MSSU BSU is in the news!

Hey! Our Spring Break mission trip went really well the good people at the Missouri Baptist Convention noticed. Their press, The Pathway wrote a nice article about us!

16 students and 3 leaders went to Panama City for Spring Break and helped people dig out from Hurricane Michael

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Common Notes 4.9.19

This week at Common Ground we took time to introduce the new leadership team, the people who will shape culture and lead us next year:

  • Hunter Jamieson–Chief Servant
  • Kyndall Erisman–Communications
  • Maggie Brister–Outreach
  • Anna McNeil–Fellowship
  • Caleb Cummins–Missions
  • Liz Clements–Prayer

Afterwards, we dove into 1 Corinthians 14 with a quick overview of the chapter and a deeper look at verses 34-36. Most of the chapter is given to the discussion of spiritual gifts that the Apostle Paul began in chapter 12. Specifically he takes pains to ensure that the church understands the value of all gifts while addressing what appears to be abusive treatment of the gift of tongues in particular. His point is that the gifts of the spirit are intended for the common good of the church and don’t forget it! Then, near the end he introduces another touchy subject, women’s role in the church:

The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. 36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

Ouch. Well, that’s sure not in tune with 21st century American culture. What to do, what to do… There is no way to unpack that in a couple of short sentences, but the basic gist is that there are three main camps:

First, dismiss it and move on. It is the liberal answer. There are several ways to arrive at this conclusion, but none of them are academically responsible. If you believe the Bible is inerrant and/or authoritative, you have a problem.

Second, read it with a different emphasis, as if 34-35 were a Corinthian position that Paul is snarkily attacking in verse 36. Not bad. Kind of a middle road, theologically speaking. Easy to see and culturally appealing, but it does seem slightly out of tune with other passages around it. Critics might say it also lacks punch in the sense that it perhaps oversimplifies a much deeper issue.

Third, dig deep into cultural and textual context, split a couple of hairs and come back with the idea that Paul does allow women to pray and prophecy (1 Corinthians 11:5). He is only prohibiting women from publicly evaluating prophecies given in church because that might undermine the peace and order that is properly modeled through the marital relationship of husband and wife. Also not bad, but highly complex. Definitely the conservative answer.

In the end, the first approach is easily dismissed. The second and third approaches are both viable, but no approach to this controversial passage is without difficulties. Good godly men will disagree.

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Common Notes 4.2.19

Last week at Common Ground we began a transition to the next era of the BSU. Noah Deyo led worship for us, the first time we’ve had live worship that we didn’t borrow in over three semesters! Next week we will usher in a new leadership team.

Our study last week continued our look into the book of 1 Corinthians with a discourse on chapter 13, “The Love Chapter.” One of the most commonly used scriptures at weddings, people often misunderstand it’s context. The Apostle Paul wasn’t talking about how to keep romantic relationships alive, he was talking about a “more excellent” way for Christians to live than the Corinthian model of prideful competition. Briefly put, three points really stand out from a quick study of the chapter. First, love is what matters most. You can be an incredibly gifted person, but apart from love, you are an epic failure. Paul says that when you live that way, steeped in selfish ambition, you are nothing and your gifts will profit you nothing. That’s pretty harsh. For us that means that motive matters as much as anything. It’s not enough to be great at something, you have to be great for the right reasons. Selfish ambition gets you nowhere.

Second, Paul unpacks the idea of love and what it means. He reminds us that love is really about keeping others first even to the point of sacrifice. If you want to be loving, to live a more excellent life, stop keeping score. Quit carrying grudges. Assume the best of people, even when that seems a little off, even when it doesn’t make the most sense. It’s better to assume the best and be wrong than to assume the worst and be right. Sometimes that will cost us something. Love is willing to pay.

Third, Paul reminds us that love is ultimately a far better way to live than competing and comparing because when everything else is gone, love will remain. Love is part of the character of God. It was His motive for sending Jesus into the world, and when the world is finished that eternal love will still be around. Our job as followers of Jesus is to reveal that. So rather than argue over who can preach, teach, sing, pray, serve, give or lead better, grow up a bit and focus on love.

