This week the BSU went to Collegiate Week at Falls Creek, Oklahoma where we were challenged with great teaching, worshiped with the Breakaway Worship band and learned about some amazing service opportunities through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. It was an eventful week as we added one student to the trip on the day we left, after we left, then arrived to a cabin with a broken pipe. So, no showers, no toilets and no cooking. Fortunately we had someone with us who was able to finagle a swap with another church to get us into what turned out to be a much nicer facility for the same price. God is good!
The day got off to a slow start. We killed a little time by playing a game called Poison Dart Frog after a lively debate about proper toilet etiquette. Crumple or fold, what’s your preference?
After getting lined out, most of us headed off to another house in the same remote area we were in yesterday to separate out all the metal from the rest of the debris. It took ten of us, and we finished in a downpour, but we got it done. One lesson we’ve all learned on this trip is that there is SO MUCH METAL in a house.
Jack and Caleb worked with a crew of heavy equipment operators on another job, but we all ended the day a couple hours early for weather. Tomorrow we head home, but for the families we assisted this week, the journey is far from over.
Today the team worked together on two properties next to one another. We spent all morning separating metal from the rubble and the last hour shoveling like maniacs to make it easier for heavy equipment to finish clearing the lots.
Everyone worked relentlessly til the end and felt like it was our best day so far with regard to the effort we put in.
On the way back home we picked up a hitchhiker named Jaden, a recent high school graduate who has enlisted in the Marines and needed a ride into town. We were able to share and pray with him on the short ride.
Today was long and hard. We were split again as Jack and Maggie went with heavy equipment operators to spot for safety. The rest of us shoveled ash and moved rubble all day. Backbreaking work we’ll probably be repeating tomorrow.
One early highlight was getting a briefing from the Grand Lake County Emergency Response manager who thanked us for our work and talked to us about these kinds of situations are handled. Turns out a lot of folks like the separation of church and state until emergency service is needed, then they love it if we work together. Who would have guessed?! Lol.
Today our team was split to cover more ground. Jon, Mandi, Kristin, Morgan, Alyssa and Maggie went to a home to sift ash in pursuit of the owners’ wedding rings. After about 4 hours they were successful. They were even able to return the rings to their owners who own an ice cream parlor in Grand Lake!
Matthew, Nate, Jack, Caleb, Nathan and Joshua worked on four separate sites and were able to close out three of them, helping owners process their loss along the way.
We have a team of twelve mostly MSSU students in Grand County, Colorado this week helping Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief perform wildfire recovery after last year’s East Troublesome fire. The blaze covered over 193 thousand acres and forced over 35 thousand people to evacuate.
Our first day was spent at the Tillman Cabin, a private property located inside Rocky Mountain National Park. The family was there working to do the only thing they can at this point: scrape it all clean and start over. The stress and grief they’re sharing was readily apparent as they sifted through the rubble and ash hoping to find something, anything, they might salvage.
Hey! We’re, like, a month into summer and stuff is actually happening. We’re doing a little bit of work inside the Baptist Student Center, but we’ve also been having activities. A full schedule was posted to social media weeks ago, lol, but we’re trying to get better across all platforms. That said, here’s what’s coming up during the rest of the summer…
June 18 Tubes and S’mores (floating Shoal Creek before we head to the Smiths’)
June 20-26 Colorado Disaster Relief mission trip
June 29 Summer Bible study (6:30 at the Baptist Student Center–dinner provided)
July 4 BBQ at the Baptist Student Center
July 6 Summer Bible study (6:30 at the Baptist Student Center–dinner provided)
July 13 Summer Bible study (6:30 at the Baptist Student Center–dinner provided)
July 20 Summer Bible study (6:30 at the Baptist Student Center–dinner provided)
July 27 Summer Bible study (6:30 at the Baptist Student Center–dinner provided)
We’ll probs add another float trip in there somewhere, but for now that’s it. Stay tuned for more! You can find us on Instagram at: @mosobsu or #mosobsu, or on Facebook at “MSSU Baptist Student Union.”
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
As followers of Jesus we are supposed to be in the business of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s it. Disciples who make disciples. Don’t get distracted, don’t be a distraction. That’s pretty much the Paul’s message in 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Pray for everyone in authority. Why? So we can live in peace. Why? Because it makes God happy. Why? Because we’re supposed to be sharing the gospel, and guess what, that’s hard to do when you’re making a stink about everything else, even good things.
There are battles in our culture that beg to be fought. Social justice battles. Political policy battles. Sin issues that need to be addressed. Issues like abortion, and racism, and immigration and police brutality and… And a host of other local, sometimes national, issues that are real and deserving our attention.
But then there’s Paul touting a strategy (prayer) that doesn’t focus on issues, but on people. How we deal with people, especially the people waging these battles, is what ultimately matters because if there is never another abortion performed again, never another racial injustice committed again, it will not matter if the gospel isn’t front and center as the reason why we–the followers of Jesus–care about those things.
By choosing to live at peace, with dignity, we leave open the door to share with others even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. Choose the opposite, be a mocker, a scoffer, someone who is loud and obnoxious, and that door will almost always be closed. So before you post your next meme, rant or “helpful advice,” before you take a proud stand for what you believe, ask yourself, will this help or hurt my chance to share the glorious truth of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. Because the more shade you throw, the less the light shines around you.
