Monthly Archives: September 2017

Monday Motivator – September 25

Campus ministry staff and students of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries have made a deliberate effort to welcome, serve, and care for international students for more than four decades.

The Lord of the Harvest has made it possible for the brightest and best of almost 200 countries to come to the United States for a few years and study at our colleges and universities. That provides Christians all over America an opportunity to participate in foreign missions in reverse, without having to leave the land of their birth, raise a mission budget, learn a new language and adapt to a new culture, which takes years to figure out and become comfortable with.

Our Chi Alpha staff are always modeling, teaching, and equipping students to join in the adventure of international student ministry. Here are ten ways to ways to infuse your Chi Alpha chapter, small group, church, and even family with ideas and action steps to join the fun.

1. We want all Chi Alpha staff and each college student involved with us to live the three “I’s of Chi Alpha International (XAi) ministry: Informed: know the international student population and where they hang out on campus. Intentional: let’s befriend, serve, and ultimately disciple international students. Influential: help other students, ministries, & local churches to invest in and disciple international students.

2. Incorporate worship music in the languages of your campus international population. Make sure international students are part of the process, and even your worship teams.

3. Encourage international students to pray for their country (and in their native language) during large and small group gatherings.

4. Incorporate praying for international students and the countries into all discipleship venues.

5. Prayer walk the campus regularly asking God for favor among the international students.

6. Ensure that every Chi Alpha student leader has an international student English conversation partner. Make it an expectation of community life and service, not merely a choice for a few.

7. Train students and student leaders to incorporate international students into every small group. Recruit and mobilize international Christian students to do the same, even with Americans.

8. Expect, fast, pray, and work towards the goal of international students joining Chi Alpha, becoming student leaders, give-a-year candidates, and lifelong transformational leaders.

9. Design your Expeditions spring break and/or summer trips to destinations where you have a high number of international students on your campus.

10. Approach participating to international students as a listener and learner. Expect your life to be enriched as you open your heart to the people of the nations that Jesus loves.

Live communally. Like Jesus, we always need to have room in our life for one more friend. Let’s be sure to make room for the international students God has brought to our doorstep.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – September 18

My friend and colleague, Dr. Charles Spong, retired professor at Southeastern College in Lakeland, FL has written about the Protestant Reformation. With his permission, I am using his “Lessons from Luther” to inspire us to learn about such a pivotal event in church history.

The Reformation of the Church begun by Martin Luther in 1517 is more than about one person or an era (1517-1648). It is really about a continuing movement of the Church forward to what God wants it to be worldwide (Ephesians 4:11-16), a challenge yet to be fully met. 500 years (1517-2017) of church and contemporary life are reminders of the work that needs to be done.

*As evident by reading the life of Luther, it is important to know both the positive and negative turning points in ones’ life. He had numerous ones as evident beginning with his youthful days.

*Luther was open to God’s leading in the Word rather than essentially being influenced and controlled by parents and others, as well as political and social events.

*Luther was committed to the truth grounded in God’s Word. (“My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I will not recant…Here I stand.”)

*Two key truths were restored to the life of the church by Luther, sola fide, sola scriptura (faith alone, scripture alone). These are still affirmed and practiced today.

*Though difficult, Luther was willing to break with tradition and current practice to accept Biblical truth. A knowledge of Church history makes this clear.

*Luther was willing to break with powerful religious and political leaders when in error.

*As observed in the 14th to the 16th centuries, drifting from Biblical truth ultimately leads to failure whether within Catholicism or Protestantism.

*As observed in Luther’s life and ministry, it is evident and vitally important to work together.

*Luther lived in unexpected isolation for a lengthy time, as he was in hiding for a year. Through that difficult experience, the New Testament was translated into German, something never before available to the average person and something that dramatically changed the world.

*From Luther the Church learned anew that all believers are ministers/servants/priests, not just attendees, Ephesians 2:10, 4:12. Note Luther’s The Freedom of a Christian Man. The work of the Church is still done by a small number of church people. The 20/80 dilemma remains, perhaps more accurately 7/93. There would be a great surge in the Reformation Movement if 80 to 90% of believers were fulfilling Ephesians 2:10!

*The spiritual should take precedence over the social and political as witnessed in Luther and all Reformation leaders throughout the past 500 years.

Think theologically. Reflect on the lessons from Luther presented by Dr. Spong. Celebrate the 500 years since God inspired Luther to initiate the Reformation. Continue to build His church!

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – September 11

I need help learning to pray and do it consistently. One practice of mine is to use Scripture.

One example is to take a portion of Scripture like Psalm 23 and read and reflect on it. Then use the text of the 23rd Psalm to talk with God. I’ll start with verse 1 and go through the verses line by line in our conversation. I’ll pause at each verse and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to me, before I offer my petitions to the Lord.

