Monthly Archives: February 2019

Monday Motivator – February 25

What makes you angry? Is it an aggressive driver who rides right on your bumper on the highway? Is it people who talk on their cell phones while conducting business in front of you while you are in line at the bank? Is it someone who is rude to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant after their food order was not served to their satisfaction?

What else makes you angry?

I had an experience recently where a person complained rather loudly in a restaurant about something that was wrong with their order. Their server checked their notes, admitted they had made a mistake, acknowledged it, apologized for it, acted on it with a corrected side dish, and applied additional generosity by presenting them a gift card for a return visit.

I sat at a nearby table, listened to this conversation and thought to myself, “What an incredible example of hospitality.” What an example of patient leadership by the server. I had been ready to raise my voice and tell the offended person to tone it down. But the waitress’ efforts far exceeded my experience and expectation of how to handle a difficult customer. I was very impressed by the young lady’s behavior and the transforming power of her kind response.

There are minor and major injustices that we see or experience every day or week. What would have happened if you had had your way in your initial response to the aggressive bumper driver, cell phone talker, or rude restaurant guest?

If you had the chance to lecture them on dangerous driving, or rude anti-social behavior to the bank teller or wait staff, what difference could it have made? How helpful or ineffective could your efforts have been? Are we afraid people do not reap what they have sown?

Read Psalm 74.

The writer of this psalm issues a prayer for God to come to the aid of his people and defend His cause in the face of the mocking by the enemies of Israel. The author remembers how invaders destroyed the temple of God. He wrote in verse ten, “How long will the enemy mock you, O Lord?”

Yet the writer also remembers how often the Lord had rescued His people from so many predicaments, perils, and places of evil, pain, and suffering. God did it again and again. The Lord is the mighty God of salvation and creation. The Lord delivered His people from Egypt. The Lord has been able to overcome all hostile powers seeking to thwart His plans and redeem His people in order to move ahead in His cosmic plan of reconciliation.

Ultimately, the author is able to keep his trust in God, while not exactly knowing when justice would arrive.

How do you react when you get mad? Justice does not always come as swift as we would like it. But it will come. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, “that we should not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath.” God promised in Deuteronomy 32:35 that, “It is Mine to revenge, I will repay.” And He is much better equipped than we are to do so.

Live communally. Learn from the waitress to act with kindness and leave vengeance to God. It is often better to turn retaliation over to Him than to try and accomplish it ourselves.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 18

Do you like going to the doctor? Many people do not, because something happened to affect their perception of, or the actual reality of their experience.

My mom passed away from throat cancer a few years ago and the experience was difficult for all of us, but particularly my dad. So many treatments, blood tests, examinations, day-to-day diagnosis, and you get numb to the endless array of hopes and prayers as you face the consequences of a fatal disease. Who can blame anyone for feeling tired and dejected?

I just returned from a hospital visit to get a thyroid biopsy. Overall it was a pleasurable experience. I arrived early and got my paperwork handled efficiently at the check-in desk with a polite and friendly woman. I was sent to a second station where a nurse welcomed me, chatted me up, and guided me to changing room to get ready for the biopsy. She checked my blood pressure and heart rate, asked questions about any medications I was on, and got me ready for the processing nurse.

Twenty minutes later, Cat (short for Catherine) came and escorted me to the room where the procedure would take place. She got me situated, asked what sort of music I would enjoy in the background (instrumental jazz and some Frank Sinatra), and waited for the doctor and assistant to come to handle the biopsy. Moments later, the doctor arrived to introduce himself, get to know me a bit, describe what the biopsy would entail, and answer any of my questions. I felt cared for, warm under a blanket, and assured that competent people were going to take care of me. I was calm and confident and waited for the procedure to start.

I trusted the doctor and his team to handle my biopsy and they did. Just as I trusted my surgeon six years ago to handle an arthroscopic procedure on my left knee and he did. I have been the beneficiary of many health-related surgeries and treatments in my life from medical professionals. My family doctor has shared some of his health concerns at times and I have appreciated his transparency and vulnerability. It helps me to see him and others who have cared for me, as fellow human sufferers and overcomers.

Read Romans 1:1-7.

I just finished reading the first part of Romans 1 and I was reminded of how little I consider the humanity of Jesus. Yes, I know he came first as a baby, but I tend to view my Savior as a conquering King, mighty God, and Almighty Lord. I forget he faced life as a real human male. He must have hit his thumb with a hammer, or felt pain when his friend Lazarus died.

It is the same gap I feel between us and Jesus, the Great Physician, but on a much larger scale. Jesus Himself took on our humanity and clearly identified with us. He walked to work, laughed and cried, had to learn to overcome various obstacles that confront us, and dealt with recurring temptations. Because of His track record, I have learned to trust Him.

I have learned that we can be confident that we are not facing stuff that is tougher or worse than Jesus encountered. Whatever the circumstances, He can help me handle it. My dependence on Him is not misplaced.

Think theologically. What things are you concerned about? How can you face them realistically with God’s help? My doctor quieted my concerns about a routine procedure. Jesus understands our fears and He can help us face them. He has been there. With His help, we can address and overcome whatever we face. No wonder He is the Savior we trust.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 11

What dirty stuff do you need to take to God’s laundry?

