About Impact

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lukewarm Christianity - Tyler's Story

Last week I had the privilege to sit and chat with Tyler, a freshman at Bethel. Tyler came to campus knowing that God had provided this opportunity for him to get a great education and play soccer. Adjusting to life as a Bethel student has been a little more challenging than Tyler realized it would be. At times he has felt trapped and if following Christ had to look a very specific way.

Like many students, Tyler went to chapel last thinking it was just another chapel service. As the speaker because to share Tyler was immediately drawn to the speakers authenticity. Tyler could relate to several aspects of the speakers journey and greatly appreciated the transparency the speaker was showing the student body.

Tyler shared with me that one of the greatest things he took away from that chapel was the importance of getting out of the way and allowing space for the Spirit to move. For him personally he was reminded of the importance of daily living sold out for Christ. God had reminded that Tyler that He is not pleased with a lukewarm commitment. God has begun to reveal to Tyler the areas of his life where he has been lukewarm and what God could do if Tyler lived his life on fire for Christ.

They are great questions for all of us to think about. What have I not surrendered to God? How do I need to get out of God's way? How might God want to move through me?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Unity - Nikki's Story

Nikki Barr is a freshman education major at Bethel College. This is a reflection paper she wrote for a class assignment after last Wednesday chapel service.

This past Wednesday was an experience that I have thought I had experienced before but then discovered that what happened on our campus was far deeper than a night at summer camp. When I was a sophomore in high school I went to a Bible camp in Michiana and every night at we would have worship that lasted for thirty to forty minutes. During these times I would see people raising their hands and closing their eyes but I didn’t understand why they felt drawn to making those kinds of movements. As the week continued, started to talk about what night “the night” was going to be; the night that everyone would break into tears. Well “the night” ended up being Thursday when people literally just broke down…visually. Everyone I saw had a tear stained face and was on their knees with their hands raised or in a corner praying with friends or mentors. My peers were verbally crying out to God in repentance, thanksgiving, and regret; I too was a part of this; it was the first time I saw Jesus as more than just a man as a key character in a book and that was the night I dedicated my life to live for Jesus Christ.

Now comparing that night at summer camp with chapel on Wednesday I would say the summer camp “revival” was one that brought me and my peers from a previous life and choices, but I see Bethel’s “revival” as one that is leading us to a new standard.  What happen on Wednesday is so much more than what could have happened at a summer camp. We drew together as a community and because we live together, study together, eat together, and worship God together we have the privilege to grow together in our relationships with our Lord Jesus Christ. During a summer camp we are with our peers for a week and then it’s back to life and learning how to live in a new way on our own. We live at summer camp and we do have to say goodbye for months at a time, this gives us the opportunity to really learn what it is to confess and be open with each other. On Wednesday, people got up on stage in chapel and confessed, thanked, and prayed and we now have the opportunity and the obligation to be accountability partners for each other campus wide. Because of what happened we need to draw together in such community that this campus has never seen before; it is up to us to transform Bethel and our community and each other for this is what being a part of the body of Christ is about: striping ourselves of pride and pursuing God with reckless abandonment. Now is the time God has chosen to open people’s eyes to him we must not let this impact simply die down or fizzle out, now is the time to feed the fire and have it grow to the point of rapturing any of whom walks onto Bethel’s campus!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hearing From God - Lindsay's Story

Lindsay Sherburn is a sophomore liberal studies major at Bethel. This is her story of how God spoke to her at chapel last week. 

Looking back on what happened last week, I am still so amazed at the way God worked that day. I very clearly recall sitting in chapel as if it were any other day; I was a bit tired, chatted some with my friend next to me and merely thought the speaker was another guy with a really cool story. It all felt so ordinary. And I think that's why it was so beautiful. Sometimes - for me, a lot of the time - I put God in a box. I think I know how He is going to work and when. Last week, He reminded me that He is God. He is the Author of Surprises. As I finally, even reluctantly, made my way to the altar, I had no intention of really hearing His voice or feeling His presence so clearly. But God, of course, had other plans.

That day, God woke me up. I had been 'asleep' for a few weeks, waiting for Him to respond. In reality, He was waiting for me. He showed me the walls I had been putting between us. I have been dealing with seasonal depression and was using that as an excuse to not have to work at our relationship. I had also been putting my concern about my relationships as a priority in my life and not giving Him control. Well, He finally realized that the best option to get me to listen was to hit me over the head. And that's what He did. Since that day, He has been showing me His love in so many ways. Or rather, I am finally seeing Him move. It has been great watching those around me see and witness Him as well. As we all continue to process what happened and to make changes in our lives, I pray that first and foremost, We see Him. Every moment of every day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Responding to God - Rachel's Story

Rachel Wilkins is a senior music education major at Bethel. She also serves as at student leader with Impact Campus Ministries. These are her thoughts on the last week on Bethel's campus.

Well its been a week since the Holy Spirit moved in a huge way on Bethel's campus. It has been interesting to take a step back and observe the others around me to see what God is doing with their hearts. So many people came forward last Wednesday and shared pieces of their lives that truly inspired those around them. From this there have people realizing the sin in their own life and wanting to give it to God and just be free of the bondage. However it is at this point that Satan tries to find a little hole and dig down deep in our hearts and find any foothold possible. This is where the true challenge come.

