Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Believe--The BJU Creed

You know it. We say it every day in chapel.

"I believe in the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments). The creation of man by the direct act of God. The incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His Identification as the Son of God. His vicarious atonement for the sins of man kind by the shedding of His blood on the cross. The Resurrection of His body from the tomb. His power to save men from sins. The new birth through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. And the gift of eternal life by the grace of God."

(Yes, it is good to practice writing it out. We all will have to in our Bible classes in a couple of weeks).

What does that mean to you? When you recite it, do you think about what you are saying? This is what makes us as Christians who we are. This sets us apart from other people. Other religions.

1. The inspiration of the Bible--the whole thing was written by God. Which means we can trust every word it says. Every promise of God, (I will never leave you, I will hear your prayers, I go to prepare a place for you), every story, every miracle of Christ, and the crucifixion and Resurrection, all of it is true. I can trust the Word of God.

2. the Creation of Man--God created us. And not just through evolution or a big bang. It was direct, and it was personal. God literally reached down and formed man with His own hands. Is that cool or what?

3. The incarnation and Virgin birth--God became man. He understands what it is like to be hot, or tired, or hungry, or what it means to deal with annoying people around us. And if He could do it perfectly, we can trust Him with our human-type problems.

4. His identification as the son of God--not only does Jesus understand our Human problems, He can do something about it. Because He is God, He can help us with our sin problem. Jesus was a man, but He was God. He couldn't sin. He didn't sin. Which means He can take away our sin.

5. His death on the cross--Because of His love for us, and because He was human and understood our need for a Saviour, and because He is God and can do this, Jesus took our punishment. How often do we as Christians just glaze over the fact that Jesus Christ, the God of all creation was born to die. He came to this earth and died so we could live. Forever. He took every sin every person on earth (past, present, and future) ever committed.

6. His Resurrection--the only way that Christ's death is important is because of what happened 3 days later. Christ conquered death by rising from the grave. While other people came back from the dead, Christ is the only person who brought Himself back from the dead. And in doing so, He defeated death and Satan for ever. We have the victory!!!

7. His power to save men from sin. I mean, come on. IF you were to rise from the dead, you should be able to do SOMETHING cool. Jesus can forgive men of their sins! Every single person! All over the world! At all points in history! That sin you committed 5 minutes, Jesus can forgive it! He forgives me, and I can have a relationship with Him.

8. The New birth--If Any man is in Christ, He is a new creature. We as Christians are called to be different. And sometimes, being different is cool. I remember my fun the next morning. We will  be able to look back on our lives with no regrets of drugs, sex, and alcohol. Because we are in Christ and the Holy Spirit has changed us. At least, He should be changing us. He wants to. Just let him.

9. The gift of eternal life--I don't know about you, but living forever in a world that isn't under the curse with other perfect people, singing the praises of God sounds pretty cool. And it's all because of God's amazing grace!

What do you think of when you say it? Do you think when you say it?

Monday, August 29, 2011


New kid on the block. Freshman. No longer! I am now a sophomore. I fit in here, I know what I am doing, the best way to buy books, the fastest way to the Alumni building, what exits to avoid leaving FMA, and what meals are good in the Dining Common. I don't have to check out when I go to Bi lo, and I can go off campus for church Sunday mornings.

But I'm not the new person here. Which implies that there are new people here. And since I am not one of them, well, what does that mean for me? I remember what it feels like to be the new person. Unsure of what's going on, afraid of making a mistake, and worried about doing something really stupid and embarrassing. Mostly, it means not being sure of what to do and when/where. And because I do know what's going on, and I never was afraid or worried about being embarressed, I should be reaching out to those that need help.

In fact, that is my prayer. I ask God every day to show me somebody that needs help. I was talking to one of my friends the other day and she mentioned how we all pretend that everything is ok. As if admitting that something is wrong or you are hurting inside is a sin. Here in the "bubble" (on campus) we all walk around with fake smiles plastered on our faces. I want to reach out to those around me. People are hurting physically, spiritually, and emotionally. God put us on this earth and on this campus to help those around us. If I don't, who will? If you don't care enough to reach out to that roommate, why should anyone else?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lessons from an airport. . .

