Friday, December 26, 2008

STINT Survey and the Christmas Conference

I've been thinking alot about you stinters scattered around the world. I know that the Christmas season is often a great time for sharing the hope that you have in Jesus, and I pray that you have seen God revealing Himself to friends that you have been making over the past weeks and months.

I'm sure you are all praying as well for the 10,000+ students who are attending Christmas Conferences beginning tomorrow. Did you know the Bridges Conference has over 800 international students attending, their largest conference ever. Imagine the impact of that as they return to their campuses, and to their nations in the years ahead.

As you pray for all of those who are attending conferences, I know you are hopeful that God will touch the hearts of hundreds and thousands of students with a passion for God and His heart for the nations. You might remember that the first night of the Briefing Conference I shared about Moses and his encounter with God in the burning bush. Well, your surveys about why you came on STINT were evidence of the reality of the burning bush experiences of which you shared that night. 93% of you said that one of the most important factors in deciding to come on STINT was hearing from God in His word and prayer. A friend's counsel, a summer project trip, and vision for your campuses' partnership location were all very significant as well.

It seems to me that the Christmas and Winter conference environment is where a lot of these factors intersect. Meeting with God, hearing about the mission, encouragement from friends, and a chance to go overseas for a summer are all part of the conference environment.

But here is what the stint survey also revealed; only about 5% of you made the decision to STINT while at the conference. 28% made that decision after the conference in January and February. At first I was surprised, but then I realize how good this really is. It shows a reflective process is occurring. There is also the fact that 65% of you said the challenge of raising support was one of your biggest barriers to stinting. The specter of raising $40,000 in 3 months tends to cause one to check a few times if that was really God they heard in the bush, or was it just passing emotionalism.

I pass this along though so that we put our hope in God for what He wants to do in raising up additional stinters. No doubt your experience is proving what Jesus told his disciples 2000 years ago: "the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few." Wherever you are on STINT, and regardless of the current results, one message always cries out: We Need More Help!

Jesus' solution was to "pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His Harvest." Put into the example of Moses from Exodus, let's pray that 10,000 students will be "turn aside" to see, listen to, and respond to God as He reveals Himself, and His heart for each one of them to be fulfilled in His Kingdom purpose for their lives. If that happens, I'm sure God will call many to labor alongside of you as STINTers this coming year. (And the rest who don't can support you!)

And my prayer for you is that you will experience God's refreshing touch upon your life in the days ahead, with hope in your heart for how He wants to work in your life this coming year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lessons from the Wild II (Devotion)

The rhino, as any fan of The Gods must be Crazy, knows is the self-appointed fire prevention officer of the jungle.   But maybe there are a few facts of the Rhinoceros that you might not be aware of and can apply to live & ministry on STINT. 

A group of Rhinos is called a crash.  The reason is because a Rhino runs 30 miles an hour but can only see 30 feet in front of them.  (Props to Erwin McManus for this insight.) This propensity for running into things is perhaps why God created Rhinos with thick skin and gave them one or two horns depending on the species.  

Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:18  says, 'we fix our eyes on what is unseen rather than what we can see' and in the next chapter adds 'we live by faith and not by sight'.  What if we charged through life like Paul and his buddies, like a crash of Rhinos - full force, break-neck speed, by faith, not worrying about what we can see with our limited eyesight?   We don't have a horn and we're not pachyderms (though some of us are thick-skinned & some thick-sculled) but we have the same promise that enabled Paul to live & minister this way.  It's a promise of the coming resurrection; a promise that while this measly aging body will waste away its not the end.  

We can be pressed down but we are not crushed.  We can be perplexed but we are never in despair.  We might be persecuted but we will not be abandoned.  We possibly could be struck down but we will not be destroyed.  Life, eternal life, real life is guaranteed so we can charge ahead like Rhinos - full of faith.

Another little tidbit about Rhinos is their symbiotic relationship with the oxpecker.  The oxpecker feeds off of parasites that live on the Rhino.  And it seems like they get the best of them because they get a little of the Rhino's blood when they remove ticks or whatnot.  But with the Rhino's myopia, he knows that danger is near when the oxpeckers fly away.  (The rhino also has amazing sense of smell and hearing but those facts blur my analogy so ignore them.) 

It's teamwork in action.  Where the Rhino is limited, the oxpecker is strong.  When the Rhino might not even know there are little guys beneath the thick skin slowing sucking life away, the oxpecker shows up for a groom and a snack.  For the Rhino, while sacrificing a little blood in the process, this relationship saves his hide.  For the oxpecker he gets lunch and a free wild ride.

 In the same way of God's created order in the wild, He has placed you together as a team for a purpose.  It's no accident you are together. Everyone has a role.  Sometimes the role is defined: team leader, person who handles finances, team prayer leader, buyer of snacks for socials, etc.  But sometimes the roles are undefined.  Maybe one of you is the team encourager speaking life into others.  Perhaps you are the one God has gifted with humor who brings light moments to heavy ones.  Perhaps you are the team servant joyfully serving others and not wanting to draw attention to yourself. Maybe you're 'the team mom' caring for others when they are sick or 'big brother' looking out for others and making sure folks are safe.

Do you really believe that God has uniquely made everyone on your team and brought you together for a purpose?  Everyone!   Do you just accept each other's differences or do you appreciate them?  Or maybe you are just still back at the stage of being aware that you are not alike or acknowledging these differences but just trying to tolerate one another.  How often do you say, "God I am so thankful that this person is on my team and that you made them different than me.  They might even bug me at times but I need them... I need those who are thick-skinned.  I need the bloodsuckers, too.  I need every person on this team and they need me."   

We need each other to forge ahead by faith as a crash of Rhinos.

Another Resource

There is a new on-line resource for evangelistic materials in several languages.  It's Gospel Translations and already has articles in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.  It's set up like a wiki so if your translation skills are worthy you can add to the tool or maybe a student you are discipling would like to contribute.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

There’s nothing like holidays overseas to make you feel isolated, creepy and angry. It’s weird that no one on your team does them the same way you do (“What do you mean you eat cranberry sauce out of a can?”). I remember my first Thanksgiving at Krista’s family’s house when I discovered they were about to throw away the dark meat of the turkey. They insist it was a joke but I was pretty scared for a minute.

