Anyway on Thursday I got there early hoping to pray over the individual seats in the room but the room was locked (and it turned out being that room wasn't the one we were going to be using anyway that night.) So I just looked over my notes again and again, hoping I wouldn't ramble. When Michelle came, she, Molly and I practiced a little bit before it started. I felt so bad because apparently I'm not as good at hearing music as I thought I am, and I also have a tendency to sing higher than I should and considering it was all guys there that night it probably wasn't best but oh well. Praise God.
After setting up the room, singing two worship songs (How Great is Our God and All in All, if you care to look up lyrics), and passing out cookies, Jarryn prayed for me and then kinda gave me the floor. After introducing myself to those that didn't know me, I began by praying once again that the Lord would speak through me and into their hearts. And the following in italics is what I had brought as my message.
Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start. I came to college wanting to learn more about God. I always believed there was a God, and thought that I was a Christian, I mean I prayed every once in a while, attempted to read my Bible a few times, and went to church very sporadically. Plus being a Christian is about being a good person right? WRONG! Anyway, I applied to Grove City College, and didn't get in, and cried, but that is ok it wasn't where God wanted me. I also applied to Mercyhurst and got accepted. So off to Erie I went. I remember packing my Bible thinking, "I might need this, don't know when or why but maybe I'll need it." I tried campus ministry but it did nothing for me. It just felt wrong, people fell asleep, the Rev. was a feminist, and it just bothered me for some reason.
In January I was invited to church by a friend of a friend, and after I had been rude to him earlier, I accepted the invitation. I went with him and recall thinking that the Nazarene church was SOOOOOOOOOO weird, and how I didn't really want to come back but yet I was intrigued somehow. I kept coming back until a month later, after I had been seeking God in His Word, I realized I did not know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Sure I believed in God and "knew" Jesus died for the sins of the world. Yet I didn't really understand that Jesus died for MY sins because of nothing I could every do. In fact, He died for my sins despite all of the terrible things I've done wrong. I didn't know that until Feb, 2005 when I went to the altar at that "strange" church and asked Jesus for forgiveness of all of my sins and prayed to accept Jesus into my heart. I now understood that Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. And somehow He chose to save me and promise me the gift of eternal life? This was UNFATHOMABLE! I was so excited I had to tell EVERYONE! So I did. . . oops, big mistake. This caused a lot more harm that it did good when I came home to tell my family if they didn't repent and accept Jesus as Lord they were going to Hell. Hmm, not so gentle. Trust me as a new believer I made PLENTY of mistakes.
Well now that you know my salvation story, please open your Bibles to Acts 2:42-47. Now, I asked them at this point to open up their Bibles, and having been in InterVarsity, I knew most people wouldn't have a bible with them so I brought some of my own along to hand out. Also I told them where they could get some bibles if they needed one. I asked for volunteers to read, but no one did so I read this passage of Scripture: " 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
At this point I asked some questions and allowed time for answers from the students. What do you notice this body of believers devoted themselves to doing? ***Although I allowed time for them to answer, I am just going to type out what I had written down as notes.*** 1. Apostles' teaching. Guess what? We should be studying God's Word. It is important for our chapter to study God's Word in order to survive. Now time for a story. In the spring of 06, I went to Chapter Focus Week in the upper peninsula of Michigan with 11 people I didn't know on an 11 hour drive because they were from Grove City and I was the only one from Mercyhurst to go. One day it was just John and I talking about what the Mercyhurst chapter would look like the next year. He said I would be doing prayer and welcome and follow-up, which made sense to me. It did NOT include me leading Bible study. After all, I thought, "I'm just a baby Christian, I've only been a Christian 1.5 years." Well, in the fall of that year, I ended up leading Bible study as others were unwilling or not lead by the Spirit to do so. Praise God for using me despite my incompetence. But I only say this to encourage you that even if you feel like you may not be able to do something, if the Lord calls you to it He will equip you for that ministry.
