A Report from the Beach

Every year, over a thousand students from RUFs all over the country gather in Panama City for a week of teaching, worship, friendship, and soul-crushing defeat on the volleyball court. It’s a time to rest, unwind from the stress of exams, finally get some vitamin D, and have our lives reoriented by the gospel.

This year, I got to attend Summer Conference (or SuCo, if you’re hip with the lingo) with the University of Arkansas. In addition to getting to show off my peerless volleyball skills (below), I had the opportunity to meet, connect with, and serve a number of my future students.

 

 

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A one-picture summary of my lifelong relationship with sports
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Me and some of my students

It’s an incredible thing to be around welcoming people. We all have an instinct that that’s what the church is supposed to be like – people who have been united together in Christ who love one another and invite even the stranger into their fellowship. But because we’re still people struggling with the sin that naturally flows up out of our hearts, we tend to grow cold and unwelcoming toward the outsider. We enjoy comfort.

That week, Mike, his family, and the students who make up RUF at the University of Arkansas were the body of Christ to me. I instantly felt like I belonged, like I was part of the family.

More than that, I was reminded that Jesus has not stopped being good. Even though my heart is always questioning it – after seeing his tender mercy and loving kindness a thousand times over – he hasn’t grown tired of confronting my stubbornness with his gentle correction. Summer conference was a time both of humbling, as he reminded me that I am helpless to make even a single person hear the good news, and of hope, as he reminded me that he is the one who calls, that he is faithful, that he will surely do it.

Please pray for us! All the intern class of 2017 is headed to Atlanta next week for orientation. Pray that it would be a time of being recentered on the gospel, that we would build loving community with each other, and that we would delight in who our Father is. Pray for us as we fundraise, that God would open up the doors and paths and windows necessary for his Kingdom to go forward on campuses all around America. Most of all, pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work, both conforming His church more and more into the image of Jesus and calling people who do not know him to himself.

In Him,

James

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An intern wears many hats. And glasses.
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