It’s college spring break time and of course that means “party.”

About 50 Duke University students chose New Bern as their getaway destination, and gathered this morning at the corner of North Cool Avenue and Cypress Street.

They wore hard hats, sweat shirts and jeans instead of swim suits. They hoisted hammers instead of booze.

The students are part of the 200-member Duke Campus Crusade for Christ, which is in town assisting with building a Habitat for Humanity house.

“We get to have the best of both worlds in terms of a fun spring break together and also a chance to serve the community and share some of God’s love with those around us,” said Pearce Godwin, a senior from Blowing Rock.

The foundation is in place for the fourth of 12 planned Habitat homes in the North Kool project. By midweek the students should have the flooring in place.
“It’s fulfilling to come out and use some of the gifts and abilities we feel God has given us to share with the community, like the family that will be able to live in this house,” Godwin said. “We all take a lot of joy and pride in being able to help people. And it’s fun for us, too. It’s not unwilling service because we have a good time working together for the greater good.”

Godwin has been on numerous off-campus projects, including work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

“We’re not the only ones,” Godwin said. “There is another Christian fellowship that goes up to the Bronx every spring break, and even nonreligious organizations do some service. There are a lot of different people at Duke who’ve decided it would good to think about more than just our own fun for the week.”

Habitat volunteer coordinator Amanda Norwood said the student help was indicative of the volunteer backbone of the organization, which has built 42 houses in New Bern since 1989.

“We feel it is important to serve the community,” said Duke student team leader Michael Worsman, a 19-year-old sophomore from New Hampshire. “Overall, I think people appreciate that we are serving.”

Worsman’s father was a contractor, so he is familiar with construction. For many of the other students, the Habitat project becomes an outdoor classroom.
“Most of these people have absolutely no experience in what they are doing right now,” Worsman said, laughing amid the sounds of hammers and saws.

Bill Major, a River Bend retiree, has been Habitat’s materials coordinator since 1998. He has seen 26 houses built, and is always impressed by the youthful turnout.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve dedicated themselves to helping somebody out and I admire that,” he said. “It shows they have something on their minds other than a party.”

Source: Charlie Hall
March 10, 2008 – 3:49PM
Sun Journal

The following Micah Declaration captures a sense of the “integral mission” at the heart of the gospel. It’s another example of how the evangelical church is trying to express the need for both passionate proclamation and compassionate demonstration of the gospel. As an organization committed to building movements everywhere, we’re faced with the challenges of bridging and blending our organizational mission and Christian responsibility. Statements like this help us wrestle with what we often separate–evangelism and social action. Instead of “either-or”, I think its helpful to hold both ideas in the mind at once. As we do so, we can move toward a synthesis that contains elements of both and improves them both. (Similarly, it seems worthwhile to let the apparently opposable ideas of “going after leaders vs serving the marginalized” ferment in the mind together as well. Just a thot.) — jay

Integral Mission
Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If we ignore the world we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world. Justice and justification by faith, worship and political action, the spiritual and the material, personal change and structural change belong together. As in the life of Jesus, being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task.

We call one another back to the centrality of Jesus Christ. His life of sacrificial service is the pattern for Christian discipleship. In his life and through his death Jesus modelled identification with the poor and inclusion of the other. On the cross God shows us how seriously he takes justice, reconciling both rich and poor to himself as he meets the demands of his justice. We serve by the power of the risen Lord through the Spirit as we journey with those who are poor, finding our hope in the subjection of all things under Christ and the final defeat of evil. We confess that all too often we have failed to live a life worthy of this gospel.

The grace of God is the heartbeat of integral mission. As recipients of undeserved love we are to show grace, generosity and inclusiveness. Grace redefines justice as not merely honouring a contract, but helping the disadvantaged.

Integral Mission with the Poor and Marginalised

The poor like everyone else bear the image of the Creator. They have knowledge, abilities and resources. Treating the poor with respect means enabling poor people to be the architects of change in their communities, rather than imposing solutions upon them. Working with those living in poverty involves building relationships that lead to mutual change.

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Thoughts on Revival – from Dynamics of Spiritual Life, by Richard Lovelace

“Jonathan Edwards was especially concerned to make clear that fallen human nature is fertile ground for a fleshly religiosity which is impressively ‘spiritual’ but ultimately rooted in self-love. High emotional experiences, effusive religious talk, and even praising God and experiencing love for God and man can be self-centered and self-motivated. In contrast to this, experiences of renewal which are genuinely from the Holy Spirit are God-centered in character, based on worship, an appreciation of God’s worth and grandeur divorced from self-interest. Such experiences create humility in the convert rather than pride and issue in the creation of a new spirit of meekness, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy. They leave the believer hungering and thirsting after righteousness instead of satiated with self-congratulation. Most important, their end result is the performance of works of mercy and justice.”

