Thursday, April 27, 2006

Transitions--Methodist Student Center Weekly E-Letter

Dear Friends,


Hope you are all having a fantastic day.  There is free music and food on South Lawn today.  I had a hot dog.  It was good.  Tonight at Solid Rock CafĂ© (7pm at Wesley Foundation) we are finishing up our look at how change “changes” our lives.  We will finish with the book Who Moved My Cheese.  Should be fun.  We are also grilling out on the front porch for dinner.  Oh Yeah!


This Sunday we will meet at Mt. Union UMC at 10am.  We will be doing our outreach program at their 11am church service.  Last week’s outreach at Christ UMC was awesome.  For all of you Christ UMC supporters out there, thank you so much for the warm welcome.  We had a blast!


Also this Sunday night at 6pm the guys will be meeting at my house for a cookout.  Don’t worry Tim is doing the cooking.  It will be great.  Lots of free food.  Let me know if you plan on being there so I can have enough burgers!  E-mail me if you need directions.


BIG NEWS!!!!!!


Next Thursday night is our annual SENIOR NIGHT.  This is a special event where we roast our seniors, celebrate their contributions to the Wesley Foundation, and send them off in style.  So far we have Jill Woodall, Jason James, Kyle Moody, Brad Donnell, and Samantha Shirley as our seniors.  Our special friends John and Joellen Tubbs will be catering again.  Menu is shrimp alfredo, salad, and banana pudding.  LET ME KNOW IF YOU PLAN ON ATTENDING SO THAT I CAN HAVE A GOOD COUNT FOR FOOD!!!!!


Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


I just found out last week that my dear friend Sister Elaine (from the Catholic Newman Center) is taking a new ministry position in Paducah, KY.  I know that this is an awesome opportunity for her, but I must admit, I’m going to miss her much.  Thank goodness she’s not leaving till July.  What I love about Sister Elaine is that she exemplifies the Christian witness I believe Jesus calls us live out, no matter where we are.  Every time I have ever been around Sister, she is gentle in spirit, humble in heart, honest and forthright, and always encouraging.  She is just one of those people I love being around.  I see my Lord in her.  I hate that in a few weeks I’ll have to say goodbye, but praise God that someone else will get to see Jesus in her too.


Many of you are in the same boat as my friend.  Not only is this the end of your semester, it is the end of your college career.  These last moments are filled with bitter-sweetness.  There is so much to celebrate, so much to miss, so much to try to take with you, so much to try to leave here.  There is so much happening in so little time.


This is my tribute to you who are stepping out of one world and into a whole new one.  My prayer is that you will hold close to your heart all of those things your years at Western have taught you:


Value highly those lessons that cost you.  They can become your brightest beacons in those times ahead that call for sound wisdom and self-control.  Those places of difficulty are truly gifts of grace where the Lord has tested your metal, and strengthened you to withstand fiercer storms ahead.


Value highly those friendships that have sustained you.  Know that loving well, even when it hurts to say goodbye, is never a mistake.  Such relationships have made your own self more beautiful and interesting.  You would not be who you are today if you had not walked this path with the companions you have chosen.  Know that no matter where you walk, a part of them always walks with you.


Value highly those times of laughter and unstructured joy.  These are moments you will return to again and again in the days and years to come.  They will refresh you and remind you to return to the original Source of joy to have your strength renewed.  Laughter IS good for the soul.  Remember to always keep your sense of humor, and life will never get the best of you.


Value highly life itself.  Honor the life God has given you.  Do this by continuing to live well, taking adventures, and risking looking foolish to stand up for something you believe in.  Passion is the God-given fuel of transformation.  Not only will your life be changed for the best, but so will the world.


Finally, value the journey.  While one road ends, another one is just beginning.  The true joy of journeying is in knowing that the road is never quite predictable.  Never be afraid to step out in faith.  Never be afraid to trust God’s direction and guidance.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  Always know that you never really journey alone.  God is always with you.


My prayer is that for all of us who are experiencing the transitions of new adventures that we will take time to sense the Grace that holds us so carefully and lovingly.  It is always okay to live this day with Joy:  God’s got the whole world in His hands.







Thursday, April 20, 2006

Making Room is a Spiritual Discipline--Weekly E-letter from Methodist Campus Ministry

Dear Friends,


These last few weeks are going to be fast and furious!  I know you all have so much on your plates.  Well here’s more.  But this stuff is like dessert!  It’s fun.