These feelings are intensified overseas, and the next five weeks--Thanksgiving through New Year’s—can be the most difficult part of a stint year. You are experiencing culture shock, miss your family, and your team seems suddenly to represent another culture, too… a culture that opens gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

Then you start looking at the culture. They think it’s bizarre that you celebrate a day of thankfulness by gorging yourself on over-sized birds and cranberries and smashed potatoes. They don’t understand why you want Christmas Day off from your classes. They don’t see why missing your family on this Thursday is different from any other day of the year. You feel out of place, out of sorts and out of strength.

Here’s a scripture I hope will encourage you:

“…they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country which they had left they would have had opportunity to return. Instead they were looking forward to a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Remember, you are not only a stranger to this culture you are living in now, but to the culture of the entire world. A day is coming when you can be “home” at last, when you will be with the Most Beloved One, in his home, celebrating every holyday together with him. In that day we won’t feel alone anymore, won’t be worn out from life in this world and won’t find ourselves adrift and without hope ever again.

So, take a break here and there, make sure you are rested. Give your family and friends a call for the holidays. But don’t forget that you are a stranger where you are in the same way that you would be a stranger in the United States… you are a citizen of a greater kingdom, the Heavenly one. In the meantime, celebrate with your teammates or other believers; that’s a pretty good preview of the New Jerusalem to come.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Homothumadon: Jesus, Fired up!

Acts 4 is a great scene in the early church.  In the chapter prior, Peter & John were on the way to pray and end up healing a 40-year old crippled beggar.   Peter turns it into and evangelistic event so the Sadducees arrested them but the number of believers blossomed to about 5000.   So Peter & John are brought before the high priest and his whole family.  Peter filled with the Holy Spirit gives a rocking testimony of who did the real healing – Jesus: the one you crucified but rose again, the rejected stone that is now the Cornerstone, and the only one under heaven of whom salvation is found.   They threatened them and tell them to stop speaking in Jesus’ name and of course the P & J have now of that, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God for we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

But the part that intrigues me is what happens when P & J go back to their team and give a report.  Luke writes that when the church heard this “they raised their voices together in prayer to God.”  The prayer is an awesome one of acknowledging that our Lord and Creator is calling the shots.  And the supplication is simply for God to consider the threats and enable them, His servants, to speak the gospel with great boldness and to continue to display His power through

 the name of Jesus.

The Greek word that is translated here in the NIV ‘together’ is homothumadon.  It shows up several places in Acts: the 120 were gathered in homothumadon Acts 1:14; after Pentecost the 3000 continued daily homothumadon in the temple and homes – Acts 2:46; the church ; used to met homothumadon in Solomon’s Portico – Acts 5:12; and the council homothumadon choose some men to send with Paul & Barnabas to Gentile believers – Acts 15:25.

Eugene Peterson writes that “of one mind” or “together” or “of one accord” all seems too tame.  Homothumadon is a compound word.  Homo means the same.  The don on the end signifies that it’s an adverb.   But the middle thumas is a word surging with energy.  By itself it means ‘flying off the handle’, ‘losing your temper’, ‘going ballistic’.  In the context of this movement of young believers there is nothing negative in it, no malice, no revenge, no violence.  Instead the energy is love, peace, community, unity, with one voice, a oneness in spirit and purpose.  It’s a unanimous response of a large group of individuals with different gifts and ideas from the soul based on what God has done and who He is.  It’s not just some byproduct of playing nice or walking through steps of resolving conflict.  It’s a holy passion.  It’s the fire of the Spirit.  It’s Jesus, fired up!

In Acts 4, when threatened the early church could have cowered in fear or just decided to be nice little compliant Christians content with their holy huddle.  Come on 5000!  That’s a lot to be satisfied with why rock the boat?  Instead there is this wonderful powerful harmony, this homothumadon fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit that calls them to cry out in one voice that God rules and to plead with Him not to take away the threat but it give them as His servants boldness and power to declare and display the gospel in the midst of the persecution.    They didn’t resort to trying to overthrow the status quo.  They didn’t grumble.  They didn’t loose heart.  They didn’t cower.  They humbly asked that the gospel not be tamed because God cannot be tamed. 

That’s what unity is.  That’s the kind of power the world has rarely seen. That’s a power that launches transformational movements that can’t be stopped.  That’s what being united in spirit and purpose can do.  That’s Jesus, fired up!

Monday, November 17, 2008


One of the hardest things for me to deal with on STINT was when someone totally ripped me off. A few of you may have heard my story about the Overpriced Potato that caused me to go insanely off my rocker and yell at an entire market full of people that I was being unfairly treated.

Here's a little news item that caught my attention: A couple on vacation in India was charged TWO HUNDRED bucks for some street food.

In other news, Mmmmmmm, samosas!

How about you guys? And good rip-off stories this year?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lessons from the Wild I (Devotion)

The Wildebeest (or Gnu) is one strange animal.  It's really an antelope with an ox-like head.  But two crazy traits  stand-out as lessons to us.  

One is that in the dry seasons millions of wildebeests will travel hundreds of miles in search of grass & water. They can cover 30 miles in a day.  They often travel with zebras and gazelles following rain clouds and lightening in the distance knowing that the clouds will lead them to the water & green pasture.

This reminds me of the Children of Israel in the desert who were depend on God leading them with a cloud by day and fire at night.  Nehemiah writes that it was out  of God's great compassion that God lead them providing manna and water for them.  And that God sustained them in such miraculous fashion that their clothes didn't even wear out in 40 years of camping out.

For a generation, they knew that when the cloud of God's glory would come down that they were to pitch camp.  His glory would come down over the Tabernacle tent.  Later, when the temple was built by Solomon, God's glory again came down in a cloud.  And one day our Messiah will come again on clouds.   

The other interesting thing about wildebeests is that the males will do something that no other antelope does.  When hunted, they will stay behind the group or even stumble to act hurt to get the attention of a hungry lion or laughing hyena.  While the male wildebeests fain injury, the rest of the group has time to run to safety.

