Someone, Please Save Us, Us College Kids

Standard

During my junior college years, I listened to “College Kids”, by Relient K, on repeat:

Someone, please save us, us college kids!
What my parents told me is what I did
They said, “Go to school and be a college kid.”
But, in the end, I questioned why I did

I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I knew I wanted more than the part time restaurant job I was working. Surely there was more to life than general level college courses, commuting, and serving food/busing tables. Add on top of that friends moving away for school, girls/dating, and not being sure of who I was in the church (or the church having a clue of who I was)… this was a huge transitory time for me.

(Oh no!) Not for me, not for me
Call it torture, call it university
(No!) Arts and Crafts is all I need
I’ll take calligraphy and then I’ll make a fake degree

I am thankful for those that God stirred up and called into my life during that time. He is faithful. I just didn’t always see His faithfulness as I clearly do now in retrospect. Little did I know that He was preparing me for bigger things. Bigger things like:

  • Moving away from all that I ever knew (family, friends, etc.).
  • Texas. TEXAS. The shock of Southern/Bible Belt culture.
  • My wife. I met her within a month of moving/going to school.

For those in this period of transition, the church (as a whole) does little to help with the confusion. Once students leave the comfort and safety of the youth group, they are launched into church oblivion. This oblivion is somewhere between graduating high school and marriage. The church, inadvertently, preaches that marriage is the pinnacle; once married, growing a family becomes the next prize to be won. But where does that leave those in college? Forgotten.

Eighty grand later, I found out that all that I had learned
Is that you should show up to take your finals and your mid-terms
The party scene is kind of mean; I think it’s sick and twisted
The Navy showed up at my door and claimed that I enlisted

Some churches see the need and build college, young professional, and singles ministries (all of these are totally different ministries that should not be paired together) to bridge the gap till marriage. I am thankful for churches who see this need.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

College kids want to be recognized, listened to, and accepted in the church. They do not want to be treated as second-class citizens who serve as babysitters. Nor do they want to be treated as the “forgotten”, in-between singleness and marriage. We, as the Church, have to do more. We need to change the messages we are silently/subtly preaching through our actions. We also need to point to the stable foundation that is Scripture. College students are hungry for truth (scripture), faith that has depth, and delicious food. And maybe even a chance to come over, hang out, and wash their clothes.

We can do better. I’ve learned that Satan speaks into the silent places the church doesn’t. So let us speak and do.

A Friday Confession

Standard

I used to pray, God, use me however you want. I used to sing loudly, with tears in my eyes, God, where you lead, I will follow. (Tears because I didn’t want God to send me into the backwoods somewhere without air conditioning.) I prayed with a bigger picture in mind; I sang open to the will of God for my life. The subtle current of wanting adventure, thrills beyond the everyday life, thrummed beneath the surface of my prayers. As The Killers sing in their song “Read My Mind”:

I never really gave up on
Breakin’ out of this two-star town

What I was really praying was, God, I’m willing to follow you as long as it means new places, new people, and a lack of monotony. 

Photo by Camille Puche on Unsplash

When I graduated from college back in 2006, I thought I’d get married and leave Longview forever. My big plans were to go back to Southern California, get an amazing job OR start a video game ministry, and life would go on. But then economy imploded… and God has used those 12 years since graduation to shape and form me into something new. I’m not the same guy that I was, and I recognize that as being good.

Do you ever feel like Moses, living in the wilderness with his wife and father-in-law? Being prepared, by God, away from the limelight, in safety? Do you ever wonder if you are being taught to just focus on and impact those around you? I do. Our world is all about the big, the bold, the blaring Coldplay stadium anthems. Anthems that silently whisper to us that if you aren’t doing something big, in life or for God, then you are a failure.

Here is where I want to land: You are not a failure.

In the Bible, God consistently uses those the world does not know for His glory, purpose, and Kingdom. I think we have to pray that our hearts align more with Him and less with the overwhelming expectations the world and even Christian culture can put on us. You can make a difference for His Kingdom where you are, right now. You don’t even have to move. Even though Switchfoot might dare you to.

LeTourneau University Alumni Association Directory project

Standard

In the Fall of 2004 I left my native state of California, Tetris-style packed my car, and made the 2 day trek to Longview, Texas. There I spent the next two and half years pursuing higher education and ultimately meeting my now wife. My time at LeTourneau University was amazing due to the awesome group of guys I became friends with (kick butt CLUB!) and the personal growth I experienced through student leadership.

Almost six years later, I find myself gainfully employed and slowly paying back my student debt. Over the past few months, I have been receiving emails/mailers from a company LeTourneau has contracted to update their alumni directory. I do not wish to participate in this update. Instead of offering me a chance to opt out, I have been bombarded with emails and mailers warning me of being “past due” and the dreaded “4th notice”. This collections agency language and behavior is not befitting of the memories I have of the university. I really think that LeTourneau is capable of holding itself to a higher standard.

What is funny about this is that no one else I know, who has attended LETU, has been contacted over this. Seems like a scam.

Reputation

Standard

In college, I lived on a dorm floor that had quite a rich reputation on campus. People respected me and some wouldn’t even talk to me due to where I slept at night. To say that we were the black sheep of the school would be an understatement. We were the dorm floor that was always first to be blamed but never convicted of any offense. One of our motto’s was even:

“Don’t get caught.”

Reputation, whether on a college campus or out of the bubble, influences the way people view and think about us. In the case of my former dorm floor, the reputation it had earned was earned by those who had come before us. We were simply coasting on their past actions.

