Hey there! Isn’t this weather beautiful? I love that I am wearing short sleeves! And that I can still fit in to my cute, blue shirt. And that my jeans are staying up! Today I do not look like Larry the Cable Guy from behind—Let’s all praise the Lord!!!!
This week is a good one. We have special things going on—
Tuesday—6:30pm Worship @ Wesley, David Sparks is coming to share the message with us. I am really excited to see and hear him. He truly has a heart for young people and has done tremendous things for youth and young adults in our Kentucky Annual Conference. He has really put this area of ministry on the map, and I am so grateful for all he does. Be sure to be there; you will really be blessed!
Thursday—6:30pm Free Food & Program, Donna Aros will be coming to talk to us about “Creation Care,” ways that our faith relates to the things we do to preserve our natural resources and our planet for the future. She is one of the coolest pastors I have ever met. Here church is the one from
Next week we also have special goings on—(I’ll share now just in case Jeremiah makes an early appearance!)
Tuesday, Nov. 17—Marco Ballesteros, Jr. is coming to preach at our worship service. He is the college and young adult minister at Christ UMC; many of you already know him. He is a wonderful individual who has a passion for Christ and speaks with the power of God’s Spirit. I know you will be blessed!
Thursday, Nov. 19—
Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:
You may have noticed that we have guest speakers and special activities going on this week and next. As early as my babies tend to arrive, I didn’t want to take any chances. So it’s nice that I get to just enjoy Tuesday and Thursday being with you. I’m glad for that. Since last week was my last week to be “on” I decided to do things that I would particularly enjoy, hands on stuff. So Thursday night we got to pull out the paint, permanent markers, stickers and glue. We spent some time talking about what it means to pray “Thine is the kingdom, power, & glory forever.” What we came up with is that the stuff of God really is God’s stuff. It is totally amazing, and beyond our capacities to reproduce it. Whereas our human kingdoms, powers, and glories tend to tear others down as well as break down, God’s Kingdom, Power, & Glory builds others up, has durability, and accomplishes far more than we could ever imagine. The thing that makes God’s greatness so crazy great is that He chooses to reveal that greatness in and through us, even though we are broken, humble vessels that cannot claim any greatness at all.
Specifically the scripture we used was this: 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 (II Corinthians 4:7). And so we finished the evening by decorating clay pots, showing how God’s glory is revealed in our lives. Then everyone got sent home with a contraband candle to place inside. Woo Hoo! (Always the rebel campus minister that I am, I just encourage you all to be careful with open flames in your dorm rooms.)
On the following Sunday morning I was feeling very much like clay; my clay-ality seemed to get the best of me, and I found myself weepy in the bathroom. Tim was just about to send one of our good friends in after me to see if Jeremiah was being born when someone finally knocked on the door and I had to come out. In reality I wanted to stay in there hiding all morning, but when I emerged it was time for the message to begin. Imagine my surprise when Pastor Rick began to preach from, you guessed it, II Corinthians 4:7. But then he also included 4:8-10. It says 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 also be made visible in our bodies.
I’ve had a little talk with Jesus this morning, about how His power is revealed in my life. There is that part of me that really wants Him to reveal His power in my way; I want to choose the magnificent over the miniscule, to be blown away by His Spirit rather than seeing His Spirit subtly blow within. I want fire works rather than to be a work of His fire I want Him to turn me into a superhero so that this world no longer gets the best of me, instead of having to dig deep (real deep, scrape the bottom of the barrel deep) to give my best to it. I want Him to come down here and make me feel better when my life is difficult, overwhelming, and I feel like I am out of my league. In the midst of throwing my tantrum I think I heard Heaven chuckling. And so He led me back to His words of grace and pointed to exactly how His glory is revealed.
You see, I keep expecting His glory to remove the affliction, perplexion, persecution, and down times in my life. But His way is different from mine. Instead, He gives me His strength so that I may continue, even when the affliction, perplexion, persecution, and down times persist. His glory is revealed in the fact that these difficulties cannot prevent me from living out His calling upon my life. I can keep going. I may be tired and worn out, but I am still His; He is still with me; and I can still do the next right thing regardless of how much I complain that it is so hard to do the next right thing. And somehow His grace helps me get it done. So even when things seem impossible, we don’t have to be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed. We may be enduring hard times, but when we are in Christ those hard times are the catalysts that reveal His overcoming victory in our lives. In conquering the cross He did not approach it and tear it down. He suffered through it and was resurrected. There is no hard thing that can keep Him down. And if He faced His hard thing and was victorious, how much more can He face our hard things and bring victory through us? We still have to face the hard thing, but the truth is that the hard thing does not own us. In Christ we have the power to always overcome it.
I hope you are encouraged, even as I have been. It may not have been the message you wanted to hear, but like me, maybe it was the message you most needed. You are not alone. The odds you are facing in your life right now are not insurmountable. He is always tender and compassionate, giving us the respite we need when we are worn out. But in love, He never removes us from the fire until the fire has done its work. And I have learned that I would always choose His way over mine any day if I give it enough time. I love you dear ones. I wish I had the words to tell you how much. Just know you are in my heart, and always, without lapse, within His.
This is me trusting,
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