Using Your Break to Invest in Eternity
Mr. Mark Vowels, CGO Director
In just a few weeks, the long-anticipated Christmas break will be upon us and students and staff will scatter to the ends of the earth. We don’t do this anymore at BJU, but in past years Christmas break officially began following a special chapel. The service was usually pretty brief because everyone was in a hurry to go. Cars would be packed, students would be on the edge of their seats, and as soon as the “Amen” was pronounced there was a race to get off campus as quickly as possible. Getting a parking space for your fully packed car right in front of the FMA was considered a big win! I am not pining for a return to that routine, but I do recall fondly the excitement that filled the auditorium during that last chapel service. I used to say, “If we could gather the electricity in the air and contain it, we could use it to power the campus for the entire second semester!”
However your Christmas break begins and whatever plans you have laid, I’m sure you are eager for those days to get here. Mom’s cooking, late mornings, Netflix binges, and holiday treats are on the horizon! But can I encourage you to also think ahead about how you can invest in eternity over the Christmas break? Here are a few suggestions.
Start with Prayer
First, start with prayer. Ask God to overwhelm you with the reality that Jesus became a man so that men could know Him and live with Him eternally. Ask Him to give you an eagerness to tell others about Emmanuel – “God with us.” There are no treasures or trinkets that compare to this hope - Jesus came into the world to save sinners. You will not be a witness to this marvelous truth until it first becomes marvelous in your own soul. Ask God to give you daily opportunities to speak with someone about the meaning of Christmas and then look for those opportunities as you go through your day.
Start Gospel Conversations
The Christmas season may be the easiest time of the year to engage in gospel conversations. Look for opportunities to start conversations about Emmanuel. As you go shopping, ask the cashiers or others in line, “What is your favorite thing about Christmas?” Listen kindly to whatever they say, then offer, “For me, the best part of Christmas is Emmanuel. God became a man so that we could know Him and have eternal life.” People’s response may not always be friendly, but most folks are not offended when you remind them that Christmas is nothing without Christ.
Speak with Your Pastor
Call or email your pastor now – today – and offer to do whatever you can to serve the church and help with outreach during your time at home. He will be delighted! In some cases, your pastor will immediately give you a list of opportunities. In other cases, he may need a few days to think about it and check with some others in the church. Every church and every pastor are different, but whatever he asks of you, do your best to serve, even if it isn’t what you most want to do. One of the greatest ways to grow a servant’s heart and to gain useful ministry experience is to get engaged in a variety of church activities. Don’t get the idea that any service is beneath you now that you are a college student. Remember, what Jesus said, “It is enough that the disciple be as his master, and the servant his lord” (Matthew 10:25).
Maybe you can offer to substitute for a nursery worker or a Sunday school teacher so that he or she can enjoy church services with family during the holidays. Maybe there is a physical work around the facility that needs to be done. Maybe there are hospital visits that you can make. When it comes to ways to serve the local church, seek and you shall find!
Speak with Your Youth Pastor
If your church has a youth pastor, connect with him as well and offer to serve the youth group while you are home. Hearing from someone in college may mean a lot to the teens in your church. Just being there and sharing in youth group activities will be a great encouragement to the youth pastor. Even better, invite him to coffee or lunch and tell him how God is working in you through your experience as a BJU student. That will make his day!
Find Ways to Serve
Some other miscellaneous ideas that you might try include making some Christmas cookies and taking them to your neighbors along with a Christmas card that includes a gospel tract. Try to start an “Emmanuel” conversation as well.
Go downtown in your city with family or some friends from church and sing Christmas carols (depending on your city you may need to get permission), then pass out gospel tracts and seek to have gospel conversations.
Go to a senior care facility in your neighborhood and use your musical talents to lead the residents in singing Christmas carols. Then just sit with them and listen to their stories about past Christmases and look for opportunities to share Jesus with them.
If you have elderly or disabled people in your church or in your neighborhood, offer to do some housework for them or offer to help them put up some Christmas decorations. While you are helping them, seek to have a conversation about Jesus.
Post a Comment
Post a comment and let me and others know what you have done in the past that has been a blessing or what you plan to do during this Christmas break to invest in eternity.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.