Growing up as the oldest of four kids, I do not remember doing my own laundry when I was a boy. Our mom was tireless about keeping the house clean and she had my two younger brothers and sister and me handling our chores daily and weekly. In time though, we each started doing our own laundry, which corresponded to when we could see over the top of the washer to put the detergent in along with our clothes.

I remember the first time cleaning out my wrestling gym bag after practice and the stench was awful. I recoiled from the smell and warily put the smelly clothes in the washer, wondering if there was any hope for them.

Periodically, our mom would take it upon herself to tackle our laundry. Coming home from college, I would drop off my dirty laundry bag in the basement and head out to see friends. I would return home to find my laundry washed, dryed, and folded, ready for use. “Mom,” I would ask, “I was going to do my laundry. Why did you go ahead and do it?”

She often replied, “I knew you wanted to see your friends. I don’t mind you bringing your dirty laundry home. After raising four kids, I don’t mind doing your laundry now and then, even the smelly stuff. There are no dirty clothes I cannot handle.”

Read Psalm 51.

I have learned to value the word, repentance. It means sorrow, remorse, shame, and penitence. David, the writer of Psalm 51, learned a lesson in shame and sorrow after some evil acts of his hurt people and God. David had a close friend call him out on some recent behavior that needed to be addressed. Coming to God in repentance is like bringing those dirty clothes home to wash.

All of us can remember a time or two where it was easy for us to get lazy about confessing the sin in our lives until it piled up high and reeked of self-centeredness and outright rebellion. Hopefully, we did not wait much longer to notice the smell and take it to God.

I remember a consistent refrain of mine: “Lord, here I am. I know it’s been a while since I came home and came clean before you. There is a lot of stuff in my life that is dirty and that needs cleansing. Some of it is in desperate shape and needs a deep washing that only you can handle. Some of it has a bad stain. Do you think you can handle it?” And God smiled and thought, “It’s about time. My kid is home again.”

Why do we always drag our feet after we run from God, knowing we need to return to Him for forgiveness and healing? When was the last time you thanked God for His forgiveness? How can regular confession and repentance strengthen your relationship with God?

It is normal for you and I to come to God with sin stains now and then. That’s why John wrote, “He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God is the master of laundering our lives after we mess up. Grow devotionally. Re-read David’s experience of forgiveness in Psalm 51. Be quick to own up to and confess your sin. Be willing to repent from that behavior (i.e., turn away from it). Then you can stand again spotless before the Father, washed clean and whiter than snow.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – February 4

The mission statement of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries declares our purpose, “Reconciling Students to Christ: Transforming the University, the Marketplace, and the World.”

We recognize four areas of mission that we must engage: first, we seek to persuade those outside the rule of Jesus to put their faith, hope, and trust in Him; second, we want to help young people raised in the Church to not merely survive their university years, but thrive as growing Christ-followers; third, we want to offer hospitality and friendship to international students; fourth, we want to develop Christ-honoring leaders of the men and women we connect with and serve when they are students.

Scripture presents key ideas regarding the necessity of leaders. The Book of Proverbs announces that it takes a leader of real understanding, with a plan, to straighten out chaotic circumstances (Proverbs 28:2). When good people are promoted, good things result, even as you should watch out when bad people are in charge (28:12).

When you have leaders who hate corruption, the future is bright (28:16). We all know times when good leaders run things because the people are glad. Yet when poor leaders run the show, everyone groans (29:2). A leader of good judgment gives stability whereas a bad leader leaves a trail of waster (29:4).

We know that healthy leaders always trust and empower others to use their gifts and let them enjoy the credit for the results. The leader who reflects the character of Jesus is one who serves others. Servant leaders do not avoid risk, promote themselves, or just listen. They are servant-doers. Leadership is an opportunity to serve. So we invest in leadership development.

Jesus modeled the principle early in the Gospels that one of the first tests of leadership is the ability to draw others to you. The next significant test is your ability to develop the people around you. We in Chi Alpha agree with Dr. John Maxwell that the true measure of leadership is influence. People listen to and follow good leaders.

People naturally look for, respect, and follow leaders who are stronger than they are. Influence means people are attracted to who a leader is as well as their vision casting and skill level. Good leaders connect because they know how to touch a heart before they ask for a person’s hand. Good leaders walk among their people to know their problems and walk with God to find solutions. Ultimately, people buy into the leader first, then their vision.

Read 1 Timothy 4:12.

We know that college ministry rises and falls on student leaders. Campus ministry is built on courageous students willing to die to themselves and follow Jesus. We know we are bearing fruit when student leaders accept and embrace change and are willing to make great commitments. Praise God for students willing to take up their cross daily and walk in His power.

Our staff model and teach student leaders that leadership is more what you do than what you say. The ultimate test all young student leaders need to learn and grow in is in the consistency of their words and actions. John the apostle wrote, “Whoever clams to live in Jesus must walk (not just talk) as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).

Serve globally. Pray for Chi Alpha staff and student leaders to live, love, and lead like Jesus.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized