Monday, August 29

2:00 AM Grill

The 2:00 AM Grill is good times. God has blessed us with a great location. You can't get to the Fayetteville "club district" from campus without going by our building! So we reach out to those who choose to "partake" in that entertainment. The bars close at 2:00 AM, so at about midnight we have a group that sets up a grill and serves hamburgers and hot dogs to anyone who wants them. We had at least a dozen folks from ConC working last Friday night - passing out food and talking to people.

It's a pretty non-threatening and lively environment. The goal is to show God's love in a practical way, to build bridges of friendships, and to pray for chances to talk about spiritual things. But the topic is not forced. We let God lead the conversation. And there are always conversations. People respond to the kindness and friendliness of our people as they share God's love. Success is measured more by conversations engaged in than hamburgers served. It's cool enough to keep even an old man like me up until 3:00 AM!

Another of the great things about the Grill is that it is totally a student organized and run ministry. They set up the grill, buy the food, organize the workers, and make it all happen. Good times.

Friday, August 26

Catching Up A Little ...

A very busy week since my last post. Here are some of the highlights:
Tonight is the last of our Welcome Week activities. We have had at least one event (and often more than one) every day since 8/17. We're either scheduling too much or I'm getting too old to keep up with it all! I just need to remember that God won't call me to do more than I can do with calmness of spirit. As you read through the Gospels, you never see Jesus in a hurry and he always had time for people. And he had thousands of people making demands on his time. A friend recently pointed out that one of my heroes in the faith (Roy Weece) was the same way. He is always in demand, but never in a hurry and always with time for people.
Welcome Week ends, but Follow-up Month begins. We have the names of over 300 new students who have indicated an interest in ConC. We want to get in touch with them! Unfortunately, the university has been less than helpful. For the past 23 years, they have helped us locate these students. So far this year, they have been unwilling to do that. They have also been slow in getting our posters up. We are still "working the channels" to get it done (and, after being here for 23 years, I have some channels), but we are also missing a key time for contacting students. Most students will set their habits in the first month of school - what their schedule will be like, what their circle of friends will be, where they will be involved. It is a key time. But God has it all under control. I'm learning to be a little less frustrated with those things that are out of my control.
We moved Stacy into the dorm on 8/18. She hasn't been home since then, so I'm guessing she likes it!
I'm working from Panera this morning - doing some sermon preparation and catching up on this. When I got in line for my bagel and coffee, I saw a "face from the past" right in front of me. Scott was at the very first meetings of ConC back in the fall of 1982. In fact, he was our very first president! At that time, he was a member of the Razorback football team. Now he is living and working in Springfield with a high school son of his own. I probably haven't seen Scott in almost 15 years. He asked if I was still schooling college guys in racquetball (of course, though I haven't played much lately). We caught up with one another and I filled him in on some of those he had been here with. It was a pleasant surprise!

Thursday, August 18

Welcome Week

Welcome Week has started. The residence halls opened for everyone today and we will have at least one activity every day for the next eight days. Some days there will be more than one. They will range from worship services to a karaoke night to a video game tournament. The goal of some of the activities is just to give new students a chance to get to know us through something they enjoy. The end purpose of the week is to help students get plugged in to our ministry so that God can work in their lives through his Word, through worship, through service, through prayer, and through others. So, though some of the activities may seem a little "odd", the goal is the same - to help students get to a place where they can encounter God and he can touch their lives.

But that all starts tomorrow. Tonight several of us gathered for a time of prayer. We prayed for a while at The Rockhouse. Then we divided up into four groups and "prayer walked" around campus. It was really a special time to prayer over the dorms, the classroom buildings, the dining halls, the fraternity and sorority houses, etc. - asking God to bless those who entered there and to make his presence known to them. It was sweet!
I also got to help Stacy move into Futrall Hall today. She's in the same dorm and on the same floor that Erin was four years ago. She is doing well from her surgery yesterday. Kristin, David, and Brio helped with the move - which was greatly appreciated! One of the upperclassmen (Ryan) in charge of moving new students in was himself a new student that I helped to moved in four years ago! I don't know that I have ever seen two students - male or female - that brought as much stuff to college as Ryan and Chris did their freshman year!
Two of my former interns brought me a new "I am the Big Dog" coffee mug yesterday. It is proudly sitting on my desk. Of course, this year's office policy is that everyone on staff has to call me "Chief." I think it has a nice ring to it!

Tuesday, August 16

Year Number Twenty-Four

After about three weeks, I'm back to posting on here again. It has been a crazy month that found me away from home for over three weeks. But now I'm back - and looking a new school year (year number 24 at the UofA) in the face! Last week we were at the National Student Conference in Evansville, IN. It is a great conference every year. One of the best parts is the chance to visit with friends who are doing campus ministry across the country. If you asked any one of them if they were ready for the semester to start, they would have told you "No!" After 23 years, I'm still that way every year. Some students moved in on Sunday and the dorms open for everyone on Thursday, but there is still that feeling that you're not quite ready for the invasion of over 16,000 students. Of spending six weeks tracking down and meeting incoming students interested in Christ on Campus. Of needing to grow by a third just to stay at the same size you were the year before. Or, as one of the speakers said last week, of wondering if anyone is actually going to show up! But we are here again. And we are as ready as we ever are. We have done what we can do to prepare. Now we pray and work and meet people and pray some more. Feel free to pray with us!


I read this verse today in my time with God:

"Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; GOD probes for what is good."
Proverbs 16:2 (The Message)

I'm not sure of how accurately that translates the thought of the original Hebrew, but I love the thought. I think it is so true. We are quick to settle for appearance rather than substance; for what looks or feels good or true or right rather than what is truly good or true or right. I especially pray that the students we work with develop the maturity to discern what looks good from what truly is good. This applies to the way the use their time, the things they choose to get involved in, the careers they choose, and, especially, those with whom they get romantically involved. It is so easy for us to be distracted by looks or charisma or possessions or popularity and miss what is truly enduring - a person of character and integrity and compassion who is a God-seeker.