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Monday, November 29, 2010

Some thoughts on Boise State’s Loss to Nevada (from a Campus Ministry point of view).

Some thoughts on Boise State’s Loss to Nevada (from a Campus Ministry point of view).
I’ve been around football for years. I’ve been a part of many teams. But I can honestly say that I have never seen/experienced a loss quite like the Broncos loss to Nevada on November 26. So much at stake: A BCS game (possibly the championship), a conference championship, and an undefeated season. Then to lose in OT, even though there was every opportunity and amazing plays. I had trouble sleeping after the game, and came away with some observations.
SMALL PLAYS MATTER: One of the things that Nevada did well in the second half was run the draw or counter play (right up the middle) consistently for 3 or 4 yards. They couldn’t pass much, and had trouble running outside, but they could run right up the middle over and over again. This did several things—kept Boise State’s offense off the field, and made the BSU defense get tired. Boise State couldn’t maintain regular small plays in the second half (Four 3-and-outs) and it cost them dearly. Campus ministry has to have those small consistent steps forward, a little at a time. It needs those in relationships to students—intentionally connecting with respect and gentleness. It needs in prayer support—minutes every day praying for us and others like us. And it needs it in financial support—small, regular, consistent gifts. These givers are crucial to the life of a campus ministry and to a football team. Without the “small” plays, winning is very difficult.
BIG PLAYS MATTER: Boise State was in the game because of big plays. A 79-yard screen pass for a touchdown. A fifty-three-yard pass play with 2 seconds remaining. This gave the Broncos a prime opportunity to win the game. Big plays are the highlight reel, and get a lot of attention. And if a team is going to win, it has to make big plays. Big plays can provide amazing momentum. Campus Ministry needs big plays as well. It needs special times of prayer. It needs those momentum moments, events, or retreats that provide an extra OOMPH. When a student decides to repent and comes to know Christ personally is a big play momentum builder. And financially, campus ministries like Crosswalks need big plays. Donors who give large one-time gifts of $1,000 to $100,000+ (not that I’ve seen many of these) provide momentum and create an opportunity for us to win and stay in the game.
ONE PLAY DOESN’T LOSE A GAME, BUT ONE PLAY CAN WIN A GAME.” This quote from Coach Petersen hits the nail on the head. Kicker Kyle Brotzman’s missed field goals didn’t lose the game—there are several factors that led to the loss. If he had made the first field goals, we would have won. I find this so true especially in ministry, relationships and evangelism. Being in the right place at the right time can spark a God moment that is amazing—a person moving toward Christ, and not away. And on the flip side—an inconsistent life will turn people away from Christ.
“THE MIGHTY BOISE HAS FALLEN.” These were the words of one of the ESPN announcers after the game. Although it is a complement to be called mighty, maybe the winning and the football team has played too mighty of a role in our lives. Dare I say that for some, Boise State football has become their god? As I live in the community of Boise, I’ve discovered the best time to go shopping or out to eat is during a Boise State football game--even more than going on a Sunday morning. Additional evidence is the money people spend on tickets, gear, and travel to and from games. I enjoy football, and think it is a great pass time. But I wonder how many struggling churches could use the money, the time, the effort, the energy that so many of us put into games. I’m praying that we can make the statement true about our own lives and hearts. “The mighty Boise has fallen in my heart, and made room for the living God.” (By the way, if you were planning on a trip to LA for the Rose bowl, our campus ministry would love to benefit with the money you would have spent on that trip. It would be a great way to express your desire to give God rule of your heart.)
MISSING THE MARK IS DEVASTATING. I can’t image Kyle Brotzman’s frustration and grief over missing those field goals. For some reasons, his kicks missed the mark. My heart goes out to him. More importantly, though, I hope I experience grief over missing the mark in my relationships with students, missing opportunities to love fearlessly, missing opportunities to give generously, and missing the mark on why God has called us to BSU. Gratefully, we get second (and third) chances.
TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED: Boise State was supposed to win. They were expected to win. I personally thought it was going to be a blow-out and that they would show everyone how awesome they are. Sports Illustrated’s Steward Mandel wrote, “Anyone who's followed this sport for any considerable length of time knows better than to assume the expected, though.We can’t take a win for granted, making our expectation reality beforehand. Every moment needs to be lived. We can’t do that in relationships, either. Placing expectations on them they can’t fulfill. One of the ways to not take things for granted is to be grateful. I am grateful for so many people who have prayed and given to our ministry. I do not take you for granted. You are appreciated!
HOPE IS NOT LOST: Around town today, despite the holiday cheer, one could sense the doom from the game. People acted as if it was the end of the world—and I admit, I felt that way myself, for a little while. But as a follower of Christ, hope is not lost! As a campus minister, I don’t know what situations people are in that seem to lessen their hope. However, we have an awesome opportunity to bring hope, joy, peace and love into people’s lives in a long-lasting and real way.
So, hopefully my musings have challenged you somehow. I hope your heart is softened, and God is using this crazy Bronco loss into a way for you to be more like him.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chile Miners Rescue

I was transfixed to CNN's website as the Chile Miners were freed from 1/2 a mile under the earth after 69 days. Every man they brought to the surface, one at a time in the capsule, caused a celebration--tears, laughing, clapping, national pride, hugs, and other means of celebrating. The Chilean government, private donors, and the mining company "spared no expense" translating into a 10-20 million dollar venture. They had to discover a “creative access” to reach the miners—inventing a special capsule. I watched as often as I could during those hours. There was a sense of urgency. Every man counted, and every man was important, and every miner rescued caused celebration--the first for sure. The 33rd and last miner brought cheers from around the world. The rescues that impressed me the most--#25, 26, 27, 28. They weren't the first nor the last. The rescuers were tired and had been up 20+ hours at this point. Yet, #25-28 still received applause, celebration, and warm greetings. Each was important!

