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2011 South Project

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Wrapping up

This past week was full of lasts. Last theme training, last beach evangelism, last social, last Bible study training, last day of work, and last day at church. This morning, at the final Life Training, Mike Polley talked about staying awake to the gospel and spiritual realities when we go home.

The month of August isn’t always easy for students. It lies right between intense community at Project and at school, and without that community, it can be easy to sleep all day or forget about getting time in the Word.

Mike said this is something to be aware of, and he went through four areas of caution: pleasure, comfort, personal performance, and emotions. Many of these require us to look inward and determine whether or not what happens at Project is because of God or because of the community. Performing for others comes from forgetting the gospel, thinking we can add things to the table.

“It’s so dangerous because it just slips in,” Mike said.

He also stressed how falling into this still just brings us back to the gospel – how it’s these times of personal performance that we can fall back on the cross and know that we’re forgiven.

Talking about emotions, Mike said that they should influence our decisions in light of truth. In the moments of lacking or negative emotions, we get to cling to Christ, because he is what’s true.

“How we feel does not change what is and is not … He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Colossians 2:6 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Going in home in August doesn’t mean we have a month to take a spiritual break. We should still do things out of a love and desire for God. But, if it’s hard, that doesn’t mean our faith has taken a huge step backward.

“You faith is perfected in Him and not what you do,” Mike said.

After Life Training we spent time meditating on these things. Then, after church, many people went to Garden City Baptist Church for a church potluck, and many others went to Rioz, a Brazilian steakhouse. Tonight is our final D-group, and this week will be filled with more lasts as we continue to prepare for home.

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Loneliness in Community

Yesterday began students last week of work for the summer.  We have been blessed to form great relationships with employers and employees and are saddened to say goodbye. However, I am so grateful for what the Lord has done in the hearts of our students working the full-time jobs and in the hearts of the employees. After work, everyone came back to project for the project meal. Ultimate California Pizza was served to all the students.  After dinner, we went to the joint theme training meeting with South Project.

Larry Martini, South Project Student Director, talked about loneliness. He said that within all of us lies a deep longing of not wanting to be alone. Therefore, we cling to relationships, family, friends, and anything else we can grab onto so we don't "feel" alone. On the other side, we guard ourselves because we fear being fully known because we think others will not love us if they know the depth of our sin. Here lies the dilemna.  How are we, as believers of Christ, to love one another and love community while being genuinely sincere and yet not placing people above God?

Larry said that we feel alone when we lack intimacy with Christ. Ephesians 2:13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." This is the answer to our deepest heart's longings.  Because of Christ, we are brought back into community with God.  When we are in communion with God we do not have to fear loneliness for He promises to always be with us.  In addition, we can now use community as a means to know Christ more.  In Christ, we have every need and desire both met and completely satisfied. Now, we are freed to genuinely love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and point one another back to Truth.

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Jobs Social

Last evening, we held our Jobs Social.  About 100 employees and employers came to enjoy fellowship with the students and hear a gospel message.

Everyone enjoyed light snacks and lemonade in the beginning.  Then, students performed skits relating to their job responsibilities.  For example, Wal-Mart student employees performed a skit in which they broke into dance and imitated their daily individial job duties.  After the skits, Greg Morse, a student from University of St. Thomas, presented a gospel message.

By holding this social, we hope to minister to the local employees and employers that we work with. Students have been able to build relationships with their employers throughout the summer.  Many have shared the Gospel with fellow employees. Our goal is that students would learn how to share their faith in the workplace. We also pray that fellow employees would come to know Jesus Christ as Lord.

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Street Reach

C.S. Lewis said, “The very nature of joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.” This is definitely a truth the Czech Republic team felt Sunday afternoon after spending five hours at Street Reach – a local homeless shelter and rehabilitation center.

This blog post is a little more subjective than what I’ve been doing. I just really want to tell you about the experience I had, which was similar to the other 20-some students who had the opportunity to volunteer.

Last week’s prayer focus was the local community, and going off that, Hannah Mihalko was able to find a place we could serve this community.

Once we arrived at Street Reach, we spent no more than an hour completing the various cleaning tasks they had for us. But then, we ended up staying four more hours to talk, worship, and pray with people staying at and visiting the shelter.