Here is some important info:


  • Tonight we are going to move with the cheese some more.  We will continue to look at what change can teach us and how it can be a good thing.


  • This Sunday night we will have our Ladies Tea Party.  I already bought the food, and it is going to be good!  We will meet at my house at 7pm.  Call me at 842-2880 or e-mail me if you need directions. 


  • Next Sunday night will be our Guys Cookout.  Since the girls get their own tea party, guys we’re going to grill out.  We’ll probably meet about 6pm so we can enjoy the outdoors.  Again meet at my house.


  • Sunday, May 7th will be our Senior Worship service at the Wesley Foundation.  Come and help us bless and commission our seniors as they step out into the world.


Also, did you know we will be visiting some area churches in the next three weeks, sharing about what God is doing at the Wesley Foundation?  Come and join us: 


April 23 (This Sunday)—Christ UMC, meet there at 8am (8:45a & 11am services).  Food provided after church.

April 30 (Next Sunday)—Mt. Union UMC

May 7  (Following Sunday)—Faith UMC


Whew!  Enough announcements.  How about some of:


Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus!


Last week my computer was out of commission.  I had to have it worked on because it was running incredibly slow.  After I got it back, Tim (my husband) suggested I try to delete some things off of my hard drive to free up some room and make my computer run better.  After finally finding a CD I could burn info to, I began clearing out my desktop. 


Wow!  I never knew I had so many pictures on my hard drive!  And not those little thumbnail things either.  These are the high resolution, takes a hundred minutes to download by dial-up, kind of pictures.  No wonder my computer has been so slow.  It’s been carrying a heavy load.  I’ve notice that the heavier my load, the slower I make it up the hill to campus.  Same is true for computers.  Got to let go of some stuff so that better stuff can get done!


The spiritual life is like that too.  Some of us are carrying heavy loads.  It can be seen in eyes that are weary, angry, teaming with emotion or grim resolution.  We just can’t let go of some stuff.  Well, there’s always a reason.  I guess the part of cleaning out our spiritual hard drive begins with finding out why we are still attached to things we should have let go of a long time ago.  Then I guess we have to take an honest look at how much hanging on to that burden is costing us as we try to navigate our daily lives.  The big question is:  “Is it worth it?”


Even as I write those words I am hit by the memory of when that question changed my life.  I was alone on an interstate, driving home by myself, four long hours ahead of me.  I had just walked out of the exit interview for my application to be ordained Elder in full connection in the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Six people who had looked at my paperwork and observed my day-long interview had just delivered the verdict that sent my head spinning in ways I couldn’t imagine:  Not at this time.  “What do you mean ‘not at this time!’” my insides were screaming.  I had come so close, just to walk away with nothing.  Except a question.


That long drive home was a spiritual passage for me.  It began a process of cleaning out my spiritual hard drive.  Up to that point I didn’t even know my hard drive was overburdened.  I just knew in those long moments driving home that I was miserable, and I didn’t want to fight for the life I was living.  It was as if my eyes were opened to the truth that pastoring in a church was taking away more life than it was giving.  That’s when God set me on a path to be where I am and who I am today.  I love being a campus minister; I’m passionate about it; I’d fight tooth and nail to keep doing it.  At the end of the day I’m glad to go back and do it all again tomorrow.  And it’s worth every bit of growing, changing, and dying to self I’ve had to do to do it.


What about you?  Is it worth it?  Is that heavy load worth carrying around anymore?  Is it time to make some room on your hard drive?  The truth of the cross and resurrection is that some things in us must die for the more perfect things to arise.  If Jesus could help clean off my hard drive, know that it can happen for you too:


“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20).







Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's a good day to celebrate Jesus!--Wesley Foundation E-letter

Dear Friends,


Praise God!  I’m doing the happy dance in my office!  I just got my computer back this afternoon.  I’ve been without it for a week, and I have been going crazy!  Thank God for my dear friend Azurdee Garland (works in Student Activities) who made it possible for campus ministers to get WKU e-mail.  Because of that small mercy I’ve been able to use computers on campus, which totally rocks.  So I haven’t been completely unconnected.  By the way, I am on Facebook now.  Would love to hear from all the other Facebook junkies out there. 


TONIGHT in case you missed our announcement in today’s College Heights, we are having Movie Night on the Lawn.  We will be watching “Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”  As we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, this is the perfect time to reflect on what His sacrifice means for us personally through a film that brings the Gospel to life in an imaginative way.  Come early (7pm) and join us as the BSU leads campus-wide prayer.  We will start the movie at 8pm.


