Hard to believe a week from tomorrow will be the start of the Spring Semester. If you’re reading this and starting to hyperventilate, know that there’s still a solid 168 hours before those classes begin! And if you’re heading to Winter Conference, they’re going to be some of the best hours of your entire break! The combination of teaching, worship, and late night hotel shenanigans with friends can’t be topped! If you’re still on the fence about joining us for Winter Conference, take the risk and join us - and Propaganda! (Here’s some of his latest music). There’s still time to register!
Deb and I spent some other great hours over this break visiting the Cru team in the Middle East location of Desert Springs. I need to be careful in how I communicate regarding their whereabouts in light of the security and religious opposition the team faces in their location. But our good friend “Tal” met us at the airport and invited us to join in with them in a week of ministry and fellowship.
It was incredibly eye-opening to be in a part of the world where the Gospel message is simply unknown. Tal was telling us how their team had shared the Gospel with over 600 students. That is an astounding accomplishment! The harsh reality, however, was that not one of those conversations had resulted in someone placing their faith in Jesus. Tal was telling me how these Muslim students believe that Isa (Jesus) was an important prophet, and even affirm His virgin birth. But they deny His dying on the cross, and reject His claims to being God. In fact, they would say that the Bible we have in our hands has been corrupted, and the only true word of God was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Not only are their theological challenges to their ministry, there are also cultural ones. In this particular part of the world, being Muslim is synonymous with their cultural identity. Of the 600 students with whom their team had spoken, not one of them even KNEW of a follower of Isa.
I could hardly put my mind around that reality. Literally no one knew of a Christian.
But that’s why Tal went! That’s why he’s with that team over there. He’s motivated and compelled by the call to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
The reason why Cru exists in Berkeley and around the world is to help introduce students to Jesus Christ. As followers of Jesus, we have been invited to participate in the great and mysterious plan of salvation. God doesn’t need to use people, but He loves us so much that He uses us, faults and all, to point other people to Him.
This semester is going to be full of opportunities to communicate your faith to those who don’t have faith in Christ. For some of you, this is your last semester on the college campus, and there’s limited opportunities to share about your faith with your fellow Class of 2017ers! For others, you’ve got more time - but start building the habit now of initiating spiritual conversations with friends. Ask God whom He would have you pray for this semester, and then look for an opportunity to take a step of faith and share!
Each semester has a freshness about it which allows for reorganization of priorities. For Berkeley Cru, we’re going to be talking a lot about how the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, and how it’s our place in the Body of Christ to be on the front lines of the spiritual battle, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through love, word, and deed.
It’s going to be a great semester, friends! Can’t wait to see you and see what God does in and through you!