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Christian Union: The Magazine
March 1, 2024

Christian Union Universities Proclaiming the Good News This Spring

By Tom Campisi, 2022, revised and edited by erin conner, 2024 

“What shall you do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

That was the question posed by preacher Dwight Lyman Moody at his Illinois Street Church in Chicago on October 8, 1871. In the sermon, he paraphrased the question asked by Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of Matthew (27:22). Moody challenged the congregation to think about it during the week and return to church the following Sunday with an answer—would they crown Christ as Lord or, like Pilate and the misguided mob of that time, deny his supremacy? However, as Moody finished his sermon, a warning bell began to ring. The Great Chicago Fire was raging. There was no next week at his church, which burned to the ground like many of the buildings in the city.

March 1, 2024

CU America's 2024 National Fast, "Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace for All Nations"

By Qwynn Gross, Ministry Fellow, CU Nova at Princeton University

"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved" – Matthew 24:12-13.

As a youngster, I can think of plenty of extracurricular activities that I began with curiosity and zeal or out of a parental charge to participate, and for one reason or another, I soon opted to stop–-from piano lessons to Girl Scouts to running track to being a debutante, and many other activities–-however, when my firstborn was placed in my arms there was a conscious decision to continue regardless.  This unwavering commitment to the children I bore would only be eclipsed by my commitment to live for God simply because I found out that He is alive.  Now, with adult children and a life in Christ that spans close to forty years, I can attest that my endurance has not been easy, nor has it been without opportunities to quit, but rather because value and worth were assigned.

Assigning importance and meaning or significance to something or someone is not strange.  It’s done all the time;however for Christians, the commitment to cherish and esteem Jesus means to safeguard why we value Him even during the ecological, economic, and ecumenical tumult that Jesus warns will not only come, but cause the strongest of believers to defect because of pervasive lawlessness.

February 24, 2024

Highlight: CU America Member, Carrie Sheffield 

By erin conner, writer and communications associate 

Carrie Sheffield, a Harvard alumna and a member of Christian Union America, is releasing a memoir this March entitled Motorhome Prophesies and launching a subsequent book tour across the U.S. 

Sheffield, a columnist and broadcaster in Washington, D.C., shares insights with millions of Americans on networks like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS News, CNBC, BBC, and more. From ABC’s Good Morning America to HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, PBS, and C-SPAN, she brings a voice of virtue to the American communications and media industry through boundless interviews for articles, appearances on television shows and podcasts, and at forums across the nation. Consequently, many Americans know the professional side of Carrie Sheffield's life. 

In her memoir, we learn about a different side of her life. The book's overview states, "Carrie Sheffield grew up the fifth of eight children with a violent, mentally ill, street-musician father who believed he was a modern-day Mormon prophet…She and her seven siblings were often forced to live as vagabonds, remaining on the move across the country. They frequently subsisted in sheds, tents, and, most notably, motorhomes. They often lived a dysfunctional drifter existence, camping out in their motorhome in Walmart parking lots. Carrie attended 17 public schools and homeschool, all while performing classical music on the streets… at times while child custody workers loomed…Carrie struggled with her mental health during college and for most of her adult life." 

February 20, 2024

Student Spotlight: Jackson Parrott, '27, Yale University

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate

As a first-year undergraduate student and prospective Global Affairs major at Yale, Jackson Parrott has an impressive resume of experience in the spheres of public policy and politics. He is a researcher for the Yale Foreign Policy Initiative, a Policy Analyst for the Space Policy Research Collaborative, and a member of the Yale Undergraduate Moot Court Team. He has previously served as the Head of Global Organizational Outreach for the Climate Science Olympiad and as an Economic Policy Fellow for the Greater Good Initiative; he served as a Field Director and staff intern for both a lieutenant gubernatorial candidate and for a US Senate campaign. In addition, Parrott is an Air Force ROTC Cadet and is a Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Scholar. 

February 19, 2024

A Devotional from CU National Fast, January 2024  

By sadie sasser, ministry fellow, christian union gloria at harvard 

"Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good."
– Ecclesiastes 9:18

Since the fall, humans have turned to violence and war to solve our problems. It could be argued that we have even created an industry out of it! Over the course of history, innumerable conflicts have stricken mankind. As such, there have been many military leaders of note; but even with the vast pool from which to choose there are leaders that rise to the top of the list. Names such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Ulysses S. Grant line the rankings when discussing the greatest military leaders of all time. There are various reasons these people are noteworthy, but one of the common traits allowing them single-digit status is tactical brilliance.

The Hebrew word used in Ecclesiastes 9:18 for “wisdom” includes connotations of skillfulness in war, administrative savvy, shrewdness, prudence, and even sometimes includes an ethical tone. Thus, when Solomon states that such wisdom is better than actual weapons, he is not speaking of the wisdom of books or knowledge that can only be found in an ivory tower. He is speaking of practical and tactical brilliance, the ability to have an overarching plan and execute it well. The actual weapons used in battle are of little consequence in comparison to good strategy.

