This picture is the reason I enjoy going to work every day, and it’s not because it’s the Inn on Tuesday nights. To be a part of hundreds of college students coming together to worship God is a blessing. This is a special place where we gather on Tuesday nights, and it’s not because of the place or the setting. It is because of the people. The people that are in this picture inspire me and others to be a part of college ministry in the U-District.
Over the past 2 months God has been showing me what an amazing opportunity it is to spend time with college students. I think it is so special because I am not that far removed. It excites me to be a part of students’ lives because I know what I had in college, and I know what I desired in college. It was to love the Lord with everything I have. Yet there are so many things that get in the way of that. That is what gets me up in the morning.
Working with you all also makes me think of such a simple yet important reality that I wish I fully understood in my college years. That idea is that it’s not about what we do. Too often we are bogged down by the things we do wrong and how we aren’t worthy of Christ’s love. And you know what? We aren’t. But that’s what Jesus died for. He died for us so that we wouldn’t have to worry about the things we do wrong. One of the most important things I learned and am still learning in the past few years is that I cant spend my time trying NOT to sin. God doesn’t want me to try not. The idea is that we would seek after Christ with everything that we have, and our actions would follow. Doing “the right thing” is a byproduct of loving Christ. When we mess up, God doesn’t ask us why we did it, or what we were thinking. He simply says, “Do you love me? Then go feed my sheep.” Let us love Him, and let everything else fall into place.
Kevin Petermeyer, UMin Intern
A couple days ago I started thinking, “How in the world am I going to do any other job besides this one after I leave in June?” I know that god is everywhere and always with us, but in this job He is so intensely, almost tangibly, HERE. I see Him in every student I come into contact with. I see Him every Tuesday night. I see Him and I feel Him saying, “Kelly! It pleases Me that right now you too are witnessing what is giving Me great joy!” It brings me intense joy to meet with students who want change. These students are busting at the seams with a want to make God more alive in this college community. I have been participating in this ministry for the last four years as a student and I never really understood and now I look at these students dreams and I feel alive.
You might be reading this thinking, “Thoma is over the top. This is fluff.” Friends, I want to say I mean every word of it. I have cried more and felt alive more in the past fews weeks about the Lord challenging me and pleasing me than I have let Him in a while. I feel like I am running with God right now. Though some things in my life – extraneous circumstances – may be difficult, and sometimes I am dragging my feet through the mud, at other times God is helping me sprint towards His kingdom, looking at all the glorious things He is doing in the lives of students all around me.
One particular example is freshman girls in sororities. I myself just graduated from a UW sorority and so I am fond of meeting these new freshman Greek students. I kid you not, I have interviewed freshman girls from 14 out of the 17 sororities to be put into Core Groups (The Inn’s small group Bible studies), and almost every one of them has spoken about how they are trying to find other christians in their house, how much of a blessing it has been to find other Christian girls in their houses, and how they want to bring more girls from their house to the Inn or just want to be able to love other girls in their houses as they have been called to do so. FRESHMAN sorority girls are telling me this. If this isn’t evidence of the spirit at work here in our Greek community, I don’t know what is.
Life isn’t perfect right now. Life is difficult and heartbreaking and challenging. But watching the ways God moves in others, and myself, brings me to tears of joy. I hope that you can see Jesus running along with you in your life right now too, whether He is trying to pull you out of the mud, or walking slowly down a new path, He is there with you.
Kelly Thoma, UMin Intern
Welcome to the Inn 2011-2012.
Saturday, September 24, we got back from our student leadership retreat with 80 student leaders full of energy ready to make our beloved first fall Inn happen last Tuesday night. The first thing at the Inn that everyone saw was a video made by one of our own student leaders this year entitled, “Home.” (See the link above.) It was a beautiful video. And for those coming to the Inn for the first time that night, I bet they enjoyed the video. But for those of us who have made a true home at the Inn every Tuesday night, it was like watching our story be told. The Inn’s theme this quarter is starting off with the topic of I Belong. I think home is a word that summarizes belonging. Whether that be a place you gather with friends or that longing to be in our final destination.
Other student leaders of the Inn, from this year or 10 years ago, watch Adam’s video “Home,” and a lot of those who have graduated and moved on tell me they tear up because they miss this real home they had here at the Inn where they felt like they belonged. So I am excited for a new year at the Inn and a place to provide tons of new students with a place to call home in their future. I am excited to write the October blog to you followers as we work towards real life in this God we follow.
Most importantly for this week is my reminder to you all about Core Groups. I write this not as a plug but because I genuinely want to remind you blog followers that Core Groups are where all the juicy stuff happens. Whether you haven’t signed up for one and are thinking about it, or you are reading this as a college graduate and debating whether or not to become a leader, I request that you do. No, I don’t request, I demand! (Editor’s note: “I demand” = “strongly encourage.”) We are just now going through our fall application process of meeting with people applying for groups and it is going amazingly well, but I don’t want you to be left out on the two best hours of your life every week.
Cheers and talk to you soon!
Kelly Thoma, UMin intern