Monday, April 15, 2013

Confessions of a Non-Talker

Confessions of a Non-Talker          
One of my biggest problems is a lack of communication, just ask my mother, it is her number one complaint about me.  In an effort to deal with it, I wrote this to try to discern why I am this way.

I know that there are many things to share, many lives that are touched in our 60+ hours on campus each week.  Why don’t I share more?

Part of being a pastor is keeping confidence.  When people share about issues we don’t even share that we talked with them so that we don’t come near breaching that confidence.   When we share issues, even if we change names, others can know about those same issues.  In an effort to protect people and keep their trust so they will communicate I don’t share even the issue.

Some of the details that we deal with on a daily basis are not fit for public notice.  Dealing with divorce, suicide, death, promiscuity, jail, drugs and abandonment are not pretty issues.  The good news is that we are able to help people walk through these and other issues.  It takes a lot of time and just when you feel like there is a breakthrough there can be a set back.  Fortunately we are able to love people no matter how they are doing.  It is always a blessing to be called on when there is a need. 
            Last night when we came home it looked like there was a party at our house.  A couple of the cars belong to students who need a place to live and live with us.  But sometimes there are people who just need to “get away” and they are always free to come and stay with us.  It is a nice surprise to see them greet us when we walk in after a long day at work.

It is difficult for me to “toot my own horn”.  It is far easier to talk about what others are doing, like the students who helped provide a library for two schools in Africa.  They raised funds, gathered books and shipped them over for the children who don’t have any books.  They have great hearts and love to give.
I like Matthew 6: 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 

It fits who I am and the way that God made me.  I would much rather go out and do something and spend time with someone helping them rather then telling others what is happening.  There is something about having your actions speak for themselves.  Even if no one notices, God does.

Not sure?
Many times the progress is over time and I see each little step that people are making.  It becomes hard to share the big picture of “this is the before”, to “this is where they are now”.  One of our biggest joys is hearing from the men and women who have graduated, move on into the world, get married and have children, call us back years later telling us how great God is and how much they appreciated their time in Chi Alpha.  The initial change is great, but the lasting change is awesome.  Especially when they are able to touch others along the way.

Even though my communication skills are lacking, the work continues.  Lives are being touched, hearts are being healed, and hope is being shared.  One recent relationship involves a man who was a leader in campus crusade but since has thrown out all of his spiritual life.  He became frustrated with the legalism and rules without the relationship.  Unfortunately he threw out everything.  We have been working with him to help restore his relationship with Jesus.  Reminding him of the love that God has for him and giving room for the Holy Spirit to work in him and draw him back to that relationship.  It is amazing to me that he is drawn to us and often seeks us out to spend time with us.  It is lives like that that God has laid upon our hearts, to love those who are frustrated and feel like they don’t fit into God’s kingdom and often throw up their hands in despair and give up.  Jesus loves them and not only desires to work in them, but through them.

Thank you for all who stand with us, sometimes by faith.  You don’t always hear about the daily victories or heartaches but know that you are a part of the team that is making a difference in the lives of students and staff.  Your touch starts at CMU and goes into all the world-literally! 

God Bless you!  I pray for you every time I see your name.  Your gift and prayers keep us going.  Thank you.  Please forgive this fault, I am working on it.   I just wish it were my only one. 

Jon Fredrickson

Prayer needs:
Professor whose unborn child has a heart defect and facing many surgeries
Student dealing with death of brother
Student released from jail with no place to live and no job
Our leadership team as we plan for next year
For Jesus to reveal Himself to the many students and staff who need Him!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Showing God's Love on Campus

Recently our student have been slightly upset about a group of ministers that travel around and "preach" at different campuses.  These preachers have a large sign that says "God hates...." and then a list.  The "preaching" consist of pointing at students at they walk by and say they are going to hell because and then make up a reason.  This type of "preaching" causes a lot of students to be upset and tends to lump all Christians in the "do not talk to" category.   The interesting part of this group is that they never tell people how to be right with Jesus.

As we were praying about a good way to share with people God's love and develop relationships, something was laid on our hearts.  How can we share God's love?  How can we undo the damage that has been done?  And this is what we came up with:

We stood out on a damp day with signs proclaiming God's love.  We didn't shout at people or belittle them, but were there to make friends and let them know that there is a way to be right with Jesus.  It was fun to have people thank us and encourage us and even visit with us.  Pray with us as we continue this portion of our ministry.

