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Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 
— James 4:13-15

Dear Friends of Harvard College Faith and Action,

Having logged some serious miles in life, my appreciation for James’s rather harsh warning has increased at a pace commensurate with the erosion of any illusion I have ever had of earthly security and self-sufficiency. When the calendar turns at the first of the year I no longer ask, “what do I need to work on?”—as if the question of resolutions doesn’t always haunt my life(!)— but instead I wonder, “what in the world will 2020 bring?” Then and now I am praying that we will be faithful, faith-filled and take Jesus up on his invitation to pray (John 15:7-11).

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—Romans 5:1

Greetings from cold Cambridge!

We are about a third of the way through the semester and our students are looking forward to Spring break, which is just a couple of weeks away. This week in our Romans study with the Juniors and Sophomores we were in chapter 5. What a wonderful reminder to all of us of the reality of our new standing before God. We have been justified by faith. We were made right with God by trusting in Jesus. And as a result, we can now have peace with God. A peace that cannot be quenched or conquered by anything life throws our way.

“Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” -Nehemiah 6:2-3

Greetings from Cambridge!

As I was recently reading Nehemiah, I was struck by how single-minded and focused he was on the task the Lord had called him to do, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah chapter 6 some of his opponents try to distract him away from his mission, but his response is quite remarkable: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” There was no taking Nehemiah away from what God had called him to do.

Greetings from Cambridge!

"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:6-7

Greetings from Cambridge!

"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-5

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”
― Carl F.H. Henry

If there is a unique challenge in welcoming Harvard freshmen to pursue faith in Christ and immerse themselves into community, it is the issue of time. More specifically, it is a matter of timing. The clock begins ticking (next week) and all but expires within days. Countless decisions will rather quickly be made by members of 2023 regarding friend groups, classes and extracurricular activities. For a few weeks in September they will live in the happy illusion that they can do it all. This dream-like state, more often than not, evaporates in the chilly air of October.

As long as serving God fit into Jonah’s goals for Israel, he was fine with God. As soon as he had to choose between the true God and the god he actually worshiped, he turned on the true God in anger. Jonah’s particular national identity was more foundational to his self-worth than his role as a servant of the God of all nations. The real God had been just a means to an end. He was using God to serve his real god.
-Tim Keller, The Prodigal Prophet

Greetings from Cambridge,

Jonah is a fascinating read to say the least. This summer, over twenty students have immersed themselves in a Wednesday night bible study as staff and alumni have passed the teaching baton and led some interesting and challenging discussions. The prophet’s identity and idolatry issues at first seemed foreign and obtuse to us; but as we have lingered over the text we have begun to see ourselves and recognize our own distorted proclivities. Thankfully, the true protagonist emerges, and God’s very person and character takes center stage.

Greetings from Cambridge,

Two receptions mark the formal end to an academic years’ worth of ministry. This week, we will meet the families, many for the first time, of our seniors at a reception we happily host in HCFA’s office/library. On Saturday, we hope to see some of you at our Reunion Gathering (same venue).

“I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.” - Mother Teresa

Greetings from Cambridge,

There are few asks that better capture our challenge to become more like Jesus than the prayer that we would begin to mirror his faithfulness. The word faithful (πιστός) is rich in meaning and embodies obedience, reliability —and for our spiritual purposes— covenant relationship. Most helpfully, this exhortation reminds us that we are mere servants who possess the agency to complete assignments, but often have little control over outcomes. Yelp. "...and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (e.g. unbelief) will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." [1 Cor. 10:13]

Indignation and compassion form a powerful combination. They are indispensable to vision, and therefore to leadership. The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.” -John R. Stott

Greetings from Cambridge,

For nearly eleven-years students have led HCFA with a prevailing desire to glorify God. For this we are profoundly thankful. Their measured determination to humble themselves (a truly foreign concept amongst us humans!) has resulted in effectual leadership that has steadied the ship whatever the conditions.