Hope your week is going well and you are getting a chance to enjoy this wonderful fall weather!
Solid Rock Café Tonight:
Tonight we are being hosted by St. James UMC (United Methodist Church) for dinner. We will meet at the Wesley Foundation at 6pm and travel from there to St. James (which is located on Fairview Ave.).
If you would like to meet us there instead (about 6:30), here are directions:
Coming from campus, turn right on the 31-W Bypass. Stay on this road until you reach Fairview Avenue. (It will be right past the Gatti-Land, Dollar Tree shopping center.)
Turn right on Fairview Avenue. St. James UMC will be on the left.
Afterwards we will return to campus to watch our Movie on the Lawn which is “RV” starring Robin Williams.
Tailgating this weekend!
Meet us on the lawn in front of the valley (Rodes, McCormack, Gilbert) this Saturday for tailgating 3pm-6pm. We will have free food and generally have a great time hanging out!
Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:
The theme of our worship time on Tuesday night was “Discovering Who We are in Christ.” I had chosen a particular verse to focus on as a reminder that we are vessels filled with God’s power. It comes from 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” As people who belong to Christ, it is important to remember that we are vessels of something powerful, wonderful, beautiful, so beyond ourselves. But what has lingered with me since Tuesday night, the thing that has not let me rest, is the next part of the scripture. It goes on to say this:
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
This is one of those bad news/good news things. When we follow Christ, we can expect to be afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. Yeah, I know. That sucks. It would be nice if we could read the whole “but we this treasure in clay jars” part and just stop there. But there is a reason that that particular sentence is followed by the ones which come after it. It’s just part of life. Life doesn’t stop being life just because we stop belonging to the world and instead belong to Christ. Yet acknowledging this truth, also seems to take its power over us away. Especially when we consider the difference Christ does make in our experience of the “this sucks” parts of life.
The promise is that when we are afflicted, that affliction cannot crush us. It will push us just so far, and then the presence of Christ pushes it back. When we are perplexed, we may not know the answers, but we cannot be driven to despair by the not knowing. It is the factor that makes our faith stronger (you know, the whole walk by faith and not by sight thing). And when we stand in faith, Jesus is able to work in ways we cannot imagine. We may be persecuted, but we are never forsaken. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ that is in Christ Jesus. And even if our very best friend in the whole world was to suddenly leave, Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. Sure we can be struck down, but we can always get up again, because the resurrection power of Christ picks us up, every time. So no, we cannot be destroyed. Jesus always has the last and best word. Nothing and no one who belongs to the world can promise any of those things. The world can just promise the affliction, perplexion, persecution, struck down part.
It is one thing to read these promises. It is another thing to accept them. It is one thing to accept these promises as fundamentally true. Another thing to believe in them. And it is one thing to believe in them, and quite something else to live them. How do we go from that place of just reading words off the page to really digging deep and living them into real life? The truth of my own life is that I forgot. I used to know what it meant to live them. And then I got busy and went to something more along the lines of accepting them as true, maybe believing, but not really living them. And God is calling me back again to the place of digging deep.
Here’s the challenge. Can we dig deep into the presence of Christ? He is with us always. And the way we know the power of His presence, not just the fact of His presence, is to spend TIME with Him, allowing Him to speak to us, sitting in the realization of His promises, and then mentally applying them to all those situations that make us feel afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. The question we must ask ourselves is this: Have I given Jesus any room in my life to show me that He is greater than the challenges I face?
Know that I am on the journey with you. But more importantly, Jesus is there too.