Jesus said that there was no greater love than laying down your life for your friends.  When know that verse.  We like that verse.  What we may forget (or just don't like) is that verse is sandwiched in between these two Jesus' statements.  "This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you" and "You are my friends if you do what I command."

Jesus calls us  to live and love like Him.  That great love, that amazing love, that sacrificial love for others is what separates those of us who just say they know Jesus and those who experience a friendship with the Savior.

Two crazy wildebeests traits.  One is an act of dependence trusting Him for our daily bread.  Looking for Him to show up and guide us.  To dwell with us.  To come to us and to come for us.  The other is a call to a life of sacrifice, out of love to lay it all down.  To consider others more important than ourselves.

Who gnu?

Mid-Year Madness

Espana ~  Here are the bare minimum facts for the Spain Midyear for Namestan, Eastern Europe/Russia & Western Europe:

Thailand ~ This is for those serving in East Asia, Thailand & Japan.  
  • January 14th - 20th
  • Place:  Central Duangtawan Hotel , in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 
  •  You should arrive by 6 pm on the 14th of January, 2009.  
  • Everyone is free to leave anytime on January 20th.  
  •  The CRS for this midyear is up so please go here to register for the conference.  We need you to register by Dec. 15th.

If you have questions about either Mid-year, first contact your regional STINT Coordinator or WSN Director. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Growing in Self Leadership (a devotional)

This devotional comes from Ken Cochrum, the leader of CCC's Global Campus Team. I'm certain that you remember his excellent talk on Launching Movements at STINT briefing. Since the time I first met Ken I've respected his character and his deep walk with the Lord. Ken also writes a great leadership blog, and he's sent some thoughts along for all you stinters:

A few months have passed now since we were together at the STINT briefing. That’s probably been enough time to bump head-on into the culture, your team, your leaders, and maybe even your self.

One of the greatest - and most rewarding - challenges of any servant of Jesus is to grow in conquering the towering mountain of Self. Contemporary culture and media thrive on selling Self-interest, Self-promotion, Self-preservation, and Self-indulgence. But those who lead well have mastered the art of putting others' interests first.

I am now three weeks into my 90-day experiment in overcoming physical and leadership plateaus. I've been examining my ways and listening to the echoes of "self" in what I say and do. My mirror has been a page from a letter written by one of the greatest and most selfless spiritual leaders of all time - the apostle Peter. Here's a guy who hung around with the savior of the universe for 3 years and could easily have claimed titles, pulled rank, or dropped names. But after 30+ years of serving others, he called himself a slave of Jesus Christ.

Here's what grabbed me:
"[Jesus'] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life
and godliness.... so that through [his great promises] you may
become partakers of the divine nature
, having escaped from the
corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this
very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith
and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection,
and brotherly affection with love.

For if these qualities are yours and increasing, they keep you from being
ineffective or unfruitful.... if you practice these qualities you will never
fail. (2 Peter chapter 1, ESV)

As I have been meditating on this cascading list of character qualities, many observations surface. Two worthy of note are:

1. The value of growing in more knowledge (books, seminars, sermons, professional development stuff) is limited if it does not lead to greater self-control. This is a call to greater self-leadership. It echoes Jesus' words, "If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

2. The ultimate goal of all growth and development is brotherly affection and love. Maybe the litmus test of "Am I growing?" is really "Am I loving others more?" This should start showing up in my life.

What about results? A new physical regimen should result in some noticeable changes in body shape and overall well-being. Check. Spiritual growth should also result in some noticeable fruit in how others experience me. Yesterday someone thanked me for exhibiting a specific quality I had been trusting God to grow in from the list above. I'll take that as progress.

How are you growing in self-leadership? Check out this practical article by Bill Hybels on The Art of Self-Leadership.

Friday, October 17, 2008

When the dinger goes off...

This has nothing to do with the title, I just got this picture in a batch of animals dressed up for Halloween and it cracked me up.

My wife Kim and I have a saying for when we feel like we are done with something -"the dinger went off". Its that emotional reaction way down inside that tells me I want to bail out and do something else, that I've hit the wall, that I need a break.

Well, many of you have been gone for 2 months now. From my experience, this is about when a stinter's dinger goes off. For some of you, it's already happened. (The earliest I ever heard was a woman in her first week on location, because she had just got the worst haircut of her life the day before she left the country.)

But Now is a normal time to wake up and wonder "where am I, what have I done?" The adrenalin is gone. Newness has worn off. You've learned stuff about your roommate that scare you. You long for your, chair, TV program, ice cream, football games, coffee shop, whatever. You're tired of a hearing/speaking a new language. And for the 90% of you that have been on a summer project of some sort before, this is about the time when you get ready and go back home.

Except you're not going home, and the favorite ____ is not there. Weloome to the stress cycle. Welcome to home sick.

How do you move through this time? here's a few suggestions...(oh, and check your stint playbook..)

As a team, talk about where each one of you are with this. Give it a rating, a number, a letter grade. Call it an animal. Doesn't really matter. Just get it out there objectively.

Remember, this is normal. You are not going crazy. You are not WRONG, BAD, or unfit for STINT.

Don't check out and spend all your time watching all your videos or being on facebook all the time. That can become medication to keep you from really dealing with what you are feeling and opening up your heart to the Lord and others near you...not to mention understanding yourself better.

Take time to pour your heart out to God and your friends. Write the honest thoughts of how you're doing in your journal. Tell your team. Lean on each other. And go somewhere and laugh about all of this together Its okay. So you hate the fact that you haven't had consistent hot running water and you fantasize about hot showers that last 30 minutes and blast all your skin off. That's actually pretty funny stuff.

Some of you may really be spiraling down and feel like you're drowning. Tell the Lord exactly how you feel. And tell your team leader. They want to help you. Team leaders, tell your team about your self. They want to help you too. (And let your coaches in country and in the US know too. We all want to help, but can't if we don't know.)

