I don't read much Christian fiction. The last fiction title I read was years ago... Frank Peretti/Ted Decker's House (or en Espanol, Casa). Good book. Loved it until the last 30 pages, and it fell apart (for me anyway).
What surprised me about the book is how graphic it was. This was a fairly decent horror story...
I've asked Ryan Eloe to step in as a guest blogger. Ryan is the General Manager @ C28 in West Palm... an old college friend who I convinced to move to Florida and help me start C28's ministry in Florida. He's married to Kim, and they are expecting their first kid in June.
I asked Ryan to share his thoughts on C28's ministry...
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"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." 2 Corinthians 4:1
Because of the adventures, trials, and experiences at c28 this past year 2 Corinthians 4 speaks to me in amazing ways. One of the most important messages to me in this chapter is that it speaks on the topic of the ministry that we have through God's mercy.
The word 'ministry' in Greek is diakoniva (dee-ak-on-ee'-ah), which simply means service. It's a similar word to that which the word deacon comes from.
If we are truly interested in doing or taking part in ministry (diakoniva), we need to serve.
I believe, if we want to minister to the glory of God, then we should provide the most excellent service. Service that would represent that God who has saved us, loves us, and has mercy for us day in and day out.
Fortunately for us who minister at c28, we are in a unique place because we are expected as a mall-based retail store to provide customer service. Every store has customer service, some stores have horrible customer service, some stores elite customer service, some have good customer service.
But because we want to do ministry in the name of Christ we strive to provide ultimate customer service.
For us, this means a lot of things. It means that we'll try to do everything we can to help people find what the clothes/music they're looking for. Similarly we'll help people when they are searching for a certain size, the perfect gift, or the the latest CD.
But sometimes more than a nice button up shirt, or an amazing CD...people are looking for something different. In these cases we help people find the truth about Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. Or sometimes we help people when they are searching for faith, hope, truth, and grace in this world. We'll offer to pray with people, share with people, encourage people, because more than a new purse, belt, or rockin' t-shirt these needs are greater.
For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,'made his light shine in our hearts...and it is our prayer that Jesus' ultimate service to us in his death, will allow us to serve our customers in a way that will help them see and experience the grace, truth and love of Christ.
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,'made his light shine in our hearts..." 2 Corinthians 4:6a
It's my favorite time of the year again. No, not Christmas. Not Thanksgiving/Black Friday.
It's time for CallFM's Winter Fund Drive. Which means I'm going back on the air to ask for help. CallFM is a listener-supported radio station, which means that we need the help of our listeners (and nice people like you) to help keep CallFM on the air.
CallFM (91.9fm) is a Christian radio station aimed at reaching the teens and young adults in South Florida. They do a phenominal job of it too. If you've sponsored in the past, do it again. If you've never sponsored, check it out. I'll be on the air M, W, F from 3-6pm. It'll be great!
This past week Ryan (C28 West Palm Manager) has sent out over 340 letters to area churches and youth organizations hoping to kindle a relationship with them. Our desire for C28 is to have it be a resource to the local church, to aid in their attempts to impact their students, their city for Christ.
We're actually developing a church directory so that we can help people get connected to a church. Our prayer is that C28 will continue to be a gateway to guide people into a lasting relationship with Jesus, and pair them up with a church that is better suited to disciple them along the journey!
We've gotten a good response rate so far, but there's a lot of relationships still out there to be started.
God, make our motives pure and continue to allow us these divine appointments. Allow us to strengthen your church, and continue to use us to reach this city, this state for Christ.
About a month ago I blogged on Brothers Under Christ (BYX - a Christian Fraternity) and their struggle to set up their organization on the University of Florida campus. BYX is on a number of campuses across the Bible belt. I am actually an old "Buxer" from back in the day...
Reason this is being revisited is that FOXNews has been running a story today on BYX's struggle, and for the most part is siding with BYX... You can see the video clip here.
I've been informed by the BYX information that on Tuesday (8/14) FOXNews will be running an interview with the students that want to bring BYX onto UF's campus...
From all reports, FOX is spinning the article in a positive way for BYX, which is a great thing to see. Plus, there is no such thing as bad publicity... maybe this will usher in BYX on other campuses (outside the Bible Belt).
Well, BYX is getting hit from UF on two different fronts. According to UF:
1) BYX is not a "real" fraternity because it descriminates by religion (you have to be a Christian to be in BYX)
2) BYX is not a "real" student organization because it descriminates by sex (you have to be male to be in BYX)
This may not seem like a big deal, but this story caught my attention. For starters, I was in BYX @ TCU. I know the handshake. The philosophy. The history. The song. The code. The mantra. What I didn't like about BYX is that it was too ego-driven. Not evangelical. On the campus of TCU in the mid-90s, Spiritual Warfare was rampant. While other Christian orgs were on the front lines battling for souls, it felt like BYX was too busy to fight (instead, they were planning their next "exclusive" party...)
So, my initial reaction to BYX not being allowed into UF was "Good riddance!" I was even talking to a college buddy, recounting the frustrations with the organization, and found myself gloating over their apparent rejection.
Then I remembered a quote from an Episcopal Minister that I blogged on several months ago who accused a church with a skate park of "watering down of Christianity to make it more palatable." If you read my post, you will find that I was rather ticked at the Minister's quotes. Unfortunately, I find my thoughts of "Good riddence" lining up with the Ministers... so should I be ticked at myself?
Unconventional Ministry takes different forms, and while I don't agree with the practices of BYX on the TCU campus in the mid-90s, I do know several people involved in BYX that have gone on to do great things for the Kingdom. BYX reaches a niche that needs to be targeted on college campuses. And by doing things "unconventionally" they can target areas that a church or other student org may not be able to get to.
UFlorida slapped BYX in the face with this ruling. You're not a frat, and you're not a student organization. You're nothing! And with the rules in place (at a non "Bible Belt" school), I can understand their conclusion. This is where BYX needs to change. Are you going to let non-Christians in? Go evangelical? Are you going to tear down the gender barrier and redefine what a fraternity is?
Knowing what I do of BYX, I doubt it. Let me tell you what I would do. I would wear the UF ruling with pride. I would then become the thorn in the University's side.
Go militant. Go underground. Go crazy. You're the organization that UF won't acknowledge. Promote that. Publish that. Let that be your theme. Since you're not approved, you can't meet on UF campus. Find a house nearby. You can't hang up signs. Start a word of mouth campaign. Create a YouTube video announcement. Go viral! You can't get school funds. Find deep pocket alumni and sell them the vision. Drop the frat boy mistique. The Emerging Generation is largely considered anti-"organized religion". Aim, target, and recruit these kids. Become the bridge, the front door that connects them to God.
This thinking is "unconventional" thinking for an already "unconventional" ministry. I pray God opens a path for your ministry on UF campus, and that many will find God through BYX @ UF.