Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fruit Basket Turnover--Wesley Foundation E-Letter (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Hello All!  Hope you have had a chance to enjoy this beautiful weather outside!  It is truly a blessing!  Vitamin D—Woo Hoo!!!!  Here is what is going on this week:


TONIGHT:  A special service at 6:30pm in our Chapel in honor of Holy Week.  Come and experience what God has to say to us through the final moments of Jesus’s life on earth. 


THURSDAY:  Free meal & program, 6:30pm.  We will be having and Easter Egg Hunt!  Yes!!  This is your opportunity to relive the childhood dream! 


EASTER EGG GIVE-AWAY ON SOUTH LAWN:  We will be doing this on Thursday from 11-4.  This is a change from Wednesday!  Each egg will have a piece of candy as well as one of about 15 different scripture verses folded inside.  This is an opportunity for us to be vessels of God’s grace for random students who walk by.  So join me as we share the hope of Easter in a tangible way with students on campus.


Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:


The last few weeks I have been mulling over a verse in scripture.  It has been simmering on the back burner of my mind, occasionally piercing my awareness, connecting with my inner longing for grounded-ness and a sense of being settled.  I have been told by friends that this internal angst is directly related to hormones that are still adjusting after having a baby.  I feel more myself now, but those moments when I’m lost in the hormonal shuffle seem like all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions have been tossed up in the air and someone forgot to tell them to come down.  As I wait for the pieces of my internal fruit basket turnover to land, I can’t help but long for simplicity.  So what does this simmering scripture say that so aptly speaks to my unkemptness?  It says, “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (I Peter 5:10).


We all experience internal fruit basket turnover; it’s only a matter of how and when.  Some upsets are more piercing than others.  Some come with deep heartache attached.  Some simply are agitated by too many demands pressing in on our already stretched thin lives.  And so a fitting word from the Lord comes and speaks peace to all those troubled places deep in our hearts.  I love how God’s word is truly one size fits all!  Here is what He says:


1)       This state of heart and mind will not last forever.  It has a definite end in sight.  It is hard to say what “a little while” means in God language.  It could mean days, months, years, or even minutes and hours.  At any moment God can intervene.  And the point is that God will intervene.  It is not an “if” but a “when” matter.  It will be on this side of Heaven, precisely because of what God intends to do when He does show up in an unmistakable way.  He will move in your life in a way that is noticeable.  That movement is grounded in the life you know here and now.


2)       Which leads to the second point:  God, Himself, will step in.  He won’t send a messenger in His stead to relieve your suffering.  He, Himself, will step into your situation and bring relief.  Our suffering is the kind of situation that God takes to heart.  He absolutely, and very personally, cares about what is going on in your life.  And God absolutely, and very intentionally, chooses to act within the details of your life to reveal His presence and glory. 


3)       And finally, the work God Himself will accomplish for you and within you, is of the lasting kind.  It has an eternal quality and cannot be diminished.  Ever.  By anything.  When God steps in and begins to work, noticeable change takes place.  You won’t have to wonder how long it will last.  The things God sets His mind to do will last as long as He does. . . . Forever.


These truths are so comforting to me!  I am so glad that God is more than able to overcome the challenges in my life, and more than willing to step into the mess that I am and make it wonderful.  How cool is that?  We must mean the world to Him!  And I want you to take to heart exactly what He intends to do for us and through us.


The words that scripture uses are:  restore, support, strengthen, and establish.  The meaning of the original Greek has a way of opening up these words for us.  First of all, all of these words are verbs.  They indicate activity that God does in reference to us.  We are the objects of God’s action.  All four of these verbs appear as future, active, indicative words.  It is action that is to come; the subject of the verb (God) is performing the action (as opposed to receiving it); and the action is an objective fact (as opposed to being a subjective possibility).  This means that what God intends to do for us comes from His movement that will actually happen, regardless of what we do, say, or think.  It is dependent upon His decision to engage in our lives in a very specific way, and that decision has already been given.  We don’t have to wonder whether or not God is going to show up in our suffering; God is already actively engaged whether we realize it or not.  Now, what exactly does God intend to do?


First He restores us.  The Greek word used here is a form of the word katartizo.  It means “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust—fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.”  It means that every kind of damage that our suffering has brought forth, the Lord will make right.  He will heal it.  He will make it well again.  We can count on being mended and whole again.


Then He supports us.  Here the word used comes from sterizo.  It means “to make fast, establish.  To set fast, i.e. (literally) to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or (figuratively) to confirm—fix, (e-) stablish, steadfastly set, strengthen.”  It reminds me of how a cast sets a broken bone.  The cast supports the limb in its healing and ensures that strength will return to that which was once broken. 


And thus He strengthens us.  This word comes from the Greek word sthenoo.  It means “to strengthen, i.e. (figuratively) confirm (in spiritual knowledge and power) –strengthen.”  This word is based upon the root word sthenos  which means “bodily vigor.”  Not only will God restore the strength that was lost, but we will be overflowing with it.  We will be better than we were before our suffering ever started.  Both sthenoo and sterizo are derived from the word histemi, meaning “to make to stand, to stand.”  Both words speak to the strength God gives us to stand on our own after we go through difficulty, after we are knocked down.  Suffering never has the last word for God’s children.  He gives us everything we need to stand tall again.


Finally, God establishes us.  In Greek it is themelioo.  It means “to lay a basis for, i.e. (literally) erect, or (figuratively) consolidate—(lay the) found (-ation), ground, settle.”  It comes from the word themelios which means “of or for a foundation,” which in turn is derived from tithemi.  Now here is where it gets exciting!  Watch this:  tithemi means “to place, lay, set; to place (in the widest application) literally or figuratively; properly, in a passive or horizontal posture, thus differently from histemi which denotes an upright and active position.”  Did you catch that?  Not only does God give us strength to actively stand on our own (histemi), but He also does for us what we cannot do for ourselves!  He places us in a settled place, upon a foundation that cannot be shaken (tithemi)!  As pastor Tom Ferrell points out (in his sermon “Hope When Life is Hard . . .”) this word, themelioo is the same word Jesus used in Matthew 7:25:  “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”  In His mercy, God heals our suffering, supports and strengthens us through it, and then gives us such a firm foundation that we cannot be knocked down again in the way we were before.  OH WOW!


Do you feel encouraged?  I do.  The grammar convinces me.  It helps me to see what I couldn’t before.  God has already made His mind up to do something about my life.  Something only He can do.  Something I need desperately.  Something I cannot do for myself.  And what He wants to do is an objective fact.  Something anyone can see.  We just have to turn everything over to Him, not allowing distractions to rob us of the peace He gives, trusting Him to be everything He says He is.  But that is another e-letter.  Be blessed and know that you are loved dear one.  His promises are for you.  Be brave enough to take them personally.  And I will too.


This is me trusting,







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Sami Wilson

Campus Minister/Director

WKU Wesley Foundation

United Methodist Campus Ministry




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