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The Latest from Christian Union

CU Today highlights stories from Christian Union's university and city ministries, news, trends, items of interest from culture, spiritual growth articles, and other types of content to inform, encourage, challenge, and inspire.
August 19, 2019

Fasting for Jesus' Presence


Monday, August 19, 2019

Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”
— Mark 2:18-20, ESV

When was the last time you went to a wedding? What do you remember most? Who were the people getting married? Who were the other guests?

Weddings are feasts and celebrations. We hope that the weddings we attend are ones that involve people we love and fully support in their unions. We hope that we can celebrate with the bride and groom wholeheartedly. But, even in the cases where we may have mixed feelings, the wedding is still always a celebration and a feast. The planning takes months, and food and drink are in abundance. It would be strange and even inappropriate to refuse to eat at a wedding. It would either show disrespect for the hospitality given or grave disapproval of the union of the two people.

August 18, 2019

God’s Promise to Revive Those Who Turn to Him

Sunday, August 18, 2019

God’s love towards us is intense and illogical. The demonstration of God ‘SO’ loving His world was on full display when Jesus, the sinless son of God, paid the ultimate penalty of sin on behalf of a willfully disobedient humanity condemned to death. The life-giving blood of Jesus is offered freely to anyone who wants to be saved and restored to an intimate relationship with God.

Around 750 years before Jesus, a young prophet named Hosea was called to enact God’s unrequited love for the nation of Israel. Hosea’s humiliating assignment was to live out in real life the role of a jilted lover. God’s outrageous command to this righteous prophet was to wed Gomer, a common prostitute. The marriage was filled with pain. Hosea had to love his wife through her wanton adulterous living. God is portrayed through Hosea as a faithful husband who is deeply wounded and betrayed but remains committed to Gomer despite her cheating. Gomer represents the nation of Israel.

August 17, 2019
Laurel Copp
Christian Union Ministry Fellow
Brown University

SlowDown

When was the last time you couldn’t fall asleep because your mind was racing, and you couldn’t slow down your thoughts? Or you woke up in the middle of the night, shaken out of sleep because of something which had not gone right that day or because of some worry for the upcoming day? I often wonder, when all I need is to slow down and rest, why am I awake with my mind running so fast?

When this happens, one trick my father taught me as a kid is to quote, in order, the Psalms (or, let’s be honest, maybe just remember a snippet from some of them) until you fall asleep. Granted, this is a lot easier to do if you grew up in a church tradition that sings the Psalms regularly.  Nonetheless, the point of this trick is rest comes from being in God’s presence through His word and prayer.

August 17, 2019

Nehemiah’s Plea

Saturday, August 17, 2019

And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name…” — Nehemiah 1:2b-11 (ESV)

August 16, 2019

Whom Will God Revive?


Friday, August 16, 2019

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” — Isaiah 57:15

Isaiah saw that God’s people, the Israelites, had strayed far from God. They were living in disobedience to His will. They had turned their backs on God’s ways and had adopted their surrounding culture’s practices. In this chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, God bluntly expressed his anger toward His people, calling them witch’s children, sons of adulterers and prostitutes, reminding them of their child sacrifices and pagan worship. God’s holiness could not ignore their wickedness. Their self-centered behavior, not unlike our modern culture, did not escape His sight or His judgement. God was angry!

August 15, 2019

Praying and Fasting for Our Nation

Thursday, August 15, 2019


In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
— Daniel 9:1-3 (ESV)

August 14, 2019
Special Preview: The Christian Union Cities Podcast; Join Believers Across America for an August Fast; Two Thought-Provoking Articles on Careers — and Career Decline; Now Faith; Revival in Fiji; Cheerful Confidence after Christendom and more, in this issue of Christian Union's bi-monthly email brief.
 
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And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
— Luke 11:9-13

August 14, 2019

Rebellion and Revival

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
    and put away your indignation toward us!

Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger to all generations?

Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?

Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.
— Psalm 85:4-7 

The text of Psalm 85 is introduced by a particular historical designation: “Of the Sons of Korah.” When we know Korah’s story, we gain unique insight on this prayer of restoration and revival. In Numbers 16 we learn of Korah, a tabernacle servant during the time of Israel’s wilderness wandering. Along with 250 fellow dissidents, Korah rose up and challenged Moses and Aaron for priestly authority. 

That didn’t go too well for him…

August 13, 2019

How God Relates to Nations

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

 

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. —Jeremiah 18:7-10 (ESV)

August 12, 2019

Healing the Land

Monday, August 12, 2019

Welcome to the beginning of a 21 day fast!  A few thousand from across the country are seeking God for revival during this fast. If you’re new to fasting, please see these fasting resources so that you can participate safely and effectively. 

