Monday Motivator – May 22

What is so important about having godly leadership in a Chi Alpha chapter on a college campus? How about your family? How about in your church? What about non-profits, businesses, or agencies that purport to be Christ-honoring?

Part of the answer is that we need people of the Book to model Christ-likeness and dependence on God’ s Word and spur others on to a similar lifestyle. Scripture calls us to act in faith, or with faith. That involves a) agreeing with God’s Word and refusing to say or do anything that contradicts it, and b) waiting patiently and allowing God’s Word to be fulfilled in and through us in His own way and on His own timetable, and c) being a doer, and not just a hearer.

John Calvin, one of the Protestant reformers who lived about 500 years ago wrote to the King of France once with these words: “The characteristic of a true sovereign is, to acknowledge that, in the administration of his kingdom, he is a minister of God. He who does not makes his reign subservient to the divine glory, acts the part not of a king, but a robber. He, moreover, deceives himself who anticipates long prosperity to any kingdom which is not ruled by the scepter of God, that is, by His divine Word. For the heavenly oracle is infallible which has declared, ‘where there is no vision, the people perish’” (Proverbs 29:18).

What was John saying? If you are a king or a college student, and you are not basing your duties and decisions on the Divine Word, you are in for disappointment, pain, and hurt. A king, pastor, parent, or a Chi Alpha student leader can learn from John Calvin’s admonition. Without God at the front and center of our mission and leadership, we are doomed to failure.

Read Colossians 1:15-23.

The apostle Paul wrote to the first century Christians at Colosse and argued that God gave them their breath, life, gifts, and platform. Verse 16 says, “For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by Him and for Him.” Whether you are president of your fraternity or sorority, serving in student government, your local Chi Alpha chapter, or serving kids after school in a tutoring relationship, your life, calling, and authority comes from God Himself.

Keep that in mind in order to become (and remain) humble. Keep that in mind to stay on your knees in prayer and dependence from Him for your daily bread. Without God’s Word, our life and leadership will conclude with calamity.

Who exemplifies godly leadership and living to you? What is it that makes them exemplary? My guess is they are feeding their soul with God’s Word, but they do not stop there. They also act on what they see, hear, read, study, meditate and memorize. Faith is acting like God is telling the truth. But if you do not act on God’s Word, it won’t do you any good. Your faith must be based on something substantial, that is, the tried, proven, unfailing truth of the Word of God.

Grow devotionally. How have you been a person (and even a leader) who takes in and reflects God’s Divine Word? God expects (even demands) that those who call themselves his people will continue hearing, reading, and studying God’s Word for guidance. He is the Lord, the Creator and Sustainer of all things for a reason. Listen and do not forget that God rules all rulers.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – May 15

Will you commit to pray for God’s “will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven?”

Do you realize how dangerous a prayer that actually is? It starts with learning to pray effectively, with the authority of Jesus, overcoming and conquering the impossible. God invites us to partner with Him in the greatest rescue operation of all time by first being partners with Him in prayer.

Read Matthew 12:21. It says, “in His name the nations will put their hope.” It is part of a Messianic reference to Jesus that comes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (42:1-4). God answers believing prayer and wants us to pray intelligently for His purposes to be accomplished.

One approach to prayer is to intercede each week for godly hope in the seven critical areas of any society listed below. Below is a sample approach you might start out with. Add more specific information you gather and compile, in order to pray more specifically and with more focus.

Government: Pray for your local, state, and national leaders. Ask God to give them wisdom, discernment and courage to lead well, and hearts that are open to His leading.

Church: Pray for the churches and church leaders in your local congregation, your community, and the rest of the country. Ask God to strengthen, preserve, and protect clergy, even as He inspires, empowers, and equips them for Jesus-honoring and equipping-the-saints ministry.

Military: Pray for our military and its leaders. Ask God to give courage, protection, and strength to our service men and women and their families.

Family: Pray for families in your neighborhood, your community, your church, your state, and the rest of the country. Pray for married couples to maintain their vows to one another, and for parents to love their children even as they raise them to know God and rest in His care. Ask God to protect and strengthen marriages, encourage parents to help their children know what they believe and why, and to bring healing to relationships.

