Monthly Archives: December 2015

Monday Motivator – December 28

Over 100 years ago a young man stood in a doorway of his home and watched the traffic. Noticing a flashy, brand-new automobile, he exclaimed, “Boy, wouldn’t I like to have a car like that!” “Why don’t you get one, William?” asked a friend standing near. The reply was unexpected, “I can’t afford it.” The answer was unexpected because the speaker was William Borden, a descendant of the famed Borden family of Chicago, founders of the prosperous dairy business. In his own right, William was worth a million dollars.

William’s mother was a Christian, active in the Moody Memorial Church of Chicago, of which R.A. Torrey was then the pastor. It was through his mother’s influence when he was a boy that William was constrained to see his pastor about his own spiritual need. Dr. Torrey pointed him to Christ and led him into the assurance of salvation. From then on, William did not consider himself his own master. Nothing he owned was his, including his inherited wealth. That is why he could not “afford” a car, or many other things a wealthy young man would have purchased without hesitation. His money was a trust from God, to be used only at the discretion of the Holy Spirit.

After he graduated from prep school in 1904, Borden’s parents decided that a trip around the world would broaden him in preparation for the university years ahead. Little did they realize what this globe-encircling trip would do for him spiritually, for it was on this trip that he wrote to his mother, “I have so much of everything in this life, and there are so many millions who have nothing and live in darkness.” By the time he arrived home a decision was crystallizing in his mind.

“When I look ahead,” he said, “the only thing to do is to prepare for the foreign field.” He had given his heart to Christ when a lad. Now as a young man he surrendered his life for service in global missions. There followed further preparation at Yale and Princeton, and then the commissioning as a missionary at the Moody Memorial Church.

The fact that the wealthy Borden was sacrificing a life of ease and comfort for the foreign missions attracted wide publicity in the newspapers. But for this notoriety, Borden cared nothing. His heart was set on China. So in December of 1912, he sailed east, arriving in Cairo, Egypt shortly after. There, under the tutelage of Dr. Samuel Zwemer, he began to study missionary methods he thought he would need. But in April of 1913, after a brief bout with cerebral meningitis, he passed into the presence of the Lord.

Borden’s short life had a powerful effect upon his generation. His death was no less effective. His will was a legacy that reflected an intense loyalty to Christ and a deep concern for those perishing without knowing Jesus. He left the bulk of his ample estate to home and foreign missions.

Read 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Doubtless there are some who would consider this a wasted life – just a few brief years. It was not a wasted life – it was an invested life – a life that caught a transforming glimpse of the purpose for which Christ died. It was a life that gave, even to the giving of himself, that souls who are lost and dying without a Savior might have a chance to hear the good news.

Serve globally. Join me in praying and working so that many college students decide to surrender themselves to God in a manner similar to William Borden.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2015 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 21

What are examples of times you have been rebellious? What were the results? I remember a time I stole candy from the neighborhood store. Somehow my mother learned of my action when I got home. Not only did she march me back to the store so I could apologize for my actions, and repay the storeowner from my piggy bank, she then disciplined me when we got home. I was also still subject to my dad’s punishment when he got home from work. For the record, that was two spankings that day.

As a kid growing up, it did not matter if I did not like the rules my parents established for my siblings and me. I could not ignore them either, because there were always consequences. I deduced fairly quickly as a child that my parents were serious about teaching us right from wrong, and reinforcing the sort of behavior they expected. Their consistent efforts helped root out a tendency in me to become rebellious.

By contrast, I saw a few friends whose parents appeared a bit passive in the discipline department and my classmates were allowed to develop and carry a rebellious attitude as they went from elementary to junior high and high school. That’s when I realized what mom had said so often had merit: “What you feed grows.”

Most of us agree that taken too far, rebellious behavior can be devastating. A story from an Old Testament man can be helpful in illustrating a lesson learned the hard way.

Read Jeremiah 52:1-11.

A young college-age man named Zedekiah was twenty-one when he became king of Judah. He was actually put in leadership as a sort of puppet leader by King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. But Zedekiah did not live according to the rules of God. Jeremiah 37:2 records, “Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord had spoken.” King Z even threw the prophet Jeremiah into prison (v 21).

Finally, “Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (52:3) and Nebuchadnezzar had enough. He sent the Babylon army to destroy Jerusalem and took the people captive. And the final consequence of Zedekiah’s rebellious nature and actions resulted in utter disgrace. V 10-11 record that, “The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon, where he was out in prison until the day of this death.”

I never considered stealing a candy bar, or other rebellious acts of my youth, as having the potential capability to bring down the United States. But Jeremiah’s account of Zedekiah’s life shows and tells us how seriously God takes rebellion. Zedekiah had a copy of God’s law accessible to him. God even sent Jeremiah to Zedekiah to make sure he understood what was expected of him. But he still did not listen.

