When I’m Facedown, Begging My God

Posted on March 27th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Christian Life.

Kelsey Zach

Maybe you’ve had times in your life where stress piles up and everything seems hopeless. I’ve definitely let stress get the best of me these days. I let it pile up in layers and layers, allowing it to build up, to in turn tear me down. I let school and work and finances and relationships and family and my past and decisions I’ve made and worries I have for my future build up and control me and my thoughts. I forget to capture the lies Satan is placing in front of me and throw them out.

Have I forgotten that my God is in control? Am I really of so little faith? Even after I talk and talk about trusting my God and letting Him be in control. Do I really believe that He’s good, like I’ve been saying over and over and over? I do, I do. And yet I struggle. I struggle because I’m human. There are days I’ve been broken to the point of tears as I realize how much I’ve hurt my God – and in those realizations I feel like maybe I’m really starting to get it. I feel like I’ve truly connected with this intangible God when I hurt so badly because of the hurt I’ve caused for The One I Love. But, then I make a mistake again and feel like a failure.

I used to worry about being accepted by others – getting accepted and feeling loved and admired by my peers was critical and vital to me – and maybe still is – but now, I worry about being a failure in front of God. And again, who am I to think such thoughts? I am not a failure in His sight. Rather, I’m a beautiful creation, and you are too.

Psalm 139:13-14 says:
“For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”

I was fearfully – and wonderfully! – made by a Creator who sees me as nothing less than majestically beautiful. I was created by a Father who loves and forgives, by a God who IS indeed good. Perhaps I should stop worrying about that 15-page paper and say a little prayer? Perhaps I should stop wondering whether I am loved and start seeking His Word? Perhaps I should stop wallowing in self-pity and anguish about what I’m going to do with my life, and fall down on my knees, facedown on the floor, and WORSHIP and PRAISE the God who gave me life?

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Who Is God?

Posted on March 12th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Knowing God.

Kelsey Zach

I love people. I love relationships and touch and anything tangible. Intellectual subjects that challenge me and really make me think are exciting to me. I love voices and facial expressions and laughing with people. I enjoy conversation with others and the uniqueness each person that crosses my path has to offer.

Yet as much as I embrace relationships, I still struggle making time to sit down and talk to God, the most important person in my life. I can’t sit down and face him, really face him. He’s not tangible. I can’t see his eyebrows rise in surprise or see his face crinkle in laughter, or watch his head fall back in even deeper laughter. When I’m struggling, searching and crying, I can’t physically hear a comforting voice like that of my dad’s telling me I’m going to be okay. I can’t feel His strong hand wiping away my tears.

However, what I’ve been learning is that I shouldn’t give up on God simply because He’s not tangible. Instead, God should be pursued with a burning passion. God is gracious, holy, righteous, pure, and beautiful. He’s everything that I am not. He’s my constant pursuer, my strength when I am weak, my Savior who has brought me out of the darkest of places.

God is good. Sometimes when we are going through trials in our lives, that’s a hard truth to remember. All of us have different struggles in our lives. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, impurity, pornography, pride, jealousy, putting other relationships before ours with God, or whatever idol one may have, God is good, and He wants us to conquer that temptation and that struggle in our lives. God wants a deep relationship with each one of us. He loves us and has a plan – a perfect plan – for us. And the cool thing about that is that although we are sinners, God sacrificed His only son for us, so that we may have eternal life with Him in heaven. If you believe in Christ, believe that He died for your sins, accept Him into your heart, and repent of your sins, this eternal life is His promise.

During a Bible study this summer, after hearing about my past struggles with alcohol, a friend challenged me to think about what it is I ultimately want. At first, I thought, “Of course I want eternal life with God.” When I reflected more on it later, I realized that my question to myself should be, “Right now, ultimately what is it I want MORE? Alcohol or God?” To answer my own question: “God.” He has shown me mercy and grace a countless number of times and forgiven sin after sin after sin.

So to counter my previous uncertainty and doubt – He’s not tangible, yet his love is so real. I saw it and continue to see it overflowing out of so many people that I met last summer and so many people currently in my life. God is love. I’m so thankful that God refuses to let Satan have a stronger hold on my life than He does, and that He continues to hold fast to my heart and grasp it tighter each day.

