Bible Study

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For the last three years, I’ve studied the Bible and talked about the things that matter with some guys. That kind of thing turns friends into brothers. Last week, seven of us headed out to Colorado for a week of fellowship. We climbed a 14,259 foot mountain, witnessed a beach boys concert at Red Rocks, slept under the stars, and dominated some middle-schoolers in trampoline dodgeball.

We packed the best of what Colorado has to offer into about 5 days, but the highlight wasn’t the itinerary. The highlight was the fellowship. Three years ago, our Bible study consisted of our leader talking and asking questions and us staring at them with a blank look on our faces nodding mindlessly and occasionally slipping our phones out to check on our evening plans. Seeing that time evolve from then to what Bible study is now has been quite possibly the best part of high school. What’s it look like now? Bible study just happens. One morning, me and another guy wake up early and read a chapter in Colossians together. Another night around the campfire, my cousin poses the question “what’s your biggest fear?” Everyone shares openly and honestly. Under the stars, me and a bro talk about everything from finding a Bible study in college to God’s love and it’s implications on our lives. In the tent next door, we overhear three others talking about catholicism versus protestantism and Christian politics. Bible study no longer has a start and end time and a mom who bakes us brownies and a leader who holds our hand. Now, it just happens.

The trip wasn’t without conflict. It never is. You put seven 18-year old guys in a seven passenger van and there’s gonna be some quarrels and arguments over shotgun seat and restaurant stops and tomorrow’s plans. But that’s how fellowship is. It’s hard to put up with each other. It’s hard to put down the xbox controller and get real. It’s hard to create an environment where learning and growing and discipling and loving can happen. But it’s so worth it.

Next month, the wolf pack is splitting up. We’ll say our goodbyes and we’ll make new friends and some of us might be better at keeping in touch than others. But I know I’ve got six bros who love me and care about me and that’s a pretty special thing that not a whole lot of people have. And maybe over Thanksgiving or Christmas, we’ll get back together to talk about God’s love, grace, college, girls we met, intramural games, roommate horror stories, and our hopes and fears. We’ll be real. And it’ll be a lot of fun. Fellowship is a beautiful thing.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another                             Proverbs 27:17

It’s not about me.

It was bittersweet yesterday afternoon when the conversion van full of six of my best friends pulled up to the curb. The last two weeks in New Orleans and Colorado had been incredible. I’ll just tackle New Orleans in this post.

According to mapquest, I’ve spent 61 hours in a van or bus the last two weeks and have ridden 3846.17 miles. And it was so worth it. The journey started two saturdays ago with a trip down to New Orleans with my church youth group for Challenge 2012. The national e-free youth gathering was incredible, God moved in incredible ways in my life and the people around me. I went into the trip expecting to feel too old for the high school youth group thing and expecting teaching directed at kids four years younger than me.

I love serving a God full of surprises. Challenge was great. The first night Francis Chan shared a message about how it’s not about us. He shared some statistics about the universe, about how small we truly are. These weren’t meant to make us feel insignificant. They were supposed to have the opposite effect. The same God that created the cosmos cares about you and me enough to send His Son to die for us. Yeah, I know, old news right? Whether you believe that or not, you’ve probably heard it before. Maybe you’ve heard it hundreds of times. But the Gospel should never become familiar. Something that beautiful should never become old news and should impact everything about our lives. Here’s the message Francis delivered that night. Check it out if you’ve got some time to spare.

“The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: life is a story about me.”                             -Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz