If we allow it, God will transform our hearts and lives. We hear analogies of the potter and the clay, sweeping away the dust and dirt, or renovating our hearts, knocking down walls. However, for some reason, I thought of the analogy of transforming a pumpkin to a jack-o-lantern. Of course, most of the time jack-o-lanterns display scary or even grotesque faces. Well, some people do amazing and artistic carvings without the gore and horror. The pretty ones are what I have in mind…
To make a Jack-o-Lantern, slice through the thick outer shell to create an opening to reach the inside. Scoop out the messy goop and slimy seeds, scraping the walls clean. Using a variety of tools, carefully puncture, cut, and scrape out a unique carving. Sometimes it’s tricky and delicate work. Ignite a fire to place inside. The burning light shines through the design into the darkness, lighting the way for others.
God uses many means to penetrate our tough exterior. It might be through friends, difficult circumstances, or emotions. Once we let Him in, he begins to clean out the ugliness within us – the things that keep us from enjoying a real relationship with Him. There’s a lot there to do away with, both the big and obvious things and also the small things that stick to the edges. As He works, He begins revealing a beautiful design. The cuts and scrapes might cause pain, but through the process, He forms in us the unique characteristics He intended for us before we were born. His Spirit then ignites within us, guiding our actions, so we live a life of purpose and light.
http://www.hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze; http://www.cathkidston.com/fcs/blog/8-ways-to-carve-your-pumpkin-this-halloween/; http://www.rugusavay.com/different-pumpkin-carving-ideas/
Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? It’s likely you have seen this booklet (or “Know God Personally”) if you ever encountered Cru on your college campus. I was not familiar with this booklet until I joined Cru staff. Although I don’t remember seeing Cru on my campuses, I was already familiar with the concepts inside this little book. I learned them growing up in church. Not everyone can say that.
College life is a time of freedom and independence in which, sadly, many students get pulled into a downward spiral. I’m grateful for the young people who care for and are committed to reaching students in a way that will positively impact their lives and their eternity.
At my recent New Staff Training, probably half the new staff there will be ministering to students on college campuses. Quite a few shared that they came to know Jesus as their savior in college because someone from Cru took the time to get to know them and to share the Good News.
I learned it’s not easy to simply walk up to someone you don’t know and begin an intentional conversation that turns to spiritual matters. This is called “initiative evangelism.” One afternoon during training, we were tasked with going into town to share our faith. Even though I want people to know Christ, I was struggling – I have trouble starting any conversation with a stranger. I finally managed to talk with one person. She is a college student, active in her church, familiar with Cru, and already knows Christ. So, I passed along the Four Spiritual Laws booklet to her and asked her to share with someone else.
Thank you to Cru campus staff who are shaping the future of young people everywhere by introducing them to the God of the universe. I pray for hearts to be open to the leadership of Christ who wants to know them personally.
You can find out what’s in this little book at cru.org.