This last weekend I was invited to be the guest speaker for a retreat for young adults. This retreat led and organized by City Church was in northern Wisconsin in a town called Three Lakes. As beautiful as it was spacious, the outdoor environment along with some great cabins offered a setting of reflection on my vocation as “Pastor.”
I had three sessions to share with these “young adults.” The theme was equipping, so I spent my time charting ‘waters’ for their minds to consider and molds to grow into. Not only did I go to minister to these young adults, I also was ministered to in a variety of ways.
It was touching being together with numerous people around my age who were trying to serve Jesus with their whole beings. In the morning, I woke up to study. Upon arrival I was reading solo in the large study quarters. Then slowly, one by one, a plenitude of people arrived with no other agenda than to connect with God through His word. As I watched these young people, I sensed a bright future for God’s Church.
I also met a young man named Joel. He lived up to the meaning of his name as “fire of God.” Joel is currently pursuing his PHD in Philosophy at UW Madison. He knew Larry Shapiro whom I debated this last October. Needless to say, we had much to talk about. Joel began his deep studies in philosophy to think through some of the doubts he was having about God and Faith. Philosophy has served him well. He has a vibrant faith in our Lord Jesus and he is a committed child of God. I hope some of you would add Joel to your prayer lists. He needs God’s favor as he seeks Him through his many more years of study.
Thinking through some questions with Joel served as a reminder to me of the great treasure of the mind that God has given to all of us. Every one of us allows some cobwebs to grow in our minds. In fact, we are the ones who put them there as we passively receive much from our digital worlds. Our “Talent” is often not invested or saved.
Connecting with Joel was like Jethro refreshing Moses with new insights and wisdom. Could you please pray that our further conversation would turn into abundant fruit that we know not what to do with. For years I prayed that God would bring me to Madison, so I could make an impact for Him at the University. That prayer was prayed miles away from here. Since then, God transitioned us here and together, we hosted a debate with a UW Professor in philosophy. All that being said, I do not think meeting Joel was by chance.
Regardless of what steps are next, God has great people at the University. People like Joel are on the front line in unique ways. Few Christians get such a chance to ponder the big questions and use their gifts for God in this realm. I myself have thought and prayed much about PHD work in Philosophy. I have tried to faithfully live the dictum, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I have always thought that if I represented Christ with my intellect, perhaps others would follow. I will leave that in God’s hands. But, this weekend has strengthened my resolve that the Church must think through its faith in intellectually challenging ways as to be a good witness to the world around us.
For the Life of the Church, Pastor Isaac