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/)

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Glory, Creation, & Clemson Football!!!!!

I went up to Clemson this past weekend. Clemson just breeds awesomeness. I have always been an avid people watcher/learner. There is this strange, immense amount of joy that comes from seeing other people experience just an ounce of happiness. Now that I’ve been a graduate and away for 4 months, it seems as if the ability to observe people and vividly comprehend & appreciate their uniqueness has magnified.

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After the Clemson-South Carolina game, some friends and I were journeying by foot back to our car and were reminded of just how crazy traffic is after games. Especially night games! While downtown we could see a far-out view of all the cars in traffic ahead of us. It reminded me of something C.S. Lewis once wrote. He compared the concept of  “the traffic flow of vehicles on roads”  to  “God’s creation of the flow of rivers”.  Now this gets beautiful when it’s fully thought about. We just need to practice the fun, vivid Christian imagination that we all have. Christianity is never meant to be boring. It is meant to be repeatedly awe-inspiring.

Here’s what I mean. We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Anything true of the “whole” will be true of the “part”. So if the entire Pacific Ocean is salt water, taking a small bucket of water from the Pacific Ocean will contain salt water. The purpose, meaning, and direction of the universe will be seen inside of what each of us do everyday. Any subset of the universe that God has created (i.e. people, rivers, trees, clouds, passions, video games, high school proms) will have some qualities and/or desires similar to that of God.

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We create things because we were created by The Ultimate Creator. Creativity, imagination, and beauty are God’s imageness in us. God is the master architect of creation. So since he created us, we display his qualities (even in things we create ourselves). People invented cars and even this can show traces of God’s influence.  If you look closely at cars moving together in a pack, they mimic a natural river flowing on its own water-path. My friends and I were literally able to look at the traffic in front of us collectively acting as if it were a calm-flowing river.  I for sure need to wake up and open my eyes more.

Not only do we create, but we also constantly exalt (i.e. glorify, praise, honor, rejoicing) things because we were created to give glory to God (Isaiah 43:7, Matt 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12, Habakkuk 2:14). During the football game this Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice this and laugh. By just taking some time to closely observe things around me the joy of everything was seen.

There were a number of girls with their arms tightly wrapped around their boyfriend’s arm due to the cold weather. That brings a certain type of honor to her boyfriend. It shows an appreciation for him and what he can provide.

Similarly, I can watch my guy friends that may have girlfriends whenever that girlfriend is around them. Some of the guys…I can see it in their eyes, just in the subtle ways they look at their girlfriend when she is not even noticing. It’s as if they aren’t looking at her in a physical sense, but looking at her soul. They are involuntarily rejoicing in the fact that they are in love with the soul of their girlfriend. Now my one favorite couple….. it really is all over his eyes when he looks at her. As plain as day. You can see joy, love, worry, and passion all at once in his eyes.

Friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time joyfully yell each other’s names in unison and hug before/after the game. Sometimes being so noticeably overwhelmed that everyone around them stops and looks.

Strangers sitting next to each other automatically are unified friends because they share a common bond. They give high fives when things go well. When they’re sad because Tahj Boyd got sacked…they’re sad together.

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In a broader way, we can look at the 80,000 Clemson fans yelling and screaming for a victory, bringing glory to the football team. All the while we can look up above the stadium into the night sky and witness something more intricate. The infinite number of bright stars, in their own uniqueness, scream for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 15:41, Psalm 19:1). It’s a funny irony though: how as we cheer for our football team, the stars in sky are simultaneously cheering for our Heavenly Father (Romans 1:20).  They’re picking up our slack as we cheer for a little football game.

Clemson will sometimes loose and let us down. Boyfriends will many times be dummies. Girlfriends have cooties ALWAYS. Friends will let us down. Strangers come and go. Cars will eventually die on us and end up in junkyards. But our holy & perfect God, so focused on the glorification of himself and of Jesus Christ through the fulfillment of the work done on the cross…never fails. He wins. And he loves us. We rejoice in that and put our hope in it. That is why Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

So let His name be lifted higher and higher by us. The rivers and our own man-made cars are already lifting his name high. The stars are doing the same. ALL of creation was meant to do so. Focusing on Christ will always guide us into more joy.