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Seeking God


June 1, 2019

God of the Subway

The Great Experiment in the Big Apple  


by whit hazelton

On Thursday, March 7, a small group of Christians took on a “Joshua Faith Challenge” that would stretch their faith and inject new energy into their walk with Jesus. As part of The Great Experiment, a ten-day spiritual challenge to seek God for revival, participants were asked to pray and ask God to show them something they could do to put their faith into works. It was to be something specific, concrete, bold, and out of the ordinary—something that would require courageous faith in God (Joshua 1:8, 9). In response to the challenge, a number of the five thousand Great Experiment participants came up with creative evangelism plans for their faith challenge.

 

For his Joshua Faith Challenge, Christian Union Founder and CEO Matt Bennett met up with six friends to take the Gospel to the New York City subway! Asking for prayer in advance of the big day, Matt wrote: “I’ve never done such a thing and am a little nervous, but also excited to see what God will do!”

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June 1, 2019

Revisiting the Sabbath, One Sunday at a Time

Students Step out to Lead Prayer Meetings

by francine barchett, cornell ’20
 

God entrusts His precious seconds, minutes, and hours to each of us. But how can we best use them? This semester two Cornellians who are active in Christian Union prioritized one day each week as God’s day. In those twenty-four hours, they rested from their studies, engaged in fellowship with other believers, and spearheaded an initiative to untangle what biblical rest and the Sabbath really mean.

Meet Klaudia Kokoszka and Alanna Staffin. Kokoszka is a junior economics and government transfer from Rutgers University and a relatively new Christian. In one short year, she has undergone a transformation; the Lord has given her an insatiable desire to understand His Word and share its love-infused message. Staffin, a leader with Christian Union’s ministry, is a graduating dairy science major.

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June 1, 2019

The Captain of Bulldog Baseball

Whiteman ’19 Has Draft Aspirations

by catherine elvy, staff writer


As captain of Yale University’s baseball team, Simon Whiteman is grateful for the opportunities his position has afforded him to add new chapters to the team’s rich history. Especially memorable have been the recent events that contributed to a “really big fall for our program,” said Whiteman ’19.

 

In late November, the team was in the spotlight as the nation mourned the death of one of its former captains, President George H.W. Bush, ’48. Weeks earlier, Yale baseball alumnus Mike Elias ’06 was named as the executive vice president and general manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

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May 12, 2019

A Collegiate Day of Prayer

Princeton Christians Intercede with Students Across the Nation 

By Jon Garaffa, Princeton ’20

 

On February 28, students from Princeton University participated in the Collegiate Day of Prayer. Held annually on the last Thursday of February, the Collegiate Day of Prayer organization seeks to impact the next generation spiritually, encouraging all to pray for the students at our nation’s campuses.

 

Participating ministries at Princeton included: Princeton Christian Fellowship, Worship House, Manna Christian Fellowship, and Christian Union. Each ministry adopted a residential college, which is Princeton’s system for housing and dining for underclassmen. Then, they prayed for the students of that college. This model of praying for specific institutions also mirrors the overall model of the nationwide initiative, where entire campuses are adopted by organizations and individuals.

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May 11, 2019

Band of Brothers

Students Glorify God in Off-Campus Community 

By Cassandra Jobman, Penn ’21

 

There are certainly plenty of groups of college men who choose to live together. But the men of the “ManS1on” at the 20 South 39th Street apartments in Philadelphia are not bonded by a love of FIFA or beer, or even a major or club they have in common. They are bonded by a commitment to serve God in community—and by a constitution.

 BandofBrothers

Members of Penn’s ManS1on are committed to live in community, serve one another, and challenge each other to faithfully follow Christ. 


In 2010, six University of Pennsylvania students involved with Penn Cru founded an off-campus community specifically for Christian men. Since then, the group has doubled in size and now includes Penn students who are involved in various ministries on campus and churches.

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May 2, 2019

Estudio Bíblico

Spanish Language Ministry Debuts at Brown

By Ayleen Sanchez, Brown ’20

 

For many Christian students, their faith is deeply rooted in culture and language; a sudden transition away from their ethnic community can become an additional challenge in maintaining their faith while in college. With this in mind, the Brown Rhode Island School of Design Catholic Community (BRCC) has launched a Spanish ministry on campus to reach out to Hispanic students.

