Koinonia

Are you looking for a place to gather with fellow students to study God’s word, fellowship, and pray for the campus community and each other? If you aren’t , then take a look at Acts 2:42 and prayerfully reconsider. If you are then beginning September 21st check out Koinonia (In cahoots with College Church) Wednesday nights at 6:30 pm in the Greenbriar Room in the Mountainlair. You can also join the group Koinonia @ WVU to keep up to date on Koinonia information and prayer requests.

How a Walk Leads to Murder

Folio 67v - David Entrusts a Letter to Uriah t...

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I have been thinking a lot about the story of King David this past week and have been considering how quickly things can take a pretty bad turn.  For David, an evening walk in the Spring ended in murder.  If you aren’t familiar with the story, during an evening walk around the roof of his palace, David spots Bathsheba in a pretty compromising situation.  The David we know to this point would have done the honorable thing, but then something strange happens.  David finds himself tempted and has an affair with a woman who already had a husband.  To make matters worse for him, Bathsheba becomes pregnant and David tries to cover it, by bringing her husband Uriah home from the war.  When Uriah wouldn’t go to his wife, David realizes he has a problem and conspires to murder Uriah.  David succeeds in having Uriah killed and after Bathsheba has mourned the loss of her husband, he took her as his wife and we see in 2 Samuel 11:27 “…the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”

What in the world happened to David?  In 1 Samuel 13:14 we read that David is “a man after his (God’s) own heart.” How did David get from pleasing God to displeasing God in such dramatic fashion.  He went for a walk, had an affair, then murdered a woman’s husband.  This truly speaks to the power of sin. Anyone of us, no matter how good we think we are, could find ourselves in same position when we let our desires have dominion over us.  David succumbed to temptation and then attempted to cover up his mistake with more sin.  David allowed sin to reign in his life and the consequences were grave. That’s why it is so important for us to flee from sin when we see it.  Romans 6:12 tells us, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”

David was out and about minding his own business when temptation struck and he allowed sin room in his heart to take root and grow,  A simple walk turned into murder in a blink of an eye when sin and desire were allowed to reign.  The same could happen to any of us.  Lets take the words of Romans 6:12 seriously so that we don’t find ourselves in the same precarious situation covering up sin with sin before we even know what has happened.


Praying for WVU

The Coliseum at WVU is the home of the men and...

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One of the primary ways that Christians exercise and grow there faith is through prayer.  I believe followers of Christ should be praying for those in their community and a large part of the Morgantown community is West Virginia University. There are a variety of different needs on and off campus related to WVU  so I started a group  facecbook page for those who would like to pray for WVU aptly titled Praying for WVU.  The goal is to provide a place where people who are concerned about WVU a place to list prayer requests that others can pray for.  The other part of the group is that we request all members take a few minutes at 11:15 every Wednesday to lift the students, the faculty, the staff, the campus, and community to God in prayer. Its also a place where people can testify about answered prayer as well. Please click on the link and check us out.  Invite others to pray.  I don’t ever do this, but please share this blog post with others in any way that you can to get as many people praying as we can. Prayer can and will make a difference.  Join together with us as we pray.


A Flurry of Posts

After a flurry of posts over the last couple of weeks, I have been finding it difficult to sit down and blog something worthwhile.  And then an epiphany…or at least half decent idea. I was looking through some of my notes from the summer this morning and done word kept coming up over and over again.  The word I saw scattered through my notes was outreach. It was a shining beacon in the midst of the chaos that I call my notes.  So, I wanted to share with you some of my thought on outreach.

Here is what I have been thinking. Without outreach, the church doesn’t grow.  It is essential that we go into our communities  and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God commands it and so we do it.  If we want to see people come to Jesus then we must participate in the ministry that he has called us to.  “With great power comes great responsibility”. This is the running theme in the Spiderman comics and should be a major theme in our lives as well.  As Christians, we have been given great power through the Holy Spirit and with that the responsibility to go and make disciples.  Unfortunately our outreach efforts are hampered because we are afraid.  Fear causes us to deny the power that rests in the Spirit and then we deny our responsibility to make disciples.

The other thing I have been thinking about with outreach is that it is an essential to our own spiritual growth.  It provides an opportunity to use what God has given to us to serve Him and others. Outreach isn’t just good for others.  Its also good for the one doing the service.  It builds faith and character specifically when we must rely on God for the end result.   When a person does any kind of meaningful outreach, it builds in that person a deeper appreciation for God and the graces and mercies that he gifts to us every day.  In service, a person is reminded that success rests in the hands of God. Faith is built in us when we trust in God for the results instead of relying on ourselves to get the job done.

I know these aren’t fully fleshed out ideas, but these are things I have been thinking about.  I hope this gives you something to think about as well.