Each person had a different story. Some were mentally challenged, some lived in the woods, some couldn’t escape substance addictions, and some had families that seem beyond repair. I want to tell you about three people I talked to, and I would love for you to pray for them, even just once right now.

Frederic:

Sahr Brima gave a gospel presentation through what is called Spoken Word – a mixture of rap and poetry. After he finished, Frederic just said, “My life is so messed up.”

He said he has three kids from his ex-wife and one on the way from a different woman. He said he is a Christian, and he was able to articulate the gospel.

Pray that this would be true, and that Jesus would be so sweet to him. Pray that his brokenness would lead him straight to the cross.

Jesse:

In a way, he stuck out in the room. He’s 23 years old (much younger than most there), and he appeared to be educated and friendly. Still, there is a lot of brokenness. He has a six-month old baby who’s living with his ex-wife, who’s in a homosexual relationship.

He did not seem to know Christ, so pray that God would work in his heart.

Paul:

He gave me a brief explanation of what brought him to Street Reach. His house in Louisiana was flooded and completely lost. He found a job in the Myrtle Beach region, but the place was shut down because of health reasons. He told me: “I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink; this is just where God wants me.”

He was completely content. He said he’d been there for four or five days.

“You wouldn’t believe all the conversations I’ve had with these people in just a few days.”

He said he’s been able to share the gospel countless times, and he knows God has him there for a reason.

Pray that God would continue to do amazing things through Paul. Pray for his time at the shelter. I’m not sure if he’ll be there for just a couple more days or a couple months. But God is good, so pray his strong and steady joy in Christ would not falter even a little.

I was so encouraged by all three of these conversations, as well as all the conversations everyone else was able to have. I’ve been amazed what doors God opens when my identity is completely in him and what he’s done for me.

I – and the other students who went – were reminded about what matters. I think it’s important to have perspective on that sometimes. Comfort, fashion, education – all these things rarely ever crossed the minds of the people at Street Reach. All people, from all places and all situations, have one thing in common: a desperate need for the gospel.

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Evangelism is speaking

Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Yesterday, Lucas Cecka gave the Evangelism Training message. His main point was that loving people means speaking the gospel to them.

“If we don’t open our mouths and share the gospel, we are not loving them – no matter what we are doing with our hands.”

He walked through the steps of how the gospel saves.

  1. Someone must be sent.
  2. They must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  3. People must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  4. Hearers must believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  5. Believers must call on the name of Jesus in repentance.

Lucas then asked the question: “So why don’t we share the gospel with people we encounter?”

Four fears:

  1. Rejection.
  2. Failure.
  3. Loss of relationship.
  4. Lack of knowledge.

In the end, all of these fears are selfish. We put our comfort, our reputation, our friendships, and our pride above what matters for eternity. Ultimately, unbelief is at the core.

“This Christianity things – this Project – is not a game. Eternity is at stake here."

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Theology Time

Last night, Justin Richardson led optional theology. He started the evening by making our purpose clear. “The point of this whole time is not vain discussions about theology. The aim is love."

The group started with about 10 or 15 people and dwindled down as the night progressed. Here are the questions asked with a brief summary of the responses. There are quite a few, so feel free to pick and choose what to read.

Dalen Miller: How are the festivals and the new moons and the Sabboth a shadow of the things to come?

The Old Testament law was very strict on these things. All of them are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For example, the Sabboth is a day of rest, which is a shadow of the ultimate rest, which is found in Jesus.

Lucy Liu: How did Jesus, as one human, die as the sins for everyone?

Perfection is a key factor in how Jesus can cover our sins. In the Old Testament law, there were specific sacrifices for specific sins. In the New Testament, the only sacrifice is the death of one perfect human.

Rom. 5:12-18 talks about this.

Lucy Liu: Why didn’t he go to hell, if he’s taking our punishment?

He is not defeated by death; he was able to overcome death.

Ben Shepherd: How does the death of Christ cover people in the Old Testament? How were they saved, as they didn’t believe in Jesus?

People in the Old Testament believed in God and trusted in his plan. God had a method for allowing people to believe in him.

Heb. 11:13-16 and 39-40 talk about people in the Old Testament being justified by faith.

People are not made perfect in the Old Testament. They are given yearly times with a priest and momentary sacrifices to atone for their sins. And throughout the Old Testament, we can see that all this is temporary.

The key was belief in God. How was that belief flushed out? Through their works – but ultimately, through faith.

