Five delays in the church parking lot and one torrential downpour later, we made it safely to Hope College! Of the eighteen students SLCC brought to this CIY conference, nine have never been before. God is awesome, and I'm excited about what he is going to do among us this week!
At MOVE, we will be unpacking the story of the prophet Daniel, as found in the Old Testament. Daniel's story shares many similarities with what Christian students face today. Daniel was taken from his home, subjugated to a new King, given a new name, and pressured to betray his religion. In other words, Daniel was tempted to conform.
Students are repeatedly tempted to conform. Instead of following God's standards for sexuality, our world asks them to conform to a false standard, and tells them that everyone else is doing it. Instead of valuing God's Kingdom, students - and parents - are told to seek success and prestige. Why wouldn't we want our kids to get into the most exclusive college or to land the career with the biggest paycheck? Instead of understanding themselves as having been created in God's image, students are told to fit into the drama club, the football team, the nerds, the popular crowd, or some other social subset. Those who don't conform are excluded.
Daniel must have felt lost and alone in Babylon, in very much the same way that our students often feel lost and alone. As we closed out the evening gathering, Bryan Jones, our speaker, told us this: Faith doesn't mean that we will never face trouble, or feel discouraged, or see pain. Faith means that no matter what, God is with us. Just as God was faithful to Daniel in Babylon, he will be faithful to our students.
I'm looking forward to continuing our journey through Daniel this week, and to seeing students realize that God continues to be with them. Tomorrow our day starts bright and early with breakfast at 7, and a packed schedule of MOVE! Please pray with me for our student and adult volunteers as we experience this journey together. Pray that our students new to Christianity will come to know Jesus for the first time. Pray that our students who feel alone will realize God’s presence in their lives. Pray that our adults will stay energetic and enthusiastic – ready to serve and to lead. In all things, pray with me that God will be glorified!