christianity, Hello Atheism (Satire)

It has begun! I have considered my options and, well, decided that it is time to join the ranks of atheist team. #TeamAtheist. It was imminent since it just seems more practical and also makes me warm inside to believe that I control my fate and not some tyrannical being in the air. Albeit, it is true that I have physically experienced spiritual warfare, seen numerous extraordinary answered prayers, been an eyewitness to an injured foot being miraculously healed, and heard of many other stories that confirm there is a true God…I just really believe that I know more “real” knowledge and will not subject myself to silly myths anymore.

Now I can already sense what you Christians are getting all riled up. Just calm down, you can join me on this adventurous bandwagon of Real Truth. There is room. I’ll do us all a favor and give you point-by- point reasons to why atheism is better than your mythical faith. I will address it as if I am being debated by a Christian with a few of their best reasons that prove Christianity is real, and I’ll combat it with my wit and intelligence. Because even though God is forever in age, I still know a thing or two in my own youth. I have a college degree and the Internet at my disposal.

  • Christian apologists would say: There are 66 books of the Bible, written over a 1500 year span, with 40 different authors (each with wildly different personalities and social statuses, but wrote with exact unity), and 2300 archeological digs (not one refuting the Bible).

-I will answer to you that you are correct. But there is an American scholar who claims to have recently found ancient evidence that proves that Jesus was made up. I’ll admit that he’s probably very biased and, to the contrary, has likely found nothing to negate 2000 years of your historical evidence. However, he gives me hope. #TeamAtheist

  • Christian apologists would say: There are 6000 manuscripts written in the days of Jesus and the early church by random everyday people at the time. We can recreate over 90% of the Bible with those manuscripts alone. There are only 12 ancient manuscripts of Julius Caesar, 10 for Aristotle, and 0 for Socrates. Would you not believe in the latter three either?

-I will answer: Of course I believe Caesar, Socrates, and Aristotle were real people. I’d be foolish to believe otherwise. Still I do not believe Jesus was real. I need more proof.

https://i2.wp.com/atheismresource.com/wp-content/uploads/atheist-baby.jpeg

  • Christian apologists would say: So you believe that we came from literally nothing? A dot? In order to create we need time, space, and matter. All three have to commend to existence at the same instance. None of those three entities can create themselves. They need an outside force to do so. How did they come into existence?

-I do not know. But cosmic evolution is still possible. We just need further technological advances to get there. #Atheist4Life

  • Christian apologists would say: A star explodes in the galaxy about every 30 years. This occurrence is called a “Super-Nova” and can be spotted afterwards. If the earth is millions of years old, why are there less than 300 Super-Novas found in all the galaxies? Should there not be millions of them around, over time, with your atheistic theory?

-Hmm touche, touché.

  • Christian apologists would say: What about the numerous amounts of former intellectually staunch atheists and historians who eventually converted to Christianity during their studies? Do you not think that God wooed them to Himself by allowing them to see truth?

-Ahh, you see those ex-skeptics were weak. C.S. Lewis was weak. I am much more competitive and will not allow myself to fall into the subversive hands of Christianity. I will train myself to have a closed mind and, in turn, eventually work my way up to allow a hardening of my mind to any concept of faith. The wonderful part of that is that as I further train myself, the more biased truth I will psychologically believe. It will get to the point that I will fully believe in any atheistic principal or finding regardless of any evidential merit.

Image

Ok, if you have not guessed it yet, this is all satire. However, I have much more on my chest that has to be released to the atheist community.

I am constantly fearful of you all. This particular blog post is infinitely miniscule to the amount of information out there that points to the validity of scripture and of a triune God. On the other hand, there is also information out there that can lead you to believe the contrary. How else would the “hardening of the heart” be achieved, as in Romans 1:28 and Exodus 9:12. How else would Satan and his powers of darkness put in their two cents to skew the legitimacy of the Gospel, as foretold in Ephesians 6:12 and Revelation 12:9. Be careful intelligent ones. Lawyers, doctors, businesswoman, professors… lest you begin to believe in your own finite abilities. Be careful liberal youth, artists and freethinkers… lest you slip into a culture that deems God as controlling and fake. Our society heightens the beliefs of the 17th century Age of the Enlightenment past its initial purposes. We love ourselves so much that we become territorial animals against anything that will rail against that love for ourselves (i.e. God). Many times I get headaches with the weak arguments brought up by atheists. NONE of which a strong enough to ever stomp Christianity. It takes more faith to believe what you believe.

You can never know it all because mystery is a prerequisite for faith; and without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11. There will never be enough false information created or debates that will eliminate our faith. Christianity is booming in China, Africa, Korea, etc. Do not be deceived by what you may see in your few seconds here on earth, or on your small radii of where you live. There are things at hand of which you cannot see. God’s kingdom will steadily build. Proof of his reality will steadily be seen (Romans 1:20). Luckily for us all, God in his infinitely loving grace is welcoming you and I to join Him. He loved us enough to die – even for those that do not believe. If you have a tingling desire of that invitation, then seek it out. Seek the truth. It is eternally worth it.

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/)