Thursday, August 21, 2014

An SLU/CCC First

Last night when I stood up to welcome everyone to church, I looked out and said, "I believe that's Eric Haynes sitting back there." Eric nodded yes.  I said, "I have not seen Eric Haynes since I graduated from college."  That's the truth. We had found each other on FB and started communicating a few weeks back.   Eric was in Alabama on a business trip (he now lives in Virginia) and made it to our Wednesday night worship. I was not expecting him.  What a great surprise.

Eric and I went to Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) together.  Go Lions!!  We also were involved in an organization called Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) which is now called Cru.  During the time I was involved with Crusade while in college was a time when I grew as much and as fast as at any other time in my Christian life. Eric said it was also a time of significant spiritual growth for him as well.  After church, we caught up some and I invited him to come over for supper with my family.  Today, I had Eric Haynes, my friend from SLU and CCC come to my house and eat supper with my family as my "first."  I've never had someone that I was involved in CCC with at SLU come to my house and eat supper with my family.

This was truly a wonderful and memorable "first."  It was really extraordinary the way we could reconnect so quickly and comfortably.  The conversation flowed so naturally about our walks with Christ, family, church, and I think there was even a mention of LSU and Saints football.  I was very encouraged listening to him talk about his walk with Christ, Bible studies he's been involved in, church involvement, and his earnest desire to see his children live close to Jesus. 

God was really sweet in the way that He gave my family an almost automatic connection with Eric.  Laura loved the way he bonded with our family because of our shared love for Jesus.  This was the first time she had met Eric, but God has a way of bonding people together quickly. Hannah Grace said she wished he and his family would move in across the road from us and we could all be great friends.  Supper was great and the conversation inspiring.  I loved this "first."

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; now called Cru

As we all visited, I was reminded of some of the truths that I learned while I was involved in Campus Crusade that have been so valuable to me through these years.  It would be hard to condense it down to a few points because that takes away from the friendships, worshipping together, sharing our faith together, going on retreats and conferences together and those kinds of things which were so beneficial. Nevertheless, here are a few of the truths that have shaped my walk with Christ that I learned while involved in CCC.
  • Having a personal alone time with the Lord each day in prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of getting to know God better (we called it a quiet time).
  • Spiritual breathing- confessing my sin as soon as I recognize that I've sinned and re-surrendering my heart to Jesus.
  • Living a Spirit-filled life- Trusting in the Holy Spirit to reproduce the life of Christ in me and not simply trying hard for Jesus.
  • Small group Bible studies- I learned so much by gathering in a dorm room with 5-6 other guys and seriously studying God's Word together and praying together for the purpose of getting to know God better.
There are many more. Bill Bright was the founder of CCC. He passed away in 2003.  I am grateful for the direction he led CCC in.  I am very thankful for the times I heard him speak. His books (some are Living Supernaturally Through Christ, The Journey Home, God; Discover His Character, and the biography of his life titled, "Amazing Faith) have greatly helped me.  He penned a series of short Bible studies called Transferable Concepts that were "how to" Christian books. They were short and very readable.  They were on topics like How to Know You are a Christian, How to be Filled with the Spirit, How to Walk in the Spirit, How to Introduce Others to Christ, etc.  These have been extremely helpful to me.

Praise the Lord for a great "first." I thank God I got to reconnect with Eric.  I've been inspired by thinking back on the days when I was involved with Campus Crusade.  If you want a good book that will be easy to understand and will help you grow in your Christian faith, you might want to give a Bill Bright book a try.

Thanking God for the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Reconnecting with my friend Eric
2. My family's enthusiasm in meeting Eric
3. Bill Bright's ministry

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