I can often feel like the dinger is going off, even while in the US. To paraphrase the disciples in the boat with Jesus - "Jesus, uhm, we're about to die here; could you wake up and help us out a bit? Do you not notice or care what is happening?" I find his response kind but firm. "Why so timid, you men of little faith." I'm learning Jesus is teaching me about His constant involvement and protection in my life. And that He is wanting my faith to grow. (Mark 4:36-41)

Oh if your dinger has not gone off, do 2 things. Listen to those in need, and get ready. Your turn will be coming.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I will Be There (a devotional)

A couple of weeks ago the Serbian team landed in-country.  I like this pic of them taken at Copper because it reminds me of the promise Jesus made after giving the Great Commish. 'I am with you always, to the very end of the age'. 

Now I am not saying Evan (on right) is perfect but he is most likely to play the lead in a Passion play and I think he was the model for the pic of cool Jesus.    

All kiddin' aside there is great comfort not only to the trio of guys serving in Serbia but for all of us.  He didn't just say "Here's something to keep you busy for the next couple of millenniums, send in your monthly stats and I will be back some time when you least expect it." So in turn we say to each other, "Jesus is coming soon... so look busy."  No, Jesus promises His presence not just when the work is done but even now as we help build His Kingdom among all peoples.    

So all year-long  - He is there.
When you are out trying to find others to talk to about Him - He is there.
When you are rejected - He is there.
When in joy you get to led someone to life in Him - He is there.
When you weep over disciples who are considering walking away - He is there.
When you feel lonely - He is there.
When you are sick - He is there.
When you are wondering what the spank you are doing - He is there.
When you are serving the least of these - He is there.
When you dread getting out of bed  - He is there.
When its a perfect STINT day - He is there.
When you & your roommate are arguing over who left the unwashed dishes in the sink - He is there.
When you feel misunderstood - He is there.
When you are at your greatest height of joy this year - He is there.
When you are at the depths of despair - He is there.

He is with you.  Not just some mystically apparition.  This is not just some token forgotten phrase as He saw you off at the airport.  "Dude, I am there for you."  It's a promise.  A vow. A guarantee.  Take it to the bank.  (Oops, maybe not a confident phrase in today's market.)  Count on it... whether you feel like its true or not.  He is with you.

What hope that gives!  What confidence!  What reassurance!  What power!  What joy!  You cannot fail.   He is there!

PS.  Pray for the Serbian team as Brian, Chas & Evan have challenged 5 students - Mico, Dijana, Teadora, Zizi & Johana - to serve on a leadership team with them.  This is not just a committee but they have asked these young believers to function fully with them as the team this year.  Pray that this year will go a long way into helping them see a fully student-led movement in Novi Sad.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On Suffering (a devotional)

Sometimes Stint feels like trying to juggle live animals. Just when you feel like everything is under control, the animals writhe around and you lose your balance. There are times when the suffering--whether from homesickness, culture shock, interpersonal struggles on your team or fatigue from doing evangelism--seems unbearable.

On top of that, there's a subtle belief in American Christianity that if we follow Jesus, nothing will ever go wrong for us. It's not a new idea. In fact, in Matthew 16 we see Peter saying much the same thing to Jesus. Jesus shares (in verse 21) that he will "suffer many things" and then be killed and come to life again.

Peter, no doubt with good intentions, pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him. "This will never happen to you," he says.

In a famous moment, Jesus says, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men." Jesus calls Peter's philosophy of the future satanic and tells him that he has in mind "the things of men."

I'll be frank. I prefer a life without suffering. Who doesn't? Even Jesus told the Father that his preference would be to avoid the cross if possible (Mark 14:36). But Jesus tells us that we if we live a life of avoiding pain and suffering, we can't truly become like him. In fact, immediately following this conversation with Peter he turns to the disciples and says, "If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? "

There will be times of temptation on stint, when you will look at the world around you and think, "Why am I making all these sacrifices? I have Christian friends back home who are making plenty of money and living a life of ease. And here I am, suffering and in pain. What is the point of this?"

Remember, Christ suffered. If we are to become like him, we will experience suffering as well. And remember, too, that Jesus has called you to stint this year. Your friends may have been called to another context or job or place in life this year. Who know what the future holds? But for today, pick up your cross and follow. He has walked this road ahead of us, and he will give us strength to do the things he to which he has called us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Invitation to a Cool Event

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9 a.m. Craig Johring, who has been a key player in Enfoque Mexico (the City Focus strategy in Mexico City) will be doing a 35 minute training on how to launch movements on multiple campuses. He's presenting it in Minneapolis, but it will be available on the web, free for all. Because that's the way the internet should be.

Here's the link... there's no login or cost of any kind*.

*Because the internet should be free.

That's How We Roll

You might think that we here at Casa WSN don't know what your life is like. You might think that we tell you "Love Your Team" but we don't have to live that out. Here's a picture to show you that just ain't so. Look how we cram in together on our way to meals. We take our closeness as a team seriously.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One Dog Allowed

Lima, Peru has just passed a law that residents in the city can only own one dog. This is an interesting clash of values for us as residents of the U.S.A. What can we learn about Peruvian attitudes toward community, personal responsibility and concepts of freedom from this legislation?

And what can we learn from the fact that no similar ban exists for cats?

Meanwhile, in China we see winged cats. I'm not kidding, and no, it's not a hoax. *

Also in China we can see evidence of the difference between a guilt-based and shame-based culture as a major city decides the easiest way to deter jaywalkers is to post pictures of the jaywalkers in the newspaper.

*It's just matted hair. Sorry to wreck the illusion.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ramadan Prayer

Tomorrow (September 1st) marks the first day of Ramadan that will last until September 30th.

It's a great time for us to be praying and fasting for our teams serving among Muslims and for the students and people they will encounter this year. Pray that God would preform miracles in the hearts of these men and women that they will see Christ for who he truly is.

One great tool is found at 30 Days: Loving Muslims Through Prayer. The "Muslims In" page is their 30-Day Prayer guide which you can subscribe to at the bottom of that website.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Call Me Brother Zed (A Devotional)

When I was in college, there was this guy called Brother Zed who came to my school every year. He wore all white, and his wife wore homemade clothes and carried a sign that said something about Hell, and his little son came and sat at his feet. He’d stand in the quad and verbally abuse everyone who came by. We were all sinners, prostitutes, hellions with a one-way ticket to the devil’s dinner table. This was the sort of thing he said to us. Of course all the students loved him. We’d form a crowd and yell things just to get him worked up. We’d also throw pennies at him.

