My last post as I reflect on this summer and transition from Ocean City to Kent State.
When people ask me how summer project was, I find myself stumbling over words searching for the perfect way to describe how God stretched and grew me this summer. Now I know why people push summer projects so hard and why many have such a hard time describing them. This analogy is not from me, so I can’t take any credit for it. I don’t remember who told it to me, though. A summer project is like a spiritual greenhouse. There’s nothing magical about being on a summer project. Summer projects don’t teach us anything. It’s all God teaching us. It’s just that summer projects provide an atmosphere that makes growing closer to God natural. On a summer project, it’s natural to spend daily one-on-one time with God. It’s natural to read the Bible and pray. It’s natural to meet with others to worship God through song. It’s natural to meet with others to study God’s word. It’s natural to share God with those who don’t know Him. Summer projects are not a way to get people more involved with Campus Crusade for Christ. Summer projects are a way to prepare students to walk with God for eternity and to share Jesus with those around us. The whole point of Campus Crusade for Christ’s existing is to help others know God. The whole point of everyone’s existing is to know God.
For students reading this considering whether to go on a summer project, what’s holding you back? Seriously consider going. Pray about going. Ask God to make it clear whether you should go. Ask other Christians for advice of whether to go. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new believer or someone who has been walking with Christ for years. Money isn’t an obstacle either (God has enough money to pave His streets with gold. He certainly has enough money to bring you on a summer project.) Like I said earlier, there’s nothing magical about summer projects. God is the one who makes us grow. God can teach us wherever we are, so if God is leading you somewhere else, then go there. But please do consider going on a summer project. It’s an environment that really promotes getting to know God.
For others who want to know God better but can’t go on a summer project, don’t fret. There’s nothing magical about summer projects. God wants to grow you too. There’s no magical formula to follow to grow closer to God. Our job isn’t to do things for God. Our job is to abide in Christ (John 15:1-17). How would you get to know a human better? Probably through communication. Then we should seek to know God more intimately the same way. If we want to know God more intimately, then we should talk to God. That’s what prayer is, simply talking to God. You don’t have to work to get God to hear you. God is listening and wants to hear from you. Talk like you’re talking to your best friend. Only talking to someone and never listening doesn’t help much in getting to know someone better, so we should spend time listening to God as well as talking. That’s what reading the Bible is. Many have described the Bible as God’s love letter to us, and I agree with that. Reading the Bible is a great way to hear from God. Also, become involved in church. Join a small group Bible study (this is where I’ve seen a lot of my personal growth over the past year). I know these may sound pretty basic, but let’s be real. I know at least the times in my life when I haven’t been close with God are the times that I haven’t been praying, reading the Bible, and meeting with other Christians to seek and worship God.
(I wrote this on Friday in my journal. This’ll probably be the final post for me this summer. Next week I’ll start working on turning this blog into a resource site for student leaders at Kent Cru/the “unofficial” website for Kent Cru. I’ll try to find someway to archive the posts. Anyway, thank you everyone for reading this blog and keeping up with Matt, Sarah and me. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about how God moved in our lives this summer.)
The last day of project. It’s 8:10 in the morning right now. The sun is still rising, but I can tell it’s going to be a hot day today. The humid, nasty New Jersey kind of heat, too. I’m sitting on a couch on the north part of the porch.
I guess I’m writing all this down so I can remember it. Leaving is always sad, but the wonderful reality of project is we didn’t come here to stay. Our intentions were not (and nor will mine ever be) to become residents of New Jersey.
No, we came to learn. To be trained. And then to be sent back out into the world.
I gave a testimony about what God’s taught me on project last night at the farewell banquet. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I halfway thought I was going to completely forget what I wanted to say. But God who knows my anxieties gave me the words He wanted me to speak, so I think I did all right.
Bob Fuhs gave his final words of wisdom last night too. I really liked what he said. He spoke from Joshua 1:2, “Moses, my servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross the Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.
Bob talked about, how like the Israelites and Joshua, we need to take that step of faith to go up into what God’s promised for us. We need to step into the Jordan, get our feet wet and then trust in the Lord to provide.
Arise. Cross. Lead.
At the end of a few camps last year when I was camp counselor, we did night hikes. One week my brother and I co-led a cabin of older middle schoolers. At the end of the night hike we came to Vesper’s Hill, where we have a beautiful outdoor chapel.
I had told the guys to bring a stone with them for the hike. At the chapel, I told them the story of Samuel and the Israelites fighting the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:1-12).
After God delivered the Israelites by causing a huge thunderstorm to frighten the Philistines, Samuel took a stone and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far, the Lord has helped us.”
I love this story because it is a constant reminder that God is always working and moving in my life. That He is the one who’s brought me to this point in my life. That He fights my battles for me and delivers me from evil.
The last day of project. It’s 8:52 in the morning. The sun has risen, and I can feel the heat of the day. The humid, nasty New Jersey kind of heat, too. I’m sitting on a couch on the north part of the porch.
Thus far, the Lord has helped me.