The Bridge of Death

This is one of my favorite scenes in all of moviedom.  It’s silliness is beyond measure and that is what I love.  Its classic, silly, and ridiculous all at the same time.  It brilliant.  But its also deep. It might not seem that way upon the first viewing, but I think there is something here that comes to bear on the human experience.  We have all had or will have tough bridges over huge scary chasms that we must cross on life’s Journey.  Sometimes we face those bridges with uncommon courage and valor.  Other times fear overwhelms us and we never make it across.  In fact fear grips us so tightly that at times we would rather die than make it across that bridge. We have all been standing at the edge of the bridge and had to make a choice. Move forward…or turn around and go back.  What bridge has God asked you to cross today? How have you responded?

If you want to hear more about bridge crossing, come to the C&MA church in Morgantown this Sunday at 6pm.


College Church Fall 2011 Kickoff

The WVU School year will beginning in the next couple of weeks and that means College Church is starting back up too.  If you are a student at WVU and are looking for a church community, come and check us out. Our official kickoff for the fall looks like this:

Date: August 21st
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Christian & Missionary Alliance Church of Morgantown
Event: Welcome back picnic. There will be free food, and fellowship. There will be games of the outdoor (Kickball, volleyball, etc) and board variety. It shall be an event of epic awesomeness. The shear magnitude of this will be unmeasurable.
What Should you do? : Bring lots of friends. Seriously…invite a lot people.

Our first service will be held August 28th at the C&MA Church in Morgantown at 6pm.  Free dinner after the service.

And don’t forget our fall retreat occurring September 16th-18th at Canaan Valley. The cost is $20 unless you are a freshman then its $15.  Scholarships are available so please don’t let money be a factor for you.  Its a great opportunity to meet new people.

On September 10th, a group from College Church will be going up to the foodbank in Pittsburgh to help out.

Keep all these dates on your calendar.  For more information check out:

http://www.c2wvu.org

http://www.facebook.com/c2wvu

 


Thoughts on 1 John 4:19-21

c. 1632

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I am sitting here this morning ruminating on what I might share with you and I am reminded of a visit I had with a dear friend from awhile back.  That friend of mine is deeply engaged with social justice issues and works tirelessly to see injustice ended. When I have the opportunity to connect with him, I find myself encouraged to think differently about the world.  I am challenged to take a closer look at the world around me and to take note of the brokenness that surrounds me everyday.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am to love. There is no way to get around that.  I am to love all people in all circumstances.  I shouldn’t love because I am obligated to. My love finds its origin from the author of all things…God. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” In other words, God’s love for us is the catalyst for the love we have for Him and the love we have toward our neighbor.  In my mind, this is the starting place for social justice.  I respond to the needs of those around me out of a love that finds its origin in God.  So then, my response to the injustice and oppression all around the world finds its root in God’s love for me.

Here’s the catch though. Sometimes, the kind of love we are supposed to have for our neighbor can be difficult to summon when we ourselves are hurt, oppressed, or in dire circumstances.  Often times we allow fear or apathy to get in the way.  Maybe we a viscous cycle at work and far to few resources to make any lasting impact on the problem.  But, Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. Personally, I spend a great deal of time taking care of myself or my family.  I do my best to make sure we have food shelter, clothing…the basic necessities. I would say that can take up a large part of time.  I but I don’t always take the time to make sure that others have those very same things. There are poor and hungry people in my very community who will go to sleep tonight without having had a meal or perhaps even a bed.  How can the church allow that?  How can I allow that? In fact, 1 John 4:20-21 goes on to say,

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannott love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

We live in a culture that values convenience and consumerism.  A culture that ingrains in us that we shouldn’t go out of our way to help others.  We give lip service to helping others and engaging in our community but the truth is we are encouraged to live lifestyles that cut us off from community and family.  A lifestyle that keeps us at work late away from friends and family and spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need. We end up sacrificing the things that are most important in life (friends, family, community, church, etc) for big houses, big cars, and the envy of our neighbor on the altar of the American Dream instead of picking up our cross daily and loving the unlovable.   How can we possibly end the cycles of oppression and injustice in our communities when all of our time is spent in pursuit of the things that keep us distracted from what is most important?

When I look at the picture above, I am reminded about what love looks like. I am reminded that I am called to love the same way.


Summer Newsletter 2011

A major campus landmark, Woodburn Hall was bui...

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Hey everyone. Here is a copy of our summer newsletter for our ministry at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Morgantown to students on WVU’s campus.

So far our summer has been very busy.  Our family has found a new place to live in Morgantown.    We are so excited about the potential in this place for ministry.  A ministry of hospitality has been a dream for Jessica and I and we are blessed to have a place to open up to college students.  The kids love their new room and have taken full advantage of the back yard.  The student’s have also taken full advantage of the back yard through s’mores over the fire pit and late night talks on the back porch about what it means to give every square inch of your life over to Jesus.  We have been blessed by God’s provision.