Another example is to take a book of the Bible like 1 Thessalonians and mine it for key thoughts and ideas. Then use them for my prayer focus for the day, the week, or the month. Here are some samples from the five chapters of Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica:

Read 1 Thessalonians.

Use the following verse and short sentence to pray for those staff and students in Chi Alpha leadership, or pray these qualities into those in your small group. “Lord, help John, my small group leader to cultivate a life of thankfulness and prayer according to chapter 1, verse two.”

1 Thessalonians 1:2, a life of thankfulness and prayer.

1 Thessalonians 1:3, a hopeful, pastoral mindset towards others.

1 Thessalonians 1:4, a vision for what God wanted to do in others.

1 Thessalonians 1:5, a clear, anointed messenger for the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 1:6, a transparent and imitatable example.

1 Thessalonians 2:2, a courageous ability to endure opposition.

1 Thessalonians 2:3, a life of discipline, pure motives and integrity.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6, a tested life that pleases and honors God.

1 Thessalonians 2:7, a gentleness/tenderness in dealing with others.

1 Thessalonians 2:8, an authenticity that leads to truly loving people (and show affection).

1 Thessalonians 2:9, a willingness to set yourself aside for others.

1 Thessalonians 2:10, a trustworthy and blameless example.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13, an encouraging, fatherly, disposition that calls others forward.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-19, an intense longing to see people mature.

1 Thessalonians 3:2-5, a concern for other’s stability, even from a distance.

1 Thessalonians 3:7-9, a sincere gratefulness for the success of others.

1 Thessalonians 3:10, an earnest effort and prayer to disciple others.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, a teaching capacity that exhorts people how to live to please God.

1 Thessalonians 4:18, an ability to comfort and instruct with sound doctrine.

1 Thessalonians 5:6, a watchfulness for those under your care.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-22, a checklist for pastoral leaders.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, a firm reliance on the author of our salvation, the faithful One.

We can learn to pray in accordance with God’s will (and with confidence) by utilizing what God said in His own Word. Grow devotionally. Use Scripture to learn to pray and pray consistently.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – September 4

Why campus ministry? Why should Christ-followers be interested and involved in bringing the Person and teachings of Jesus to colleges and universities around America? We in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries always speak of four reasons regarding why we exist and work on campus:

First, we are reaching men and women outside of God’s Kingdom at a key time in their lives; second, we are protecting the investment the Church has made in its young people when they go off to college; third, we are serving and reaching international students while doing foreign missions in reverse; and fourth, we are reaching future leaders for Jesus. Here is a fifth reason: in the battle between good and evil, we are depopulating the ranks of evil.

Consider the most enduring theme of all time that is reflected in literature, movies, pop culture, even television. It’s Batman v.s. the Joker. It’s Luke Skywalker v.s. Darth Vader. It’s Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. It’s the white hat wearing sheriff v.s. the black hat wearing bully. It’s inherent in the opening theme music of any TV episode of Law and Order (i.e., something bad happens and we want things to be made right). It is Jesus v.s. satan.

The lines between good and evil are sometimes obscured in real life, making it difficult at first to tell the difference between what is good and what is unacceptable. Yet Scripture is clear on the authors of good and evil and which side best contributes to human flourishing.

Read Psalm 1.

The writer provides three guidelines in verse 1 for responding to the evil side of the tension.

First, do not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Avoid evil by refusing to be influenced by it. Knowing what you believe and why helps the godly refrain from being influenced by the thinking of the ungodly. Proverbs 1:10 says, “If sinners entice you, do not give in to them.”

Second, do not stand in the way of sinners. The second way to overcome evil is to avoid places where sinners congregate to practice their lifestyle. It is wise and prudent to not put yourself in tempting situations if you desire to keep yourself morally pure. It is possible to live among the ungodly and thrive as a Christ-follower (see Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego).

Third, do not sit in the seat of mockers. It is hard on campus not to find yourself in a class where a professor questions (or even criticizes) your faith. Psalm 1:1 argues that to walk with God means you do not join up with those antagonistic to Jesus and His teachings.

We in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries believe that God sends us into the world of the academy to reflect His glory and goodness. The good news is we have a God-given resource to counter the bad news (i.e., the negative and the evil). Psalm 1:2 says to immerse yourself in God’s Word each day. Scripture is part of God’s survival kit to enable us to stand strong in the midst of evil, know what is right, access God’s power to live a God-honoring life, and share it with others. How are you utilizing Scripture for your spiritual growth and enhanced testimony on campus?

Serve globally. The man or woman who delights in the law of the Lord can stand on campus as an example of Christ’s forgiveness, an example of a changed life, and beacon of hope.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2017 by Mike Olejarz

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