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Emery Riddle University
Acts 1:8 continued…
Glory to Jesus!
Dear Loved Ones,
What do two Jamaican male engineering majors, an Ecuadorian and an atheist all have in common? No, this is not my latest dumb joke. They all have a desire to be heard and valued on some of the most important issues in life…themselves! That is exactly what the ‘Perspective Cards’ tool does, that four of us (Campus Crusade Staff) used on Friday Jan 28th at Emery Riddle in Daytona Beach, Florida. And wow what love is poured out through being quick to listen and slow to speak!
“Perspective provides a disarming approach to a spiritual conversation, allowing others to share their perspective about five important topics: Nature of God, Human Nature, Meaning of Life, Identity of Jesus, and Source of Spiritual Truth. In each category, participants choose the card that best represents what they believe, and then they tell you why they believe it.
Because Perspective looks and feels like a card game, it takes a conversation that may seem abstract and intimidating and makes it tangible and non-threatening. And, as you move through the cards, you find yourself relaxing and actually enjoying the conversation.
Perspective allows you to come alongside others in their spiritual journey. And, as you ask questions and listen well, you’ll find an abundance of opportunities to talk about Jesus, share your perspective, and invite others to respond to the gospel.” ( quote taken from crupress.com)
Stephen and I met a Jamaican student named Nicholas who started to pick out which views best represented his thoughts and feelings about the nature of God. His friends Elizabeth soon arrived who was openly atheist and very passionate. All we had to do was ask them why those cards they chose best represents their opinions and the flood gates were poured out. By the time Angelica their Ecuadorian friend got to the table just outside Starbucks, we were into some deep heart discussion. Angelica started to ask us questions like, “What we were doing while we were there?” and “What was our story.” Stephen and I were shocked that they wanted to know about us; We had been listening and asking questions for about twenty minutes. Stephen was able to share his story and parts of how Jesus provides hope for all mankind. Time was left for me to share my story as well and we could see that as we shared their eyes lit up with hope that Jesus Christ transforms lives as they heard what he did in ours.
Liz had to go to class and thanked us because she had a lot to talk about and not ever shared it with anyone. She felt loved and valued and asked for more information to get connected. Angelica and Nicholas then invited us
to Chick-filet and we met up with their friend Kadeem. Nicholas hooked us up with some lunch (What a blessing!) and Angelica started to open up and share with all four of us her story and journey in her walk with God. Kadeem then chimed in with his thoughts and Nicholas as well. Angelica said you know what, “No one has ever asked me to share my story before!” with tears of joy and thankfulness. I could tell that she wanted to share. The table realized that these topics don’t get brought up much because people are afraid to deal with conflict or don’t really care.
Stephen and I sat with them for about two hours and were blown away by the desires and hunger for God in their lives. We were able to pray for them and encourage them in the incredible conversation. What amazed me was the love of Jesus Christ being manifested in that time, giving people an opportunity to think and allowing the Holy Spirit to stir a hunger for truth and experience for Jesus in their lives. All mankind is made in his image and regardless of what I agree with or disagree with in their opinions, I am still called to love one another, love my neighbor and by this they will know that Jesus is King!
Lies again in my own heart were disarmed “that people don’t want to talk about God”. But in fact all four of them in their own way really did want to talk.
Romans 10:13-15 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
I AM THANKFUL FOR… You! Your prayers and partnership has kept me afloat and encouraged me that even though Jesus disciplines his sons he doesn’t revoke his calling.
2) Thank you for believing in Christ in me the hope of glory and sticking with me in the midst of a good and merciful crushing from God. 3) I am thankful to be recommissioned as a fulltime Campus Crusade for Christ employee (Feb 6th). 4) I am thankful for all the opportunities to pour out into college students here in Florida. 5) I am thankful to meet new people and rekindle old relationships as I share the story of how Jesus has been good and merciful to me.
Please pray for me to be a blessing to all those I come in contact with. I am thankful for the passionate love of Jesus waking us up everyday and the incredible stories he writes for us all. Holy Spirit minister to everyone who reads this letter challenge them to be beautiful feet, to listen well, love well and declare you heartbeat and truth to others. In Jesus amen.
Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufusa… brouhaha! is a scary and sinful word for the hyenas in the movie Lion King. They tremble at his power and don’t want to say the word because it brings them to reality of who is really the all powerful one. I feel and many Christians feel the same way about the word, ‘Evangelism’…brouhaha. ‘Evangelism’, what is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind?
