Contrary to Hope, in Hope Believed

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As many of you know, I’m getting ready to do a 10 month campus ministry internship with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at the University of Virginia. In order to do this, I’ve spent this summer putting together a team of friends to partner with me in reaching students at UVA through their prayers and financial support. I’m a little more than halfway there but with my support raising deadline coming up in two weeks, it’s been a gnarly journey of faith. God’s done as much in me as he’s done for me and I’d like to share a bit of my most recent lesson.

“ [Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” –Romans 4:18-21

This scripture first popped in my head 11 days ago (I checked my journal to be sure) and hasn’t left since. It’s one of my favorites, I remember first studying it this past spring as I contemplated what it means when God says he wants to be the God of Abraham to you. At this most recent reading, however, I had a deep desire to experience this scripture in my life.

I’ve had many moments where I was believing God for something, lost hope and got discouraged, and then God still came through. Not discounting the things I learned from those experiences, I don’t want that to be the norm anymore. I don’t want to be surprised when God does something great because I didn’t expect it; no, I want to rejoice because it’s the fulfillment of confident expectation.

When this scripture came to me, it was two days after I’d unburdened myself to God concerning my frustrations regarding support raising. Needless to say, the closer I was getting to my deadline, the greater anxiety I was feeling. And that’s how it works in the way of the world, which says the longer it takes to get something, the less likely you are to get what you are waiting for. However, according to this scripture, the opposite is true when you live by faith.

When you use faith, you actually grow more confident that what you are hoping for will show up because you are one day closer to it happening. Here’s another translation that paints a different picture of Abraham’s experience.

“[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.” Romans 4:17-21 (AMP)

Here’s how I read that first sentence in the context of support raising. “So Christopher, ignoring how much he had to raise and how many people he was having trouble reaching, had hope instead in the nature of God (his never changing goodness) and the promise of his provision.”

I find it so inspiring that all Abraham had to go on was God’s word and nature and that was not only enough for him to keep the faith, but also caused him to grow in faith and be assured that God would do what he said he was going to do.

To take someone on their word is the highest form of trust, in my experience. With that in mind, as my support raising deadline approaches I’ve decided that I want to grow more expectant of seeing God’s provision the fewer days I have left, regardless of my circumstances. I’ve decided to think, “Wow, I’m getter closer to the fulfillment of God’s promise,” instead of, “Oh dear, I’m running out of time.”

Perhaps you’re reading this as someone who’s been on this journey of faith much longer than I have, and growing in faith in light of dire circumstances has become a fun bonding time with God. If that’s you, I’d ask that you pray for whatever happened in you to get you to that place, to happen in me 🙂  If that’s not your experience, welcome! Let’s join together as children of Abraham to embrace this generational legacy of great faith that’s been bequeathed to us. After all, it is our rightful inheritance.

Here’s a song that’s helped me cultivate a mindset of faith based on God’s nature. We Will Not Be Shaken

Also, want to learn how you can join up and partner with me in ministry? Have other questions about Chi Alpha and what we do? Email me here.

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Contrary to Hope, in Hope Believed

The 300

Support raising for my Chi Alpha internship at UVA has been quite the adventure these past few months. Sometimes I feel as though I’m in a Tom Clancy novel (even though I’ve never read a Tom Clancy novel) with all the plot twists I’ve experienced. However, despite things going very differently than I would have expected and hoped, support raising has still been a tremendously positive experience and today I want to reveal my favorite part of support raising. *Spoiler alert* it’s not the phone calls.

The best part of support raising has been meeting with people and getting to connect with them on a spiritual level. Whether its listening to the story of how they came to Christ or learning how their relationship with God leads them to establish God’s kingdom in unique ways, I’ve learned so much about God’s goodness and faithfulness in each and every meeting I’ve been in. It’s been such a blessing to get a chance to spend time with people who’ve had a relationship with God a lot longer than I have, and have the opportunity to glean wisdom from them as they talk about their past experiences. I’ve learn more about God as he reveals himself through who they are as unique individuals.

Recently, when I was talking to God about the support raising process he directed my attention to the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. I was find it interesting how God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 down to 300, just to be sure they would know that the victory was given to them by God, and not by their own efforts. It completely defied the logic of the time, yet in the end God gave them an overwhelming victory. In the same way, my support team isn’t composed of all who I would have imagined when I first decided to do the internship. The team isn’t finished of course, I still have $900 of monthly support to raise, but I know when the team is fully assembled each member will have been appointed by God to partner with me in this exciting adventure with Chi Alpha. It’s for this reason that I have started (and probably will continue to) referring to my support team as “The 300”, a reference to the three hundred men who fought with Gideon.