What is it that you want? Who is God to you? If He’s not the deepest desire of your heart, fight until He is. Pour yourself into the Word daily and learn about God and His character. Take hold of His hand as tightly as He’s grasping your heart, and run with Him without turning back. Let Him be your everything. Let Him be enough.

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Moses Could Have Been Greek

Posted on February 26th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Christian Life, Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

I was reading in Exodus today and realized that Moses definitely could have been a Greek at his local Egyptian college.

There are some sweet lessons that we can learn from him that are applicable to us as Christians living in a fraternity or sorority House. Here are a few:

1) MOSES DID NOT WANT TO GO

Moses complained to God, after God had commissioned him to lead the Israelites out of bondage, that he wasn’t talented enough to accomplish the job at hand. Do you ever feel haunted by the fact that you are one of the only Christians in your fraternity or sorority? Leaders that are called by God for a specific mission usually are leaders who never wanted to go in the first place. I think this is because God calls us to a mission that is above and beyond our ability to complete it. Do you feel like there is no possible way to make a difference? If not, then you are right where God wants you.

2) MOSES WAS NOT GIFTED FOR THE JOB

Moses didn’t know how he was going to go to Pharaoh and change his mind. Moses claimed that he didn’t have good speaking skills. How was he going to persuade the King of the Land to do something crazy?

Do you feel like reaching out to your brothers/sisters but feel inadequate because you are not a full-time minister? Do you feel like people will reject you if you try? Moses experienced all of these same feelings. But, God told him to GO anyways, promising to go with him and perform many miracles. The Bible tells us that God’s power shines through our weaknesses. If some of your unbelieving Greek friends see you leading a movement in your House and know that you aren’t a good speaker or a good whatever, God will get much glory because they won’t know how to explain the miracles going on. God gets the glory, not us.

3) MOSES FOUND OUT THAT HE WASN’T IN CONTROL

Once God started performing all these miracles through Moses, I can’t help but wonder if he started to strut a little when walking around Pharaoh’s palace. The strut, however, couldn’t have lasted that long because Pharaoh wouldn’t change his mind! Even after all the cool miracles Moses was doing, Pharaoh still wouldn’t let the Israelites go! What the heck?

I’m sure Moses was probably getting really frustrated at what was happening. God sent him there and nothing was clicking. Actually, things were getting worse. Moses’ own people were ticked because Pharaoh was making life a living hell for them. So what was going on?

God actually warned Moses about this. He said that he was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart until the proper time. Welcome to the school of hard knocks.

You may be in your fraternity or sorority right now trying all kinds of things for God – but nothing seems to be working. There is a lesson in this. God wants you to know that He’s in control, not you. No matter how many great things you do on your God-given mission, only God has the power to change peoples’ hearts.

This truth should drive you to your knees in prayer. Only through spending time with God in prayer will any of your efforts make a difference.

If Moses showed up to your fraternity or sorority today, I’m sure he’d tell you to step up and do something radical, to depend on God’s work through you, and to leave the results up to God. After all, He is in control.

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Common Thread of Spiritual Leaders

Posted on February 9th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

Are you the kind of leader you want to be? Are you the kind of leader God wants you to be? Sometimes, this is not easy to figure out.

However, we can get a good idea of what a spiritual leader is by looking at the spiritual giants of the past. The book, The Fuel and the Flame, points out six things that these spiritual leaders had in common:

1) Young and Idealistic

They were all young when God started to move in their hearts. He gave them a dream to go after and they were very optimistic (full of faith) about getting after it. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, admitted on a podcast that the dreams He is seeing God fulfill right now were all revealed to Him in his early 20’s.

2) Had Strong Vision

Haven’t seen any miracles lately? It is probably because you have a small God. A big God does big things. A small God does small things. Bill Bright didn’t set out to win five students for Christ, but millions. Because of his labor, there are thousands of staff working around the globe on over one thousand campuses to win college students to Christ. In the last five years, 37,900 students have indicated a decision to become a Christian. This all started with one man, one vision, and one big God.

