Normally each summer, I’m leading a stateside mission with 35 college students and 15 Cru staff in Ocean City, Maryland. This year, COVID-19 changed all that, and one of the many reasons I’m grieved not to be in OCMD is missing out on our weekly “working dinner.”
A working dinner is a time each week to enjoy a meal together as an entire mission while discussing a specific topic related to Christianity, life, missions, etc. And my favorite subject matter each year has to be the conversation about racial unity.
What we don’t seem to realize is that God’s boundary lines are an authoritative gift of his grace. In fact, the giving of the Law itself to the Israelites in the book of Exodus is a loving act of God’s favor extended to his people.
Now, authoritative law-giving and grace aren’t often closely associated with one another in the minds of many, because Mount Sinai generally correlates in our thoughts with thunder, lightning, thick clouds, fire, trembling, and rules. We see the giving of the Law as pretty scary, but all of the jarring noise and breathtaking visuals were more likely akin to a school teacher in front of an unruly room of students, calling for their attention and shouting, “Class! Class! Listen up! I’m going to speak now about something that’s extremely important.”
A few weeks ago, part of me thought it was ridiculous that colleges across the nation were shutting down for the semester because of the oncoming COVID-19 virus. Now, of course, we realize universities should have done it much sooner, along with many other crowd-gathering institutions.
Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to show you how foolish and prideful you really are (me, not you).
As I sit at the beginning of another week, grieving the quarantine, it’s become quite clear none of us know what we’re doing. This is new for everyone. None of this is normal.
It can be truly said that people are freaking out.
Because of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), yesterday West Chester University was the next college to announce that it would be shutting down for the remainder of the semester. Classes will be held online, and the dorms will be closed. I’m sure more universities across the nation will follow suit in the coming days.
This is the next domino to topple over in a long line of dominos to come that could be extremely problematic. What’s going to happen to all the international students who can’t go home? What happens to the students who live off campus but work on campus as a way of earning income to pay for their tuition? Will the universities that close pay back the students who don’t have a place to live or a reliable internet connection for “attending classes” through the end of spring?
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Erin Selcher was admitted to Chester County hospital after experiencing severe abdominal pain. Initial scans showed that there were spots and a possible mass on Erin’s liver and pancreas. Further testing on January 24 confirmed the devastating diagnosis of Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
Erin Selcher with her 5 kids
Erin is married to Steve, and they have 5 children: Cambre, Lane, Jesse, Mac, and Torren John (“TJ”). She is currently undergoing stage three of her fight, with her third round of chemotherapy. The treatment happens every 2 weeks for a total of 12 weeks. The family continues to process this news and have been amazing at letting the community we’re a part of know as often as possible what they need to help them navigate the upcoming months as Erin fights this horrific disease.
We’re going into the entertainment industry. That’s what my friend Link Neal said to me on the phone in late summer/early fall of 2006. During the call, we were supposed to talk about our previous time together in the spring of ‘06, and how that was going to be a launching point for me to work intentionally with Rhett and Link the next year at a spring break evangelism conference Cru puts on called Big Break. I was (and still am) a full-time missionary with Cru, and so were they at the time.
Rhett and Link on Good Mythical Morning
But during my call with Link, all of the plans changed.
Rhett and Link left Cru staff that year and went on to become YouTube’s most famous comedy duo on the internet. They created a daily show called Good Mythical Morning that currently boasts 16.2 million subscribers. If you haven’t heard of them, chances are someone you know probably watches their show online multiple times per week.
The purpose of a flashlight is to reveal the true facts of the physical world around us when we are unable to see it because of darkness.
The light reveals what is actually there—it’s a truth revealer.
Did you know that death is not at all natural? Even though every person dies, death itself was not a part of God’s original plan—death entered the world as a consequence of sin.
There is a reason we instinctively abhor death and the fact that it eventually swallows everyone we know and love. We as human beings are made in the image of God, and God is the Author of life.
Have you ever walked into someone’s house and immediately realized they were cooking or baking something delicious?
The wonderful smells of chocolate chip cookies, bacon, fresh bread, homemade pasta sauce, or cinnamon rolls all have the ability to saturate the entirety of a home, and fill it with the mouth-watering aroma of tasty food.
Have you ever thought about someone you consider to be beyond the reach of God and said, “That person will never become a Christian”? Well, God’s life-changing love isn’t just for the people you happen to think are “somewhat good.”
The Bible gives us a vivid example of someone who considered himself the least qualified and most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and love—the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts tells us that Paul (formerly called Saul) was at one point an enemy of Jesus Christ, and devout persecutor of the Christian faith. He was known for ravaging the church, entering house after house and dragging off believing men and women and throwing them in prison (Acts 8:3).