Doctrinal Affirmations

I recognize that there is only one true and living God Exodus 20:2-3 (who exists as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and that He is worthy of all honor, praise, and worship as the Creator, Sustainer, and the Beginning & End of all things.  Revelation 4:11,Revelation 5:9-10, Isaiah 43:1, 7, 21

I recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us John 1:1, 14I believe He came to destroy the works of Satan 1 John 3:8,  that He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them.  Colossians 2:15

I believe that God has proven His love for me, because when I was still a sinner Christ died for me.  Romans 5:8I believe that He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to His kingdom, and in Him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14

I believe that I am now a child of God 1 John 3:1-3 and that I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies.  Ephesians 2:6I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, that it was a gift and not the result of any works on my part. Ephesians 2:8,

I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Ephesians 6:10I put no confidence in the flesh, Philippians 3:3The weapons of my warfare are not of the flesh.  2 Corinthians 10:4I put on the whole armor of God, and I resolve to stand firm in my faith and resist the evil one  Ephesians 6:10-17.

I believe that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, Matthew 28:18, and is the head over all rule and authority.  Colossians 2:10. I believe that Satan and his demons are subject to me in Christ because I am a member of Christ’s body. Ephesians 1:19-23I therefore obey the command to resist the devil, James 4:7, and I command him in the name of Jesus to leave my presence.

I believe that apart from Christ I can do nothing, John 15:5, so I declare my dependence on Him.  I choose to abide in Christ in order to bear much fruit and glorify the Lord.  John 15:8I announce that Jesus is my Lord, 1 Corinthians 12:3. and I reject all idols and counterfeit gifts of the enemy in my life.

I believe that the truth will set me free, John 8:23 and that walking in the light is the only path of fellowship. 1 John 1:7Therefore, I stand against all lies by taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5. I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative standard 2 Timothy 3:15-17 and I choose to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15,

I choose to present my body as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice, and renew my mind by the Word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect Romans 6:13Romans 12:1-2.

I ask my heavenly Father to fill me with His Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 to lead me in all truth John 16:13and to empower my life so that I may live above sin and not carry out the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16. I crucify the flesh and walk by the Spirit.  Galatians 5:24.

I renounce all selfish goals and choose the ultimate goal of love. 1 Timothy 1:5 With God’s help, I choose to obey the greatest commandment, to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself.  Matthew 22:37-39.

(excerpted and derived from “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil Anderson)

NJ Student Leaders’ Planning

     For each Cru missionary in NJ, there are about 42,000 college students they’re trying to reach!

     They can’t do it without the help of church partners, and one way they maximize their effort is bringing student leaders from around the state together to learn from each other and plan their semesters of ministry. This year, over 50 student leaders from at least 11 campuses came out.

     One student, John Delgado from NJIT has been discipled by a former student, Joel, whom I discipled myself a few years back!  John had this to say about his experience at the Summit:

     I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the work you Cru staff put into organizing. I thoroughly enjoyed the speakers and activities, took a ton of notes, and learned so many valuable things which I will take with me the rest of my life. Most importantly, I was inspired to become a more faithful and committed servant in the Kingdom of God to bring the good news of salvation to others!

Please pray for John, the other student leaders, and the Cru missionaries in NJ and around the world!

What God’s Been Teaching Us

  There was no particular reason, but I (Jeff) just didn’t make the turn right this time.  I pulled into the parking spot and heard a shocking “crunch” as my car smooshed itself on the next car’s tire.  Ugh!  After at least 20 years with no car incidents, I knew my plans for the day were taking a radical change.  All kinds of things went through my head as I saw only a minor scratch on the other car (is this really a big deal?), but calling the police was the only right choice (Titus 3:1-7).

     They responded quickly, and they were tough but fair, and the other car’s owner was polite as could be expected for the hassle she didn’t ask for or cause.  The officer even said, “I applaud you for doing this right.  So many people take off.”  It could have been a lot worse, and I know God’s hand was in it… but it still left me shaken.  I felt like a terrible driver, I felt guilt for the other person.  I felt overwhelmed by all the work and cost ahead on top of all the regular burdens of life.