Education: Pray for God’s presence in children and teachers who are following Jesus to be salt and light in their schools. Ask God to identify and promote God-honoring teachers and administrators in public schools and local colleges who honor His statutes, protect our children, and inspire them to discover their God-given calling. Pray for young men and women to pursue higher education and seek to work as professors in the academy in the next 25 years.

Media: Pray for Christian influence in the media from movies, music, television, radio, social media, newspaper and magazines. Pray for young men and women to pursue media-related positions and seek to work in the media in the next 25 years.

Business: Pray for divine intervention in local, state, and national economies. Ask God to raise up godly business leaders who can create industry to provide honest employment and generous provision for individuals and families in each community.

Serve globally. Prayer leads us into the presence of God. He then gives us an opportunity to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit in order to be His ambassadors of hope to the nations.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – May 8

Chi Alpha Campus Ministries believe we can impact a campus by establishing a “community” of students on campus who love God, one another, and are committed to the task of sharing Christ with other students and faculty. Following the pattern in the Book of Acts, we strive to build communities of worship, fellowship, discipleship, witness and prayer. By “community” we mean that a “gathered people on campus” is more visible and effective than a few isolated individuals.

By “community of worship” we mean that we must establish ministry to God as the highest call of Christians. We seek to embody the following principles:

First, we recognize we were created by and are now reconciled to God to bring glory to Him (Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 1:11-12); Second, as Christ’s family gathered, we become the dwelling place of God for the very purposes of ministry to Him as His priests, and for proclamation of His greatness to the world (Ephesians 1:10-22; 1 Peter 2:4-10); Third, we believe the presence of God is made more real among people when believers worship (Psalm 22:3).

Staff and students in Chi Alpha express ministry to God first by directing adoration to His person by giving thanks for His acts of loving kindness toward us (Psalm 100; 150); second, learning to sit at His feet like Mary and respond to Him (Luke 10:39; John 10:4-5); third, allowing the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12-14 to flow through us to the Lord; and fourth, learning to worship Him with our actions (1 Corinthians 10:31; Hebrews 13:15-16).

As a “community of worship,” we expect other ministries to grow best when nurtured in an atmosphere of ministry to the Lord. It is our desire and vision to see teams of students raised up, trained, and equipped that can lead others into God’s presence through praise and worship. We are excited about coming together to worship our Lord Jesus Christ and we are excited about you being a part of the Chi Alpha ministry on campus.

Whether you serve on a worship team, or want to deepen your worship experience, all of us can grow and learn how to be a worshiper and lead others into God’s glorious presence! Here are six requirements for a person to become more intimate with King Jesus.

First, learn to bless God. It is our first responsibility to minister to God (1 Peter 2:4, 5, 9, 10). Second, prepare for worship in your heart. Get your mind and heart SET to minister to the Lord. Third, concentrate. We need to learn to discipline our minds in order to minister to God. Work at it. Personalize your worship. Ask God to help you. Fourth, participate. See 1 Corinthians 14:26 and note the principle – all should participate! But problems arise because some people come to the Chi Alpha meeting energized; some come neutralized – they need to get their attention back on the Lord; and some come vandalized – we may need to give them time to repent and confess or get healed and built up before God. We may need to encourage those who are downtrodden or discouraged. Fifth and last, continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Read, study, memorize, and believe God for the truth of Ephesians 5:18-20.

Walk wisely. When we meet with God personally, in small groups, or even in a larger context, He is with us. Our objective is to move to the point at which every believer will have seen the Lord, ministered to Him, and have been transformed upon seeing God. Let us be the kind of worshipers Jesus described in John 4:23 – those who worship Him in spirit and truth.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator -May 1

I have been attending the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) in August the past seven years as one of the annual investments in my personal and professional development. One of the speakers at the 2016 GLS was John C. Maxwell, who has mentored me since 1990. John is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, and his latest book is Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters, and it’s what he spoke about at the GLS.

John said, “Significance is always about others, and serving them intentionally. When you change your thinking from “What am I going to receive?” to “What am I going to give?” your entire life begins to turn around. And the gratification you receive becomes long lasting.”

John has written for decades that everything rises and falls on leadership. When leadership is good, everything rises. The first step of leadership then is to intentionally, every day, add value to people. But there is a thin line between motivating and manipulating people. Manipulating people is always wrong. As a leader, you have the ability to bless people and/or curse them.