Whether you believe in Jesus or not most people don’t have a positive view of this word. Pride, shoving things down someone else’ s throat, “I am right, you are wrong”, obnoxious, over-zealous and insensitive Christians, forcing people to listen to you and your views and ‘pray a prayer so I can feel better about my spirituality’ are all words that come to my mind when I hear the word ‘Evangelism’. Quite frankly it is a perceived sin in our culture. Yet as Christ followers we are called to proclaim the good news that Jesus saves and cleanses us from the incredible debt of sin and brings incredible life both now and in eternity because he paid the debt on the cross through his shed blood and rose from the dead.
Somehow the good news has been dumbed down in even the Christian world as a bad word. Few Christians I know share their faith on a regular basis and fewer actually share a clear and simple message being able to teach someone how to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
SON-RISE! (Pun intended)
Campus Crusade for Christ is a key in the kingdom of God ministry that believes in initiating evangelism and they define it as this: “Taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the good news of Jesus Christ and leaving the results up to God.”
On Jan 25 a Tuesday morning around 100 of us from New Staff Training from Campus Crusade went to do just that and I went with my fears yet with the burden of people needing to hear the incredible life changing power of Jesus Christ. Over 140 people were initiated with conversations, of those over 72 students heard the gospel message and 6 prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Many seeds were planted at this school where God has been working and where suicide is rampant. Our efforts were to help the already volunteer ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ on that Campus. Jesus who is the resurrection and the Life was intentionally pursuing the students of Daytona State College in which Satan has been trying to kill, steal and destroy (seen especially through suicide).
My new friends and soon to be co-worker in Sportlinc, Andrew Epps and I tag teamed to go and share. With prayer and a desire to obey our leaders we set out to love on people in the cafeteria! Of course what better place than to eat, unfortunately their were no red lobster biscuits which are my favorite but what Andrew and I found were some divine appointments of people wanting to be loved and some looking for God.
Our first couple we hung out with had an incredible sense of humor and Andrew and I never took it in thirty minutes to a survey or to spiritual things. Feeling then like a Campus Crusade Evangelism failure because we “didn’t share the gospel” what should we do next? Realizing that we did a great job of loving and valuing the couple we balanced out our thoughts and saw a young man listening to his I-POD by himself. I didn’t want to go ask but I had a prompting from God’s Spirit he was the one to talk with. Andrew initiated and I came over. We started with a survey and found out this young man was an professing atheist who described his life as “boring and in a slump”. Immediately we knew this guy is part of what Jesus talks about “the harvest fields being ripe”. As we continued to get to know this young man Sam we discovered that he had been burned by a professing believer who took money from his mom (who is still a strong Christian). Sam made a decision after that day that God was not real.
As we found out about the details of his life and shared our story of struggle yet hope Sam asked us, “Did God send you guys here to me?”
Sam was getting wooed by the Holy Spirit and Sam was starting to see God trying to answer the cry of his heart through us as his messengers. We affirmed that God did send us to him and we had been praying for him even though we didn’t know who it was we would be sent to.
Sam indicated that if there was a God who loved him (remember he claimed to be an atheist) and he could know him personally that on a scale of 1-10, would he be interested in getting to know him? He indicated an emphatic 11, 10 being the most interested! Why would an atheist say that? In fact I have noticed the same response in other conversations that I have recently had. We have to ask the Holy Spirit to take us under the surface of their heart and find out why they either stopped believing in God or never have. Usually its because they were hurt or they never seen him interact in their life.
Andrew proceeded to share how Jesus has met him in times of great pain and explained on a little napkin the simple good news of Jesus Christ die for sinners and offering a relationship with him.
Sam indicated that he wanted to pray to receive Christ and that it would be on his own time.
Sam said that prayer was talking to God and that God should talk back to him if it is a two way relationship. I told Sam he was exactly right. That Jesus doesn’t speak to us audibly but does through God’s Word the Bible, His church and through the internal voice of the Holy Spirit. I said, “Sam you know I bet your mom being a Christian named you Samuel for a reason. Samuel was a prophet in the Bible who learned to hear the voice of God just like you desire. I explained to him the story in 1 Samuel 3 and encouraged him that God wants to teach him to hear his voice just like the prophet Samuel learned to hear his voice.