This summer we have moved our traditional Wednesday night study to a Sunday evening student led prayer time.  In an effort to provide a place for students to develop leadership skills within the context of the church, we have provided them with an opportunity to meet together to praise, study, and pray.  We have students who are home from college and a large number of students who already reside in Morgantown. It’s been a great time of worship, fellowship, and vibrant Christ centered community.

We have a number of very exciting things coming up this fall.  Our new website is up and running at www.c2wvu.org and I would encourage you to check it out.  Our fall retreat is coming up on September 16th -18th.  College Church will also be traveling to serve the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank September 10th.  We would appreciate your prayers for these endeavors.  I thank you so much for your prayer support and for your financial contributions without which we couldn’t do this ministry. To God be the Glory!

If you would like to financially partner with our ministry, here are a couple of ways that you could do that.

• Make checks payable to CCO, with my name (Jeremy Andrews) on the memo line, and mail to CCO, 5912 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

•Or give online:( make sure you find and click on my name Jeremy Andrews when you get to the donate section)
http://www.ccojubilee.org/donate

Your contribution is tax deductible.

I thank you for all your prayers for our ministry and ask that you would prayerfully consider making a financial contribution to our ministry.


Searching for Identity with Grover

Grover

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So I was playing dolls last night with my 4 year old daughter and she did something kinda profound…at least in my observation anyway.  I was playing with Grover and he was the dad of all the rest of the dolls.  Her dolls all took turns singing songs and then after the song had finished, dad (Grover) would and sing at the impromptu songs.  It was a great time.

Here is where the profound part came in.  The first song, sung by baby Beauty, was a great song about how there was nobody like her in all the world.  She went on to sing about how she was the prettiest and most unique.  Then came baby Ariel’s turn.  Ariel sang about how she wanted to be just like everyone else and how important it was to fit in.  Now bear in mind these are my paraphrases of my 4 year old daughter’s made up songs. Without realizing it, she reminded me about how hard forging an identity can be.  How many of us want to be the best, the most beautiful/handsome, unique, and unlike any other.  We then try to accomplish this through a number of various means.  You know the usual suspects. And then in the next breath, as if we are schizophrenic, we also do our best to blend in and be like everyone else.  We strive for normal.  How often have you compared your life to someone else and coveted something they have?  We have all done it.  We are all guilty.

Sorting out who you are and who you want to be can be a difficult task in a world with many voices competing for your allegiance.  However, this is who the Bible tells us we are in Christ.  Ephesians 2:10 says:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If you are struggling with your identity this is a great place to start.  If you want to know who you are, or I guess more appropriately whose you are, start here. Think hard on this, because this is life giving and life transforming stuff.  If we believe this and live this, then our identity rests not in what others think of us or how we think about out ourselves.  It rests solely in the notion that we are God’s creation, His workmanship.


Entering into His Presence

2nd half of 14th century

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When I started out in college, I quickly learned an important lesson. I found out that the more effort I put into the learning process the more I actually learned. If I studied, went to class, and worked hard I ended up learning.  Admittedly, I was able to skate through a lot of college with little effort, but I with little effort came little knowledge.  Sure I managed to do pretty well, but if you asked me what I actually learned in my classes the answer would probably be that I learned to get by with as little work as possible.

Unfortunately I think we treat our time in church the same way.  To many of us do as little as possible just to get by.  If you have your doubts about this then see if this seems familiar to you.  I know it does me.  We hurriedly prepare ourselves for church without putting much thought into an encounter with God.  We then hustle out the door when church is over without processing what just took place.  In fact, there may not have been any consideration regarding why we were even there to begin with.  There is barely any recognition that we were in the presence of God.  If we do have a reflection about the worship service it tends to be on what we didn’t like about it.  Perhaps the sermon was to dry or didn’t apply to what was happening in our lives.  Maybe we hated the music or were distracted by the crying baby.  Maybe the service ran too long and caused us to miss the beginning of the game.  Its a common belief that if a person leaves church feeling unsatisfied then it is the fault of someone else. Have we stopped to think that maybe the fault lies with us?  Perhaps we have failed to think about worship in the right way.  Perhaps we have failed to prepare ourselves for worship.  To often we forget that worship is about taking time to offer ourselves up to God (see Romans 12:1) for His glorification and has little to due with our own edification.

So when it boils right down to it, a lot of what we take away (positive or negative) has to do with us.  Are we distracted? Have we taken adequate time throughout the week to study and pray?  Do we even expect that God is going to do something when we come to worship Him?  Instead of blaming others for our perceived non-encounters with God, maybe we should look a little more closely at ourselves to see if we should adjust how we enter into God’s presence.