Early this morning, around 3:30am, a man opened fire on an office of people at the Ohio State University. He injured one and killed another before turning the gun on himself and ending his own life.
The news spread around the world in an instant. I got a text from my fiancee who lovingly wanted to see if I was alright. A friend reported getting a call from his mother in Taiwan to see if he was ok. My fiancee and his mother received reassuring news, but one family received a phone call that would bring the tragic news home like a sledgehammer to the chest.
The media, University, and those with various views on gun control quickly took the opportunity to air their views without much human compassion but a lot of passion for their own agendas. It is my hope and prayers that there are some faithful people in the lives of these three families who can bring the love of Jesus Christ in the midst of this sad and horrific event. Because, as one blogger wrote in their article A Dose of Early Morning Darkness, “Darkness never tastes good and it leaves an aftertaste that fouls the very periphery of life itself.”
There has been a recent onslaught of news about death and despair in the news. Abroad in Haiti and at home with the suicide of an Ohio State teacher/grad student. With a macabre interest I have been drawn to look at how people not directly impacted by these tragedies have responded. What I have found is a mix of compassion and ugliness.
An article in USA Today displayed both sides in the article Youth in Lawless Haiti At Risk for Sex Trade, Slavery, Murder. There is help and compassionate care from churches to the people of Haiti in the wake of now two big earthquakes and a death toll over 200,000. There are others who are using the tragedy for disgusting ends of murder and child sex sales.
The student newspaper of the Ohio State University, the Lantern, reported a grad student/instructor’s suicide. In their online article Instructor’s Suicide Shocks Students the story of a 24 year old young lady leaves the reader wondering “why this tragedy?” Some of the blogged comments blame the “system” for not being supportive enough to grad students, some blamed the girl for killing herself, others suggested that she didn’t listen to enough “lyrics” and take enough “grams” to get through the hard stuff, and some offered condolences and examples of how they have constructively dealt with the rigors and loneliness of grad school. The constructive comments largely dealt with getting involved with a local church with a good grad student population (one mentioned was UA Christian Assembly).
It is great to see Christ’s body reach out in these times of need. I hope that many will find these good shoulders to cry upon and find the ultimate Comforter, Jesus Christ, in the midst of these situations.
Finals week is over at OSU starting this evening. There will be a few weeks of family time, making a little extra money, and relaxation for the majority of the students. As for me, it means time with family & soon to be in-laws, some relaxation, and getting busy planning for next quarter and a couple winter youth and college conferences.
Since I do not have final exams and the students are busy with exams these past few days have been filled with “office work” and extra amounts of allowing my body to recuperate from lack of sleep and excess caffeine intake. In the midst of this I have noticed that if I am not careful I can end up relaxing away my personal time with Jesus. This happens when I read my Bible with my eyes glossing over the text but not engaging the text to comprehend what I’m reading and not actively seeking to engage Jesus while I read. It also happens when my private prayer times last about five sentences before my mind goes off to some other world and I don’t bring it back to a conversation with the Lord. Acknowledging just these two warning signs has helped to recalibrate me to learn to relax but not neglect my relationship with Jesus.
My advice to my friends and especially those about to enter winter break at OSU is to enjoy your down time but remember to not take a break in your relationship with Jesus over the holiday season. Remember that in Jesus we have Immanuel living inside of us (and if you tend to forget, you can listen to our message, Immanuel, online) who loves interacting with you.
“Interesting results from last year’s study include a lake-wide temperature increase of approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit during the course of the night and an ammonia spike around 1 in the morning,” said Steve Goldsmith, a postdoctoral research associate.
The temperature increase could be chalked up to warm-blooded people standing in a cold lake, Goldsmith said. But, yes, that ammonia spike means exactly what you think it means.
“It went from a background of 5.2 parts per million to a peak of about 42 parts per million,” Goldsmith said. “So it was an eightfold increase.”
This is an excerpt from an interesting article entitled Wee Bit of Pee in Mirror Lake After OSU Jumps. It was online in the Columbus Dispatch by Doug Caruso. I personally haven’t made the jump into Mirror Lake, nor do I plan on doing so. Not so much because of the pee (I was a swimmer and a lifeguard so I know all about being in pools with pee) but because I have no desire to get into that duck-poo filled pond.
I do find it intriguing and amusing that some students are finally putting some science into this annual event prior to the OSU – Michigan game. I hope that they post their findings and graphs online and in a public domain so that we all can see exactly what is happening throughout the night in the lake.
One more thought. People can get so pumped up for a football game that they will jump into a dirty lake. Can we Christians get so pumped about Jesus that we too can do something even a “wee bit” adventuresome for our Lord and Savior?
This past Sunday Oasis spoke about the church as the Ultimate Evangelist. At the end of the sermon we asked everyone to write down some ideas as to how we could reach out to the campus as a church. We also had an immediate practical outlet on the main Oval at Ohio State University where some of us handed out free hot chocolate, cookies, invitations to church, and looked to engage people in conversations about Jesus.
Working together with others in evangelism is a huge encouragement. There is an added feel of teamwork and the overcoming of fear together. The latter being very important in my life as I can find myself being a bit of a “gospel chicken” at times. Being out on the Oval with a couple of others had me pumped and geared to talking with strangers for the rest of the day. After the outreach time I found myself naturally engaging people I didn’t know in conversation for the rest of the day – including a long talk in the RPAC’s sauna after a good workout in the pool.
Engaging people in the gospel as the church seems to have a way of igniting a love of Jesus and a desire that others would meet Jesus. Over the rest of the school year Oasis will be doing various outreaches on campus based upon some of the ideas the congregation wrote down (and maybe some other ideas too).
A summary of the top ideas by quantity from Sunday are:
- Hand out free food as a way to engage in conversation
- Actively invite people to church &/or your small group
- Learn how to & then capitalize on opportunities to talk about Jesus with your friends and those you already know.
My personal favorite, though I’m not sure we’ll be able to do it:
- Subliminal messages from speakers hidden around campus telling people about Jesus and come to Oasis : ).
Also written down by several people were things that should help strengthen and empower our gospel preaching: prayer & time in the Word.
Today we had a bit of a break half way through the day which was a good thing because it was really hot and I think our legs (at least mine) were feeling some pain from all the walking earlier this week. Though we got a couple hours of down-time physically, we didn’t take a break in our gospel fervor.
We canvassed a new area of the city with brochures, went door to door with surveys, and went out on the U of M campus in the gospel. During the door to door venture Enoch Kuo and I prayed with a guy for his father who has prostate cancer but has yet to believe in Jesus. We talked to a lady who goes to a Unitarian group (basically they believe in everything but the Bible) who believes that it doesn’t matter what we do in life because the God-like force out there isn’t going to punish anyone. When we asked her how Hitler and other mass murders fit into that she said that her god was ok with them to and that she’ll be spending eternity with them (if she doesn’t believe in Jesus, she’s right; but it won’t be in the “happy place” that she imagine).
David Kim & Jerome Espiritu prayed with a guy (I think to receive the Lord) who had a friend recently die. They also ran into a former OSU student, Thomas, who went to Oasis and then New Life OSU for a couple years. Apparently he still remembered me and mentioned me by name so I was called over to catch up on life with him. He’s now going to Michigan for grad school this fall.
I look forward to hearing more stories of what the Lord did today. I’ll be able to fill in the gaps some time tomorrow when people share their stories. Stay tuned : ).