Monthly Archives: November 2018

Monday Motivator – November 19

Imagine you are traveling to a country you have never visited before for a two-year study abroad experience. It is a place where English is not spoken as the primary language, and you had to show a strong aptitude to speak and work in another language, that of the host country and university, before being accepted.

You will not be able to find (at least not in the short term), a grocery store where you can buy food and drink that you are used to back home. Instead, you will have to taste, eat, and learn to enjoy food that is unfamiliar to you.

Imagine being in another country for two years, where you will not see, hear, or experience any of the American holidays you are used to, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or even the 4thof July. You may have access to NFL Gameday on your mobile device, but most major sports events are not that important in your host country. The Internet is free and available where you are going and will be a saving grace in many ways. You are leaving family and friends behind and will not be able to travel home during the next year or so, primarily due to cost and distance.

The good news for most Americans is that we don’t have to leave America for a fine education. Yet close to a million international students do travel to the United States for some or much of their educational development. These men and women are well-mannered, highly motivated, and eager to travel to our country, yet still have to face and overcome language, customs, and food barriers, including separation of family for the time they are guests in America.

How should we as followers of King Jesus reach out to these guests from almost every nation on Earth? How can we aid them in their transition (brief as it is) to life in our country and the college or university they come to study in? Do we have room in our life for one more friend?

Read Acts 8:26-40.

The Lord re-assigned Philip from leading a spiritual awakening to going out to meet a visiting government official from Ethiopia who was traveling to Jerusalem on business. Philip obeyed the Holy Spirit and went out of this way to find and welcome him to his country. Philip made time in his life to get close to this African man and learn of his felt needs. Philip earned his trust by treating him with dignity and asking how he could serve him. His initial efforts to meet and greet the visitor gained traction when the government man invited Philip to sit with him in his chariot.

The Ethiopian was reading a familiar passage known to Philip, and Philip asked him about his chosen topic. When the man admitted he had questions about the person in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Philip supplied needed answers he learned from his own study. The Ethiopian was grateful for Philip’s spiritual insight’s and hospitality, and shortly after, asked about becoming a follower of the King Isaiah described.

Philip models the kind of hospitality and friendship we offer to international students today in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. Had you been Philip, would you know the Scriptures well enough to answer a seeking person’s questions? How will you grow in your understanding of Jesus’ teachings to be prepared for divine appointments? Serve globally. Join us in following Philip’s example and make room in your life for an international friend.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2018 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – November 12

Do you worship God or do you worship good, i.e., what He does for you?

There is nothing wrong with being born and raised in America – land of the free and home of the brave, along with being a land of plenty. Those of us fortunate to be born in America are blessed in ways that are a bit different from people raised on other continents and in other countries.

Americans are able to find affordable housing to suit their needs and stage of life. Education is one of the pathways to a decent life and children go to school to be prepared for adulthood and a mature citizenry. Food and water is in ready supply across the nation and there is no need for any sort of rationing. Jobs are available for anyone ready and willing to work. Our Constitution provides the basis for protected freedoms. The present is encouraging and the future is hopeful.

Across the nation, state by state, and city by city, the people of God gather regularly to freely worship God. They sing His praises, celebrate His goodness, and glorify His name. Their prayers of gratitude focus on who God is and what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary two thousand years ago. With the awareness of the provision of food & water, shelter, clothes, education, opportunity, and the broad freedoms enjoyed by all Americans, they continue to worship the Creator. In the midst of social, economic, material and spiritual goodness, the followers of King Jesus celebrate His Lordship and care.

When was the last time you worshipped God just for who He is?

Have you thought about the way you often direct your attention to God? Have you considered what you include in your prayers? Our prayer and praise are full of thanks for His many blessings (maybe not clearly defined at times), our health and strength, liberty and opportunity, friends and family. Our prayer requests may cover needs for further education, economic and employment advancement, home and/or church improvements, and even caring for family members of advancing age. There is nothing wrong in approaching the throne of Grace for such requests. We certainly need to pray about such important matters.

