Monthly Archives: July 2010

Monday Motivator – July 26

On a recent trip to a leadership conference, I began to wonder about hearing loss. I saw people wearing headphones on the plane listening to their iPod, MP3 or DVD players. As I walked to baggage claim, it was staggering to see how many people were listening to something through earpieces or headphones, or were talking on a phone. During breaks in the conference I attended, I saw hundreds of people talking on their phones. It was rare, to see someone NOT holding an electronic device of some sort up to their ear.

The effect of music players, ear or head phones, or cell phones on hearing has been the concern of consumer protection groups, resulting in various complaints, studies, and lawsuits. Long term exposure to music at high volumes has been shown to cause hearing impairment. Concern about exposure to radiation emissions from cell phones is still debated. The larger issue is whether too much hearing can result in an inability to hear down the road.

We live in an increasingly noisy world – filled with noises designed to woo, sell, seduce, deceive, titillate, and desensitize. In a world of competing sounds, it is easy to miss the one voice that matters the most.

Read 1 Kings 19:1-12. The prophet Elijah just won a battle with the priests of Baal. But he began to listen to the threats of retaliation from Queen Jezebel and in fear, fled to a cave to hide. In the cave he was confronted with the deafening sounds of wind, an earthquake, and fire (v 11-12). Then the cave grew silent and the voice of the Lord – the only sound that mattered – broke through as a “still, small voice.”

If we are to hear God speaking to us through His Word, we need to pull away from the noise of society and the technology we use. Only when we learn to be quiet can we understand what it means to commune with our Creator.

The first suggestion on deepening your communion experience is to cultivate a heart and desire to meet with the Lord. If your habit of meeting with the Lord has slowed or even diminished, start fresh today. Mark out a time, place, and space to connect with God. Read (or sing) the Psalms out loud as you express your desire for God to Him.

If your habit of meeting with the Lord feels like it needs a makeover, try something different. I have been using the Ancient Christian Devotional this year – a year of weekly readings including prayers and comments on Scripture from the early church fathers. They remind us to drink deeply from Scripture, the only water that can give us true life.

Second, consider fasting from texting, Facebook, email, and answering your phone. I have found I need to have boundaries for the technology I use or it may enslave me. Turning my phone (and computer) off during my quiet time ensures a chance to meet with God uninterrupted. Just because your phone rings does not mean you have to answer it, either. Richard Foster has a great chapter on Fasting in Celebration of Discipline.

In your quiet time this week, make an effort to listen for the voice of God. To do so, you will need to turn down the world’s volume. You can make the adjustments in your lifestyle if you know the good it can bring. Grow devotionally. Wait on Him and listen for His voice.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – July 19

Chi Alpha Campus Ministries started in 1951. Although there were exceptions, it was primarily an inward-looking ministry. In the 1960’s, national Chi Alpha director Rick Howard began to speak prophetically about the direction of the ministry. He said that college ministry needed to look outward and consider the campus as a mission field.  Dave Gable, the next national director from 1971-1979, gave legs to the vision that Howard had set forth.

In 1977, Gable called together six representative campus leaders to define what campus outreach could become, and come up with a call to action. They met in a scorpion-infested camp outside of San Antonio, Texas, later being known as the “San Antonio Seven.” The names of the seven were: Dave Gable, Herschel Rosser, Dave Argue, Jim Hall, Dennis Gaylor, Brady Bobbink, and Harvey Herman. A varied group, they were made up of ex-hippies and people who had grown up in church, Bible college, and secular college backgrounds from every region of the country.

During their time, they asked one question: What were the central qualities that defined the first century church? The result of their search was a four-fold philosophy from the book of Acts that the church was defined by a ministry of worship, fellowship, discipleship, and witness. Later, prayer was added to the ministry philosophy. This understanding became the foundation for a renewed ministry outreach that has grown nationwide and around the world since 1977.

In 1977, Chi Alpha existed on about 40 campuses across the United States. As the new philosophy has been taught, modeled, and implemented, students (and staff) have caught the vision and given their lives to pioneering and developing ministry to students. In 2010, there were close to 280 Chi Alpha chapters across the country (with 23,000 students involved), and Chi Alpha has spread to most of the continents.

