I was held hostage…for: Youth Leaders

I was held hostage Over the Christmas break. I know this is shocking to some of you, and I’m sure you think you should of heard about this on the news. True enough, I was bound, gagged, unable to speak and say the things I really needed to say. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. I wasn’t held hostage by a terrorist or a robber. I was held hostage by someone I knew…and by the Gospel.

I’m sure you all remember the Duck Dynasty drama that broke in the week before Christmas. Phil Robertson’s “frank” comments were polarizing, to say the least. Let me say two things here, for the record: (1) I believe the Old and New Testaments give incontrovertible witness that homosexual behavior is a sin [Rom. 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:10, Lev. 18:22], and (2) I’ve been a pretty big fan of Duck Dynasty. However, I found myself unable to speak up in defense of the Duck Patriarch. Why? Because I was being held hostage; I was unable to speak. I was threatened by a friend and bound by the Gospel.

After the controversy broke, an openly gay Facebook friend of mine posted something like this to his Facebook, “Anyone who defends Phil Robertson will be de-friended immediately.” My initial reaction was as follows: “Wow! Really? That doesn’t seem fair. I have a right to my opinion, and it’s okay for us to disagree. How can anyone hold a friendship (Facebook or otherwise) hostage over a disagreement? I should definitely speak up for the Truth of the Gospel!”

I chose not to post anything on the subject. Upon further reflection I came to three conclusions: First, that if I chose to speak up on this issue, I would lose a friend along with the opportunity to talk about God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the future. I value having a continuing voice in his life, even if it’s marginalized, than to lose that voice altogether over one issue. There are thousands, perhaps millions of ways to offend God’s holiness, this is just one of them. I am guilty of many of the others. I have a deep obligation to proclaim the Message of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), but I’m not in a hurry to lose this opportunity through an avoidable offense.

Second, my friend has been deeply hurt, and I’m not looking to pile onto that hurt. We disagree over some very deep issues of existence and being. I believe that homosexuality is a result of the brokenness of humanity’s relationship with God and the resultant sin that has been passed from generation to generation since Adam. This is where we disagree, for he may not see homosexuality in the same way. Regardless, for my homosexual friends, every derogatory word on this issue cuts to their very being. That is not to say that Truth should not be proclaimed, or that a Biblical position on this shouldn’t be made clear, just read my next point.

Thirdly, the Truth of scripture has already been declared to him. In fact, the Truth has been quite forcibly and crudely declared thanks to the Patriarch of the Robertsons. Consider this, it is our role to proclaim the Truth, but it is not our role to convince people of the Truth. That is the job of the Holy Spirit (John 16:6-7). I don’t need to continually repeat a specific Biblical Truth on a single sin issue, in this case homosexuality, when the church has clearly proclaimed it. The Truth has been told. Our understanding of the position of Scripture has been made clear. Now let Holy Spirit work. Those who have received the message will either accept it or they won’t. Jesus was sorrowful over those who didn’t receive His message (Luke 10:13), but He didn’t repeatedly dwell on this until everyone was convinced of the Truth. He humbly accepted the disagreement and continued His work of bringing healing and reconciliation to the world. Let’s not ruin the work of the Holy Spirit by trying to do the convincing ourselves.

Many of us who are in leadership are attempting to navigate this issue. What’s more, most of our students are having to cope with this tension far more regularly than we are, and they are looking to us for guidance as they try to reach their school for Christ. It’s crucial that we be thoughtful on this issue, as opposed to being reactionary and rhetorical. The Scriptures report just two times when Jesus shed tears. One of those occurrences was at the loss of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). The second was over Jerusalem, and it’s rejection of Jesus and his message (Luke 19:41). As a follower of Christ, I weep over the same things. I weep that the message of the Cross continues to be rejected, and that the Truth of Scripture has come to be ignored, augmented, misinterpreted, and replaced. I also weep at the loss of a friend, for I also lose the opportunity to share God’s grace with them and the richness of fellowship with one of God’s fearfully created beings. In this case, I chose not to lose a friend and to be held hostage instead. There’s a lot of room (and need) for discussion and debate on our methods, though not on our doctrine. So…what would you do if you were held hostage?

I was held hostage Over the Christmas break. I know this is shocking to some of you, and I’m sure you think you should of heard about this on the news. True enough, I was bound, gagged, unable to speak and say the things I really needed to say. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. I wasn’t...