God has called us to make disciples, not just to witness.  Sometimes making disciples means showing love, even to those who are unlovely (they need it the most).

Rmans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What will stop us?

This last 8 months has been taken up with the fact of raising finances to continue the ministry at CMU. If we don't raise the funds there has been talk of "termination". While we have been underfunded for years, we have never missed a house payment or late on bills (only when I misplaced them). God has always provided. Now our national leaders need to see that God does provide.

If I don't raise the remaining $750 per month in the next 3 months the ax will fall. Will that stop us? I know that we will continue on wherever we land, but the work at CMU will suffer. The relationships that have been built, the house for ministry is in question, not to mention all the students who would be affected.

I have made calls and appointments, visited with alumni and pastors. The good news is that alumni are standing with us to keep this ministry going. Where are we going to get the rest of the finances? Only God knows. Keep praying and trusting. It is in His hands.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why do Christians want more of God but never seem to want to be used for God?
What causes stepping out in faith to build our faith?

I like that picture that Jesus gives us about the promise of the Holy Spirit in John 7 as related to "streams of living water". Too often we try and dam up that stream and keep it for ourselves when the goal of the Holy Spirit is to "flow" through you.

We have been praying for some time about some friends from another group that is not generally favorable to Christians. While many of this group like Jesus they have been hurt and wounded by others who try and make them conform to God's word. Last night we had a great heart to heart with several of the leaders of this group. One in particular shared their story about the hurt that they went through. It helped me to understand why they did not seem to like us for the first year or so that we knew them.

Thankfully love breaks through. God desires to work through us and even though it may seem to take time He IS working.

The best way to see God's blessing in our lives, let Him flow through our lives. We need to do more than seek His hand, we need to be His hands.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A heart for God

Jer 24:7
7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
This is my prayer for the students on campus. We don't need to know about God, we need to know Him and return to Him with all our heart! This is what the world needs to see, this is how the world will be changed. Not by rules but by our relationship with the living God. A deep strong union that affects every area of who we are!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Chi Alpha Summer

People often wonder what we do in Chi Alpha in the summer. Since students are gone from the university there is nothing for Chi Alpha pastors to do right? WRONG!!!

Lori and I have been very busy since the students have left campus last week. First we have started a summer session of Chi Alpha for those who are left in town. It is interesting that we had 8 men show up for the meeting and 1 woman. When we started Chi Alpha at CMU my prayer was for men to disciple. God has answered that prayer! It is a wonderful time to invest in these lives with smaller groups.

We also went to our district meeting for a couple of days and met with pastors from around the state, visited with some Japanese students (one who left), and prepared to meet new students from Japan who are coming in next week.

Plus our regular duties of being available for direction and help when the students need it. With email and cell phones we are never far away from any of our students. Sometimes going back home with all the changes can be difficult.

It is also a time for us to focus on some of our volunteer ministries. Jon is involved in a prison ministry that hold weekend retreats in prison that gives inmates a "short course on Christianity". It is a special time of sharing God's love with those that rarely see any compassion. It is great to see God break through in these lives and see the transformation.

We also like to go to motorcycle rallies. It is an interesting place for Christians to find themselves. But we like to think of it as campus ministry...same issues, just older people. During these times we wear our Christian Motorcycle Association vests and pray for opportunities to share Jesus.

Our plans are to be with students, love them, disciple them and to get a little rest this summer (that is important too). It is fun to visit with them where they live. It is also a good time for us to visit churches and friends that stand with us in this ministry. With out you we wouldn't be able to touch lives at CMU with God's love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sharing the Love

One of the great things about working with Chi Alpha is the chance to get out and be with people that normally would not go to church. For what ever reason they will not come to us if we open our doors, so we take time and go to them.

Yesterday we took advantage of the nice weather and set up a table in the middle of campus to pray for people. During this time I took a young man with me who we have been working with to teach him about reaching out beyond the four walls. During the 2 hours that we sat there we had 10 significant conversations. Some were with people we already knew, but many were with new people. One of our prayers was that we would be able to pray with someone who was confused and we were able to do just that.

God opens doors when we pray. We need to remember the power of prayer. Things happen when we pray that don't happen when we don't pray. Pray!

An update: We have been praying for a friend of ours that works on campus who was told that she had cancer. We were able to pray with her, she had the operation but they could find no cancer!!! Even better, her relationship with God is deepening through all of this. Pray.