So, to my “300”, both known and not yet known, thank you. Thank you not just for partnering with me in this next stage of my life but also for being such wonderful conduits of the nature of God through your lives. I’m truly blessed to be partnered with you and have you all as a part of my life.

In the immortal words of the slightly obscure, but still great super-hero show Smallville, “Let’s go save the world.”

The 300

48% and Counting! Support Raising and Summer Reading List Update!

Ye heard right folks, I’ve now received pledges covering 48% of my monthly budget for my Chi Alpha internship at UVA!! A HUGE shout out to all who’ve joined my support team, I couldn’t do this without a single one of you and I’m truly blown away by your generosity. Thank you so, so much.

My support raising deadline is August 3rd, so I have 32 days to raise the final $972.50 a month for my total budget of $1875 a month. I’m super excited to see what God’s going to do over the next 32 days and discover what other wonderful folks will be joining me in reaching students at UVA! It’s going to be a heckuva ride!

48 percent

Now, I’ll be honest, support raising can have its highs and its lows. One of the ways I stay focused on what God is and will do through the process is by reading as many books as possible. So, without further ado, here are the books I have read, am reading, and will read from my summer reading list. I’ll also give them a ranking (out of 10), say whether I’d read it again, and my read or don’t read recommendation.

“The Have Read’s”

Currently Readings – Current Impressions

Not Yet Read

  • Experiencing the Impossible – Bill Johnson
  • Designed for inheritance – Carlos Rodriguez
  • The Bondage Breaker: Part 2 – Neil Anderson
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
  • Keep Your Love On: Communication and Boundaries – Danny Silk
  • Seventy Reasons for Speaking in Tongues: Your Own Built in Spiritual Dynamo – Bill Hamon
  • The Gospel in Ten Words – Paul Ellis
  • School of the Prophets: Advanced Training for Prophetic Ministry – Kris Vallotton
  • Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda – Bill Johnson
  • Understanding Your Dreams Now: Spiritual Dreams Interpretation – Doug Addison
  • Permission Granted to Do Church Differently in the 21st Century – Graham Cooke
48% and Counting! Support Raising and Summer Reading List Update!

Behind the Mask

“From the place of our woundedness we construct a false self. We find a few gifts that work for us, and we try to live off them. Stuart found he was good at math and science. He shut down his heart and spent all his energies perfecting his “Spock” persona. There in the academy, he was safe; he was also recognized and rewarded. Alex was good at sports and the whole macho image; he became a glass-eating animal. Stan became the nicest guy you could ever meet. “In the story of my life,” he admitted, “I want to be seen as the Nice Guy.” I became a hard-charging perfectionist; there, in my perfection, I found safety and recognition. “When I was eight,” confesses Brennan Manning, “the impostor, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The impostor within whispered, ‘Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.’” Notice the key phrase: “as a defense against pain,” as a way of saving himself. The impostor is our plan for salvation” – John Eldredge, Wild at Heart

Does reading that strike a chord in your heart? I know it does in mine. This describes so much of my past struggle, a struggle that God’s been faithful to help me through for the past ten years of my life, if not longer.

We’ve all heard people say that the most important thing in any conflict is to know your enemy. Whether it be a sports conflict or actual war, I’d say that’s a generally true statement. There’s probably a bit more to it than that, but for the most part if you understand your enemy you’ll find yourself in a good place. Well the same is true when we are in conflict with ourselves. As Eldredge states above, at some point in all of our lives we’ll be wounded. As we stand there in the midst of the pain the enemy visits us and presents us with the lie. The lie is simple, but oh so devastating. He tells us that all the pain we’re experiencing would leave, all of our deep unspoken desires would be fulfilled if we just became someone else. Usually we’re too young and naive to understand what’s happening so we embrace the lie. We put on someone else’s armor and present a false mask to all around us, hoping that it will save us. Unfortunately, what we believed would save us ultimately leads us into greater bondage.

Why? It’s because the false identity we create is incompatible with who we are at the core of our being; it stands in rebellion to who God created us to be and thus will never satisfy and never bring us what we desire.

