Monday, December 12, 2005

Do Not Be Afraid

Dear Friends,

Blessings! It’s finally here: the last week of school. Please know that we are praying for you as you take your finals and finish up last minute projects. In fact, let’s pray now:

Dear God, I thank You for this day and all Your mercies. I come before You in the name of Jesus on behalf of all the students this week who are taking finals. Please Lord, be with each one. I don’t know their all their names, but You do. I pray that You will give a sense of peace and direction to them as they study and take tests. For those who don’t test well, I pray that You would calm their nerves and melt their anxiety, that in the midst of taking their finals they will feel clear-headed, unrushed, and will be able to easily recall all that they have studied. I pray that even in the craziness of this week’s work they will still experience the wonder and joy of this Christmas season. You are so good; I know You can do this and more, and I pray for it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t forget we are doing free lunches this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Just show up at the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Student Center) at about noon. We are located at 1355 College St., one block down from Cherry Hall on the left. For more info call us.

Christmas Caroling!

This Thursday night we are going Christmas Caroling on Campus. Meet at 6pm at the Wesley Foundation for a warm dinner of homemade stew. Then we will venture out to sing to folks on campus. If you want us to come and sing to you, please e-mail me back! We can also sing to anyone else you want also.

Now for Sami’s Rambling About Jesus:

What stirs in my heart this Christmas season is the admonition that the angels keep echoing throughout the favorite Christmas passages: “Do not be afraid.” Every time they show up with a heavenly message they say these words. They say it to Joseph before telling him it is okay to take the pregnant Mary to be his wife. They say it to Mary before telling her that she will be mother to God’s own Son. They say it to Zechariah before telling him that in his old age he will produce a child who is the prophet that prepares the way for the Messiah. They say it to the poor shepherds watching their flocks in the fields on the night they announce Christ’s birth. They seem to be saying it every time they show up. Why?

Maybe it’s because the human capacity for fear is so relentless. Many scholars have suggested it is because seeing an angel is a fearsome sight. Could be. I’ve never seen an angel before. But I do know that I don’t need an angel to be afraid. Fear can crop up anywhere, anytime, for all kinds of reasons. As I ponder especially the lives of students and the circumstances they face, fear is a familiar companion. So much is uncertain. So much of the future seems to be riding on the performance and decisions of the present. There is always that worry that what is happening now will negatively affect the rest of their lives and will also be impossible to undo. This is specially true this week, when the exams students are taking can make or break their final grades.

If an angel showed up right now in the middle of your dorm room, classroom, study room, or even bathroom, the message would still be the same: “Do not be afraid.” How can this message be said with so much certainty for so many different circumstances? It all has to do with the Child their appearance proclaimed 2000 years ago. Jesus has come to us. He came and lived among us as a human being. He gave His life for us as a perfect offering for the forgiveness of sin. And He lives now resurrected. He lives for us. And He lives in us if we let Him. He wants to take all our fear away. He came to us so that we would know the truth of God’s real presence with us. We never have to face any moment of our lives alone; His forgiveness can cleanse any sin; His power can help us meet any challenge; and His healing love brings us new life morning by morning. Every day is a new invitation to accept the hope, love, and help He gives. He can turn any lemon into lemonade. And know that it will be better than the “Country Time” pink kind.

He just loves us. And His love is with us. And His love makes it possible to overcome anything.

Rest in His love today my friends. I’m going to try to.



Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Christmas Prayer For You

Dear Friends,

It’s beautiful outside, but so cold! Hope you are staying warm. The Lord keeps reminding me that sometimes the warmth we need the most is something to warm the heart. I pray that you have a heart-warming experience this week! We all need one every once in a while.


This Thursday at 7pm is our Christmas party. Just bring a gift (guys bring a guy gift, ladies bring a lady’s gift) that cost between $7-$10 for the “Crazy Santa” gift exchange. We’ll eat dinner, make tree ornaments, and watch “The Grinch.” It’s sure to be lots of fun.

Also, the time has come for our annual OPRYLAND road trip.

We’ll meet at the Wesley Foundation at 3pm and carpool down. We will eat on our way at the Rivergate Olive Garden. Then we’ll head on over to the Opryland hotel to see the lights. This year there should be plenty of time for shopping afterwards at Opry Mills for those who need to get gifts. This is a great event to come to if you have never joined us before. It is always a lot of fun.

Coming next week:

Finals week lunches—at noon at the Foundation on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Also Christmas Caroling on Thursday night; Jim and Michelle Schlinsog will provide a warm and tasty dinner before we head out into the cold to spread Christmas cheer.

Let me know if you have someone you want us to go sing to!

Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:

Last Thursday night before going out to shop for our Angel Tree gifts we thought about some things we wanted to ask God to bless our campus with this Christmas. Out of that list came the following prayer that we posted in today’s College Herald:

A Christmas Prayer for You—

As this crazy semester draws to a close

We pray perfect peace for each one of those

Straining within these halls of learning to see

Their futures bright with hope unfolding.

We pray for guidance, compassion, gratitude,

A heart full of love and a humble attitude.

We pray for peace, abiding and true,

Hope full of trust, strength to see you through.

We pray that your health will continue to thrive,

That graduation day soon will arrive,

That the joy of family and friends will surely bless,

That the weary and forlorn soon will find rest.

We pray for patience with end drawing near,

Travel safeties for all soon leaving here,

For contentment in life whether here or at home,

And the fullness of Grace touching needs not yet known.

As the holiness of this holiday comes clear

Know it is for you, dear one, that Jesus draws near.

He comes close with joy, the tenderest touch,

Just let Him in: His joy gladdens much.

As I read these words I am reminded once again how very tender the Lord is for each one of us He has created in love. There are thousands of faces on this campus that He lovingly crafted; hair, eyes, and facial features all distinct from person to person, and yet each is so intimately known by Jesus. I hear His heart longing for each of us this Holiday season. I wonder about all those students who are far away from Him during their college experience, who just haven’t found time or the right place to get connected to their faith. I hear his yearning. You may be reading this as one of those who are in a spiritually far off place right now. Can you hear those words, “Dear one,” spoken personally to you, from His heart? You are so dear to Him. You. Everything that is you sounds a chord in His being that isn’t resolved until He is able to relate directly to you. Gosh, I hope you are hearing His heart today. My prayer is that all of us would simply hear Him address us as “Dear one.” I think if we could honestly hear that in our deepest souls so much that is churning within would be resolved.

Know that you are loved.



Campus Minister/Director

Wesley Foundation (United Methodist Campus Ministry)

1355 College St.