What are you creating?!

What are you creating?

Psalm 97:1 "The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad." God is sovereign over all. That is who we serve, the One who is above everyone else. May that comfort us this week as we encounter professors, people, work, demands, and expectations! And check this out, God in all His sovereignty ordained that Genesis be written. Imagine God addressing humanity for the first time, like the first time meeting someone you have wanted to meet for a long time - with that kind of anticipation building - what are they going to say?

Genesis 1:27-28: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’"

God calls us to be co-creators! We are called to create order in the world. Name the animals, plants, and birds. Feed them, organize them, learn them, manage this world to thrive, live, and grow. We are part of God’s team, working along side Him in His creation. That’s what you do isn’t it? You manage something - finances, numbers, computer code, engineering products, designs, medical, tools to make life simpler, accessories to streamline and spice up our lives, building, organizing people and resources…we are all co-creators, every single one of us. And women, have the unrivaled sensation of co-creating, growing, nurturing, life from within.

Have you ever borrowed or lent something?  We have notions to “return things better than it was borrowed”, or get upset when that doesn’t happen! Well, to that end – everything is on loan to us. Our friends, family, our very lives are all on loan. We get it for a time, a period, a breath. There is no second chance, no insert quarter to try again, no reset button, no additional lives saved up - we get one chance and it’s all on loan. May we be reminded that God is Sovereign and is Lord over everything. When we get that - then we can’t help but to serve Him and worship Him - indeed the word “worship” and “serve” in the Old Testament (NIV) is the *same* Hebrew word! He has given us every single step, breath, dollar, friend, minute, job, circumstance, situation.  Go create!

What are you creating for Him?

Surrounded By Your Glory

Gary, Krissy, Ginger, & Clayton Gross

Our bio might typically include: Krissy earned an Education Degree from Kentucky Christian University, built homes in Mexico for Crossroads Missions, interned at Georgia Tech Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF), and started a campus ministry in Santiago, Chile with Globalscope.  
Gary’s education includes Atlanta Christian College, an Aerospace Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, and current seminary work at Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Gary had a one year internship at CCF and 3 month internship at Southwest Christian Church in Atlanta. Gary interned for 3 and worked full time for 2 engineering companies.
Krissy and Gary volunteered with youth at New Hope Fellowship Church in Maryland while Krissy taught English as a Second Language, and Gary was Flight Software Engineer for the AQUA satellite at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 
Then God knocks in 2006 and calls us away from those careers to West Virginia University (WVU) to serve at the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) where I now teach racquetball classes for WVU as well. Through this winding journey, Krissy and I have been surrounded by His Glory. God has flooded our lives with people and experiences, all in preparation for serving Him.
I love waking up with and coming home to Krissy, and our children Ginger and Clayton (named after a family mentioned here), who constantly surround me with His glory and the joy of family! Our family surrounds us with unwavering love and commitment. I’ve been surrounded by long time friends Justin Shewell and Ed Yeargan. In college I was surrounded by His glory when Ken & Signa Yingling took me to church for the first time. I was unknowingly surrounded by His Glory in high school by Marc Buckler who I followed to Georgia Tech and CCF. CCF surrounded us with His Glory, pointed me to God for the first time, and grew in us a passion for people. Rick Harper, that anonymous letter writer, Heather Pearce, Laura Carey, Randy Arrowood, Neal Baker, Ryan & Bethany Kiesshauer, Courtney Wilson and family, and the Clayton family who can not help but to surround others with His Glory. We were surrounded by His Glory with people at New Hope Fellowship, who embraced and endured my first church experience! The Mills, and others like them, surrounded us with His Glory. Now at CSF we have been surrounded by His Glory with Sandy and Susan Bigelow and more. That letter, you servants, and those rare gems that support God’s work in uncanny ways that no one else knows about (don’t ever stop trusting God like that!). Giving, loving, and praying for the Glory of God. Many have surrounded us and the CSF. We stand on the shoulders of others, surrounded by His Glory. 
Our bio looks something like that – a sweeping and vivid portrait of God’s Kingdom and purpose spread across miles, years, lives, and experiences. We are grateful to be surrounded by His Glory, 
Gary Gross
Campus Minister CSF
Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”   


  John 14:1 “Trust in God; trust also in me.”

What does that look like? Do we trust others? Do we trust God?

Trusting God is not trusting in rules. God calls us to seek, desire, pray for, walk with, engage, invest, and pour ourselves out for others in such a way that it points them to Him. That’s hard, rules are easy. This has huge implications as we seek to urgently love others. It’s not that they take up rules, it’s that they take up their cross. We point them to Jesus in such a way that the power of scripture, prayer, and truth of Christ guides them. Rules do not win people to Jesus. But Jesus wins people to all sorts of compelling and powerful truths. Churches struggle when they try to turn those truths into pre-canned one size fits all anecdotes. Can we trust God in such a way that we accept people where they are but seek spiritual growth too? I don’t seem to have a problem doing that with my own sinful self, so it shouldn’t be too hard to act that way towards others!

