Monday, September 19, 2011

The Great Divide - Pt. 2

This post is a few weeks late, things at school are really starting to pick up now! Anyways, I’ll now explain the significance behind the blog’s name, The Great Divide.

As I alluded to in Pt. 1, the name stems from one of Scott Stapp’s songs, “The Great Divide”. In case you haven’t heard the song, the chorus goes:

You set me free, to live my life
You became my reason to survive the great divide
You set me free

What Stapp is referring to you when he says “You” is Jesus Christ. God’s son in the flesh liberated him from his sinful nature, and allowed him to live a life free of guilt. The burden of knowing that he will never be able to be made righteous with God has been lifted off his shoulders. Nothing is more comforting than knowing you will spend all of eternity with the one, true God. Galatians 5:1 states,

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

I too experienced this sense of freedom and relief during my Freshman year when I came to know the Lord on a personal level. I had always been raised going to church and understood a lot of what the scripture was trying to say, but I was missing the biggest point – I had no faith. I always thought that I would be good enough to go to heaven because I was a nice person. God couldn’t separate me from himself. I never killed anyone; I never committed any grave sins. In the book of Romans however, Paul writes that no one is righteous, we all fall short of God’s perfect standard.

Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one” he continues in verse 23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Once I began to realize that I could never measure up to God’s standard, I finally started to recognize my need for a savior. Just because I went to church didn’t make me a Christian. Does going to McDonald’s make you a Big Mac?

There is good news in the Bible though too! God sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life to die for each and every one of us. Jesus lived a holy and just life, and willingly died for all of creation so man could be saved.

1 Peter 3:18 - “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”

Thus Christ came down to earth, lived and died for man to make us right with God. It is faith that saves man, not his good works. The message of Christianity is quite simple, but so many people, including me, have missed it all.

Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

On the night of May 7, 2010, I survived the Great Divide. I crossed over from a life of death that was leading to eternal destruction to an eternal life of joy and hope with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He set me free.

I also think college itself can be a Great Divide. Many of us enter college having no idea what to expect, some have no idea of what they want to do with their lives. I didn’t come in with many expectations; I only had three things I wanted to accomplish. 1.) Get good grades 2.) Run fast 3.) Get a girlfriend. Granted, two of those things I am still pursuing and giving the glory to God in the process (Col 3:17), and hopefully if it’s in the Lord’s plans someday the third will come true as well.

Ultimately, college is an experience like none other. It’s the four years of your life where you really discover who you are and what’s your purpose. I arrived at Drake as an immature boy, chasing after things in the world that could never satisfy me and always leave me empty. I feel by the time I graduate I’ll be a responsible man. I know my purpose in life, I will have gained enough responsibility to survive in the real world, and I have discovered the one thing in life that can only bring me joy, satisfaction, and happiness. The Great Divide can be daunting, but if you take that giant step, it will be the greatest thing that you will ever experience.

In Christ,


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

Today was the big 10-year anniversary of 9/11 (duh), but it was kind of eerie how it slipped by and passed all too quickly. It’s unbelievable how at the beginning of a beautiful day, the world was changed forever.

It’s interesting for me to reflect back on this tragedy, because when it happened, I was 10 years old, mature enough to understand some things that went on that day, but I had no idea how it would impact the future of this country. I remember it very vividly; let’s bring it back…

Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The first memory of this day that stands out was its beauty. I woke up to attend 5th grade class at Bluff Creek Elementary school, and at this time in my life my dad would leave me the sports section of the Star Tribune to catch up on all the latest sporting news. I remember the light brightly shining through the window, and as I read the paper, something really caught my eye. Michael Jordan, my childhood basketball hero announced the night before that he was coming out of retirement to make a comeback with the Washington Wizards. I was jacked.

I left for school normally that morning, and I think the attacks in NYC had just begun. When I got to school and was putting my backpack in my locker, I overheard a girl talking about how a plane crashed into a building. I didn’t understand why she was talking about this when the best basketball player in the planet was coming out of retirement. The thought of the plane didn’t cross my mind again until we passed through the halls for recess. TVs were on in the school, and the teachers looked and acted as if something were not right. I saw the images of the burning towers, but still didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was just a bad accident and that everything was going to be okay. My teachers actually ushered us into the classrooms to resume our studies, and we didn’t talk about the events for the rest of the school day.

When I got home form school, my mom explained to my sister and I what was happening that day. It was the first time I recall learning of a terrorist attack, and when my dad got home, we called our grandma (who lived in Queens, NY) to see if everything was all right.

I didn’t understand why attacks on the east coast had to affect life in Minnesota. My soccer practice was cancelled that night, and our family attending a prayer meeting at our church in Minneapolis. Because I wasn’t directly affected by the attack (at that moment), I couldn’t comprehend why it was a big deal.

Fast forwarding back to the present time, I’m amazed of all that’s happened over the past decade and how much things have changed for me and this country. On this day in 2001 I was 10 years old, and now I’m 20, going on 21. I’ve lived twice as many days on earth. I’m attending college in a different state now, have different desires and dreams (unfortunately the professional NBA player dream died at age 16 or so, but when I get the chance to play pick-up ball every now and then, it lives on.)

My generation has a unique perspective on these attacks. We weren’t mature enough to understand the motives and attacks themselves when they happened, but as we matured, we were able realize more and more about the twisted world we live in and see how the attacks changed and morphed our country into the state it is in today.

My pastor made a very good point this morning at church, relating Hebrews 12:27-29 to the tragedy:

“27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Many men and women started their Tuesday morning 10 years ago as just another normal day, assuming that it would be like every other. This event showed how our world can be changed and shook in just moments forever. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. It’s conforting to know that the Lord promises an unshakeable, eternal kingdom for all who  believe and call His name (Romans 10:13)

In Christ,