This narrative permeates all aspects of media. Who’s the real person: Batman or Bruce Wayne? Our society praises those who wear masks, which is why masked heroes and the stories they are involved in continue to capture our imaginations (just look at the success of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix or the continual reboots of Batman and Spiderman); however, in the same breathe we also have an insatiable drive to find the man behind the mask, as if we know deep down that he’s the person who really matters. And that’s true, in fiction and in reality. We must never confuse the roles we play with who we are (more on that in my next post).

So how do we escape? If we truly are created to be someone different than who we’ve presented others for so many years how do we go back? How do we bring back the man or woman behind the mask?

First, we must acknowledge that we’re wearing a mask in the first place, which is easier said than done. Repentance (i.e., changing our mind and how we think) will only come if we understand what falsehood we believe and what the alternative truth is. This is why our second task is to ask God to reveal the difference between who we really are and who we’ve been pretending to be. He’s anxious and happy to do so. This is not a one and done event. It’s a process as God not only shows us who we’ve been pretending to be but also why we’ve been pretending to be them. This journey into the past can bring up painful memories but this is the path to restoration and healing. Finally, we must accept ourselves, our true selves. God has a glorious plan for each and every one of us and it is only by becoming who he created us to be that we’ll be able to accomplish the good works he designed for us.

Up to this point I’ve dealt mainly with the realm of ideas and principles. Now allow to me to go to the realm of experience because it is within our experience that God wants to encounter and dwell with us. I’ll do so by explaining my own experiences with the mask.

I can’t remember all of the events that led me to believe the lies that made up my personal mask, but I will try to recount them to the best of my ability. First off, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life joining preexisting communities and friendships (I’m even doing it now, as I transition to interning with Chi Alpha at UVA). Because I was always the new guy I’ve perpetually felt like an outsider, always feeling like I don’t belong. I knew many people who I got along with but I was always searching for that David/Jonathon relationship from the Bible and could never find it (to be honest, I still haven’t but I haven’t given up hope for it). On a slightly unrelated note, when I was in 5th and 6th grade I had to visit a speech therapist because I couldn’t pronounce the “r” sound correctly, especially when I got excited and started talking fast (which people tend to do when they get excited).

There are few things worse than being told you can’t talk properly (I can’t speak for everyone but it definitely tops wearing braces, which I also have experience with). In hindsight I’m extremely glad for those many, many speech lessons; however, back then they were a tremendous source of shame and actually caused me to embrace the role of outsider. I figured that as an outsider I’d interact with fewer people and thus be put in fewer embarrassing situations.

The final factor was my physical stature. I’ve never had the build that would lead someone to call me a “strapping, young lad”. From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be 6’3 and around 190 lbs, all muscle. Once I figured out that I’d never be the biggest guy on the block I knew I needed some other type of strength to give me some confidence and distinguish me from all the other guys in eyes of all the girls in the world. I settled for two things: strength of conviction and the appearance of the inner strength that comes from self-confidence (which I didn’t really have). And with that, my mask was complete.

Now, just to be clear, all of these conclusions probably took place before I turned 14 and were just continually solidified and built upon as time passed. I haven’t begun to see myself differently than this mask until this past year, and most of that growth has occurred in the past 6 months. In fact, even though I have started to see myself differently, I couldn’t have articulated what my mask was until two days ago, when God revealed it to me after I read the above quote by John Eldredge and did some journaling about it. Here’s what I wrote in those initial moments of reflection.

“The impostor, the false self, believed that strength was seen in silence, in mystery, in control. I thought that if I was aloof and mysterious people would think there was more to me than I believed at the time, that they’d take an interest in me and that girls would be attracted to me being a mild mannered man of mystery. He looks nice on the outside but is aloof enough that you imagine a danger hiding behind the surface. The truth is that there is danger, this is fight in me, but it’s not to be used for my own gain or manipulated; it’s to be used to fight for others. It doesn’t need to be flaunted. Also, what woman would trust her heart to a man whose heart she cannot see? To be fully myself, funny, warm, and endearing is to be vulnerable because it goes against everything I falsely believed girls wanted. It’s taking the mask off and saying, ‘this is me, take it or leave it,’ and then stopping there. As an introverted person I still fight the impostor sometimes, but now that I’ve identified him I have power over him and I can empower the true self, who God made me to be.”

