Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

THE ruthless elimination of hurry, that is.

I’ve not kept up with my reading goals in 2020, but I am certainly glad this book made the cut.

John Mark Comer (who I will now refer to as JMC because I’m lazy) has written a witty and digestible reminder for us regarding 4 critical spiritual disciplines for our day: Silence & Solitude (that’s one, not two), Sabbath, Simplicity, and Slowing.

As I began reading, I realized that JMC and I share some love and admiration for some of the same people. John Ortberg (The Life You’ve Always Wanted) and Dallas Willard (Divine Conspiracy, Spirti of the Disciplines, Rennovation of the Heart, Life Without Lack, etc) are two of my favorite Jesus people.

JMC refers to a conversation with Ortberg which referenced a quote from Willard which inspires the thesis of this book: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Not sure how that brief statement strikes you, but I’ve never gotten that message from just about ANYwhere else (except maybe Jesus). American culture especially seems to prize speed and productivity…maximizing one’s pleasure and life experiences…cramming as much as possible into your life. But most of us (whether Christian or otherwise) would probably admit to being stressed, burned out, emotionally exhausted, and not able to enjoy the now.

My recent sabbatical on the Appalachian Trail felt like the first huge step towards a new season of life and relational intimacy with God through prayer and other spiritual disciplines. This book was a great follow-up to that experience…continuing to nudge me in that direction.

The chapter on “Slowing” has a great list of 20 ways to adjust and help slow down your body so you can slow down your life. One of the first changes I’d like to implement is turning off some of the notifications on my phone (email, social media, etc) and scheduling time for those activities instead of letting the dopamine hits bombard me all day long and sap me of the ability to be really present at any given time with my wife, my kids, or students in our ministry.

Good stuff! Challenging Stuff! Check it out for yourself here.

An Older Story of Student Transformation

I love seeing college students transformed by Christ and it’s certainly a blessing to be involved with some of those stories personally.

But I also love hearing other people’s stories about transformation while on a college or university campus. It fuels my calling to the campus and reminds me that God can do incredible things and literally change the world by changing a young life.

One of the most exciting stories I have heard recently is perhaps also one of the oldest stories of I’ve heard (not including the Bible of course…ha!)

Dr. Charles “Chic” Shaver sat down with me for a lunch interview a couple of weeks ago. He was a pre-law student at Dartmouth College who began searching for a way to get to know God personally after hearing a lecture from his chemistry professor which described how the world could be destroyed in about a year through Nuclear war. After hearing that lecture he decided that life doesn’t make much sense unless there’s a god and an afterlife.

So he began the search. But couldn’t find anyone with answers until a friend invited him to church. This friend was an upper class man that he went to high school with back in Connecticut who was a super successful student and athlete who wrecked his life at Dartmouth with alcohol use. But after this friend had flunked out and left campus for a semester Chic was puzzled to find him in a chapel service. Afterwards, he asked this student what had happened and found out that he had encountered God in a personal way. He invited Chic start attending church with him (a little Nazarene Church nearby that they found thanks to some female students from Eastern Nazarene College. During a Sunday evening altar call, Chic had a real sense of the presence of Christ and confessed his sins and began following Jesus.

He credits 4 things and considers these four steps as still a great recipe for campus ministry.

1. Witnessing a changed life

2. The loving and welcoming atmosphere of a church-community

3. The testimonies of people in the community regarding specific experiences of transformation

4. Hospitality–enjoying home-cooked meals EVERY Sunday that they visited this little church.

That final step certainly resonates with me because the campus ministries I have been involved with over the past 11 years in Cincinnati have focused specifically on this idea of hospitality. Whether it’s delicious food, better-than-average coffee, or some other way of making an outsider feel like family, I believe that providing genuine biblical hospitality is a key component in reaching out to college students.

After coming to know Christ, Dr. Shaver found out about a bible student on Dartmouth’s campus that was sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship! So he attended that bible study and invited friends to attend as well for the rest of his time at Dartmouth. During his senior year, he felt a calling to ministry. Instead of going on to Law school and a career in politics, he went to seminary and became a pastor and then a seminary professor specializing on evangelism for most of his teaching career.

What a story! Thanks to a bold student whose life had been changed by Christ. Thanks to a loving church with people who welcomed students into their homes each week for delicious meals. Thanks to an InterVarsity bible study on campus, Chic Shaver’s life and subsequently the world was changed!

That kind of transformation is still happening in the lives of college students. And as I begin this new role through InterVarsity to build bridges to college campuses and support or launch new ministries, I am eager to experience and share more stories like this one!

If you believe in this formula (God + College Students = World Changing) and want to partner with us, we need your help! Visit this link to donate today.

Lunching with Students

A couple of days ago I met up with a first-year engineering student at Donatos. Rarely will a student turn me away if I offer them a free lunch!

Turns out, this student has a super-solid background in the faith. I always enjoy hearing a student’s story and figuring out where they’re at on the faith journey. This guy just needed a little nudge in the right direction and some help connecting with christian community on campus. He was excited about the potential of meeting with me every-other week or so for some discipleship and mentoring conversations.

Often, I can tell right away if a student has any spiritual motivation…a desire to grow and thrive in their faith while away at college. No doubt, this student is going to plug into some Christian community and grow like crazy during his college years.

In my new role with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I will have the opportunity to make sure more students like this find Christian community and connect with a nearby church as they pursue their academic goals. There are still well over 1500 campuses across that US that have no activities ministries providing this kind of opportunity for new students. We can change that!

Want to help us reach that goal?! New ministries on campuses that need communities of faith grounded on the Good News of Jesus is what we’re aiming for. You can be a part of that by joining our team of financial partners. Invest in lives of college students today. Join us today…your support WILL make a difference.