Since 1977, thousands of students have started following the teachings of Jesus for the first time while being equipped and mobilized for campus outreach. Students have reached out to international students with friendship and hospitality. Students have given up their spring and summer breaks to serve on U.S. based and overseas mission trips, empowered by the Spirit.

Student chapters are the foundation of Chi Alpha’s ministry to college and university campuses. These ministries are student led; yet, behind each student leader is the guiding hand of a highly committed and skilled Chi Alpha missionary. They equip and enable students to be followers of Jesus, helping them to grow to maturity as leaders in the kingdom of God while in school and as they transition to the marketplace. They reach students, train leaders, and impact nations.

Knowing that most students will end up in the global marketplace, Chi Alpha staff teach students to develop a Biblical view of work as a divine calling and an opportunity for genuine ministry. They equip students with the tools they’ll need to serve in a local church and to reflect the character and ministry of Christ while on the job. Students graduate and are sent into the marketplace prepared to live out and pass on the vision of the Book of Acts.

We believe every college student should have the opportunity to study at the feet of the world’s greatest teacher. Will you join us in making that dream a reality? We hope all of our students will give a year or two after graduation to serving their local chapter. We also pray they will consider joining our missionary staff team and give their lives to serve globally with Chi Alpha.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – July 5

I visited Ohio University (OU), my alma mater recently. I stayed with my good friend Keith Wasserman, and after dinner we drove to campus to walk around the first university in the Northwest Territory (1804). OU by the way, was in existence 66 years before THE Ohio State University was created.

We noticed a lot of students returning from a Woodstock-type outdoor party outside of town. Many of the guys were bare-chested, in shorts and flip-flops. The girls were in shorts, t-shirts (some barely in a bikini), and either flip-flops or no shoes. All of them, though, were covered with mud and dirt. We saw several cars and trucks drive up the main street in town yelling, honking their horns, and waving to folks on the sidewalks. We passed groups walking the same side of the street we were on, and viewed students hanging out on porches of their apartments and entryways to fast food places. They too, were covered in mud and dried dirt. My first inclination as a parent was to find a fire hose and tell them to line up for a good bath (all the parents reading this say amen).

Keith and I met several mud-caked students sitting on the sidewalk who engaged us in conversation. In answering who we were and what we were doing around campus, we in turn asked them about their story and worldview. Keith talked with two of the guys while I chatted up the young lady. I asked her about her family, studies, and spiritual journey and heard a fascinating account of a twenty one year old’s view of the world. She talked to me about her loving parents who “forced” her to go to church and “crammed religion” down her throat. She thought was church was good for kids, but selectively rejected the counsel of her parents and the Bible when it came to her active sex life. Her narrative was laced with coarse language and she argued she alone was the final authority of what was right and wrong. Jesus was okay as long as he didn’t expect or demand anything.

I have been around students and seen immodesty in dress, crass language, and a variety of inappropriate behavior. I have read analysis from social scientists that believe cultural standards of behavior started changing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Invasive journalism, fiction focused on radical realism, and intimacy about sex were some of the avenues that led to broad societal change. Those who led the charge to change attitudes about dress and language were boastful about their “exposure” tactics. Those who opposed such efforts were often called prudish and backward-looking for their reticence.

Read 1 Timothy 2. I noticed the apostle Paul writing about women following Christ to dress modestly with decency in verse 9.  The verse before instructs men to lift up holy hands in prayer. By doing so, men declare their earnest desire for God.

Paul’s presentation of how men and women should act and look when they gather for worship is crucial for us as we battle the “parties of exposure” in society today. How do you define decent attire? How does your clothing and language reflect holiness and modesty? How do your words and actions show an earnest desire to please a holy God?

As you seek to live a godly life, you may be called backward or prudish. That’s okay. The other viewpoint will one day we exposed for the downward spiral it is. Walk wisely. Decent living is a divine call. Live a decent life in Jesus.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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