two years of electronic ministry in the razorbacks for christ campus ministry

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Location: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States

Sunday, July 17, 2005

How It All Began

Late in my sophomore year at the University of Arkansas, a tradition began where every Thursday evening at about 5:45 several of us in the Razorbacks for Christ campus ministry would meet at the student Union for supper. We needed a break from the food in Brough! I began to send out weekly email reminders of the get-together to the ever growing RFC email list, and continued to send the reminders at the beginning of the fall semester the next year. To make the email more than just a reminder and in turn to make it worth everyone’s while to actually open the emails, I began to include Bible verses and encouraging thoughts which eventually became known as, the “mini devo.”

At the end of my two years as an intern (2000-2002) I mentioned that I planned to put all of the emails together into a booklet of some sort, and a few people responded that that was a swell idea. Well, I got busy and never got around to making the booklet. And so, this blog is an adaptation of those plans, an archive (a gradually growing one) of the emails I and others sent to encourage each other.

Reading back through the weekly emails, it is fun to reminisce about the things that were happening in the lives of us RFCs, and also to see how the emails, my writing skills, and my relationship with God and personal theology developed. And sometimes reading back through the emails I wonder, what was I thinking?! I think some of those instances can be attributed to the fact that many of the emails were sent between 2 and 7 in the morning! It was a beneficial experience for me to write these and often RFCs dropped me notes to let me know how much the emails meant to them. So, here they are now for all who are interested in re-reading them and hopefully being encouraged again. (Actually, here they will be, as I gradually get them all posted. Check back often.)

One of the coolest interactions that occurred among RFCs via email was sharing lists of thanks to God. So, in RFC style, here are some things I will not take for granted:

1. Blogs, what a cool new way to express thoughts and connect with each other.
2. My internship with Christ Journey here in south Fort Worth.
3. Opportunities to meet and encourage people at the local gym.
4. The local gym.
5. Dr. Pepper.
6. The privilege of witnessing transformation in the lives of others.
7. The privilege of witnessing transformation in my own life.
8. The support, encouragement, and fun I get from being with friends and family.
9. God’s abiding presence.
10. God’s love, grace, and mercy.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Howdy [what is better]


Are you'ns having a good day? I hope so. Well, the Thursdays are quickly dwindling away. After today, there is only one or two left depending on your finals schedule. One for me! Ha! Anywho, remember that tonight we'll be eating dinner in the Union at 5:45ish. My flex dollars are long gone so I guess I'll have to fork out some cash or grab a quick bite at Brough before heading to the Union. Hope you can come.

This weekend there are two big things happening: There's a trip to Cotter for Staci's b-day/canoeing and there's also hoop-o-rama on Saturday morning. I think hoop-o-rama starts at 9am.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

So many times, this time of year especially, we get distracted by all the things we feel we need to get done. We get distracted by tests, projects, and end of the year activities and fail to choose "what is better." We decide that we have too much studying to do to go to church/devo/Bible study/prayer group, read the Word, talk to God, or give our time to that person who needs an ear. We focus on what is seen rather than what is unseen. We forget that if we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things will be given to us as well. (Matt 6:33)

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:12,13

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:16-18

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John:15-17

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56:3,4

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make you righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:3-6

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around you neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." Proverbs 3:1-8

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

In Christ,

Thursday, April 19, 2001


Buon Giorno,

I know I said I'd probably start using the new email list this week, but I'm afraid that not everybody has replied to the message they should have gotten from Yahoo. So, this is your last chance (probably) to get a Thursday email or any email without joining the new more user friendly list. :)

Well, there are only a few more Thursdays left. Hasn't this semester flown by?! I hope that you can join us at the Union at 5:45 as we celebrate the 4th to the last Thursday of the Spring semester of 2001. I'm sure that good times and mediocre food will be had by all. I've got a pretty busy day tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get some "4th Thursday to the
Last" t-shirts printed up. If you want one please bring $40 with you when you come to the Union. Naw! I's jes kiddin'! It's just a regular Thursday like all the rest, but I hope you can come.

Additional reminders:
The softball team will be playing their first playoff game on Monday at 9:30. If you want to come to the golf scramble this Saturday, be at the student center at 7:30 in the morning, that's right, 7:30.

Alllll righty then. Tonight in class, a verse that stuck out to me was 2 Cor 10:5

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

This, I think, is a verse that when applied to our lives stresses the importance of knowing God's Word so that we will always be able to explain why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do, and so that we will have scripture to back us up when we point out something that someone is doing wrong. When Paul speaks of taking captive every 'thought', I think he means every wrong idea that other people have about God's Word.

