Category Archives: Outreach
This week as we prepare to remember our Lord’s death and resurrection, as I was near Walmart I saw a muslim family carefully trying to cross a narrow ditch between the parking lot and the street. Of course the first thing that I noticed was a female in a burqa down in the ditch, as it is a rare sight just about anywhere around here, nevermind in a ditch! I have since learned that she was actually wearing a niqab. The burqa covers the entire face and body while a niqab d`oes the same but leaves the eyes visible to others. It was an odd sight, that made me ask “why are they crossing the ditch instead of walking a hundred feet or so to where they would no longer need to risk falling into a stream of water or mud at the bottom of the ditch?”
She could be a child of God and walking with Jesus, who knows!? but the likely fact is that she is probably not because her outfit suggests she belongs to a family/culture that follows another religion and, like I was before I met Jesus, headed for an eternal destiny separated from God.
The picture of her crossing the ditch slowly about 6 feet below the street level seemed to get me thinking: How much of a picture is she of a lost lamb who doesn’t know her way, headed for spiritual death, trying to cross a spiritual divide without the Only One who can bridge that gap for her: Jesus?
We work with college students, showing them the way to Jesus who is the only one who can bring them back into healthy relationship with God. We are grateful for you who have prayed and given financially and in other ways so we can be a part of this work!
Snazzy Gospel centered Video Clip published by Cru makes it into the local Times Union newpaper here in Albany!
Read the news article here. Watch the clip by clicking below.
Below in our latest 2-page newsletter are some highlights from The Epicenter Experience (annual winter conference) collected from all over the northeast, with student testimonies of how they met God and how he changed their lives here in Albany on Wolf Rd at the Holiday Inn. We added a little snippet of a story from a local campus where our students are sharing their faith more boldly and obediently this semester. We trust you will be encouraged by it when you click on the image below to read the newsletter. We hope it will encourage you to show the lost people around you the way to the Bridge to Life!
Our Latest Newsletter
Seriously, there is! Let me explain:
“You know it was only in the last couple months that I’ve become more serious about my faith…”
…said a freshmen athlete at UAlbany named Roger* who I met yesterday after he had filled out a survey at one of our Cru table outreaches in the freshmen dorms. I had followed up with a phone call to get coffee in the Campus center, and the first time I called I simply invited him to one of our first meetings on campus and he said he would probably come by, but honestly, I’m glad he didn’t because that first meeting had only one student show up! Such is life in college student ministry, even after inviting and talking with students who had shown an interest: sometimes very few show up. On the other hand, when they do show up, and we get to know them and have a cup of coffee to follow up, they often come back, like Katelyn* and Nancy*, two girls Ellen followed up with after they filled out surveys, and who came to our last meeting at UAlbany. This is the power of relationships demonstrated: when you have an opportunity to share your life with someone new–even once–it is sometimes enough to pique their interest into further depth of authentic community.
After hearing more about his church background and his spiritual journey, I shared a little of mine, but not being sure of whether he really understood the gospel or not, I shared with him about Knowing God Personally (or “KGP” for short). I briefly searched around in my bag and realized I didn’t have any of the booklets with me and mentally kicked myself for forgetting to bring one to this appointment on campus until I remembered that “there is an ‘App’ for that”.
Both on Iphone and Android! So I pulled out my phone and clicked on the “Godtools” app and began to go through the same content, only this time with an interactive format on the screen, which simplifys the process of explaining it to students. It is more of a conversation piece for dialogue than a monologue. That is the design of this tool we have in our ministry. It was great to be able to find out he had prayed the sinner’s prayer (can be read right in the app) before, but at the end, he shared that he felt his life wasn’t really like the diagram of which showed a life centered on Christ, with self in submission to Christ.
He didn’t think his life looked exactly like the life of a lost person spiritually dead either, with Christ outside the life of someone who is Self-directed and “in control” of their own life.
Roger felt somewhere in between right now. So I opened a second part of the Godtools App called “Satisfied?” which explains how it is possible, after beginning to follow Christ and surrender control of your life to him, to then take control back, while Christ is still in your life, but letting us direct ourselves selfishly. There’s a little diagram in the “Satisfied?” portion of the App that is a picture of this kind of life, which some might call a “carnal christian” or maybe eventually a “back-slidden christian”.
Yes, there is Grace, and we are still justified, but as I explained to Roger, it is so important that on a daily, even momentary basis, that when he realizes he’s sinned in any area, to submit that sin to the Lord, ask forgiveness in prayer, and by faith, ask the Holy Spirit to lead him once again. This is by no means a new idea. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. But then he was filled again in Acts 4:8 and once more in Acts 4:31. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:17 and again Acts 13:9. We all need to be re-empowered by the Spirit on a regular basis, since we all sin regularly. So when I asked Roger if he wanted to pray to God to forgive him and re-empower him, he said yes, and we prayed right there together at the table, discretely. After Roger was done, I prayed the same thing, because I was needing to make that step too! I’m looking forward to getting Roger plugged into our “Athletes in Action” ministry at UAlbany where he is an athlete.
Its a great ministry for helping athletes live out their faith on and off the court or field. We have a small group meeting once per week for this purpose, filled with athletes from various teams on that campus. Thank you for praying for us and going with us by extension of your partnership in financial and prayer support to reach the campuses of the Capital Region of New York! It was a good day yesterday!
*Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.