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The all-out challenge to my students and fellow teachers part 2: What Next?

July 20, 2018

1Neil squeezed his Bible a bit harder and grinned slowly as he looked across the South Dakota horizon.  He was an easy-going young man but a hard life had etched deep lines of pain in his face; he looked much older than his twenty-three years.  He spoke slowly and deliberately, almost as if he were measuring out each phrase with careful thought and precise words.  We were all working in a ministry in the little town of Hot Springs during that summer and I recall being impressed with Neil’s gentle spirit and intense desire to learn more and more about the Savior.

“I had been heavy into drug use, and it was Hell every day” he said.  “I suffered.  I was desperately looking for a way out, and I did a pretty good job of getting clean enough, but, man, I knew it was just a temporary fix.  The desire – and really, the danger – could come back at any time if I didn’t get the right cure.  I knew, just knew I needed to get a more solid answer to what I needed.”  He nodded toward the pastor.  “I kind of stumbled onto meeting Randy here, but, man,  am I glad I did.  I found Jesus – and I found my answer.”

Then he made a profound statement:  “Man, I was just so tired of it all.  I’d had it with life and everything.  Christ made it new.”

That South Dakota memory comes crashing back to me now as we start the new school year.  My last blog post was on the earnest need to re-direct the members of our Christian campus  – and that includes both teachers and students – to run back to Jesus.

Sounds noble.  But how?

An off campus retreat?  More than that.

An emotional one-time, music-oriented back-to-school service?  Much deeper.

A high-energy assembly with a guest speaker who can fill the front with praying kids?  Not enough.  We need something with staying power.

A new program?  A new slogan?  Please.  None of these.  We’ve got to break the tired old annual ritual.  We’ve been going about this for years and the roots just haven’t taken hold.

If we’re going to head back toward Jesus, then let’s follow what Neil did.  Let’s admit that we’ve had it.

Look at Matthew 11:28.  This comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Look at that word “weary.”  In the Koine Greek that word is kopiaō and it means to have worked so hard that you’re dragging your feet across the field and mopping the sweat from your brow and looking back at the crops still left and the rows to be tended and the work still to be done…

…and man, you’re tired.

You’ve done all you can, and it’s still no good.  You’ve had it.

You throw down your rake and rip off your hat and sling it into the distance.  You fall to your knees and sob, looking for help…

… and a Hand touches your shoulder.  You look up and allow the Help to lift you up.  He picks up the tool, looks at it – and lays it aside, gently letting you know it was the wrong one –  and walks toward the work to be done.  He’s going to do it for you if you let Him.  All you need to do is allow Him to take over.  You go to the side of the field for rest.  Then after a much-needed break, you walk back into the field and follow Him as He guides and works and shows you the better way. You’ll follow His leadership and let him take that heavy burden off of you.

That’s what we need to do.  We need to change.  We need to admit that we’ve had it with the way our lives have been.  We need relax our stubborn grip of wrong attitude and raging selfishness and well, for crying out loud, let Jesus take over.

Our classrooms.

Our study time.

Our home life.

Our prayer time.

Our relationships.

Our campus.

I’m not getting preachy.  I’ve telling you what I needed to do myself.  It has been during the course of this summer that I came to myself and admitted that I’ve had it.   I threw up my hands and called for the Lord just to take over completely.

What does it all mean?

Well, I invite you to do the same and see for yourself what can happen.

And for the first time in months, I am looking forward to getting back on campus.

I am looking forward to watching Jesus take over a bunch of tired people.

 

 

 

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