(Disclaimer: Just b/c I think something, that doesn't mean it's true. It's up to you to study and decide for yourself.)

While he may be speaking of ideas rather than inner thoughts, whenever I read "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ," I can't help but wonder if my thoughts are obedient to Christ. Over and over the Old Testament says that God is a jealous God. There are many pure and wonderful things that God has put on this earth that are perfectly fine to think about. Perhaps, however, it’s possible to think of good things too much. Perhaps even thinking about good things can distract us from thinking about God and thus make him jealous. I dunno. It's something to think about, but not too much. ;)

A challenge and prayer for myself and you is that all of my and your thoughts and ideas will be from God and have to do with glorifying Him.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23,24

"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night." Psalm 63:6

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make know among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:1-4

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

"I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob." Psalm 132:4,5

"Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
Phil 3:19-21

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Phil 4:4-8

"Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2

"Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast." Hebrews 3:1-6

Question(s): How do you go about making your thoughts obedient to Christ? What helps you to focus on God rather than the things of this earth? When thinking about good and pure things, how much is too much? What do you do to balance all the earthly and eternal duties you have on your plate? Can they be meshed together? How can one use the duties of this life for God's glory?

Maybe you've got some answers that could help me and others on the list out. I look forward to some good discussion both over email and around the table at lunch and dinner tomorrow.

Have a great day!
In Christ,

Thursday, April 05, 2001

Back in the Day

As I sit here in my shorts in this stuffy dorm, I'm reminded of the hot summer days of my childhood. I'm reminded of my little, round, blue plastic swimming pool from Wal-Mart (or maybe Target or K-Mart). You know, the one with the dinky little slide that curves around one side and colorful fish printed on the bottom. Those were the bomb til they warped or til it rained and a bunch of pine needles and gross stuff somehow got in them. I'm reminded of one particular hot summer afternoon, standing in the middle of my little pool in the middle of my driveway in nothing but my scooby underoos with my little boy pot belly sticking out, the best tan of my life, and buzzed sandy blond hair. Ahh, those were the days. No grooming required and very few articles of clothing required as well. My summer days consisted of annoying my big brother, playing outside, going to the neighborhood pool, and going to the grocery store with my mom. Homework on school nights might be an addition worksheet, a spelling assignment, and reading a story with one of my parents. Those days were definitely WORRY-FREE days of DEPENDENCE on my parents, TRUSTING what they and just about anyone had to say. Like Mark talked about tonight, let's try to be more like the little child that Jesus called to him.

Another attribute, Mark, that I just thought of is that kids are NOT JUDGEMENTAL. A kid will say ‘hi’ to an ugly or smelly or old person just as quickly as they'll say ‘hi’ to a nice looking, clean person. Color of skin, hair style, fashion, financial status, and popularity matter not to a child.

Ooh, I just thought of another: EASILY SATISFIED. The kids that I got to spend so much time with in Romania are playing in my mind right now. All they needed for lunch was a couple of slices of bread and all they needed for a day of fun was a little attention and a hug, a menga (ball), and a dirt field for soccer. They didn't even need that much! They just needed a tiny carport and some rusty bars in the shape of a soccer goal! Having fun with me didn't ever require that we understand a word we said to each other. God bless those kids.

Praise be to God for the example that the Karnes family is! ...the Christian leader, husband, and father that Scott is; the Christian leader, wife, and mother that Denise is; the dependent, trusting, and worry-free lives that Davis and now Bailey live! I pray that God blesses them and that someday he blesses me and you with families that are as blessed. I pray that I and my wife and children can glorify God by being the example of a true Christian family that this world desperately needs more of.

Well, before I leave you with some verses, let me remind you about supper in the Union at 5:45ish.

Hope you can come to spring retreat this weekend. It's always awesome. Remember to carpool so we don't have too many cars. Apparently we have shifts leaving on Friday afternoon at about 3 and about 6. Also remember to eat before you come Friday and to brings snacks if you think you'll need a midnight snack. Please be praying about this weekend...for Wilson's devo, for all of our speaker's speeches, and all of our activities.

Ok, time for some verses and I'll let ya go:

"And he said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" Matthew 18:3,4

"My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore." Psalm 131

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:13

Check out Matthew 21:12-16, then Psalm 8, then Matthew 11:20-30.

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11

"And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:7,8

Have a great day!
In Him,

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Back in the Swing of Things

Well, sadly, spring break is over and it's time to get back in the swing of school things. If you're having a hard time gettin back in the swing of things, I know of the perfect place to go for a break. That's right, the Union for supper at about 5:45 tonight!