3) Had Vocal Opposition

Every good leader experiences opposition at one point or another. It is a fact. The Scriptures say, “Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” In the United States this persecution is primarily verbal. If you aren’t experiencing opposition currently, there is a good chance you aren’t taking any risks. As a fraternity President, I was almost impeached once because the members did not like where the chapter was headed. It came right after a weekend where 1/4 of my fraternity brothers came with me to a Greek conference to hear the gospel.

4) They Enlisted Others

Are you a Christian or a disciple? Actually, there is no difference. If you signed up to follow Jesus, then you automatically become a disciple, which means you are following someone and calling others to follow that someone as well. God’s Kingdom does not expand through people who go to church on Sunday and give to the local charity once a year. The Kingdom is expanded through new disciple-makers. This means that every good spiritual leader will care about mission. John Piper says, “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.” The big goal of disciple-making, or enlisting and training others, is worship. We want our awesome God to be worshiped by every tongue and tribe in the world.

5) They Persevered Over The Long Haul

When I first started walking with God, I was excited to become a spiritual leader. I wanted to do great things for God and get a lot of respect from others. Respect within my Christian circle of friends increased a lot and I was on a spiritual high. Then the persecution came. Then the disappointment. Then the depression. The longer I’m a Christian, the more tempted I am to give up and quit. Being in full-time Christian ministry, there are so many letdowns it isn’t even funny. There is a lot of spiritual apathy among college students. If you mix the apathy with my pride, high expectations, and a desire to make results happen on my own, a lack of perseverance abounds. If you want to be a leader for selfish reasons, don’t worry, you will eventually be weeded out. Only a strong love for God will keep you sprinting towards the finish line.

6) Each Had a Deep Foundation In Their Walk With God

Pastor Mark Driscoll told his congregation that he believes that too many people work in their life, not on it. We as Americans pride ourselves in being busy. We are always trying to build a bigger house than the guy next to us – which means we don’t have time to build a foundation. But eventually, the storms come and knock us around. The spiritual giants of the past withstood many storms because they had a solid foundation in their walk with God. Martin Luther spent four hours every morning before he want about his “busy” day. These guys realized that nothing could be done apart from Christ. They were prayer warriors, knowledgeable of God’s Word, and filled with the Spirit.

Spiritual Leadership Quiz:

Do people sometimes view you as “foolish” when you talk about what you are expecting God to do?

Do you have a dream or vision from God that seems impossible?

Have you experienced any opposition from others for being a Christian or trying to accomplish big things for God?

Who have you enlisted recently to become a disciple-maker?

Are you conditioned to run the spiritual race over the course of your entire life?

Do you meet with God regularly?

Tyler Zach is an alum of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nebraska-Omaha – where he earned a degree in Management Information Systems. Tyler is currently on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ in Omaha, NE.

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Our Attempt At Starting a Spiritual Movement

Posted on January 24th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Movements.

Demarick Patton

One idea leaves a legacy in many lives.

If you already have a campus ministry on your campus, why create a campus ministry for Greeks that looks the same? That is the question that Tyler and I wrestled with several years ago as we thought about creating a spiritual movement designed especially for Greeks.

If you do not yet have a spiritual movement on your local campus (or even if you do have one but would like some ideas from what we have seen work), I’ll be sharing ideas over my next few blogs.

Back in the fall of 2002, I met a Sig Ep named Tyler. I, myself being a Sig Ep Alum, had an instant connection with Tyler. I found Tyler to be a strong leader with a great vision. He had the desire for his brothers in his house to know what it meant to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus. We talked about how we could create a venue for his brothers and others in the Greek system at his school in which we could accomplish such a feat.

We asked these questions of ourselves: What do Greeks enjoy? What do they want? What are they going to want to come to considering they are very busy? How can we serve the Greek community? How can we serve the best interests of the university and faculty? We wanted the campus administration to be able to say, “If Greek Endeavor left campus they would leave a huge void.” What’s a good name that casts vision?