I have, however, noticed a slight danger we might be susceptible to. In our attempts to thank God for such bountiful blessings, we may start to thank God for the good we have, and not the God who provides it. We may also slip into a mindset that if there is no continued bounty, we have little to thank God for. Beware of the tendency to forget that it is all about Him. He is worthy!

Read Psalm 96.

What are some of the attributes of God found in the thirteen verses of Psalm 96?

Like the model of our Hebrew friends from the Older Testament, may we praise God for who He is, and not merely for what He does. Their praise is the praise of God’s characteristics – His love, strength, power, omnipresence, and unchanging nature. Their praise is the recognition of God’s spiritual provisions – His salvation, justification, and sanctification. In addition to the material provisions we enjoy, may we praise God, and Him alone, for His steadfast character.

Walk wisely. We should praise our God, not our good. Praise the Giver, not His gifts.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2018 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – November 5

What are the some of the characteristics that you admire in your friends? How can you model those to others?

I enjoyed the high school and college friendships that I experienced. I recall the enthusiasm and openness of these age groups and particularly the independence and zeal for adventure. The idea of making a difference among college students has resonated with me the past few decades as I’ve worked in and among them.

Donna, Scott, Linda, Chris, Tammy, John, Jill, Steve, Patrick, Skip, Mark, Jeanie, Robbie, Dave, Jeff, Quintin, Teresita, Chris, Huzie, Samantha, Celeste, Mark, Jake, Steve, Patrick, Katie, Tony, Liz, Fish, Melissa, Brenna, Roy, Mariela, John, Hoe-Phong, and Andrew are just some of the ones I remember. There are many more, of course, that elicit fond memories of divine encounters, road trips, campus conversations, Bible discussions and outreaches, skits and laughter, academic, life, and spiritual integration. Men and women I was blessed to know for a short period of time, yet long for our eventual reunion in heaven.

I love these men and women because of the traits I saw in them – honesty, vulnerability, a thirst for success and excellence in their field of study, integrity of faith and vocation, humility, a love of life. Each of them brings to my mind wonderful stories of redemption, varied paths to meet and surrender to King Jesus in the Academy, and continuing to know and serve Him afterwards in the marketplace. Being with them for a semester, a year, or longer was a rich period of access, friendship, and service together in a collegiate environment.

Being around them was a reminder of the influence of Jesus: His forgiveness changed us at our core; His grace enabled each of us to strive for our potential; His power put us on a path to flourish as masterpiece creations of His.

Read Romans 15:1-7.

I learned through my relationships with so many college students (and staff that joined me over the years) that it is possible to provide an example to others of who Jesus is by the way we openly and joyously live. I still remember how Taylor was influenced by Stacia at M.I.T., to eventually put his faith, hope, and trust in Jesus. She radiated the characteristics of Jesus in a way that made Taylor, and many others, feel as if they had, in a sense, been with Him.

Jesus loved sacrificially and intentionally. Jesus cared for the forgotten ones. He actually touched a leper, a woman who was sick, and unlovely (even dead) children, and gave them all life. Jesus obeyed the Father. Jesus lived within His means. Jesus prayed earnestly. Jesus met needs unselfishly. Jesus reflected and represented God’s holy name. Jesus served well. Jesus lived well. Can we agree to respond to His pursuit of us with a requisite hunger and thirst to be like Him?

The students listed a few paragraphs above represent dozens, hundreds, even thousands, that I have interacted with that are loving Jesus and serving others. Next time you are with a group of people, think about how you can reflect the characteristics of Jesus. Nothing flashy or to gain their praise. Just be a friend who lives a Jesus-like life among them. Live communally. Our friends should see Jesus in us through our words (verbal & non-verbal) and our actions.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2018 by Mike Olejarz

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