Rightly so, missions has been a big topic this semester. The word on the street is that the spring break missions to Dallas and New Orleans went well and that there are two more opportunities for missions this weekend. The first is a Sunday morning trip to Mt. Judea to help with the morning services at Jacob Hudson's home church. We'll be leaving from the student center at about 8 in the morning. When we get there, we'll have Bible class, worship service, a potluck lunch, a short devotional and then we'll get back here to Fayetteville mid to late afternoon. I'll be teaching class on Acts 8. It'd be a big help if you could read it ahead of time and be ready to discuss. Nick Ruple will be preaching and Wilson will be leading singing. Please be praying for us and for everyone leading and going this weekend.

The other opportunity is a short trip to Cave Springs to help with their Sunday evening services. If you're going to Mt. Judea, don't feel like you can't go to Cave Springs too. The plan is to get back in time to go to Cave Springs as well. I'm not sure who's doing what in Cave Springs, but please keep this trip in your prayers as well.

God is faithful!!! Lately prayers have been answered and doors have been opened concerning missions this summer! We now have teams going to Prague, Czech Republic; Cluj, Romania; and Cosenza, Italy. We also have RFCs going to Africa and the Ukraine and helping with summer camps and going other places as well. Please keep all these places and people in your prayers. "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16b

Well, for this week’s mini devo, I just thought I'd throw out some more verses for you to chew on dealing what we talked about tonight in class about not being yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14-7:1). Some will have to do with guy/girl relationships and some will have to do with everyday friendships:

[speaking about the nations the Isrealites would drive out] "Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you." Deuteronomy 7:3,4

"A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." Proverbs 12:26

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in here and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31:10-12,28-31

"Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 'I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel, ' and I hate man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the Lord Almighty."
Malachi 2:15,16

"I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such persons do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you.'"
1 Cor 5:9-13

"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame." 1 Cor 15:33-34

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view."
2 Cor 5:16

"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no on deceive you with empty words; for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them." Ephesians 5:5-7

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let you conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5,6

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so they you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thess 4:11,12

"Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6

After reading back through these verses, I realize that they don't provide a simple, works-for-every-situation formula. However, our competence comes from God and he has given us the ability to discern the implications of the situations we find ourselves in or perhaps allow ourselves to be in. It seems to me that the simple goal is to be in the world and to be a light to it while at the same time not allowing ourselves to be corrupted by it. I think the last verse about walking as Jesus did sums it all up. Jesus definitely spent a lot of time around "sinners." Yet, when he was around them he was changing their lives for the better and was at the same time keeping himself pure.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 08, 2001

Sup? [heaven]


It's time for your weekly reminder about supper in the union at 5:45. I, sadly, will most likely not be able to make it this week. I know it seems sacrilegious for me to miss the thing I unfailingly remind you of each week, but something's come up. ;)

There's been a lot of great discussion over the ole email list lately. Keep it up. A good friend of mine who recently sent an email to the group once said that he had previously refrained from writing because he didn't want to steal my thunder. The thing is, the thunder is not mine in the first place. God is the lightning that creates the thunder and it doesn't matter whose mouth it's comes out of.

I am SOOOOOOOOO pumped about missions!!! I wish we could just forego the rest of the semester and go now. Tonight at the mission meeting we learned of several new possibilities for places to go this summer. All of them sound really cool! However, none of them have given us a definite answer yet. Please be in prayer about these places as well as our already established trips to Prague and Cluj. There are also RFCs going to Africa, the Ukraine, and I'm sure some other places. Keep them in your prayers as well. Please pray that God will send His angels to assist all of our teams and fight back Satan and his demons who are sure to try to attack. More than that, please pray that God will place his hand on all our teams; that He'll keep us and our families safe, that all of our plans will go smoothly, that people will be touched, and that His will will be done.
That's something I pray about far too infrequently. How often do I ask God to send His angels and to place His Hand on this campus, city, country, world? Imagine if we all started praying that! I think God has limitless power that He's ready to unleash...all we have to do is ask.

This week has been a very prayerful week for me. Truthfully, I haven't spent near as much one on one time with God as I should. However, I have had the privilege of praying with a friend(s) just about every night this week. Tonight in class, Mark mentioned the peace that comes after a group prayer. It is so true! It is definitely a peace that surpasses all understanding, because I can't describe it. It is such a blessing to have a friend or two in whose presence you are comfortable spilling your soul to God. It is also such a blessing to hear a friend spill their soul to God. I truly hope that you have a friend/friends/group of friends who you pray with somewhat regularly. If not, find one. Don't wait for someone else to initiate it. It may be a little awkward for the first few times. After a while, though, it will be the highlight of your week!

