Heart over Sacrifice//Emma//VCU

This summer has been one of refinement and learning God’s true heart and character. I am a do-er and since becoming a Christian a little over a year ago I get caught up in works. Constantly feeling like I must repay God for what he has done for me and proving that I am worthy of his love and attention by what I do. After “giving my summer to the Lord” I expected to be in a state of spiritual bliss all summer – sitting in Jesus’s lap and enjoying his presence because “look at me God, I chose to serve you this summer.”

I did not realize this was my mindset until about half way through my summer mission with Cru[in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire] when I was plagued by spiritual dryness and just feeling burnt out. I was envious of the girls I was with as they shared how their intimacy with the Lord was growing and growing. “Lord, why? My quiet times have been extra long, I spent extra time on the beach for outreach, I prepared extra for Bible study, I don’t give in to (insert sin struggle here), etc” I thought.  Then I remembered  Luke 10:41 “Martha, Martha…” I immediately blocked that out because I didn’t want to hear it, and Martha might as well be my middle name.

As the summer progressed God continually brought me to a place where I had no choice but walk by the Spirit. After continually trying to earn his love and constantly failing he taught me to press into his grace. He taught me that he wants my heart over my sacrifices. He wants surrender not perfection. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”. I can give all away and do all that I can but God cares about my heart. Not only that but he blesses me according to his grace not according to my performance. He loves me because that’s who he is and he loves me despite my prideful attitude this summer. Falling in love with Jesus feels like actual falling sometimes but this summer has taught me to love freely and rest in his grace.

 


emma

 

Hey all! My name is Emma and I am currently a second-semester “super” junior. Meaning I am old and should be a senior by now but life happened so here we are. I am an Exercise Science Major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I am a lover of Jesus, fitness and anything that has to do with peanut butter. I am currently training for my next powerlifting competition and I absolutely love how the Lord has used it so powerfully to teach me perseverance through set backs. I also spend most of my time discovering the endless quirks of Richmond with my best friend Roxy, who just happens to be a Doberman.

Something Bigger // JESUS Film // Meg

Last month I was in Orlando & I had the chance to visit & tour Cru’s international headquarters.  Did you know that Cru is part of a larger missions organization praying, reaching every society in corner of the world? Outside of our local Cru movements & Bible studies & discipleship, we have thousands of Cru movements on campuses all over the US.  Then there are thousands of Cru movements at campuses around the world! And that’s just part of our campus ministry.  Add on to that the number of people involved with other Cru ministries reaching military, high schoolers, families, businesspeople, planting churches, even Olympic athletes… the list goes on and on.

I was reminded that we are part of something so much bigger.

The same week that I was touring our headquarters, I hopped onto Facebook & read two encouraging posts made by two girls who are in our Cru movement at VCU.  Both of them are traveling internationally this summer in different countries in Africa sharing the gospel, loving people, praying… it’s been beautiful to watch from afar [and their pictures are incredible… God is the best artist!].

As it so happens, both girls got to experience one branch of Cru called the JESUS film. It’s the story of Jesus through Luke – a film that has been shown for 35+ years, translated into 1200 languages, and one that has been used to share the gospel with hundreds of millions of people & on record, they know of at least 200 million people who have given their lives to Jesus as a result of this film.  Every word that Jesus speaks in the film is a direct quote from Scripture. It’s incredible.

JESUS Film

Photo from Sarah’s blog [linked below]

BOTH girls – on summer mission trips with two different organizations – had the opportunity to show the film to people who had [maybe] never heard the gospel before.  Both girls got to experience the story of Jesus in  the heart language of those who watched the film.  Both girls saw people come to Christ as a result.  Two different countries. Same gospel. Lives changed.

I wanted to share with you Kayla wrote in a blogpost reflecting on showing this film because it impacted me so greatly.  She writes:

During our last night there we had a showing of The Jesus Film. Quick side note about this connection- I’m a part of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) at VCU and that film is a project of the ministry as a whole, all around the world. I had no idea [this organization] showed the film until we arrived in the community so I was pleasantly surprised to hear I would be able to experience it, even though I’m not directly a part of a Cru Summer Mission right now. The film is the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told (imagine Passion of the Christ, but the PG version). The coolest thing about this film is its adaptation to the different cultures around the world. It has been translated into countless languages so the people of Maubone could experience the most incredible story ever told in their native language, Tswana.

