CIY Move: Day Five

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You are King. You are near. You are God. You are there. You are here.

It’s been an amazing week at CIY Move here in Cedarville, OH. We ended the week with 6 baptisms, and almost the entire group of 43 committing to jump in as a #kingdomworker. We’ve seen prayers answered, lives changed, burdens lifted, and friendships formed. Today’s text was a story that may seem familiar, but we had the opportunity to look at it with fresh eyes based upon all of the context we’ve had studying the book of Daniel all through the week. Daniel 6 is the text in which we find the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The thing is, Daniel didn’t start by saying “What can I do that will be so big that it will get me thrown into a lion’s den.” He started by saying “how can I be faithful to God?” And faithful he was doing the same thing he had always done; praying fervently to the Lord. Daniel had so many private moments leading up to the public moment that we all know about. That’s a lot like what we experienced this last night at CIY. There have been so many conversations, prayers, seeds planted, and foundations laid, that led to this evening of 6 students surrendering their lives completely to Jesus Christ and being baptized in the lake on campus here at Cedarville University.

What we’ve challenged the students to continue to take ahold of is this example of Daniel; of His simple, quiet devotion to the Lord in prayer, that became the backbone of strength for when he had to face the big public moments. So as we begin to think toward home, we look forward to entering back into the places and spaces where God is already working. We know He is here. We know that He goes ahead of us. We know that He will be there (wherever our “there” takes us.) We look forward to the ways that He will show up and lead us into what’s next.  We praise Him for His amazing work.

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CIY Move: Day Four

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Day four of CIY Move was another rain soaked day of growth, learning, and fun. The theme today was, “You Are God” and we took a look at who God is through the experiences and eyes of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and Belshazzar in Daniel 4-5. It’s plain to see through the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar that God will not be mocked, and that was part of what came to the surface today. The narrative of Daniel 4-5 gives us a window into what happens when pride creeps in and begins to take ahold of a person. That pride, as Jim Johnson said, sometimes causes us to “shake our tiny little fist at God and say, ‘I’m going to do what I’m going to do.'” And God often allows us to make those choices and deal with the consequences.

Later in the evening, Scott Kenworthy wrapped up the night with a challenge from the life lessons of King Belshazzar… and the words from the “writing on the wall” (Daniel 5:1-30) of “numbered, weighed, and divided.” It’s difficult to think about the fact that like Belshazzar, our days are numbered; but  it’s a reality many of the students are all to familiar with, having lost friends, classmates, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The weight of that reality has been heavy on us all.

The fact that we also are “weighed” reminds each of us that our deeds have been weighed and we have been found to fall short. Aside from Jesus, making the way, we have no hope on our own. The good News is that we do have an opportunity to know that hope that Jesus brings in that He paid the price for our Sin on the Cross.

Finally the word “divided” reminds us that everything we do for our own ‘kingdom’ will ultimately crumble; we can build our whole lives building something we hope will last… but it won’t. The only thing that will always last is the Kingdom of God.

We wrapped up the night with a challenge to write three words that we felt that God might be impressing upon us, like he did to Belshazzar. Some of the words our students wrote included; forgive, trust, let it go, love, give up, no longer conform… and so many more. It was amazing to see the ways that God is at work in revealing Himself to so many students who are honestly seeking Him. We look forward with eager anticipation to the ways that those words that were given will continue to be fleshed out in all that’s ahead.

CIY Move: Day Three

Fire

“God will never abandon you to go through life or faith alone. Instead He has surrounded us with brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and grandpas and grandmas of the faith. God has designed in His sovereignty that we were never meant to be alone.” – Jim Johnson

Eyes opened… masks thrown into the fire… lives forever changed. What a day at CIY Move! Tonight was a powerful end to a day of thinking about what keeps us from seeing Jesus as he really is. Students were given a mask this morning and symbolically placed tape over the eyes, on which they wrote some things that they feel keep them from seeing (Jesus) clearly. Some wrote “pride” others wrote “self.” Some said “temptation,” “self image,” “trust,” and “needing to offer forgiveness.” The power of the element came when students were invited by tonight’s speaker, Josh Burnett, to take off their mask and throw it into the fire… symbolizing the fact that they were casting aside whatever it is that’s been blinding them to Jesus. It was a beautiful moment of encouragement, surrender, and uninhibited praise and worship for all God has been doing in and through us.