Tonight in class, Mark also talked about how we long for our spiritual dwelling (2 Cor. 5:1-10). In addition, Wilson talked about heaven in a recent email. I must admit that I also have some reservations about what heaven's going to be like. The no tears thing is a weird thing to think about, and (of course, I would be the one to have to bring this up...I might as well, I already talk about it all the time) so is the no one being married or given into marriage thing. Even if we aren't married anymore when we get to heaven, I at least hope that my future wife and I feel some kind of special bond due to all the things we went through together in this life. That having been said, what heaven is going to be like is a cool thing to think about but is definitely something we don't need to worry about. Whatever it's going to be like it going to be AWESOME! I can't wait to be set free from the worries of this world, my self-consciousness, my struggles with sin, and to never have to say good-bye again. I can't wait to see God and learn all about Him. I also think that if we don't have some kind of a longing to be done with this life that maybe we love this life a little more than we're supposed to. However, lately, whenever I've read this and other passages, I've thought to myself: Who am I to ask to go home now? I've only been on this earth 20 years and in those 20 years I have accomplished very little for God. I know that I can't earn my way to heaven and that God's grace is able to cover me whether I ever win a soul or not, but I can't help but think that God put me here for a purpose and that whatever that purpose is, I haven't accomplished it yet. In addition, if Jesus came back today, many of my and your friends and loved ones wouldn't be going to heaven with us. Maybe I should be thankful for each new day because it's another chance for me to reach the people I need to reach. I know He was put on Earth for a much more important purpose than me, but I think Jesus said it best:

"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!" John 12:27

I can't wait to go to heaven, but I don't think my time has come yet. However, what I think doesn't matter. He could come back anytime..."So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." (2 Cor. 5:9) Let's do that: Whatever we do, whether in word or deed, let's do it all for the glory of God!

Here are some more verses to chew on:

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
James 5:16

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil 4:6,7

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:19,20

"The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
John 12:25

Have a great day!

In Him,

Thursday, March 01, 2001

He Wants

What it is?

Remember, tonight we're eating supper in the Union at about 5:45. Also, remember that it's not too late to sign up to go to Mt. George this weekend for the "mini" mission. Please be praying for this weekend, the spring break missions, the summer missions, and our daily missions right here in NW Arkansas.

God neither needs nor depends on me for anything. "All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." (1 Peter 1:24) Yes, I am small and insignificant—a speck in God's endless universe—and everything is "meaningless." (see Ecclesiastes) BUT.....

While God neither needs me nor depends on me, He WANTS me. That's right, li'l ol' me. Think of the story of the prodigal son. When the son returned home after squandering his inheritance and his father saw him coming over the horizon, his father RAN to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (see Luke 15) Our salvation is so important to God that whenever one of us comes to Him, He throws a party. Is that not cool?! Makes me feel pretty important.

While we are small and insignificant, it doesn't change the fact that we are His creation; He wants our all, He wants relationship with us, and He loves us beyond comprehension. Whenever I read Paul's writings, I enjoy how he makes comparisons to help the reader understand things better. For example, "If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!" (2 Corinthians 3:9-11) I think the same kind of comparison can be made to give us a glimpse of just how much God loves us.

What do you love? Your friends, family, possessions, popularity? How far would you go to keep, care for, or sustain the people or things you love the most in this world? I love my two brothers more than anybody else on this earth. I can't wait for you to meet them, whether in this life or the next. I know you're gonna love 'em too. I would come to their side with a quickness if they ever needed help. I love them so much that I can't stand the thought that one day they might not be here anymore. The people I love the most, though, I don't even have yet. I don't have a wife yet and I am not anywhere close to having kids, but I already feel so much love for them in my heart that I know I'll do anything for them. If I can love my brothers and my future wife and kids as much as I do and if you can love whatever it is that you love as much as you do—so much so that we're willing to do anything for them—if we, who are sinners, imperfect, and evil can love as much as we do, imagine how much unimaginably and immeasurably more God must love us: because He is Love. Does that not blow your mind?!

Not only is He willing to do anything for us, He has already done everything by sacrificing His Son and raising Him from the dead. And He hasn't stopped seeking insignificant us. "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." (2 Chronicles 16:9)

The beauty of God and His Word and the way everything was, is, and is being perfectly woven together to fulfill His will never ceases to amaze me. He is the Master of Paradox (and many other literary terms):

Rejoice in suffering. Boast about weakness. Humble yourself and He will lift you up. Be a living sacrifice. We are saved through faith and not works, but faith without works is dead. Death brings life. God is One and yet made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is everywhere, yet each of us is His temple. We are fragile jars of clay, yet God loves us and wants to live in us.

Only the "author and perfector of our faith" could come up with stuff this good!

Well, I guess I'll let you go. Thanks for reading.

In Him,