Monthly Archives: November 2014

Monday Motivator – November 24

A friend of mine lived for a while with a bunch of guys in a house near campus. The old place was big and spacious and they often crammed more than a dozen or so guys into the five bedrooms, plus the 2 couches in the living room. It could get drafty in the winter, but the biggest challenge they complained to the landlord about was that the floor moved at night.

One of my buddies stayed there once on the “guest” couch and he told me he got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. The first thing he heard in the darkness was the snap, crackle, and pop under his bare feet. He flipped a light on and did not view left over Captain Crunch cereal, but…you guessed it…roaches!

Many people recoil and even gag at the sight of roaches. But I recently talked with Joe, an exterminator who came by our house to help us with an “ant” problem. He said most insects and pests (including roaches) are actually wonderful creatures. He added that roaches in particular are victims of a misinformation campaign. I know, I chuckled too, when I heard that statement. But to be honest, it did not make me feel sorry for the little guys that often find the bottom of someone’s shoe. But the exterminator persisted in arguing that roaches aren’t that bad.

My learning ensued as Joe continued by saying, “The roaches that infest most buildings and homes are not on the radar of the Society for the Prevention to the Cruelty to Animals, …er, critters. But they are just one of the thousands of species that live on earth. Most are tiny, but some grow to be six inches long. Most roaches in the United States live in the outlying areas of civilization and feed on dead plants and trees as part of God’s earthly recycling program.” I had not thought God was THAT forward thinking, but I was mistaken, according to Joe.

When was the last time you saw a roach? It’s okay if you mentioned when you saw, “Men in Black” with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Even there the roaches were disgusting, right? Yet Joe’s description (and esteem) of the little creature got me wondering if I was missing something. Even though my first reaction may not be to praise God for His abundant wisdom in creating roaches, I do need to increase my appreciation for His design

Read Psalm 104:19-35.

Are you starting to feel a tiny bit of compassion for roaches yet? Probably not, but pause for a moment and consider the world’s complex system of plants, animals, and even insects and pests. How do they point to a good and wise Creator behind them all?

George Washington Carver was fond of saying God left us two Books to study to get to know Him better: Scripture and nature. In their vast diversity and place in the natural order, creatures like roaches can aid us in gaining an appreciation for God’s beauty, wisdom, and design. The Psalmist did say in 104:24, “He made all things.” Even repulsive, icky critters like roaches.

So the next time you see a roach, spider, lizard, or whatever causes your skin to crawl (and I hope you don’t see anything for a long time), try not to shudder. Keep in mind that even the most disgusting creatures on earth (in your eyes, at least), point to an amazing and awesome Creator who made everything for a purpose. Think theologically. Every creature reflects the design of its Creator. I dare you to praise God for roaches in an upcoming Chi Alpha meeting.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – November 17

Barbara and I host and lead a weekly small group for a dozen or so folks involved in City Church in Charlottesville, VA. Our church is involved with caring for the homeless and each fall and spring we (and many other churches) open our church facilities and provide free housing for a week. Our group recently volunteered to provide dinner and conversation one of those nights. One man I spoke with (named Scott) said he was a military veteran who was trying to get back on his feet economically and spiritually. He asked me how to pray and I suggested he read Luke 11:1-13, where Jesus taught his disciples about the topic.

Luke 11 gives us the greatest prayer and safest pattern to learn how to talk with God. Outlined by Jesus, it has six topics as a model. Scott thought it was a great framework to start with.

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BY THY NAME

We begin by praising God for who he is: Our Father; and His character qualities: healer, righteousness, peace, mercy, love, good, kind, shepherd, helper, and so on. Bless Him with your words; sing to Him; honor and adore Him; rest in who He is.

THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE

Move into praying for God’s rule (kingdom) and His will to be done in your life (on earth) as things are in heaven. Pray for His rule in your life, family, ministry, church, country, nation, etc. Pause and listen for God’s voice.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

God wants us to depend on Him for our daily provision. The key to receiving daily bread is obedience and humility. Ask God for what you need (i.e. strength, direction, peace, food, wisdom, etc.). Ask God to bless the ministry of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and the church.

FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US

Search your heart before God. Ask Him to reveal hidden sin. Trust his promise in 1 John    1:9 and ask for and receive his forgiveness. Then release forgiveness to those whom you have bitterness. Forgiveness come from the will, not our emotions.

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

Read Ephesians 6:10-17. Put on the WHOLE armor of God each day. Ask God to help you walk in the “light” of relationship with Him and other believers. Trust God to protect you from the enemy and resist temptation. Orient yourself to living right in the power of the Holy Spirit. Pause and listen for God to speak to you.

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY

This prayer began with praise, recognizing God for who He is. It closes in the same manner, but allows us also to worship Him for His acts on our behalf. Worship Jesus! Acknowledge His sovereign authority. Bless Him for being in charge. Thank Him for His ruler ship in your life, which provides care, provision, safety, leadership, etc.

