Thursday – Digging In
Sunshine and cool temperatures brought students out of their dorms early this morning to grab donuts and enjoy deep conversation together. Lots of students now sit with friends during their time in God’s Word, and encourage one another by sharing stories of small groups and rendezvous from the day before. From the excitement of the week’s beginning, a sincere brotherhood, sisterhood, and fellowship, has emerged as we settle into the daily hope of glorifying God as one body, fully at peace.
After a surprising encounter with the Russian mafia in the Morning Show, we had an opportunity to hear from our speaker, Nate King, as he challenged us with his presentation on International Justice Mission. If we believe something enough to talk about it, he noted, we ought to be willing to act on it. Sharing the story of Gideon, he emphasized that God’s response to Gideon’s pleas against injustice was Gideon himself, and all that God planned to do through him. Nate equated the population of enslaved people in the world with the entire population of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, and asked if we might not be willing to act if the crisis was so close to home. Our God, a God of justice, has called us to seek after justice here on earth.
After lunch, each representative and senatorial candidate received a brief window to share his or her heart with the TeenPact nation. After each presented, the candidates exchanged hugs and encouraging words in the balcony, as they offered up the results to the Lord’s will and cheered for one another. What a unique environment of love and camaraderie.
After worship this evening we took communion together while reflecting on the distractions that so often interfere with our daily delight in Christ and asking God for forgiveness. Nothing, nothing in our lives outshines the Son of God. What a dream to consider that our faces might literally glow after spending time with our savior as we have this week! Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
In thanking our board members this evening, we were afforded a valuable opportunity to dwell on the Lord’s favor toward TeenPact for many years, in preserving hearts that are pursuing him and in protecting the ministry from the attacks of our enemy. As we witness the outpouring of God’s spirit on every aspect of every day, we take no credit, but return our thanks to the God, from whom, to whom, and for whom are all things.
Later on, in the evening session, our three presidential candidates took the stage to encourage us with their campaign messages, urging us to behave as children of the light, to make the most of our precious time by giving it to God, and to boldly embrace the calling God has given to us. The three young men behaved extremely respectfully and still managed to draw laughter from the crowd. In all cases, God’s hand was clearly visible on their lives, and though only one candidate will take the stage tomorrow to accept the office of president, all three candidates should rejoice in how God has worked through them to challenge their peers.
Polls stayed open for two hours as students carefully considered their candidates before casting a ballot. Lots of undecided voters didn’t settle on a decision until they sat in front of a polling computer. Milling around coffee house in suits and shoes far too nice for the muddy ground, candidates received encouragement, hugs, and promising remarks from friends while groups of voters passionately presented their opinions on the night’s proceedings and the most vote-worthy candidates.
Now several days into rendezvous, students entrusedt one another with personal, weighty matters. In many cases, they were shocked and encouraged to find they are not alone at all, but instead have many friends in their groups at similar points in life. Students suffering loss, hardness of heart, or confusion, feel as though everything about this week had been especially planned for them, and we know it has been. Not by any staff team, but by an incomprehensible God who carefully clothes every flower on earth, yet provides for his children with even greater care. We are so grateful for the goodness of God we see in abundance each day, as well as that which we may never understand until we reach eternity. Glory be to our great God!