Even though I had never seen the film, I knew the story. I’ve known the story for practically my whole life so I went into the viewing with the mindset of simply focusing on praying for the members of this community while they watched. It wasn’t until one of the first miracles was shown and the members began cheering and clapping that I realized- we should never become numb to this story. Making the blind see, raising the dead to life, being whipped for sins He never committed, nailed to a cross, and coming back from the dead to welcome us with open arms. Us, the very ones who nailed Him to the tree by our actions. As the film went on they didn’t stop reacting because to many of them, this was all new. And even to the ones who knew the story, they didn’t sit in silence. They felt the pain of their Savior. They felt the joy when He rose from the dead.

Beautiful. Yes.

This is the story that we’re part of. This is something bigger.

To see the behind the scenes area where the film is translated, prayed over, updated… and then to know that that same week, Sarah & Kayla both had the chance to put what I saw into practice & reach dozens of people with the message of the gospel… I’m reminded of the grace & sovereignty of God.

How cool is it that he allows us to join in on something so much greater with him. Sharing the gospel, here in the United States, overseas in a village that no one has ever heard of, it doesn’t matter.  We’re part of something bigger.

As you close out your summer & look ahead to this year, what might you trust God for? What’s your something bigger that you can be a part of? Maybe you’re looking ahead to next summer, thinking that this summer wasn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Consider [already] going on a summer mission trip, giving a few weeks to share the gospel [& have fun] – internationally. Maybe you’re looking ahead to after graduation. You can be a part of sharing the gospel for a few months, for a year. Cru has internships & you could introduce students to Jesus in the US, or you can go internationally… you can even give a year to travel the world with JESUS film & be a part of seeing the unreached come to know their Savior.

I’m praying for you as the summer winds down & life starts to gear up again. We get so lost & so narrow-focused on the here & now that we too often forget that God has called us to more.  What’s the more he has for you? Ask him & listen. 

Vulnerability. It’s Beautiful.//Rachel//ODU

 

The Lord’s timing is always the best. Before the time I spent in NYC this summer, I had come across references to John 3:30 multiple times. The book of John was the first book  I read right after I started walking with the Lord, I have seen the “HE>I” bumper stickers all around, and have even heard of people wanting to get “HE>I” as a tattoo. Yet, I never asked much about it and never had a desire to know what Bible verse it referred to. Each time I started to want to know more about John 3:30, I could tell that the Lord was telling me, “Not yet.” IMG_4115

A key thing I have struggled with in the past is being open and being vulnerable. However, this summer the Lord was able to use and grow me in the midst of my vulnerability. During my 6 weeks in NYC with Cru for summer missions we started to go through the book of John. One day I sat down and started reading and was determined to focus more on what the Scripture was saying and what the Lord was trying to teach me. That’s when I came across John 3:30: “He must become greater; I must become less.” As you are born again in your walk with the Lord, you start to become less of your old self and grow more in your new identity with Christ. This verse gave me comfort during my time in New York because I was constantly being placed out of my comfort zone.

I have never felt comfortable praying in front of people, singing in front of more than one person, or even just getting up and making a speech. Every single one of those things made me feel extremely uncomfortable and vulnerable. In society’s eyes, vulnerability is a way of becoming less of who you are. If you are vulnerable, then you can not be the strong and guarded individual that you have tried countless years to create. All the walls I have built were quickly torn down and the Lord met me where I was at. I started jumping at the chance to pray first or close the group in prayer; I was one of three who helped lead worship every week during our trainings, for a church service one Sunday morning, and for singing in the subway every week on our free day; finally, during our High School Week I had to give a training on how to prepare a personal testimony in front of everyone. All of that pushed me out of my comfort zone, it made me vulnerable. I started to become less of who I thought I was. While all of that was happening, God became glorified, he was becoming greater, and I was becoming more of who the Lord knows I am.

 

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Hello friends! I am currently going into my fourth year at ODU. I just recently switched my major from Biology to Criminal Justice while I was in NYC as I started to listen more to the Lord’s plan for me. I plan to graduate in two years after this big switch! A couple things I enjoy are being outdoors, rock climbing, playing guitar, and finding any little bit of free time to watch Netflix. Thank you for taking the time to read what the Lord has taught me this summer!