Wonderstruck

Very rarely do I say that I am wonderstruck.  I tend to go about my day without recognizing the beauty all around me. At the beach is typically when the wonder of God’s creation tends to hit me full force.  He knows how many individual grains of sand there are and how far the ocean stretches.

Have you ever thought about how much wonder there is in the creation that we pass every single day driving to class?  I’m usually running late because I hit the snooze button a few too many times, so I normally do not notice the world around me when I am on my way to an 8a.m. class.  But should creation only speak God’s greatness when I am at the beach?  Of course not.  Everywhere we look there is creation that speaks of the wonder of God.

Writer Margaret Feinberg says, “One of the great wonders of creation is that God uses our natural world to alert us to His presence.”  This time of year is my favorite time to take in creation.  All of the trees changing colors reminds me of how much of an artist God is.

The question I want to leave you with is,  if God spoke creation into existence, should we be surprised when creation speaks back to us about God?

Take time to enjoy creation, even if that means hitting the snooze button only twice tomorrow morning!

-Melodi

The Great Commission

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

To me, this portion of Scripture has always just been about missionaries going overseas to a foreign country where the people speak a different language, live in huts, and could be brutally hurt for their faith.  I grew up with the mindset that people in other countries need Jesus more than people in America do.  I mean, we have clean water, food to eat, and a church on every corner.  From my backyard, it looked like America was doing just fine.

It took too long to figure out that I was completely wrong.

My freshman year of college, I was sure that I was going to be a foreign missionary.  I was positive that the Lord had called me somewhere in a different hemisphere, and I was extremely excited about it.  I was willing.  During spring break of the same year, I went on Road Rules—a spring break trip The Well takes every year.  We had no clue where we were going, but countless hours later, we arrived in New Jersey.

I had no previous desire to ever go to New Jersey.  I had never even thought about this state except for the bad reputation it had earned from MTV’s Jersey Shore.

That trip opened my eyes to how a normal state in America could be so completely blind to the gospel.  I realized, for the first time, that America was included in the “all nations” part of the Great Commission.  There are still so many unreached people in our country.  They have the same fate as people who don’t know Jesus in foreign countries.  The Lord loves them and they don’t even know what they are missing.  We do.  We can share what the Lord has done and fulfill the great commission by going and making disciples.  “Go” isn’t confined to different countries.  “Go” could be to people in our classes, at home, work, etc.  People need the gospel everywhere.  And we can share it with them.

So often, we say that we are waiting on the Lord to tell us where to go and what to do before we get involved in sharing our faith.  Yet, He already made that answer perfectly clear.  He told us to go and make disciples.  Wherever we are, whatever season we’re in, we have a job to do. Are we doing it?

-Hannah

Find Your Passion

When I was 15 years old, I picked up a guitar and started playing the two chords I knew. I didn’t really think anything of it. I was just really bored at my uncle’s house, and I needed to do something to pass the time. Three hours later, I was still sitting there playing the same chords over and over again. My uncle walked in the room and I immediately thought he was coming in to tell me to quit playing so terribly and to never touch his guitars again. But what he said changed my life forever. 

I remember this so clearly. He sat me down, looked at me and said, “Jake, I know you have a passion for music. The Lord has given you a passion for it. Don’t take that for granted. I want to give you my guitar, but I want you to promise me that you will follow your passions and follow them for God.”

I was completely confused. I had only been playing to pass the time, because I was bored out of my mind. I didn’t really even care for music that much. But in that moment, I knew deep down in my heart that it was God speaking to me through my uncle. So I took the guitar, and I kept playing the two chords I knew. 
There was a passion inside of me that I had never noticed before. God placed my uncle in my life to show me the passion I had been missing and, through the Holy Spirit, I realized that it was a passion worth following.
I now play in a band, Days Like Always, and I love it. God has given me the opportunity to follow the passions He’s placed in my heart. I get to play music  and create new songs with my best friend and bandmate, Will Martin.  I get to play shows and do weird and extremely crazy things on stage. I get to bring people together, and help them realize that it’s okay to be different. I get to sing songs that make people ask the deeper questions about life, and hopefully point them back to Christ.  I ultimately get to do what I love for the Savior I love, and it’s the greatest thing in the world to me.
 
