Monthly Archives: December 2011

Monday Motivator – December 26

She was confused. Her knowledge of God had come from Christmas carols, skits she saw on Saturday Night Live, or images from the movies. The One she thought was myth and irrelevant was somehow getting her attention. At a concert in Symphony Hall, she began to understand the lyrics of Handel’s Messiah that presented Jesus as the Prince of Peace. More than that, Jesus seemed to speaking directly to her. It was as if he had his hand out and was saying to her mind and heart, “Do you believe? Will you yield to me?”

It had started a month ago when a fellow student who attended her school in Boston asked her about her spiritual story. She brushed it off by saying she wasn’t raised in a religious environment. He responded by saying that neither had he, but he still wanted to hear what she thought of God, the universe, and how she thought about the meaning and purpose of her life.

The young lady was quite amazed at John’s story and transformation. He talked about overcoming an abusive background, yet exuded a quiet confidence that the forgiveness and healing he experienced had helped him get to this point in his life. He seemed to have a true understanding of God, but more than that, he had an encounter with God that made a difference. From that point on, Deidre wanted to know God the way that John seemed to know Him.

Looking back on her life previous to this pivotal conversation, Deidre said, “I talked to God and prayed to Him, but I did not really know Him. I had invented my own version of God by picking and choosing characteristics I liked. Nothing too demanding, but I thought everyone was entitled to his or her own view. I just never had an objective source to start with. I certainly never read the Bible or asked God.”

Yet after her conversation with John, and the concert experience, Deidre started to examine the Bible. John suggested she read the Gospel of Mark and Romans, and she did – twice in a week! She read Romans 3:21-31 repeatedly because verse 21 stunned her: “Now a righteousness from God…has been made known.”

She searched Wikipedia to get some background on Handel and his own spiritual journey and how he came to compose The Messiah. Inspired, she searched the Bible for more information about Jesus. She prayed to Jesus and asked for insight. She scanned the Book of Isaiah and read verses like 59:2 (which says that sin keeps people separated from God) and 53:10 (which describes the Messiah being sacrificed for those sins).

Deidre came to recognize that Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of the messianic prophecies. Through Jesus, the Messiah, she could find forgiveness, healing, and ultimate fulfillment. To Jesus, she opened her heart in surrender. Through Jesus, her Savior, she finally knew God.

“Jesus has given me real life,” Deidre says, “not just while I am on earth, but an eternal, living relationship with the Creator of the Universe, the living God. God is my strength and my song, my life and my love. He answered the questions I had about faith. I owe God everything.”

Think theologically. Do you know God? Do you want to know Him better? Ask Him to reveal Himself to you as you read and study Scripture. Pray for specific knowledge and understanding of who He is. He will take your confusion and make things clearer in time. Just ask Him.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 19

Technology has made it too easy at times to find answers. I remember growing up in the 1960’s and searching four avenues for information to questions I had: First, I would ask my parents; Second, consult the dictionary and/or encyclopedia we had in our home; Third, go to the library; Fourth, read magazines like Sports Illustrated to answer sports questions, etc. That was about it.

Today, if you have a computer problem, look up the FAQ’s on your laptop; Curious about a local art exhibit? Look up the info and read the FAQ’s on your mobile device. Wondering about taking care of a roommate who left their dog with you over a long weekend? Check out the FAQ’s. You can find just about anything by reading it’s FAQ’s at the speed you can Google it.

Frequently asked questions are a great way to get answers to a variety of questions. Learning about computers, cameras, weather, relationships, science, and whatever you are interested in is great – but what do you do to find answers to matters of faith and conscience?

The Bible is the best selling book of all time for a reason. People have found real and dependable answers about life, identity, purpose, God, and eternity for centuries in its pages. What does a life well lived look like? You can certainly find answers to spiritual questions on the Web, but I believe we all need to cultivate a growing mastery of the 66 books of Scripture. All of us need satisfying answers to the questions deep inside us that we are often afraid to verbalize. But where do we look to survive spiritually? Consider these questions:

Who is God? Read Psalm 145

How do I deal with life when I feel no one cares for me? Romans 8:39 – “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

What do I do when things seem too tough and I can’t figure things out? Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”

Who could love me when I have trouble loving myself for all the things I have done? Romans 8:1 and 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us.”

How do I deal with my fear of the present or the future? Read Psalm 23

Which of these FAQ’s hits close to home? How knowledgeable are you of the Bible?

I was talking to a student one day whose mind was racing with the cares and responsibilities of being a college student. He was used to dwelling on the negative aspects of what he faced and could not break free. I suggested reading, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture passages about God and what He offered human beings made in His image. I told Steve that it was not merely thinking about what was written on the pages of Scripture, but recognizing that God wanted to be a part of our lives. His presence made all the difference when we faced doubt, worry, hardship, trouble, suffering, discouragement, and even failure.