Today we are blessed to have Scripture in our native language, wise and capable Bible teachers, Chi Alpha chapters, and even parents who long ago decided to follow the teaching of Jesus to help us learn what God expects. Walk wisely. Let us not ignore what God tells us. Disobedience is natural behavior, but obedience is learned and more useful.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2015 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 14

The New Testament describes Paul (earlier known as Saul) as a Jewish man born in Tarsus, but brought up in Jerusalem under the teaching of the famous Jewish rabbi, Gamaliel. He was early on in life a zealot, eagerly devoted to his God, and thought it was necessary to do many things against the name, character, and authority of Jesus of Nazareth.

Saul must have heard that the believers in Jesus were preaching the message of this “other rabbi,” because he asked for permission to go to Damascus. Acts 9:1 says Saul was even breathing out murderous threats against those who were followers (disciples) of Jesus. And this leads to one important event, one that is recorded 3 times in the book of Acts.

Read Acts 9:1-31.

Damascus was 150 miles north of Jerusalem, but four to six day’s travel. As Saul and his companions neared the city about noon, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around Saul. He shut his eyes because of the blazing brightness, but he saw Jesus. When he opened them, he could see nothing. His pals took him into Damascus where he stayed for 3 days, unable to see.

On the third day the Lord Jesus appeared in a vision to a Jewish believer named Ananias. V 10-11 says the Lord told Ananias to go to the street named Straight, to the house of Judas, and ask for a man named Saul of Tarsus, who was praying. And get this, while he was praying, Saul received a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so that he might receive his sight back.

Ananias objected at first. He had heard from a lot of folks about the bad things Saul had done to the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. The Lord again commanded Ananias to go and reassured him that Saul was His chosen instrument to carry His name before the Gentiles (the nations), and also the kings and people of Israel.

So Ananias obeyed, found the house of Judas, went in, and laid his hands on Saul, “calling” him brother. By doing so, he recognized Saul as a believer. The New Testament never records anything else about Ananias. He probably continued living an obedient life to the Lord. But Saul would never forget the godly man who first called him brother.

This is the kind of conversion we are seeing on campuses nationwide. We are praying, watching and participating with the Holy Spirit in the mission of making the name of Jesus more famous in the student world from places like Stanford to the University of Minnesota to Brown, Yale, Rutger’s, Ohio University, the University of Florida and The University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Chi Alpha staff and students want to be available for whatever spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit may want to bless us with, in order that others might believe and come to flourish, which is God’s design for all of us. Like Saul of Tarsus experienced the Person of Jesus, will you pray that key Jewish students will become followers of Jesus? And Muslims? Athletes? Professors? Key student leaders all over campus? Your classmates and roommates?

 Live communally. Who has played the role of Ananias in your life? To whom does the Lord want you to play that part? Wise men and women still seek Him, and also bear witness to Him.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2015 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 7

The Associated Press published an article that was picked up in The Daily Progress, in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, December 5, 2015. It described an Illinois resident who has completed 78 marathons, including one in each of the 50 states of America.

Imagine the end of a marathon with 26.2 miles on your aching legs. As you slow to a stop after passing the finish line, and drink in water and gulps of oxygen, you may hear yourself making a promise (to yourself) to never do that again. But to runners like Michael Ahrens (featured in the AP story), that declaration has gotten broken many times, even more than 77 times in his case.

“There are points for people in a marathon when you are hurting and you tell yourself, ‘This is it. I don’t know if I can do this again,’” said Ahrens, age 64, quoted in the article. “But afterward, the agony kind of fades, and you remember the good things.”

Ahrens finished his 78th marathon last month, which put the cap on a decades long chase – to run a marathon in each state. He said it started with 50 states and now it’s onto the seven continents or all the state capitols.

Very little happens in life without a goal. Many of us have objectives for school, spring break, summer internships (after attending SICM of course), our social lives, family, and finally crossing the threshold to graduation. But all of us also need a spiritual aim worthy of our effort.

Read Joshua 14:6-15.

Caleb, one of the original twelve spies sent by Moses to check out the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-30), was also one of two spies (the other being Joshua) to return with a positive report for Moses and the Israelites. Caleb early on believed God had power to do what He had promised and locked onto God’s promise to take His people from Egypt to the Promised Land.

Its been a road trip of forty years in the desert, with various wanderings, ups and downs, and victories and setbacks. Yet Caleb remained optimistic about God’s ability to move His people forward, defeat every enemy, meet all of their needs, and get them across the Jordan River.

When they finally reached Canaan and the edge of the Promised Land, Caleb was now 85 years old. He was just as ready as he was four decades ago to go in and possess the Land God promised and his inheritance. His steely-eyed determination was intact, his devotion to God was still passionate, and his words rang out with energy and faith in his God. He said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day,” (Joshua 14:12).

Caleb should be commended and honored for a lifelong walk of faith. Scripture records he was man who “followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” (Joshua 14:14). What does it mean for you to follow the Lord wholeheartedly? If you adopt that goal, an arduous adventure of climbing mountains, overcoming adversity, and personal growth with God lies ahead.

Caleb remembered that it took Israel one night to get out of Egypt, but it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. Think theologically. No goal – no direction – no progress. No marathon is off limits, but living a faith-filled life like Caleb will cost you just as much in the long run.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2015 by Mike Olejarz

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