     I definitely haven’t put a bow on this story (which as I write this happened yesterday), but I know the truth that none of this is a waste.  God is with us in every circumstance, whether green pastures or valleys of death (Psalm 23:4).  If He is with me and He is in control, then even the good things that are delayed because I mess up fit within His plan, and He will use even this to make me more like His Son (Romans 8:28-29).

     May we not be so busy with our own plans that we miss out on what God wants to do with us.

Elevate Conference

   “I had never worshipped in my own native language before!” That was one of the many exclamations reported by students who attended our Destino Winter Conference in Irvine, CA this month. Destino is a ministry of Cru working to help Latino students discover Jesus in the context of their own culture.

   One highlight for me was hearing from Joel Silva, who discovered Christ through Cru, launched ministries as a missionary with Destino and now serves as a local pastor at a bilingual church that continues to partner with us to bless college students. It was amazing to watch him encourage the local Hispanic churches who attended in order to learn how to reach the next generation. I had a great time connecting with students and pastors alike. This is Cru working at its best, walking with the bride of Christ, empowering for evangelism and discipleship in the area which we specialize.

Ministers in Los Angeles

  Another beautiful result of going to Southern California was the chance to reconnect with some of the incredible people there. I was able to have lunch with Keith, who has been working (and praying) in the entertainment world of Hollywood for over 40 years. His commitment to excellence and supernatural contentment have opened opportunities to minister to those who influence the world through movies, TV, and music. Please pray for Keith as he continues to stand in the gap in a mission field that is spiritually quite intense.

   Others special to my heart are those of Eric C’s family. I first met Eric when he contacted us to launch Cru at his college. Since running for Jesus on his campus, Eric has graduated and become a city engineer.

   Eric has welcomed me into his family with open arms. His mother, Monica, is a sweet hostess to me when I stay in town. His brothers, Kenneth and Luis, love asking advice about discipleship and praying with me. His father, Raphael, blesses me with long conversations, overcoming language barriers to pour into each other what God has taught us and how He has shown up in our own unique life stories. Please pray for Eric and his family to continue to grow and shine!

What God’s Been Teaching Us (Healing Memories)

  In an article of our May Prayer Letter, I talked about the neuroscience of abiding in Christ (John 15:7-8). One aspect of this—with which I got to encourage the students of Destino—is healing memories. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

   Dr. Caroline Leaf explains that thoughts you dwell on (good or bad) actually form a physical structure in your brain. Toxic thoughts and painful memories can actually mess with the instructions your brain sends to your body (one reason why stress can weaken your immune system or even contribute to injuries). Capturing those thoughts, processing those memories, and allowing God to be sovereign over them can have a profound effect on emotions and even physical health. Isaiah 26:3 says “You [God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

   But what does that look like practically speaking? Dr. Leaf explains that engaging deeply with the Lord has a measurable healing effect. Once you have captured a thought or memory, “the thought becomes ‘labile,’ which means it is unstable and changeable.… You can tear toxic strongholds down by choosing to bring the thought into conscious awareness for analysis and then changing it through repentance and forgiveness—which causes protein synthesis—and replacing it with the correct information, using Philippians 4:8 or a similar Scripture guideline.”

     In our quiet time with the Lord, we are filling our minds with truth from God’s Word, then in prayer, we ask the Lord to bring to light any thoughts or memories He wants to deal with.  We then look for areas in that memory that we need to confess/repent      (1 John 1:9), forgive (Luke 11:4), or thank Him for (Phil 4:6-8).

When Work Isn’t a Chore

     “Jeff, I thank God for you because God has used you to help me see that sharing our faith doesn’t have to be forced.”  This note from a pastor in NYC was so encouraging, a signpost that the work that Karen and I are doing is truly having an impact, not just on individuals but entire churches.