“In the extensive section on good works which closes Religious Affections, Edwards establishes the principle that a full-fledged revival will involve a balance between personal concern for individuals and social concern. A revival is therefore not something exclusively ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious.” Edwards insists that the proliferation of religiosity in the form of meetings, prayer, singing and religious talk will not promote or sustain revival without works of love and mercy, which will ‘bring the God of love down from heaven to earth … to set up his tabernacle with men on the earth, and dwell with them.’”

Contributed by Chris Musgrove, CCC staff at Auburn University

Several weeks ago, Marrty Dormish (Staff STINT–Barcelona) suggested a different way of thinking. He encouraged missional team leaders (staff, faculty, volunteers) to experiment with brainstorming about ways the university (community college, etc. ) could to be a blessing, to extend the rule and reign of God on their campus and in their surrounding communities.

Marrty suggests that we start believing that “resources exist on every college campus to help transform, restore and heal the cities and towns in which these institutions of higher learning exist.”

I was reading Scot McKnight’s excellent book, “The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others” in which he mentioned the Anglican churches in Singapore who have developed an integrated ministry of reaching into their surrounding community. Trying to avoid the so-frequent “division of labor” into evangelism or social action, these churches are dirtying their hands in help. Their outreach ministry is called SHOW: Softening Hearts and Opening Windows where everyone learns that a broad and integrated ministry is the heart of following Jesus.

I think their four step strategy (to which I’ve added one) might serve as a model for some experimental thinking on the part of our missional teams. What if missional teams approach a campus (either staffed or non-staffed) and initiated the following?

  • Pray for the community corporately and privately
  • Profile the surrounding community to discover real needs
  • Prepare leaders/volunteers to share the story verbally
  • Pursue projects of both kindness and penetration
  • Partner with others –Christians or non-Christian–to maximize impact for the kingdom

— jay

We’re all trying to find ways of expressing clearly the notion of a holistic gospel. I ran across the following description of a division of books within NavPress. I thot the words helpful, as it expresses Jesus’ model of life and ministry–as the incarnate Son of God living life as we should. Of course, any 40 line summary will not also capture Jesus’ uniqueness as God and Savior, as atoning sacrifice for sins, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, etc.

From the very beginning, God created humans to love him and each other. He intended for his people to be a blessing to everyone on earth so that everyone would know him (see Genesis 12:2). Jesus also taught this over and over and promised to give his people all they needed to make it happen—his resources, his power and his presence (see Matthew 28:20 and John 14:12-14). NavPress Deliberate takes him at his word and stirs its readers to do the same—to be the Children of God for whom creation is groaning to be revealed. We have only to glance through the Bible to discover what it looks like to be the blessing God has intended: caring for the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner, and foreigner (see Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31-46, Isaiah 58); and redeeming the world—everyone and everything in it (Colossians 1:19-20, Romans 8:19-23 are examples).

Deliberate books explore the mystery of faith and how to actively live it out. As we plumb the mystery, we use Jesus as our guide—a man who, after spending 40 days of solitary contemplation in the desert, announced:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”— Luke 4:18-19

So began a career that is a study of profound faith in action, a perfect blend of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. He broke firm Jewish mores when he talked to the Samaritan woman alone at the well. He upset the unholy money making in the temple. He left everyone speechless when he defended the woman who slept around. He helped everyone he came across on his way to visit a dying friend. He taught through stories and riddles. He told his followers to love their enemies. He treated party-goers at a wedding reception to the best wine late in the evening.

Jesus told us to live like he did and to do even greater things. He told us to live deliberately, combining faith and action.

NavPress Deliberate encourages readers to embrace this holistic and vibrant Christian faith: it is both contemplative and active; it unites mystery-embracing faith with theological rootedness; it breaks down the sacred/secular divide, recognizing God’s sovereignty and redemptive work in every facet of life; it dialogues with other faiths and worldviews and embraces God’s truth found there; it creates culture and uses artistic ability to unflinchingly tell the truth about this life and God’s redemption of it; it fosters a faith bold enough to incarnate the gospel in a shrinking and diverse world. NavPress Deliberate is for everyone on a pilgrimage to become like Jesus and to continue his work of living and discipling among all people.

Deliberate is theologically grounded. While exploring the mystery, it is important to be mindful of the signposts God already has placed for us through biblical doctrine and church tradition. This grounding is not wholly limiting, however—it pulls from many traditions, readings, and expressions of Scripture, but it will also “test the spirits” to remain as faithful to God’s Word (both written and incarnated) as possible (1 John 4:1).

Deliberate follows Saint Augustine’s guiding principle:
In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things, charity.