So, if you have been following my facebook updates, you know my trip to South Carolina and Bob Jones did not go as planned. Due to severe thunderstorms and other problems, I spent the night in the airport and arrived 14 hours late in South Carolina. I was frustrated and not thinking very Christian thoughts to the people with the airport. But God used these circumstances that I would have rather avoided to teach me a couple of lessons I needed to learn.

1. God has a plan. And His plan is different (and better) than anything I could come up with. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." I tend to want to have my life all planned out, right to the smallest detail. Sometimes God has to step in and say, "Hey, Steph? Remember, I'm in control here. Trust me. I have a wonderful plan for you if you will let me work it out. Give me control." Honestly, God is going to work out His will anyway, and my frustrations, my rising stress level, aren't going to bother Him. He controls the universe; a cancelled flight or two won't mess up His plan--they were a part of His plan.

2. The second thing God taught me was to count my blessings. Spending a night sleeping on a duffle bag is a great way to re-evaluate. Suddenly you appreciate a comfortable mattress, soft pillow, warm blankets (or at least a jacket) and uninterrupted sleep. These are all things I never thanked God for. Trust me, I was thanking Him last night. If I had known I would be sleeping on my bag, I wold have packed a pillow in it instead of shoes and books. Sore muscles the next morning reminded me to thank Him for all the days I woke up pain free. Yes, I know that compared to the suffering that some Christians are going through, these are just little problems. But at the same time, God removed the things I was comfortable with, bed, shower, food, (yes the airport had food, but it was expensive and gross looking), etc. and left me with much less. But I had God. And He is all I need.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

God's Promises

"The Future is as bright as the Promises of God"--William Carey

II Peter 1:4--whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises. . . 

As I was driving to work, the sky overhead was almost black. It was raining and the day did not look good. But as I looked to my left, painted against the dark clouds was a beautiful, bright rainbow. I started thinking about what God promised Noah in Genesis 9, where He promised not to flood the earth again. I thought all day about the many different promises of God we forget about and what they mean.

1. Romans 10:13--for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved---not maybe. Nothing else required. Just ask, and you can have salvation.

2. John 14:2b-3--I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.--We have a heavenly home. Christ is coming back!

3. Jeremiah 33:3--Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things thou knowest not--God promises to hear our prayer. Not only that, but He will answer them. What do we have to do? Nothing short of believe. How cool is that?

4. Hebrews 13:5--I will never leave thee nor forsake thee--We are never alone. God is always with us.

5. Psalm 46:1--God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble--why be afraid? Who can stand in our way when we have God?

6. Matthew 11:28--Come unto me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.--Those days when you feel like you can't go any farther (yes, i know the feeling)--Go to God. He promises rest.

7. John 11:35--Jesus saith unto them: I am the Resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me shall have everlasting life.

These are some of my favourites. What about you? What promises of God shine especially bright in your life? what do you cling to when your world is crashing?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teens today. . .

When you here someone say, "Teens Today", you know they aren't saying it in a complimentary way. (As in, teens today are so considerate.) Unfortunately, 99.9% of the time someone says that, it's accompanied with a roll of the eyes and a complaint. Teens today are so rude. Teens today have rotten attitudes. Teens today don't care about anyone but themselves. And truth be told, our generation is only popular with it self. We think we are pretty much the best group on the planet, but no one else likes us. As a Christian teen, does this bother you? Honestly, it bothers me. I don't want to be associated with a rotten attitude, selfish, rebellious generation. My favourite verse is Psalm 24:6. "This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, Oh Jacob." (KJV). Several other versions translate that, "Oh God of Jacob".  I apply this verse to my life and the life of my peers. My generation, our generation can be known as a group of young people that really wants to get to know God. We can seek after Him with our whole hearts. And God promises, "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD. . . " (Jeremiah 29:13-14). I don't know about you, but I want to be known as a young person that is close to God.

How will getting close to God show up in your life? Well, the thing most people think of when they think of teens today is the attitude. Have your parents ever said, "What's with the attitude?" Everyone has an attitude. The question is, do you have a good or a bad attitude? A bad attitude is demonstrated with eye-rolling, big sighs, grudging obedience, etc. You get the point. If you seek God though, He will be found, and will be shown through your life. Think of some attributes of God. (More about these in a later post). Kindness, love, mercy, forgiveness--wouldn't you rather have these in your life? Think about it. . .