Lisa Fitton: Is it possible that God exists outside of time and that the gospel did exist for them?

His death on the cross does extend to them in some way. For us, the basis for our salvation is based on belief in Jesus, so it’s not exactly the same.

Leah Miller: What does that mean to delight yourself in the Lord and you will get the desire of your heart?

The verse is not talking about how we will get things like a new car if we just delight in Christ. It’s talking about how when we delight in him, our desires change – improve – to be the desires God wants them to be. And he gives us those desires.

Anaite Castaneda: If everyone is created for a relationship Christ, why doesn’t everyone have that?

Romans 9 could be a good place to go. While all human beings are created with hearts for knowing God, for some reason, God has chosen to harden some hearts. An example of this is Pharaoh.

AnnaLiese Durling: If, for people in the Old Testament, salvation was about belief in God, can people now be saved by just believing in God (and not the gospel)?

Rom. 1:18 talks about how people who don’t know Jesus are without excuse. It’s only through Jesus by which we can be saved. And all who God created to be saved will be saved.

Emma DeJong: In Jeremiah God tells Jeremiah not to pray for people. What’s that about?

God poured out his wrath in a different way then than he does now, as it has all been taken by Jesus. Also, Jeremiah’s motives in his prayers were more concerned for the people, rather than for God’s glory.

AnnaLiese Durling: Did the Trinity exist before Christ?

In Gen. 1:2, we can see that in the very beginning of all creation, the Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters. The trinity always existed. The Son and the Spirit came into a manifestation of their role with the cross.

AnnaLiese Durling: I have a friend who’s very moral. How do I talk about morality with him?

Christianity is not about becoming a better person. It’s about saying, ‘I’m OK.’ James Lovallo offered that advice to remember that Christianity is not about works; it’s about Christ. That’s what he needs to hear the most.

Rachel Carlson: What does it mean to pray in faith?

God will always answer your prayers. There are three answers he gives: yes, no and maybe.

Rest in what God has done, and pray about that. Expect God to do big things. Also, pray what people prayed in the Bible.

AnnaLiese Durling: In Scripture memorization, how do you choose what to memorize?

It depends on where you are in the moment and where you are in Scripture memory. One of the purposes of memorizing Scripture is to know more about who God is.

At this point, the night became much more of an informal conversation. After a while Justin prayed for everyone in closure.

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Read the Bible when you don't feel like it

Now that the staff is gone, the team leaders are giving the messages. Justin Richardson led Bible study training yesterday morning. He discussed why we need to read the Bible and how our thoughts and emotions are involved.

“It is God’s will for us to read His Word,” Justin said.

But what about when we go through spiritual dry periods? Many people don’t read their Bible unless they want to because they don’t want to be legalistic. Justin addressed this, saying it is a misconception that obedience is primarily a result of emotion.

Emotions play a large role in the Christian life, but they are not a prerequisite for obedience. If somebody doesn’t want to read their Bible, not reading would probably be their worst decision.

Justin also addressed the misconception that we are less pleasing to God when we are emotionally dry.

“Christian hedonism … is at the same time thrilling and crushing,” he said.

We get glimpses of joy in Christ, but it can be crushing when we don’t. However, we find that joy when we read the Bible – when we learn more about Christ. Justin said that “the Bible is a source for our emotions.” He reminded everyone that the basis for God’s pleasure in us is not because of us, but because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.

He continued to explain why we should read the Bible.

“God has revealed himself through people, through relationships, through creation – but primarily, he has given us His Word.”

Proverbs 2:1-5: My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heard to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

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Time to say goodbye

The time has come for the project staff to return to their lives in Minnesota, Michigan and South Dakota, leaving Project to be completely student-run for the second month. Today and tomorrow all of the staff are packing and either driving or flying out.

Last night was the farewell party. To start things out, Jon Saunders, Megan Cogan and Elliot Stokes downed a box of ice cream – not faster than the team leaders, of course.

Then, the students from each campus prayed for their staff, and it’s comforting to know that they are going to continue praying for us at Project.

If you want to pray for any of the 14 staff members from South Project, many of them will be raising support, so prayers would definitely be appreciated for that. Also, pray that the gospel would be greater and sweeter for them as they return, and that it would spread to their families, friends and students.

Here’s a list of South Project’s staff:

Jon and Vanessa Saunders – Michigan State University

Chip and Megan Cogan – Michigan State University

Matt and Lisa Reagan – University of Minnesota

Nick and Katie Stomwell – University of Minnesota

Lydia Schlicht – University of Minnesota

Mike Polley – University of Minnesota

Luke Christie-Perkins – South Dakota State University

Paul and Sam Poteat – St. Thomas

Elliot Stokes – St. Thomas

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India Arrives

This weekend, the CCP India team arrived to our south project in Garden City! We are delighted for them to be here.  They have already begun to share a passion with us for reaching the unreached people groups with the gospel of Christ.

The team arrived on Saturday evening.  They were greeted by friends that were on project.  There is much excitement at both projects with the arrival of the team. Students are full of anticipation to hear of other college students that are eager to spend their summer spreading the gospel to the unreached.

Last night, both projects got together, and the India team gave a presentation.  They introduced the college students that are on the team, and gave testimonies on how the Lord led them to desire to go overseas.  Their testimonies were powerful for us to hear.  It is amazing to see Christ working in lives of college students, giving them vision and passion for reaching the nations.

The team's leader, Jack Thompson, gave a short talk on missions. He talked about God's heart for reaching all nations with His good news.  The Lord does not need us to fulfill His will, but graciously uses us to expand His kingdom on earth. Matthew 28:19 says,"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations and promises to come back once every tribe and tongue knows His name.

According to joshuaproject.net, there are 2,549 total people groups in India.  Out of those 2549, 2238 are still unreached! That is approximately 88% of the people groups of India that are still unreached.  This is a sobering reality to believers.  Jack encouraged us to be active in reaching the nations. We can do this by praying, giving, or going.  As believers, we can play a part in God's plan for all to know His name!

Jack shared his passion for the lost world with us.  We are all blessed to hear how the Lord is raising up laboreres to give their time, lives, and money away for people to know Christ.

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A week at Project

It’s been a busy week since the last blog post.

Tuesday

We had a typical work day, with team time at 6 p.m. Each team (Goof Troop, Vector, and The Czech Republic) meets once a week to hang out and get to know each other better.

At 8 p.m., everyone returned to their rooms for D-groups – where each group of four or five students learn to love one another more through conversations, studying scripture, and praying.

Wednesday

Wednesday mornings student leaders and staff meet at Garden City Baptist Church for Leaders Training. Paul Poteat talked about the deep brokenness of everyone there, as well as everyone not there. He said that we need to remember that there are things deeper in the hearts of students than the things they do.

Then, the guys and girls from each team meets for their D-group. This is a refreshing time for room leaders and their team leader to catch up and offer one another encouragement and advice.

At 1:30 p.m. the whole project meets for Evangelism Training, followed by evangelism on the beach. This week, Jon Saunders talked about our fear of evangelism, and how our hearts show what we believe about the Father. He gave some practical reasons why we should not be scared of beach evangelism, but he also shared the real reason: God is a good god, and that he wants to give us good things.

So, we all went out in pairs and talked to people on the beach, asking them questions and sharing the gospel. Afterward, teams met to share stories about how it went, and then to pray about those specific people.

Wednesday night, many people went out on group dates (where a guys’ room asks a girls’ room on a date). At 8 p.m., Team Czech Republic provided s’mores for the week’s encouragement. Overall, it was a relaxing evening.

Thursday

Again, Thursday is a work day. But Thursday nights, we have our project social. Last night was the social of all socials.

It was a low country boil, which has become an annual event. People had the option of dressing as a hick, a prep, or a barnyard animal. After admiring one another’s costume, everyone

enjoyed a feast of shrimp, potatoes, corn, and sausage – all piled on tables. Forks were unnecessary.

The night also included sing along with Paul. This was when Jordan Zurek’s inner Taylor Swift came out, as well as when Ben Shepherd’s Irish identity was confirmed.

Bobbing for limes was also a hit, but fun fact: Limes are cheaper than apples, but they sink. The night was finished with about three or four hours of dancing, even through down-pouring rain.

Friday

Like every Friday, we met at 9 a.m. for Bible Study Training. Elliot Stokes talked about how we need the Bible. “Your relationship with God is one vast need … that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

Then, some people relaxed and some went off to work.

Saturday

Mostly, we worked.

Sunday

To start our day, Mike Polley talked about money and possessions at Life Training. He exposed our selfishness when it comes to these things, and how we are prideful about how much or how little we have. Hearing the gospel was very freeing.

At 11 a.m., everyone went to church, and then afterward rested in a variety of ways. Later that night was an optional women’s time, and the CCP group gave a presentation about India, explaining what they will be doing there and how we can pray for them.

Monday

This is the day the Lord has made! Pray that we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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'It is the most important thing. Period.'

At Theme Training last night, Matt Reagan proclaimed, explained, and rejoiced about the gospel. He described it as “our whole life,” “the thing that is the center of all history” and “the clearest picture of who Jesus is.”

For most of his message, Matt talked about how good the Good News is.

Hebrews 10:14: For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

But how can we hear this and so often feel nothing? How can there be such numbness to the gospel in our hearts?

Matt brought up three sedatives that put us to sleep when it comes to the gospel.

One is a shallow understanding of sin. This blog post could never fully describe the weight that was felt in the fellowship hall of Garden City Baptist last night. With full conviction, holding nothing back, Matt preached about sin that was in every heart in the room.

“You must get to a place in your life when you say, ‘how could he possibly love me?’”

We must know we are broken to understand the gospel.

Another sedative is the distraction of personal performance. This one hit home for many people (probably everyone). He talked about how we perform for people, and we perform for God. He stressed how there is nothing we can do for God.

Romans 4:4-5: Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…

There is nothing that we do. Matt quoted something he has read: “the law requires 100 percent doing; the gospel requires 100 percent not doing.”

Luke 18:9-14 is a perfect passage for what we have a right to say before the Lord. “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” We can’t pay God back with obedience or gratitude, and there is nothing we can do to improve him or improve ourselves.

But, this is such good news!

1 Cor. 3: 21-23: So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

All work has been done. It is finished. Now, we can rejoice that all is our’s because we are Christ’s.

The third and final sedative is the forgotten reality of eternity. We are now free to say that God’s wrath has been taken away from me forever, and I will never see it.

Matt said, “The rest of your life should be a celebration.”

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Working to rest

For a lot of students on project, today has reflected this morning’s message at Life Training. At 8:45 before church, Mike Polley talked about working to rest, saying that Christ has given us rest in the gospel.

“Stay in the rest that we’ve been given,” he said.

At this point at Project, weariness has started to set in for many people. Full-time jobs and nightly project activities, for some, make schedules much busier than what is normal.

Mike reminded us how we have already received ultimate rest, and how we have the opportunity to give it to others.

“Only Christians can share eternal rest,” he said.

He also went into some helpful tips about working and resting, explaining how there is a rest in remembering that God sanctifies us.

So today, in a very practical sense, people have been resting. Many have visited the beach in the 95-degree weather, and the local coffee shop has had people in and out of it all day.

Here are the tips Mike gave everyone to think about when it comes to work and rest:

1. Know yourself.

When it comes to a work ethic, are you on the lazy end or the over-working, anxious side?

2. Get good sleep.

3. Be efficient in the use of time.

Be devoted to work when you work and be devoted to sleep when you sleep. This will result in better work and better rest.

4. Be thankful.

“When you’re thankful, you’re awake to the gift you’ve been given?”

5. Take a day off.

This doesn’t mean sleeping all day. It’s a day for whatever is refreshing. This may be going for a run, taking a nap, or reading a book. It depends on the person.

6. Pace yourself.

You don’t always need to go 100 percent. It’s OK to run at a slower pace that can last.

7. Make a weekly schedule.

Schedule a time to rest, and make sure to make it a priority.

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Heigh ho, heigh ho...

…It’s off to work we go.

A majority of the students on Project have been blessed with full-time jobs in the community. Over 50 work at Walmart. Also, there are some at Chic-Filet, Krystal Burger, McDonalds, Sonic, Buy Low, KFC, Painters, and a few various internships.

For many students, Saturdays mean longer hours, as there are no scheduled Project events.

Tonight, people are relaxing from a long day flipping burgers and stocking shelves. Some people are playing pool ball, some are throwing a frisbee, some are playing cards, and some are plucking the ukulele. As Rachel Sandager, Caleb Nordquist, Lucy Lou, and Max Cruz play Egyptian Rat Race (a card game), they reflect on their day.

Rachel (Walmart):

“I could smile for days now with all my practice as a greeter.”

Caleb (McDonalds):

“From beginning to end, you’re just making sandwiches, and you really don’t have time to think.”

Lucy (Walmart):

“My feet hurt, but I’m happy.”

Max (internship at a vet clinic):

“I got to save lives.”

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Awake to the Scriptures: What is the Bible?

This morning everyone walked across the parking lot for Bible Study Training at Garden City Chapel.

Elliot Stokes went through what the Bible is and why we read it.

“Here are the most important things about the universe … and you’re being walked through those things (when you read the Bible),” he said.

Elliot started by explaining that all of the Scriptures are about Jesus.

“If we miss that, it’s not just that we’re reading the Bible wrong. It means we have a heart defect.”

He stressed how the Bible is God’s spoken word – that God literally speaks things into existence. He creates and defines truth by his words.  He referenced 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 3:15-16 to explain this.

Elliot called everyone to open the Bible realizing that they are hearing from God.

He also talked about how “the Bible tells you who God is, and people don’t like that.” People like to make up things about God and choose what they like or don’t like to believe.

“The real God is way, way, way better than anything you would make up,” Elliot said.

Titus 3:3 says, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

“That’s you,” Elliot said. “The Bible tells you the hard truth about yourself.”

The last point Elliot made was that “the Bible didn’t die for your sins.”

“The Bible is not God,” he said. “It reveals God.”

After the message, some of the students said this was convicting, reflecting on how it can be easy to seek forgiveness by getting in the Word rather than falling before the cross.

Bible Study Training is a weekly event. Every Friday morning, a different message is presented, and then we practice the inductive method of reading the Scriptures. This morning, we read today’s verse from Colossians: Col. 1:24.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

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Relationships Week

This week at project we are focusing on the topic of relationships. What does it mean to have a God-honoring and Christ-centered relationship? This was a central question that was highly focused on.

Andrew and Lauren Holbrook gave the relationships seminar.  Andrew Holbrook is the regional director of Campus Outreach Charlotte.  In their talks, they highlighted the fact that relationships are to point us more to Jesus Christ, not merely another person.  In addition, they walked through how biblical marriages symbolize Christ's love for His church.  They also answered many misconceptions our culture has towards relationships.

Many students were encouraged by these talks.  There was much conversation by the students evaluating their relationships and setting goals and guidelines for healthy relationship. Remya Thomas, an international recent graduate from St. Stephens in Delhi, India, was quoted saying, "It's not all about marriage, and It's not about the intimacy we share with a man or a woman, but marriage is a glimpse of the intimacy we will share with the Lord." This thought was what stuck out to her the most from relatiosnhips week.

Remya Thomas is attending our project this summer.  Former Cross Cultural Projects from CO Minneapolis have come to St. Stephens College in the past summers.  They have been able to minister to her and help equip her to lead other women.  We are so blessed by her coming this summer. Last night, students gathered

outside and prayed together for the people of Dhobi, India.  They prayed that these people would hear the gospel of Christ. Remya was able to provide us with insight into the people.

Project was incredibly blessed by the Holbrooks coming to speak about relationships.  Students are excited to grow in godly relationships with one another and in dating relationships.  We are also delighted that Remya is with us this summer. Her being here is a continual reminder to pray for the nations that have not yet been reached with the gospel.

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News from South Carolina

120 students and staff have safely arrived in Garden City, South Carolina! The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind, but the Lord has proven so faithful to his children.
Student leaders and staff arrived at project on May 30.  They quickly prepared for the disciples to arrive on June 2.  During their time in preparation, they spent time cleaning the motel, praying for Christ to work in the hearts of the disciples coming to project, and enjoying talks that gave practical advise on ministering.  However, through their very full schedule, the leaders also had some time to rest and relax before the new students came.
The new students arrived on project on May 2.  Jobs for the summer were soon designated to them.  After settling in, they too spent time in preparation for the summer.  The students had time to get acquainted with project and their new roommates.  Each student leader, or room leader, has three or four disciples in their room.  This summer we have had more students from CO Minneapolis attend the training project than every before.  This is only due to the Lord's faithfulness and grace to our ministry!

After settling in, we have had  meetings, work, socials, and more bonding time.  Eric Lonergan gives a bible study training talk each friday morning.   This past Friday, many students had excellent questions concerning why they study the Bible.  Eric was able to clearly explain that the ultimate reason we study the Bible is to know Christ more.  Reid Jilek is giving some life training talks on Sundays before church.  In his last talk, he gave biblical reasons and support for why and how, as Christians, we should handle our finances in a godly manner.  Students have been soaking in the talks and learning about the grace that God has for them in Christ Jesus.
There has also been time for fun events, such as our socials, that are held each Thursday night.  Last week, we enjoyed this time playing beach games.  Students and staff were split into three teams, and competed against one another.  One competition was building a sand castle and creating a story to go along with it.
Overall, this summer has had an excellent start! Everything has gone so smoothly. Everyone has been able to transition well.  The Lord is working in the lives of students, revealing their sin and need for Christ. Already, people have become believers! Many students are ready and eager to continue to grow with community this summer!  It is exciting to see how the Lord will be working!

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Notebooks are filling up

“This is heavy.”

Matt Reagan said that a couple times last night as a part of his response to the questions at Theology Time.

Every Sunday night, a couple people on staff answer any questions students may have about God, Christianity, and anything else. Last week, Matt Reagan and Jon Saunders and about 20 students huddled under the tent during a massive thunderstorm to have this discussion.

Three nights ago, Paul Poteat and Matt Reagan answered a variety of questions, from heaven and hell to angels and demons to sin and salvation. The format of the discussion is question-and-answer. Students ask questions, and Paul and Matt point to places all over the Bible for answers.

So, here are three of the questions asked and the responses given, as well as a complete list of all the questions asked.*

What does the Bible say about levels of heaven? – Josh Drost, Michigan State University

They are not the layers found in Dante’s Inferno, but the idea of levels in heaven is Biblical. 1 Cor. 3: 9-17 talks about this.

Matt said that Not extra possessions in heaven.

In 1 Thes. 2, the apostle Paul talks about how the people he is writing to are his “glory and joy” at the coming of Jesus. Matt stressed that this language of boasting and reward ultimately gives Jesus all the glory.

There will be rewards in heaven. Matt said, “You ought not worry too much about your heavenly rewards.” He stressed that there will be no envy. The way we will think about our own rewards and other rewards will be in a completely sinless way.

Paul added that rewards don’t come when we think intentionally about the rewards. It’s the gospel that produces good fruit. “Focus on who Jesus is for you and not who you are for Jesus,” Matt said.

They also pointed out that Luke 12:47-48 talks about levels of Hell.

If someone were to ask, “Why can we not atone for our own sin,” where do I point them? – Ben Degroote, Michigan State University

Matt and Paul brought up Hebrews 7-9, suggesting that Ben look there to understand how the sacrificial system is insufficient.

Then, a woman who had stopped to listen shouted from the back, “Romans 6:23.” She said she was there with a small group, and she said, “that’s the perfect verse!” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Matt just said, “Amen.”

At the end of the discussion, Paul added a reference to Rom. 8:5-7, explaining how the flesh is hostile to God.

What exactly are angels? How do they interact with humans? – Ammie Lace, University of Minnesota

Paul said that one of his past professors told him that of all the ethical things we deal with, God is number one and angels are number two. Paul also brought up 2 Kings 6:16, where Elisha had faith in angels during battle. He added that people in America are deluded that supernatural forces are not actually real.

Matt said that there is a whole other realm of cosmic powers that we just don’t see – that angels and demons are at war. He mentioned Daniel 10 as an example of this.

Paul brought up how in 1 Cor. 11:10, the language shows how the people of that time knew about angels – more than we do now.

All the questions:

• What does it mean when we say that Jesus was begotton?

• What does the Bible say about levels of heaven?

• Is Hell God turning away from you in rejection or to you in anger?

• Is it possible for people to fall from Heaven (like Satan)?

• In Colossians 1, what is the kingdom of his Beloved Son?

• Would it have been just for God not to save anyone?

• If someone were to ask, “Why can we not atone for our own sin,” where do I point them?

• What do Jews believe about when the Messiah comes?

• How did Adam and Eve populate the world?

• What exactly are angels? How do they interact with humans?

• How do demons fit into us being accountable for our sins?

• Where is the name Lucifer in the Bible?

• What’s the difference between a new earth and heaven?

• My roommate thinks she can become God by being in nature more. What can I say to her?