Grow devotionally. Make the Bible part of your daily routine. Answers to your FAQ’s are available. Some of them need to be sought out in God’s Word. No question is too hard for God.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 12

2011 saw Chi Alpha Campus Ministries hit some amazing markers in our fifty-year history. We now have 700 staff serving more than 300 campuses in the United States, with 25,000 college students involved. I was introduced to Chi Alpha (and Jesus) as a college student in the 1970’s while I was at Ohio University. Thousands of students like me encountered the person & power of Jesus through our exposure to Chi Alpha on our campuses. Read Acts 2:42-47.

Chi Alpha continues to mobilize communities of students eager to make the name and person of Jesus more famous on campus. Our staff work to develop the following behaviors in students:

Worship & Prayer: We believe God has made Himself known in two books: Scripture and nature. We establish ministry to God as our highest calling. We also learn humility and dependence, practice confession, receive forgiveness, and pray for others.

Supportive Relationships: We model and teach by example the command of Jesus to “love one another.” Healthy human relationships are a mark of true discipleship and are reflected in supportive single and married relationships.

Discipleship: We model, teach, and practice spiritual discipline and formation (i.e., Bible study, prayer, fasting, service, etc.) so that men and women to learn to grow in obedience to Jesus and his teachings and develop Christ-like maturity.

Evangelism: We believe every person ought to have the opportunity to respond to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to accept His invitation to follow Him into a life of discipleship. We believe God has called all Christians to personal involvement in the work of making Jesus more famous in the world. We equip and enable each student to know how to hear that call, discover their place, and assume their responsibility in the greatest rescue operation of all time.

The Life of the Spirit: We model, teach, and practice walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the supernatural help of God to practice the Kingdom life modeled by Jesus and the early church. We want students to regularly be filled with the Spirit and to learn to be a vessel for the gifts of the Spirit now on campus and later in the marketplace.

Lifelong Stewardship: We model, teach, and call students to handle their skills, time, money, and work, so as to bring honor to God while in college, the home, and in the global marketplace.

The university is undeniably one of the most strategic and influential centers in any culture or society. Where else but on a few acres of ground can you find thousands of people preparing to be global leaders in business, commerce, education, government, medicine, politics, science, and technology? When are the minds and hearts of our young people more open to new ideas and philosophies than their college years? Without a doubt, what happens on the university campus ultimately impacts all of society. If we can touch a student for Christ, we can touch the future.

I have served the past 30 years as a campus minister with Chi Alpha. I believe in whom we represent and the vital service we provide every campus, every professor, and every student in the country. Serve globally by reaching your campus for Christ now. When you graduate, will you give a year back? The early church affected their world. Join us as we affect ours.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 5

I decided to become a follower of Jesus in my third year of college. I had never thought much of religion, God, or even Christianity up to that point in my life. I remember a guy that was attempting to talk about his faith to me, but was later arrested for stealing clothes from other students on campus. He was caught wearing the clothes in a class when one of the students he stole from recognized a sweater his parents bought him. The large disconnect between what he said and what he did turned me off, and his words did not have much impact on me.

Then I heard musician Amy Grant (whom I had a slight crush on), talk about the messages that our clothes send. She said that one reason we wear what we do is to make a statement. She added that if our clothes send (or shout) the message of immodesty, that is a wrong message to be sending to others. We might as well wear a shirt with large letters on the back that say, “loose,” “playboy or playgirl,” or “thought-life destroyer.”

Amy Grant also said something I remember: “Modesty is purity in action.” I learned as a college student that my heart commitment to Jesus is revealed in the way I live – the decisions I make, the way I use my words, even the way I dress and take care of myself. I remember some girls in school that sarcastically said, “Yes, I am waiting for the right guy.” But they were known for hardly wearing anything and were very flirtatious with the men.

I also remember a discussion about modesty in Chi Alpha when I was in graduate school. One of the senior gals said, “I like to wear clothes that are modest and not showing too much flesh, and yet are not too tight. I believe in not dressing in such a manner as to cause my brothers-in-Christ to be tempted to struggle with lust.” Then one of the guys said modesty is not just for females. To honor the Lord, men and women should dress in a way that will not cause members of the opposite sex to stumble.

Read Colossians 3:5-12.

The apostle Paul wrote to Christians in the first century and argued that they should, “Put to death…sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed” (3:5). He meant that we are to literally wipe out impure stuff from our lives. If our language, attitudes, actions, even our choice of clothes causes others to have impure thoughts about us, we have failed them – and God.

All of us were trained by our mothers to take off dirty clothes, throw them in the laundry and then put on clean ones (after cleaning up, brushing our teeth, and combing our hair). Thanks Mom! Paul added in v 9-10 that Christians are expected to renounce their evil ways and live in accordance with the rules of Christ’s Kingdom. Paul went on in v 12 to say the people of God should wear a certain kind of clothing: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Why do you dress the way you do? How does your clothing – or lack of it – affect your self-image and how others view you? Why is your modesty so important to God? The clothing other people should see is the beauty of Jesus and His character radiating from our face, words, and actions. Modesty is a part of that beautiful attire.

Walk wisely. Because of the salvation God offers, Christians must put forth every effort to live godly lives. Dressing for success today is challenging. Remember that modesty is best.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

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