Sunday, 13 November 2005

Encouraged by the good; longing for the best.

At our GBU national camp, praise God, those prayer requests I posted below were fulfilled. Students were challenged about acting as salt in society, and felt challenged about speaking of God's truth in love with their friends in the first place, as well as taking responsibility to be active in society at large, rather than withdrawing into churches recluse-like. It got them thinking about being a Christian in various kinds of work and work environments. They were encouraged by being together - the 30 inc IFES Team - from different groups, getting to know each other and discuss together. The speaker pointed out what a diversity of cultural backgrounds we were from (only a few from the same country), and how well we got on and fellowshipped together. People seemed fairly sensible about sleep, and about enjoying the countryside we were in, and so had energy for all this. It was a good time for getting to know the students and supporting them. The speaker was good on his topics, and really spoke in truth and grace, and so modeled how to address these topics. He guided us through them well. And provided a large book stall of what seemed like great books on ethics from a Christian perspective (and you know I'll always give God thanks for the provision of a good book stall!) We also had a good time, with plenty of laughter and fun. There are students who are keen, who love praising God, who are thirsty to hear from his Word and be changed, and who fellowship together. There are students who testify to God at work in their lives before in remarkable ways through harrowing times. And so for all of that, join with me in giving God thanks.

At the same time, I long for what might happen in the lives of these students if they had 4 sessions of Christ-exalting expository Bible teaching well applied to them rather than 4 sessions on the topic of ethics (however well done it was). I long to open the word with them in a seminar and look at the mission which God has called us to join in - that of calling those of all nations to join us in praising the excellencies of him who called us from darkness into his glorious light, by his unsurpassable Son. I long to open the word with a small group of them and look at Romans, Ephesians, 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, Colossians,... or any epistle for that matter, that they might grasp the glory of the gospel, the power of the gospel, the truth of the gospel, the finality of the gospel, the hope of the gospel. That they might see Jesus. I long for a boldness in evangelism - I long for them to do evangelism. I long for them to take interest and rejoice with the IFES Team that international students are studying the Bible with us. I long for them to discover the word of God: to love it, to be excited about it. I long to be unhindered by language in my already limited service of them, and to be unhindered by my own lack of pursuit of these things.

I cling to the God who has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the strong. I know nothing else in which to hope but in that his plan for his glory, through his power which raised Christ from the dead. May they know nothing of me but Christ in me, crucified and resurrected, the hope of glory.

Please join with me in giving thanks for the good. Please ask me regularly what the good is which I'm to encourage and for which I'm to give thanks. And please join with me in praying for the best.

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