Here are three questions John said followers should ask those leading them: One. Do you like me? Why would I want to follow someone that doesn’t care about me? Two. Can you help me? Will you assist me in growing in confidence and competence? Three. Can I trust you? Are you going to take my life and manipulate it or truly make it better? Will you add value to my life?

John reminded us that everything worthwhile is uphill. Life’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. Great marriages are uphill. If you’re going to be healthy, it’s uphill. If you’re going to be successful in business, it’s uphill. Here’s the problem: people have uphill hopes and downhill habits. The only way to break through is to get intentional. There is no accidental achievement. Most people don’t lead their life, they accept it. When you accept your life, it’s not intentional and its downhill. We have to make a choice that we are going to add value to people in our lives.

John then presented five things he does every day that intentionally adds value to people:

First, he values people. As we follow Jesus through the Gospels, the essence of Jesus is that he values men and women. Nicodemus, the Samaritan women at the well, the thief on cross, a blind man, and all sorts of children. Do we spend time connecting with people or correcting them?

Second, he thinks of ways to add value to people. Intentional living is up­front thinking. Who am I going to see today and how can I add value to them?

Third, he looks for ways to add value to people. When I am an added value liver, I begin to see ways to add value. If you’re an added value liver, you become an added value looker.

Fourth, he adds value to people. John said to make sure that it is action-oriented.

Fifth, he encourages others to add value to people. Read Mark 10:45. Jesus came to serve others, not himself. It was His mission in life and it should be ours. It’s why we’re here.

Live communally. John Maxwell says that involves living intentionally. We know Jesus agrees because He modeled it. How will you add value to someone in your network of influence?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – April 24

I enjoy the season of Lent leading up to Easter, because stories of Jesus encountering men and women in the New Testament Gospels call me to a deeper faith and conversion.

John’s accounts of three people meeting Jesus have again grabbed my attention: the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, the man born blind in John 9, and the raising of Lazarus in John 11. I have found that these stories enrich my understanding and experience of conversion as a follower of Jesus. Let’s take a look at them in the order John compiled them.

Read John 4:1-26.

As the Lord encounters the Samaritan woman at the well, she tries to deceive him, saying she has no husband. Not surprisingly, Jesus sees through her attempt to trick him, letting her know that in fact that she has had five husbands and the man she is now living with is her sixth. How would you feel after being exposed?

All of us, at some time or another, try to hide our sinfulness from God. Yet He alone can see through our self-deception, even as He did with the Samaritan woman. I still find myself pondering this question decades after I started to follow Jesus: What do I need to let the Lord see about my own sinfulness so that healing, comfort, and His living water can once again quench and satisfy my deepest thirsts?

Read John 9:1-41.

When Jesus healed the man who had been born blind, the Pharisees refuse to believe the man’s story about the healing. They confront and badger him and his parents, seemingly ignoring the reality of the healing. Eventually, the conversation leads to the man asking the Pharisees if they too want to be Jesus’ disciples. Sadly, they do not see the light (or irony) of the man’s question.

Stubbornly the religious leaders throw the man out of the synagogue. I am glad he could see to grab onto something as he fell to break his fall. The man then gets up and wanders about and again encounters Jesus, whom he has not seen since being healed. Once he discovers it is Jesus, the blind man bows down in worship. A second question I ponder often: In what ways do I need to be able to see more clearly the ways I am blind to the goodness of God?

Read John 11:1-44.

The last account I am reflecting on involves the time Jesus raised Lazarus – who had been in a tomb for four days – from the dead. The climax of the story happens when Jesus tells those standing by the tomb to unbind and unwrap Lazarus from the 70+ pounds of burial cloths and let him go free. The faith shown by Lazarus’s sisters, Martha and Mary, is a testimony to their trust in Jesus. While they grieved over their brother’s death, they still put their faith in the fact they would see him at the resurrection on the last days. What a surprise that Jesus gave them their brother back ahead of schedule. A final few questions for our consideration: In what ways does my faith need to be strengthened, especially in the face of difficulties in my life? How can I rely on others to help me shed any “burial cloths” that I need to be set free from, in order to be healed and do the things God wants me to do in my family, in school, and at work?

Think theologically. Jesus is the risen Lord even today. Allow these three stories of faith and conversion to bring us closer to the One who gives us living water, light, and new life.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – April 17

One of my current responses to people who ask me how I am doing is, “I am grateful.” I try to avoid saying, “fine” or “okay.”