 I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

– Revelation 3:1B (NIV)

As Christians, we can also lapse into living in our past glories and deeds. God knows the truth though; God sees us for who we are. He knows that we are really dead. He calls us to:

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. – Revelation 3:2-3 (NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament, God constantly was reminding His people to remember where they had come from. Even in the last book of the Bible, God is still calling us to:

Remember 

&

Repent

Notice the warning at the end of verse 3:

But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

We are given the choice to repent but if we don’t there are consequences for our actions. We can chose to blaze a new reputation (which is what my dorm floor ended up doing) or stagnate and die.

Entitlement

Standard

The promise of record heat allows me some comfort in knowing that I’ll be indoors all day. Record heat in May? I’m already worried about how hot this summer is going to be. This morning though the clouds are making every attempt to block out the sun. A bit of morning respite before the onslaught of the day.

Had a good conversation with a friend last week. We talked about the feeling of entitlement college bestows upon graduates. “Finding a job is going to be easy”, administrators and professors tell you throughout your college career. 4 (usually) years of hearing their melodious spiel is enough time to start to believing the lies. Yes, I said lies. The real world, that place outside of the college campus bubble, proves to be harsh for many young graduates. After being unknowingly brainwashed, they suddenly find themselves dumped out into the world with a mountain of debt (unless mom and dad have helped). The jobs that had once been mythically “promised” are no where to be found. The sense of entitlement that has firmly taken root by this point won’t allow the graduates  to simply take a job they could have had in high school. No, those types of jobs just aren’t good enough anymore. “4 years of hard work certainly entitle me to something better”, the newly graduated thinks to themselves. Sadly and perhaps fittingly, this is not the case.

The current economic crisis has turned the business world upside down. Companies are afraid to hire new employees and are instead downsizing/ consolidating normally open positions. The world is tightening its belt. The entitled graduate has a hard time making sense of this economically depressed world. Promises of something better turned out to be lies…for now.

But not all is doom and gloom. Like someone recently held hostage, a bit of deprogramming is needed for the newly minted graduate.

  • Realize that finding a job takes time AND hard work.
  • Realize that obtaining that perfect job with a corner office could take years.
  • Recite daily: “Just because I have a degree doesn’t mean I’m special”

Having a good attitude is probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give someone. Attitude is everything. So, don’t despair recent graduates, time and hard work will soon make all the effort put forth in college worthwhile. If not, there is always the option of fleeing the country to escape the loan bounty hunters.

Surf Report – 5/3/10

Standard

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

The college ministry, at my church, has been in need of a big jump start for a long time. Currently, two students attend. At one point, the college group at church had a full time pastor dedicated to leading the group and going out onto college campuses and recruiting. The college group was huge at its height…but that was maybe 9-10 years ago.

About two weeks ago we had a speaker at our church talk about what our personal gifts are and how we should be using them in the church. This got me thinking. I really enjoy mentoring others, being an open ear to listen; I also enjoy teaching out of the Bible. So…why not come up with a plan to takeover the current college ministry and infuse it with new life. Having a vague idea about how to do this, I e-mailed a bunch of friends and asked for their opinion. I specifically asked that if they attended a church college group while attending college, what attracted them to said group? Their answers are as follows:

Structure – College students are lectured to all day. Why lecture to them more by preaching for an entire hour? Instead (working with an hour format) dedicate:

  • 10 minutes to announcements/ misc.
  • 20 minutes to a time of worship (rock out!)
  • 30 minutes to a time of teaching (make it partly an open discussion, engage people)

Activities – Schedule numerous low-key activities per month with a big activity scheduled at the end of the semester. Activities could include:

  • Formal dinner – get dressed up and go to someones house for a nice dinner.
  • A night of board games with another class at church
  • Movie night, etc.

Leadership – activity engage/ include others in leading the group through:

  • Planning activities
  • Leading worship, etc.

So I’m still in the process of compiling my thoughts on this possible project. If you have any ideas to bring to the table about your experience in a college ministry or why you attended a college group, comment away.

.: Life :

Confession time, I am a bit of a Disney geek. There is something about the ability to transport people into other worlds that just sparks my imagination. Below is a video of a new water show that Disney is working on in their California Adventure park. Enjoy!

.: Gaming :

At the suggestion of a friend, I dove into Half Life 2 over the weekend. Already I have defeated futuristic helicopters, played fetch with a robotic “dog”, and entered into the darkness that is Ravenholm.

"Dog"

Hopefully the gravity gun renders Ravenholm a walk in the park. Until next time.

That is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Podcast Spotlight: The Geekbox

Standard

The Geek Box LogoThe Geekbox reminds me of  dinner table conversations I’d often overhear while attending a small engineering college in Texas. Robots, Star Wars, and even dirigibles used as floating combat platforms were common topics of conversation. Sometimes I would find myself cringing at the depths of nerdiness being discussed; other times I would join these conversations and contribute to no end.

Much like those overheard conversations in college, The Geekbox often veers off course into morally questionable material due to different guests. I find this to be unfortunate as the rest of the podcast is of high (nerdy) quality. However, just as I would in college, sometimes it is best to leave the dinner table (ie: fast-forward) if things sink too low.

At the end of the day, The Geekbox is like coming home to a group of old friends you know and love, flaws and all.

Not perfect but highly recommended

 

Give them a listen (link will open iTunes).