SpanishLanguage

(From left to right) Giovanna Milano, '22, Maria Cortinez, '22, Cecilia Menendez, first-year FOCUS missionary, Alejandra Roca, '19, Ingrid Mader, '20, Vanesa Mora, '21, and Ayleen Sanchez, '19

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March 14, 2019

International Affairs

Princeton Alumnus is Serving the City 

by catherine elvy, staff writer


Christian Union ministry intern has enjoyed a season of amazing celebrations, including a new position allowing the recent Princeton alumnus to combine his twin passions for ministry and cultural redemption.

In September, Matt Allen ’18 became an intern for Christian Union Cities, which offers an enriching slate of leadership development opportunities and other resources to professionals in New York City and Washington, D.C.

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March 14, 2019

Christian Unity at Columbia

Ministries Enjoy Thanksgiving Meal 

by tom campisi, managing editor

Three juniors with Christian Union at Columbia led a team that prepared and served a Thanksgiving meal in the fall semester, uniting several campus ministries for a memorable celebration. 

The dinner, held on November 16 at Wein Hall, was organized by Shazzarda Davis, Barnard ’21, Anne-Marie Tehn-Addy, Columbia ’21, and Callum Kiser, Columbia ’21.

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March 14, 2019

Big Green Bible Course

Seasoned Football Players Lead the Way

by catherine elvy, staff writer 

Dartmouth football players Brandon Hester, Andrew Hunnicutt, and Nathan Nunez are sharing a game plan for life with teammates via Christian Union’s ministry. The three upperclassmen are encouraging Big Green players to attend weekly Bible courses and receive Christian leadership development training.

“We’ve been adding to that group every year,” said Nunez ’19. “The football players have a tight-knit community.”

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March 1, 2019

The Case for Kindness

Christian Union Caritas Distributes Care Packages

by tom campisi, managing editor


Caritas, Christian Union’s ministry to students at Stanford University, pumped life into “Dead Week” in early December.  

MagCaritas


Dead Week is a time of intense studying and reduced social and extracurricular activity preceding final examinations. In an effort to help reduce stress and bless fellow classmates, Christian Union Caritas delivered care packages to the dorm rooms of approximately 150 students. The packages contained candy, hot chocolate, stuffed animals, information about Christian Union, and a copy of Lee Strobel’s short book, The Case for Christmas

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February 28, 2019

All Things New

by cheryl ennis self


Grace and peace to you, from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

MagCherylIt is truly an honor to introduce myself as one whom God has recently called to serve at Christian Union in the role of Vice President of Development. My name is Cheryl Ennis Self, and for the past 26 years, I have had the privilege of working for three Christian organizations. Most recently, I served for 16 years at World Vision, a global Christian organization that ministers to the poorest of the poor in nearly 100 countries.

In that capacity, I visited and worked in 36 countries, mostly in remote parts of developing nations. While the living conditions were dire, I did meet believers in all parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas who learned to place their trust and hope in Jesus Christ. Those villagers were supported by local churches and by their long-term relationships with World Vision’s Christian staff who lived in their communities. Indeed, the joy of the Lord was evident in some of the most dismal circumstances because God is able, His Spirit is all powerful, and His sons and daughters are faithful to serve others with the spiritual and professional gifts He has given them, for His purposes. In Christ, we are all made new.

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February 27, 2019

The Great Experiment Returns

by whit hazelton 

MagDayandNightIn October 2018, Christian Union’s online ministry, Day and Night, again led Christians from across America—not just students—in The Great Experiment, a month-long effort to pursue God wholeheartedly for spiritual renewal. A record 4,500 Christians across America signed up to carry out a five-part commitment involving increased morning and evening prayer and Bible reading (inspired by Luke 18:1-8), daily repentance (Hebrews 12:1,2), obeying the Holy Spirit (Psalm 143:10), elevated faith (Joshua 1:8-9), and evangelism (Acts 1:8).