    We’ve been praying with and equipping pastors all across the country in how to reach, evangelize, and empower college students in their local areas.  We explain that ministry doesn’t have to be an activity that you switch on and off, or make extra time for in your schedule.  We can find communities that are part of our natural interests and live Christ to people in the stride of our life.

     For students, that might be with their dorm-mates, teammates, or people in a club they enjoy.  For other folks it could be breaking bread with seekers in a home group Bible study, making friends at the office, playground, or fishing hole.  I’d love to hear others echo this pastor’s words. “You’ve helped me see that when we’re open to welcoming others into our lives and willing to enter their world, God causes it to happen naturally.  We make new friends too!”

Filters of Hope

   When I felt the call to work with college students, I knew we weren’t directly serving the “widow and the orphan,” which is so central to the heart of God.  I also knew, though, that I’d have the chance to help mold our world’s future leaders to become more aware and compassionate toward those in need.

     This is one of the reasons I’m so thrilled about our partnership with Filter of Hope.  These folks, mostly former Cru students and staff, have refined an expert process for blessing the poor around the world.  We provide student laborers on Spring Break and Summer Mission trips to distribute water filters and share the gospel in communities they are working to serve. They seek life transformation both physically, by giving access to clean water, and spiritually, by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Each team installs filters and teaches about Jesus in individual homes where Filter of Hope has strategic local partners.  They have distributed 61,500 filters in 49 countries that produce over 9 million gallons of clean water every day!

     Students are transformed by these trips with a greater understanding of God’s love for ALL people, and more motivated to serve their campus and society.  You can come with us by visiting FilterOfHope.org. Also, learn more about how service and evangelism intertwine through JusticeAndJesus.com, a program Cru developed with International Justice Mission.

What God’s Been Teaching Us

   “Do you know your value comes from being made by God, not because of anything you do or any other reason?”  Karen shared this affirmation with our son in the car the other day just before a song came on the radio called God’s Not Done With You.  It was an emotional moment. 

            Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough for God, like you’re a waste of His resources?  You know, even missionaries get that.  Sometimes God does lean on us to take bold steps for Him, and it can feel uncomfortable while we resist, but He is NEVER telling us we aren’t valuable.  God doesn’t make junk and, no matter what mistakes we’ve made—even recently—God will never give up on us or be done molding us.

There are times that this is hard to believe, in the midst of the swirl of feelings that hit us during the course of life.  A wise friend encouraged us to take time to pause regularly and really think about and accept how we are feeling.  Do you feel defeated, overwhelmed, incapable?  Those feelings are real and if we just shrug them off and keep plodding along, we’re not really moving forward.  After a while we feel, as Bilbo from The Lord of the Rings put it, “like butter scraped over too much bread.”

  I’m learning not to fight those feelings off (and later have people tell me that they can tell I’m feeling that way even if I’m unaware).  Instead, recognize and really grieve how you’re actually feeling, knowing that God is with us in that space (Psalm 34:18, Matthew 5:4, Psalm 23:5).  I picture having a house party when these feelings show up at the door.  Do I lock the door and find out later that they’ve climbed in a window, or do I welcome them in and walk them over to my guest of honor, Jesus, who knows just how to handle them?  I’m actually walking to the altar with my desires for control, safety, love and value.  As I surrender them, I get all those needs met by my Lord (Matt 11:28-29).

Art Ministry

      Of the now 64% of Christians who drop out of the church when they get to college, a majority of them are arts/entertainment majors who never learn how to integrate their subject with their faith.  We’re working to change that, and Christina is a good example.

     Christina is a student volunteer helping with audio on a faith-based entertainment industry podcast we’ve helped launch. With mentorship, she’s using her amazing talents in singing and audio production for God’s glory.  She just graduated from Full Sail University saying, “I’m excited to know that whatever I do as a career, the Lord will continue to give me His favor because I’m doing it for Him.”

     You can watch these video updates from our dear friend, Derrick Whitmore, on some of the other things God has done through our partnership with his art & faith ministry called Shattered Studios: tinyurl.com/Shattered2019.