In the spring of 2003, we launched Greek Endeavor and had our first meeting with a small gathering of friends whom Tyler knew from the Greek system. We cast vision for our existence and how we wanted to serve them as Greeks. We explained that our emphasis in the main meeting of Greek Endeavor would focus on their personal development – specifically dealing with leadership and relational maturity issues that are common to all and catered to Greeks.

We have met this conquest with success in many ways along with failures through the winding rocky road of creating and sustaining a spiritual movement. Within our meetings, we have focused on fun, meeting others, and creating an atmosphere for lively discussion. We often break students into manageable groups where they can share life and ideas with one another. We give a short talk and then ask thoughtful questions that challenge and stimulate. Never do students go away without a new application.

Once we met a critical mass of regular participants, we initiated the second phase of our movement. We created Legacy Groups. We wanted to give those who desired to grow spiritually a place to come and invest in one another. The name, Legacy, lends prophetic prowess to the desired outcome of the groups. Within these small communities we have seen a number of students come meet God in a fresh way and for many for the first time.

In the follow-up to this blog, I will give some stories of changed lives, topics of discussion, further vision, and fresh ideas.

Until then, God’s blessings to you and yours.

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Trusting God During Times of Uncertainty

Posted on January 10th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Christian Life.

Ana Fontes

“As you wait upon the Lord, you learn to see things from His perspective, move at His pace, and function under His directives. Waiting times are growing times and learning times. As you quiet your heart, you enter His peace; as you sense your weakness you receive His strength; as you lay down your will, you hear His calling. When you mount up, you are being lifted by the wind of His Spirit; When you move ahead, you are sensitive to His timing; when you act, you give yourself only to the thing He has asked you to do.”
-Roy Lessin

A big part of being a college student is waiting. Some people are lucky enough to know exactly what they want to do and know exactly what they need to do to get there. For the rest of us—the confused, the unsure, the unclear—we’re waiting for an epiphany. Maybe there will be that one class that completely captures your interest. Or perhaps there will be an advisor who’ll take a personal liking to you and end up being one of those wise and insightful mentors like we see in the movies. Chances are you’re still waiting for the sky to open and illuminate your path.

That’s where I am. I’m a senior at Virginia Tech double-majoring in psychology and English. I graduate in May 2007 and have no clue what I’m doing next year, much less what my life calling is. There’s this pushing sensation that if I don’t have all of that figured out by the time I walk off that stage with my little diploma, I’m going to miss the grand opportunity of my life and waste precious years. And I hate wasting time. But recently, I’ve realized something important: I am wasting precious time right now!

This awkward period of waiting, trying different things, failing and succeeding, is just as important as the time you’ll spend fulfilling your life calling. As a matter of fact, it’s part of it. This time of cloudy thoughts, changing passions, self-learning, and waiting, will help shape your character for the future. During these times, God wants us to “rest in [Him] and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). If you’re fretting and worrying you’ll miss the opportunities to know more about God and to impact the lives of those people in your life right now.

God calls us to love those around us as He loves us. And just how does he love us? Well, he died for us. His love is a completely selfless and compassionate love that overcomes boundaries of inconvenience, discomfort, or insecurity. Every day there is someone in your life that needs to experience God or be reminded of His great character. Show them how powerful and great He is by being sure of his sovereignty over your future and setting aside your own worries to serve those around you. Simple things like a phone call to see how someone is doing or making time to hang out with those friends you never seem to have time for can make a world of difference in someone’s life.

By taking the focus off yourself and the uncertainties surrounding your life, you’ll see the world around you much clearer. “Be still and know that I am God,” says the Lord. In this time of mystery and uncertainty of the unforeseen, be still. Seek God every day, in every way, through all means: read His Word constantly, attend Bible studies, and surround yourself with people who are seeking Him also. Focus instead on God and the people He’s placed in your life. All you have to do is be still and trust, and God will bless every effort you make to seek Him and His will.

Stop worrying about what makes you happy for a little bit. Instead seek to make someone else happy, to show them God’s love in some way. You’ll be surprise to find your own happiness—actually, not just happiness but meaning—that way.

2 comments.

The King

Posted on December 20th, 2006 by Tyler.
Categories: Knowing God.