Grow devotionally. Using the pattern Jesus gave in Luke 11, you can regularly pray and constantly walk in communion with God. Plus you can share it as a transferable concept with someone else and continue your effort to 2nd Timothy 2:2 it to those around you.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – November 10

Jimmy from China said, “While growing up in China, I was told God didn’t exist. On the surface, I appeared to have a lot, but eternal peace was elusive. I had to find happiness, so I came to America. One day while eating with an American Christian on campus, he told me how Jesus gave him hope and peace. I was moved to tears because I longed for the same thing. That day I discovered the true meaning of life started with a love relationship with God through Christ.”

We are reaching the world on American colleges and universities. Will you partner with us?

Never in the history of the Church has a generation of Christians had a greater opportunity to reach the world for Christ than we have in America today. The United States hosts the greatest number of internationals of any country: close to 700,00 students from almost 200 nations.

International students must speak English before they begin their studies. They represent the brightest and most affluent people from their countries. Over 60% of these foreign visitors are from the least evangelized countries of the world. Most of them desire to make American friends while they are here, experience American family life, and understand U.S. culture better.

Most international students will return home when they graduate and excel in education, politics, science, government, and the military. They will not need to learn the language or culture, or need a passport. Imagine them going home as servant leaders of King Jesus…they could be missionaries to their own nations and areas of professional training and skill.

If an international student comes to America as a follower of Jesus, we need to follow the example of the apostle Paul and work to “help them continue in their faith, established and firm, and not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:23). If an international student comes to our country and is not a follower of Jesus, we need to follow the example of the apostle Paul and extend friendship, ask questions, listen to their story and journey, and ascertain how we might model and present Christ to them (Acts 17:16-34).

But stop to think about the global mandate that Jesus gave His church in Matthew 28:18-20. He said to “go and make disciples of all nations…” He then orchestrates the nations coming to us in America in unprecedented numbers since the end of World War 2. He did it, I believe, partly in order to lighten the stress it would cause on many of us having to leave our families, raise a missionary budget, and learn a new culture and language. He also did it to give a lot more Christians (and churches) a chance to have a global influence on the missionary advance of the Church by befriending one international student in their local context.

Students like Jimmy are one phone call away from an invitation to your dorm, home with your family over the upcoming holidays, friendship, then the Gospel itself. Every Chi Alpha chapter is diligently connecting with the international students on their campus to offer friendship, English conversation, growth and ministry opportunities, and safe conversations about Jesus.

Christians from churches nearby should contact campus ministry staff about partnership. If you live in the Northeast U.S., consider inviting an international you know to attend MOSAIC with you over Thanksgiving weekend. Go to www.MosaicEC.com for info. Will you make room in your life for one more friend? Serve globally. It’s about building His Kingdom, right?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – November 3

I was out for an early Sunday morning bike ride on the bike path that circles much of the south side of the Ohio University campus. It was pretty quiet at 7:15 am when I came upon someone walking with slooped shoulders. It was a female and her body language did not seem very upbeat. I slowed down and said, “Good morning. What brings you out so early on a Sunday?”

“Ah, nothing,” she replied. “I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and I got tired of tossing and turning in bed.” “Anything you want to talk about?” I inquired. She paused for a minute as I walked my bike next to her. “Okay, I guess, but it’s going to seem so silly to you.” I replied, “What’s your name?” “Melissa,” she answered as we sat down on the bike path.

“Are you a student at OU (Ohio University)?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied, “studying education, but I really want to be an airline attendant. If I told my mom, she would blow up and start yelling that I’m wasting her and my dad’s money. I don’t want to hurt my parents, but I’m starting to get some idea of what to do with my life…but it’s not what they want for me.”

I have had hundreds of conversations with college students in three-plus decades of university ministry about big decisions. I guess many of them figured that since I was a few years older, I would know what they might do, or at least how to approach the process.

I’ve also had hundreds of conversations about the ways we try to discover the will of God. We ask, “Where should I go to school?” “What should I study?” “What should I do with my life?” I realize many of us wish we could know for sure exactly what God wants us to do every time we ask, but God is not a cosmic fortune teller that we keep on retainer. We wish (and even pray) that He would write His plans for us in the sky and how to accomplish them. But He doesn’t.

Scripture says it is not hard to determine His will. There are the clear moral teachings of the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. I don’t need to pray if it is God’s will to rob a bank to pay for next semester’s classes, books, and meal plan.

Scripture says God is interested in our character as much or more than our career path. Are you walking and talking with God? Are you keeping your heart and motives clean toward God and others? Are you reading, meditating on, and living according to Scripture? Are you loving and forgiving toward your neighbors? If so, then you can find wisdom to make good decisions.

After listening to Melissa’s story and the anguish she was in, I asked if I could share something that has helped me make decisions. “Okay,” she replied. I said it was some wisdom from the Bible and I quoted Proverbs 3:5-6. Melissa started crying, and I was wondering if what I said was wrong. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “You didn’t say anything wrong, Mike. When I was leaving home for college, my grandmother asked me about my relationship with God. She knew I was drifting away and was concerned. She told me she was praying for me and then gave me a present for graduation from high school. And I never take it off my wrist.”

Melissa then pulled up the end of her sweatshirt to reveal a bracelet with Proverbs 3:5-6 etched on it. She jumped to her feet, saying, “I’ve got to call my grandmother and tell her I am getting back to God and I know what I need to say to my folks. Thanks, Mike.” And she ran off. I never saw Melissa again. Walk wisely. God knows how to use our initiative in blessing others.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

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