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (ESV)

August 11, 2019
Zachary Albanese

Suffering

We live in a world where many view suffering as the primary indicator you are doing something wrong.  “You made a bad decision.” “You should have tried harder or prepared more."  Even when we view suffering through the lens of Christian faith, we hear similar reverberations.  “You don’t have enough faith.” “God must be judging you.”  While those are at times absolutely true, they can discredit the oft-neglected reason we suffer—for the good purposes of God.  Are we not called to persevere?  Are we not called to fight against the affliction of this present life?

July 31, 2019
Special Preview: The Christian Union Cities Podcast; Join Believers Across America for an August Fast; Two Thought-Provoking Articles on Careers — and Career Decline; Now Faith; Revival in Fiji; Cheerful Confidence after Christendom and more, in this issue of Christian Union's bi-monthly email brief.
 
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Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not wisdom that you ask this.
— Ecclesiastes 7:10

July 31, 2019
Sarah Camp
Christian Union 
Director of Marketing and Communications

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7: 13, 14

Open Hearts
One small hand slipped into mine. A second stealthy hand claimed my other hand. The young girls tugged me along the dirt path through the village, between small homes. Prayers, songs, drifted from doorways. Cell phones served as our flashlights, guiding my steps only; the girls were sure-footed as they pulled and nudged me along.

From the sky, heavy with darkness, stars erupted.

fiji 4They dangled so seemingly low amid the lengthwise haze of the Milky Way I wondered if I might disentangle a hand, reach up, and snatch one, just one, drop it my pocket, to remember a sacred night in Vunibao, Fiji.

That night, in the open green space between their homes, the villagers gathered to partake in a night of repentance.

July 29, 2019
James Fields
Christian Union Ministry Director
Princeton University

FaithJames2019

The Word of God is full of paradoxical statements, such as: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35); “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35); “….whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). Many of the aforementioned teachings of Jesus are commonly referred to as paradoxical teachings. According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a paradox is “something that is made up of two opposite things that seem impossible but is actually possible.” In other words, a paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement containing truth that joins two opposites.

July 17, 2019
Two Interviews with Max McLean; Building His Kingdom; College Cornerstone; Abortion isn't Mercy; Why the Declining Marriage Rate Affects Everyone and more, in this issue of Christian Union's bi-monthly email brief.
 
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Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways ... In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory," says the Lord Almighty.
— Haggai 1:5, 2:6-7

July 15, 2019
Laurel Copp
Christian Union Ministry Fellow at Brown

Sarah2019a

Have you ever found yourself lost on the internet? After 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or maybe even an hour, you catch yourself and wonder, “How was I able to waste so much time without even thinking about it?” For me, it is on Etsy or Pinterest browsing ideas for decorating my house -- and poof -- 30 minutes are gone.

I am not alone in wasting time decorating my house. In a little book called Haggai, at the end of the Old Testament, God raises up a prophet to tell the Israelites that they are wasting their time paneling their houses instead of rebuilding the Temple, and God is not pleased (Haggai 1:2-11).

July 14, 2019
David Navadeh
Cornell University '19
Bachelor of Science, Industrial and Labor Relations

David Navadeh participated in Christian Union's ministry at Cornell. He was highly active and also served as a student leader in the ministry. The recent grad paused to share his reflections on his involvement with the ministry as an undergraduate:

"The ministry of Christian Union at Cornell truly has been a cornerstone of my college experience and a deciding factor in choosing to attend Cornell.

July 3, 2019
David Skeel Interviewed on Religious Freedom; Principles of Christian Leadership; Observe & Engage; The Dictatorship of Woke Capital; Art-Making Is an Act of Hope; The Pursuit of Happiness, Rightly Understood and more, in this issue of Christian Union's bi-monthly email brief.
 
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Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
— 2 Corinthians 3:17

July 1, 2019
Scott Crosby
Ministry Director,
Christian Union New York City
Christian Union Washington, DC 

ScottBlog7119 
Athens in Paul’s time was no longer a politically important city.  Greece had given way to Rome, and its political influence had declined through the centuries. It was, however, still the intellectual center of the world. This city was heir to the great philosophers who set the standards and patterns of thought: Socrates, Plato, Epicurus, and Pericles.

After hearing about Athens all his life Paul, the academic and now the apostle, is finally there—a city intellectually and culturally sophisticated but morally decadent and spiritually dead—in spite of having, according to some accounts, up to 30,000 statues of gods.

No wonder they had a statue to “the unknown god!”

June 19, 2019
There's No Way to Deny that 'Pro-Abortion' is the Right Term; On Quitting Netflix; The Age of Pelagius; A Father's Love; Help Reach the Class of 2023 and more, in this issue of Christian Union's bi-monthly email brief.
 
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For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
— 1 Peter 3:18

 
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