We gave him some other connections about a Christian group that meets on campus that he could get plugged into and got his information. We prayed for him and he left for class.
Other conversations with students happened that day but our faith was incredibly stretched and encouraged as we were obedient to share our faith with Sam.
I was reminded of Romans 10:13-15 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Thank you Jesus for letting Andrew and I be good news. Thank you that you sent someone to be good news to us. Give us beautiful feet and words full of opportunity to fathom you majesty. My challenge is to let the Son-Rise in you so others can see His beauty! Pray for Sam and all the Sams on college campuses around the world and in your life. Be the good news to the Sams in your Samaria and to the Ends of the earth
This Christmas season was also my Grandmother’s 8oth Birthday party in El Paso, TX and the video my sister made with photos and music to celebrate the seasons of her life brought tears to nearly all forty people in the room. To celebrate life and family is such a gift from Jesus. He is the author and perfector of our story and he has written such an amazing story for my grandmother Jean Taylor Darr. Jesus is the resurrection and the life and he has granted her such joy in her life. For me to watch a video of someone’s life is really precious to see the story they lived. But after the emotions are over, I have to ask myself those eternal questions. There is something greater going on. What happens when she is gone or someone else is gone. With my Grandmother I see the joy of Jesus in her eyes, smile, service and interaction with others. But that is not the case with everyone.
In Acts 1:8 we are to preach the gospel to Judea, Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. Judea was the geographic location nearest in proximity to the disciples who receive this command. Who are those nearest in proximity to you? In the last letter I talked about mourning the seasons of life and proper mourning includes moving on in joy and sadness in the good and bad and accept your current reality. I talked about the seasons I have missed with my family. Well this Christmas in El Paso I was given a chance to be back in my Judea around my family for this Christmas season and grateful for it! My Judea are those closest to me, my family and that should be my first place to live out and be the gospel “good news” of Jesus. Not everyone in my family believes or lives as if Jesus is their Lord and that is ok as long as they know the decisions they make. I hope to radiate through my life the beauty of Jesus Christ and the depths of his love and mercy. I am sure I have a long way to go at being a true example of Jesus to them.
The second command is to go to Jerusalem the next nearest circle of geograhpical influence. My Jerusalem consists of my friends, community. In my past I have done a great job at sharing the gospel with the ends of the earth other countries and Samaria complete strangers and bypassing my family and friends. In fact many ministers of the gospel have been accused of missing their families and friends. Trying not to miss this part of Acts 1:8 I really enjoyed my time with co-workers and friends with Athletes In Action. Fifteen of us had a great time skiing, snowboarding, playing games in Breckinridge, CO over New Years Eve and then at Copper Mtn. and Winter Park. My family hosted us the first day and last day in denver. Both my close worlds got to meet and interact and I was very thankful. Our time together was such genuine fun and community I am thankful for this group of friends and close body of Christ especially in the holidays when people can feel lonely. Our group was a healthy community that operated as a family. Thank you Jesus for community to keep us from despair and self-pity.
Who is in the Judea and Jerusalem of your life that you need to love and be a blessing to? What steps will you take to capture precious moments with them?
It is hard for me to set boundaries but I feel that I am trying to live my life with some healthy emotional boundaries. There are many of you that were once in my Judea or Jerusalem that I knew really well and haven’t contacted personally in a while. That is weird for me because I seem to feel so connected to almost all my friends. I am trying to learn what emotional balance looks like and how to live it out. I can’t wait to catch up with many of you.
Jesus is continuing to keep me free from sexual impurity and quickly make me aware of pride and ungodly motives in all aspects of my life. I am a living testimony to the cleansing power, mercy and love of Jesus Christ. He is so good and I am continuing to fall in love with and be needy for his bride, the body of Christ.
Thank you for your giving and your partnerships in prayer and resources!
I am currently in Daytona Beach. Fl and studying my butt off in two master’s level courses Intro to Christian Theology and Bible Study Methods. We have classes 8-12:30 Mon-Fri and Study the rest of the day. It goes through Feb 6th. Then I hope to connect with friends, coaches, former teammates in Florida giving my testimony and raising financial support.
Please consider joining my team again financially, increasing your giving, networking for me or hosting a dinner. Those are ways you can best help me at this time.
Also Please pray for me to meet my wife. I would be more than blessed to begin that journey with her.
Playing every inning for Jesus,
Nicholas Taylor Hargrove