Understanding what your mask is will not remove the temptation to wear it. Because I am such an outsider in the realm of my experience, even in this present moment, it is tempting to embrace that label as a part of my identity. As I begin my internship with Chi Alpha at UVA, I’m entering a fully formed, self-sustaining community, and a large one at that. I’m not sure what my place within this community is yet. I don’t yet know how God wants to use my gifts and talents to bless my fellow staff members and the students I’ll be ministering to. However, I know that if I embrace the identity of an outsider I will put up walls that would prevent me from caring and loving the people around me to the extent that God wants me to. So instead I reach out, I intentionally look for ways to get integrated into the community; all the while learning to be the person God created me to be at all times. It takes effort and I’m still learning but I’m enjoying the growth.

Now, again I feel clarification is needed. In my case, God provided a great deal of inner healing concerning the areas of my life that supported the mask long before I realized what mask I was wearing. That may or may not be the case for you. Perhaps God will reveal the mask you’ve been wearing and the healing will follow. Perhaps he’ll do something similar to what he did in my life and the healing will come first. Either way, he will do something because it is his desire to restore you and help you fully become the beautiful person he created you to be from the moment he conceived of you in his mind. However, don’t be mistaken: it will test you. John Eldredge writes, “In order to take a man into his wound, so that he can heal it and begin the release of the true self, God will thwart the false self. He will take away all that you’ve leaned upon to bring you life… God thwarts us to save us. We think it will destroy us, but the opposite is true—we must be saved from what really will destroy us.” At the beginning it will be messy and emotionally painful, but in the long run it will be so, so worth it.

I share my experience because I know it would be foolish to think I’m the only person who’s ever worn a mask to hide deeply rooted insecurities. Getting to where I am now wasn’t an easy process by any means and it was only by having many of my most precious goals subverted and deep desires go unfulfilled that I was able to turn to God and begin the process of seeing if the man behind the mask still existed. Fortunately, he did and God had been with him the entire time. Revelation 19:10 says that the spirit of prophecy is testimony, meaning that what God did for someone else becomes the foundation of what we believe he will do for us. Hopefully my story will fill you all with confident expectation of God’s coming work in your life to dismantle the lies of the enemy and reveal the glorious child behind the mask.

Behind the Mask

40% and Counting!

Yep, you read that right! As of now, I’ve received pledges covering 40% of my monthly budget for my campus ministry internship with Chi Alpha at the University of Virginia! I’d like to give a HUGE, HUGE thank you to all who’ve agreed to support me. I couldn’t do this without any of you and I’m super excited to be partnered with all of you to reach students at UVA this year! #Yalldarealmvps To breakdown what my progress looks like in the realm of numbers, I’ve come up with this fancy pie graph to illustrate. So I’m raising a monthly budget of $1875/mo (The whole pie. It’s apple, fyi). I’ve currently raised $747.50/mo (the orange part) which leaves me with $1127.50/mo (the blue part) to raise by August 3rd, which is when I report for duty at UVA. 40 percent Let me present you with another analogy. So imagine the entire circle represents a bunch of college basketball fans at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena. Currently, there are 747 UVA fans (and one ten year old child) and 1,127 Duke fans (and another ten year old child). My goal is to drive all the Duke fans out of the arena because UVA just won the game. Simple enough, me thinks. We’ve made tremendous progress, but there’s still work be done and August 3rd will be here in a flash. Interested in being a part of what God wants to do in the hearts of students at UVA? That’s great! Feel free to email me at chris.22.webb@gmail.com, I’d love to tell you more about what I’ll be doing with Chi Alpha during my internship! If you’ve heard enough and want to go ahead and help fill JPJ with UVA fans (figuratively speaking) that’s awesome! Here’s a link where you can donate online. I’m excited to be partnering with all of you in this next season of life. I believe God has tremendous things planned for UVA and I’m looking forward to being a part of it with all of you! I’m excited to be partnering with all of you in this next season of life. I believe God has tremendous things planned for UVA and I’m looking forward to being a part of it with all of you!

40% and Counting!

To Will and To Do

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Let me tell you a story. When I arrived at Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall of 2013, I had no idea what plans God had to transform me into the person he created me to be. In fact, it’s only been through the lens of hindsight that I’ve seen how incredibly involved God has been in every facet of my life. But back to VCU.

My whole reason for attending VCU was to major in Criminal Justice, work as a patrol officer for a few years, and then become the premier hostage negotiator in the country. That’s where my passions were rooted and what I believed God had called me to. By December, after taking three criminal justice classes, my desires and interests had shifted towards the correctional sphere of criminal justice. I stood in this mode of thinking for the next several months, the whole time continuing to grow in my relationship with God and furthering my involvement in Chi Alpha, the campus ministry that I had joined my first day at VCU. In January, we underwent a leadership transition that left us without a permanent leader. In this difficult time of transition, we saw a drop in attendance that really frustrated me. I wanted to help, but felt powerless. Little did I know that God was using the tension of this season to develop passions I didn’t know I had.