In a way it might remind you of the Apostle Paul. Here’s this guy trying to tell people about Christ, and the brilliant philosophers of the day (that would be us, the penny-throwers) gathered to mock and abuse him. Of course, Brother Zed’s gospel--though actually correct in places, and presented with great enthusiasm--bears little relation to Paul’s gospel.

Paul wrote, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (I Thessalonians 1:3) Here are a few thoughts I’ve had while ruminating on this verse:

1) Paul’s gospel came with power. A hallmark of Paul’s message is the “power of the gospel to change lives.” It might mean the lame walking, the blind seeing or the dead coming to life. The gospel transforms those it touches. It’s not merely a set of propositions to be accepted or rejected, it’s the offer of metamorphosis, an invitation to the caterpillar to enter a cocoon and be changed forever. The old and dead falls away like chaff and the seed of the gospel bursts into new life.

2) The Holy Spirit is integral to the gospel. If we are not presenting the gospel in partnership with the Holy Spirit then it’s nothing more than lifeless words. Finite words cannot introduce one to the infinite God unless God himself whispers through them. The single most effective thing I can do to ensure I am presenting the gospel well is to make my relationship with the Holy Spirit a priority in my life.

3) Paul expressed his gospel with deep conviction. Too often I think my conviction for the gospel will deepen if I study enough, or understand the battle between evolution and creationism, or if I spend some time polishing my ecclesiology. And of course those things are valuable and helpful. But in the end, reading all of the apologetics in the world won’t bring me to deep conviction in the gospel unless I am experiencing the life change that comes with the gospel and growing in relationship with the Holy Spirit. Knowing Christ intimately creates conviction about His gospel.

I think of Brother Zed sometimes. I wonder if he knew the God he was haranguing all of us to follow. He had deep conviction, yes, but there was no power to his words, and I never once saw the Holy Spirit speak to someone through him. But then I wonder, how often is that true of me, also?

Holy Spirit, may the power of your gospel be evident in my life and ministry. I ask that you would speak to the hearts of the lost as I share your good news with them. Give me deep conviction of the truth of your words and boldness to share the gospel as I should.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Finish That Support!

Here are some helpful thoughts on raising the rest of your money for stint from Gary Schmalz ( Gary has been on staff with Campus Crusade for 15 years, 10 of them as the Campus Director at Iowa State. He and his wife Cristen currently serve on the WSN team in Minneapolis helping mobilize students in the Upper Midwest.

You’ve been raising support for three months now, your airplane leaves in two weeks and you are at 75%. Why aren't you finished? There are many reasons, but one might be that you're tired of making calls. That phone can get very heavy after a few months of support raising, even though you feel called by God and motivated to go. Isn’t it amazing how many people actually said no? Some were even upset with you that you called. So let’s look at a passage or two that might get that last 20% of support raised so you can actually go do what the Lord has called you to do.

Grab your Bible and turn to Luke 8: 1-3. No, I am not going to list it for you, go get your bible! As you see (because you just read it) Jesus traveled from “one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” Now you are not Jesus, but you are traveling in order to preach the good news of Jesus to another culture. Your mission is very similar to His mission. In verses 2 and 3 we see a list of folks that supported The Twelve out of “their own means.” They were taking their own resources out of their own pockets and giving it to Jesus and His disciples so that the good news would be preached. Just like you need to have in order to go to your location.

If I had a list like this, and I do, it would actually be much larger than this list and it is (and they support my family of 6). One of the names you would read on my list would be Gelene. Gelene had just lost her husband to cancer and she had two elementary aged children. Looking at it from a worldly perspective I never should have asked Gelene to be a part of my ministry team, but I did, and I do not know why I did that. I met her at her farm, and after telling her about my ministry that did not yet exist, she showed me a machine shed in her back yard. She was going to rent it out and give the rent money to my ministry. She said, “as long as it rents out, you will get support from me.” Fifteen years ago that was $100/mo, now its $150/mo. Absolutely amazing, only God does stuff like that!

Now, there is a person out there that God has chosen to be a part of your support team, and for some reason you have not asked them yet. Please go, call them now, and if they are close to your location, ask to meet with them, if they are an hour away or more, just cast vision over the phone and ask them now. Why over the phone? Because you have 20% to raise in 2 weeks. The plane will leave with or without you. It’s time to have a 5 min presentation with an ask over the phone. Put it together, practice it, practice it some more and then start calling. We’re praying for you!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Notes from Briefing

Slowly but surely we are uploading notes of seminars and talks from the briefing. You can access them here. (You will need to use your company email and password. If you are in a closed location, make sure you are first using a secure system. If you have issues, contact your caring region's STINT Coordinator.)

On that home page, you will see little announcements about midyear dates and then on the left are links to pages for playbooks, language learning tips and briefings. (If you notice that 2007 Briefing is missing its because Mikalatos still hasn't uploaded those.)

Under Christ Alone 2008 Global briefing, you will find two folders for talk notes. Unfortunately, they didn't get recorded this year so we just have notes. So if your team wants to listen to them maybe the person on your team with the best James Earl Jones voice can read them.

Right now we just have 24/7 Prayer, Care & Courage, Evangelism Tips from Aussie, Learn a New World and Launch Movements. But the goal is to have them all by start of September. If you see one missing after 9/1 and you want them, email me and I will hound that speaker.

Finding the Leader

Here are some thoughts from our Fearless Leader, Doctor Steve Douglass, that should be helpful when you get to campus and start building Bible studies and setting up leaders:

“I can’t find any people to lead Bible studies or movement groups!” is what I sometimes have heard from staff. “Do you have anyone at all?” I ask, to which they usually answer “Sure, but there are some problems that disqualify them.” In other words they are not without flaw.

Well, guess what? None of us are without flaw, and we have yet to grow to what we can be. Now I am not saying that there are no disqualifiers. What I am saying is that God can salvage people from a bad past.

