Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Does holy ground really exist on a college campus? WKU Wesley Foundation E-letter (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Hello Friends!  So it looks like fall has finally landed.  I was leaving my University Experience class today when it started raining.   I hid out in Mass Media instead of walking up the hill.  Thanks Nic for giving me a ride back up to the Wesley! 


Here is what is going on this week: 


Tonight is Worship @ 6:30pm in our chapel.  We did some rearranging; it looks great!  Come and check it out.  Also this week we are looking at what it means to take the love of Jesus beyond our own four walls.


Speaking of which, we will have a guest this Thursday.  Free food at 6:30pm and then for our program John David Ryan from Broadway UMC will talk to us about his passion for living out his faith through service and mission.  He will give us practical wisdom on how we can really live our faith out by making a difference in the world around us!


SIGN UP FOR our Fall Retreat, which will be at Camp Loucon October 17-19.  We will have fun outdoor adventures and learn how God is surprising us on our journeys.  Cost is $40.  E-mail me if you are interested in going!


Also, next Thursday we will have our annual South Lawn Cookout and Movie on the Lawn.  This will be an excellent opportunity to bring a friend and introduce them to our ministry.  It will be totally low-key, lots of fun, and a great time to hang out.


Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


The last few days I have been pondering the ministry and teaching of John Wesley (the founder of Methodism).  His life was marked by an ardent pursuit of God, even from his earliest years.  As a young man studying at Oxford, he so wanted to participate in a Godly life that he expended himself in spiritual calisthenics, and invited his friends to join in.  Together they founded “the holy club.”  (How about that for the name of a student organization?)  They were so rigorous in pursuing specific disciplines or methods of holiness that on-lookers derisively began calling them “Methodists.”  John Wesley liked the name and kept it.  In fact, he embraced it.  However, none of his “methods,” no matter how holy, brought the union with God that he longed for.  That experience of being accepted by God came purely through grace.  It came not through his efforts to earn it, but through the chance encounter of showing up at a public reading of Luther’s preface to the book of Romans on Aldersgate street.  Think this through with me.  God could have chosen any moment in John Wesley’s life to show up in an unmistakable, “I won’t let you miss this,” kind of way. It could have been while he read his Bible, while he woke early to pray, while he visited prisons, while he did any number of “holy” things that look really impressive for someone trying to build a spiritual resume.  Instead, God chose a moment when Wesley himself admits he showed up “unwillingly,” and while he wasn’t doing anything “holy” at all.  He was simply listening.  And in that moment of listening to Luther’s description of “a change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ” John Wesley “felt his heart strangely warmed.”  In that moment of not even having a very Godly attitude, John Wesley was overcome by the realization that he was accepted.  Not because of what he did for God, but because of what God did for him, period.


I think this has been so much on my mind lately because I so keenly sense a longing for acceptance that is an undercurrent among so many on campus.  People want to know that their lives matter, that someone misses them when they are gone, that they are loved, that they really are accepted just the way they are.  It is pretty obvious that we cannot be as good as God.  I think students get so discouraged in trying reflect God’s goodness while living in a hedonistic campus culture that they sometimes just give up, and go with the flow.  And the further along they flow, the further away they feel from God, as well as the more impossible it feels that they will ever regain “holy” ground.  So here is good news:  Take off your shoes for this is holy ground.


This often-times very un-holy ground is still holy ground.  Because God is here.  God enters into our lives where we are, not where we believe we should be.  The cool thing about John Wesley’s story is that it shows that we can be doing all the “right” things and still be far away from God’s grace.  We can be so caught up in our own efforts to reach God that we miss Him altogether because our focus is on ourselves and our own goodness instead of on Him and His goodness.   And God’s goodness is all around us, reaching out to us, especially when we haven’t got it to reach out to Him.  It’s like He does His part and ours.  This is the cool thing about the cross.  On it we find just how far away we are from God; we see our sin and what it does to God in stark reality.  But we also see how far God is willing to come to us while we are sinning and separating ourselves from Him.  He comes to us, through Jesus, even when it costs Him His life.  When we cannot make our way to Him because we are impossibly far away, He makes His way to us and gives us His love:  “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).  All we have to do is receive it!  (Even God cannot receive His own love for us; we still have to cooperate.)


Oh and what a difference receiving God’s love makes!!!!!!  GOD LOVES YOU!  Oh dear one, God loves you!  There is nothing you can do or say that can make God stop loving you.  And really there is nothing you can do and say to make God love you more.  BECAUSE GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU IS ALREADY PERFECT AND SO HIGH YOU CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE IT!  You cannot add to infinity.  So you don’t have to try to be good enough; you just have to receive what is already there with your name on it.  And in receiving it your whole life is transformed.  You are finally able to reflect God’s goodness because you are filled with it and it just naturally flows out.  The power of who God is transforms you and helps you to live the life you are longing for.  It’s really that simple.


So let God love you.  Let God love on you.  In this moment right here and now, open your heart to God’s love.  Accept His hand and heart reaching out to you.  By faith (believing it as true regardless of what you feel) accept His gift of love to you.  May your own heart be strangely warmed!


This is me trusting,




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Sami Wilson

Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry




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