God swept over us in a massive wave of love and now it is our responsibility to allow Him to do His work. We have to truly rely on God and His power to get us through the attacks of Satan. I sincerely believe that Satan is shaking in his boots because this generation is ready to make a difference and with God strong in our hearts some crazy stuff is about to happen. Please pray that we hold on strong and allow God to take charge and that we are willing to be vessels of all He has planned to do!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Experiencing God - Becki's Story

Becki Visker is a senior music major at Bethel College. This is her story about how God spoke to her during last Wednesday's chapel service.

During the revival I experienced the different voices of God and the different ways He moves. Through some alone time God revealed to me that I am going to India, and He gave me a lot of peace of future decisions that needed to be made.

He also moved with a lot of the women on campus. A lot of girls got up in front of their fellow students and confessed to struggling with sexual desires and masturbation. So out of that myself, and some other girls are getting a discipleship group going on lust free living.

God also just broke me towards the end. The whole time I had been so on task and almost quenching what God wanted to say to me. So I went down to the alter, and I just felt God's love pour over me. So here we are, 6 days later.

There has not been a day where this campus hasn't been covered in prayer, and the student body has been stepping up to keep this revival going and actually doing something with what God blessed us with. I'm so pumped to be a part of this, and that God has been working in our campus.

God's Moving at Bethel! - Update

Bethel has posted an update on the Bethel Magazine website. It includes a video message from senior vice president, Dr. Dennis Engbrecht. Check it out here.

Dr. Engbrecht talks about the trail of prayers that lead up to Wednesday's chapel. Yesterday I shared about some of my experiences of praying for Bethel. I know earlier this school year Master's Men, a group of men from local churches, had gathered on campus to pray. I've heard stories from other alumni who were prompted to pray through out the week for Bethel.

We can't underestimate the power of prayer.

Monday, February 21, 2011

God's Moving at Bethel!

One of my first impressions of Bethel College was the incredible sense of God's presence. I remember an admissions counselor sharing the story of a revival that happened in the early 90s and how that had a lasting impact on the campus. As a student, it seemed the longer I was at Bethel the more we felt the need for God to bring revival again. So we prayed.

In July of 2009, I was invited to join a group of people who were gathering with Impact Campus Ministries on all of the local campuses in the South Bend area to pray and seek what God may be doing on these campuses. While we were at Bethel, something about campus seemed different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but there was a sense of unrest that began to settle in me. That prayer journey lead me to join Impact's staff and last spring we gathered again on all of the campuses to pray and seek God. During our time at Bethel we were joined by faculty, staff and students and the first thing they asked us to pray for was revival.

I write all of that to share that many people have been praying for many years that God would pour out his Spirit and that the Bethel community would be revived. God is answering that prayer in a powerful way. Last Wednesday the normal 50 minute chapel service turned into over 7 1/2 hours of confession, testimonies, healing, reconciliation and the Spirit consuming students, faculty and staff. That has been followed by student-led prayer and worship gatherings all across campus. You can read a statement from senior vice-president, Dr. Dennis Engbrecht here.

The following night we met with our Impact Bethel group and heard their stories. Students shared about being freed from sins, experiencing joy in new ways, calls to ministry being confirmed, renewed commitments to following Christ and the list goes on and on.  We ended our night thanking God and praying that we would continue to respond to what God is doing.

For me personally it was a very moving experience to sit and listen to the stories knowing that God was answering a prayer I (and several others) had been praying for years. It was a reminder of how perfect His timing and plan is. It was awesome to see our students take huge steps and continue to define the next steps they need to take. God is constantly shaping our story and it is one that needs to be shared. 

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some of those stories. Please be praying for Bethel's campus as they continue to respond to the Spirit. Our Impact staff would also appreciate your prayers as we continue to mentor and disciple students.

Also I encourage you to check out the posts and links Benson Hines has shared on his blog and Bethel's Facebook page for updates of what is happening on campus.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Embracing the Adventure

I’ve always enjoyed a good adventure. The type of adventure when you grab your camera, some water and head to a county or state park to explore the woods. I rarely stay on the trails but I always know where the trail is. Or if I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll try something new at a restaurant I’ve been to a hundred times. I’m a huge risk taker, aren’t I?!

As much as I like to play things safe, it seems life has been one crazy situation after another. Some would call them struggles, obstacles, trials or just plain insanity. I chose to call them adventures…grand adventures. I’ve begun to learn the value of embracing the adventure instead of despising the pain. James sums it up so well.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. James 1:2-4
When I decide to welcome the challenges as "opportunities for joy," I discover I learn a whole lot more than when I try to fight against the difficulties. This doesn’t necessarily make the learning process easier, but it reminds me the growing pains are worth it.

I still have much to so learn, which means the adventures are far from over. I’m okay with that. These adventures are part of my story. They draw me closer to Abba. I could probably write a separate post on that and what I’ve learned, but knowing me, I wouldn’t count on it!

Find a way to embrace the adventure friends. I don’t think you’ll regret it.