Consider the apostle Paul. When we first met him in Scripture, he was a leader in the persecution of the church. He was responsible for the arrest and abuse of many first century Christians. If asked, I am sure almost all Christians during that time would have agreed that there was no way Paul (Saul) could ever be used by God to be a leader in the church.

Yet God called Paul, brought him through trials and teaching, and eventually used him to author more of the New Testament and to inaugurate more ministry among Gentiles than anyone else. Is it unusual for God to salvage people? No! In fact He seems to relish it.

Consider the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. In it we find:

  • Rahab – a harlot from Jericho who married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz, and she is mentioned in Hebrews 11 and James 2 as an example of faith.

  • Ruth – a Moabite, whose people were traditionally enemies of the children of Israel, became a timeless example of loyalty. Her marriage to Boaz, an Israelite, led them to become the great grandparents of King David.

  • David - a dutiful King, yet one who committed adultery and murder.

  • Bathsheba – an adulteress with David who eventually becomes the mother of King Solomon.

  • Four flawed people, whom God was able to redeem out of bad backgrounds and shame—as they were willing to turn from their sin and serve Him.

You might be saying it isn’t always sin that disqualifies people; sometimes it is a lack of ministry competencies. I will grant that it is good for people to have innate abilities to lead groups or start spiritual conversations. At the same time many of the twelve apostles selected by Jesus lacked ministry skills. Peter had a knack for saying the wrong thing. Thomas wasn’t exactly full of faith. And I can only imagine how Levi came across as a seasoned tax collector. God can make anyone useful if he or she is willing.

So why am I writing about this to you? In my next Global Connection, I will be sharing with you strategy components that we should emphasize in Campus Crusade for Christ. They are phrased in a way that emphasizes the mobilization of people.

These components may be of no surprise to you. We are all about spiritual multiplication—which involves passing ownership of ministry on to others. But that won’t happen if we view most of our disciples as “disqualified” for one reason or another.

If we find it hard to have faith that God is able to use them, we won’t even try to challenge them toward their potential as a leader. Or, we may embark on a process of discipleship that is so drawn out that people drop out needlessly.

Am I advocating that we should ignore that people have certain barriers to becoming multipliers? No, not at all. I am just advocating that we:

Have faith that God can make people useful to Him.

Look for people whose hearts are right before God (“good soil”).

Work with them aggressively to use their strengths and grow in their weak areas.

Give them a chance to try to minister, perhaps a little sooner than we might think.

Encourage them throughout the process.

Anytime you find yourself reluctant to do these things, think first of one of your own experiences or those of someone you know well. How “perfect” were you when you got started? How skilled were you at evangelism and discipleship? How different are you now than when someone believed in you and let you try?

Thoughts to consider during your devotional times:

1) Look at the five points at the end of this letter. Think of someone whom you have been reluctant to let minister. Honestly assess how you are doing with them in each of the five points.

2) Select one area where you realize you can improve in your ability to help that person achieve his or her potential in ministry.

3) Ask the Lord to give you one or two action steps to help achieve that improvement.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Love Your Team

No matter what size they are!

Prayer for one another

Steve Douglass and the Stint Commissioning

Here's a picture of Steve Douglass with our MCs and Andy McCullough. I've included some notes on Dr. Douglass' talk... just notes, it's not word-for-word unless it's in quotes.

Steve braved a tropical storm to come be with us for a few hours. He leaves tonight because of meetings tomorrow. Why would he do that? "Because I love you. I am so impressed with what you are going to do next year, serving God overseas."

Here's the Problem. You're only going to spend a year or two overseas and you're going to feel that things are just getting started.

There's a great person who's going to stay and do follow up when you are gone. That's the Holy Spirit.

In I Corinthians 3:5-6 Paul says "we are servants through whom you came to believe. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God made it grow." Psalm 1 says those who walk with God instead of with the world are like trees planted by the water which bear fruit in season and whose leaves don't wither.

Steve told us a great story about finding a sapling in his yard and helping it grow. It ended with him being up on his roof with a chain saw pruning his maple tree!

A person with a heart with "good soil" will grow, and will yield a crop. The only way spiritual movements can flourish is for good soil to yield a crop and you are going to launch that in the lives in many people next year. You will plant the seed and God is faithful to bring it to pass.

"One thing I've learned to count on through the years is this: Jesus changes lives." Over time people change drastically. 2 Cor 5:15 -- the old has come, the new has come. There's no such thing as a spiritual movement apart from changed lives.

A couple of examples of changed lives:
  1. Steve Douglass told us the story of his own life. He spent time at MIT looking for the secret to finding satisfaction... it seemed not to be success. He went to a Bible study to hang out with a young lady and saw people whose lives were different... he eventually decided that's what he wanted, and he sat up in his bed and prayed for Christ to come into his life. Years later he wrote "How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun." The first time he shared about it was at Vanderbilt. 75 students showed up, which wasn't bad. About half were Christians. About half of the non-Christians there wanted to know more about Christ. He gave the talk 300 times, about 30,000 students heard it, 150,000 books published. The point: the people from that Bible study planted a seed, and as Steve grew he became more useful to God, and God brought the fruit.
  2. Steve was told about a student who spent a lot of time drinking until God got a hold of his heart in a dramatic way. He was leading many to Christ, his life was changed, today he's a pastor.
  3. At a campus in Wisconsin a freshman named Kate came into her dorm room to find it decorated in black crepe with many books on the occult in the room. Kate went to CCC meetings and learned about Freshman Survival Kits. Kate gave one to her roommate, and it was amazing. Her roommate voraciously consumed the material. Her life changed. She redecorated the room, she threw away her occult books. She made a big difference on that campus, a changed life, a great contribution.
  4. A young man who, years ago, was a gambler. Could run numbers in his head. Engaged in wild living and all of a sudden God got a hold of his life and he radically changed. He went into the insurance company, an incredible success. When he died, he left 400 million dollars to promote the Gospel. One thing they did was to come up with a way to talk about getting power for living life. Well known people gave their testimony on television. They saw 7 million people ask for a copy of the book. best we can tell, 700,000 people received Christ in a six month period. Jesus got ahold of his life.
  5. Steve's Dad. He had struggles in life. One was alcohol. Alcohol ruined a marriage, caused hard words to be said, led to divorce. Ruined his career. A sharp guy, outgoing, winsome... but job after job fell away. Steve got a call in the middle of the night, his dad had come out to Southern Cal looking for him, but Steve was in Australia. For five years on and off he lived with Steve and became one of the most popular guys at CCC HQ. When Steve's Dad died, 600 people came to his memorial. In five years Jesus had changed his life.