How do you practice being grateful?

A friend of mine sent me a quote from Thomas Merton, one of his favorite authors. “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

One of my practices is to try and recognize the goodness of the Lord when I see it in my daily experience. I sat in a chair on my front porch last week and noticed a red robin that flew into the tree in my front yard. I watched the kindness and creativity of an elementary school crossing guard from my vehicle as she helped children get to their school. My wife and I caught a glimpse of a beautiful rainbow after a recent thunderstorm.

The writers of the Old Testament were constantly encouraging the people of God to keep track of God’s activities in their lives. Words or phrases like “write it down” or “remember” were used often. Throughout the Old Testament we have passages of Scripture that describe what God had done for the Israelites because many did write it down.

Several friends of mine have been practitioners of the discipline of journaling on a consistent manner. One has said they have kept a journal since middle school when their parents gave them a blank book on their birthday. They suggested that he use the book to record events, feelings, achievements, failures, joys and disappointments. When my friend’s faith journey got more on track in high school, he started recording the work of the Lord in his life.

While I have forgotten many things, my friends who journal have a mechanism to remember.

Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-36.

Use this passage as a practice opportunity to journal about the wonderful acts, wonders, marvelous deeds, and reflections of God’s character that come to mind. Spend time thanking God for what you learned about Him, and/or what the passage brought to your mind. Then consider writing your own psalm of thanks to God based on your experiences of Him. Read it out loud as praise to God as a new practice of gratefulness.

Grow devotionally. Cultivate the attitude of being grateful on a regular basis. Like the apostle Paul told the Christians in Colosse in the first century, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:16-17.

Keeping a journal helps us remember God’s activity in our lives. Why not try it for thirty days?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – April 10

How do you pray for a college campus you are a student at? Or if you live near a university, how can you pray for God’s Kingdom to come into fruition there? We learn from Jesus that prayer is intimacy with the Father, and that His Kingdom is like a mustard seed which starts out small but grows in its influence.

Use these twenty verses for a campus you are concerned about, as well as inform your family, friends, and ministry partners how to join you in prayer using God’s Word. You can use these verses in your own prayer time, in a small group gathering, in a church meeting, or even on a campus prayer walk:

  1. God would be glorified on campuses! Psalm 67:1-2 
  2. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done. Luke 11:2 
  3. Open doors for the message, and clear preaching. Colossians 4:3-4
  4. Pray for everyone on campus to put their faith, hope, and trust in Jesus, and for those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
  5. For great conviction of sin and then a need for God. John 16:8
  1. Ask for part & full-time workers, and lots of student leaders. Matthew 9:38
  2. Ask for part & full-time workers, and lots of student leader. Acts 8:26-39
  3. For the evil one’s power to be bound & restricted on campus. 2 Corinthians 4:4
  4. For the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon us as witnesses. Acts 1:8
  5. For signs & wonders to follow the preaching of God’s Word. Mark 16:15-18
  1. For student-led prayer movements to be birthed throughout the world. Isaiah 62:6-7
  2. For unity among the believers of Jesus on campus. John 17:20-21
  3. For the financial & material resources necessary for staff, community building, outreach, and justice/mission ministry. Ecclesiastes 2:26
  4. That the Great Commission of Jesus would be the top priority among Christian students on campus, and as they make personal & career choices. Matthew 28:18-20
  5. That thousands (millions?) of students would become followers and disciplemakers of Jesus. 2 Peter 3:9                 
  1. That believers would reflect the godly character of Jesus on campus. Colossians 1:9-13
  2. That Chi Alpha staff would teach students how to handle the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  3. For college students to be willing to be a disciple and make disciples. 2 Timothy 2:2
  4. For the strengthening of our campus ministry staff. Ephesians 1:15-23
  5. That the kingdoms of the university (i.e., classes, dorms, athletics, fraternity & sorority, international students, grad students, faculty, etc.) would become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus! Revelation 11:15       

Scripture gives us plenty of examples of how the followers of God believed His Word, and sought to pray it and practice it in their daily loves. We are called to be co-laborers with Christ in the greatest rescue operation of all time. Allow Scripture to shape your prayers and service. Use the Scriptures listed to deepen your understanding of how God wants to work on your campus.

Serve globally. Let’s pray and work to see His name become more famous in the academy.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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