I have two sons involved with CCC on their campuses, Rick (fifth year senior at University of Florida) and Will (sophomore at Florida State University). (Yeah, their big showdown is coming up this week!) Rick spoke at their weekly meeting last week and invited me to attend. During the afternoon, he learned that they could not use their normal meeting room. When that happened before, they were allowed to use the amphitheather outside. With the meeting scheduled for 8:30pm, we arrived an hour early while the band was practicing. They sounded great.
Shortly after that, the campus police came and asked for their permit. Someone had complained. Never needed a permit before. The police told them to shut down. Will had driven the two hours from FSU to hear Rick also and since we both were ancillary to what was going on, we walked around the amphitheater among those buildings and prayed for the meeting and for God to work.
The meeting did go on, but without the music. It was ironic that Rick was speaking from 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 where Paul talks about handling disputes within the body. We don’t like hearing these words, but “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” (v. 7b) Now, yes that speaks about disputes among believers, but it is events like these that we get to be a witness with our attitudes among the non-believers as much as with our words. After all: “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord…” (v. 12b)
Some thoughts in retrospect:
- We are involved in a spiritual battle on our campuses. We must fight with spiritual weapons: Prayer, God’s Word, being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- We should expect opposition and it should cause us to go our knees first.
- It is natural to get angry at those who would complain about our efforts. We do live in a society with people who don’t like our message and don’t want to be reminded about God. But we need to pray for their salvation and we need to witness with our Christlike attitude.
- Only God’s Spirit can open hearts.
- Our service is ultimately before an audience of One.
- I have begun to pray more and more that hearts closed and hardened to the Lord would spontaneously have thoughts about eternity, their Creator, their purpose, and what is really the truth.
Rick wrapped up his talk with these words:
You were sinners. You were rejects. You were. But you are not anymore. You have been forgiven. You have been set apart from the world. You are righteous and Jesus will vouch for you. Jesus helped us when no one else would or could. And he has called us to follow in his footsteps. Stop acting like those of the world. Your thinking needs to be more than long term it needs to be eternal. Then and only then can you put aside this physical world. Then and only then can you see that what we have received as gifts are meant for us to use on those in need… You do realize that people are watching you? Are you someone who people look at and say thank goodness I am not Christian? We are Jesus to this world. If you have accepted him as you Lord and Savior then you have his Spirit in you. Each one of you may be the only representation of Jesus that a person comes into contact with.
For a another fascinating take on our witness in the face of opposition, check out Chuck Colson’s “BreakPoint” column called “I Appeal to Caesar!“.