If you have an extra couple of minutes, read 1 Corinthians 13 right now. It’s only 13 verses. As you do, substitute your own name for the word ‘love’ as you do. See how well that fits. Does something grind? Sound a bit off? Maybe that’s your queue, something to think about and work on this week…

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Common Notes 3.26.19

This week at Common Ground was our first week back from Spring Break. After watching a video from the trip, we took a look 1 Corinthians 12. At first glance, it seems like the entire chapter is dedicated to understanding spiritual gifts. A deeper look, however, reveals much more. Paul was concerned with unity in the Corinthian church. That theme is evidenced throughout the letter, and this chapter is no exception. His need to address the issue indicates that people at the church in Corinth were looking at giftedness as a way to separate positions of honor in the church, sowing division among the members. Paul emphasizes that all gifts are from the same God and intended to benefit the whole church. In that regard there shouldn’t be any honor or shame associated with any spiritual gift, we’re all equal. His message in verses 24-25 is that God has gifted people so that there would be no division, but rather equality of care for people. This hearkens back all the way to 11:18 where Paul points out that Corinth is a divided church. At the end of the chapter he point to the offices of the church–apostles, prophets and teachers–as the one thing that establishes any kind of real hierarchy. Giftedness is good, but we are all gifted. The gifts come from God and are to be used for the benefit of the whole church. That’s what matters.

Questions we need to ask ourselves:

  • How am I gifted?
  • Am I using my gifts to benefit the church or myself?
  • Do I seek to honor/shame others based on giftedness?
  • Does my attitude bring division or unity to the body of Christ?
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Spring Break 2019 Pt. 6: Panama City, FL

Noah Deyo leads an impromptu worship session.

Our last day on the job and we finished strong, both teams completed their projects. Altogether, we cleaned 3 yards, laid concrete on a driveway, buried a few boulders, helped put siding on two houses, back filled holes left by downed trees, put on a roof, fixed two damaged porches, gutted a church, cleaned a church library (different church), rebuilt a chain link fence, and more. The volume of work was amazing, and although in the grand scope of damage Hurricane Michael left behind it was a pittance, it made a massive difference for the people we helped. The projects Send Relief chooses aren’t random, they look for people who truly need help. Often they’re elderly, other times disabled, and sometimes they’re people who are too busy helping others (like first responders and emergency services) to have time to help themselves.

As important as the physical labor is, however, it is the interactions we have with the community that matter most. By helping meet their physical needs we create opportunities to address the deeper personal needs not only of those we’re for whom we’re working, but also their neighbors, friends and others who see and here about what’s going on. Panama City is devastated. The surrounding communities are all but wiped out. The ability to simply listen to their stories is a help the survivors appreciate. And often it leads to an opportunity to share the gospel. Several times this week that proved to be the case.

Hanging out with Miss Lisa, whose home we roofed.
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Spring Break 2019 BONUS: Panama City, FL.

KODE ran a story on us last night. They took the footage from two other groups, Cincinnati and Southern Arkansas, but they’re with us.

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Spring Break 2019 Pt. 5: Panama City, FL

Our team in Port St. Joe with the Southern Flag. Go Lions!

Port St. Joe is another small community on the Florida Gulf coast that is struggling in the aftermath of the storm. Today one of our teams was able to clear brush and build a fence for an elderly couple there. The team was short one pair of hands today as we took a young lady to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Blessedly, she was fine and discharged later with medication and instructions to rest and rehydrate. Team members and support staff prayed for her throughout the day.

Miss Lisa, herself a journalist, is interviewed by a reporter from the North American Mission Board.

One new development we saw today was an influx of media coverage. Joplin local station KODE is running a story as is NAMB and the Panama City News Herald. Not sure how or why that came about, but our prayer is that the gospel would go forward because of it.

One highlight of the day was getting stopped and thanked profusely by a mailman faithfully fulfilling his appointed rounds. He was grateful for the work being done in Mexico Beach.

More pics on the Facebook page: MSSU Baptist Student Union.

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