Tornado Strikes Union University

One of my InterVarsity colleagues – Nan Thomas, our associate director for spiritual formation – also works in faculty development at Union University, where her husband is a professor.  Last night, Union’s campus was hit by a tornado.  According to the university’s president, 40 percent of the dorms were destroyed, and another 40 percent were severely damaged.  Thankfully, no one on campus was killed.  Classes have been canceled until at least February 18.

Please be in prayer for the campus, for the healing of injured students, and for the families of those killed in other tornadoes around the Southeast last night. 

If you would like more information, Union has set up an emergency blog for updates and news:
http://uuemergency.blogspot.com/

 

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Full Time!

January 1 marked my first day as a fulltime employee of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  It has been nearly two years since I first read about the Emerging Scholars Network on intervarsity.org and emailed Stan Wallace to get involved.

It has been a true blessing to meet so many people who are excited about the vision of ESN.  I could not have gotten to this point without partners who support ESN through their prayers and financial and personal investments.  Thank you!

In other news, last night I began teaching “World Religions” at Lakeside Christian Church.  We’ll be meeting each week through the end of February.

A Christmas Conundrum

My wife and I are in the middle of moving to a new house (yes, at Christmastime – perfect!).  During this process, several people have handed me things (boxes, televisions, etc.), and warned, “Be careful – it’s very, very heavy!” But, when I take the item, I find that it’s not that heavy at all.

So, either, a) I’m much stronger than your average person.  Or…

b) I look really puny.

Dependency

A while back, a friend invited me to join him in a business opportunity to, in his words, “become financially independent.” He had seen me developing financial partners for my work with InterVarsity, relying on the generosity of others for my family’s wellbeing. I think that, in his mind, asking other people for money was a risky and insecure way of making a living.

He’s right.

My work with the Emerging Scholars Network depends on other people sharing ESN’s vision for our nation’s colleges and universities.  It requires me to trust that God will lead me to the right people, and that my (often frustrating) work in contacting people, setting appointments, and making “asks” will be rewarded.  There is no certainty, except the ever-present certainty of God’s promises.

In contrast, many other jobs seem secure.  They have a steady income stream, a proven business model, contractual or governmental guarantees, well-funded pensions…

It’s all an illusion.  Independence is an illusion.  All of us are dependent on God, for both our daily needs and our eternal ones.  An economic downturn, a tragic accident, a sudden scandal – sometimes, just plain bad luck – can demolish our dreams, and our dreams of financial independence will be gone like vapor.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  (James 4:13-17)

Trimming the Tree

Ginger trimming the treeTonight, we set up our Christmas tree. This will be the last Christmas for us in our current house, as we are moving the very week after!

Agatha’s OrnamentAgatha took this picture of the ornament with her face on it. She’s a talented photographer (especially for a 4-year-old), but she has a bit of an ego.

And here’s the final product!

The Tree!

Elizabeth and the treeAt Agatha’s insistence, we started a new Christmas tradition this year: gathering around the tree and singing a song (“Jingle Bells,” in this case). As our family is only four this year, and the tree is in a corner, we are glad that we selected a smallish tree this year, bought from the tree folks who normally sell out of an old RV at the putt-putt course, but this year had to move to a spot on Dixie Highway.