I say all of that, to say this: find your passions, and follow them with all your heart. If you’ve found your passions, help others find theirs. You may not know what they are yet and that’s okay. CS Lewis says this: “Look for Christ and you will find him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” In Christ, we find our hope. In Christ we find our joy. In Christ, we find our passions.

-Jake

If you’re interested in hearing Jake and Days Like Always play, he’ll be performing at Phi Mu’s Bonnamu tonight starting at 6pm at the UNA Amphitheater.  

Blessed Are the Persecuted

This summer, I spent two months living and serving in Nazareth, Israel. In mid-June, I went with my team on a weekend trip to Jerusalem to sightsee. On that Saturday morning, we took a short bus ride from the Old City of Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The only buses that run in Jerusalem on Saturdays are Arab buses because Saturdays are the Jewish Sabbath. We got on the bus ready and excited. I sat down next to one of the girls from my team. She was from Hong Kong and we had been just been discussing the differences in translations of my English Bible and her Chinese Bible. We decided to pick a section of Scripture and read it in both translations to see how they compared. I suggested the beginning of Romans 8, choosing randomly. As I was reading out loud, the man sitting behind us kept leaning closer and closer to our seats, poking his head almost right in between ours. I was feeling uncomfortable and thought that I should probably stop reading. I paused and he immediately smiled at us.  He said he was enjoying listening, because that passage of Scripture was the one he read when he made the decision to become a Christian. I was blown away.

He continued to talk to us for the entire drive, telling us his life story. He grew up very poor and had very little education. He taught himself how to read and write by reading the Bible. Despite that struggle, he went back to get his high school degree and finished college with a theology degree. He believed that it was only by great faith that he was able to finish school. He lives in the West Bank (Palestinian territory); however he works in the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem (Israeli land). He spends many hours going to and from work through the checkpoint, but he does it so that he can share the love of Christ and the miracle of the resurrection with people visiting from around the world. He told me that he has been trying to lead his family to accept Jesus. They have not yet believed but, with a big smile on his face, he said to us, “to the world the cross is foolishness, but to me it is everything.” This man lives a very hard life; he has faced many hardships. Yet with every word, he radiated joy, peace, and love. He helped me to see the persecution of his people, and he encouraged me to love the people who have persecuted him. The love of Christ, full of grace, compassion and impartiality, was shining through him in a way that I had never seen before.

Later that day, I visited the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed right before he was taken to be crucified. As I was thinking about this man and the people of Palestine and the suffering they face, I was reminded of how much more Jesus suffered. Throughout my summer, God showed me his magnificent love for me, and how much he sacrificed so that I could live.

Please remember the people of this country and the conflict they are currently facing. Pray that God would ultimately get the glory through every trial they face.

-Logan

The Purpose of Life

What am I doing with my life? What is my purpose? What does God want me to do?

Have you ever asked a question like one of these? Chances are that you have asked all of these question at one time or another. But answers to questions like this are often quite elusive, and finding what God wants you to do with your life is a something that can cause  anxiety, stress, and worry.

It is important to remember what our first priority is as Christians. While evangelism is definitely something that is clearly a calling for each Christian, people getting saved is not our main focus. I know you might be thinking that’s a crazy thing to say, but it’s not crazy at all. The main focus of a follower of Christ should be to glorify God. It’s the reason we were created. If glorifying God is what motivates everything you do, you will be living a life that has purpose in a way that pleases God.

In some research on the topic of God’s glory, I read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. Verse 31 states, “… as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” I looked up where this is written in the Old Testament and found it in Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.’” 

-Jeremiah 9:23-24

No matter what the situation, our glory should always be in knowing God. And in knowing God, our first reaction should be to glorify Him.

 -David