5:23 PM 0
Well, not apartments. Just websites. Our new site is thesanfranciscocall.com. I will be deleting this blog in a week or so. Click on over to the new website and subscribe via email or follow us via RSS to stay up to date with everything thats going on!
1:12 PM 2
Winter Conference was great! A short(ish) list of things the Lord did in the lives of our students and our own lives over just 5 days. Thanks for your prayers!
1. A student who had been questioning his faith found answers to his questions and felt called strongly back into the arms of the Father
2. A Jewish student came know the Lord thanks to a couple of Jewish staff who love the Lord and were able to help him grapple with what it looks like to be Jewish and follow Christ
3. Students felt called strongly to missions over the summer
4. Students took big steps of faith in reaching out to their fellow friends and classmates back on campus by starting spiritual convos w/ them via facebook
5. Students responded strongly to the call to be intentional in reaching out to ethnic minorities on campus
6. Not yet believeing students heard the gospel and got to experience Christian community and pray with others
7. I (Alex) experienced healing after 8 years of dealing with an annoying ailment
8. We were able to raise well over $1,000 for The Orphan Scholarship Fund, a fund started by our movement at SF state that utilizes the gifting of our students and partnerships with other groups on campus to live out Christ and answer the call to care for orphans
9. Students are excited to go back to campus and put into action all they heard and responded to
Now here are some pics!
All the City Cru women
Christine and Matt at the Orphan Scholarship Fund Table. OSF was Matt's brainchild and Christine makes necklaces to raise money for the fund.
Jie, an international student from East Asia and Jessie,a Jewish student talking post conference. I love the diversity of our group.
Thanks for being the Body of Christ! Your prayer and financial support makes this possible!
10:53 PM 0
Want to know what your ministry is up to?
We are here with 16 students from SF State, and 784 other students, for Winter Conference 2011. A 5 day conference in San Diego, CA where we hope students from all over the Pacific Southwest will hear from the Lord and be charged and changed to effect both their campus and the people around them their entire lives with the good news that is Jesus Christ.
You can watch too! There will be some great speakers, here is the info.
San Diego Winter Conference Live Stream
Watch Live: Go to... http://www.sdwinterconference.com then click on Watch Live! Or watch via Facebook... http://facebook.com/sdwinterconf
Also, please be praying that the Lord would work in the lives of our 16 students. Specifically, pray Ally decides follow Christ this and that Jie would experience and be rooted firmly in God's truth and love.
11:57 AM 0
Hey lovely people! As I was praying today for some students, I thought it would be awesome to have you praying for them as well.
Chris: A student I know on campus who is searching for spiritual truth. Right now he believes all salvation and peace comes from within. Pray his eyes are opened to the fact he can't save himself and that he would see the need for Christ the true Savior and experience His love.
Ally: She is so close to giving her life to Christ. Right now she is counting the costs of a life surrendered to him, a sign I see that the Lord truly is calling her. Pray that the Holy Spirit leads her to take that step of faith.
Sarah: Sarah does know the Lord but is having a hard time feeling like she belongs w/in the community of the church. Pray against feelings of guilt and condemnation and freedom from past and present sin.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
PS: Pics of our students at a recent prayer night
5:29 PM 0
"Therefore he was named Perez."
The story of Judah and Tamar is a strange one which interrupts the Joseph narrative that ends the book of Genesis. As I (Josh) read through it initially it seemed like a weird and frankly gross inconsequential story with no bearing on the rest of the Genesis or Biblical narrative, save perhaps to highlight the general despicableness of Judah (who one chapter before wanted to kill his brother) compared to the righteousness of Joseph (as the reader sees in the following chapter and the story with Potapher's wife). But as I re-read it alongside a commentary to gain more context the ending of the story suddenly became very significant to the rest of the Biblical narrative. Why? Because the younger of Tamar's twins (conceived from Judah) is Perez from whom comes the royal line of David and therefore Jesus.
Why is this significant and why does it resonate with me personally? It can be very easy to view Jesus with rose-colored glasses, to think of him floating around being perfectly nice to everyone and generally happy-go-lucky all the time. Don't get me wrong, I think Jesus was happy and joyful, deeply so, but this false picture ignores the dirtiness of the world Jesus walked in and the ugliness of a sin-ravaged earth. What I love about the story of Judah and Tamar is precisely the ugliness present.
The language is blunt and brutal. Tamar, not a descendent of Abraham (and therefore not part of God's chosen people) is humiliated, mistreated, abused and nearly killed unjustly. She is a childless widow with nothing, no power, no prospects save a vague promise from her father-in-law Judah to give his youngest son Shelah to her in marraige when he is old enough. And yet her actions (pretending to be a prostitute and tricking her scum-bag father-in-law into sleeping with her and getting her pregnant) are those of a smart, keen, desperate and confident woman. The passage in no way condemns any of her actions, in fact she is the righteous, just foil to Judah's corruption. Judah is not only corrupt and contemptible (he does not keep his word to allow Shelah to marry Tamar when he is of age) and generally despicable (picking up a roadside prostitute after his wife just died) but is also cruel (he wants to burn Tamar alive when he finds out she is pregnant from prostituting herself when the usual punishment would have been death by stoning).
Yet this is the man through whom God brings King David and eventually Jesus? I'll be honest, I weirdly love that. Often I think of Jesus as a perfect superhero-like foil to all the brokenness, corruption, evil and death in the world who had no choice BUT to play the part of superhero, a man so earnest even Captain America rolls his eyes. But Jesus' very bloodline bears the scars of sin and uncleanliness. Of the four women in Matthew's genealogy (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba not including Mary), two are prostitutes (Tamar and Rahab) and all are foreigners, 'unclean' non-chosen people. One scholar even beautifully noted all four women conceive by questionable means just like Jesus’ mother, Mary. Even through his birth God was identifying Jesus with the lowest of low, the broken, defenseless, the foreigner, alien and powerless. As Dr. Ray Bakke said "He is the savior who came into the world and deliberately choreographed into his own blood stream the scandalous people that Judaism was leaving outside and wanted nothing to do with". Jesus' lineage both reflects the ugliness of this fallen world and the heart of God for such a world which makes his life, death and resurrection all the more significant.
He did have a choice and chose to obey God the Father perfectly, to go to the cross and embrace the consequence of sin like those his ancestors committed to redeem a dark, twisted world where women are threatened with unjust death and mistreated, where incest happens, where people break promises, where father's watch their sons die and where racism condemns people because of the community (or country) they are born into. Jesus dies and redeemes a world like that, a world he knew and experienced, a world his very blood was evidence of both as he was born and as it poured out in death. Which is why I love the ugliness of this passage, because it reminds me justice has been done, there is an answer now for such pain and devastation. Jesus.