Heard at Café: 10/17/2017

After taking a week off for Fall Break, we were back in the full swing of things at Café last week with a special focus on Globalscope!

Lauren Lillquist was our guest speaker, and began talking about the idea of encouragement - specifically, how the people in our lives can encourage us with their words and actions.

We talked from the book of Romans, and how Paul was trying to encourage the early Roman church through a letter he had written to them. He spoke a lot about the idea that Christianity is for everyone, not just for the Jews but also for non-Jewish people (a.k.a. Gentiles), because there seemed to be a lot of division amongst the Romans. As the letter is coming to an end, he had these words for them:
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Though the Roman church was not perfect or wholly unified at the time, Paul wrote to them to essentially say: be encouraged. Let's remember what God has done and look forward to the things he has promised us. Look back, remember, and through all these things you can have hope.

It can be easy to feel hopeless when bad things happen or when life doesn't go the way that we want it to, but God wants more for us than hopelessness. Because of Jesus, the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prophesies, we can have hope that God is still promising good for us.

We can even look back on our own lives and see how God has been good, and encourage others to do the same. Paul doesn't just tell the Romans to be encouraged, he is telling them to do something through the encouragement they receive. We, too, can act on knowing that we're loved and accepted by God, and go on to help others see how God is good.

Heard at Café: 10/3/2017

Last night we had the pleasure of hearing from three of the Café interns: Jake, Eric, and Macy.

We started by discussing various kinds of weakness. Whether they're funny (being too weak to climb "hills"), embarrassing (throwing up at track practice after eating an entire pizza), or more serious (struggles, injuries, etc.), the concept of weakness is present in all of our lives.

Paul, one of the very first Christians, wrote about this idea to some friends of his and said the following:
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NIV)
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul had every reason to boast: he was a hard-worker, a devout follower of Jesus, and was well-respected by his peers. But Paul also understood that God's power was so much greater than anything he could do on his own. He begged God (multiple times, too) to take away his "thorn", and his prayers were not answered how he had hoped. Instead God responded with, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul knew that having his "weakness", though he clearly didn't want it, only helped him show others that it was Jesus working through him since he couldn't do everything by himself.

In all of the tough things that Paul had to endure, he was quick to point out that it only helped him grow closer to God and understand Christ's power. This helps us keep in mind that ultimately our gifts and willpower and strengths come from God, and that we can only do so much on our own. We all have weaknesses, but it's reassuring to know that God is working through them.