February 16, 2024

Christian Union Provides Support for Alumni 

By Erin conner, writer and communications associate

Tiffany Agyarko, a civil engineer and Princeton alumna, had many new aspects of life to manage when she graduated in May 2023. In the course of just a few weeks, Agyarko had packed up her life as a university student in New Jersey to move to Houston, Texas, to immediately begin her career.

The one area of her new life that she did not need to invest time and energy into researching was the area of spiritual mentorship. Christian Union had provided this small yet meaningful anchor for her when she relocated. Moving to an entirely new city, sometimes even to a new country, to build a professional life and find a supportive, like-minded community of faith can be daunting. With this in mind, Christian Union established its mentoring program to help ease the post graduation transition.   

February 15, 2024

Public Declarations of Faith Start the New Year  

By erin conner, writer and communications associate  

"...Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). 

A new year brings hope for new beginnings, and at Brown University, the start of the year brought forth a celebration of new life in Jesus Christ. Christian Union Libertas at Brown celebrated the baptisms of two students, Matteo Sredzinski and Layla Lynch, this January. 

February 2, 2024

Experience the Power of a CU Fire Retreat — without Leaving Your Town!

By Erin Conner, Writer and communications associate

What is the significance of meeting together in a community to seek the Lord? Why are followers of Christ encouraged in the New Testament to "not give up meeting together?" (Hebrews 10: 25). 

Throughout the Scriptures, we find patterns of regularly seeking God in community with others. For example, daily morning and evening gatherings when the sun rises and the sun sets are found in Numbers 28:1-8. Weekly meetings are held Sunday (originally Saturday) in Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 23:3; Numbers 28:9, 10; Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and in the first century Church, as recorded in Acts. Monthly or "new moon” gatherings are found in Numbers 28:11-15, and annual special gatherings are held several times per year, especially with seven-day gatherings every six months in the spring and the fall, as shown in Leviticus 23:1-44. 

January 26, 2024

Testimonies from the January 2024 CU National Fast 

By matt bennett, founder and president of christian union 

By God’s grace, thousands of lives have been powerfully impacted! Nearly 8,000 of us completed a 21-day fast to start the new year focused on the Prince of Peace for the nations, and we praise God for His grace and mercy towards us. 

Through history, the people of God have fasted, prayed, repented, and sought the Lord wholeheartedly when they desire the Lord’s healing and grace poured out in their own lives or in the lives of their community. Remember Ezra, who led his people in fasting and prayer for God’s protection from enemies amidst rising war and evil, declaring, “we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty (Ezra 8:23).” 

When Christians devotedly seek the Lord through fasting, the Lord loves to pour out his blessing, his power, and his spirit. 

January 25, 2024

Practical Teachings on Supernatural Healing in the Church Today

By Anne Kerhoulas (2022), UPDATED and revised by erin conner (2024)

The gospels depict a supernatural world in which demons are cast out, the dead are raised, and the sick are healed. But for many Christians today, the world of the Bible seems to have little to no bearing on our present-day world—we see the demonic as fantasy and believe that healings and miracles are either impossible or due to human achievement, not to the power of the One who brought all things into existence. 

January 22, 2024

"Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace for All Nations" CU National Fast 2024 Devotional 

By grace ann arvey, director of christian union america

"'Say to them, As I live,' declares the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?'" – Ezekiel 33:11

January 15, 2024

Praying Before Reading Scripture 

By Julie Weber (2016), Updated & revised by erin conner (2024) 

The intake of Scripture and the practice of prayer are both spiritual disciplines Christians are called to engage in daily and diligently. Should we ever combine the two and pray about our Bible reading?

 Writer Kristen Wetherell, in "Unlocking the Bible," suggests that we can and should pray before we begin our study of the Bible.

She writes, "Reading the Bible before praying is like putting the cart before the horse. The proverbial horse is the Holy Spirit of God, who empowers and enlightens our Bible reading as we mine the depths of his Word. The proverbial cart makes up our willing eyes and hungry hearts, the Spirit-led choice to crack open our Bibles and pursue his everlasting truth. The cart must be pulled by the horse; our efforts to read must be motivated and helped by God’s grace and power. Christians come to God’s Word willing and hungry because he first made us willing and hungry to receive—but only he can enable us to receive. This is why we ask for help before we start reading." 

January 11, 2024

Alumni Spotlight: Kenneth Jasko, '78, Chair of CU Nova Alumni Board

By Erin Conner 

On Sunday, January 21, at 5 pm EST, the Christian Union Nova Alumni Board is leading their quarterly virtual meeting for alumni and friends of the ministry via Zoom. Campus updates and student testimonies will be shared to take a closer look at how God is working at Princeton through Christian Union Nova's student leadership ministry.  

