April 11, 2011
(Location = Sitting in my office after devotions.)
Today I turned to Isaiah 42:20- 43. I love that passage. So challenging and in your face…yet offering a way through the desert. Lots of things went through m mind as I looked at this.
I am so sick of the rationalizing of sin by leaders. God has called us to lead in HIS ways…to be an example worth following! We are not to lower our own standards so that those in sin don’t feel God breathed conviction due to the fact that they see their leaders modeling that very sin! I am sick of hearing about christian leaders doing things like swearing, drinking, watching filth and demonic shows/movies so that they can be “relevant”! I don’t get it! I am here on a public university campus where sin runs rampant…and the students that have surrendered to Christ have felt a call to a higher and higher standard. I distinctly felt God speak clearly and strongly to me in November 2008 when I was planning one of my first sermons. I am embarrassed to say that I actually was wondering if I should leave our a few words in the text I was planning to use that Thursday. It was NOT politically correct or at all “tolerant.” I remember sitting in that chair in the coffee bar, with the sun shining down on me through the stain glass window…and His voice saying to me “I am looking for one that will lead this campus in my name. Too many who have been called have sold out to politically correctness and the pressure of opinion. Others have just given up in the hard times. I have chosen you for such a time as this. Will you speak truth even when it isn’t popular? If you step into this calling, I will use you mightily as long as you continue to speak My Words..ALL of my words. But you decide right now, Steph, who you are going to be as a campus pastor. It won’t always be easy or popular, but it will be worth it.”
What a sobering moment! I knew it was a pivotal point in the development of my personal ministry and the ministry of XA at WSU. This was a huge honor…but a huge responsibility. Was I really up for this? God thought I was…but did I? Being the people pleaser I am , I knew that I had many/most cheering me on…but also had those that didn’t figure I would last a day. This was a turning point in this “people pleasing” area too. Was I going to do what God said no matter what students, friends, others in ministry thought? I had always struggled with asking peoples opinions and deep down really desiring their approval. Was I really ready to take up this calling to the degree I felt God was calling me to? How would this go over with students from a public university?
In the next moments, I made a decision that would shape many things…me as a person and as a minister, the ministry of XA @ The Edge and the future students leaders at WSU.
After all, why do things half way, why play it safe? Some “People” already thought we were nuts. Pastors told us that it was great we were doing this…but they never would. I couldn’t base things on the opinion/comments of people any longer. It’s not to say I don’t still struggle with this…but now I stop and think of what God has done in the last 3 years…and it is living testimony for me of why we follow and serve and are called by HIM. The world around us changes by the minute. WHY would we take our cues from it when that could all change again tomorrow. This generation is SICK of adults making decisions upon their feelings. They are SICK of people abandoning their principles and commitments because “It isn’t working for me…it doesn’t make me happy any more…I need to do what is right for me..it doesn’t fit in with my life/culture”. WHAT? How about “Take up your cross”. How about “We are to be in the world but NOT OF THE WORLD”.
It was right after this intense encounter with the Lord that students began to turn their lives to Christ at a very high rate. Many are growing and continually listening to that still small voice in their OWN heart…calling them to a higher calling! Many have been challenged beyond what they ever thought they could be…to LIVE the life and BE WITNESSES….to be SET APART yet able to be in the lives of fellow students that have not been reconciled to their creator…yet! They are not lowering their standards to that of the culture around then..but rather constantly living the life that God is calling them to today!
Have they all stayed with it….unfortunately not. It rips me up to see the facebook pages and hear reports of how some of our students have been enticed back by the lure of the world. I have had to really lean on scripture passages like “The Parable of the Sower” to be able to even continue on sometimes, because I feel so personally responsible when a student falls away. I try to let them all know the door will ALWAYS be open to them to come back….to The Edge, to Chi Alpha, to talk to me..and ultimately the door will ALWAYS be open to Christ!
It is my responsibility as one called by God to SPEAK TRUTH WITHOUT WATERING IT DOWN. We are His ambassadors… any ambassador that didn’t appropriately communicate the vision and message of it’s president/leader/country would be fired. This isn’t a country we represent and speak for …it’s GOD. Remember when people used to have a healthy fear of God? We need more of that to keep us on track! It IS my responsibility to live my life to the standard that God is calling and be a good model (which is why I have to work on the things that I have out of order in my life…like working on my unhealthy habits!).
It IS my responsibility to not water things down to try to please people and in effect cheapen the Gospel. He has called me to this…I have said yes! Yes, I will speak to these students in Your Name…and I will take that calling very seriously. I won’t change your words to fit my comfort level, my insecurities, my idea of what is “relevant”. You are always relevant. Your Word is always relevant. Lord, keep me close to your side and your heart…ever hearing YOUR voice. I like this life and calling you have given me…and I want to be in this place in the lives of students that want the same. Lord, make us all MORE like you!


No Other Gospel

Galations 1: 6-12…especially verse 10

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.