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November 18, 2018

Fasting for Cultural Revolution

by whit hazelton

Taking a cue from the many men and women of Scripture and church history who practiced the spiritual discipline of fasting, Christian Union led a national 21-day fast that started on August 13, 2018. More than 2,000 Christians from across the United States signed up online to participate in the fast, which was organized by Christian Union’s online ministry, Christian Union Day and Night, and focused on the theme “Fasting for Cultural Revolution.”

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November 18, 2018

Christian Union Caritas

Ministry Begins Third Year in Silicon Valley

by tom campisi, managing editor

Two years ago, Christian Union expanded west by launching Caritas, a ministry to students at Stanford University.

Since 2002, Christian Union has focused on influential colleges in the Northeast, with a presence at Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale.

Impacting students in California’s Silicon Valley fits in well with the mission of developing Christian leaders to transform culture, according to Garrett Brown, Christian Union’s Director of Undergraduate Ministry at Stanford.

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November 15, 2018

Building Community on Campus

Christian Union Launches Freshman Welcoming Campaign 

by catherine elvy, staff writer

Students involved with Christian Union’s ministry at Columbia University were energized as they prepared to reach out to members of the class of 2022.

The theme for this year’s freshman welcoming campaign centered upon spiritual kinship. The ministry greeted incoming students with the intent of offering “community for the sake of others,” said Ministry Director Lane Young. “What brings us together is Jesus.”

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November 15, 2018

Friday Night Lights

Freshman Welcoming Campaign Attracts a Crowd  

by tom campisi, managing editor

At the start of the fall semester, Christian Union at Brown’s faculty wanted to extend its Freshman Welcoming Campaign beyond students who would typically attend a Bible course or leadership lecture series.

To reach a “festive” demographic late on a Friday night, Ministry Fellows Justin Doyle and Laurel Copp, Intern Gianna Uson, and student leaders brought grills and burgers to Wayland Arch, which is located between Frat Row and a freshman dorm quad. Christian Union at Brown set up camp in the midst of partying students, handing out about 150 sliders and bottles of water.

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January 2, 2017

Praying Before Reading Scripture

Christian-Union-Bible-PrayerThe 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."

Following this explanation, Wetherell offers 22 different prayers from Psalm 119 to help us focus on the incredible gift of God’s Word:

1.    Pray for wholehearted seeking: Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 

2.     Pray for protection from sin: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

3.     Pray for opened eyes: Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

4.     Pray for spiritual strength:  My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

5.     Pray for delight and longing: Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain…Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

6.     Pray to fight lies: Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word.

7.     Pray to live with trust in God’s promises: This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.

8.     Pray for quick obedience: I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.

9.     Pray for good judgment and knowledge: Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.

10.  Pray for God’s comfort: Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

11.  Pray for endurance against the enemy: All your commandments are sure; my enemies persecute me with falsehood; help me!

12.  Pray to depend on God’s enduring Word: Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens… I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.

13.  Pray for continual meditation: Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.

14.  Pray for God’s light to guide you: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

15.  Pray for fear of the Lord: My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

16.  Pray for trust in the Lord’s justice: I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken.

17.  Pray for victory over sin: Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

18.  Pray for joy in trouble: Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.

19.  Pray for God to hear you: Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.

20.  Pray for mercy: Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules.

21.  Pray to abhor falsehood: I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.

22.  Pray for a soul of praise: Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. 

Lastly, Wetherell leaves us with this exhortation, "The cart may be ready, but apart from the horse’s strength, it goes nowhere. May we bring our eagerness and hunger for Bible reading to God in prayer, trusting him to strengthen us for every gift we will receive when we open our Bibles, and depending on him to change us in the process."

Scripture ministers to us like nothing else in the world can as we engage with God through its pages. Let us put down our phones in 2024 and pick up His Word each morning to "be transformed by the renewing of our mind" (Romans 12:2). 

As we seek God in our daily lives, it is essential that we ask Him to guide us in all matters, perhaps even in our study of Scripture. Asking God for guidance as we open this gift from Him each day holds the potential to align our hearts and minds with the heart and mind of Christ Jesus. How utterly amazing of a gift this is! 



Read Witherall's full article here

Learn more about a Biblical perspective on the importance of a massive intake of Scripture from Christian Union's "Seven Keys to Kingdom Advancement" Online Teaching Series here.

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