Ana Fontes

“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

There are so many people with terrible misconceptions about who God really is and what He expects from us. The word “church” nowadays evokes images of tight-lipped church ladies, sheltered kids in ankle socks and knee-length skirts, a big list of do’s and dont’s, and, worse of all, a wrathful, policeman-like God ready to strike us down at any hint of enjoyment with a wimpy, naïve Jesus at his side.

This terrible misinterpretation of God’s character sometimes comes from a negative encounter with a Christian or a church. The discrepancy between what people preach and what they do tends to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Specially when it involves God. But mainly it develops when people don’t try out God for themselves and resort to forming their opinion based on what they’ve heard.

Despite different perceptions of God’s character, He was, is, and always will be the God who “so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If only people slowed down just enough to unwrap all the love and grace packed up in that one little sentence.

It’s a fact that the world in which we live is a broken, desolate place. Everywhere you turn there’s pain, hunger, waste, complacency, loneliness, violence. Those things dominate the world because of sin. What we often don’t realize is that they exist because of our rebellion against God. You see, sin isn’t just not doing what you’re supposed to or doing what you’re not supposed to. Everytime we rebel against the Word of God, we turn our backs to him and are essentially saying right to his face, “your glory isn’t glorious enough for me.” Owch. Kind of makes things a little more serious doesn’t it? Our sin is much more than bad behavior: the tendendy towards it is embedded in our very nature.

God, being holy and perfect, can’t be in union with sin. But his love for us, his precious creation who chose lesser things, is so great that he made a provision, a way to break the barrier between us and him: Jesus Christ. Since sin exists in a very real way, God can’t just dismiss it. It would be completely outside his just character to do so. Where there is a debt, it must be payed, and God, in his perfect and selfless love, sent his only begotten son to pay that debt in our place. Jesus died so that the sin that fills our hearts can be replaced by his righteousness. Now, cloaked with the purity of Jesus Christ, God looks at those who place their faith in his salvation, extends his arms and calls us each, “my child!”

Much more enticing than the stern killjoy we often reduce God to, isn’t it? He offers this gift freely to everyone, he doesn’t discriminate or choose favorites, and he certainly doesn’t wait for us to clean up our acts. He only asks that we come to him, tired, broken, humble, sinful—just as we are—and put the world behind and the cross ahead.

If you have placed your trust in this truth, then you are an ambassador for Christ wherever you happen to be at this moment. And in case you haven’t noticed, God doesn’t do things by accident. You are part of your fraternity or sorority because he has a plan for you there. It includes much more than just having a good time and being involved in the organization. It has to do with making an impact for eternity, and part of that is making sure that our words and actions reflect and magnify the awesome beauty of the one true God.

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This Is Really Cool

Posted on December 20th, 2006 by Tyler.
Categories: Knowing God.

Will Walker

You are not going to believe this: John Mayer just became a Christian! He met Bono (U2) at a benefit last summer and has been in an ongoing conversation about faith since then. For whatever reason, he finally gave his life to Jesus within the last few weeks.

Not only that, but Madonna and David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey and every famous person in the world became a Christian, too. Plus, I am completely making all of this up. I do not know about the faith of anyone I just mentioned. But I have been wondering why most people (including me) get very excited when they hear that someone famous is or has become a Christian.

In college I was a groupie of this really cool band. They were not Christians, but they were cool. Recently one of them became a Christian and I have told everyone I know as if their life depends on knowing about it. Most of the people I tell act very surprised. I guess they thought someone like that was unreachable or didn’t need Christ.

Identifying ourselves with the good-looking people of the world makes us feel better about ourselves. We would be Christians no matter what, but we are affirmed in our faith when it gets a booster shot of coolness. Something about it being cool makes it feel truer.

A few clarifications at this juncture: Getting excited about famous people coming to Christ is not wrong. Getting less excited about not-famous conversions may be.

Jesus was no more amazed or excited when Paul came to faith than when one of the women who heard him preach on the hillside that one day believed. He is not looking for anyone to validate his existence. He is not hoping for a few good recruits and a better season next year. He knows who he is and where he came from.

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