I can't help but think of the resemblances to the church and our mission here at Boise State. There are nearly 20,000 people on campus, most of them caught in the mines of despair, discouragement, drugs, alcohol, sex, idolatry, pride, etc. But unlike the miners, for many, there seems to be no hope.
Yet, we have a heavenly father who also spared no expense to "rescue" those caught in these mines. He paid the ultimate price--his son's death. And now, we get an opportunity to become part of his rescue team.

It took 17 days for the miners to be confirmed alive--to establish contact with the outside world. Can you imagine those days with no hope--wondering if there would be contact? Imagine the hope that came from establishing contact, a glimmer that made life more bearable despite the time it would take to rescue them. Campus ministry is like that as well...slow, intentional, offering a little hope and working toward rescue.

According to CNN, the cost for the Chilean rescues will come from three places: the government, the company, and PRIVATE donors. Those private donors made the difference in rescuing the miners, covering up to 1/3 of the cost. Crosswalks relates here as well. We cannot carry on the "rescue" effort without private donors. There are many already, and we are so grateful for everyone who has given in some way! But the need is still great, and we continually need more people to get in the game. We need people who are willing to help with the rescue effort. Could that person be you?

You, too could make a difference in a student's life, much like Jonathan. Three people at unrelated times informed me about Jonathan, a freshman from Maryland studying at Boise State. I was able to have coffee with him and share that three unrelated people told me about him. His response, "Wow. I feel really loved!" Jonathan could see that God was passionate about him. For Jonathan, it was a moment of hope, a moment of ongoing rescue and encouragement.

As each one comes to be rescued/encouraged--hopefully every last one--we get to celebrate. The angels in heaven, like the people in Chile, celebrate every person who repents or is rescued. And though the journey seems slow, because people pray and because people give, the rescue effort for God’s kingdom moves forward.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth

We have done a great job as churches ministering to our communities. We have done a great job ministering to those around the world. But for some reason, we haven't done so well with those in the middle. Let me explain.

Acts 1:8 says " 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

It seems to me churches find it easy to target their local town--their Jerusalem--and find ways to minister. This includes Sunday worship, children's and youth ministries, senior adult ministries, compassionate ministries, etc. The list goes on. It's quite natural to focus on these much needed ministries, and we surely need to keep being creative, understand our towns, and do our best to love them.

We also do well at witnessing to the ends of the earth. We send missionaries to Haiti, Africa, South America, Asia, etc. We take special offerings. We hear the amazing stories of how God is working and answering prayers and people are coming to Christ! We have work and witness trips that change our lives as much as those to whom we minister. Again, I strongly believe we need to continue to be creative and reach all cultures for Christ. Loving well, and attracting people to Jesus.

I wonder, though, if we are doing as good as a job reaching our Judea and Samaria. For many churches, this is hard to even define. Who is this group of people?

It occurs to me that Crosswalks Coffee is one part of that answer. We are close enough to some churches to be their Judea. For others, BSU is enemy territory, with as much disdain as the Jewish people in Jesus day had for Samaria. That means we are your Samaria. We're outside your direct community influence, and not far enough to be the ends of the world.

The awesome thing, though, is that we can position ourselves to reach those from the community, those from surrounding states and areas, and those from around the world all at once. We offer a rare opportunity to be witness to a unique mission field.

I wonder what might happen if churches saw reaching their Judea and Samaria as crucial as reaching the ends of the earth? I believe we offer an opportunity to do just that, and we invite you to join us!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our new name...

...is Crosswalks Coffee.

It's been an interesting journey, to say the least. Picking the right name for us was much harder than we could have thought. But we found the right one--the perfect one for us!
Why Crosswalks? For several reasons:
  1. There are a lot of crosswalks at Boise State.
  2. Crosswalks offer safety.
  3. Crosswalks are part of the on-going journey.
  4. Crosswalks offer guidance and direction.
  5. Crosswalks (plural) suggests community.
  6. Our story has periods of waiting and periods of stepping forward.
  7. Most importantly, we want people to walk towards the Cross of Christ so they can experience the joys of an abundant life with Him!
It fits in so many ways! It says everything we were hoping to say in a name. We hope you find it rich and meaningful as well! Here's a video with more:

A side note: the last scene was shot 6 months before we knew our name. Isn't that just like God?

Monday, April 19, 2010

I recently read a post by a Campus Minister in Seattle named Tim--here are his thoughts:
Thoughts on Campus Ministry

I appreciated Tim's comments!  I resonate with them--especially the part about being a Missionary.  His thoughts on ministry centers is also very well stated, and very energizing!

I've been re-reading our ministry action plan...and it gets me so excited!  Currently, we have a location we really want--space, nice yard, large bathroom, and PARKING!  It's more than I was hoping to pay, but if it is of God, we can make it. 

We've also chosen a name!  It fits so well!  We'll be announcing it at District Assembly with our new logo!  You can check back here on May 13th for a reveal on this blog.

It's been a busy few months, and God is helping us!  We are moving ahead.   We've been meeting with students, help disciple them, praying for them, and watching God use us in small, but significant, ways. 

I'll keep you posted...I promise I'll do better!