In late April, a week after I had gotten baptized with Chi Alpha, I was up at 3:42 in the morning, unable to fall asleep. I decided to journal, a practice I had started only a month ago. It was in the quite of the night that I believe I cemented my cooperation with God’s plan as I wrote down some thoughts concerning what I thought the mission of the church was and long term goals for my life. Gone was the boy looking for the thrill of the case; in his place stood someone else, someone convinced that the only life worth living was a life devoting to leading people into encounter with the lover of their souls.

From that point until now, I have grown tremendously in my relationship with God, but my heart concerning the church stays the same. It is for this reason, to facilitate encounters with God and help people grow in who he created them to be, that I’ve decided to complete an internship with Chi Alpha at the University of Virginia for the upcoming year. It had been my intent to do the internship as long ago as last summer but for various reasons I had abandoned the plan over winter break, only for God to continue to work within me and restore the desire with a greater degree of intensity than previously. This leads me to the crux of my post.

This past March I was listening to a sermon by Eric Johnson, pastor for Bethel church in Redding, California (And author of this fantastic book). In it, he briefly brought up Philippians 2:13, a scripture which I had read but never fully understood. It reads, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” NLT. Suddenly, the journey of the past two years of my life came into perspective. God, being infinitely more creative and ingenious than we give him credit for, had completely changed my desires to match his, all without twisting my arm or making me cognizant of it. He simply revealed himself to me, the depths of his love, his kindness, his grace, and his goodness. The closer I grew to God the more he worked behind the scenes, molding and shaping me into the person he had created me to be. And as I began to step into who God made me, my desires shifted to align themselves with my new identity. The irony is that God used my previous desires to get me to VCU, which spiritually functioned as my wilderness time with God.

I tell this story for two main purposes. First, I want to allay any fears of missing out on God’s plan for your life. Often times we have more confidence in our ability to miss God’s plan than his ability to guide us into it. As my story shows, that’s clearly not the case. So long as our hearts intent is to follow God, even if we are ignorant of what that entails, God will do the rest, giving us new desires and the power to fulfill them. Second, I think too often we are more concerned about accomplishing what God has called us to instead of becoming who God created us to be (more on this in a future post). After all, we are human beings, not human doings. When we start asking God to show us who we are in him, what he has created us to do will naturally reveal itself.

So take a deep breath and do a trust fall into God’s loving and secure arms. He’s eager and able to catch you and carry you to heights greater than you ever could have imagined.

To Will and To Do

Reach the U Top Ten: Hashtag Edition

11350684_10152739328921599_7932944316429701836_n Late Monday night (or early Tuesday morning, depending on how you look at it) I got back from attending Reach the U, a week of intensive campus ministry training. It was such an amazing week, that I’ve decide to devote an entire post towards sharing some of the more noteworthy moments.

For those of you who have followed my previous blog, you know that I’m a big fan of top ten lists. So, without further ado, allow me to lead you into the first official Deeper Waters top ten list.

10.  #Roadwarriors – Let me tell you something, driving from Virginia to Springfield, MO is no joke my friends. The drive there was especially interesting as my dear GPS Francine decide to avoid the tolls by sending us through the back roads of West Virginia. Yeah, not her shining moment. My fellow interns and I enjoyed the peaceful solitude of night driving, fought off the hallucinations of mental fatigue, and pressed through the best torrential rainstorm Indiana could throw at us. All in a 1999 Toyota Camry. Yeah, we’re hardcore. We left Virginia as fiscally conscious road warriors and came back determined to spend the rest of our traveling adventures in an airplane.

9. #Nomnoms – Six words: Buffalo Wings and Andy’s Frozen Yogurt. #nuffsaid. Also, the banquet we had Sunday night? Baller.

8. #ChiWrocklage – Before this week I knew I’d being doing the Chi Alpha internship at UVA with two other interns but I didn’t know them that well going into RUI. Suffice to say that’s all changed by now.Tyler and Madeline are quality people and I’m super excited to see what merry adventures our grand ole triumvirate will encounter over the next year.