When Jesus changes lives, those lives spawn interest on the part of other people, those people respond, they receive Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the desire to read the scriptures and more people come to Christ and desire to tell others, and that is a movement of God.

You are going out to share Jesus. Many will respond. Some will go on to bear fruit. Those precious people you invest your lives in will launch movements where you go. Wherever there are changed lives, there are spiritual movements.

"As you go, I pray you find those people God has prepared beforehand" (Eph 2:10). You will run into people, plant a seed, a tree will grow and fruit will come.

A closing story: Sunday. A few days ago, on a walk. Listening to the Bible on his headset, praying. He meets a neighbor. The neighbor asks to walk with him and asks him if he's a Christian. The neighbor wants to be used by God. So Steve gave him "Enjoying Your Walk with God" and a Bible and a copy of the Jesus film with the answers to 50 tough questions that people ask. He introduced him to the church that he's helping plant in Orlando.

"If God can bring my neighbor across the street to talk about Jesus, he can find people in the countries you are going to." In many cases it will be people who totally don't know Jesus. They will marvel at the fact that the vitality in your life is somehow related to God.

You are going to make a difference in the next year for eternity. You will see a small amount compared to what God will ultimately do. Eventually these transformed people will take whole territories for Jesus Christ. "I commend you for the most excellent choice you have made about how to spend this next year. Having been at this for 40 years I can tell you truthfully... I have no regrets."

Living Well with Candice

Here are some notes from this morning's talk by Candice Siewert.

What are you going to do when you don't get a paycheck because you didn't clear your advance?
What are you going to do when your team leaders are big jerks?
What are you going to do when your boy/girlfriend who promised to call you on Skype every night doesn't?
What are you going to do when everyone else's computer will connect to the internet and yours won't?
What are you going to do when you practice what you need to say at the restaurant and the waiter doesn't understand a word?

STINT is a full-time job. You actually have to work all day. You have signed up for a 40-50 hour work week. (At this point, we read 2 Timothy 2:3-7.) This is what we're called to do: to be a soldier under authority. Being a missionary is hard work. It's hard stepping into a culture you don't understand.

Don't create "Little America" on stint. Ask your team leaders what you should be doing, when, why and how often.

Some things that should always be in your schedule:

  1. Time with the Lord. Do it in the morning, afternoon or evening, just do it.
  2. Day with the Lord every month.
  3. Prayer. Build it into everything you do.
  4. Days on campus. Be thinking, "I am on campus every day."
  5. Be looking for exposures. In the first month you should meet 25 people a week.
  6. Evangelism. We really do want you to share your faith. Make the name of Jesus FAMOUS. The world has enough friends. You're not going to make friends. You are going to represent Christ.
  7. Small groups. Don't lock into a small group until after the sixth week. Ask yourself, "Who is truly spiritual interested among the people I know?"
  8. Always practice the language. Use the bi-lingual materials. Use your language. Go to class. Use people who know the language.
  9. Share your firsts. First time you order in language. First time you use the squatty potty without holding your nose.
  10. Meetings. Be prepared. Show up. Do your homework. Be prepared for prayers, planning, parties, administrative details.
  11. Send your prayer letters. People have invested in you
  12. Be careful about Time stealers. Updating Facebook. Blogs. Skype. Throwing a good Pity Party. Harboring a bad attitude. Lack of planning.
  13. Be people of encouragement. Help deal with conflict. Encourage your teammates. Invite people into your troubles.
  14. Use your Playbook. Lots of great tools in there to help you.
  15. Team Norms. Come up with three or four you will actually do and commit to it. Look at the "one anothers".

Things are going to bug you. Don't let things build up. Little things become big things if you don't deal with them.

Authority. Your team leaders may be younger than you. But the Lord has chosen them to be your leaders. Pray for them, support them. Remember, when Miriam and Aaron grumble against Moses, God says to them, "Who are you to grumble against God's anointed?" Pray for your leaders. Pray to be humble, to be allowed to submit, that he will enable you to speak positively about them.

Some decisions no one else can make for you:

  1. No one can make you study.
  2. No one can make you send out a prayer letter.
  3. No one can budget for you.
  4. Drinking. No official WSN policy... but if you do not drink now DON'T START ON STINT. Talk to your team. Some of them may struggle with alcohol. Talk with your team about what you're going to do about this.

STINT will be an adventure. Believe it or not, you will soon have stories like Candice's, complete with convicts, terrorists, hippies, rock stars, Bolsheviks, broken airplanes, and vodka-imbibing Russians.

God knows what is going to happen to you this year. And he is going to provide for you all the way.

You Winsome You Losesome

Dann Stockton of the Autumn Film created yet another original work of art for you. This is titled "You Winsome, You Losesome."

Remember: The only winner at a casino is The House. Everyone else is a sucker.

Conference Word of the Day

At a conference like this, there may occasionally be a word that is unfamiliar. The stint blog is here to help!


adj. Charming, often in a childlike or naive way. Sweetly or innocently charming; winning; engaging: a winsome smile.

[Middle English winsum, from Old English wynsum : from wynn, joy]

win'some·ly adv., win'some·ness n.

