What do 1600 light up balloons all strung together have in common? Each balloon represents an individual student here at CIY Move this week, and their commitment to work toward unity in the body of Christ, by letting their light shine brightly for the Kingdom.
The challenge students were given in our group was to think of something tangible that the Lord has placed on their heart, gifted them with, or challenged them to approach in a new way, that will help us together to look more like the church that God has called us to be. From repentance for ignoring parts of the body, to striving to be a better listener, to being more present, to pursuing others needs above ones own… many ideas and convictions were shared this night. After doing so, we each tied our balloons together on a single piece of string, representing how we all belong to one another as the church. Then, we as a group held our string together and walked across campus to join with over 1600 other students from churches all over the midwest to raise our lights together representing our witness together as a big picture of the church united.
God is doing some amazing things in and among our students this week, and we’re striving to take hold of the challenges, ideas, promptings, and ways that He’s shaping us for right now, and for all that’s ahead as we seek Him… no matter what the cost.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” James 4:10 (NIV).
We’ve been continuing our journey through the week studying about James, the half brother of Jesus, and how his life bears witness to the fact that the resurrection changes everything. James is initially portrayed in the gospels as somewhat skeptical of Jesus being who He said He is. John 7:5 says, “For not even his brothers believed in him.” As Jesus half brother, James had a front row seat to Jesus’ life. Could you imagine what that must have been like? Did James compare himself to Jesus the way we compare ourselves to our siblings? Did James feel like it was impossible to measure up? Did James feel like he was always in the background?
But something happened…something changed in James between the gospel accounts that we have and the letter that he wrote to the scattered Christians of the early church… Something happened that changed the trajectory of James’ life forever. As Paul is wrote about Jesus post resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:7 we read, “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” So many questions arise from this scene… Why was James singled out? What did Jesus say to His brother? What did James think about as he saw his brother who had been dead, now alive again? Where does one go from here?
What happened to James was something so significant that by the time we get to his letter, we read about the way that he defined and introduced himself in James 1:1 as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.” Not only did James describe himself as a “servant of God” but also of “the Lord Jesus Christ”… He actually named Jesus as his Lord. James was transformed by the power of the resurrection of Christ… The implications of Jesus resurrection from the dead were astounding for James, and they are astounding for us as well. The truth of the resurrection of Jesus was the most important, life altering reality that James knew…and it changed everything. So the question we’re left to wrestle with for ourselves is; “If Jesus is alive, then how will we live differently?”
Yesterday evening we were all given a length of red string. The string was given to represent our lives… seemingly never long enough, a defined length with a beginning and an end… Tonight he challenge was given for us to take the opportunity to ‘tie our lives to the heart of the Father.” In the main session tonight, students had an opportunity to take a tangible step toward Jesus by stepping out and tying their string to a heart that was positioned in front of the stage. The isles were packed with students stepping out in faith during our closing time of worship… some for the first time grasping, as James did, the power of the resurrection to change everything… and now because of that truth we seek to follow James encouragement in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Together we seek to live in the life altering reality of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, knowing that this changes everything.
The resurrection of Jesus changed everything… Today we dug deep into the message of the gospel and the theme of our week at CIY Move 2014. Our high school students and leaders made the trek from Indianapolis to Holland, MI this morning and had the opportunity to join with around 1,600 other students from all over the midwest for a week of worship, teaching, adventure, and fun. The theme of the week is “This changes everything…” and we learned tonight that the “THIS” is the resurrection of Jesus. We heard from Mark Christian and Jayson French who challenged us to think about the ways that the resurrection has had such significant implications (first and foremost) for salvation, but also for relationships, the role of women, in the realm of education, in art, music, science, geography, sports, medicine, entertainment, end so much more…. The fact that Jesus conquered death and was raised from the dead changed everything that has happened since then, and it continues to do so even today. The question is, “Will the resurrection change you?”
Our journey to Holland, MI included a blowout that resulted in two tires being replaced… but it wasn’t enough to deflate the mood or our first day as we finally arrived and have gotten settled in to at Hope College.
The theme this week is “Rise Up” and is in-depth look at the life of Joseph. Rachel Oblon challenged us tonight from Genesis 37 and brought some really great perspective to the story of Joseph. She really challenged us to “Rise Up” and allow God to write His story with our lives, a story that far bigger than anything we can write on our own. Tomorrow is our first full day and we’re eagerly anticipating digging in and experiencing all that God has in store for us.