7. #blowthattrashup – One of our teachers during Reach the U was Ouida (We-da) Bradford, the District Chi Alpha director for Georgia. I learned a lot from her throughout the week but two pieces of advice that I’ll hold in high regard are these: 1) If you find yourself inheriting a ministry with a toxic environment, blow that trash up and start over and 2) Leaders lead. They lead people to Jesus or away from Jesus, but leaders will always lead.

6. #findfeedfight – Another of our instructors was Eli Gautreaux, the director of the largest Chi Alpha in the U.S., Sam Houston State. He taught a lot on discipleship but the thing that stood out to me was when he spoke on our motives as leaders. Speaking on the parable of the lost sheep, he pointed out that the focus of the passage wasn’t on the thing that was lost, but on the one who lost the precious thing. We can try to serve for the sake of the lost or out of a feeling of duty, but the only way to achieve long term sustainable leadership is to make sure we do everything for Jesus.

5. #Wearyourownarmor – Glen Davis (Director of Stanford University’s Chi Alpha), who I will forever associate with the number 4, spent the entire week dropping truth bombs like it was the London Blitz in World War 2. To recount everything significant he said would exceed the limits of this post, but I appreciated his advice to own our individuality, or as he said it, “You are responsible to God Almighty to preach what he’s called you to preach, how he’s called you to preach it, to whom he’s called you to preach it.” In a day and age when conformity is everywhere, this was refreshing and empowering to hear.

4. #Pastorsdonthavebaddaystheyhavesermonillustrations – Ah, Jon Rice. If Glen Davis dropped the truth like a hammer, then Jon Rice made us all feel comfortable before walking calmly behind us and stabbing us in the heart with it. Again, I got a lot out of everything he taught on (His class on counseling was especially helpful), but it was his class on the self-aware leader that will probably have the greatest impact going forward. It wasn’t anything super profound but it was what I needed to hear in that moment to give me the right perspective going into the internship. Here it is: “The intern year is not about you fulfilling your life calling and passion, it’s about helping someone else fulfill theirs.”

3. #morefunonaccident – I think it was Thursday when the rain decide to crash our little party for the afternoon. So what do 150 recent college grads do to pass the time in a situation like that? Some play soccer in the rain, others sit around and sing songs, with our only instruments being a ukelele and various coffee tables. This week was an absolutely joy and there was a ton of fun to be had from day one, culminating in a lip sync battle and dance party on our final night. I’m not a big dancer by any stretch of the imagination but in the midst of jumping in there I did manage to have fun. In Chi Alpha, we really do have more fun on accident than most people do on purpose.

2. #DontdreamaGodsizeddreamdreamGodsdream – Saturday night Scott and Crystal Martin, our Chi Alpha and Chi Alpha International directors, spoke about the vision of Chi Alpha. It was an incredibly encouraging time and I don’t believe I was the only one who felt ready to go to war after hearing them speak. Crystal told us that God always gives us the tools we need to accomplish the work he’s appointed us to, whether those tools be stones or a sword. However, regardless of the tools God gives us, we don’t rely on them, we only rely on God.

Scott, in addition to exhorting us to dream God’s dream for our campus which I think is a brilliant idea, encouraged us to have a vision for our lives that allows God to be God. “You show me your vision, and I’ll show you your future.” As we head off to our individual campuses, we going there to call our students to greatness and if we don’t know and believe the greatness that God has called us to personally, we’ll misrepresent his goodness and power to those we reach out to. I definitely felt challenged to reevaluate my vision and make sure it’s one that honors who God is and what he wants to do through me and others.

1. #anytimeanywhereanything – I don’t remember who, but I once heard it said that in Chi Alpha we are together for a moment and sent out for a lifetime. It’s a sad truth, for sure, but I don’t think we’d have it any other way. Everyone at RUI, from the upcoming intern class to our fearless leaders Scott and Crystal Martin, was there for the same reason, which is this: That we believe there is no greater mission than reaching people for Christ and establishing the Kingdom of God wherever we go. How this is accomplished long term will depend on the gifts, talents, and desires that God has placed within each of our hearts, but the core purpose is the same.

I formed connections with many people this week and it’s going to be hard not seeing most of them for months and probably years. Fortunately, we’ll be able to make up for lost time on the back end of eternity. So here’s to everyone who was a part of the RUI class of 2015. I don’t know you all near as well as you deserve but hopefully I got to know you as much as I was able. Let’s go change the world. 10532385_10153021990327865_1848014833048765196_n

Reach the U Top Ten: Hashtag Edition