Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is "It" in you? Wesley Foundation E-Letter (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Dear Friends,


We begin our Thursday night gatherings once again.  Yay!  Be sure to start your semester off right from the beginning.  We have something very special planned for this Thursday night that you won’t want to miss.  We will get to break things together!  I hope each of you had a wonderful time during the winter break.  I am excited to see each of you again on the Hill.  It’s going to be a great semester, and a great year.



Now for Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


The great motto that Western Kentucky University lives by is “The spirit makes the master.”  And those of us who relate to the university (whether we are students, faculty, staff, alumni, or simply friends) might benefit from asking ourselves this probing question:  If it is the spirit that makes the master, is it in us?  Is it in us to master the content we are here to learn?  Is it in us to master the circumstances that might make learning difficult?  Is it in us to impact the learning environment in a positive way?  Is it in us to master the challenges and obstacles that will inevitably present themselves?  Is it in us to master our own fears and failings so that we may persevere and succeed?  


Earlier this year I felt that gentle nudge to give words of encouragement to the young ladies who play basketball for my husband’s team.  Last year they had a terrible season.  And this year seemed to be headed in the same direction.  But at a basketball tournament in Paris, KY they fought for an important win.  As I pondered the game I thought how much better it would have been if winning had come easily, if there hadn’t been so many obstacles.  Yet the Lord brought to mind that the obstacles they faced and overcame held an important message for them.  And thus came the words I felt nudged to deliver to those young ladies:  It is in you to win.  It is in you to win when the team you face is rough, tough, and even mean.  It is in you to win when the officials make terrible calls.  It is in you to win when you have to play in over-time.  No matter what obstacle you face, it is in you to win.  Whether or not “the spirit” of WKU makes us masters, I believe that as persons of faith, God says something of the same thing to us that I said to those young women:  “Child of God, no matter what obstacles you face, It is in you, and It is much bigger than any obstacle staring you down.”   That “It” is the Holy Spirit.


How can God make such a blanket statement about every person who follows Him when there is such an incredible diversity and variety of believers?  It is because when we become believers, Christ’s Holy Spirit takes up residence within us; indeed the Spirit of God makes its home in our hearts.  I love the way the book of Romans describes this mystery: 


But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  Romans 8:9-10


God knows exactly what the Spirit is able to accomplish because it is intimately a part of His very being.  And God knows exactly what we are able to accomplish through the Holy Spirit, no matter how varied and diverse our gifts, because He intricately created us out of His very being.   As I Corinthians 12:4-7 says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”   Therefore, “It” is in us, and “It” has the power to enable us to accomplish so much more than we could ever “ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).  The question will always be, for those young ladies on Tim’s basketball team as it is for every believer, will we live as if “it” is in to live victoriously or will we settle for an existence as if “It” is not?  Will we submit ourselves to the authority of the Holy Spirit in our lives?  Will we have a willing spirit within us that allows, and indeed makes possible, all of the wonderful things God has planned for our lives?


The Gatorade advertising campaign that introduced the phrase “Is it in you?” would portray the proof the power drink’s presence through Gatorade-saturated athletes’ sweat.  The evidence would be in the output, not just in sweat but in performance.  This is true for faith as well.  The life of faith is evidenced by output that include our willingness to “sweat,” to work hard in responding to the nudges of God’s Spirit at work within us, as well as the powerful performance of God that our willingness allows.  We cannot have one without the other.  Get this:  God’s power at work in our lives is dependent upon our cooperation with His Holy Spirit that lives within us.  That same Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, but without our cooperation “It” is powerless to do anything!  And we can have all the willingness we want, but if we don’t have a relationship with Christ Jesus, His Spirit will not be given the unhindered capability of working in us and through us that it is meant to have when we have actually made room for the Holy Spirit to live our hearts.


Imagine with me for a moment a single semester where the Spirit of God was released to do exactly what it wished.  What would your life look like?  What would our campus look like?  What would God be able to accomplish through you?  What would you be able to accomplish through God?  What obstacles would simply cease to be obstacles anymore?  It’s something to think about at the beginning of another semester and another year. 


So join with me and answering the question, “Is It in you?”







Sami Wilson

Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry




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