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TELLfor: Students

A normal human being will speak at least 10,000 words a day. Thats a lot of words!  But what do we say with these words? Matthew 12:36 states “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak.” So every word counts! What are you saying to those around you with the thousands of words you speak every day.

We are challenged as Campus Missionaries to TELL our story, the story of how God radically changed our lives. In order for our friends to come to Jesus, we must show Him in every action we perform, every word we say, and every attitude we display in all situations. TELL your story and see what happens…see who is impacted…see what God truly has for you! In Revelation 12:11 it says “They overcame [the enemy] because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.” Our Testimony is the culmination of our experiences, adventures, and situations we faced before and after we met our Lord God, and accepted His Son as our Savior… So by our testimony and the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we have overcome the advesary. With See You At The Pole taking place yesterday, people may be asking questions. Get ready to TELL them about a God that is so caring and loving that He sent His Son to die upon a cross for us. Share the good news and your testimony!

A normal human being will speak at least 10,000 words a day. Thats a lot of words!  But what do we say with these words? Matthew 12:36 states “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak.” So every word counts! What are you saying to those around...

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From One Campus Missionary to Anotherfor: Students

OK, so who’s having tons of fun spreading God’s word?  I know I am!  And I guess I should ask who’s having some trouble spreading God’s word?  Is it fear—you don’t think people will accept you and your beliefs—or do you just not know what to say, etc.? I know exactly what this feels like so I’m gonna give ya a little advice on how I coped with this!

First of all, there is no need to fear because:

  1. Jesus is with you every step of the way.
  2. It’s a good way to make friends with someone you don’t know.
  3. Being rejected is not your fault, you did everything right they just don’t feel it’s right for them.
  4. Your friends won’t think anything less of you just because you are expressing what your beliefs are. They’re your friends and they were before you expressed your beliefs!

Not knowing what to say…I’ll start with first approaching someone because that is sometimes difficult.  Well with any person just start out with an everyday conversation. Sometimes it can lead to a spot where a friend is having a tough time, and you can say something like, “Well, Jesus has always helped me when I’m down, He’ll help you too.” That was how my very first campus missionary conversation started out!  Maybe that doesn’t happen so you have to bring up God in a different way, such as asking that person what they think about Christianity or telling them a story about what God did for you this week. Just have fun with it!

Now if you don’t know an answer to a question or how to answer to a remark, don’t worry. Lots of people don’t know every answer to every question.  Just tell that person you’ll have to find out–they won’t mind.  Don’t forget that you can always ask your pastor if you need any answers or help!  Remember, God won’t give you anything he knows you can’t handle!  Well, I hope that this advice will help you guys and that you will have great stories to tell!  I’ll be praying for you fellow Campus Missionaries!!

OK, so who’s having tons of fun spreading God’s word?  I know I am!  And I guess I should ask who’s having some trouble spreading God’s word?  Is it fear—you don’t think people will accept you and your beliefs—or do you just not know what to say, etc.? I know exactly what this feels like so I’m...

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Alone On Your Campus?for: Students

Have you ever felt alone as a Campus Missionary in your school? Would it surprise you to find out the Apostle Paul felt lonely from time to time, as well? Paul was a social person, even though he wasn’t married. He always stayed with people when he went from town to town, and he always took others with him on the journey of spreading the gospel. In fact, it seems as though he had difficulties being alone. He talks about this in 2 Timothy 4:9-18. In fact, he struggled with the fact that his earthly companions abandoned him in a time of need. He writes, “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear” (vss. 16–17 NLT-SE).

Notice that Paul did not allow his loneliness to become an excuse for why he couldn’t share the gospel. On the contrary, Paul writes that he relied on the Lord, who stood with him and gave him strength. Why? So that Paul could continue to preach the gospel. Today you may be feeling all alone. You may even feel like you’ve been abandoned in a trial or difficulty. But God is with you! Rely on Him, and continue to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it. Keep in mind that those who sit near you in class are probably even more lonely than you are. They are just waiting for someone to be their friend. That friend is you.

Have you ever felt alone as a Campus Missionary in your school? Would it surprise you to find out the Apostle Paul felt lonely from time to time, as well? Paul was a social person, even though he wasn’t married. He always stayed with people when he went from town to town, and he always took others...

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