Monthly Archives: December 2016

Monday Motivator – December 12

If you work in campus ministry very long, you will encounter a wide variety of college students with respect to their religious practices. In particular, many from Christian backgrounds come to the university from Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox families, whose parents have tried to model the integration of a daily faith with daily life. Their hope is their child(ren) will accept, continue, deepen, and pass on their faith.

The reality is college students are free will human beings who are affected by their family, environment of their upbringing (including friends, neighborhood, school, etc.), and are sorting out who they are and what they believe. It does not stop at age eighteen.

I have met many young people raised in a home with parents who were practicing the teachings of Jesus, involved with a Bible-believing church, and living a missional life. Yet those same young people decided to push away from their own faith heritage once they left home for college, the military, or the marketplace after high school.

Many parents ask questions: How could they observe, hopefully understand the values and practices we modeled, articulated, and practiced, and then seemingly throw away their beliefs? Knowing we love them more than anyone else on the planet, and hoping they learn how to make sense of the world from our perspective, why do they disregard such “wisdom” for a “chance to figure out life on their own?” I’m sure we all know someone who grew up in a Christian home but for various reasons, gave up, walked away, or switched sides. Maybe you have become or are becoming someone like this.

Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26.

As young people start to form their own opinions and learn other points of view, they may find it easy to start believing the Bible is strict or old-fashioned. They may think it is not cool anymore to show up at church (with or without their parents), practice holiness, and identify with Jesus. Some other faith or world-view may sound appealing.

The apostle Paul knew the temptations all of us face: evil desires and stupid arguments (2 Timothy 2:22-23). As we learn about the ideas and philosophies of the world, we may be tempted to question the things we have been taught.

But Paul reminded his young friend Timothy to, “Continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have learned it” (3:14). You can trust the faith you have been taught. Your parents, grandparents, pastors, and friends who have experienced the faithfulness of God would not lead you astray.

It may be common for young people to experiment with different religions and faiths. Yet consider that new ideas come and go, but the certainty of God’s Word and His saving grace never change. You can trust Him. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So trust the decision you made to put your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus. It’ll lead you to a life that flourishes on earth and matters, even as your place in heaven is held secure.

Serve globally. How can you keep your faith fresh? Trust the Truth, who is a Person.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – December 5

When have you felt like a “stranger in the world” (v 1 of 1 Peter), because of your faith? I remember many Chi Alpha students describing a situation where a professor ridiculed Christians in particular in class, for believing in what he/she said were the myths and superstitions of the Bible. Some students attempted to respond, while others cringed in silence.

 Please read 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 from the New International Version.

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The apostle Peter started off his letter in 1:1-12, by reminding believers that 1) they have a glorious calling and heavenly inheritance in Jesus (1:2-5); 2) that their faith and love in this life will be subjected to testing and refining, and will result in praise, glory, and honor at the Lord’s appearing (1:6-9); 3) that this great salvation was foreseen by Old Testament prophets (1:10-12).

Peter continues in 1:13-2:3 by stating that regardless of the circumstances a Christian may face, he/she must live a holy life (1:13-16), clearly different from those around us that do not profess to know and love Jesus. It’s possible because Jesus is our hope (1:3) and our Savior (1:18-19).

Since Christ-followers are chosen and sanctified (1:2), we as “growing infants” should continue to take in the “pure milk” of the Word of God (2:1-3) so we can grow up into maturity, even as we get rid of the old ways of our former life before we met Jesus (2:1-2).

I’ll summarize this passage with the phrase, “holiness through obedience.” Which of Peter’s two challenges in 1:13-16 or 2:1-2 is the greater challenge for you today? How diligent are you in taking in the “pure spiritual milk” of Scripture? Under stress, what helps you “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you?” (1:13). Walk wisely. Like Peter, learn to lean on the strength of God in difficult times, rather than rely on your wits to solve the problem.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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