2. Fellowship - What is fellowship? Can we have fellowship with unbelievers? Not really, we can spend time with unbelievers and enjoy that time spent together but it's not really fellowship, it's ministry. And ministry can be DRAINING which is why it is so important to commune with the saints/other believers.
Another story. After my sophomore year of college, I felt so alone because I was at home without my InterVarsity friends to support me. I struggled to have my quiet times, and struggled with loving my family as Jesus would love them. But, once every week or two, a good friend named Aaron would call and talk to me about the Scriptures and life in general. It was through his friendship that Christ helped me through that summer.
3. Breaking the Bread - Communion is a church institution and so we won't really talk about that tonight.
4. Prayer - Here is where I will spend the most time because it has been THE most crucial part of my walk with Christ. It is through loving my roommates and lots of prayer that 2 of them came to know Christ (one was already a believer.)
I would like to share the following story to encourage you to be bold about your faith in Christ.
During a spur of the moment prayer meeting, my roommates and I put dinner on hold, thinking it would be like a normal prayer meeting lasting about 15 minutes or so. The Spirit had other plans. One of my roommates was raised religious and had gone to the Catholic church all of her life. Like myself, she thought she was a Christian. She knew many of the answers about Jesus but didn't really know Him. During this prayer meeting, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to ask my roommate to accept Jesus as her Lord ans Savior. I was TERRIFIED! I'd only been a believer for a year! I couldn't lead someone to Christ (obviously this is true because He does the leading, but still I was so afraid.) I looked at my other roommate who had been raised in a Christian home and she was nodding at me. Now remember, we were in a prayer meeting, our eyes shouldn't be open at all. At this point I knew the Spirit was moving and said, "Lord, Here we go." I led my roommate through the sinner's prayer that night. (Admit that she was a sinner, and ask God for forgiveness. Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. His blood was shed to pay for her sins. And finally Confess with her mouth that Jesus is Lord and choose to follow Him.) What was supposed to be a 15 minute prayer meeting in our minds, ended up lasting a few hours because after we finished praying there was much rejoicing. (Including jumping over couches.)
Now, let me take a moment, and back up to explain how this was also a miracle. For about a year, this roommate and I in particular hadn't had a great relationship, most of which was my fault because I was in a TERRIBLE relationship where I had been hurt more than I could bear. And when I needed my roommates most, after finding out my ex had done something terrible against me, they would hang up when I called them. Finally I ended up breaking up with my ex boyfriend but things were not going well for my roommates and I. So, at one of the IV overnighters, I knew my roommates were pretty much fed up with me, and I didn't even know where I was going to live the next year. I went into the sanctuary, (where I wasn't supposed to be, but knew I needed to be there) and threw myself down on the ground and asked Christ to forgive me for all of my sins that I had committed in that relationship and against my roommates. I came out after that time of prayer with tears in my eyes and went and hugged each of my roommates and personally asked each of them for forgiveness because of how I had treated them. God performed a miracle that day in our lives. We became such great friends that we still visit each other a few times a year.
So please be encouraged that prayer does work.
Now moving on, "They came together with GLAD and SINCERE Hearts. Praising God and He added to their numbers daily those being SAVED!" At this point, I asked some reflection questions. I gave the members a chance to examine their own hearts. "Are you really glad and sincere to come together?" "Are we loving each other so much that unbelievers are wanting what we have?" Take a few moments to pray through these things on your own and I closed in prayer after a few minutes.
After this I broke the group down into groups of 4 and asked them to pray for one 2-3 of each others needs.
It was so awesome to be able to speak at CF. I also had brought some resources with me and one student ended up taking home a Bible and a Bible study guide with him Praise God. Another student also asked to take home a Bible. I was so thankful that God had worked in that way. Also I had a few students thank me afterwards in email for speaking. Praise God that He could use me to reach Behrend's campus.