Since Sunday night is Easter we encourage everyone to enjoy this time to be with families.


Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


I love this time of year.  After a long, cold winter it always delights my soul to see the world around me come back to life.  How wonderful to also experience the new life of Jesus Christ as well.  The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning.  Specifically it says,


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.  Lamentations 3:21-25


What staggers me about this scripture is that it is written in the midst of one of the bleakest and most heartbreaking books of the Bible.  It is written at the time of Judah’s exile, when the prophet Jeremiah must watch his beloved nation be violently removed from the Promised Land and taken by force to Babylon.  The hope it represents is bold and courageous.  It brings to mind that mental picture of a brave soul who stands in the darkest day of winter, shivering to the bone, believing that Spring does exist yet.  I can’t help but experience the presence of the risen Christ in these words of hope.  It is as if this brave prophet reached beyond his own heartache to hang on to a reality the world had not yet even considered:  Resurrection.


It is still a promise today.  We are so close to the celebration of Easter.  And the beauty of this southern Kentucky town in April stirs the Easter already in my soul, even though many times this year it has felt like winter, and heartache, and an endless time of struggling for something more without the promise of return.  Spring-time always reminds me that God is really in control.


Don’t know what you’re going through today.  I know that the end of the semester is near.  Most students I know, however, don’t even get to revel in that thought because the end of the semester also means a crunch time unlike any they’ve faced so far.  I also know that there is heartache and heartbreak on this campus.  Relationships that need healing.  Hurts that need mending.  Personal disasters that need real hope.  Though I cannot know what you are facing I can speak with confidence of the One who wants to face it with you.  When you face this day with Jesus, no matter what this day brings, you have hope that springs eternal.  He is able to resurrect and bring good out of any, and every, circumstance you face.  My prayer is that you will find the bold courage of Jeremiah today.  Stepping outside helps!





Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Living Well--Wesley Foundation E-letter

Dear Friends,
This Thursday (dinner at 7pm, program at 8pm) we are continuing our journey with Hem & Haw, Sniff & Scurry as we discover how to deal with change in our lives.  All of us have it at one time or another, in one way or another.  During the last few weeks of school we are learning how to let God use it for good in our lives.  Also, this coming Sunday during worship (8pm) we will begin a time of looking at Radical Discipleship and what it means for our lives.  Look forward to seeing you there. 
Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:
I want to say this beautiful, warm and sunny April afternoon, “It is time to live well.”  So many times I heard the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  Never knew what it meant until I realized that the purpose of cake is to eat it.  If we hold on to it, we can’t eat it.  If we eat it, there is nothing to hold in our hands.  But holding on to cake when it was made to be eaten destroys its enjoyment value.  To be truly experienced and enjoyed, cake must be eaten.  Life is like that.  It must be lived.  Life is such a fleeting gift; it’s very substance is spent in the living of it.  We only get one life; we only get to be in this moment, this time, this place, once.  And I want to say, live it well; determine now to really live it so that it does not slip by. 
Walden or Thurough (one of those dead white guys) said that most men lead lives of quiet desperation.  What a sad statement, yet how true. There are those of us who are figuratively standing around holding our cake, never tasting it, simply comparing it to everyone else’s, complaining about its size, wishing we had more, etc.  I want to be one of those strong and brave souls who eats and enjoys the cake of life, savoring its flavor and entering into the celebration it represents.
Not sure what this means for you.  Sometimes I’m not sure what it means for me, except that I want to enjoy what I’ve been given: relationships, family, meaningful work, possibilities, even my own self, even the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.  At the end of the day at the end of my life I want to be able to say that I knew how good life-cake tasted.
Psalms 118:34 says “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Amazing how the simple enjoyment of the life we are given is even a command from God.  This is for all you folks (okay, me too) out there who feel guilty anytime you enjoy anything.  Here we have a Divine directive to enjoy each and every day--in fact, to find gladness in it.
I want to close with a simple appreciation of a young life well-lived.  Allison Carter, a Western sophomore, died Sunday night on her way back to her dorm from worship at the Catholic Newman Center.  From those I have talked with who knew Allison, she was living her life well. 
Think about your own life today.  Entering into the joy of it is the hugest witness we can offer the world.  It is the best gift we can give our Life-Giver.  It is the one thing that will save us from desperately existing and never really living at all.  Trust God that the life-cake He’s given you really does taste good after all.