Back when I was in college, I was a part of a Christian student group on the University of Utah campus called Utenited. Every Tuesday night, we would meet together in the Chase N. Peterson Heritage Center for a forty-five-minute study break that entailed exceptional worship and a five- to seven-minute Bible-based message to encourage and give life to everyone gathered, whether or not they believed in the doctrines of Christianity.
As powerful as these nights were, though, they were not the essence of our mission. Our mission was to be the group that serves, and throughout the school year, we would engage in various activities both on and around the University of Utah campus to serve the University of Utah, its students and their groups, and the broader community in which it exists.
We tore down tables and chairs at PlazaFest, long after most of the other student groups had left. We rearranged an entire ballroom from theater seating to a dining room in record time and left the University’s Orientation Office perplexed at how we did it so quickly and with such joy and enthusiasm.
Continue reading Are We Doers or Thinkers?
I still remember sitting amidst the fresh mountain air of the Pinecliff Camp and Retreat Center just east of Coalville, Utah, as we listened to Ron Kincaid teach us about Jesus. I remember him asking a powerful question that struck a chord in my soul: If God knows everything, including what you and I need, why then do we pray?
It’s just as powerful a question today as it was almost a decade ago. Even today, the only answer that I can give is that it fosters a sense of our dependence on the Creator. Test this: Take a survey of your life, and tally up all the things that rely on “luck” or “chance” or whatever term you like to use. Consider that your paycheck only comes if your company makes the money it needs to pay you, and that your company probably only makes the money it needs to pay you if a whole host of macroeconomic variables that are beyond anyone’s control are in a favorable state. Consider that your children and spouse only continue to live because the countless bad things we call “freak accidents” didn’t happen to them this week. Consider that your ability to live in your house, to put food on your table, to pay for your kids (or yourself) to go to school, is all dependent on your paycheck, the vulnerability of which we’ve already exposed.
So much in our life chalks up to what we dismiss as “luck” or “chance,” but when we come face to face with the living God, we quickly come to see that none of it is “luck” or “chance.” Answer this: can you surprise God? Try and throw God a surprise party. Christmas is coming up soon. It’s when we celebrate his birthday. Go ahead. Give it a shot. Let me know how it goes. Continue reading An Attitude of Gratitude