The CU Nova Board is a team of Princeton Christian alumni who desire to see the Gospel of Christ shine brightly at Princeton University and who seek sweeping spiritual transformation for its students, staff, and faculty. Kenneth Jasko, '78, Mike Vincent, '10, Vince Naman, '82, Edward (Ted) Duffield, '58,  Tiffany Agyarko, '23, and Betsy Salazar, '10, currently serve on the Board and are committed to furthering the development of programs focused on alumni, as well as furthering the following objectives: advancing God's work at Princeton University, transitioning graduates well, and developing Christian leaders to influence our nation for God's glory, helping to bring revival.

Ken Jasko, the Board's Chair, invites all interested Princeton alumni to join this movement.  

January 9, 2024

Columbia Students Emboldened for Christ

By erin conner, writer and communications associate

Craig Holliday and Viviana Hinojosa, the Ministry Director and the Women's Ministry Fellow at Christian Union Lumine, loaded up a bus full of 33 Columbia University students and took them on a trip an hour north of New York City to the Warwick Conference Center for their '23 fall conference. This incredible time of fellowship, worship, Scripture reading, and prayer was built around the theme "Marvelous Light," based on 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (ESV). 

January 5, 2024

"Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace for All Nations" CU National Fast 2024 Devotional 

By matt bennett, founder and president of christian union 

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." -1 Timothy 2:1-4

January 2, 2024

A Note of Gratitude from One Student Leader at Yale

By yoska guta, '25, christian union lux 

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. -Romans 12: 4-6 (NIV)

The last two years that I’ve spent with Christian Union (CU) Lux at Yale have been a blessing to me. Through this Christian community, I’ve not only grown in my personal walk with God, but I’ve also seen and experienced what it truly means to be in the Body of Christ. I’m tremendously grateful for and blessed by the way God has brought this group of people together and shaped each of us to form one body, each member belonging to all the others for the benefit of each other and for the glory of God. 

January 1, 2024

Christian Union America Devotional 

By michael Racine, writer and ministry fellow at christian union lux at yale 

People have a lot of different theories about when and how the various books of the Bible came into being. Nonbelievers especially may prefer to distance the written record from actual eyewitnesses to the events depicted—questioning authorship and positing late dates of composition—because, naturally, it is easier to sidestep the demands the Bible places on us if we can be persuaded that it is an unreliable witness. As the serpent proved in the garden of Eden, it’s a short and easy route from Did God really say…? to dismissing God’s words outright (Gen 3:1–6).

December 27, 2023

Following the Word, Not the World in the New Year

By Erin Conner

Joy and suffering can coexist. The Apostle Paul's example, along with many other godly leaders in Scripture, illuminates that when one surrenders a worldly mindset for a godly one, he or she can indeed experience the joy of the Lord, even in the midst of sorrow. This life-giving principle is a timely one to recall during the holidays, when a palpable expectation exists for everything to be abundantly joyous and when many people are carrying a heavy sorrow in their hearts. "When Your Heart Goes Dark," a recent article in Desiring God written by Greg Morse, powerfully explores how a Christian can have hope and joy in suffering. The antidote is to fix one's thoughts on God, for it is the thought-life of man that dictates the state of our soul. 

December 18, 2023

Harvard Students Dwell in Christ and in Community 

By sadie sasser, ministry fellow at Christian union gloria 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  -John 15: 1-5 

Christian Union Gloria at Harvard is dwelling in the words of John 15 and in a newly furnished space near campus. Earlier in this academic year, as we leaned into this passage during our “Doxa” Leadership Lecture Series, it became apparent that, as with one’s personal devotional life, there are times in communities when a call to recenter at the feet of Jesus– to rest and abide in the True Vine– is the most important call. And as we have heard the call to rest and recenter, we have also felt the holy discomfort to lay down our entire lives and let the Lord do what He will, even if it involves pruning.

At CU Gloria, God is helping us to see more clearly what it means to bear fruit and let Him take the lead; and God has led us to abide with Christ together in community. 

December 15, 2023

Christian Union America 2023

By chuck hetzler, phd, vice president of biblical theology

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'” –Luke 2:13-14

Can you imagine the shock and amazement the shepherds must have felt when, out of nowhere, a throng of mighty angels appeared, filling the night’s sky with God’s praise? What a glorious spectacle that must have been when Jesus’ coming was announced! 

Think about His second coming! Heaven will once again break into earth. Without warning, the Lord Jesus will visit humanity once again, but this time in the fullness of His majestic splendor! 

On this Christmas at CU America, we pray that you and yours will be those who have "loved His appearing” and are “hastening the coming of the day of God” in lives of holiness and godliness (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Peter 3:11-12).