Word History: Winsome people easily win friends, so it is not surprising that winsome and win have a common root. Their shared element win- comes from the Indo-European root *wen-, meaning "to desire, strive for," and has a number of descendants in the Germanic languages. One was the prehistoric Germanic noun *wini- meaning "friend" (literally, "one who desires or loves" someone else), which became wine in Old English and is preserved in such names as Winfred, "friend of peace," and Edwin, "friend of (family) possessions." A different form of the root with a different suffix became Old English wynn, "pleasure, joy," preserved in winsome. Finally, the verb win itself is from this root; its meaning is an extension of the sense "to strive for," namely, "to strive for with success, be victorious." Outside of the Germanic branch of Indo-European, we see the root, for example, in Latin venus or Venus "love, the goddess of love," and the verb venerāre, "to worship," the source of English venerate.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Ephesians 6 with Jay and Chip

In an unprecedented move, Chip and Jay take the stage together to lead us in our time in the word. Here are some of my notes from this morning:

We started with some review and overview.

* Chip: You and I are "little a" apostles... I hope that this year you have a sense of your "sent-ness." Paul refers to himself as the least of the apostles, the foremost of sinners. We need this balance of knowledge of our being his ambassadors, something that gives us tremendous confidence. At the same time we need to remember with humility his great grace that has brought us into his kingdom.

* The rivers of his mercy are meant to bring us under the gracious, loving, merciful reign of Jesus.

* God is working in all kinds of ways to bring out the beauty of Jesus in us so that we might shine with the likeness of Christ in our lives.

* Those who have been transferred out of darkness and into the kingdom of the beloved son are told how to live by Paul... the challenge is that we tend to look at those in the kingdom of darkness as completely without God, but there is knowledge of the kingdom that can be found even in the pagan world.

*We live now as strangers and aliens in this pagan world, the challenge is to stay away from sinful actions, we need to keep our conduct honorable so that people will see our good works and glorify God in the days to come.

* The pagan is not impressed that you read your Bible every day. They may pray more than you to their idols. What they are impressed with is what they see as good... when they see that we are committed to our friends, to the homeless, to that which is beautiful in art and in creation, they are impressed with these things (the things we do in the "overlap" area).

*Eph. 6. Paul makes it clear we are in a battle with spiritual forces, and we must continually put on the armor of God, daily.

* Notice how often Paul tells us to pray... four times in the last few verses. The best thing we can do in the midst of spiritual battle is to pray.

* Compassionate deeds must be entwined with passionate proclamation. Our deeds and words blend together. Deeds illustrate and illuminate the gospel, and words explain it.

*There is a certain "narcotic" that comes in caring for the widow and orphan. The message of the gospel is that Jesus is King. Compassionate deeds only expand the kingdom of God when they are connected with this message. A couple quick points showing this scripturally... one is Acts 3 (Peter and John heal the lame man)... that good work is misunderstood and people think that the men do this by their own power. So they explain their good works with the gospel of Jesus.

* Tim Keller says When we serve and do mercy with others and when we proclaim the message of the gospel propositionally, either one fails to have the impact of the two together. So if we say we are opposed to homosexuality, but we serve and care for those who may be suffering in the homosexual community, it creates a dissonance in the minds of the pagan world that is extremely winsome. It opens the pagan to the possibility of responding to the gospel.

* 6:23-24. Paul circles back to where he started... God's great mercy elicits our love for him to be incorruptable, and day by day there is growing intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.

*It is an amazing privelege to participate with God in his plans. His great grace makes us love him more and more every day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dann Stockton Gives Us An Original Work of Art

Dann from the Autumn Film has provided us with this lovely piece of original art. Feel free to print it off and ask for his autograph. In addition to the electronic one already included. Then you will be rich when he is famous.

Learn A New World with Cheryl Boyd

First, Cheryl started out by sharing with us her obsession with the Olympics. In great detail. Because she loves the Olympics like crazy.

She started having a burden for Eastern Europe as she learned about Nadia... that she wanted her to be happy, that she wanted her to know Jesus.

*Defining Culture: The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious or social group.

* Remember that there are good and bad parts of culture, but hesitate to label these things quickly. Some things are neutral, even, and make us uncomfortable so we want to label them as bad.

*Here's the Kwast model of culture.

* Being a servant. Philippians 2:1-16. What did Christ give up to "minister cross-culturally" to you? What things have you already given up or do you anticipate having to give up in order to serve the students in the culture where you are going? What do you anticipate being the hardest sacrifice to make?

* If culture is hard for you, that can be God's gift to stretch you and help you grow. Don't give in to the temptation to abandon learning the local language.

*Don't make "Little America" in your flat. "We'll let our culture ROAR in our flat tonight." Enter into the world of your students rather than trying to re-create America and bring your students into it.

*We are looking for a Biblical culture.

*Cultural Ministry Cycle:

Honeymoon is when you say, "I'm so glad to be eating roaches today! What a great story for my blog."

Pit of Despair is when you walk through the market and think, "This could be like a video game and I'll see how many people I can kick in the shins."

Normalization is when you start to balance these things out, and move to a good place of recognizing the good and bad things about your culture and your host culture.

*Cheryl shared the story of a student who came to Christ through a stinter who was used by God to enter into culture and get to know, love and share the gospel with her.

Ephesians 4-6 With Jay

Here are some notes from Jay's talk this morning:

*Revelation 22: the River of Life flowing from the throne and the Lamb

The dwelling place of God will be re-established, and great orchards will grow alongside the river. Even the Dead Sea will be a place of plenty. Leaves of healing for the nations. This connects to Eph 3, that this new community of people brings together nations into a new person, a new temple.

*God's plan is not a "one location" invasion, but a dispersal. He causes us to be communities of what C.S. Lewis calls "good infections." "Every Christian is to become a little Christ." As we do this, we become "carriers of Christ." We are mirrors of Christ to others.

* "God loves you -- God loves me -- just the way you are, just the way I am. He can't love you any more and he won't love you any less. But he loves you too much to leave you the way you are." --Max Lucado. This is a reflection of the message of Ephesians 4-6.

* Paul sets up a contrast between the Christian community and the pagan community. He comes across harsh because he is contrasting that which is righteousness and beauty with that which is outside. The reality is that God is in a process of moving us toward maturity, although Paul is emphasizing the contrast in this passage.

*"The trouble with the evangelical church is that most of us don't spend enough time in the gospels." -- Dallas Willard. Jay challenges us to make time in the gospels a regular part of our spiritual life.

*The Christian life is less like obeying rules and more like painting a portrait. That portrait is of Christ.