“I give thanks to Christ our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry…”
1 Timothy 1:12 (HCSB)
It’s a little known fact that of all the coaches on a football staff, the strength coach is usually the one with the most contact with players. He doesn’t see just one position, or just the offense or defense, he sees the whole team and he sees them almost every day. Strength. Can’t win without it. Maybe that’s why, when Paul recounts his testimony to Timothy, the first thing he does is is give thanks for the strength of the Lord. Maybe he knew, I think he knew, that apart from God’s strength revealed in his life, he’d be lost forever in every way imaginable. Yes, in Paul’s life God’s strength was on full display, and that has great value for us today because from that we can learn how God is at work lending strength to our own lives. Strength we have already received, but often fail to perceive. So here are three ways God’s strength is revealed to us today.
The strength of the Lord is revealed in salvation. Paul was literally going door to door through the streets dragging Christians out of their homes when Jesus Christ intervened in his life to show him the error of his ways. In Paul, Jesus took the strongest persecutor of the church, broke him completely, and turned him into it’s greatest defender. That revelation didn’t end with Paul, though, it is equally revealed in the life of every Believer. Everyone who follows Christ has a story to tell of what He has done in their life, and in that tale is strength.
The strength of the Lord is revealed in service. Anyone is capable of doing good works. Let’s just be honest about that. There are lots of good charities out there doing great things that have nothing to do with Christianity. But when we serve in the name of the Lord, the character of our labor–what we do and how we do it–reflects on Him. The reason hospitals exist today, the reason we have public education, the reason slavery was ended in Europe and America, is because the people of God, following the precepts of God began doing the work of God. And all of those good works bear his name. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that even most of the non-Christian charitable work can be attributed to values that find their roots in Jesus, His strength changing the world.
The strength of the Lord is revealed in suffering. Imagine a word without Christian missions. No Soul’s harbor. No Watered Gardens. No Lafayette House. No Mission Joplin or Rapha International. No food banks or benevolence from any local churches. No orphanages. No… The list of charitable missions done in the name of Jesus is enormous. And none of it would exist if it weren’t for God working in the hearts of his people encouraging and equipping them to help the afflicted and downtrodden, the sick, the homeless, the suffering. And every time those people are helped, his strength is on display.
And God’s strength is also revealed in our own suffering, not just the suffering of others. When we ourselves turn to him and are helped, it demonstrates his strength. When our addictions are beaten, when our relationships are healed, when our prayers are answered and our needs–whatever they may be–are met, God’s strength is demonstrated in our lives.
But why does that matter? It matters for exactly the reason Paul is bringing it up. It matters because in a broken world filled with broken people, hope is hard to come by, but when we look to the cross of Jesus Christ, that’s exactly what we find. Hope. His strength, revealed in so many ways in our lives and through the church, is able to do more than all we could ask or imagine. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we need to remind someone else. At all times it’s worth remembering.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 ESV
It’s October, and everywhere you look it seems you’ll find witches, ghosts and demons. Must be Halloween, right? Possibly, but it could be that someone just spent a little extra time in the Bible this week.
When it comes to supernatural creeps, the Bible actually has more than you think. There is a pantheon of false Gods, mediums, seers, ghosts, satyrs, and depending on your interpretation, even a night hag. Oh, yeah, and demons. Lots of demons. Baddies galore when you total it all up. That said, there are also lots of angels, so don’t freak out just yet.
The truth is we live in a natural world and a supernatural reality. We can’t see everything, can’t taste it, smell it or hear it most of the time, but there is more to creation than we experience in our normal everyday lives. It is revealing that when we fill in the gaps of what we can’t see with our imagination, the results are almost always negative. Sure, there are good elves and gnomes and such, but the overwhelming majority of what we imagine in the supernatural realm is dark and evil. Why is that? Honestly, the answer doesn’t matter. What matters is that no matter what you run up against (or what your imagination conjures up for you), the truth is that as followers of Jesus we have nothing to fear.
Look, the majority of what we fear in the dark, things like ghosts and ghouls, are simply figments of our imagination. There is literally nothing to fear! At the same time, we’d be fools to write off the supernatural entirely. Satan is real. Demons are real. They’ve been around for a long time, they want nothing so much as to distract you from God and they’re quite adept at what they do. They are capable of all kinds of evil and nothing to be trifled with. That said, neither are the children of God.
Part of surrendering to Jesus Christ as lord of your life is living with the understanding that although we are somewhat stuck in a natural reality for now, we will one day “judge angels.” Demons, in case you were wondering, are nothing more than fallen angels. Oops. The good news that frees you from slavery to sin also guarantees your position in heaven. You were bought with a price–the blood of Jesus–and nothing can take that away. Keep that in mind the next time you get scared. The things that go bump in the night have no hold over the Ones who are saved but grace through faith in Christ. You are the Chosen. You are the one within whom the Holy Spirit resides. You are a child of the King, and if anyone should live in fear, it is the one who would mess with a child of the King.