*Including the responses to each one of these questions would make this post longer than a daily blog post should be. This might also be a good time to ask for forgiveness for any poor note taking on my part. If I include exact words from anyone, I will put them in quotations. Otherwise, assume that I am paraphrasing.

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Two weeks in

Five-cent coffee is just around the corner. But at the 2011 Summer Training Project, caffeine has nothing to do with staying awake.

Awake is the theme for the summer, and Elliot Stokes gave the first theme training June 2. He said there is an awake way to live and a sleepy way to live. We want to be awake to all spiritual truth, and we want to see the world through a Biblical lens. This is what we will be focusing on for the two months in Garden City, S.C.

So what’s been happing at Project for the past two weeks?

The staff and student leaders arrived late-afternoon May 30 and were instantly hard at work. In a matter of a couple days, 37 rooms that hadn’t been unlocked since last summer were made livable.

On June 2, the rest of Project arrived. As each new car unloaded, Larry Martini’s energy level kept rising. After the 22-hour car ride, the disciples were greeted with lots of cheering, Jordan Zurek sprawled on top of their car, and a popsicle.

It hasn’t taken long for the room leaders and disciples to get to know one another. Each room has one leader and three or four disciples. In each relatively small space, friendships have been formed, meals have been made, sin has been exposed, and dance parties have happened.

Everyone has heard a variety of thought-provoking and convicting messages. At the second theme training, Matt Reagan talked about being in awe of God. He said that God is glorified by us “receiving him and enjoying him.”

Students have also grown through learning about evangelism. Jon Saunders challenged people by saying that we are natural evangelists for what we love most. Each Wednesday, everyone at Project goes out on the beach and shares the gospel with people. On June 8, people paired off and evangelized for a little over an hour. Then, everyone sat around the pool and shared how their discussions went, praying about specific individuals.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are work days. Students work at a variety of places, including Walmart, McDonalds, Krystal Burger, Sonic, and Buy Low. The Lord was so gracious to provide every person a job, and we are working to be thankful as well as joyful about work.

Every Thursday night, we have a project social. We have had two so far. For the first, everyone went to see Kung Fu Panda II, and all the disciples dressed their room leaders up as a jungle animal. It was pretty interesting. For the second social, we had a “boat social.” To sum it up: there were three spectacular performances by the pool – one with pilgrims, one with pirates, and one with The Little Mermaid. Each team had to build a boat that could take people across the pool, all the while acting out the scene.

On Sunday mornings, each team attends a different church that is close to Project. Sunday nights, there is optional worship and optional theology time. For many people, Sundays are a day to rest.

Note from Emma DeJong (author):

Hello! I’m very excited to be blogging this summer about STP. This first post is an extremely brief summary of what has happened so far. Somebody could probably right a novel about each day, but unfortunately, our schedule is pretty packed.

I’m hoping to post at least once every day. As of right now, I’m planning on posting each morning about something that happened the previous day. So basically, stay tuned and be ready to hear all about Project!

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Prep Party Info

Students, bring your laptops to the prep party tomorrow to register for jobs. This is an email reminder that you are having a MANDATORY Informational/prep party for the Summer Training Project on Friday, May 6 at 6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church North Campus. If you need a ride, contact a staff member or an older student that will be attending the party.

Dinner will be provided.

We will be filling out a few applications for jobs online, so bring your laptop if you have one. In order to fill out the application, you will also need the following information. 1. Social Security Number 2. Jobs information: - Two references from past employers - those two references’ phone numbers 3. Employment history - bring info about your last 4-6 jobs - the more you put in the better your pay could be 4. Educational Experience - dates you've attended college 5. Special Certificates and Licenses - Commercial Drivers License, automotive licenses, etc. 6. Language Skills - if you are proficient in a 2nd language

Bank Accounts: • Every summer we strongly encourage students to sign up for a local bank account in Myrtle Beach, SC • We can't force you to sign up for an account, but we dont want you to have to pay $10 fee every time you need to cash a check • It generally works very well to have an account in Myrtle Beach before you start your job at project • If you have a wells fargo account, that now works with Wachovia We are providing you the resource tomorrow at the Prep Party to get your account setup before we get to project so you can have your debit/check cards established when you arrive.

Please Bring to PREP PARTY: • Drivers License • 2nd form of ID (Social Security Card | Passport | Birth Certificate)

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