What is it like to trust God when things are hard? What is it like to trust when it’s not working well, things aren’t lining up, when the damaging and hurtful things of life come at you? When we are left to process things we are not prepared for? Can we be prepared? Can God speak to us through tragedy? Can we trust God when life is hard and amidst uncertainty?

Imagine being the disciples. Jesus trusts them. They have no training, he didn’t go to the local congregations and pick skilled ministry people, he is out in public calling working people to change the world. That’s a lot of trust on the part of Jesus. Imagine walking the streets of your town and picking a few untrained fisherman and tax guys to form a new team that’s going to usher forth a new era in the NFL – good luck with that.

I grew up never going to church for 22 years. But I still had all sorts of preconceived (some correct, many not) notions about church. I knew some Christmas songs, I heard Charlie Daniels Band, Hank Junior, Marshall Tucker Band, and Willie Nelson sing Amazing Grace in concert before. I knew a lot about church just from going about my life in Maryland. Now, imagine the kind of trust the disciples had to have in Jesus. The disciples do not know anyone that went to a Christian church. The disciples never went to VBS. The disciples never went to camp, listened to Christian radio, went on retreats, heard big name people speak about Jesus. They never had a Christmas breakfast or Easter pageant. They didn’t know anyone that had “done this before” so to speak. They are the firsts in a sense. They had to trust fully in Him.

Can we still do that? Can we fully trust Him? What does that look like?  

Join us as we challenge ourselves about what it’s like to trust God, trust Jesus, and then on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 we will explore, Trusting in the Midst of Uncertainty.

Increasing, faith, and sunglasses

sunglasses ,

J the B:  “He must increase; but I must decrease.”   John 3:30 KJV

“Increase” is also translated “grow”, keep that in mind.

 Imagine if every Christian actually lived this one verse? I’ve grown up in a world that’s focused on me increasing. I spent years giving up work to go to school, so that I could increase. Do I sacrifice work to increase Jesus? I spent tens of thousands of dollars in school loans (or should I say we, my wife and I, are *still* spending…), so I could increase. Do I sacrifice like that for Jesus? I bought a pair of $150 sunglasses in high school…so that I could increase…something that somehow made sense back then. LOL. Would I give $150 to increase Jesus? I spent gobs of time training and practicing racquetball, so that I could increase. Would I do that for Jesus? I’ve given up a night of sleep to work on school work or make money, to increase something in my life. Do I do that to increase Jesus? I give up hours a week on _______? And we do that because?  I am emotionally engaged and invested frequently with ________ ?

 John the Baptist makes statements that take us right to the purposes of God. “He must increase; but I must decrease.”  I’m struggling to regain and reclaim that language. It goes contrary to everything I’ve been non-verbally taught and surrounded by for decades. Let’s claim it.

 When Jesus says that with “faith as small as a mustard seed” (Luke 17:6) we can cause mulberry trees to toss themselves in the ocean, he doesn’t expect us to root up Mulberry trees like David Copperfield, but that sounds really fun. I plan to play an awesome game in heaven with mulberry trees and the Green Monster with a huge sea on the other side. You can be on my team. He expects us to trust him and obey in the every day things of life because He’s the savior of the world and we have His word. He doesn’t even worry necessarily about wasting time or spending $150 that I wish I had back on Killer Loop sunglasses. I tried to find a picture of them but I’m too old for even “vintage Killer Loops” to muster up the sexy orange accoutrements I wanted folks to see me wear. But man what a sermon this could be if I could find a pair! So let me know if you find any 90’sish orange Killer Loops in yard sales this summer.

Jesus may eventually have something to say about sunglasses, but not until we get who He is, sunglasses come later. The mulberry trees he wants me to move are those deeply implanted things, things ingrained, rooted in the soil of who I am that compel me to invest financially and emotionally in increasing myself and not Jesus. The mustard seed analogy isn’t meant to make our faith out to be even smaller than a mustard see – it shows how accessible God’s power is. Tiny faith starts with letting who Jesus is rock my world. Judging others and division aren’t an option, praying for people isn’t a substitute for leading, coaching, visiting, writing, and loving people means urgently engaging, investing, being there, encouraging, getting in the lives of people that don’t know Jesus, and spending my time, money, and self to make Jesus greater. Imagine if every person that went to church Sunday did that. Man that blows my mind. God would honor that TOMORROW CHRISTIAN. If each of us invested in eternally significant things like pointing one person to Jesus, what would happen? Things greater than mulberry trees would happen, things greater than amusement parks would happen, things greater than winning would happen, things greater than vacations would happen, things greater than the seasons would happen, things greater than a working PRT would happen, things greater than the Super Bowl would happen…although that one with TN was really good. All it takes is our obedience towards making Him increase because He is the hope of the world.


[Written by Gary Gross]