The message tonight came from Daniel 3:19-30 in which three of Daniel’s friends face Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace and come away untouched. The challenge we were all given was to see that one day each of us will face the furnace. In fact, Jesus himself said that “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Facing the furnace, whatever it may be, is a common experience…. what’s uncommon was the example of Daniel’s three friends. The example they gave should be the example we live so that we face the common experience in an uncommon way because we do so in Christ. Josh challenged us to see that the question is not “if we will face the furnace” but “will we will see Jesus in the furnace?” Often times, Josh said, “in the furnace is your best opportunity to see Jesus as he really is.” Our students carry some pretty weighty things that they’ve gone through or are currently in the midst of… tonight many of them caught a glimpse of the One who does not leave them alone in the furnace moments of life, but lets us know that He is here.

CIY Move 2015: Day Two

Heart

God is here, and He can be trusted. That was the message today that we wrestled with from several different angles. Jim Johnson kicked off the morning unpacking more of Daniel’s story from Daniel 1:8-9. What really connected from this story with students was the way Jim helped us see that when we meet Daniel in scripture, we meet a character thrust into a scene where he had to deal with being punished for a lot of stuff he didn’t do. Ever been there? Daniel, however, shows us what to do when life throws difficult circumstances at you. He was resolved, (See Daniel1:8-9) and he submitted himself to the work that God was doing in, through, and around him. Daniel was faithful in the part that he lived, and he trusted God to come through in doing what only He could do. Later Jesus echoed this same thought; Matthew 10:16 records Him saying, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” That’s the tension we walk in as we follow Jesus through difficult circumstances. But as we walk we know that above all God is with us in those circumstances, and he can be trusted.

Trevor Devage wrapped up the night challenging students to understand that “God loves us enough to let us in just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there” as he spoke about Zaccheaus (Luke 19) and the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10). He also shared a great quote by Kyle Idleman; “You will not be amazed by grace until you are stunned by your own sinfulness.” And finally, The Aaron Pelsue Band led us in a song that was new for us called “The Scandal of Grace” by Hillsong,  that has some pretty awesome lyrics that sum up the quite well:

Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood

Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live

Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there’s no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart

Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
And mercy, my heart now to sing

The day and its trouble shall come
I know that Your strength is enough
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live

Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there’s no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart

And it’s all, because of You, Jesus
It’s all, because of You, Jesus
It’s all, because of Your love
And my soul will live

Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there’s no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart

CIY Move 2015: Day One

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“God’s ability to work in your life is never affected by your proximity to Him, because God is here!” – Keaton Smith

We kicked off day one of CIY Move 2015 with an intro to the story of Daniel, that we’ll be wrestling with all week. Keaton Smith brought the challenge to over 800 students gathered this week at Cedarville University, to see the ways that God is working all around us, even when we don’t feel like we’re close to Him. We’ve been hearing about this summer’s theme for awhile entitled: “YOU ARE HERE” The theme seems like a given… being that we made the journey and indeed we are “here” at Move once again this year. What we’ve found unfolding from the story of Daniel through Keaton’s challenge tonight as been a little twist  on the “YOU” in “YOU ARE HERE.” Keaton challenged us to be drawn into the story of Daniel and the truth of the fact that no matter what we’re facing or where we’ve been, that God is the “YOU” as the one who is present and is HERE in our lives.

It’s been an exciting start to the week. 43 of us from Chapel Rock made the trek that took us a little over two hours from Indy to just outside of Dayton, OH without incident. Tomorrow we jump into a full day of study, worship, growth, and fun, continuing to unpack the story of Daniel and thinking about God as the one who is here. We also received an encouraging text message from 2015 graduate Willis Overton just before we met for our group time. We read it to the group to share the encouragement of others who are praying for our students this week, and for so many who remember such powerful transformation in their lives stemming from something that was rooted in an experience at CIY Move.

Willis wrote: “Hey wanted to let you know that its been on my heart to really pray for the group this week. For everyone to feel God’s presence and want to continue to yearn after that. That nobody will go through the week blind or deaf to His conviction or teaching; instead that they will have open eyes and ears to use this time for relentless praise and honest self-reflection. CIY was always the best week of the year for me and I’m so glad that the students have such caring and sacrificial leaders to encourage and guide them. Prayed that prayer already twice today and just wanted to share it with you. :)”

Those prayers, and God’s presence, have indeed been felt at the opening night of such a powerful week at CIY Move at Cedarville University. We’re looking forward to all that’s ahead.